Posted in hiking, Personal

A Beautiful Day for a Hike

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week with work and writing. I’m making progress on my story, and I like what I’ve got so far.  I’ve been busy with my kids, too. I’ve got a senior this year, so we’ve been busy getting senior pictures taken and trying to choose them. Such a tough choice when you’ve got a handsome kid! 😉

But enough about that. Today I went on a hike instead of writing this blog post. I just wanted to get outside and enjoy the fall air. I hiked for a good two hours, and I had a great time. There’s nothing like getting out in the woods and strolling through the fallen leaves. And the smell. I love the smell of fall. The scent of decaying leaves mixed with soil. There’s nothing like it in the world.

The woods were beautiful. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get out earlier this month and get some pictures of the woods in all their glory. The ones I did get were amazing though. There’s just so much beauty in the world. You know?

Photographer Lisa Orchard

Photographer Lisa Orchard

Photographer Lisa Orchard

So, instead of writing a post for today. I decided to share my hike with you. I hope you’re able to get out and enjoy the fall colors before winter sets in. Are you a hiker? What’s your favorite place to hike? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, Writing

The Season of Hibernation is Upon Us

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of work and writing. It grew too cold to run outside this week, so I have to bite the bullet and either join a gym or get an exercise bike. I’m leaning toward the gym. I want to keep running. I can’t run on the treadmill any longer, I’m afraid of messing up my back again.

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about hibernation. That’s right. The season’s changing and the weather Gods are predicting snow in the upper peninsula this Tuesday. I am not ready for winter. It doesn’t feel like we’ve even had a fall.

I can tell the season has started to change. I’m more tired than I usually am. I think this is probably due to the fact there is less sunlight available right now. I’m also craving carbs. Ugh. This is the hardest to fight. I haven’t met a carb I didn’t like. I believe this is all part of my body saying it’s time to slow down and hibernate. It wants me to eat more carbs to fatten me up for my long winter’s sleep.

That’s how I know we humans were also supposed to hibernate. Why else would I be feeling this way and having those horrible carb cravings after months of eating low carb?

We’re supposed to hibernate during the winter so our bodies can renew, and our brains can rejuvenate. I bet our metabolism slows down in the winter. I don’t have any evidence of this, but it just stands to reason that it would. That’s why we gain weight during the snowy season.

So, if you find yourself slowing down this winter. It’s okay. Give yourself permission to do it. It’s the natural course of things.

 Below is a list of some of the things I’m going to do this winter while I hibernate:

  1. Write: I plan on finishing the novel I’m working on now and pulling apart the one I finished and putting it back together, so it’s a stronger story.
  • Exercise: I plan on keeping up on my exercise routine, so I can keep that winter weight off.
  • Read: I plan on reading a lot this winter to keep away the winter blues and hone my craft.
  • Bingewatch Netflix:  This one I do during the winter when it’s too cold to go outside and I’m to tired to write, but I’m not ready for bed.
  • Maintain my low-carb regime: This will help me combat that winter weight that always seems to creep on.

How about you? What do you plan to do during your season of hibernation? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!  Thanks for stopping by and reading my post.

Posted in mental-health, Personal

The Need for Distractions

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week of work, writing, and kids. The kids are back in school. It’s the end of summer and that makes me sad. I wasn’t ready for it to end and I’m hoping we can eek out a few more hot days before winter hits and I go into hibernation mode.

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about the importance of distractions. I know, right? Distractions, how can they be important, but they are. Let me explain.

We as humans need to make sense about what is happening to us. We need to find a rational reason behind an experience. We want to find the lesson. What is this experience teaching me? So, we mull it over, trying to find the why. Right? I know we’ve all been there. But sometimes the answer eludes us.

The why will never be found. Either it’s because the person who we need to find the answer from isn’t available or refuses to communicate with us. That happens. That flash of understanding, that epiphany never happens.

This is the time we need to pull out our bag of distractions. To get our mind out of the groove of trying to find the answer. Otherwise, you can sink into a depression. I’ve seen this happen with myself as well as some of my friends.

So, what are good ways to avoid sinking into the pit of overthinking?

I like to escape reality and read a book. There’s nothing like sinking into a good story to forget about life for a while. When I start overthinking about a problem, and I recognize I’m doing that, I pull out a good book and forget about life for a while. It works wonders. This takes away the power of what I’m overthinking about, and when I’m done reading, the issue I’ve been thinking about is much smaller and more manageable.

Another way I distract myself when I start overthinking, is to exercise. I go for a run and that seems to jolt me out of the overthinking groove, and again when I’m done the issue doesn’t seem so big.

I also distract myself by writing. Working on my story, is the best way to get my mind out of that familiar groove of trying to understand the problem. and solve it. Some problems just can’t be solved no matter how hard we try.

So, there you have it. Distractions are important in our lives. They serve a purpose. How do you get your mind out of the groove of finding the why in a situation? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal, Writing

Exercise: An excellent way to combat Writer’s Block

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work. I’m still noodling an idea for another story and sending queries. I’m also running to stay in shape, and I got to tell you there’s nothing like that runner’s high. When I run in the morning before work, I have a better mental attitude throughout the day.

Exercise is important for everyone. It keeps you in shape and lowers the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It’s especially important for writers because writing is such a sedentary activity. When I’m in the midst of creating a story, I could write all day. I have to force myself to take a break and exercise. I make sure and do it though because it also helps my writing. I’ve solved many plot holes while I’m running, and exercise keeps my creative juices flowing.

To keep me from getting bored, I also engage in Yoga and Hiking. Both provide not only physical benefits, but emotional ones as well. Yoga is a great way to focus on yourself. It brings me clarity when I’m dealing with complicated issues. I’m allowed to focus on my needs and find solutions to difficult dynamics. Sometimes we run into issues with family members, and we have to be creative to solve problems that arise.

Hiking is another terrific way to exercise. It’s also a great stress reliever, too. I’ve also found that when I’m writing, if I take time out for a hike through the woods or the beach, I solve plot holes and come up with creative stories. Noodling ideas in the woods is an excellent way to improve a great story.

So, if your stuck in a story and not sure how to move it forward. Step away from your work and go for a run or a hike. I guarantee you’ll either solve your problem while you’re exercising, or you’ll feel better about your story, and you’ll come back to it with a fresh attitude and solve it that way.

How about you? How do you deal with your writing when you’re stuck? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, Writing

The Writing Life…

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week of work and writing. My neck is feeling much better and I’m thinking about getting back into my exercise routine, but I won’t be running on the treadmill. There won’t be another treadmill season in the Orchard house. In my opinion, I need to run on harder surfaces if I’m going to run. So, I’m going to have to find another form of exercise during the winter months.

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about the writing life. I haven’t spoken about this in a while, so I felt that I should address it today.

Writing is a solitary endeavor. We writers create by ourselves and work with editors and beta readers to produce a viable product. It’s time consuming and takes us away from our families and friends.

Sometimes, it can be discouraging. The waiting for an acceptance or rejection of a manuscript can take a long time. It can get downright lonely.

So, it’s important to have a creative community who supports you. They don’t all have to be writers. They can be artists, or sculptors, or photographers. These people will understand your struggle. They will support you in ways your family can’t because they don’t understand.  I have an artist friend who I get together maybe once or twice a month and paint with her. I’m no artist, but it’s always good to take a break and do something different. I support her art, and she supports my writing.

Another way to combat the anxiety of waiting is to start another project. Work on something else. If you do get an acceptance, you’ll be a step ahead of the game because you have another project to offer.

Still another way, is to take a break from writing all together. Spend time with your family. Go on a trip and enjoy some down time. Maybe even read. 😉

Exercise is another great way to deal with the stress of writing. Get out of the chair and move your body. Get those endorphins moving, it’ll help with the creative process. Trust me.

So, there you have it. Some ways to combat the loneliness and stress of writing. How about you, how do you deal with it? Leave a comment! I love to hear from you!

Posted in humor, Personal

Tuesday Chuckle

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I know I didn’t write a post this week and I apologize. I attended a writing conference last weekend and I have a pinched nerve in my neck at the moment, so sitting at the computer is painful. However, it’s getting better and I should have a post up for next week. So, instead of a post, I’m offering you a chuckle. 😉 I hope you’re all having a great week!

May be an image of text that says 'if running on your treadmill was the only way to charge your phone, we would be the healthiest mofos on the planet.'

Posted in Guest Author, Writing

Dana Provo tells us how to Fight the Dreaded Affliction… Writer’s Block

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Today, I have a guest author Dana Provo, and she’s here to give you some tips for that dreaded disease Writer’s Block. So, without further ado, take it away Dana!

Writer’s block is real. It’s not some made up thing that people use as an excuse. It can be, but not usually. If a writer is experiencing a block, it usually means there is something going on in their life. Overcoming writer’s block is challenging if you don’t really want to get through it. Here are 4 tips to keep those blocks at bay and keep writing:

Tip #1: Go For A Walk

Walking can help in so many ways! Getting out of the writing environment and outside helps relieve stress that is caused by sitting in front of your computer endlessly writing. Exercise releases endorphins that help stimulate the brain and your body to relax. Writing is not always easy so it’s best to take breaks and go outside for a walk.

Tip #2: Eat Something

Often, writers will sit at their computer for hours at a time, not looking up from their screen, only to realize later on that they haven’t eaten a single thing all day. This is not healthy for your body or your writer’s block. It’s best to have meals with healthy foods and drinks. If you don’t eat then your brain can’t work properly to write down your stories.

Tip #3: 2 Minute Writing Sprints

If you’re really in a jam and can’t get out of your slump, then try doing some sprints. Pick any topic and set a timer for 2 minutes, then just write. Don’t stop until the timer goes off. You don’t have to make your sentences perfect, just get the words out. Sometimes your brain just needs to unload and the best way to do that is writing about things that don’t matter. You can continue your 2 minute writing sprints for as long as you’d like, changing up the topic with each 2 minutes. I would start with 10 minutes total, then go back to your story and that should help.

Tip #4: Change the Scenery

If you write at home on the couch in front of the television or always looking at the same picture on the wall in front of your desk, and you find you get writer’s block more often than not, then maybe you need to change the scenery. Go to a local coffee shop, get a caffeinated drink and try writing there. Try sitting outside on the porch or a park. Even try changing up what you use to write. I like to write on my laptop for obvious reasons (not having to type up a written document, automatically saves), but sometimes when I’m struggling, I get out my trusty notebook and start freewriting. I feel a sense of freedom when I write on paper and even though I have to type it up, I’m not going back and reediting things I already typed up. Using paper and a good pen or pencil can change the whole experience.

So now that you have 4 tips to help with writer’s block, you can feel more confident in writing your lengthy novel. Writer’s block doesn’t have to be a crutch. Use these tips and get back to writing; finish your story!

Bleeding Hearts by [Dana Louise Provo]

Finding love is difficult, especially when it tries to kill you. Bleeding Hearts is a new adult romantic suspense novel based out of Richmond, Va. This book appeals to readers from ages 16 to 60 with passions in both romance and mystery. For anyone interested in psychological thrillers, they may find this book similar to authors Natasha Preston and Sara Shepard.

Book Blurb:   

Orphaned at an early age, now twenty-four-year-old Camryn Lucks is ready to commit to find that special someone, and so accepts a date from a charming, gallant, handsome stranger. The last thing she imagines after accepting that first date with Carson would actually be the beginning of her worst nightmare. 

Red roses, a reminder of her parents’ killer, soon become an emblem of horror for Cami as one by one, those closest to her fall victim to a serial killer. Cami becomes an obsession for Carson, the man she had finally allowed herself to love. Not only is he vying for her heart, but also her life.   

Finding herself in a whirlwind of torments shadowed by the blood-colored bloom, Cami finds solace in Isaac, a neighboring police officer. She’s desperate to escape the haunting memories, but she must revisit them in order to catch her would-be killer. Living life in constant fear has driven Cami to second-guess every choice she makes. Will the police catch the illusive murderer, or will Cami be forced to face him once again? 

Print Length: 241 pages 

Publisher: Clean Reads, http://cleanreads.com/

Publication Date: August 25, 2016 

EBook ASIN: B01KNM113Y 

Print ISBN-10: 1621356205

ISBN-13: 978-1621356202

Printing Service: Ingram 

Buy Links:  Amazon: http://a.co/3z28apX

Barnes & Noble: http://fw.to/mfIx33N

iBooks: https://itun.es/us/KydHeb.l

Kobo: http://goo.gl/ea1W0W    

Smashwords: http://goo.gl/r99gn5   

About the Author:

Dana Provo has always loved books and reads everything from young adult fantasy to adult historical romances. When she’s not reading or writing her next novel, Dana can be found riding her horses and getting ready for competition. Dana lives with her husband and two house plants in Richmond, Virginia.

Social Media Links:   

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authordanaprovo/    

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DanaProvo1    

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/danalouiseprovo    

Blog: https://authordanaprovo.wordpress.com/   

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/authordanaprovo   

Amazon: https://goo.gl/aL1YR8 

Reviews:   

A gripping tale of love and suspense! Bleeding Hearts had me hooked from the first intense scene of the story. With a strong main character and diverse supporting ones, this is a great book to read at any time! – Amazon Reviewer 

A fantastic story from a gifted author. Dana Louise Provo is a writer to keep an eye on. – Jason Pere, author of Calling The Reaper 

Absolutely the best book ever! Couldn’t put it down. – Amazon Reviewer 

Thanks Dana for being a guest and sharing your insight on how to handle that horrible affliction, Writer’s Block. How about you? How do you handle Writer’s Block? Leave a comment! We’d love to hear from you!

Posted in community, friendship, Personal, Writing

Finding your Community

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve been busy this week with work, writing, and family. Now that winter is almost upon us, I’ve been preparing by making sure my kids have coats and gloves that fit. I’ve also taken some time off to go hiking. I’m hoping to get a couple more hikes in before the snow flies and we start hibernating.

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about friendship and connection. I remember in my teen years, many moons ago, I had a group of friends that I hung out with constantly. We did everything together. Bike rides, skateboarding, sleepovers, and slumber parties. They were my support group and I supported them.

I miss those days. I feel women need their groups of friends to feel connected and part of a community. We need to get back to that in our society. I know social media allows us to stay connected over long distances, but it’s not the same kind of connection. Something gets lost over the internet. The ability to read facial expressions and get a hug. The ability to actually touch someone is gone. This is something that’s desperately needed in our society. Remember the old quilting circles? We need to bring them back.

So, how do we do that in our bustling world? We go back to those days of quilting circles and start anew. If you don’t like quilting, you could get a group of friends together to play cards, or do something creative like painting, or join a writing group.

These are all ways to recreate a community. It’s always good to create one around an activity, or common goal. That way everyone is focused on something positive, and they can forget about their troubles for a while. Whenever I get together with my group of friends, I always come away from the gathering inspired and motivated. It’s refreshing to be with like-minded people.

This last week, I got together with my artist friends and we went on a hike then painted together. Even though we were all working on our own paintings there was a sense of community and support. I left that group inspired to keep working on my writing. Sometimes we time away to refresh so we can continue working on a long project such as writing a novel.

So, there you have it, need something to boost your mood? Start your own community. Create your own quilting circle, or writing group, or hiking group. You’ll be glad you did. It’s cheaper than therapy. 😉

How do you find support? What kind of groups would you like to create? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in friendship, Personal, Writing

Do You have a Creative Family ?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after spending the weekend hanging out with fellow creatives. I was invited to sign books at an Arts and Eats Festival this weekend. It was great to meet with people and talk about my books and art. I spoke with painters and photographers and learned some new things about each medium.

May be an image of one or more people and outdoors
This is right after setting up. We’re chatting while we wait for the crowd.

I enjoyed spending time with such amazing and supportive people. I have found that not only fellow writers are supportive but so are artists, photographers, and sculptors, too. Anyone who’s a creative knows how difficult it is to get your work in front of people.

It was a great time to talk about different ways to reach the public. It seems that marketing is something all creatives struggle with and it was nice to bounce ideas off each other and find out what works for some and doesn’t work for others.

If you have an opportunity to participate in your local festivals, I strongly encourage it. It’s a great opportunity to get your name out there and to start building a local support system. It’s important to do that, so you can get a grass roots kind of thing going for you.

It’s also important to have a creative “family” because not all artists have family that supports them or understands why they spend so much time with their art. You will need the support of your creative community during that time.

Mentors are another great addition to your creative family. They can guide you through the mire of people who want to take advantage of your creativity, and they can also offer you creative advice regarding your craft. A good mentor is golden.

Another aspect that I need to bring up here is your creative community can also offer you constructive criticism. There will be people who criticize your work without offering anything constructive on how to improve it. Don’t listen to these people, they’re not your people. Your creative community will tell you where you need to improve and more importantly how to improve in a gentle constructive way. You need this to grow in your craft. We all do.

So, there you have it. The reasons why you need to develop a creative family. Do you have one? How did you meet yours? Leave a message, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, Writing

The Power of Stories

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of work and writing. I’m happy to say I’m in the second stage of my second work in progress. The second stage is editing where I make the story better. That means I have two completed WIPs under my belt. My first one I had a eureka moment concerning the beginning pages, and it has made my story that much better. I’m more excited about it.

Photo credit: BookMama on Visualhunt

But enough about that, today I would like to talk about the power of story. I haven’t done a writing post in a long time, so I thought today, it would be appropriate. A story can transport you to another world and another time. It’s a great way to forget about your problems for a while and relieve some stress by concentrating on something else. Reading is a great stress reliever. Did you know reading for just fifteen minutes can reduce your anxiety by sixty percent? But, we need stories that will engage our readers, so they have to be compelling enough to keep our attention.

Photo credit: Kevin M. Gill on Visualhunt.com

The power of story can make us feel. Feel emotions we’ve buried deep. It’s important to release those emotions in a safe way. A story does this for us. It’s a safe place and we learn empathy for the victims and the heroes in the story.  This is important in our technology heavy world. Where emotion and feelings aren’t always dealt with constructively.

Photo credit: TelmaSDS on VisualHunt.com

There are times when we identify with the characters in the story. A story can alleviate feelings of anxiety and alienation. This is critical. Especially now with the way covid has affected our worlds and obliterated our social lives. It worked great for us introverts, but our extroverted friends have had a harder time.

A story can motivate us, give us power to achieve things we never thought possible. If we see the main character overcoming obstacles like the obstacles we have, it gives us hope. The hope that all we need to do is persevere and we too will overcome the mountains in our way.

Photo credit: PlusLexia.com on VisualHunt

Right now, stories are more important than ever. With the pandemic lasting almost two years people need something to occupy their time and relieve their boredom. So, writers write your stories. Improve your craft and get those stories out there. The world needs them now more than ever.

Photo credit: Damian Gadal on VisualHunt

How about you, how do stories affect you? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!