Monday, April 30, 2012

Positivity and a great anti-stress tip

A very belated post since I'm just back from a wonderful weekend away in the Natal Midlands. A few weeks ago I blogged some tips on how to stay postive, and today I have three more.

  1. Follow positivity on Twitter. We all know the saying that if you want to be successful you surround yourself with successful people. The same thing goes with positivity. In order to stay positive, surround yourself with positive thoughts. A couple of my favourite mood uplifters on Twitter are Tiny Buddha and Inspirational Quotes. Please feel free to share any others you find. We can never have enough joy!
  2. Dance. Put on some bouncy music and get moving. If you have young kids, dance around the room with them. Dance like no-one is watching. Better yet, dance when no-one is watching. Guaranteed, no matter how silly it feels, you'll be getting exercise and by the end of the song you'll feel great.
  3. Breathe! When we get stressed, our breathing becomes shallow. This is natural fight-or-flight behaviour, but the scary thing is that it's a vicious cycle. In our busy, modern lives our bodies are constantly under stress and shallow breathing becomes the norm. Only after my cranio-sacral therapist (don't ask what that is because I don't know - except that it works!) pointed out that I need to concentrate on breathing, did I realise how badly I breathe. When you start to feel stressed, breathe deeply from your stomach. Just three breaths and you'll start to feel less stressed. Guaranteed. I use it it now as a de-stress technique in traffic. I have a short fuse and am a road rage candidate, so the fact that I now handle the morning commute without wielding a baseball bat is proof that focussing on breathing in deeply can make a massive difference.

And just in case you need a little more than music and fresh air to feel happier, maybe this will help. This was my view throughout the long weekend we've just had in South Africa:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lucky 7 Meme

Three of my lovely CPs, Sri Pammi, Joanne Pibworth and Suzanne Jones, have played the Lucky 7's game, and even though their excerpts are tough acts to follow, I thought I'd join the fun.

Go to the 77th page of your work-in-progress, 7th line down, and paste the next 7 sentences. Then tag 7 others. 
Consider yourselves tagged.

Here's mine, from my never-ending single title WIP, When September Ends. The heroine, Vivian, is sitting under the bleachers at her old high school with her one-time best friend and boy-next-door, Ryan:

“Nothing happened.”
“Maybe it should have. Then maybe you wouldn’t have been such an ass on prom night.”
“I didn’t want Serena. I only ever wanted you.”
Vivian raised the joint to her lips and inhaled deeply. There was only half left and yet she still didn’t feel relaxed.

I've now read seven further Lucky 7 contributions from Julie Cohen, Kate Hardy, Kate Jackson, Nicola Marsh, Rachael Johns, Liz Fielding and Teresa Ashby. They're all fascinating, but I still think Jo P's is the best of all. Click on the links, and let me know what you think... and if you have a blog, I've shown you mine, now you can show me yours!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Revisions in my Inbox!

Last week I blogged a teaser tribute to my critique group, the Minxes of Romance. If you haven't yet heard the exciting Minxy news that followed: Maya Minx sold to Harlequin Presents!

It's been a busy week for us, as Sri Minx has finished and sent off her revisions (Yay, Sri!) to Harlequin Presents, Sally Minx is busy with her contracted book which has an imminent deadline, and on Sunday night I received a detailed revisions letter of my own for my New Voices 2011 entry, Once Upon a Time.

The revisions are pretty massive, to the point that the editor even took pity on me and offered I could send her something completely new instead. Since I don't have anything new that I'm ready for outside eyes to see, I've opted to do the revisions.

So this is me heading to join my other fellow Minxes in the Revisions Cave. It's warm and well lit, and we keep it stocked with plenty of coffee, lucozade and chocolate, but no other distractions are allowed. Wish me joy.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Book Review: Brief the Sun of Summer

This is less a book review than a shining example of how we can all realise our dreams.

Brief the Sun of Summer is a poignant, lyrical story set in northern England duirng World War 2, published in 2010 by Vanguard Press. It's a mostly true account of a young English girl falling in love with a Polish fighter pilot, set against the backdrop of sweeping events. The story is slow, beautifully written, and is sure to entrance.

But for me, the two best things about this book have nothing at all to do with the story. Firstly, I know the author. Her grand-daughter was my closest childhood friend and is now the godmother to my eldest daughter.

Secondly, the author published this book at the age of 91.

She is the living proof that you are never too old to follow your heart and live your dreams, and that publishing is the one industry in which age is no barrier to success.

Irene Hunter Steiner wrote and sold two romance novels in the 1970s, then after a long hiatus she wrote this novel - on a typewriter, since she still hadn't learned to use a new-fangled computer. She's now working on the sequel to Brief the Sun of Summer. I look forward to seeing it on the shelves.

The only obstacles are the ones we imagine. So no more excuses, we can all realise our dreams. And we will.