Today, I am delighted to welcome S C Skillman to my blog with her blog tour post and discussion about inspiration.
By SC Skillman
For Marjorie Mallon
Inspiration, Motivation, and Keeping to the Path
Being an author in today’s world is a much tougher journey than one might ever believe, when one first conceives the desire to write stories.
I was inspired at the age of seven by the adventure stories of Enid Blyton and wanted to write exciting stories like hers. Essentially my desire was to write about girls my own age doing thrilling and dangerous and intrepid things quite out of my own daily experience. I created two girls called Marilyn and Sylvia and wrote many stories about them. They were good, brave, beautiful, clever and talented, everything I wanted to be. In other words, the desire was for transformation.
And this is why I believe we read fiction. Our longing is to be transported from out of our own lives, our own minds, into the mind and heart of someone else, to enter into a different world, to be inside someone else’s skin, to share his or her joys and sorrow and hopes and dreams.
Listening to conversations and observing people and the interaction of their personalities has long fascinated me and is a large part of my desire to write. I wrote a detailed daily journal throughout my teens and twenties, which ran to many volumes, and in it I would often record conversations I had been a part of or had overheard, and observations about people I knew, including family relationships.
The changes in the publishing scene over the past couple of decades have held out a seductive allure to independent authors, offering power and autonomy. Yet the snares along the path are even greater. We have all these opportunities, but also there are many people pursuing the same dream, and recording their success and offering their advice on social media. This can prove overwhelming for sensitive, introverted creative people – which is the case with many writers.
So it can prove a lifeline when we find inspiring quotes to strengthen and uplift us. Here’s one, from St Paul: “But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize.” And he also encouraged his readers with these words: “Only let us live up to all we have attained.”
Knowing that others have struggled for years and eventually, with persistence, won through, is a very helpful reminder for us when we start to doubt the value of our past achievements and allow it to weaken our faith in what we are capable of achieving in the future. My non-fiction book Perilous Path, an inspirational writers guide, contains several chapters which help authors to overcome obstacles in their path and how to use art and music as therapy as well as a source of fresh inspiration.
So, finally, what makes us carry on? We need to draw the water of inspiration and motivation from a reliable well. I found one particular saying of Sir Winston Churchill very powerful. When invited to speak to an audience of school pupils, who were all waiting to hear wise words from the great man, he said, “I only have five words to give you. Never, never, never give up.”
Today it is my pleasure to welcome Trent to my blog.
Here’s Trent’s take on inspiration. It’s fascinating …. I’m a dreamer too – I expect a lot of writers are – enjoy!
OK, I’ll admit it, I’m a dreamer. Not just any old dreamer, but a daydreamer. More than that, a daydreamer with an insatiable appetite to learn all there is to know about the world around me.
Typically, when we think of a daydream, we imagine someone dreaming about what they’d do if they won the Lotto, or found the perfect person as a mate, or made a great scientific discovery, or got a huge promotion, or… you get the point: people think of daydreams as improbable fantasies about the dreamer’s future.
Not me. (At least not always )
What if this legend is actually true, or if there is a basis in fact for that myth? What if, just beyond that latest scientific discovery that was recently announced, there is a deeper, more disturbing truth? What if I could see what you are thinking?
What if magic is real?
I am constantly on the move. I don’t have a Fitbit because I’m not concerned about the number of steps I do. Walking with people who do 10,000 a day, I know I do far more, at least if I include running.
There is something about walking that makes the creative juices flow. When I was in school and hit an impossible problem, I would just go take a walk and my subconscious would answer it. When I’ve researched some new discovery, or some ancient one that I recently decided to study, a walk makes me think about the topic. Thinking, of course, as I said above, leads to daydreaming.
And I’m a dreamer. A daydreamer.
Do all of my ideas for stories come this way, from a long walk? Of course not. I really enjoy prompts and typically write two flash fiction pieces a week. I think of doing the prompts as exercising my story writing muscles. Beyond the prompts, sometimes a complete storyline just appears in my head out of nowhere. And once I even had the idea for a book from a (real, night) dream (The Halley Branch, which will be the next book I publish). But typically, a longer, more involved work will be written in a series of walks.
A good example of that would be my book The Fireborn. It was born by just the type of daydreaming on a walk described above. I was thinking of history and myth and suddenly something gelled. I had a perfect storyline. As these ideas grew deeper and deeper, I realized I had a book on my hands, not just a short story. Over the next month, before I wrote a single word on “paper” (or electrons), I wrote the entire book in my head. Every time I’d leave the house, I’d pick up on The Fireborn just where I left off. Sure, I changed quite a bit once I started actually dictating it to myself and writing it out, but all of the main ideas were there.
In my opinion, anything and everything can be the source of inspiration for a daydreamer. There is nothing too large or too small. A word, a phrase, a photo or a drawing can often bring out an idea. Sometimes it’s a song, or even just a sound.
I started this blog almost four years ago mostly as a place to promote The Fireborn (I know, it took long enough for me to break down and publish it). Since then I have posted almost 500 works of fiction, from 100-word micro-stories to 8,000-word short stories. I have put up three serialized novels and am working on a fourth. They were all written because I am a dreamer. A daydreamer.
You can catch some of these dreams in my book of short stories Seasons of Imagination. And, of course, there is the longer daydream that I recently put out, The Fireborn.
I hope you enjoy my little daydreams!
Today, it is my pleasure to welcome Robbie and Michael Cheadle to my blog.
This is a rare treat, a sugary inspiration. Enjoy!
About Robbie and Michael Cheadle
Robbie Cheadle was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl”.
Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.
Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books. Robbie is also the author of the new Silly Willy series the first of which, Silly Willy goes to Cape Town, will be available in early July 2017.
Oh, and by the way, she has invented a ladder stop… what might that be? No, it’s not something DIY based, no rigid device to secure ladders to climb up and fix loose masonry.
It’s the other kind of ladder, the invention to stop those pesky ladders that we always get in our tights. I like that, a word with two meanings…. Being a writer, I can see the humour in that. That sounds beyond useful, how come I never heard of an inventor like that? My youngest daughter is always getting ladders in her tights!
Lizzie is an enthusiastic inventor, businesswoman and artist. She founded her first company at the age of 17 and has been creating products and driving her family mad ever since.
Lizzie appeared on Sky News, ITV Lunchtime News, This Morning, The Big Breakfast, BBC’s Worldwide Radio Service, amongst others for becoming one of Fair Play London’s Female Innovators for her invention, Runaway Spray. Runaway Spray is a ‘ladder’ stop spray for stockings and tights, which has been on sale for over fifteen years. She has also developed a range of greetings cards and puzzle books for children with phonics and short stories inside to encourage independent writing skills in children.
Lizzie lives in Essex, with her gorgeous husband, two bouncy children and a very unusual dog. In between the school run and baking cakes (or burning them!), she sits in her rooftop studio daydreaming about gaps in the market and how she can fill them. Babe Driven is her first novel and she has written two other novels, Love’s Child and Finding Gina. Lizzie is currently writing her forth novel.
Finding Gina book synopsis:
A contemporary romance read with a magical twist! By Lizzie Chantree.
Can a sprinkling of stardust overcome a past full of demons?
Gina had traversed the breadth of the country in her little campervan to try and find everyone on her grandmother’s list, before her father drunk himself into an early grave. She leant down and pulled the battered and worn journal from her bag and opened it to the latest page. The neatly written names were etched onto her heart and she was determined to visit every single one and compensate them in some way. Her family’s debt had to be repaid.
Lewis read another provincial story about a ‘guardian angel’ who had been helping families across the country and his reporters nose began to itch. He was sure that if he could track down the girl they were talking about, he would unearth an even bigger story. He just had to work out how to locate her and then find out what it was that she was running from!
Reviews for Finding Gina:
This is the third book I have read by Lizzie Chantree and again I was very pleasantly surprised with the quality and depth of her writing..
I love a good edgy romantic ‘Chick lit’ Novel and this very much reached my expectations..
The characters are portrayed in such a way that you can really envisage how they look and the environments they live in; to the point that I’d love to stay with Gina in her VW van – v envious.
The story had remained with me; which isn’t always the case with Novels of this genre.
Really worth a read – Lizzie Chantree can really compete with her contemparies (I’m a long devotee to Lisa Jewell and Freya North). I look forward to her next offering.
A really great romance read. This book has humour and romance and kept me guessing the whole way through. Lizzie Chantree is fast becoming my new favourite author!
The main character Gina is running from her past, but discovers her future along the way. The other characters are just as interesting and I especially loved reading about Tom, the gorgeous baker who works at the tearoom and Lewis the intrepid reporter. The tearoom’s owner, Rachel is quite mean, but even she grew on me as the story progressed. She is quite a character! This would make a great holiday read and once I picked it up, I couldn’t put the book down until I had read the last page.
Well that was lovely wasn’t it? I do love having guests on Kyrosmagica. They add a certain magical sparkle to my day.
Don’t forget to let me know if you would like to feature on my next Author/Blogger Spotlight. Or perhaps you might like to join my Author/Blogger Rainbow Support Club? Don’t be shy do get in touch by leaving a comment below, or emailing me: email@example.com.
Bye for now,
Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Terri Webster Schrandt, author, blogger, leisure expert. This lady knows all there is to know about spending our precious leisure time wisely, and to add to her accomplishments she has recently released an e-book entitled – Better Blogging With Photography.
Being a huge fan of photography I couldn’t agree more, there’s nothing quite like an appealing photograph to catch the readers eye. Without it a blog post can be easily overlooked.
Why oh why didn’t I think of writing a book on this subject? Ah, I really need to get a grip….Terri you stole this possibility from my grasp, how could you? LOL !!! It must be all that time you spend pursuing a diverse range of leisure activities – ‘windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), camping, reading, writing, teaching, walking the dogs, traveling,’ that’s quite a list Terri. Means you must be super fit, and mentally agile. Perhaps I need to take up a few more exercise/sporting activities other than just tai chi….
Never mind, I must focus, or I’ll get distracted. Marje aka Kyrosmagica does tend to get a bit flighty at times….
So, who is our blogging friend Terri?
Terri’s Bio, Author Central
Terri is a non-fiction writer and retired recreation and parks practitioner living in Northern California. As a university lecturer teaching leisure education in the recreation and parks major, Terri takes leisure very seriously because it involves one-third of our lives…really!
Obtaining a Master’s Degree at age 50, Terri wrote her thesis on the Four Generations in the Workplace, sparking her love of writing at midlife. In addition to writing and blogging, she offers consultation services and conducts and presents workshops for a variety of organizations.
Second Wind Leisure Perspectives is her blog about living a leisure lifestyle.
Her active lifestyle involves windsurfing, stand-up paddling, camping, reading, writing, walking the dogs, traveling, and…
Short Book description:
Better Blogging with Photography: Maximize Your Blog Using Your Own Images
There is truth to the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. As a blogger, are you weary of constantly hunting for images to illustrate the subject of your blog posts?
Perhaps you are a new blogger struggling to get more readers. Or a seasoned blogger continually seeking inspiration for quality blog posts.
This guidebook is designed to help you utilize your own images on your blog or website.
While free image sites abound, there are limitations to using so-called “free” images. Gone are the days when bloggers can innocently copy and paste an image from the web and paste it into their blog post. After reading this short guidebook, you will want to grab your smart phone or inexpensive digital camera and start taking photos!
Her early years…
I’m told that at age 4, I began reading. Somewhere there is an old, grainy polaroid of me laying on the floor holding an oversized book upside down in my two-year old hands. Books meant something to me even then.In my 50s, I found my second act, which consists of living my life around leisure, instead of the other way around. At age 49 I discovered the new love of my life who introduced me to windsurfing and stand-up paddling. At age 50 I obtained my master’s degree. At age 51, I became an adjunct university lecturer. At age 55, I retired from 30+ years as a recreation and leisure practitioner. At age 56 I self-published my first eBook.As a leisure educator, I blog about my experiences. It is my passion to educate people about leisure… one blog at a time. I love photography and recently bought a “real” camera. Beautiful images are worth a thousand words, or maybe no words at all if the image is powerful enough.
Terri just posted a wonderful article about the hazards of uploading photos that might appear to be free but aren’t. With this in mind she is offering free images to her followers.
Do follow this link to find out more:
Today I am thrilled to introduce you to Colleen Chesebro, a good friend, blogger, and recently published author.
Her debut YA novel The Heart Stone Chronicles – Book 1 – The Swamp Fairy has just been released.
Colleen Chesebro Bio:
Colleen Chesebro is a writer of cross-genre fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Her fantasy series is called, “The Heart Stone Chronicles,” The Swamp Fairy, and is the first book in the series.
Colleen lives in the U. S. with her husband and her two Pomeranians, Sugar and Spice. You can learn more about Colleen and her creative stories on her website https://colleenchesebro.com/.
The synopsis to The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy
Fourteen-year-old Abigale Forester, recently orphaned and a ward of the State of Illinois moves from Chicago to Florida to live with her aunt, her last living relative.
Magnolia Forester becomes her legal Guardian, and together they claim an ancient inheritance; land that has belonged to Abby’s mother’s family for generations.
Holding onto the only piece of her mother Abby has left, a calcite pendant and her mother’s most sacred possession, she discovers the truth of her legacy. The pendant is more significant than she could possibly imagine. Forged from a giant mystical heart-shaped stone found on the very swampland Abby now owns, it holds the power of her ancestors.
But with that power comes greater responsibility, one that pits her against Rafe Cobb, a greedy land developer, who will stop at nothing to own Abby’s swamp land.
As Abby learns to be part of a family again and explores her love of horses with friends, Savanna, and Blake, the swamp slowly gives up some of its secrets. She is summoned by a primeval nymph, who teaches Abby that her true destiny is to protect the nymphs from evil in an ever-changing modern world.
Can Abby save the swamp and the Naiad Nymph Clan from certain destruction before it is too late?
Here’s where you can find your copy:
Her recent blog post : Colleen Chesebro – About The Heart Stone Chronicles
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/o8LIRSWbVf8
The real Fairy Swamp: https://youtu.be/wZ3liaWWzB0
The calcite necklaces – A piece of the fairy heart stone: https://youtu.be/kpceXVAEpzo
IreneDesign2011 Etsy Store where you can buy your own fairy calcite pendant:
I just love those fairy calcite pendants designed by Irene Design. They’re beautiful.
Colleen has been very busy. She’s doing such an amazing job. How wonderful, I am so thrilled for her.
I am currently reading The Heart Stone Chronicles – Book 1 – The Swamp Fairy, and will reviewing soon, so keep a look out for that.
If you’d like to feature on the next Author Spotlight at Kyrosmagica blog do leave a comment below.
So happy for Colleen.
Bye for now,