Saturday, March 30, 2013

Quote of the Day

True for all things!

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. (Luke 11:9-10)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Art & History Feature - Japanese Art

I've been on all things Japanese kick lately...again. So today, I wanted to let you enjoy some examples of Japanese art that I love. As many other things in the Japanese culture, the art is often simple and minimalistic, which makes it so beautiful and unique. (There are also a couple of pieces inspired by Japanese art).

Happy Friday!

Landscape of Fall and Winter by Sesshu

Red Fuji Southern Wind Clear Morning. Part of Part of the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. Artist: Katsushika Hokusai.

Great Wave off Kanagawa. Artist: Katsushika Hokusai. This is one of this most famous paintings. Current location: Library of Congress.

Drawing by Miyamoto Musashi, a great Japanese Swordsman (c. 1584 – June 13, 1645)

Landscape by Miyamoto Musashi

Landscape by Tenshō Shūbun

Landscape by Tomioka Tessai
Two Girls by Suzuki Harunobu

Statue of Kusunoki Masashige by Kōtarō Takamura

Geisha by adriano10 (

Geisha by Soniei (
Musashi, by Takehiko Inoue, creator of Vagabond manga series

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Quote of the Day

You never know how strong you are... until being strong is the only choice you have.
~ Unknown

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Moody Writing - Use Your Mood

Writers are human. Yep, the secret is out.

And as humans, we feel all kinds of different things on different days. We go through various moods. One day we're happy and full of energy, ready to take on the world. The next day we may be depressed or angry because of something that happened in our life.

I often hear this advice: "use your mood in your writing."

I guess it make sense to  write a scene that has to evoke the feelings of sadness or loneliness when you feel like that in real life. Or a scene that is energetic and upbeat when you feel that way. But what happens if you're in a depressed or sad mood but need to keep writing scenes that do not necessarily fit that mood. Or vice versa. Do you skip and write the scenes that fit to use them later on? Or do you keep going with what needs to be written and ignore the mood you're in?

At a day job that is not creative, there are days when you want to bite everyone's heads off or to stare blankly at the screen and wait for the day to end. Most of the time, you can't allow yourself to do either, though.  Because behavior like that has consequences - relationships with colleagues may sour, you may get fired, etc.. You have to get over your mood, in a way, and do your job.

It is much more difficult to do this in writing, or any other creative job for that matter. When you're in a bad mood, feeling angry or depressed, your brain just doesn't want to write light scenes, love scenes or much of anything, for that matter.

Here are some tips on how to keep writing even when the mood is not right:

1) Write something that fits the mood, even if you have to skip to the scenes that may fit it. At least you're still writing and the scenes that are written during that time may be the best scenes you could have written.

2) Try to write a fun, light scene or a love scene if you're the mood is not right. Just like smiling when you don't feel like smiling has been proven to make you happier, writing something light and happy may also lift your spirits. Why not give it a try?

3) Do some physical exercise, whether running to clear your head or punching and kicking a bag to take your aggression out. Exercise is a proven method of getting into a better mood and feeling more energy. It also takes your mind off of negative thoughts and provides a different focus. Write right after the physical exercise while still "high" on it.

4) Let yourself feel your mood through and don't feel guilty about skipping a day or two of writing if you just can't get into it. That only adds stress and negativity that you are trying to get away from to begin with.

How do you handle your moods when it comes to writing? Do you use your mood to write particular scenes? Do you walk away from writing altogether for awhile? What other tips do you have for writers about this topic?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Happy Passover

I just want to wish a Happy Passover to all my Jewish Family and Friends!

Quote of the Day



Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt or fear. 

~ Dan Millman

Monday, March 25, 2013

Contests & Giveaways in the Writing World - Week of March 25th

Happy Monday and here are some great Contests and Giveaways in the Writing World to make your week  

Check out Lindsay Cummings blog for the giveaway of ARCs of some of the upcoming YA books! What an awesome way to start your week. 5 Days to go to enter!

Candace's Book Blog is reviewing and giving away Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare (the cover is gorgeous!). There will be two winners!

Love Blog Hops? Don't miss this one! Love Is In The Air is hosted by Emma Shortt. Many great giveaways.

Do you enjoy Historical Fiction? Check out Christy English blog for the Q & A with J.A. Coffey the author of HETAERA: Daughter of the Gods. Enter the giveaway to win not only a copy of the novel, but also a gorgeous bronze beaded collar necklace.

Nomi's Paranormal Palace has a guest post by D.N. Simmons, author of urban fantasy series Knights of the Darkness, and an amazing Giveaway of a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Lori's Reading Corner is hosting a guest post/virtual tour stop and Giveaway by Morrie Richfield, author of Mr. Breeze series, which is inspiration fantasy. The prizes are a $100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash!

Sparkles and a Stove, a blog by Kathy Penney, is open for April Kindle Giveaway sign up. This one is for writers who blog. Here are the details from Kathy: "I will be taking sign ups from March 24, 2013 through April 3, 2013 and the giveaway will go live on April 12, 2013 and run for 2 weeks. Buy in is $10 for any 3 links except Facebook. Any excess collected beyond the Kindle's value will be used toward offering a second or third gift card prize to make the giveaway even bigger. A great prize to offer your readers!"
Hurry to sign up if interested!

*As always, please contact me for the inclusion of your contests/giveaways into the Monday Contests and Giveaways in the Writing World posts.

Have fun and good luck! 

Also, don't forget to become a follower of this blog to make sure you catch giveaways coming soon!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Quote of the Day

(credit belongs to Takehiko Inoue, Manga artist, creator of
Vagabondcomics depicting a fictionalized portrayal of Miyamoto Musashi)

There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.” 

  ~ Miyamoto Musashi,
The Book of Five Rings

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

Quote of the Day

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.

  ~ James Openheim

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Renewing the Writer Soul for the Spring

Winter often feels long and dreary. Winter blues, or the seasonal affective disorder, affects as much as 6% of people, especially in the northern climates (Northeast and Northern parts of the United States, for example, and even higher in places like Norway). The numbers, of course, are much lower in the southern climates (such as Florida). SAD also tends to affect women on a larger scale than men.*
Now, these are all scientific facts, but what does it mean for us as individuals? We often feel down during the winter, everything seems bleaker than during the summer days. We want to sleep more and walk less.

The winter blues invariable also affects our creativity and the way we think.

Well, fear not, for spring is just around the corner and that is the season for renewal in all ways. The days are getting longer and brighter. The long awaited warmth feels amazing on our faces and the smiles come out to play much more often.

Here are a few tips on renewing ourselves during the spring, and renewing our writer souls.

1. Spring clean your space. This is the perfect time to de-clutter and make more room for new stuff. Physical cleaning and de-cluttering does something to us that makes us feel lighter and happier in general. It gives us a chance to review what we still need and what we can get rid off - whether it's paper, clothes, projects or people who are toxic in our life.

2. Speaking of toxic people, make it a point to surround yourself with positive, upbeat people during this time. Just being around happy people will make you happier. Now, I'm not saying that you should cut out a friend who's going through rough times and just cannot act happy right now. That would be terrible! But if you're to help get her through a rough time and uplift her, you need to charge up your own positivity and happiness battery.

3. Think positive. We've all heard this a million times. We've all being given a million examples of how that works. Yet it's probably one of the hardest things to do. We are almost wired to think negative, to come down on ourselves and critique others. But the fact is undeniable - positive thinking works. And if nothing else, it does make you feel better.

4. Go for nice walks during sunny warm weather (we are stuck inside too much during the cold days) to remind yourself how beautiful the world can be. Enjoy the sight of fresh bright green grass and leaves on the trees. Breathe in the fresh air (try not to do it while standing at a busy city intersection - I guarantee that air won't be fresh). Buy yourself the most colorful and fun flowers and put them in a place where your eye will catch them all the time, especially in your writing space. Daffodils and tulips usually do it for me.

5. Think of new projects and get excited about them. Think about how you're going to feel working on them and how you'll feel when they're done. Work on the old projects with a renewed sense of passion and enthusiasm. Look, the sun is shining bright, and the sky is the limit on what you can do.

Are you excited about spring? What is your favorite part of this seasons? Do you have new projects you're working on?

* Seasonal Affective Disorder by Steven D Targum, MD and Norman Rosenthal, MD

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Quote of the Day

Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.
~ Voltaire

Monday, March 4, 2013

Quote of the Day

(Image credit: Yelena Casale)

Nourish beginnings, let us nourish beginnings. Not all things are blest, but the seeds of all things are blest.The blessing is in the seed.
~ Muriel Rukeyser

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Art & History Feature - Boudica the Warrior Queen

Boudica - The Warrior Queen

I've always been fascinated with the legend and history of this Iceni (of British) heroine queen. Hers is a story of indomitable will, determination and courage in the face of danger, hardship and horror.

Boudica by Mina Olivier*
Two historical sources remain that give us some insight into the life of Boudica and the rebellion she led - Tacitus and Dio."Dio says that she was "possessed of greater intelligence than often belongs to women", that she was tall, had hair described as reddish-brown or tawny hanging below her waist, a harsh voice and a piercing glare, and habitually wore a large golden necklace (perhaps a torc), a many-coloured tunic, and a thick cloak fastened by a brooch." (source:

Boudica ruled the Iceni tribe, a warrior people, with her husband, Prasutagus. For awhile, the tribe remained independent of Rome and was a nominal ally. When Prasutagus died, he left half of the kingdom to the Roman Empire, and half to his wife and two daughters. However, the Romans had different ideas and took the whole of the Iceni kingdom as a conquered land. When Boudica protested, standing up for her people, she was ordered flogged and her daughters raped right in front of her.

Boadicea Haranguing the Britons by John Opie*

Following these events, Boudica was more determined than ever to see her people free and her kingdom independent of Rome. Around AD 60, she led a revolt against Rome and the Roman governor Gaius Seutonius Paulinus.

Boudica as portrayed by actress Alex Kingston*

Eventually, Boudica took her forces to Londinium (modern London). The Roman governor evacuated the city, and Boudica burned it to the ground. About 80,000 people were killed during the raids on three major towns. However, Romans were able to regroup and defeat the Britons. It is not clear what happened to Boudica after the Battle of Watling Street, where her defeat took place. She either killed herself to avoid capture or fell mortally ill - sources disagree on this count.

Statue at Westminster Bridge (1902). It's creation was sponsored by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's consort.

Boudica legend lives on and during the Victorian times, Queen Victoria herself was portrayed as the warrior queen. Boudica became one of the most important symbols of Great Britain.

Modern interpretation of Boudica (source:*

Disclosure: none of the images belong to me and are only used here for illustrative purposes.

Quote of the Day

If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.

  ~ David Viscott
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