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Creativity unleashes the child in the adult.

I recently returned from a week’s writing retreat with my critique partner, Nancy. This is something we’ve done for the past few years, and not only is it a week guaranteed to be filled with laughter, mischief, naps, swimming, walking, and great wining and dining, it is also a time to get deep into creativity mode without distractions.

The obligatory mani/pedi day was enjoyed before heading to the retreat.1A

 

We also took an afternoon to visit the local attractions such as The Collingwood Olive Oil Company. 

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This was nirvana for the foodie in me.

The Olive Oil Connoisseur who hosted our tasting was entertaining and had some great recommendations. We exchanged recipe ideas, and I walked out with three bottles of heavenly scented olive oil, balsamic vinegar, body lotion and lip balm.

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View from the resort’s balcony after a rainfall.

 

Whether your creative passion is writing, painting, music, cooking, daydreaming, sewing, knitting, olive oil tastings, wine tastings or coming up with new ways to play Boggle, it doesn’t matter, as long as when in the zone, you are enjoying it, and it fulfills a goal you’ve always wanted to accomplish.

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Three simple words that pack a powerful, exhilarating punch. Do it professionally, as a hobby, for family and friends only or just for yourself. The key here is to: Follow it. Do it. Enjoy it.

Enjoy a creativity retreat at home if it’s not possible to travel. Disconnect from the online world, from housework (dust bunnies are patient, they can wait to be tended to), make some meals ahead of time (that’s what slow cookers were invented for) stock up on supplies—chocolate, wine, tea, coffee, whatever your pleasure. Fish out the comfy clothes and enjoy a day, a few days or a week of creative endeavors.

 

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On our retreat we wrote most of the day, and at times, when we were on a roll, we would work late into the evening. We brainstormed plots, character traits, and talked about writing.

We also enjoyed other creative outlets when taking a break while listening to music, watching a movie, or catching up on a television program (Big Bang Theory back to back episodes were on), and still utilized this time to create.

Nancy enjoyed knitting (and she’s real good at it). When I knit, everything turns into a scarf, and I don’t have a clue how to follow a pattern.

I do love to color, and for my birthday my son gifted me an adult coloring book, and colored pencils.

One of my completed coloring projects. I'd love to get this on a T-shirt somehow. Something to think about.

One of my completed coloring projects. I’d love to get this on a T-shirt somehow.

 

Along with a wonderful imagination, and the passion to create, creative people tend to have self-doubt which interferes with motivation. Writers spend a lot of time in their own heads, and at times a nagging voice telling them it can be impossible to achieve what they are striving to accomplish. Hashing it out on paper, or with a friend or family member stifles the negativity. It will disappear as quickly as it appeared.

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Be the bad ass creator you were not motivated to be yesterday.

Go Kick a lot of creative butt.

I got this.

YOU got this!

 

 

 

20 Years After the Glass Slipper

Re-posting for the new followers and there is the fact that I am busy in the editing/writing cave and haven’t had time to write a new blog. If you’ve read this already, I hope you re-enjoy it, if you haven’t read it as of yet, ENJOY! 🙂

Cinderella married Prince Charming and they lived happily ever after.” – The End –

There wasn’t an epilogue written for this fairy tale/romance. As children and even adults, are we to assume that happily ever after meant that after twenty years of marriage, Cinderella still wears a diamond tiara, crystal embedded Louboutin shoes, a Vera Wang ball gown, dines off of Wedgwood china and dances around the castle with her handsome prince every night after dinner?

Personally, I don’t buy that interpretation of happily ever after.

I picture Cindy favoring a pair of Nike’s (pink of course). As a busy mom with a lot of running around to do, her favorite outfit now consists of black, comfy yoga pants and a T-shirt that said, “Bite Me Step-Monster.” Much more conducive to her lifestyle than the corset and ball gown her Godmother had conjured up for her.

No doubt Cindy and Charming argued as to why the hell the Crank-Step-in-laws were invited to break bread with them at Thanksgiving; when all Charming wanted to do was crack open a beer, put his feet up and catch a polo match on the royal tube.

Crowned Dude worked hard for his monarchy and money. After twenty years the palace was in need of major repairs and a paint job (white glitter is so 1697). With the stress of the recession and palace union giving the royals a run for their jewels at the negotiating round table, this hero needed major kick-back time during the holidays. He didn’t want to deal with nasty-step-in-laws. However, he didn’t complain (much) and plastered on the suave smile that earned him his name.

One of their happy-ever-after, loving conversation’s may have even gone something like this after 20 years:

Cindy: “I’m throwing that cape out. It doesn’t fit you and we need more closet space.”

Charming: “How about dumping those glass slippers. They don’t fit you anyway.”

Cindy: “Are you saying I have cankles?”

Charming: “What the hell are cankles?”

Cindy: “Fat ankles, you idiot.”

Charming looks down at her ankles.

Cindy glares. “Why are you looking at my feet?”

Charming: “So about that closet. I can build you a new one.”

Cindy: “You think that damn swagger is going to get you out of this? Newsflash. That’s getting old. And so are you!”

Charming: “I’ll tell you what’s old. Your Step-monster and those butt-ugly daughters of hers sponging off of us.”

Cindy: “I agree!”

Charming: “I’ll order a hit on them.”

Cindy: “Ah, my hero.”

Charming puffs out chest.

Cindy rolls her eyes.

They put the slippers on E-bay and continue with their happy ever after.

As romance writers, it is up to us to create a hero and heroine that the reader will not only love and root for while we put them through angst, conflicts and unbearable challenges, but we create characters that instill the belief that this couple is going to survive and celebrate a golden anniversary when the reader finishes their story.

Happily ever after isn’t a fairy tale, or a fantasy vision of a couple always looking their best, and being happy 24/7 with each other. That is never my intent when writing a love story. Sure, there is the fantasy aspect of the romance, the escapism with heroes we can drool over. However, when it comes to the long-term relationship and their happily ever after ending (for me) in a romance novel and in real life–it doesn’t have a fantasy ending.

It means that after the initial euphoria of falling in lust followed by an all-consuming love, it turns into a more realistic approach to being able to ride the big wave together, battle demons, handle the baggage and still remain friends, in love and committed to the relationship.

My goal is for the reader to believe with all her heart that the hero and heroine of the story will work through in-law problems, unexpected illnesses, PMS, difficult pregnancy, colic, sleepless nights, a leaking roof, a leaking diaper, death in the family, and financial problems.

Through all this, the couple will support each other, laugh and cry together, and work as a unit to get through the many stresses that life throws at people when they least expect it. A happy ever after ending means that the writer has created two characters who not only have fallen deeply in love, but will give the reader the assurance that when the book has ended, the reader knows these two people will not only remain loving, but they will have a strong friendship that will last through the years, that they truly like each other and enjoy each other’s company (even if they get on each other’s nerves at times).

It’s reassuring the reader that after all the angst and conflicts this couple deals with throughout the story, that these two will always remember to celebrate what brought them together in the first place.

Happy ever after means that when you’re in severe physical pain, and it’s the middle of winter, and you had stupidity refused to refill the pain medication, your husband trudges out into the freezing cold in search of a 24 hour Pharmacy, fills out the prescription and returns home with not only the pain medication, but with a bottle of your favorite bubble bath. (Hey, I thought I was Wonder Woman and could deal with the pain after my elbow operation I had to endure. Thankfully, my husband has never uttered… “I told you so.” He’s a smart man)

Happy ever after means that even though a couple has a hectic schedule, after twenty years of marriage, they still take a moment to send a text message to say, “I’m thinking about you,” or perhaps send a naughty message (only make sure you have the correct phone number when doing that. I’m not admitting to anything, I’m just saying.)

So what is your definition of happy ever after?

The Italian Crock Pot

Not to be confused with the Italian crack pot. It’s a good thing I proofread this before hitting pubish as I had accidentally typed crack pot. Although I have met my share of crack pots, and yes some of them were Italian. However, blogging about crack pots would totally change the theme of this blog post.

The Crock Pot is a writer’s best friend. It’s like having a chef in the kitchen after you’ve instructed it what to do. I’m going to share an Italian crock pot recipe (below), but first wanted to chat about how my mom’s cooking lessons relates to my writing journey.

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Author, Denise Tompkins’ Love Affair….

Please welcome Denise Tompkins. Denise is married to the love of her life, however she is also madly in love with something else . To find out what this is, please read on.

Denise is also sharing a spicy excerpt from her new release, Legacy and is running a contest where two lucky winners will be chosen. For contest details please read below.

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Newbie Blogger – Please be gentle. The Blogging Goddess isn’t finished with me yet.

Welcome to my blog, I’ll be updating this blog (probably about once per week) with discussions on books, interviews (authors, editors, reviewers, anybody who will talk to me 🙂 ), recipes and much more.

I’ve been tinkering around, trying to figure this thing out, I think I got it. I’m sure if I did screw up, someone out there will let me know. That strike out thing is interesting, I’ve seen it on other blogs, no idea what it means, so I won’t use it. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I tend to press buttons and tinker with things I’m not supposed to at times.

For the first blog, I guess should post a short bio about myself, but in all honesty, that is one of the hardest things I’m asked to do. I do have a bio on my website, www.selenarobins.com and I tend to use that one when asked to submit a bio. I like to call it time management.

A few tidbits about me, not listed on my site’s bio:

I learned to play the accordian at an early age. Hey, I’m Italian, it’s a right of passage. I wasn’t that good at it. However, I did enjoy practicing at home and driving my older siblings crazy with my attempts at Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I also took Highland Dance classes. I bet you’re wondering why a little Italian girl took Highland dancing? I’m first generation Canadian, I was born in Canada, while my parents and siblings all immigrated from Italy. Hence, why my brothers convinced me I was found on their doorstep, but that’s another story.

My parents wanted to assimilate with the Canadian culture. My dad at the time smoked cigarettes (Export A). On the package was a picture of a woman, wearing a Scottish tam and my parents watched Don Messer’s Jubilee to learn the language. After I was born, they associated these things with the Canadian culture, so when I was old enough, they enrolled me in Highland Dancing.

I didn’t learn to speak English until I was six years old, sometimes this can still effect me, as I think in one language and things come out in English in an awkward way. “English wasn’t my first language,” is what I say. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I used to be quite the daredevil. Broken knee, wore a full leg cast (downhill skiing), shattered my radial head in my left arm (roller-blading), broken toe (fell down the stairs while multi-tasking, some will say, I can be a klutz, I don’t agree…well, not 100%).

My husband has recently stated that he’d love to start a blog called, “Things my wife says and does.” I’m not concerned, he doesn’t even like to write emails. Funny guy. He makes me laugh, I make him laugh. I love to cook, he loves to eat what I cook. I also like to make him blush, like when I publicly state, he has given me my happy-ever-after that I love to write and read about in romance novels.

Okay, enough about me………

 To kick off the Holiday Season and my first blog, I’m going to have a draw.

Comment on the blog, or ask me a question (anything goes…….well, almost anything) and I’ll enter your name for a chance to win 1 of three 3 Gift Certificates to My Bookstore and More. Draw ends, December 23rd.

P.S. I’ll be posting some recipes later on this blog.