2020: The Crappy Year in Review by Rebecca Heflin

2020: The Crappy Year in Review by Rebecca Heflin

It’s my pleasure to introduce Author Rebecca Heflin as my guest today. Rebecca captured my heart with her dedication to help others, to help organize the blogs for Soul Mate Publishing, and read on for the other million things about this amazing working woman.

Author Rebecca Heflin

This time last year I was making my holiday preparations, which included the honor of presiding over the marriage of my nephew and his fiancée on Christmas Day—a truly joyous way to spend the holiday. This time last year, I was looking forward to a new year, fresh with the promise of a new start. Which meant, this time last year, I was blissfully ignorant of what was to come. Instead, I was naively planning two international trips, a local canoe and camping trip, several charity events, two weddings, countless family and social gatherings, and the celebration of my 25th wedding anniversary.

Who could have imagined it wouldn’t be long before the world would be living the plot of some sci-fi thriller?

January and February bumped along as normal, with work, exercise classes, dinners with friends, and preparations for the release of my 10th novel. By the end of February, the dark edges of the coming storm were visible.

The first weekend in March was my birthday. I celebrated it that Friday with dinner out and a show at our local performing arts center. There was also an out of town wedding that Saturday, which my husband and I attended. Looking back, being in those very public venues probably wasn’t the smartest decision on our part, but the tidal wave had not yet hit our area. March 17th was my last day in the office, as the university I work for shut down and sent its employees home to work remotely. It would be only a day or two later when the entire state would go under lockdown.  Again, in my naiveté, I thought things would be back to normal in a month or so. Silly me.

Zoom meetings would become a regular occurrence in my daily life, and the next few months were a blur of fear and adjustments, as my husband and I created new routines for ourselves. We limited our grocery shopping to once a week. If we didn’t pick up an item during that weekly visit, we just lived without until the following week. Toilet paper (when the store had it) was priced at roughly the equivalent of a gram of gold. Preparing for grocery shopping felt a little like preparing to enter a contaminated laboratory: masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes at the ready. After returning home, it felt like entering a decontamination unit: washing hands, wiping down groceries, and disinfecting everything we touched.

We watched in horror as the numbers rose and people died—many of them frontline workers. I obsessed over the daily case counts, horrified when we hit 1 million cases in the U.S., not even considering that we would reach double-digit case counts in a few short months.

It wasn’t all bad, however. We also watched the world come together in a common experience. Music and voices rose from city terraces. Drive-by birthday, anniversary, and graduation ceremonies became a thing with horns beeping, lights flashing, and signs waiving. Humanity found a way to celebrate life’s milestones even amid a pandemic.

For me, working from home meant no commute. This freed up time for other things. And the lack of social engagements and other commitments meant time for jigsaw puzzles, minor home improvements, and gardening. Not to mention more quality time with my husband. We had a beautiful spring—cooler than average temperatures, and beautiful low-humidity days—which gave us the opportunity for more outdoor activities like corn-hole games, bike rides, and long walks. Life slowed down, and I couldn’t complain about that.

2020

As we learned more about how the virus was spread, and businesses opened up again, we developed a routine that gave us a little more flexibility. Masked and otherwise following the public health guidelines, we gradually began to leave our sterile cocoon. We had friends over for outdoor socially-distanced dinners (BYOF). We began supporting our local restaurants with take-out or delivery, eventually feeling comfortable dining outside at our favorites.

In May, my husband and I celebrated a quiet, but romantic 25th wedding anniversary—not exactly how we had imagined, but nice just the same.

We took three short driving vacations, 2 to the mountains of North Carolina, and 1 to the beach in the Florida panhandle. The change of scenery provided a welcome respite to the sameness of the daily routines.

After working remotely for 6 months, I returned to my office, but still isolated from my co-workers. I only see them masked and walking in the hallway or on Zoom. It was surreal when I entered my office in September to see the calendar still on March.

Here we are again with Christmas past and New Year’s fast-approaching. There is a light, in the form of vaccines, at the end of this long dark tunnel that is 2020. It will take some time, and more patience is necessary, but we will get there. We will overcome this. The world did it in 1918-1919, and we will do it in 2020-2021.

But will the world ever be the same again? I, for one, won’t be. I am forever changed by this experience. I will never again be blissfully ignorant. I have lost my innocence.

Even so, not all the changes are bad. I have come to appreciate so many things I took for granted: my health, my family, freedom of movement, hugs and kisses shared among family and friends, big gatherings and shared social experiences. And my good fortune. Throughout it all, I have wanted for none of life’s necessities. I can’t ask for more than that from the crappy year that was 2020.

Rebecca Heflin is a best-selling, award-winning author who has dreamed of writing romantic fiction since she was fifteen and her older sister sneaked a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss’s Shanna to her and told her to read it. Rebecca writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance. When not passionately pursuing her dream, Rebecca is busy with her day-job at a large state university.

Rebecca is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Florida Romance Writers, RWA Contemporary Romance, and Florida Writers Association. She and her mountain-climbing husband live at sea level in sunny Florida.

Rebecca can be reached at rebeccaheflin@hotmail.com. Feel free to touch base with her.

All of her books are available on Amazon
as well as Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and Eden Books.
The third book in Rebecca Heflin’s Seasons of Northridge Series, A Season to Dream, will be released mid-2021.

Coronavirus Versus Us – Just a couple of lovebirds taking it one day at a time

Coronavirus Versus Us – Just a couple of lovebirds taking it one day at a time

This is us!

That’s Tom on the left. 🙂

It’s a scary time out there for all of us, especially those of us in our golden years. We’ve been through a lot in our time, war, unemployment, illness, divorce, death of loved ones, but we continue to march on because that’s what we do. We are the generation who have learned to make the most out of every day we have. And these days, it’s even more important. Like everyone else, we want to do our part and stay healthy and not overburden the medical system. We’ve done all our shopping and stocking up on supplies. Although it’s tempting to get take-out food from restaurants, it’s probably better to cook at home. Except we couldn’t help getting our breakfast “to-go” this morning from our favorite eatery:  Duchess Diner in Fairfield, CT.

Breakfast Duchess-style: Eggs over easy, sausage, home fries very well-done, and whole wheat bread. We get one order and split. He gets the bigger portion. SO GOOD! – Duchess Diner in Fairfield, CT.

We will keep going on our morning walks, and we decided to have some alternate fun beginning in the garden on those almost warm and sunny days, maybe take out our favorite swing. The plan is to give our little Honda Insight a fresh waxing and make it sparkle.

Happy Birthday, Ed! That’s his granddaughter Carley. She’s hanging out with him for a while.

Runners and walkers love to come to our neighborhood to enjoy the views and the ever-changing spectacular designs of God. We also get visits from foxes, bobcats, coyotes, and packs of deer, eight of them were on Ed’s lawn the other morning. I guess they heard it was Ed’s ninety-fifth birthday and came to offer good wishes. Maybe they were the ones who tied the birthday balloons to the lamp post? (Psst…actually it was Diane, who lives down the street.) Ed is made of sturdy stuff too! He was a navy man in WWII and he walks every morning, our inspiration.

I’ve done a few things in my life too. In 2009 I decided I wanted to write the love story about the artist, Albert Bierstadt. And I did, not before taking enough workshops and courses that would have given me a Masters in writing. I’m eighty-four and I’ve written two historical romance novels (yes even us old folks remember what it’s like to fall in love). And, now, I’m writing my memoir. What a trip down memory lane. Some of it is fun, some not so fun. But that’s the thing about life, you take every day as it comes. Yes, Tom and I are holding hands and are doing well.

I did mention we were going to do something funt?  Today was Hat Day! I wish you all good health and happiness in these coming months. May this time bring us closer together and may we make some good memories pitching in to do our part.

Farewell till next time.

Gail Ingis is the author of INDIGO SKY and THE UNFORGETTABLE MISS BALDWIN. You can find her books on Amazon.

My current books

Write a Book and Learn to Write

Write a Book and Learn to Write

Editing, editing, editing

How can anyone be a writer if all they know is what a noun and a verb is – oops, I mean – are? I didn’t know the difference between an adverb and an adjective when I began this journey, and if it’s not visual, forget it, I’m an artist after all. So, how did I manage to write Indigo Sky in 2015? I had lots of advice and help along with a little paper crumpling, file deleting, and even some foot-stomping. A lot has happened since then. I’m more comfortable with adjectives, verbs, nouns, and the combination thereof.

Here’s a shocker: If you think that adverbs only modify verbs – think again – they can also modify adjectives. We all know this stuff because we use it every day, but the point is that many of us, myself included, don’t know how to break it down and explain it. So given that I’m a life-long learner, I decided to add “grammarian” to my to-do list. That’s why I ordered Elizabeth O’Brien’s book with the hopes that grammar would become my friend and serve as my road map to becoming a better writer. A writer who can write . . . anything. Uh, oh, there are those elusive ellipses. Hmm, maybe I should have used an em dash? Sigh . . .

And don’t holler at me if I forgot a comma somewhere, Grammarly didn’t help me with this post, and that’s probably the reason.

Thanks for reading –  and remember: I before E except after C and in words that sound like neighbor and weigh.

Indigo Sky and The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin are both available on Amazon. Please remember to write a review – like everything else – folks only buy after they’ve read the reviews. Reviews are easy, they only need one or two lines, a title and of course, you probably know that 5-star is the best.

Art Could Save Your Life

Art Could Save Your Life

(Originally written and published by Sara Genn at The Painter’s Keys)

In Canada, doctors are prescribing museum visits with the cost of admission covered by universal healthcare. “We know that art stimulates neural activity,” says Montreal Museum of Fine Arts director general and chief curator, Nathalie Bondil. The program, piloted last year, is an extension of the museum’s work with their existing Art and Health Committee, where they participate in clinical trials studying the effects of art on people with eating disorders, cancer, epilepsy, mental illness, and Alzheimer’s disease. This “museum as hospital” idea also has legs for older people, the physically disabled, and others with mobility issues. Because looking at art bumps cortisol and serotonin levels in the brain, it produces an effect in the body similar to exercise.

Mike Kelley 1 (2007) at the Cleveland Clinic by Jennifer Steinkamp (b. 1958) Steve Travarca photo

Mike Kelley 1 (2007) at the Cleveland Clinic by Jennifer Steinkamp (b. 1958)
Steve Travarca photo

This past Wednesday, the British Medical Journal published a longitudinal study tracking the correlation between arts engagement and mortality. It turns out that hitting a museum just once or twice a year can lower your early death rate by 14%. Culture vultures fare even better at 31%. On top of this, studies from Denmark and Great Britain have found that paintings — especially abstracts — in hospitals improves patient satisfaction, health outcome, length of stay, and pain tolerance.

While experts hammer out what kind of art heals best, the big hospitals are hiring their own curators to test the notion of “hospital as museum”.

“We set out to try and change the paradigm of what it’s like to be in a healthcare setting — that in some way, it might be inviting and enriching when you come to the hospital for whatever reason, whether you’re working there, a visitor, or a patient,” says Joanne Cohen, executive director, and in-house curator at the Cleveland Clinic. And while some scholars fear that abstraction is too ambiguous for patients experiencing states of unfamiliarity, vulnerability and stress, Danish architecture and design professor Michael Mullins says that size and placement of work, color, contrast, shapes, and movement are factors just as important. While working on a recent project for a hospital in New York, the only request I received from the gallery was, “no green, no red.”

Pumpkin (2014) at the Cleveland Clinic by Yayoi Kusama (b.1929) Steve Travarca photo

Pumpkin (2014) at the Cleveland Clinic by Yayoi Kusama (b.1929)
Steve Travarca photo

PS: “I am convinced that in the 21st century, culture will be what physical activity was for health in the 20th century.” (Nathalie Bondil)

Esoterica: When I was about 20, the hospital in which I was born purchased some paintings for their palliative care floor. At the time, my work featured cloudless, gradated color field skies, with kids floating and flying dreamlike above a thin strip of flat, white snow. For some time, I wondered if the paintings would be helpful or upsetting to those in the hospital facing the end of life, especially when I seemed to be at the beginning of mine. Years later, I received a letter from someone who had spent many months with my paintings while saying goodbye to their loved one. Their words left me grateful and connected and honored to be a part of such an important time. “Hopefully, it comforts.” (Joanne Cohen)

Recovery College, 2016 in collaboration with Hospital Rooms and South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS by Tim A. Shaw (b. 1982)

Recovery College (2016) in collaboration with Hospital Rooms and South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS
by Tim A. Shaw (b. 1982)

Thank you to: Sara Genn

The Letters: Vol. 1 and 2, narrated by Dave Genn, are available for download on Amazon, here. Proceeds of sales contribute to the production of The Painter’s Keys. 

“Imagination is not a talent of some men, but is the health of every man.”

The Letters: Vol. 1 and 2, narrated by Dave Genn, are available for download on Amazon, here. Proceeds of sales contribute to the production of The Painter’s Keys. 

“Imagination is not a talent of some men, but is the health of every man.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

My second book-Writing as medicine

Books: print, ebook, audio-Indigo Sky

Indigo Sky (my first book)

A Dog’s Life

A Dog’s Life

Photo: Capri23auto (Pixabay)

One of the greatest pleasures I had writing The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin (Book 1 in the Gilded Age Heiresses series) was creating the “character” of Captyn, the beloved Great Dane of Allie Baldwin, my heroine. He always leads with his heart but sometimes with a little too much enthusiasm. Capytn’s antics usually end up with furniture toppling over, fine china crashing to the floor, and dinner jackets splashed with red wine.

Photo: Paul Murphy on Unsplash

I’m currently working on the second book in the series that features Allie’s younger sister Mia. And of course, Mia has a dog of her own to fuss over. His name is Angus and he’s a Scottish Terrier. Angus will have his own adventures (and mishaps). And Captyn will be around as well.

What fun! Captyn with his black and white spots and Angus with his fluffy white coat will look dapper indeed scampering about as the Baldwin family celebrates the Christmas Holidays.

Until Angus is ready for his debut, you can enjoy spending time with Captyn in The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin. Opposites attract in this gilded age historical romance when a young American suffragette eschews marriage until a handsome detective is hired to protect her from a dangerous stalker. Available on Amazon.

 

Writers & Painters Unite!

Writers & Painters Unite!

Below is one of the Genn letters. They are always informative, challenging and progressive. There’s an analogy between writing and painting. I say that because I am both, writers work from a blank page, artists from a blank canvas. The current letter is unchanged from their posting. As a writer, at the moment, I’m rewriting my second book. The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin.
From the Genn family:

Like the novel or memoir many of us feel we have lurking inside but will probably never put to paper, there is undoubtedly a painting or two that simmers in the arm and hand of all creative beings. More primal than writing, mark-making begins in early childhood, to be perverted later into a messy and inconvenient activity where the exception to do it in adulthood is made only when it serves an industry. A lawyer friend once invited me to his basement to show me an appealing, sort-of pointillist portrait in cheery colours. “Can you help me get a show?” he asked. An unfinished second one was leaning in the corner. “Was it fun?” I asked. “Yes,” he said. “How much did you enjoy the second painting?” I inquired. He replied, “Not as much as the first.”

Caspar-David-Friedrich_Abby_in_the-Oak-Wood-300x192

“The Abbey in the Oak Wood” 1808-10
oil on canvas
by Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840)

In her 2001 lecture series at Cambridge University, Margaret Atwood explained the difference between writing and being a writer: “Everyone can dig a hole in a cemetery, but not everyone is a grave digger,” she said. “The latter takes a good deal more stamina and persistence. It is also, because of the nature of the activity, a deeply symbolic role. As a grave digger, you are not just a person who excavates. You carry upon your shoulders the weight of other people’s projections, of their fears and fantasies and anxieties and superstitions.”

“Wanderer above a Sea of Fog”
oil painting
by Caspar David Friedrich

I drove home from the studio visit and picked up my brush, thinking it was perhaps easier to be certifiably unemployable than to have a choice about being a painter. Enjoyable or not, the digging would continue until I became a grave digger. I remembered my parents discussing whether we, their children, should have something to fall back on, should we fail as artists. My mum insisted we all take a turn at summer work. I was, for three weeks, the dessert-cart-girl at the Black Forest Restaurant. Soon, the manager relegated me to drawing on the specials board. My dad, as if he knew the secret to never holding a real job, suggested we spend our summers daydreaming and sticking to independent projects.

Atwood recalled, “There were no films or theatres in the North, and the radio didn’t work very well. But there were always books.” She said she became a writer one day when she wrote a poem in her head, while walking across a field. “I didn’t know that this poem of mine wasn’t at all good, and if I had known, I probably wouldn’t have cared. It wasn’t the result but the experience that had hooked me: it was the electricity. My transition from not being a writer to being one was instantaneous, like the change from docile bank clerk to fanged monster in ‘B’ movies.”

“Monastery Graveyard in the Snow” 1817-19
oil painting
by Caspar David Friedrich

Sincerely,

Sara

PS: “Any form of human creativity is a process of doing it and getting better at it. You become a writer by writing, there is no other way. So do it, do it more, do it better. Fail. Fail better.” (Margaret Atwood)

Esoterica: Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa, Ontario to a forest entomologist father and a mother who had been a dietician. Because of her father’s research, Atwood spent her childhood commuting with her family between Toronto, Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie and the Quebec wilderness. She didn’t enroll in full-time school until she was eight and read Grimm’s fairytales and Dell pocketbook mysteries, animal stories and comic books. “I learned to read early, was an avid reader and read everything I could get my hands on — no one ever told me I couldn’t read a book. My mother liked quietness in children, and a child who is reading is very quiet.”

Thank you to Sara Genn. www.painterskeys.com

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin is in revision. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

A work of art

 

 

Flowers, Books, and NANOWRIMO

Flowers, Books, and NANOWRIMO

Flowers for that added love and color from Tom

November is an exciting month for writers and authors. NANOWRIMO. Every November – newbie writers and multi-published authors from all over the world make a commitment to write a 50,000-word novel. The GOAL is to write 50k words for the month. Essentially a first draft. Some might go on to write more words but the goal is to get that 50k. I’ll be joining in the fun on my own, as I revise my WIP (Work in Progress) The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin.

For the writers out there you know the saying that “good writing is all about rewriting.” I’m currently on my tenth draft of my next book. This one’s a big revision – more than fine-tuning the romantic bits and bobs. Writers are always looking to improve our craft. With that in mind, I signed up for the Westport’s Advanced Fiction Writing Group. This is a great critique group led by the talented editor, Adele Annesi. The critiques are mega helpful. I also took an amazing online course October 1-4  with New York Times Bestselling author, Kristan Higgins, Setting as CharacterFantastic. If you’re interested, you can check out the online courses on the CTRWA (Connecticut Chapter of the Romance Writers of America).

But writers also know that in between the rewrites you need to regenerate your imagination and your body. I like to play my guitar—I’m working on building those old calluses again. And my piano too, even if it’s only to tickle the ivories for a few minutes. Walk every day with Tom Claus (my hubby) and Ed, our ninety-three-year-old inspiration, and ballroom dance with my instructor, Henry, sometimes with Tom, that’s the best, really gets my heart pumping. And of course, Tom gives me flowers to inspire me as I write.

Oh, was I talking about writing?

My work-in-progress or WIP, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin has taken about two years (and counting). One day at a time, one scene at a time. I am also constantly reading one of my hundreds, but who’s counting, craft books, like all those Thesaurus books and Emotional Beats by Nicholas C. Rossis. Which sometimes sends me down a different path in my writing. I will let you know when my Gilded Age Mistresses: The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin is ready for you.

I will be delirious when I type THE END.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

A work of art

 

 

What is a Point of View?

What is a Point of View?

If you’re a writer of fiction, you’re familiar with these three letters, POV. My character’s point of view often eludes me. I make the silliest and most obvious POV mistakes, but my editor is swift to point them out. Trust me. I’m  biting my nails just thinking about POV.  POV can jump from character to character, called “head-hopping.” Enough to confuse the best reader. Some famous authors get away with it, mostly because they know what they’re doing. Or the POV can stay with one character for several paragraphs or a whole chapter. In my story, POV is divided between the heroine Allie Baldwin and the hero Peter Harrison. When there is a switch between characters, I can leave a space, or use asterisks to show the change. But make no mistake, Allie is my star. I would love to be Allie, she’s a powerhouse, and she’s real.

Guess I don’t have to say the story is about Alli. It’s not that she has red hair, but what’s unique, even challenging about her hair, if you can find something unique about ‘hair.’ That’s putting it in simple terms. Every characteristic must be important and unique. Do you like reading about Tom Cruise and his antics? Do you read the social columns? Do you watch Extra on TV? It’s sort of like a biography, what foods does she like, where was she born, what kind of music does she like? What are Allie’s goals? What does she want the world to know? I don’t have to write the book as a biography. I need to know these qualities to write the book. And all this will give my readers a glimpse of how Allie and these great women lived and put up with poor treatment in the late1800s in America. In their day, there were women heroes like Allie fighting for their vote and freedom.

Allie writes for a newspaper in New York City. There were journalists then, heroes indeed. What does she write, is she the Dear Abby of the nineteenth century? Is she a chef and writes about food? Imagine going to a picnic and then writing a critique about the food. How about politics, do you think she would be permitted to get involved with that heavy duty subject? Allie’s has a passion for change. Can she balance her desire to make positive changes for women and her life?

The writing of my book is taking longer than anticipated, if I could only get that POV right, but I’m having a good time with this historical romance set in 1886 New York, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, Book 1, The Gilded Age Heiresses Series.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the fall of 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

You want to be a writer? Now what?

You want to be a writer? Now what?

How do you do this writing thing?

I kind of fell into writing fiction by accident. You see, I’m an artist (a painter) and for many, many years I was an interior designer and taught design and architecture as well. I was always an avid reader. But a writer? No way! Until I was inspired by painter Albert Bierstadt and I wanted to tell a story inspired by his life.

I know, I said to myself, I’ll write a book. After all, I had written a chapter for a history book and been wooed by a publisher. I wrote up school catalogs, wrote course curriculum, wrote up interior design and architectural history lectures, proposals for jobs, poetry and love letters. Surely writing a book would be a piece of cake. Sure, right.

I sat down, pen in hand, put pen down—booted up my trusty Mac, surely that would inspire me . . . but that didn’t help. This is not going to work. What do I write first, the end? What words do I use? How do I find my characters? Where does all this come from? It shouldn’t be any different than giving a lecture. OK, I though smugly, I’ll approach it like a lecture. I could talk for hours about interior design, lighting, space planning, history, architectural anything. Still nothing. I remember the emptiness, the confusion, the lack of words. I didn’t think I had this gift to tell a story, never mind, writing one.

Tommy the train to NYC

Then I met Brenda on a train ride into New York. We were both on our way to a Michael Hauge workshop. Hauge is a screenwriter who teaches writing courses. Brenda and I became friends after that class. I learned a great deal from Hauge but also from Brenda who helped me get my thoughts together and helped me formulate my story. But Brenda was busy with her growing family and her full time job as an attorney, so I had to continue my search for help. During a CTRWA Fiction Fest, in 2009, “Inspiration for Writers” offered free editing service for the auction. I bought enough tickets to win it. Yay, That’s how I found Charl, who is an editor for them.

Creativity is a right brain activity. Have you explored your creativity? Do you remember being creative as a kid? I sure do. Comic books were the rage when I was growing up. (They still are). I would sit at my desk and draw what I saw in the comic books. Wonder Woman was my hero. As I got older, I drew all kinds of things. I played the piano, I took dance lessons, voice lessons, sang in school shows, sang in school choir, took my mother’s dresses apart and remade them. Took my radio apart and my clock apart and put them back together, well, with Daddy’s happy help, it was my curiosity that pushed me to explore. The list goes on, and I wrote little poems and notes to friends and family. I realized that I had always had that passion for storytelling inside me all along. I had just been using different mediums to tell my stories.

I didn’t just want to think of a story, I wanted to write that book, and in spite of myself, i did.  I took enough workshops and writing courses to earn a PhD in “workshop-taking”. And with the help of Charl I was able to complete my very first book, Indigo Sky.  I am a member of the Connecticut Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, where writers gather and help each other. Being a member of the CTRWA, I was exposed to many different publishing companies, big and small and with Jamie S’s help where to submit. I landed a publishing contract with Soul Mate Publishing. With the help of my editor, Tammie, at Soul Mate, who worked very hard with me, I completed the re-writes and the book was published in 2015.

My book can be found in three formats, paperback, eBook and Audiobook. I even have a book trailer! Two things have changed in my life since that fateful day I decided to start writing: 1. I became a published author. 2. I have made so many wonderful friends along the way. I wish you all the same creative journey.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the fall of 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

 

 

 

Reverse Shopping

Reverse Shopping

Sometimes “Reverse Shopping” can lead you down a rabbit hole.

So I do this thing sometimes where I buy something and then I realize I don’t need it or it doesn’t fit my life/home/style and so I return it. I just returned a bunch of paint canvases at my local art supply store and got a $400 dollar store credit. It was past the date of the receipt so no cash back, unfortunately, but hey, I’ll have no problem using that credit paint supplies. Painting is just one of my passions – the other ones include writing and ballroom dancing and cooking and of course my husband, Tom.

Reverse shopping is fun, but it’s not just about the excitement of getting your money back or a credit. It also gives you that all-important chance at a “do-over”. The ability to make a shift and start fresh. And sometimes that can lead you down a new path. Returning those canvases meant creating more physical space in my painting studio as well as emotional and creative space in my mind.

We can apply that to anything in life. Sometimes you have to stop, take stock, let go, and shift directions. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about that lately – the direction I should be heading in terms of my creative-business pursuits. Painting will always be a driving force in my life so that’s a no-brainer. I’m going to be doing another show later this year and hopefully painting a few more landscapes.

Other times “Reverse Shopping” can lead you to a new (out)look.

But best of all, “Reverse Shopping” can lead you in a new creative direction.

My writing is a newer passion, but certainly not a lesser one. I’m currently working on my WIP, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin. I had to apply my “reverse shopping” technique to my book. I stopped writing for a bit as I took stock of the book and I’m currently working out some new additions and possible directions. The “credit” I got back is some time to do a bit of extra reading in the craft of writing. Just a few refreshers to inspire me. And boy am I inspired. I can’t wait to finish the book and share it with everyone.

So keep that in mind the next time you buy something that doesn’t quite fit. Stop. Take stock. Reverse shop. Free your mind.

Love, Gail.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

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