#FabulousFridayGuestBlogger – @CynthiaSReyes – Cynthia Reyes

 

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Today’s guest blogger is Cynthia Reyes, who has a wonderful story of recovery and hope to share with you. I know you’ll enjoy her inspiring post, and will remember to share far and wide.  Now, here’s Cynthia.

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The other day, I turned to my husband and said:

“I’d like my life back. The lost years … I’d like them back.”

I thought I’d fully accepted the lost years – the decade that followed a car accident. But the words erupted from my chest before I’d had a chance to even think them through.

My husband had helped me stay on the road to acceptance. But this time, his reply surprised me.

“I know what you mean,” he said softly. “Back when you were strong and vigorous and could do almost anything, it seemed. I miss that woman at times too.”

He got it exactly right. It wasn’t the award-winning career I missed, the many trips abroad, the fact that some people saw me as a visionary leader. It was the ability to do simple things, like dig a new garden bed, go for a long walk, or dance with my husband. Mourning those losses had compounded them.

A silence followed our brief exchange. I gazed at my husband’s face and turned back to look out the car’s passenger window – a thing I almost always do when someone else is driving, a way of reducing my anxiety by ignoring the other cars around us.

No more looking behind. And no looking forward either.

**

I had written much about looking back in anger or sorrow, and looking forward with fear.

My journals – more than twenty of them – had chronicled years of misery – pain, short-term memory issues, depression and nightly terrors associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Now it was time for a new set of life-notes.

A few years ago, I decided to create and note the moments of joy in my daily life. To make friends with laughter. To linger in thankfulness.

An Honest House Pink Clematis on Side of Arbour

 “My Joyful Journal”, I called the little pink and purple notebook. I’d given it to my daughter back when she was an adolescent. She thought it was too juvenile, and never used it. But the cheerful colours made me smile as my eyes landed on it in a dresser drawer.

I had forgotten how to be happy. Forgotten even, how to laugh. But now I was rediscovering these things, bit by bit, day by day, journal entry after journal entry.

**

I was counting my blessings, and naming them one by one.

The first day I heard the robins sing, in early spring. The first daffodil and tulip shoots. The June day when the gently fragrant pink peonies bloomed.

The day the “farmers’ rain” arrived, gently soaking the garden beds and lawns after a period of drought The day the sun shone bright but not too hot, the skies blazed a clear blue and a gentle breeze caressed our skin, making it perfect weather.

The day my relatives and friends came to visit and we all howled with laughter because my sole contribution to the meal — a simple two-ingredient dish, cauliflower and cheese – had been ruined because I forgot the cheese.

The day I timidly tried to make a peach cake and surprised everyone in my family – and myself most of all — with my unexpected success.

The day the apple jelly that I’d struggled to make turned out exactly right.

And precious, precious moments. With my husband and daughters and our pet dogs in the old farmhouse that we loved.

Beauty, bounty and blessing. It could have been another title for my joyful journal.

An Honest House Verandah

My new book, An Honest House, covers some of the experiences described in those 20+ journals, written over the “lost years” of my life. An Honest House is set in the beautiful Victorian farmhouse where my family moved just two weeks after the car accident.

There are also a few shocking discoveries along the way. Of course, because that’s life.

But it wasn’t enough for me to shock my readers or leave them in tears. This book – the first to be completely written in my post-accident years — is enriched with the contents of my Joyful Journal: laughter, thankfulness, joy and faith. Otherwise known as: Beauty, bounty and blessing.

The reviews have been wonderful. Am I grateful? You bet.

Cynthia author photo 1

Cynthia Reyes

Cynthia comes to the literary world with a background in network television and magazine writing. She has published non-fiction stories in Arabella Magazine, one of the fastest-growing magazines in the United States and Canada, as well as in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and Toronto Life.  Cynthia is a former journalist and executive producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. More than a hundred episodes of her programs have appeared on network television. She has won national and international awards and acclaim for her work as a television producer, project leader, and public speaker, including the Children’s Broadcast Institute Award, The Trailblazer Award and the Crystal Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film and Television. A GOOD HOME takes the reader into the author’s early life in rural Jamaica, her move to urban North America, and her trips back home, all told through vivid descriptions of the unique homes she has lived in — from a tiny pink house in Jamaica and a mountainside cabin near Vancouver to the historic Victorian farmhouse where she and her family moved, just two weeks after a serious car accident.  The new book – AN HONEST HOUSE – picks up the story and immerses the reader immediately into the world of the author’s life with her husband in Ambercroft — their beautiful Victorian farmhouse surrounded by lush, idyllic gardens.

Reduced to one income and with many expenses for therapies, the couple lives frugally and simply. Cynthia and her husband find themselves repeating some of the practices of the family who lived here 140 years before: they eat much of what grows on their land, find new uses for old things, and look for beauty, joy and faith in a simple life. All the senses come alive in this book.  But as Cynthia ventures out into the bigger world with her first book, she is accompanied by dreaded challenges, some invisible: post-traumatic stress disorder, a head injury and other injuries resulting from the accident.  Despite the challenges and changes this family faces, there is an abundance of beauty, joy and wisdom in both books. Readers find themselves re-reading Cynthia’s books, not wanting to leave the world she creates.

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Cynthia Reyes’ new book AN HONEST HOUSE (May 2016) is both a stand-alone story and a sequel to A GOOD HOME (May 2013). 

Book links and Reviews:
https://cynthiasreyes.com/an-honest-house/

A Good Home

Reviews

Cynthia’s Blog: cynthiasreyes.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cynthiasreyes

My Favorite Twitter Tools by Mae Clair

Twitter LogoHi, everyone….Mae here again. I hope you don’t mind me popping in to share.

When it comes to social media, I’m a big fan of Twitter. It’s quick, allows me to connect with other Tweeps, catch up on events, follow trending topics, and experience news as it happens. All in one neat little social media platform.

As good as Twitter is, it’s even better paired with other applications. Today, I’d like to share a few I’ve found particularly helpful. I know many of these are commonly used, but hopefully, I’ll hit on something of use to someone out there🙂

One of the things I like best about Twitter is the ability to create lists. As an example, I have a Twitter list for my writer friends, one for cryptozoology  (a favorite topic of mine), another for family (not too many of them on Twitter) and another for celebrities and best-selling authors (i.e, Lana Parrilla, Jennifer McMahon, Jackson Galaxy, Australia Zoo). These are just a few my lists. I have a dozen of them and with all of those lists, things can get a little cumbersome.

That’s where Hootsuite comes in.

Hootsuite
Hootsuite LogoHootsuite is a free platform that complements Twitter and other forms of social media. There are pay plans, but I haven’t needed to go that route, and I’ve been using Hootsuite for three years. I like that I can turn my Twitter lists into “streams” within Hootsuite.

When I open my Hootsuite dashboard, all of my Twitter lists appear in one place. In addition to the lists I mentioned above, I also have streams for anytime someone @mentions me, and a stream for scheduled messages. Whenever I promote another author or guest blogger on my site, I schedule several tweets throughout the day connecting to their post, and Hootsuite sends them at the appropriate time.

I’ve also got Hootsuite set up to stream my Facebook page and my Facebook author page so I can view both FB and Twitter in one place. It also supports Google+ and Instagram.

Pretty cool, huh? There’s even more…

Hootsuite has a built-in URL link shortener called Ow.ly which is extremely handy. So now instead of http://maeclair.net/2016/01/04/cover-reveal-a-thousand-yesteryears-by-mae-clair/ I get http://ow.ly/Xmr4L This directs users to the same post and is a lot handier when sticking to Twitter’s 140 character count.

Statue of the Mothman in Point Pleasant, West VirginiaYou can also set up streams within Hootsuite to grab Tweets related to a specific hashtag. I have one set for #Mothman. Any time someone uses that hashtag in a Tweet, Hootsuite grabs it for me. Why would I care about those Tweets? Because I’m writing a series that prominently features Point Pleasant’s notorious cryptid. Whenever Mothy gets a mention, I want to know what’s being discussed. I might also want to follow the Tweeps doing the Tweeting. If they’re interested in the Mothman, they might be potential readers for my series.

I positively LOVE Hootsuite! You can learn more about it and create your own free account at https://hootsuite.com/

ManageFlitter
This is another freebie and it’s great for managing your followers. When you sign in with Twitter it gives you a list of how many people you’re following who are NOT following you back. Phhf! The nerve!🙂

ManageFlitter makes it easy to prune your account and eliminate those followers. I follow a number of people who don’t follow me back, but most of them fall into the celebrity/news/bestselling author/specific interest category.

Generally, when I follow someone, I wait a week, then check ManageFlitter. If they haven’t followed me back, I click the unfollow button. ManageFlitter also lets me see which of my followers aren’t “talkative.” So, if I’m following someone and they haven’t made a single Tweet in say…five months, I unfollow them. This keeps my Twitter account pruned to Tweeps who are active. Finally, ManageFlitter will also tell me if I’ve picked up any spam accounts so I can unfollow them, too.

Get your free ManageFlitter account at https://manageflitter.com/

Crowdfire
I’ve only been using Crowdfire for a short time, but I love it. It’s also free and does everything ManageFlitter does, with some additional bells and whistles. The layout is a bit better, plus it has the added benefit of showing you who RECENTLY unfollowed and followed you, so you’re viewing less Tweeps at a time.

It has a handy “copy followers” feature, which allows you to import another user’s followers and see who you might want to follow (think target auidences for your genre). You can also pop a hashtag or keywords into Crowdfire (i.e, #Mothman, Jennifer McMahon) and it will kick back a list of relevant Tweeps. These are all people you might want to follow.

This link will tell you about Crowdfire and let you set up a free account https://www.crowdfireapp.com/about-us

Triberr
I didn’t expect this post to be this long, but this is the last one. I promise!

Triberr is a platform where bloggers with like interests have banded together to form “tribes.” Tribe members support each other by sharing other members’ posts with their Twitter followers. This expands the reach of each Tweet.

As an example, I have 5831 followers on Twitter, but I belong to three tribes. One tribe has a combined follower count of 77,746, another has 54,170 followers, and the last  43,310. As a result, any blog post I make has the potential of being Tweeted to 105,226 followers. I say “potential” because not everyone will share every post, and not everyone is active all the time. If nothing else, I’ve built a lot of great relationships through Triberr.  You can find out about it here http://triberr.com/

Triberr is free, but you have to be invited to join a tribe (at least that was the case when I joined three years ago). Suggestion: If you find a tribe you like, become a “follower” and comment on the tribe’s posts. I’ve heard that’s a good way to get invited in.

I hope each of you find something of value in at least one of these tools. They’ve all been of great use to me, and I highly recommend them. If you have other tools that work well with Twitter or social media in general, I’d love for you to comment about them!

~ooOOoo~

Close up photo of author Mae Clair, who is wearing black fedora hat and hold penMae Clair has been chasing myth, monsters and folklore through research and reading since she was a child. In 2013 and 2015, she journeyed to West Virginia to learn more about the legendary Mothman, a creature who factors into her latest release.

Mae pens tales of mystery and suspense with a touch of romance. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and numbers cats, history and exploring old graveyards among her passions.  Look for Mae on her website at MaeClair.net

TK8 Sticky Notes – #Sharing

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My post yesterday on Goals made me realize (once again) that I’d be lost without my Sticky Notes on my desktop. Yeah, I know there’s one included with Windows, but it’s limited. I’ve tried several types, and my favorite by far is TK8 Sticky Notes.  There’s a free version, and a paid one. The free version is limited to five notes at a time, so after using it for a while, I upgraded. I love all the ways you can keep your notes and reminders handy, yet not necessarily covering your desktop at all times. (I like my pretty wallpapers.😀 )

If you’re looking for an easy way to keep your ideas, memos, grocery lists, and random thoughts organized, give the free version a try, and see what you think. Lots of built-in flexibility, and very handy, indeed.

#MidWeekPOV #Goals

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Believe it or not, and I’m struggling to do so, 2016 is more than halfway over! Pondering this last night gave me reason to stop and reassess my year, so far. I do set goals for myself, though I try not to make them so impossibly difficult they become self-defeating for me. I keep them realistic, bearing in mind that I’m not quite as energetic as I once was. So I aim high, but not clear into the stratosphere. And I check things off my list as I accomplish them, just to give myself a visual validation of what I’m aiming for.

When I wrote Wake-Robin Ridge, 3 years ago this month, it was to fulfill a life-long dream of becoming a writer. I didn’t set out thinking the book would soar to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List. I didn’t expect to rake in heaps and piles of money, either. I just set a goal to write a story I’d had in my head a long time, publish it, and then share it with friends and family. Now, I’ve never been to college or taken a writing class, but I figured my goal was doable, and I went for it. The fact that the book has garnered some lovely reviews and still sells steadily was an unexpected bonus, but I attained my goal. And then I set a new one: Do it again.

And that’s how I think goals ought to work. You commit to one with all your  heart, and when you reach it, you set another one. Rinse and repeat.  Before you know it, you’ve changed your life, and you’ve made setting reasonable goals a habit. At least, that’s how it’s turned out for me.

Be forewarned though. Life will sometimes conspire against you, throwing up roadblocks at every turn, just in case it was all getting too easy. While some obstacles  must be handled in order to move on, others are merely minor road debris. Dust, leaves, and shallow puddles. Skirt around those and stay focused on where you want to go. You CAN make it to the Finish Line. (Which, of course, is just the starting line for the NEXT goal.) And you can build a productive, satisfying life for yourself that way. It’s worked for me thus far, so that’s my story, an’ I’m stickin’ to it!

Now let me hear from you. Do you make a habit of setting goals? If so, how do you go about it? Do you keep track of each one you reach? Inquiring minds wanna know. 🙂

 

10 Things My Blog Taught Me

#bloggers #tips – Helpful advice for everyone who writes a blog or is thinking of starting one.

A Writer's Path

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by Jacqui Murray

When I started this blog three years and 586 posts ago, I wasn’t sure where to take it. I knew I wanted to connect with other writers so I used that as the theme. Now, thanks to the 430,000+ people who have visited, I know much more about the ‘why’. Yes, it’s about getting to know kindred souls, but there is so much more I’ve gotten from blogging. Like these:

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#InspirationBoardSunday #SundayBlogShare

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A Narrow, Black Water Stream, Chock Full of Mystery

Those of you who have been following The Write Stuff for very long, know that I believe in inspiration boards. The walls around my computer area are covered in cork, where I pin photos and illustrations to inspire me as I write. Actors or models who look the way I picture my characters, animals that might factor into my books, and lots and lots of scenery. Whether it’s an awe-inspiring shot taken from a mountaintop in North Carolina, where my Wake-Robin Ridge series is set, or a dramatic image of an alligator, basking on the banks  of the  St. Johns River, where my Riverbend series is set, you’ll find it within sight of my work space. Whole scenes have been written, based on ideas that come to me from photos.

If you’ve never collected images for inspiration, I highly recommend you give it a try. In the meantime, here are some of the images I surround myself with when I’m working on my Riverbend series, set here in central Florida. Enjoy! And be inspired!🙂

03Jul2013_011-149-800-750-80-wm-right_bottom-20-DougLittle-255-255-255-20Baby Gators on a Log

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Not So Baby Gator On a Log

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Purple Gallinule

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Barred Owl

"Kelly Park, Apopka, Florida"

Crystal Clear Rock Springs Run

42305389(And yes, the water really can be that blue and clear!)

41Florida Panther
(Slightly smaller subspecies of the western cougar)

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Crinum Lily Reflected in a Tannic Acid Stained Stream.
(Note: This water is not dirty. It is colored dark brown to black by the same thing that colors your cup of tea brown).

wekiva-river (1)Wekiva River shallows.  Picture brings back lots of memories.
Have canoed this stretch many, many times.

middlebasin2St. Johns river at a wide curve.
It opens up into several very large lakes along its course.

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Tri-colored Heron (Back)
Little Blue Heron (Foregound)

Great Egret
Great Egret in Full Breeding Plumage

038See Ya Later, Alligator!
(That’s all for this time! Be back next week.)
(And my thanks to Doug Little for so many of these photos)

A Boy Named Rabbit: WakeRobin Ridge #2 by @marciameara #SundayBlogShare

Received a fantastic review of A Boy Named Rabbit this morning, and just had to share with you folks. I’d be thrilled if you’d take a look, and pass it along wherever you can. THANKS!

BetweenTheLines

  • 24749583Author: Marcia Meara
  • Published: April 2015 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Contemporary Fiction with Supernatural Elements
  • five-stars

“Evil’s comin’, boy…comin’ fast. Look for the man with eyes like winter skies, and hair like a crow’s wing. He’s the one you gotta find.”

Those are the words of ten-year old Rabbit’s dying grandmother, who has ‘seeing’ dreams. She tells Rabbit he must leave their camp and find the ‘good people’. Rabbit has lived in the mountains of North Carolina, as far back as he can remember with his gran and grampa, never seeing another soul and has been taught that people are not to be trusted. Rabbit is scared seeing his gran so weak and frail, and worried because his grampa hasn’t returned from getting supplies. But now his gran has become so sick that she’s insisting Rabbit must leave all he’s ever known and go off into the wilderness. So…

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#Sharing #BookPromotion D. G. Kaye’s “MenoWhat? A Memoir”

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Grab your copy of D. G. Kaye’s MenoWhat? A Memoir today! Why now? Because it’s on sale for $.99! It won’t get any better than this, folks. And you KNOW you want to read this one! Check out her post, and order your copy NOW. (I have an overwhelming desire to add “But wait! There’s MORE!” But I won’t. This is good enough all by itself!)

Go HERE to check  out Deb’s post with full details and commentary and reviews. Or go HERE to order direct from Amazon. And please share the news far and wide! Thanks!

#FabulousFridayGuestBlogger Janet Gogerty

Leaflet 2015 front

Today’s guest blogger is a new follower here at The Write Stuff, and I’m looking forward to getting to know her better.  Hope you are, too. Here’s Janet Gogerty to share a bit ab0ut herself and her writing with you, and I hope you’ll pass it along to your friends and followers. Thanks for joining us here today, Janet.

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A little while ago we were searching in the loft for something completely different and I came across a box of notebooks. My teenage self had read that would be writers should write; anything and everything; diary, poetry, descriptions, feelings….

Each notebook had the first few pages diligently filled, the rest in their virgin state. But one was different; twelve pages of my first novel, neatly written with no crossings out. I recalled my twenty year old self having a vivid dream that inspired me to start writing the very next day….

I never got any further and it was many years before I started writing seriously. When I joined a writing group we had to write and read out a new piece each week; short stories tumbled onto the page, but when our tutor suggested I start a novel, so my characters had a chance to develop, I felt I had no big idea. My husband suggested I write about my family’s experience emigrating to Australia; this idea became ‘Quarter Acre Block’ and if you want a safe gentle read stop here.

If you like reading something meatier and stranger; if you enjoy tackling Life’s big questions, read on.

My daughter wanted to know what happened to Emma, whose fate was literally left in the air, at the end of a short story ‘Brief Encounters of the Third Kind’. And so I started writing my first novel. What happens to ordinary people when the extraordinary happens to them? The first thing that happens, especially if they are English? They don’t tell anyone, they doubt they will be believed and the longer they keep their dreadful secret to themselves, the harder it becomes. Susan Dexter lives in Ashley, a suburb of London where nothing much happens until the day she is hanging out her washing. For thirty years Susan fears her daughter Emma is not human; then new events lead her to meet others seeking the truth.

This novel evolved into the ‘Brief Encounters Trilogy’. In ‘Three Ages of Man’ a character who walked into the first novel uninvited tells his own very different story. ‘Lives of Anna Alsop’ follows on from the first two novels. Anna was another unexpected character and she narrates the third book.

Meanwhile in real life I’m currently writing a new novel ‘At The Seaside Nobody Hears You Scream’. I also still enjoy penning short stories; some have been published in anthologies and I have published two collections on Amazon Kindle; ‘Dark and Milk’ and ‘Hallows and Heretics’. My husband provides financial, technical and moral support. When he discovered it cost nothing to publish on Amazon Kindle he was happy to help, expecting we were only going to do one book.

‘Quarter Acre Block’ is not autobiographical, but was inspired by our experiences as ‘Ten Pound Pommies’. I was eleven. At twenty I came back to England on the traditional ‘working holiday’ and I’m still here! So I have lived in some very different places and although I have not yet achieved my ambition to live in a windmill, lighthouse or isolated island, we do now live a short distance from the cliff top with views of the Isle of Wight. To make up for not actually living with a sea view we have a beach hut; only a six foot box, but it has the essentials; a Calor gas stove to make coffee, a changing hut for swimming and stacks of recycled paper for writing.

 With several career disasters and staying home when the children were young, I have notched up a variety of jobs and voluntary work; a wealth of interesting people and places to write about, I shall never run out of ideas.

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Janet Gogerty

I have been writing frantically for nearly nine years and am writing my fifth novel, ‘At The Seaside Nobody Hears You Scream’. I still love writing short stories and have had them published on paper, in audio and in all corners of the internet. My novel ‘Brief Encounters of the Third Kind’ was originally a short story and eventually became a trilogy with ‘Three Ages of Man’ and ‘Lives of Anna Alsop’.

I love paper books and I’m sure they are here to stay, but in an uncertain publishing world, especially for new writers, I love the idea that we can just go ahead and be independent.

I started a clockwork website several years ago and it took on a life of its own. Visit to read about my books, my local area and my travels. There is an illustrated Beachwriter’s Blog, regular new fiction and a picture quiz. http://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk

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https://www.amazon.com/Quarter-Acre-Block-Janet-Gogerty-ebook/dp/B00A6XDUQM

https://www.amazon.com/Brief-Encounters-Third-Janet-Gogerty-ebook/dp/B00AWVNH3E

www.ccsidewriter.co.uk

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7236471.Janet_Gogerty/blog

https://www.facebook.com/Beachwriter/