Christina Cole Romance

Discover the power of love


Leave a comment

A Thought for Today: Surprise!

life-surprise-you

Life is filled with surprises, and as often as not, the best things come unexpectedly. We can’t plan those chance meetings that ultimately change our lives, the out-of-the blue events that nudge us to move in new directions, or the random acts that rock our world.

Yes, indeed, life has lots of surprises awaiting us each day.

Wake up every morning with a sense of wonder, knowing that life’s got something wonderful in store for you. It does.


2 Comments

Getting Organized – Yeah, Right.

The hardest part of writing a novel — for me, at least — has nothing to do with finding ideas, getting words on the page, or fixing plot holes. My challenge is getting organized.

A novel involves many different elements. Characters, settings, dates, times, historical facts…and more. Especially when writing a series, it’s important to keep track of all the information. Even little things can cause problems. I recall reading the final proof of one novel and discovering — to my horror — that a chacter’s eye color had changed from teal to chocolate brown. I’d read the manuscript several times. So had my editor. A proof-reader had gone through it. Somehow, we’d all missed that little detail. I like to think it was overlooked because the storyline was so captivating, but sure as I’m sitting here, had the story been published without that correction, I would have heard about it from readers.

DetailsI’m constantly rummaging through character biographies. Uh, what color was her bedroom? Did I say she preferred tea over coffee? I’ve often heard it said that The devil is in the details, and nowhere is that truer than novel-writing.

Another challenge to staying organized is the fact that ideas and inspirations may come at any time. Although I keep to a fairly regular routine in writing, that doesn’t mean my muse follows the same schedule. I might be standing in line at the grocery store when something I see or hear piques my interest. While waiting for appointments, I often take a notebook with me so I can sketch out scenes for the story I’m working on. Later, of course, I have to sit down in MLWR (My Little Writing Room), sort through the scraps of paper and notebook sheets I used to capture thoughts and scribble down ideas, and find a way to get them where they all belong.

Most will be for whatever story I’m currently working on — at the moment, it’s No Regrets, the fourth book of “The Sunset Series”, due out from Secret Cravings Publishing in July — but while I’m busy working on one story, my muse is gathering up ideas and information for dozens more. I’ve found the best way for me to deal with it all is with colored folders. I have at least a dozen of them sitting beside my desk. Each one represents a different story that’s “in the works” inside my head. I can easily slip little idea notes inside and forget them. They’ll still be there when I’m ready to write that particular story.

My approach to novel-writing itself is a bit jumbled. I’m not the sort of author who starts with “Once upon a time…” and writes straight through to “…and they lived happily ever after.” I play around with a lot of different scenes — in no logical order. I usually start a story by getting acquainted with my characters, throwing them into random scenes that may or may not become part of the story, and seeing what ideas come to mind. Each scene I write sparks possibilities for the story. I scribble down more notes. My muse smiles.

Eventually I have to sort through it all. Occasionally I’ll have scenes I love but which don’t really fit into the story. I toss them out. I pull everything together, fitting the pieces of the story into chronological order. Here and there I might need to add in more information, or maybe something seems “out of order” when I look at the big picture. I shuffle. I re-arrange. Somehow, it works.

What I’ve noticed is that the challenge of getting organized applies not only to my writing itself, but to my little writing room, as well. Right now, it’s a mess. Along with my colorful file folders, I have research books scattered around, a few spiral-bound notebooks, lots of cooking magazines, a bit of music, ink pens, calendars, boxes — a have a fetish about pretty boxes — and knick-knacks. I have stacks of Writer’s Digest magazines piled up, the latest seed catalog to come in the mail, and assorted office supplies.  Oh, there’s a fork on the floor, too. I thought I’d picked that up. Yes, while my husband is working, I bring my meals to MLWR. I know I shouldn’t eat at the computer. I do.

Sometimes when I first come into my room each day, I shake my head and wonder how anybody could possibly work in such disarray. Once I sit down here and begin writing, the clutter and confusion no longer bother me. At least, not during the creative part of the writing process.

Once the story is finished and it’s time to settle down to the picky little problems — editing the story, finding errors, checking those devilish details — then I’ll get up and clean up MLWR. I need everything in order then. I can’t concentrate if anything is out of place.

Over and over, I see myself going through the same cycles. Making a mess. Cleaning it up. Making a mess. Cleaning it up. It’s my process. It’s how I write. I’m getting better at keeping my stories organized, and I think that’s important. All the same, I don’t think I could create those stories without a little disorganization and disarray.

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

How Do You Mend a Broken Heart?

Yesterday we celebrated Valentine’s Day, undoubtedly the most romantic day of the year. It’s a joy-filled day for lovers, couples engaged to be married, and those of us who are living happily ever after with the one we cherish.

Of course, not everyone is fortunate enough to find that “someone special”.  Worse, still, sometimes we find someone we believe is special, only to have the relationship fall apart. The creative arts are filled with stories of love that didn’t quite work out, and heart-break is a popular theme in music, film, and fiction.

Do you remember this song?

How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?

I can think of younger days when to live for my life
Was everything a man could want to do
I could never see tomorrow
I was never told about the sorrow

How can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop that old sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?

How can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Somebody please help me mend my broken heart
And let me live again

I can still feel the breeze that rustles through the trees
And misty memories of days gone by
But we could never see tomorrow
Would you believe that no one
No one ever told us about the sorrow

How can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop that old sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?

Help me mend my broken heart
I just wanna, I just wanna, I just wanna
I just wanna, I just wanna live again, baby

How can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Help me mend my… This old broken heart
I think I, I believe I
I feel like I got to, I feel like I wanna live again

How can you mend this broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you mend my, please help me mend my broken heart
I think I, I believe I, I’ve got a feeling that I want to live and live and live

When love goes wrong, it hurts. The medical community tells us that hearts don’t really break, but that’s little consolation.

So how do we heal a broken heart?

I’ve browsed around and have gathered up some of the best advice I’ve found. If you’re hurting, I hope it helps.

Ten Tips to Mend a Broken Heart

12 Ways to Mend a Broken Heart

9 Inspiring Quotes that Help Heal a Broken Heart

How to Fix a Broken Heart

Healing a Broken Heart

4 Bible Secrets to Heal a Broken Heart


Leave a comment

The Direction of Your Dreams

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. . . .

Henry David Thoreau – On Walden Pond

 

Do you have dreams? Not the kind that come during those long hours when you’re sleeping, but dreams of the future, dreams that speak of places you’d like to go, things you’d like to do, and the person you’d like to be?

As a child, one of my favorite songs was “Happy Talk” from the musical, South Pacific. In this lilting little song, a very wise old woman taught:

You gotta have a dream

‘Cause if you don’t have a dream,

How you ever gonna have a dream come true?

Happy Talk 2

 

The simplicity — and the truthfulness — of these words truly struck a chord in my heart. Even then, I knew my dream. I wanted to write, to share stories with others, to pick up words and put them down on paper in lovely strings of sentences.

Of course, over the years, there were other dreams, as well. Growing up is a time that’s filled with all sorts of wild and crazy ideas. Adolescence and young adulthood bring new varieties of dreams, too.

I’ve pursued — and achieved — a number of different dreams throughout my life.  Some have fallen by the wayside as I’ve realized they weren’t true dreams but mere whims. Others have been successfully attained and then discarded. Yes, it’s true. Sometimes our dreams prove less satisfying than we once believed them to be.

Or maybe it’s that the true pleasure comes from seeking our dreams, from the day to day efforts to follow our imagination, from the ongoing act of creating what we desire. Maybe that’s why some dreams take forever…and that’s the way it should be.

I am living my dream of writing. I come to MLWR — my little writing room — each day and lose myself in the pleasure of telling stories, immersing myself in the lives of characters from other times and places. I grab words from the air, watch them appear before my eyes, and I smile as my thoughts take on lives of their own.

My dream, however, is far from finished. I dream each day of writing new stories, of learning more about the art and craft of wordsmithing. I dream of reaching more readers, of having my stories shared and enjoyed by many.

Yes, it’s an ongoing dream, and like Thoreau counseled, I will continue to move in the direction of that dream. There is no greater reward than doing what we love and living a life that inspires us.

Every Day

What is your dream?


2 Comments

Do the Best You Can

Recently this quote caught my eye:

Do the best you can until you know better, then, when you know better, do better.

– Maya Angelou

It truly gave me pause, made me stop and reflect upon it for a moment. These sixteen little words hold a tremendous amount of wisdom. The more I ponder upon them, the more beauty I see within them.


Most of us, I believe, are taught to do our best. But life is a learning process, and learning usually involves failing. Too often, however,  we are criticized for our failures.

Our efforts, we are led to believe, mean little of themselves. It is only success that matters.

There is much to be said for P-E-R-S-E-V-E-R-A-N-C-E.

We’ve all grown up with adages, such as “If at first, you don’t succeed, then try, try again,” and reminders that “The only real failure is quitting.”

There is also much to be said, I think, in recognizing — and celebrating — our accomplishments along the way, even though they may be imperfect, even though they may fall short of the mark, far from our high hopes or the lofty expectations of others.

One place where I’ve seen the negative effects of the  “You’re not doing it right” attitude is with students struggling to learn a language. Teachers are quick to grade, to point out errors, to grab a red pencil and mark every misplaced umlaut or accent mark. In doing so, they’re missing the real point.

Can the student communicate effectively?

A language student doesn’t need perfect grammar or correct spelling to convey needs such as “hunger” or ” thirst.” A few words will do. Just ask any toddler.  Two year olds don’t have a perfect grasp of grammar, but they can certainly tell you what they want!

Many things in life are like that. Painting doesn’t require perfection. It requires a desire to express oneself through art. Writing doesn’t require perfection; it requires a love of language, a desire to share one’s thoughts. Dancing, perhaps? No. No perfection needed there, either. Just a feeling of joy at the sound of music, a delight at leaping, soaring, flying in whatever fashion feels good.

If we truly love what we do, of course, we’ll strive to improve. We’ll enjoy learning new ways, better ways. And when we know more, yes, then, we’ll do more, we’ll do better.

Our songs will be lovelier, our writing more thoughtful, our tour j’etes more graceful.

All in good time.

Let’s not allow our imperfections to rob us of pleasure. Let’s enjoy what we can do in this moment even as we look forward to learning, growing, and becoming better each day.

* * * *

As I pondered those beautiful words of Maya Angelou, I visited her official website:

Maya Angelou

She is a remarkable lady, an acclaimed writer, and an inspiration to all. Please take a moment to visit her site and browse through her books.

Maya Angelou – Books


1 Comment

Happiness…It’s Something We Do

I’m a sucker for quotes. I have a Pinterest board filled with cute quips, inspirational messages, and clever  bon mots. Maybe it’s the writer in me that makes me so inexorably drawn to words. Add those words to a stunning image — in glorious living color, shades of gray, or stark black and white — and I’m hooked. I love finding memorable quotes, and I love sharing them with others.

Here’s my latest find. While I was browsing around earlier, exploring thoughts of love and happiness, I came across this gem:

Do It Happy

It gave me a pause…made me stop for a moment to ponder this wondrous thing we call happiness. So many people are looking for happiness! Why is it so hard to find?

In romance novels — actually, in almost all fiction — characters are striving to achieve goals, to attain things, to accomplish actions that they believe will bring happiness. That’s one of the reasons, I think, that we choose to read novels, and why we get so caught up in the stories.

But what about “real life”? How many of us are actively searching for happiness? I’ve known a lot of people who want happiness, but who sit around and wait for it to show up on their doorstep. That’s not how it works, and maybe we can take a lesson from the fictional heroes and heroines we find in romance.

They do things. They go places. They take chances.

Look again at that pretty little butterfly-filled quote.

  • It tells us that we should do what makes us happy, not sit back and let life — and love — pass us by.
  • It urges us to be with those who make us smile, and as often as not, that means getting up, going places, and finding those friends and loved ones. If we sit and wait, maybe they’ll drop by. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s better if we do get up and take an active part in life.
  • It encourages us to laugh as much as we breathe, which is to say, all the time. OK, so maybe that’s not one to take too literally. Life isn’t meant to be a joke, but it is meant to be enjoyed. Find the good in life. Laugh when things don’t work the way you’d hoped. Keep a positive attitude.
  • Most of all, it reminds us to love. Love as long as we live. Love always. Love everything. Love the morning sunlight, love the late afternoon shadows. Love the quietness of night, love the beauty of the earth.

DO. SMILE. LAUGH. LOVE.

Maybe that’s the recipe for happiness. Maybe if we add those ingredients into our lives and stir them up a bit, we’ll have happiness enough to satisfy ourselves — and share with others, too.