Below is a link to a blog I wrote for the Craftie Ladies of Romance. What are the three things you need for a successful year? What about embracing failure, creating community and resilience? Hit the link below and read more about it.
Wow – Looking back on the year and finding my highlights I was amazed at the wonderful people that have been brought into my life. Some long term and had no choice, family is family, others have come in and guided me and came with so much love I have a hard time believing it. Thank you.
I will spend five days with a small group of writers led by Alexandra Sokoloff to brainstorm, stretch our story, twist the plot points and turn the predictable into the unexpected.
May the 24th I got to visit with a wonderful group of writers in the Dallas area, DARA http://www.dallasromanceauthors.com/ and shared a little bit of what I’ve learned about story structure. Below is my powerpoint, a blank chart and a picture of my story board.
I’m a child of the 80’s and one of my favorite past-times was watching MTV at my BF, DeDe’s house. (I lived out of town and only got four stations.) Bonnie Taylor’s song, Holding Out for a Hero, was one we loved watching over and over again. Looking at it now I find it a little bazaar and twisted.
My mom said, “She doesn’t need a hero, get that girl a gun.” My mother was a wee bit independent and yes, we had a 22 hanging over our front door. Always loaded, because you might need it, but that’s a story for another day.
Now I write about hero’s and post pictures of my favorites.
Yes, readers and writers know the difference between reality and fantasy. That’s the point. I mean when we watched Wizard of Oz we knew clicking our heels wouldn’t get us anywhere, we might imagine it, but we knew it wouldn’t really happen.
Same way with the heroes in romance novels. We want them to seem real, but not too real. That’s part of the fun, right?
There are all kind of heroes: the bad boy, the lawman, superheroes, and poets. You have the classic prince and outlaw. Some tortured souls and others are healers. The warriors and protectors stand strong above all others. The man that will sacrifice all for love even his ego.
Come on, I can’t talk about heroes without at least one picture of Thor. (Shout out Joni Hahn and Sasha Summers)
When we close the book, the real heroes are in our lives, men and women that are there everyday, are waiting for us even when we sneak away to another world.
What is your favorite kind of hero? If you leave a name or post a photo, I’m add them to my hero board in pinterest.
We live by faith, not by sight
2 Corinthians 5:7
I’m fascinated with doors, love them. Walking the French Quarter in New Orleans, I took more pictures of doors than anything else.
Doors are strong symbolism for opportunities & rejections. How do we handle an opened door? Afraid of the unknown or do you have the faith to walk through with courage?
How do we react when confronted with a closed door?
There are times we want to bang on the locked door until our fist is bloody and our throat raw, or imagine going Chuck Norris on the thing that keeps us from our perfect life. Denying us what we think we desire the most. The one thing that would make us happy. Oh, but I have learned that closed doors can be the greatest gift, forcing us to find a new path.
Early in our marriage, with two baby girls, we tried to buy our first house. Denied, I was devastated. I ended up moving back home for a couple of months as we made new plans. That ended up being exactly where I needed to be at that time. Without warning, I lost my father in a plane crash, but the months spent with him can’t be replaces. God had answered a prayer I didn’t even know I needed to pray. Seeing the devastation of Katrina in the 9th Ward put many thing in perspective, also the support and faith to rebuild.
Yes, faith is believing in what you can’t see, but I also think it is seeing with faith. If we take the time to look we can see God’s love in the most unlikely places.
I love life in a small town. People know people. They know your grandmother, your cousin and your children. You belong. You have a history. You’re part of a story.
The draw back? People remember you as a teenager, and they really know your family members.
There are different levels of small towns. Places like Leakey, Texas with less than 400 people is what I consider small. It is also the kind of town I love writing about, generations of ranchers and business owners. Kindergarteners to twelfth graders are on the same school campus. Community is strong. Not a great deal has changed there over the years.
Then you have small towns like Boerne, Texas. When I started school here in 1979, there was one high school, one middle school and two elementaries. No chain restaurant or fast food. The grocery store and pharmacy were owned by local families. About 4,000 people called it home, and you could still hear people speaking German. Boerne is going through growing pains. North of San Antonio, people love the Main street feel of small town with the convenience of the big city.
You don’t see as many family owned businesses, for the sake of convenience the big box stores have staked a claim forcing the mom and pop shops to close or redefine themselves.
I write small town stories. Lone Star Holiday takes place in a small town on the Frio River. Rumor has it the population is 400 if you count the horses.
In honor of Texas small towns and family I’m proud to announce my first book signing for Lone Star Holiday. It will be on Main Street in Boerne at Bergmann Lumber on October 19th. Yes, I’m having a book signing at a hardware store. They are one of the few family owned businesses that have found a way to survive the shift in Boerne’s population and demographics.
The two story limestone building is a historical site and owned by the same family for three generations. Randy Bergmann and his daughters have managed to reinvent their store front and focus on customer service.
So if you want to buy a story about small town, family and faith come by Bergmann Lumber on Main Street in Boerne, Texas. You can also support small businesses. Do some early Christmas shopping.http://www.bergmannlumber.com/ Book Signing Saturday October 19th from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.
I have always loved getting boxes from the UPS man. Today was extra special, he brought me a box of my book, Lone Star Holiday, by Jolene Navarro. Heartwarming Inspirational Romance. Love Inspired.
Yes that is all on the cover, along with my hero, Cowboy Pastor John Levi and his daughter Celeste decorating a Christmas tree. Well here’s a picture.
I was so excited when the UPS man delivered them I told him what was in the box. He said his wife loved reading those so I asked him if he wanted one for her. He seemed excited too.
After he left I realized I had my first book signing on the front steps of my house and no picture.
Here is a snippet from the story:
“Are you lost?”
His deep Texas drawl washed over her. Lorrie Ann shook her head and searched for words. “No, but I’m sure that depends on who you ask.” Raising her gaze, she flashed her best smile. In California it had never failed her.
Instead, he glanced off into the pasture, at the cows. “Is that your car up ahead?”
She sighed. Apparently, Texas cowboys were a completely different breed from the men she had been working with in Los Angeles.
“Yeah, I ran out of gas.”
“Anyone I can call for you?”
“No, no really as soon as I get my phone I’m good.”
He turned that devastating smile back on her. “How your phone ended up in a cow pasture is bound to be an interesting story.” He held his hand out to her, the fence still between them. “I’m John Levi.”
Lorrie Ann smiled back at him, a genuine smile this time. It felt good. The past couple years anything real had been hard to find.
The book will be in stores October, but you can pre-order on Amazon or Barns & Noble to get a copy in September. I’m setting up book signing now, so stay tuned. If you follow my blog you’ll get the lasted updates. I’m not very good at keeping a secret, so will also so up on my author page on facebook too.
The writer Peter De Vries said, “I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at 9:00 am every morning.”
We are all born with a creative brain. If you don’t believe that, hang out with some four or five year olds. The impulse control is underdeveloped. The filters of acceptable behavior and fears of rejection aren’t there yet in the young mind. This is why the creative genius, Picasso, said: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
So how do we redevelop our creativity?
In the mid 1800s there was a movement that changed how the world would forever look at and judge art. Impressionism was incubated at Café Guebois. How did a small group of people accomplish this fete? By meeting together regularly, they challenged and debated the idea of art. They had heated disagreements over the “rules” of art. Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne and Degas were a widely diverse group of artists, but their creative energy paved the way for generations of modern artists. Steve Jobs said collaboration works best when ideas are met with brutal honesty and are forced to explore a deeper purpose. Sound like good critique to me.
Four years ago, I found SARA (San Antonio Romance Authors), and my writing has greatly improved because of their questioning, pushing and tough critique. They introduced me to other writers that changed my life.
In June, for the last two years I have made my way to West Texas A&M to a writers week organized by the amazing Jodi Thomas and Tim Lewis.
The people above are superstars. For five days, we meet about five hours a day in a class led by Alexandra Sokoloff. This year bordered on magical. A full week of brainstorming, being pushed by this small group to find that twist in your story. The ideas are there, buried deep in your brain.
Side benefit? Lifelong friends that “get me” in a way no one else ever will.
If you want to be creative, you can’t let fear of rejection or ridicule hold you back.
Find people that help push past your first superficial idea and get to the imaginative workings of your brain. Whatever it is- art, writing, computer, finance, or building things- We are beings created to create, find that group of liked passions and discuss how to make your dreams come true.
Do you have a group that challenges your creative mind?