After what feels like a lifetime of putting others first - and by others I also include that annoying all encompassing inner voice - today I decided to do something that brings joy to my life. Every Day. So, to clarify, every day I will spend a period of time doing something that brings me joy. There. I’ve said it. Brings. Me. Joy.
I decided this about an hour ago. I’m away from my family and children, visiting my Dad. I was sitting in bed, the TV on a news channel and I just thought ‘where’s my joy?’. I thought back over the last couple of months, and I realised that I hadn’t spent any time doing things that made me happy. And by that I don’t mean I was unhappy, I am surrounded by a pair of awesome kids, a great husband, and a close family. But I hadn’t spent any time painting (I’m not particularly artistically talented, but I like what I do), I hadn’t spent very much time on my writing (I have a number of pieces ‘nearly’ ready for publication) and I hadn’t spent much time out in nature. It was a bit of a light bulb moment. I had been coasting through life, letting myself drift, living ‘unconsciously’. And this from a person who used to have dreams, goals and To Do List!!!
And you know what? I don’t want to be that person anymore. I want to share my stores with people; I want to proudly show off my latest painting, and have my husband say ‘Oh, that’s colourful’ (you can see why I love him, can’t you?!), I want to be able to tick stuff off that list!
So I hit the shower, threw on my clothes - tidied the hotel room!! Yeah Mommies can trash a hotel room in under a minute too. Kids take note! And I walked to the local discount store and bought a couple of writing pads. And here I am, committing to you, that I will do something that brings me joy - one thing, every day. Boom Bring it on!
Like so many of us, this last couple of years has been tough - COVID scared us into staying away from others, a lot of people lost loved ones, business stalled and many failed. There’s a group of people who took all of this and turned it into positive actions. They quit jobs that made them unhappy, they got themselves fit, they bought a camper van…and so many more bucket list items have been checked off. Now we are fighting the global economic slowdown. There’s a war in Ukraine, and hidden underneath, mostly out of sight, there is a mental health time bomb, tick, tick ticking away.
I’d love it if you’d like to join me, to walk beside me, for the next 30 days. Today is November 25th. I want to see if I can bring the joy back into my life, before Christmas, but not for Christmas if you get what I mean? So, from today until the 18th December, I’m going to consciously do something that brings me joy. I can’t spend hours doing it, so I’m aiming for just 30 minutes each day. #30MinutesOfJoy. Let’s go!
I’m feeling excited and invigorated. Today my joy will be spending time with my Dad AND - Yes! Two pots of joy today! (I’m greedy, right,!) I’m going to take 30 minutes to write. It might not be a lot to some, but making time for my writing is important to me. And the photo? My Dad and I sat looking at old photos and talking about places we've been.
What will you do to bring joy into your life today?
I can't believe it's been over a year since I've posted here! Where have I been? Nowhere great some of the time, somewhere great, some of the time
Simple tricks and treats that will open the door to happiness are often too expensive, too far or too unrealistic.
Would a brand-new car make me happy? Yeah, maybe. Until the money came out of my hard-earned savings. Would I like to travel (anyone else had travel plans cancelled recently?!) – I am currently drooling over a trip to Calgary, Canada. But it’s too far right now. Would I like to win the lottery? Yeah, but I’ve got to play it first.
To say I am a dreamer wouldn’t be too far from the truth. That’s why I write. I create worlds for imaginary friends to run wild, to search for happiness, to try, to fail, to dream and most importantly, to fall in love.
In the real world, all these things are possible too. Here’s my 5 Happy Inducing Things to Do
I’m choosing happy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still following the government’s advice. I’m just doing it with a smile on my face.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 45, I was caught completely off-guard. I was slim, ate a healthy diet, swam at least 5km a week, didn’t smoke and hardly drank plus I ran a busy B&B. There was no breast cancer in the family.
My medical team informed me that if I followed their treatment plan, they believed I would make a good recovery. That’s what I needed to hear. My life was in their hands, after all you have to trust your medical team, don’t you? I had my surgery, which was a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy, removing about seven nodes with one being infected, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
10 Ways to Beat Blue Monday Blues
Blue Monday Blues - No way! I get to decide how blue I’ll be on any given Monday. Here’s 10 little ideas to beat the Blue Monday Blues:
Did you know it’s #NationalTriviaDay today? No, it very nearly slipped by me too. Just think of what a missed opportunity that would’ve been.
We would never know that teeth are the only part of the body that can’t heal themselves? Yeah, I know, so that means that the rest of the body can heal itself. So why do we need doctors?
And, according to mentalfloss.com, Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men is used by researchers to attract animals to cameras in the wild. Now I find this more than a little concerning as, in years past, I was known to go camping with a guy who wore Obsession. I could have been eaten by a wolf!
And if you’ve ever thought of adding up all the numbers on a roulette wheel (I can’t quite believe I have never thought to do this) you’ll know the answer is 666. Hmmm. OK, gonna leave that one alone...
We might’ve put 2020 firmly behind us, and jumped feet first into 2021, but the BIG stuff is still out there. I am trying to focus on the positives, which, you must admit, have been a little thin on the ground. You know the saying “seek and you shall find”, well, one of my positive take-aways from 2020 is virtual Connect Four – you know the game where you have to get four tokens in a line. It’s a trivial thing to many, but it helped me stay connected to a good friend during our 4 month stay-at-home order. OK. So maybe not so trivial.
Hi There! Welcome to my first Writers Newsletter. As you know, I write a version of raunchy romance, but don’t worry, I won’t put any steamy stuff here – you can find all that sexy stuff, sassy women and seriously fit men in my books and, now and again, on the website.
Well, 2020. What can we say? For me, it’s been a year of Firsts, Lasts, Maybes and Nevers.
First time I’ve spent so much time with my family. And guess what? Confinement wasn’t that bad! We survived and found out that we like each other – well, most of the time! I became a Great Aunt for the first time in January and can’t wait to meet her. I published my first ever story! I officially became a Writer in 2020 – like so many others – and it felt great. Liberating to be honest.
Bars, restaurants, independent stores – some closing their doors for the last time. None of us know what lies ahead, what the world will look like, but I know that if we value something, we must support it. So, last year was the last time I favoured large, multi-national companies over smaller, family-run businesses. I’m going to actively try to spend some of my money locally.
Maybe, after all this is over, I will be more spontaneous. Normally I have my year planned out before the New Year’s Eve fizz is even in the fridge. Well, for one thing I’ve drunk a couple of bottles already, have yet to print the calendar, and won’t be booking any flights until we’re looking Easter in the face. A natural planner, I was a bit surprised I enjoyed the instant gratification of booking a hotel and going 3 days later.
Never will I run out of candles. I’ve discovered it is the little pleasures in life that make all the difference, so if I want to have 45 tealights lit because I like them, then I will. There are also people I will never give a second thought to. Most of us care way too much about what other people think of us, and by doing so, we hold ourselves back.
One thing I do know about 2020, it has given and taken chances and opportunities. If I can, I want to take the chances and opportunities in front of me and Go Big with my writing. A natural romantic, I’ve got a whole crew of hot, sexy people to introduce you to.
I’d love to hear from you, so either drop a comment here Contact - Writer of Romance (lyndyhughes.com) or connect with me on Twitter or IG.
I’d like to introduce you to a couple of people who have been dominating my life for a couple of months now. Harley and Emma Jane arrive in Longheim with enough personal baggage for a year-long vacation. Can they make this small town their home, and build a new life here? Watch out for the release in Spring next year. Want to read a few lines of their story?
“What? No.” Excitement that had become stronger the nearer she had come to town, suddenly evaporated. “My appointment is between 4 and 4.30, it’s only just 4.20, so I’ve still got 10 minutes to decide”. Casey had stepped back through the door and now stood in front of Emma-Jane. ‘No. No; No’ she couldn’t lose this house! Turning on her heal, she marched up to a set of double doors, flung them open, strode in, glanced around with un-seeing eyes, ignored the tight knot that had formed in her stomach, and continued around to the open kitchen. Taking in the glass doors out to the garden, and the outdated kitchen, she came full circle and marched out of the kitchen door, back into the hall. “I’ll take it!”
“I’m sorry, dear, but as I said, Jonathan was here, and he’s already said he’d have it”. Casey, professional realtor, simply looked back at Emma-Jane, shrugging her slim shoulders. “And, like I said, there is the apartment right across the street”.
“No, the Mayor said I had first refusal, and as a member of the Town payroll, I will be taking this house”. Emma-Jane was proud of herself for sticking to her guns, but mostly for not giving in to the tears that wanted to form.
A warm, melted chocolate-like laugh broke the silence. “Well, that makes two of us Miss”. A whisper of recognition fluttered through Emma Jane’s mind and was gone. The laughter in his voice was barely hidden by the polite words “I’m also on the Town’s payroll, and I was here at the allotted time.” Turning towards ‘Jonathan’, Emma Jane’s mouth flew open, her eyes went as round as saucers, and she took a step back, out of reach of the man she had pulled a gun on earlier that day.
Sign up to find out what’s next for Harley and Emma Jane - Contact - Writer of Romance (lyndyhughes.com) They may be joined by a few friends along the way…
Stay safe, look after you and yours, and let’s rock 2021! Bring It On!
My Journey from "writing" to "Writer"
For me, the joy of writing has finally taken hold. Having written my first story at school, I have been running from it ever since. This was the story that was read out to the class, much to my abject horror, cringing embarrassment and unconvincing nonchalance thereafter. It may not have been the best story written that weekend for our homework assignment, but I think my teacher was just surprised that someone had written a romance! The fact that it was the best, most thought through piece of work she had seen from me in the 2 years she had taught me, I think, speaks more to her perseverance, than my 15-year-old talent!
My current manuscript is a modern romance, set in small-town America, and tells the story of Emma Jane’s decision to stop running from her past, and have the courage to build a future she deserves. This story has taken roughly 18 months to get to the so very nearly finished state and is part of a series of, probably 6, books set in and around Longheim, with a renewal, reinventing vibe going on.
Three events moved me from ‘I’m writing’ to being a ‘Writer’. The first was an entry in a Facebook Literacy Group competition. Not sure why, but I decided to enter, and I came 7th! Out of 9!!! But it got my work out there for the first time and proved to me that finding MY readers is so important.
The second event had, arguably, the most impact, I had a coffee with a published writer I knew. Previously we had sort of agreed to support each other, but nothing much had come of it. This time it was different. We both needed accountability, had firm projects in mind and agreed to be each other’s sounding board. A quick text each evening, detailing how many words we had written soon became a series of messages, detailing our daily goals, passing on marketing tips, sharing information, being supportive (which means nagging each other!) as well as that progress report.
The third event was as a result of Event 2. I was advised to start building an audience, a list, a readership, and that Twitter was a good place to start. So, off I went, created an account, and began. I kept seeing #NaNoWriMo all over the place. Checked it out, and BOOM! I was hooked! The challenge is to write a book or 50K words in the month of November. I’d missed the first two days, so had a bit of catching up to do. And I did it! It gave me the additional accountability I so obviously needed, and I got stuck in. I’m a Winner! I got my 50K words down in November, and even though the story wasn’t finished, I carried on, and finished that first manuscript!
Incredibly happy, and very smiley for 3 days. Still rather chuffed with myself, I now know I will get this book out and published. And I have even jotted down a further 4 story ideas which may form part of the series. In fact, keep it to yourself, but I’m already halfway through a shortie which kind of relates to the series, here’s a sneaky peak:
The last vestiges of night gently pulled away, giving the world a new day. The once black as black sky had a blue tinge, whispering in from the East, the stars, once diamond bright, now gently fading. Pulling the cover closer around her shoulders against the predawn chill, her numb bare feet touched the slippery wooden boards, she was now ready to stand up to this day.
I’d love to hear what you think about Towards The West (working title), and if you’d like to hear more, please sign up for my newsletter.
Who knew writing could be so addictive?! She said in a very squeeky, annoying voice.
Name you Write Under : Lucie Dudley
What Genre(s) do you write :
It's a bit of a mix! Difficult to put into one category ... I am told it falls under spiritual realism, but has a strong women's/historical/romance, leaning too.
What and/or who inspired you to write :
I have read and written since childhood. But the inspirational moment, which really stands out is when I discovered Paulo Coelho's books - specifically, The Alchemist. I had never read anything like this before and I was hooked! I think I read it in one day!
The poetry of his words, and the deeper meaning beneath the story really inspired and enlightened me. It touched me deeply. Luckily he is a prolific author and I quickly consumed everything else he had written. After that I felt motivated to write my own tale from my own life experiences and The Caduceus is the result.
What was the name of your first book ?
Do you write full time ?
No. I have children and work two jobs as well, so write around my other obligations. Although when I get in the flow I can barely tear myself away from my laptop!
What is the most difficult part of the writing process for you ?
Structuring the storyline.
How do you overcome this ?
I had a chance encounter with Universal Journalist and ex-Independent news editor, David Randall. David was giving a talk at a 'Happiness Weekend' at Dartington Estate in Devon, near where I live and we got talking. From then on he became my mentor and editor, while I was writing The Caduceus and helped me as I finished my book. His support was invaluable and without his assistance I don't think I would have got it out there!
A fresh and in my case, more experienced, pair of eyes was so important for me.
What are you currently reading ?
The Wild Other by Clover Stroud. I love her writing style, her authenticity and her honesty and bravery in exposing her own darkest moments and fears. I am finding it incredibly raw and touching.
Describe your current release or work in progress
It is again, a modern day fairy tale with a deeper message underneath. Set in our times, it focuses on the dynamics between certain conflicting personality types and what happens when they connect. I don't want to give too much away as it is still forming as I write and still a work in progress. But like The Caduceus, it can be read on two levels - as a straightforward story, or as a spiritual fable for our times.
When will your WIP be released ?
What’s next for you ?
I plan to keep writing and to travel more. There will be a third book, but I will only be able to process it properly when I've finished my current one.
Where can readers find you ?
Instagram - Luciedudley1
FB - Lucie Dudley author
Twitter - @luciedudley4
What would you like your readers to know about you ?
I live magically and creatively. If I find myself stuck in a rut it's like a bit of my soul dies! It sounds dramatic, but it's true and is another reason I wrote The Caduceus.
When not working or writing I can be found walking, doing yoga, gardening, dancing or cooking.
I try and live a magical life, but like many, often find myself caught up in the day to day stresses of modern life. Yoga usually shakes it off or a good boogie to the radio in my kitchen!
Name you Write Under : Nisha Mohan
What Genre(s) do you write : Contemporary Romance and Suspense Fiction
Tell us a little about what and/or who inspired you to write : Authors like Erich Segal, John Grisham, Stephen King, Danielle Steel, Dan Brown, Paulo Coelho, Nicholas Sparks are authors who I look up to and have been my inspiration. Closer to home I have read a few books by Chetan Bhagat, RK Narayan and AmishTripathi.
I have always been interested in books ever since I can remember. I initially started off with writing articles and short stories and finally began working on my first novel about 4 years ago.
And what was the first book you wrote ? An Unforgettable Holiday
Do you write full time ? I am a human Resource Professional by the day and a novelist by night.So I don’t really write full time. But yeah that is certainly something that I would lean towards in time to come.
What is the most difficult part of the writing process for you? Well to be honest, as a writer there are always a million thoughts running through my head and even when I was working on my first book, I’d have four of five ways of how I would want a situation to be played out. The challenge lies in knowing what’s best for your book and the current story line and editing it accordingly. Trimming hurts coz for every author, his or her book is almost like their little baby and we may hesitate to trim our stories, but that is a critical step in ensuring your book is a good read.
How do you overcome this ? Read Read Read. I take a break and then read some more. The break helps me revisit the manuscript with a fresh start and I also feel a little more comfortable to edit the book when I look at it through a practical lens. Getting trusted reviews also helps big time.
What are you currently reading ? The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Describe your current release or work in progress My first book, An Unforgettable Holiday, is a Contemporary Romance and Suspense Fiction Novel.
The book is a seat gripping thriller that revolves around a young woman, Tania’s search for timeless love and the perils she encounters during this journey. What starts off as a fun-filled holiday with friends ends up in, Tania, finding herself locked in a cabin on a lonely island. It is here when the readers begin to start questioning who are the men in her life ? Are they really whom she thinks they are ?Or is there more to them than what meets the eye ? What are those secrets that are being harbored ? Will Tania escape ? Will she find true love ? Only time will tell.
So, what's next for you? I am yet to get started on my second book. But as of now looking at having something out by July 2021, and then another seat gripping novel for sure.
Where can readers find you? Connect with me at -
Instagram Author Page https://www.instagram.com/nishamohan_author
Instagram Book Page https://www.instagram.coman_unforgettable_holiday/
Subscribe to Nisha’s mailing list at https://www.nishamohan.com/
And finally, what would you like your readers to know about you ? Am a tea connoisseur. I live in Bangalore, India, a land of opportunities and rich cultural heritage. I like to believe that I have some capabilities of a Mentalist where in I can read people’s mind. I enjoy predicting things before they can happen and almost all occasions I have been able to hit the nail on the head when it comes to deciphering an individuals thought process or next move. When I am not cooking or spending time with my little tyke , that is my 6 year old son, you can catch me writing into
wee hours from the comfort of my porch.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me, Nisha, and best of luck with your writing.