Fuel Your Creativity with Olivia Polk

Let’s give a warm welcome to Olivia Polk!!

One way I fuel my creativity other than writing is through painting. This is something I started after my son was born and it has been a great way for me to express myself, try something new and learn a new craft. I quit my job when my son was born and am now a stay-at-home-mom. I love spending time with him and feel very lucky we are able to have this special time together. However, raising a child is obviously a longer term “project” than writing a book or finishing a work project!

Christmas Ornament After working as a public relations professional for 10 years, it was difficult to feel the same sense of accomplishment at the end of each day as I did when I was working.Dessertr Painting has been a great outlet for my creativity and has given me the extra sense of accomplishment and production I needed.

It sounds cliché, but I find inspiration everywhere. I’ve painted pieces inspired by photos in a magazine, a book and even from the holidays. Wicked Several of my first paintings were inspired by Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I remind myself that the painting doesn’t need to be perfect but is always a good opportunity for practice. Thankful - FallIt has been a surprising new hobby and I’ve been very pleased with the response I’ve received. I opened an Etsy shop with my sister and we sold one of my first paintings very quickly. This is something I plan to continue practicing and am looking forward to seeing my skill grow in time.

 

Babymaid book cover Babymaid Book Blurb

Lexi’s life is finally falling into place. She has just received a much-deserved promotion to manage a public relations campaign for a new Miami hotel complete with a handsome hotel manager. Just when she thinks she will have the big news during happy hour, her best friend Savannah drops a baby-powder covered bomb. She’s pregnant. BOOM! Before Lexi has a chance to recover from the shell-shock, Kate, the third musketeer in their trio, admits that she too is expecting. KA-BAM!

Lexi soon realizes her whole life is undergoing a baby proof makeover when Kate moves into her condo to flee a failing marriage. As the pits of real pregnancy start to multiply —food aversions, medical tests and more, Lexi starts to wonder if she actually knows anything about real pregnancy.

Between the hotel launch and her leading role as babymaid, Lexi can hardly keep baby bottles and champagne bottles straight and starts to question if she can handle the pressure. Can Lexi survive the pregnancies, pull off the hotel launch of the year and snag her own someday-baby-daddy? She knew how to be a bridesmaid, can she learn to be a…babymaid?

http://www.amazon.com/Babymaid-Olivia-Polk-ebook/dp/B00I2XXCUC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406832576&sr=8-1&keywords=babymaid

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/babymaid-jane-f-odowd/1118331220?ean=2940148113034

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20831584-babymaid?from_search=true

JaneandOlivia.com

Author Bio

Olivia Polk and Jane O’Dowd are Orlando-based friends, moms and public relations professionals. Their fun debut novel Babymaid tells the story of how female relationships evolve when women make the transition from friends to friends-with-kids.

 

Tuesday Treats!!

It’s time for  Tuesday Treats!!

We’re going to get you through the Tuesday blahs. In the treat basket today are:

 

Shirt and Pants Tote Bag

Shirt and Pants tote bag. Great for holding your favorite reads. Interior pocket for pens or phone.

And an Astraea Press Drop Card! The card includes the following books:

Astraea Press Drop Card

If you aren’t sure what a drop card is, well, it’s pretty cool. You log into the information on the back of the card and you get to download these six books for free. How awesome is that? (I think it helps if you log in on your computer first, but then you can send them to whatever device you want.)

What are the six books? 

Samurai’s Garden, Patricia Kiyono; Along the Way Home, Christi Corbett; Labor of Love, Felicia Rodgers; Climbing Heartbreak Hill, Joselyn Vaughn; Molly’s Folly, Denise Gwen; Shining Moon Rises, Stephy Smith.

So how do you win these treasures?

Pretty easy! Leave a comment below before midnight. Winners will be chosen on Wednesday.

To leave a comment, click on where it says ‘2 comments’ or ‘4 comments’ and you will see the comment window.

(Because this involves mailing actual packages, this treat is for US residents only. Sorry. :-( Stay tuned though, there will be others.)

Happy Tuesday!

 

Fuel Your Creativity with J. J. Nite

Please welcome J.J. Nite to Fuel Your Creativity!

I sewed my first creation at five. It may have only been recognizable to me that it was a bunny, but I was very proud of it.

 

Fast forward 15 years. After 2 years as a music major, I had decided to change my field of study. To what I still didn’t know. I moved back home to try and figure it out and by November was a little depressed.

My mom recognized that I needed something to divert my mind from obsessing about what to do with my life. She talked me into joining her weekly sewing night with all her friends. While I wasn’t initially excited about sewing with a group of women who had watched me grow up, I was looking forward to sewing a quilt.

I was welcomed with open arms and everyone helped me get started. It was funny to watch them all work separately, but chatter away the whole time. Some of the topics discussed made me blush and I was sometimes instructed to forget what was said.

I was fascinated and a little horrified, by how they worked together. One of the ladies would be trying to make a decision about the layout of a quilt or a color combination. It wouldn’t be long before a “group decision” would be necessary.

Apparently it took a 20 year-old, an outsider, to point out the fact that there was a group decision needed for everything. I would shake my head, point out the group decision, and keep sewing.

Because I could only sew on Tuesday nights, my project was progressing slowly. By the time I was ready to choose a layout, I felt like I had been accepted into a group that was warm and supportive. And then it happened. I couldn’t decide on a layout and before I knew what was happening I had done it. I asked what everyone else thought about my layout. And you had better believe they let me know I had become one of them…before they helped me with a group decision.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

J.J. Nite lives in North Alabama with her husband, 3 kids, 2 dogs, and 5 goldfish. She writes young adult sweet romance for Astraea Press and loves reading as much as possible. J.J.’s also found that if she doesn’t write something every day, her mood is that of a bear waking from hibernation. Don’t worry though, the children have learned to let Mommy write a little before approaching.

Social Media:

Twitter: @jjnite

Instagram: @jjniteauthor

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jjnite1

 

Beginnings of the Heart book coverBeginnings of the Heart by J.J. Nite, Astraea Press

When Morgan and Cole discover that they are pregnant at sixteen, they don’t know how life will change for them. While Cole’s family is supportive, Morgan’s is not. Rumors spread and uncertainties abound, but they hold to one another and vow to work together.  Just when they think everything is going to work out and they can see the light at the end of the tunnel, tragedy strikes this small family. Will everyone pull together in their grief or will it drive a wedge between them all?

 

 

Tuesday Treats is back!

Welcome back to Tuesday Treats!!

Some of you may be celebrating the beginning of Parent Vacation (otherwise known as Back to School). Most Michigan children go back today. The Little One doesn’t start until Friday. Even if you are beyond the Back to School whirlwind, we’re going to have fun today. In the treat basket today are:

Patchwork Wristlet

Patchwork Wristlet – 8″ X 5″ with detachable handle. Fully lined.

And an Astraea Press Drop Card! The card includes the following books:

Astraea Press Drop Card

If you aren’t sure what a drop card is, well, it’s pretty cool. You log into the information on the back of the card and you get to download these six books for free. How awesome is that? (I think it helps if you log in on your computer first, but then you can send them to whatever device you want.)

What are the six books? 

Samurai’s Garden, Patricia Kiyono; Along the Way Home, Christi Corbett; Labor of Love, Felicia Rodgers; Climbing Heartbreak Hill, Joselyn Vaughn; Molly’s Folly, Denise Gwen; Shining Moon Rises, Stephy Smith.

So how do you win these treasures?

Pretty easy! Leave a comment below before midnight. Winners will be chosen on Wednesday.

(Because this involves mailing actual packages, this treat is for US residents only. Sorry. :-( Stay tuned though, there will be others.)

Happy Tuesday!

 

Tuesday Treats is back!

It’s here!! Tuesday Treats!!

Took us a little longer to get ready today because it’s the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!

Apparrently it's also camo day. Good things the kids got the memo because I missed that one.

Apparrently it’s also camo day. Good things the kids got the memo because I missed that one.

Whether you are celebrating the first day of school or trying to get through the Tuesday blahs, we have a treat for you. In the treat basket today are:

Shirt and Pants Tote Bag

Shirt and Pants tote bag. Approximately 12″x”12″x6″. Inside is denim with a pocket for your phone or keys or pens. Great size for carrying several trade paperbacks. :-)

And an Astraea Press Drop Card! The card includes the following books:

Astraea Press Drop Card

If you aren’t sure what a drop card is, well, it’s pretty cool. You log into the information on the back of the card and you get to download these six books for free. How awesome is that? (I think it helps if you log in on your computer first, but then you can send them to whatever device you want.)

What are the six books? 

Samurai’s Garden, Patricia Kiyono; Along the Way Home, Christi Corbett; Labor of Love, Felicia Rodgers; Climbing Heartbreak Hill, Joselyn Vaughn; Molly’s Folly, Denise Gwen; Shining Moon Rises, Stephy Smith.

So how do you win these treasures?

Pretty easy! Leave a comment below before midnight. Winners will be chosen on Wednesday.

(Because this involves mailing actual packages, this treat is for US residents only. Sorry. :-( Stay tuned though, there will be others.)

Happy Tuesday!

 

Fuel Your Creativity with Jennifer Slattery

Please welcome Jennifer Slattery to the Fuel Your Creativity series.
Jennifer Slattery

Staring at a blank computer screen can be exhilarating or terrifying… depending on what goes on in your brain. Sometimes my brain feels like it’s on overdrive, with scenes and characters and plot ideas all vying for space. Other times I fear it’s gone comatose. When that happens, it’s easy to panic, for truly, a writer is only a writer when, well, writing.fdecbb46

So what do I do when my brain goes AWOL? How do I squeeze creativity from a stale neuron?

First, I relax, because the moment one starts to stress, they begin to kill off brain cells. Truly. (You can read more about this here. http://www.youramazingbrain.org/brainchanges/stressbrain.htm) And we writers need everyone of those little guys we can get. But more than that, anxiety zaps our creativity and shifts us into problem solving mode instead.

What’s the answer?

Step away. Read a book. Go for a walk. Create something without using words. In other words, give your brain a bit of a vacation. And cut yourself some slack, because once the pressure is off, your brain will begin to relax, allowing your inner muse to come out of hiding.

Second, do more research. This might sound counter to my previous suggestion, but… I’ve found, when I’m having a difficult time plotting a story, it’s often because I don’t know enough of my storyworld. For example, if my main character works for the IRS, I’ll need to know the typical challenges and conflicts an individual performing audits might face. I’ve found this step is often most helpful if I research through reading a relevant novel or biography. Doing so tricks my brain into thinking I’m enjoying a bit of relaxing entertainment, which in turn encourages it to release my muse.

Third, do something mindless, like washing the dishes or weeding the garden. The physical activity will stimulate creative thinking while accomplishing something—anything!—will reduce your stress.

Fourth, gather some buddies together for a brainstorming group. It’s amazing how one idea, even if it’s unrelated, can stimulate another. I have two friends, both of whom write in completely different genres, that I regularly brainstorm with. It never fails, as I listen to their stories, plot holes, and struggles; I begin to view my story and characters in a different light.circleofsmilies

Fifth, widen your circle. Have you ever read a series of books from an author and felt as if they were all the same? I don’t mean brand or genre the same but rather the same-same, like youre reading the exact novel repackaged in a different setting? It’s an easy rut to fall in to because let’s face it, research or not, we tend to write what we’ve experienced or encountered. But if we widen our circle of friends and begin to hang out with people who are immensely different from us, our little world expands, as do our stories. (Cue song, “My Own Little Word” by Matthew West.)

Which leads me to my next suggestion: spend more time listening than talking. Everyone we encounter has a story to tell, a perception to share, and a journey to follow. What great fodder! The problem is, we writers tend to be wordy, or busy, or perhaps just distracted. Actually, all of those things combined. But imagine the stories we could tell if we fully engaged, both ears opened, with the lives all around us?brain1

Finally, look up. Worship. Turn your focus—every part of your heart and brain—to the Creator of creativity. No agenda, no demands. Simply rest in Him. He is the one who will fill and inspire you. Because here’s the deal—if God wants you to write that next story, you will.

We all wander into the creative desert on occasion. How do you find your way out? Share your suggestions here. We’ll all benefit from them.  :-)

 

Check out her book:

Beyond I Do:

Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Purchase link: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-I-Do-Jennifer-Slattery/dp/1596694173/

Jennifer Slattery writes missional romance for New Hope Publishers, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and devotions for Internet Café Devotions. She also maintains a personal blog at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com and writes and edits for Christ to the World Ministries, an international ministry that shares the gospel, via radio waves, with thirty-two countries.