Until We Meet Again

By Tammy Trail

Well, it’s my turn. The day I have dreaded since Jennifer made the announcement about deactivating the blog. I refused to accept it. I tried to find a solution. I practically begged the powers that be to reconsider. I wanted to stomp my foot and throw a hissy fit like a two-year-old.

However, none of that worked. Then I realized I was being selfish. Admitting it sounds even worse. Who was I to hold back progress? Sometimes leaving on a good note is best. Even though I knew this in my head, my heart grew heavy, and my mind entertained thoughts of what it meant for me without this blog. I will miss it.

Then I remembered that sometimes things need to end so new things can grow. Even God made it evident in nature, in our Spirits, and with our very lives. We see it everyday for 365 days that make up our year. I know this year is especially hard for all of us, as we are now experiencing history being made with the virus that controls our days. I do not know about you, but I feel cabin fever settling in a little bit.

For the past five years, being part of this CREW has meant the world to me. Jennifer took a big chance on a newbie writer and allowed me to learn, create, and gifted me with a chance to use my voice.  I’m sure some of my older blog post read like the very amateur that I am. I needed a lot of help. And I was graciously given all the help I needed. I appreciate each crew member past and present. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. I know there are crew members  launching new books, maybe scheduling speaking engagements, and getting contracts offers to write more books. I’m so very excited for all of you!

Thank you to everyone who followed us, left comments, and gave advise along the way! You were the best part of writing for Inspired Prompts! Thank you so much for spending your time with us. I’ve spent my free time lately working on a new novel. I like how its shaping up. I have a writing friend offering to be a mentor of sorts. I’m very excited about that! So maybe someday my writing will be read again, in a published book, or on a blog of my own. Until then……

 

Happy trails to you,
Until we meet again.
Happy trails to you,
Keep smiling until then.

Who cares about the clouds when we’re together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.

Happy trails to you,
Until we meet again.

Until we meet again#goodbyes are hard

The War Within

By Tammy Trail

Giving up is never an option. Sometimes a physical goal, like running a marathon challenges your endurance. A body can only do so much, and joints don’t last forever. Once they need replacement, there is always that chance they won’t work quite the same as before, and we struggle to do what we did with ease in the past.Perhaps you never had it in you to finish a race, a project or fulfill a dream. That brass ring always seems to be just beyond your reach no matter how hard you try to stretch out your arm to grab it. Your fingertips always brush against it without the prize in your hand.

I started to think that way about my writing. I’d start a story and get excited about all the possibilities. What kind of adventures could I create for my characters? What lessons do they need to learn along the way? I’d get so far with this and then the story ideas would fizzle like out like a spent sparkler on the 4th of July.

I’ve gone months without writing a single word or reading any resources that would inspire a new look into an old, lifeless story. Why then, when I’m sitting doing nothing, do I suddenly think of a scene for one of my characters in a story that I have not even thought of for weeks? Then I’m right back into the thick of it. The stories won’t die. It’s as if my characters are begging me to tell their story. How can I do them justice with my meager half-hearted attempts?

Then, one Sunday, while I sat trying to focus on the Pastor’s message, he said something that made me sit up a bit. “Focused intensity, over time, multiplied by God, equals momentum.”  I honestly don’t remember the rest of the sermon. I was so caught up in pondering those words. Was God trying to tell me something? I wanted to embrace this new idea and the possibilities it could hold. Finally, I googled it and found out that a popular Christian life coach uses this mantra a lot. Could I use this in my writing life?

Discouragement is a tough pill to swallow. On one hand, I understood that to get to the level of writing I wanted to achieve I had to write. From there I wondered which writing project I should pick up or should I start a new one? I chose to start a new one, but that didn’t last long. So, I am working on a western story that I started a few years ago. Now all I need to do is get focused.

Back to Fi/TG=M, which is the formula for Focused Intensity, over time, multiplied by God, equals momentum. My focus needs to be so intense that I let nothing get in the way of my goal. With that intensity I should be able to meet that goal. But it will be a challenge.

Now back to the marathon runner. No one wins a distance race by running as fast as they can as hard as they can until they run out of steam. It’s steady progress over time. And quitting is not an option.

Philippians 4:13, I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” NIV. We all know this scripture. It is one of the first I memorized. When the formula is in practice the last step is to let it all go. Trying to achieve this formula on your own could cause burnout. You need to give it to God. Then HE will step in and give you what you need to meet your goals.

I am going to do this. Just watch me!

Don’t quit #just start again

 

Start The Year Out Right

By Tammy Trail

January is the month of new beginnings. We celebrate a new year and make resolutions that most of us will follow for a few weeks, and then our resolve disappears like melting snow. For some of us, those promises made to ourselves don’t come with consequences. But for others who need to make major health choices, the consequences may be detrimental.

About four years ago I found out that I am a diabetic. At first, this didn’t mean much to me because I had no symptoms. My overall health was not affected. There were no outward appearances that made a person think, “Hey there goes that diabetic.”

I didn’t fully understand diabetes until I took a class a few months ago. This class taught me the causes of diabetes and why my lifestyle choices can make my diabetes manageable or suffer some pretty awful health issues if I don’t pay attention and make good choices.

I have Type 2 diabetes. That means my pancreas produces too much insulin and dumps it into my bloodstream. When I have too much insulin (sugar) in my system my body can’t use it all for energy. I need to help my body out by not eating foods that cause even MORE insulin because my pancreas is working too hard. That insulin will be delivered to other organs that can’t use it and may cause damage.  Your nervous system, kidneys, eyes, and eventually your heart can be damaged from not managing your diabetes correctly.

I’m not up for more doctor visits, medication, or medical tests because I can’t control what I’m putting in my mouth. Now for some folks, no matter what they do, diabetes controls them instead of the other way around. It’s hard. But I’m willing to try and make a difference for myself.

Another fact that this class taught me is the kinds of foods I can eat, and the ones to stay away from. That is so hard.  Who doesn’t like mashed potatoes and gravy, or bread? Those are two of my favorite carbs. But carbohydrates are just as bad as sugar for a diabetic. There are carbs and sugar in almost everything we eat. The trick is to find foods that are very low in sugar and carbs.

What I am trying to do is to stay away from processed foods. Eat more vegetables that are lower in carbohydrates, like cauliflower, squash, broccoli and green beans. More lean meats, like turkey, chicken, and fish. I do eat brown rice, and sprouted grain bread, but I try and eat those only occasionally. I cut soda pop from an everyday beverage to once in a great while, maybe twice a month.

It’s hard to say no. But I keep telling myself that one day I may be able to stop taking my diabetic medicine altogether if I work hard. And if I don’t stay the course? Well, I don’t like to think of the consequences. I would like to be around to see my grandsons graduate from school and have families of their own someday. I won’t be able to do that if I don’t take care of myself.

So, I’m here to encourage you too.  If you have health issues, stop and think about the consequences. We have more power over our health than we may think.  It’s all in how we look at it.

Better health this year #2020 @trail_j https://ctt.ac/MehL0

Writers, It’s Party Time!

By Tammy Trail

If you plan to publish a new book in 2020, why not consider a Facebook Launch party?

Of course, you will need to create a Facebook author page. This page is specifically for the public to learn about your new book, and about you as the author. It’s your place to shine.

A great header on your page can help to advertise your book. Include the title, and a little bit about your book. Perhaps tease your audience with a bit of backstory or the world you have created for your characters. For instance, the setting for my new story is New Mexico. I plan to use hot air balloons as a backdrop for my setting. So, I could possibly use hot air balloons in my header to entice my reader into finding out more. Just remember to make it stand out to catch the eye. It’s also a good idea to create and post a book trailer on your page to engage your guests.

As your potential reader, I will need to know where I can find your book, and when will it be available? Maybe do a cover reveal during your launch party, and get your readers involved by guessing from the cover where your story takes place. You could garner some enthusiasm with a giveaway. A copy of your book, a gift card, or an item that may go along with the theme of your story.

Next, you will want to create an event for your Facebook Launch party. Go to Facebook options for full instructions on setup. Make sure you invite all of your friends. Encourage your friends to tell their friends about your new book that will be available soon. Allow your page to be public so that it may be shared in the Facebook world.

Guests will want to get to know you better. Share yourself with them, provide a bio, your social media links, and an opportunity to sign up for your newsletter, follow your new author page on Facebook, share your blog information and how they can follow you there. Ask them to follow you on Goodreads and encourage them to post comments about your book.

  • Post writing prompts for your guest to finish in order to win a prize.
  • Have your guests pick who wrote the best prompt to determine the winner.
  • Keep your attendees engaged by using games of trivia, or sharing what they like best about a movie character, story settings, or favorite heroes or heroines from books they have read.
  • Food is also a great topic to share.

The possibilities are only as endless as your imagination. Just remember to have fun!

Writing is hard work, but that is just the beginning of your journey. You are set to make wonderful new friends who are writers like yourself and want to encourage you, or readers who will fall in love with your story. Promoting yourself and the product you have worked so hard on should be fun and engaging. So, get creative.

Writing Prompt: Helen has a  novel coming out, and needs ideas for a cover. What do some of your favorite book covers include? Help Helen out be giving her some great advice.

Click to Tweet:  Let the good times roll #Facebook launch party.

Wipe Your Face Girl, and Act Right.

By Tammy Trail

This past summer I went back to the state of my birth to visit family and friends. I attended a reunion with my mother and a group of her grade school friends. I recalled that they had grown up in a time where rules, like etiquette, still mattered. Unlike today, where you see people grocery shopping in their pajamas. A personal pet peeve of mine.

Is there any part of our society that still follows rules of etiquette, you may ask?  Why yes, there is. Allow me to point out that as writers we have standards we should follow, at least until you are established enough to break them.

First let’s determine what etiquette is: A code of polite conduct. Should you practice proper etiquette you are less likely to offend or annoy people – you may even charm them.

For writers, it is no different. I remember when I first attended a writer’s meeting for my local chapter group. A multi-published author was a member of our group. Being new to the whole scene I gushed to my two writer friends about this author. They both looked at me like I had a cat on my head. “You’re not going to go all weird on us, are you? They might frown on that.”  I assure them both that I did know how to act right! Yes, it’s a funny story, and I did wait to be introduced before telling said author that I enjoyed her books.

In the publishing world there are a few “rules” to follow while submitting your work to an editor, or for an agent’s consideration for representation:

  1. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Please take the time to look for an agent that wants to represent your genre. For example, you wouldn’t send a Young Adult Fantasy proposal to an agent who only wants to represent Historical Romance. If you do your homework, you can find an agent’s bio and what kind of manuscripts they are looking for, simply by googling their name.
  1. FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES. Once you have settled on the agent or editor you would like to work with, do look for their query guidelines to submit your proposal to them for consideration. You can find these on most websites under a submissions. There you may also find what they are looking for in the genre, and how they would like the email to be sent along with the email address. 

  1. SELF EDIT. Look over your proposal very carefully. Punctuation and grammar, as well as spelling errors  are telling. If your proposal is not up to standard, chances are a professional will assume your manuscript is written in the same manner. Don’t get a strikeout at first base, get a home run by taking just a few more minutes to read your proposal with more care. Then get to work on editing that manuscript too. 
  1. DON’T RESPOND TO REJECTION. There are often many reasons why an agent may send a rejection. Perhaps they have enough historical fiction manuscripts. Maybe your story is too closely written like another writer they represent. Or perhaps you need to become more seasoned in your writing. If you should get a bit of a response from your query that gives positive feedback, consider yourself on your way. Take those grains of wisdom and look at your manuscript with new eyes. We can always do better. 
  1. TAKE THE TIME TO LEARN THE CRAFT. Writing is hard and not for the faint of heart. I often remind myself to stay focused on writing the best story of my ability. Getting published is a wonderful goal. But to get there, we all need to stay in the trench and dig out the story before we can go to higher ground and have that book in our hands with an author credit. In all things, seek God’s wisdom and direction. In doing so, you can never fail.

Click-to-Tweet: Etiquette for Writers – In the publishing world there are a few rules to follow while submitting your work to an editor or for an agent’s consideration for representation. #publishing #etiquette

Writing Prompt: Compose a short email message, thanking an editor for your latest rejection.