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Love and Independence: Your Journal Prompt #113

He loves me. He loves me not. She loves me. She loves me not.

Love of self eliminates the need to be approved and accepted by others. You can just BE.

What is self-love? When you love yourself, you accept your strengths and weakness. You can always strive to be better, but perfection is an illusion. Sometimes all hell breaks loose, and things get messy. But that is part of life. You laugh it off. You cry and get tissue. You get mad and scream in your car. But then you bounce back and keep at it.

Having love of self, also means you understand that the world does not owe you anything. It is not another person’s responsibility to make you happy or entertain you. Do not expect someone to make radical changes to accommodate you and your desires. You have the power obtain your own happiness.

How do you develop self-love? At some point, you take a hard look at who you are in life. What makes you strong? What makes you falter? Then balance the line between what is healthy and excessive. Setting boundaries around difficult people and difficult situations is important. Some challenges in life are necessary, but if a person or situation regularly upsets you, cut them out.

Create the opportunity for daily pleasures. You can love dark chocolate and have a bite after dinner. But you might not want to eat a whole bar, every day, indefinitely. Try the decadent hand cream that comes in the tiny jar.  You might not use it every day, all day long, but maybe slather it on before bed. See the sunrise on a Sunday morning. However, it may not be something you can commit to every day with work, family, etc. Start small, carve out the time, enjoy daily pleasures.

Ready to write? Here is your journal prompt #113:  Make a list of 25 activities you love, want more of, and look forward to it. This is your “menu” of daily pleasures.  Everything in moderation.

NEXT STEPS:  Like, share, subscribe to this blog. Are you a new writer with a body of work to share? Check out Indigo Stone’s editing services.

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Breathe in, Breathe out – Relax into “Blood Magic”

Breathe in, breathe out. As the world spins around us, relax into romance and intrigue. Consider the fantasy novel “Blood Magic.” *Spoiler Alert*

I pulled out of the vision.  Devlin and I were kneeling on the carpet.  He had wrapped his body around me. My arms had snaked their way around his taunt waist.  His hands traveled up my back into my hair then he was pulling me back.  His mouth slashed across mine – hungry and fierce.  I couldn’t deny that I wanted him. His blood had a carnal effect on me.  A part of me realized I had indeed been avoiding him.  I was afraid to explore the possibility that I could get used to drinking his blood. I was surrounded by the wild earthy sent of him.  He kissed me until I was gasping for breath.

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson battles vampires, witches, and were-animals to save small town Virginia. In this thrilling adventure, carnal delights can bring death or life.

B&N/Nook readers can use coupon BNP50SUMMER to save 50% at checkout from 06/01/2020 to 06/30/2020 at Barnes and Noble.

Want more mystery? Take a sneak peek of “Blood Magic” the podcast at iHeartRadio.

**Reposted from March 2020.

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Illusions: Your Journal Prompt #112

There is perception and there is truth. We often write grand “stories” about ourselves and the people around us—to be retold over and over again in our minds. The stories often skew towards the negative. Our ancestors survived with a grand sense of pessimism towards the unknown or one bad experience. Don’t eat those purple berries, they might make you sick!

Nowadays, we often develop fantasies when dealing with other people.  In these illusions, we are quick to make ourselves the hero and the stranger a villain. Sometimes, just sometimes, there is nothing there. Outside the lives of celebrities, gurus, and world leaders, we are mostly ordinary people. We have our good days. We have bad days. Life is a series of peaks and valleys. 

Perception is how we choose to see things. Perception cannot be proven true or not true.  It is what makes the most sense to us. We feel very comfortable with an idea even when it inspires difficult emotions.

Dropping the illusion and seeing the truth of a matter, can be challenging. Truth can be ordinary. Truth can be strange. Truth can be funny. When it feels impossible to find the truth, or you simply do not have the detective tools, walk away. Harsh words are not needed. Wild accusations are not needed. Do not feel a need to rally the troops (friends) and get everybody on your side. Just walk away. Let go of the need to be right. Hang on to the reality that we are all plodding along looking for a happiness that can be defined in 101 ways.

Here is this week’s journal prompt #112:

The last time I laughed, was __________________.

NEXT STEPS: Like, share, subscribe to this blog. Check out last week’s post Role Model, Be One.

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Happy Father’s Day to Dads, Grandads, and Father Figures – “Blood Magic”

“Blood Magic” is a paranormal mystery set in small-town Virginia. The men are nice, the men are naughty. They may fight for good. They may fight for evil. But they all charge in fulfilling the ancient prophecy of Selina Anderson, vampire hunter. In this thrilling adventure, carnal delights can bring death or life.

Prepare for Father’s Day weekend by gifting yourself or the dad in your life with an eBook of “Blood Magic.”

B&N/Nook readers can use coupon BNP50SUMMER to save 50% at checkout from 06/01/2020 to 06/30/2020 at Barnes and Noble.

Take a sneak peek of “Blood Magic” the podcast at iHeartRadio.

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First-time Authors: Editing Services Just for You

Are you a first-time author? Are you ready to self-publish and share your book with the world? Indigo Stone loves working with NEWBIES. We offer caring, compassionate, but critically needed editing services.

Indigo Stone Offers Editorial Evaluation

An editorial evaluation is a critical first overview of your manuscript by a professional editor. Your chosen editor will read through the complete manuscript and provide compassionate, in-depth feedback concerning elements such as plot, characterization, structure, consistency, and style.

We Copy Edit

Copy editing will help you calibrate your book’s text.  A copy edit will address grammatical or punctuation errors, incorrect facts, anomalies, inconsistencies, and glaring typos. Overall, the purpose of copy editing is to align the book’s language with the writer’s intent.

Indigo Stone Provides Proofreading

Working with a proofreader is your last stop in the editing process. To ensure your book is ready to hit bookshelves or the digital world of publishing, our proofreaders will step in and double-check things. We make sure that your files are free from spelling mistakes, grammar errors, missing punctuation.

We offer price quotes

 There are discounts for first-time authors

Self-published writers are welcome

NEXT STEPS: Call us! Email us! Text us! Phone:  540-656-8094 Email: indigostone@indigo-stone-va.com

©Indigo Stone 2020

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Role Model, Be One: Your Journal Prompt #111

In the world, we are slowly recovering from a pandemic. In the USA, we are exploring reform to stop racial injustice. Everybody has an opinion on how to bring about change. March here. Donate there. Tweet that.

Be a ROLE MODEL. If you care about your community and want to stop the spread of COVID-19, wear a mask every time.  If you believe in racial equality, do not flinch when a person of color doesn’t smile through an offense. Sit down. Listen. Hear what he/she has to say.

Do what you can as you can. It does not really require you to spend to spend money if you don’t have the finances. It doesn’t require you to step out in the streets if you have children or vulnerable family at home. Don’t minimize the need for revolution down to a social media tweet or post.

Start SMALL. Get really clear about what you believe. Explore your faith, values, and desires for the kind of nation you want to live in. Write it down! Use a journal to address every issue in your community that bothers you.

Next, outline a vision of that hero beating the challenges. What would this person do every day, every week, and every month? Do not edit yourself. Get it all down on paper. Now you need to realize, YOU are that hero. You are the person that can take a stand in large and small ways.

If you see an injustice, speak on it, write about it, go to the other person, and ask, “Are you okay?” If you see someone bullied in the workplace, don’t join in, don’t turn a blind eye. Behind the scenes, maybe you help that person proofread an important memo. Maybe you invite your neighbor over for dinner, who has just lost his job.

The options are endless. It is up to you. This is how we ALL take a stand. Use this week’s journal prompt to find your inner hero.

Journal Prompt #111:  Use your imagination to draft a recipe for peace as you see it. What are the “ingredients,” cooking tools, and directions for serving a group?

NEXT STEPS:  Like, share, subscribe to this blog. Come back on Sundays for the latest posts. Check out last week’s blog, “Embrace the Other.”

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Small Town Mystery, Big Time Adventure – “Blood Magic”

“Blood Magic” is a paranormal mystery set in Virginia. Selina Anderson battles vampires, witches, and were-animals to fulfill an ancient prophecy. In this thrilling adventure, carnal delights can bring death or life.

Prepare for summer by gifting yourself or the reader in your life with an eBook of “Blood Magic.”

B&N/Nook readers can use coupon BNP50SUMMER to save 50% at checkout from 06/01/2020 to 06/30/2020 on: Blood Magic – bn.com/w?ean=2940162884682

Take a sneak peek of “Blood Magic” the PODCAST.

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Embrace the Other: Your Journal Prompt #110

His skin color is different than mine. Her eyes are different. Look at that hair, those clothes, the walk. They are all from over there!

Too many of us see healthy differences and judge them as inferior or something to be afraid of.  Movies, books, and other entertainment remake the “Other” and turn it into a villain.  The bad guys wear hoodies and listen to rap music. Someone new in the neighborhood might be up to no good and a thief.  People who voice opposing opinions might turn violent and do us harm.

This is all nonsense. We exaggerate the differences in our personalities, communities, and cultures to inspire hate. Some people with no other sense of spirit and life can band together in hate.

Wise up. The “Other” is what makes life interesting. We can separate plasma from blood because of the “Other.” We can analyze galaxies with an x-ray spectrometer because of the “Other.” We found the precursor to dry cleaning because of the “Other.” Children play with the super soaker water toy, because of the “Other.” Dark purple berry lipstick exists because of the creativity of the “Other.”

Use this week’s journal prompt to celebrate differences in form, thought, and life.

Prompt #110: Describe a time when you stepped outside your comfort zone. How did it make you feel? What did you learn? Who did you meet along the way?

NEXT STEPS:  Like, share, subscribe to this blog. Come back on Sundays for the latest posts.

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Relax, Relate, Release! Summer Sale of “Blood Magic”

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson battles vampires, witches, and were-animals to save small town Virginia. In this thrilling adventure, carnal delights can bring death or life.

Prepare for summer by gifting yourself or the reader in your life with an eBook of “Blood Magic.”

B&N/Nook readers can use coupon BNP50SUMMER to save 50% at checkout from 06/01/2020 to 06/30/2020 on: Blood Magic – bn.com/w?ean=2940162884682

Take a sneak peek of “Blood Magic” the PODCAST.

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Rebuilding the Fort: Your Journal Prompt #109

Sometimes life smacks you in the face. You didn’t even see it coming. Maybe you are blindsided by a job loss. Maybe you are surprised by the passing of a loved one. Maybe you are used to a certain way of doing things, then the rules change. The world can be unpredictable.

After you roll through the anger, grief, and uncertainty – you have a decision to make. Stay stuck or rebuild? Choosing to rebuild your life, heart, or mind is the mark of maturity. You can rebuild stronger and wiser. You may even reach a point where the past is simply a lesson learned.  

Writing can help you process difficult situations. Through journaling you can be brutally honest. You can write and write, until there is no more to say. Then you start to plan for a better future.  Use the journal to set goals, timeframes, and problem solve. Be your own cheerleader during the reconstruction.

Keeping a journal is easy and inexpensive. It never gets tired of listening to you. You can be as silly or angry as you want. You can brainstorm plans and ideas until you are ready to make them reality. Set aside a few minutes each day to write. It is for your eyes only.

Here is this week’s journal prompt #109:

In life, there are rarely second chances. If you had one “do over” what would it be and why?

NEXT STEPS:  Subscribe to this blog. Come back on Sundays for the latest posts.

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Three Day Countdown – “Blood Magic” Book Sale

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson battles vampires, witches, and were-animals to save small town Virginia. In this thrilling adventure, carnal delights can bring death or life.

Prepare for summer by gifting yourself or the reader in your life with an eBook of “Blood Magic.”

B&N/Nook readers can use coupon BNP50SUMMER to save 50% at checkout from 06/01/2020 to 06/30/2020 on: Blood Magic – bn.com/w?ean=2940162884682

Take a sneak peek of “Blood Magic” the PODCAST.

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Drop the Grudge: Your Journal Prompt #108

We all make mistakes. Sometimes we need to give forgiveness. Sometimes we need to receive forgiveness.

Holding on to grudges because of perceived wrongs can make us sick mentally or physically.  At times, hurt is part of life. A parent may criticize us. A partner may cheat. That co-worker might steal your best project idea.  We have no real control over the behavior of other people. However, we do have control over our reactions.

It is easy to hold a grudge. Some people are naturally more grudge-holding than others. We also feel more anger and resentment when we love or trust the person who betrays us. To reach a state of forgiveness you may have to work at it.

Real forgiveness is letting go of the resentment and need for revenge against another person.

You might always remember the hurtful action, but forgiveness releases you from being under someone else’s control. It is not an excuse for the betrayal. Forgiveness is the path to more peace, stability, and joy in life.

Journaling is a great way to develop forgiveness for ourselves and those around us. You can write a letter to the person in your journal. In the letter, you tell it like it is. Explain very clearly what hurt you and how you feel about it.  Vent everything you want to receive to feel better. Get it off your chest. If you can communicate with the person who betrayed you, the letter can be talking points to resolve the conflict.

If you are the one who needs to receive forgiveness, you can write down your thoughts and feelings about what you did and why. When you write, explain all the messy details of your actions. No one will see it. You can come back to the journal as often as you need to. Hopefully, one day you can go to the person you offended and give a genuine apology. However, be mindful, that just because you give an apology, the other person may not “hear it” or accept it. But you will have done your best to reconcile.

Use this week’s journal prompt to reflect on the need to let go of grudges. In life, there are misunderstandings— large and small.

Prompt #108:  In your opinion, how would forgiveness change world politics?

NEXT STEPS:  Subscribe. Check out last week’s blog post on self-comparison.

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Self-Comparison Sucks: Your Journal Prompt #107

Comparing yourself to other people is a great way to make yourself feel terrible. Stop doing it!

Before COVID-19, our self-comparison may have centered around wealth, status, and beauty.  Now, we struggle with our partners, family, and friends trying to decide who is more miserable. Understand this – everybody has a sad story. Everybody has struggled privately or publicly. There is no hierarchy.          

When you compare yourself to someone and feel inferior, that really sucks. When you compare yourself to someone and feel superior, you are alone at the top. It may be difficult to figure out how we end up this way. Is it nature or nurture?

Today, we can all make a choice to grow into a better version of ourselves. Self-love and self-respect are an antidote. We don’t need to have internal competition with the people around us. When you are happy with #1, you don’t need to overanalyze what other people are doing in their lives.

Redirect your self-talk and outward expression.  Give words of encouragement to someone you see is struggling. Say thank you for small acts of kindness. Show empathy to someone expressing difficult emotions.  

In different parts of the world, COVID-19 restrictions are gradually being lifted. Step outside into the sun. Bring someone special with you. It is okay to smile and feel a sense of renewed freedom.

Ready to write?! Grab your laptop, notepad, or phone. Record the progress you have made. Here is this week’s journal prompt:

What is unconditional love? How does it look or feel to you?

NEXT STEPS:  Subscribe to this blog. Share the information with family and friends.

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Grit vs. IQ: Your Journal Prompt #106

I think I can. I think I can. Grit.

To be successful in this world, you need more than just IQ points. Grit, the ability to persevere, will carry you through the darkest times.

Grit is not really taught in schools today. If you struggle in school, you get a low grade, then you move on to the next lessons.  You may or may not get the chance to improve. You may or may not even understand how you are missing the mark.

Real grit and determination means you take a hard look at what is not working, diagnose the problem, then take steps to correct it. The correction may happen in a few minutes, few days, or few months. But you keep at it until you get it.

Times today are difficult. Some of us may have adequate support from family, friends, or local agencies. And some of us may not. Dig deep. Look honestly at your challenges. What steps can you take to self-correct?

If you cannot pay the rent or mortgage and a local agency has not come through, what else can you do? Some industries are booming during this crisis. Grab your face mask and gloves and deliver groceries to those who need it. Walk the pets of owners who are too afraid to go out. Care for the children of moms and dads on the frontlines.

In many ways, we are dealing with much loss and stagnation. But through grit and determination, there are also opportunities to dig deep and survive. If you are not sure where to begin—grab your journal and brainstorm. First, vent your fears, worries, and frustrations. Get it all off your chest. Then, list possible solutions. Google it if you need to. Dream big. Start small.

 Here is your journal prompt for this week:

If you could go back in time and talk to yourself at 12, what is the one thing you would say?

NEXT STEPS:  Subscribe to this blog. Come back same time, same place next week.

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Blood Magic, Episode 22 – King’s Dominion

The tale of “Blood Magic” leads to us to the amusement park, King’s Dominion. Enjoy episode 22 of the podcast.

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town teacher with a big-time problem with vampires who are out to kill her before she can make them her next meal.  She is looking forward to a quiet lazy summer in Culpeper, Virginia, where everybody knows everybody.  At least this is her plan until three strangers enter her life in one day

Author: RL Collins

NEXT STEPS:  Browse podcast central 

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The Silver Lining: Your Journal Prompt #105

Calm and clear your mind. Consider your struggles and successes. When you wake up in the morning do you choose to try again? Or just lay in bed defeated? If you choose to try again, that is the silver lining. Write it down. Hold on to it.

Keeping a journal can help you commit to seeing the positive side of life and set goals. Your ideas to overcome challenges my be fuzzy at first. However, the process of writing and rewriting can create a laser focus.

Try to set aside fifteen to twenty minutes a day to journal. Review your goals, think about your options to accomplish tasks, then prioritize. If possible, write around the same time each day.

Journaling allows you to record progress. If you have struggles or setbacks you can record it in your journal. Then you work through to solutions and see the silver lining. If you ever have a difficult day, you can take out your journal and review the progress you have made.

Writing is an opportunity to explore your feelings and address barriers to your progress. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. We do not believe in ourselves. We let doubts hold us back. We have negative self-talk. Journal all the negative feelings. Release them. Then plan realistic next steps to achieving your important goals.

Finally, journaling can help you keep the ball rolling. Each day before you close the journal, give yourself an assignment. Choose something you can accomplish in the next 24-48 hours.

Ready for this week’s journal prompt?

Prompt #105:  Make a list of everything that inspires or motivates you. It could range from books to quotes to art to grandparents even the sunrise. Pick one or two to tuck away in your journal, set as the wallpaper on your laptop, or post to social media for fun conversation.

NEXT STEPS:  Subscribe to this blog. Share the information with family and friends.

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Overcoming Obstacles: Resume Hacks

Hiring Managers have a difficult task. They need to fill job vacancies, but they must wade through poorly written resumes. Help a prospective employer make a quick decision to call you by crafting a nice resume. The work history is the real “meat” to any resume.

Hack #1: Do not copy the job description. Some job seekers copy and paste the job description. Big no-no! Emphasize your accomplishments in previous positions. Quantify it. Use numbers, dollars, and percentages. Highlight how you saved the company.

Hack #2:  Boast your problem-solving skills. Describe challenges, actions to overcome challenges, and results of your efforts in your work experience. Before you write the work history, you might consider drafting a list of all accomplishments in the last 10 years. Add the most impressive accomplishments to the resume. Write the result of your efforts, before concisely describing the problem and action.

Hack #3:  Make it readable. Use a combination of bullets and paragraphs in work histories to keep it readable but not monotonous. Hiring managers need to be able to rest their eyes. Clearly label accomplishments as “accomplishments” or “key contributions.” Be concise. The resume should hook the reader and land you an interview. Do not tell your whole life story in a resume.

Hack #4:  As always target the job vacancy. Use power words. You can find powerful verbs and synonyms online. Be honest. An honest and well-written resume will be called for interviews.

Universal Hack #5:  Proofread, refine, and perfect. No matter how you tackle resume writing, you get one chance to make a first impression. Avoid simple errors. You need to check and double check the resume. Have a trusted friend proofread and check for tone.

NEXT STEPS:  Subscribe to this blog. Check out the previous post “Resume Tips.”

Repost from January 2020

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Releasing Fear Through Writing: Your Journal Prompt #104

We are living in trying times. It is normal to feel difficult emotions. There are different strategies for releasing fear in a way that is healthy and positive. Believe in the power of the pen. Write.

Recognize the sense of fear. After a certain point in life, many of us never say out loud that we are afraid. We are used to children expressing difficult feelings after having a nightmare, seeing a big spider, or watching a scary movie. Adults typically ignore it, bury it, or run from it. Accept that things happen in life outside of our control. It can be scary as hell.

Look at the history of your fear. You can write this down. Ask yourself:  Have I ever felt this fear before? How do I really feel (mentally and/or physical)? What am I actually afraid of? Loss? Disappointment? Being Alone?

Fear creates opportunity. When you feel difficult emotions, it can be hard to see it as an opportunity. Feeling fear is not a fun experience. However, every struggle we have in life is an opportunity to come out stronger and braver.

Journaling is a great way to express and release fear. Writing is limitless. There is no required word count for journaling. Writing has no judgement. Your journal is for your eyes only. Spouses, family, and friends do not need to read your journal. Writing can take any form. You can make up random words to suit your emotions. If you want to do an abstract doodle, that’s fine too. Maybe you feel inspired to rhyme and write in song. When you journal, you are in charge.

Face the fear. Write it out. Release it. Once you put it to paper, you no longer need to ruminate. Stop the overthinking! Redirect your thoughts to finding a solution or positive next steps.

Here is journal prompt #104:  Make a list of 25 things that make you smile. Then snap a picture of your smile. Tuck it away in your journal. Put in on your bathroom mirror. Or if you are feeling bold, text it to a good friend and start a light conversation.

NEXT STEPS:  Subscribe to this blog. Check out last week’s post “Finding Gratitude During Crisis.”

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Blood Magic, Episode 21 – Tangled Webs

Lips kiss, hands touch, they slide together weaving the web. Enjoy episode 21 of “Blood Magic,” the podcast.

For a limited time, “Blood Magic,” the vampire hunter novel, will be FREE as a Nook Book on Barnes and Noble. Use the coupon code BNPFREEMAGIC from Sunday, April 12 through Sunday, April 26, 2020. Click HERE to go directly to Barnes and Noble. 

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town teacher with a big-time problem with vampires who are out to kill her before she can make them her next meal.  She is looking forward to a quiet lazy summer in Culpeper, Virginia, where everybody knows everybody.  At least this is her plan until three strangers enter her life in one day

Author: RL Collins

NEXT STEPS:  Browse podcast central

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Surviving COVID-19: Resume Tips

Will the nation reopen on May 1st? What have you done during the wait? When companies open their doors, you need to step up with your resume.

Employers only spend 10 seconds glancing at a resume. You need to grab their attention and pull them in with a great resume.  Do a little research to understand your industry. Look at what has been done in the past, then punch it up with a few key words that make you stand out.

Research your ideal job. It is important to tailor your summary to the job. Search for your ideal positions. Then, compile a list of common job requirements and preferred qualifications.

Assess your qualifications. How do you measure up? Be confident, but humble. You do not have to match every aspect of the job vacancy, 100%. But you do not want to land the job and require basic training on your day-to-day responsibilities.  Outside of the minimum requirements, can you describe bonus skills you bring to the table?  Also, if you are lacking in one area, how can you make up for in another area? Remember to clearly relay how you would benefit to the company.

Choose a headline strategy. Your resume title should be concise. Consider using bold, italics, or capitalized letters. But remain conservative and professional. Avoid bright colors and font better suited for arts and crafts projects. If you have space for a sub-heading, this is the place to add your personal stamp. Refer to an accomplishment or skill that helped you rock it in a previous project or position. Also remember to tailor the headline to the industry you want to be in.

Use a career objective. Do not literally label the career objective as an “objective” in the resume. The content of your objective should be woven into your career summary. The objective should send the message of – this is who I am as a professional, competent employee. Avoid the giving the impression – this is who I want to be in the future. The objective should show your benefit to the company. Remember to be concise and specific.

NEXT STEPS:  Subscribe to this blog. New blog posts come out every Sunday. Check out last week’s post “Write that Resume.”

*Repost from January 2020

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Finding Gratitude During Crisis: Your Journal Prompt #103

Practicing gratitude is an extremely effective tool for coping during a crisis. Regularly expressing thankfulness also helps you ride the peaks and valleys in life.  There are different ways to express feeling blessed. Gratitude journaling will deliver most if not all the benefits.

The dictionary definition of gratitude states: “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Simply put, whether you are having a good day or bad day, you find a few things to appreciate in your life. You can be thankful that you woke up in good health, when others may be struggling. You can be thankful for having food in the refrigerator, when others do without. You can be grateful for having access to family through technology, when others live in a drop zone.

Journaling every day is a great habit to start. Expressing gratitude through writing has a wealth of benefits. For example, you may experience the following:

  1. Boost your long-term well-being, encouraging exercise, reducing physical pain and symptoms, and increasing both length and quality of sleep
  2. Increase your optimism and, indirectly, your happiness and health
  3. Make you friendlier, more open, and expand your social support network
  4. Help you make progress toward your goals

Gratitude journaling requires very little resources. There are free mobile apps where you can log your daily appreciation. Every day pick three things you are grateful for – no matter how large or small. Express what you are grateful for and the “because.” Adding the why is very important and sparks your “feel good” brain center.

Are you ready to try it? Here we go…

Journal Prompt #103:  What is a popular song that you enjoy? And why do you like it?

NEXT STEPS:  Subscribe to this blog. Share the information with family and friends. Check out last week’s journal prompt.

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Blood Magic, Episode 20 – Forbidden Desires

To have, or have not? Enjoy episode 20 of “Blood Magic,” the podcast.

For a limited time, “Blood Magic,” the vampire hunter novel, will be FREE as a Nook Book on Barnes and Noble. Use the coupon code BNPFREEMAGIC from Sunday, April 12 through Sunday, April 26, 2020. Click HERE to go directly to Barnes and Noble. 

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town teacher with a big-time problem with vampires who are out to kill her before she can make them her next meal.  She is looking forward to a quiet lazy summer in Culpeper, Virginia, where everybody knows everybody.  At least this is her plan until three strangers enter her life in one day

Author: RL Collins

NEXT STEPS:  Browse podcast central 

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Write That Resume During COVID-19

In March 2020, 7.1 million people were unemployed according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is believed that COVID-19 created a sudden rise in unemployment by almost 1%. If you are unemployed during this crisis, it’s time to write that resume!

Make sure you understand resume basics before you start writing.  You must condense your work experience into a concise, easy to read, typo-free document.  Capitalize on relevant experiences, highlight measurable accomplishments, and add a dash of job skills.

Five Components of Every Resume

Contact Information. Your resume needs current contact information. Be sure to include the following:  name, city and state, phone number, and email address. If you have a strictly professional social media page, include that as well. If you have a social media page that shows you enjoying cocktails on the beach, do NOT include it. As a matter of fact, clean up all social media profiles to avoid being prejudged by employers for your personal interests.

Resume Summary. After the contact information, you need a brief summary of your experience and best career highlights. It is almost as if you are showing the “coming attractions” in a movie starring you – the Best Employee Ever! Make the highlights relevant to the job. Use numbers to show measured success. Do not be shy about the great things you have done in previous positions.

Skills Section.  The skills section should be below the summary. It should also use a short-bulleted format. The keywords should be a good match to the job you are applying for. Remember to also add soft skills such as problem-solving, communication, negotiation, etc.

Professional Experience.  This is the main meal to your 5-course dinner! Do not make the mistake of just listing job duties. Focus on quantifiable accomplishments. How did you solve problems or save the company in your previous positions? Use numbers, dollars, and percentages to make yourself shine.

Education.  Do not make recruiters and hiring managers hunt for your education. Give it a separate section. If you are a new graduate, education goes at the top. If you have been in the workforce for several years, education goes at the bottom of the resume.

NEXT STEPS: Subscribe to this blog. New blog posts come out every Sunday.

Reposted from January 2020.

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Limited Time – “Blood Magic” FREE at Barnes and Noble

Here at Indigo Stone, we understand that COVID-19 may make it difficult to celebrate Easter, Passover, and other spring holidays. “Blood Magic,” the vampire hunter novel, will be free as a Nook Book on Barnes and Noble. Use the coupon code below from Sunday, April 12 through Sunday, April 26, 2020.

B&N/Nook readers can use coupon BNPFREEMAGIC to save 100% at checkout. Click HERE.

Take a sneak peek at podcast central.

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town teacher with a big-time problem with vampires who are out to kill her before she can make them her next meal.  She is looking forward to a quiet lazy summer in Culpeper, Virginia, where everybody knows everybody.  At least this is her plan until three strangers enter her life in one day. 

Author: RL Collins

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Blood Magic, Episode 19 – Glistening Wet Things

Glistening wet things spill out in this week’s episode of “Blood Magic.” Don’t eat a heavy meal before enjoying this segment.

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town teacher with a big-time problem with vampires who are out to kill her before she can make them her next meal.  She is looking forward to a quiet lazy summer in Culpeper, Virginia, where everybody knows everybody.  At least this is her plan until three strangers enter her life in one day. 

Author: RL Collins

NEXT STEPS:  Browse free podcast central 

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Escape COVID-19 & Negative Self-Talk: Journal Prompt #102

I can’t do this anymore! I hate being inside! When is this over?!

Escape COVID-19 and minimize the negative self-talk through journaling. Negative self-talk has many forms. At times, it may sound practical and other times it can sound downright mean.

Realistic:  I’m not too good at this, I better watch my safety.

Mean:  I can never do anything right!

Sometimes, self-talk is a grounded appraisal of our abilities. Other times, small doubts can explode into fear-based fantasies.

Grounded:  I just got a “C” on this test. History might not be my best subject.

Fear-based Fantasy:  I’ll probably fail this History class and never get into college.

Basically, negative self-talk is an inner dialogue that may be limiting your ability to believe in yourself, acknowledge strengths, and reach your potential. During this time of COVID-19, we are all doing the best we can. Don’t beat yourself up if you are struggling emotionally or mentally. Different people handle crisis in different ways.

Journal writing is a great way to minimize negative self-talk. Writing about personal thoughts and feelings is a self-care tool. You can avoid putting additional pressure or fear on your loved ones by taking private moments to vent on paper. Be your own hero. Writing can positively impact your anxiety through:

  • Calming and clearing your mind
  • Releasing pent-up feelings and everyday stress
  • Letting go of negative thoughts
  • Exploring your experiences with anxiety
  • Writing about your struggles and your successes

Don’t wait for the perfect moment to start writing. Grab a pen and piece of paper. Grab your laptop or tablet.  Here is this week’s journal prompt: 

Describe in detail a compassionate way you’ve supported a family member or friend. Then write down how you can do the same for yourself.

NEXT STEPS:  Subscribe to this blog. Share the information with others.

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How to Write a Cover Letter – Getting Creative

Welcome to the fourth installation in the five-part series on writing cover letters.

Today’s job market is competitive. If you don’t have an inside connection with the hiring company, you really need to cross your t’s and dot your i’s.

Hiring managers love to see statistics. Quantify work experience in the cover letter. Use numbers to describe measurable success in other positions. Did you save the company revenue? Did you save the company on product delivery?  How many new clients did you recruit? Even if previous positions centered around soft skills and managing people, you can find creative ways to use numbers and stand out.

Consider testimonials. Do you have good quotes from managers in your performance evaluation? Have clients or co-workers mentioned you or your project in social media? Use written feedback from different platforms to add star power to your cover letters.

Write the cover letter in the company’s voice. As mentioned in earlier blog posts, research the company through their website and social media to understand their culture. Use your findings to draft a cover letter in the appropriate tone and language.

Remember to show enthusiasm but don’t spell out that you are excited. And watch the adverbs! Some candidates may write, “I am super excited to apply for job Z!” No, don’t do this. Yes, show your personality, creativity, and excitement. But write like a normal person. Use a thesaurus every now and then.

NEXT STEPS:  Are you considering a professional resume writer? Email Indigo Stone at indigostone@indigo-stone-va.com to explore options.

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Leap Day, Leap Forward with “Blood Magic”

Have you ever wondered what you would get if you crossed a schoolteacher with a vampire hunter?  You would get a character that almost always has a plan, rarely curses, but is willing to rip your heart out. The fantasy novel “Blood Magic” by RL Collins has been released on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Selina Anderson is a small-town teacher with a big-time problem with vampires who are out to kill her before she can make them her next meal.  She is looking forward to a quiet lazy summer in Culpeper, Virginia. At least this is her plan until three strangers enter her life in one day. 

Catch up on “Blood Magic” the podcast. The last two episodes are below. New episodes come out every Sunday.

Episode 14 – The Vampire Interrogation
Episode 13 – Slick Hips Slick Thoughts

Beware the Ides of March. B&N/Nook readers can use coupon BNP25IDESMARCH to save 25% at checkout from 03/01/2020 to 03/31/2020 on: Blood Magic – bn.com/w?ean=2940162884682

Podcast Central:  https://indigo-stone-va.com/blood-magic/

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Blood Magic, Romance Round-Up *Spoiler Alert*

Magic and Temptation

I pulled back from the vision with a sense of elation knowing that I had made some progress.  Then Devlin’s lips were moving over mine slowly redirecting my energy.  I began to relax into him and kiss him back. His arm tightened like a vise around my waist.  He lowered me down onto the bed and kept me covered with the warm hardness of his body. My hands roamed his back feeling the tightly coiled muscles. I realized I had been anticipating the feel of him beneath my hands. Now, I could explore.

            “Look at me,” he whispered against my lips. I looked into his sea green eyes dilated with passion.  He growled low in his throat. Then he was back to kissing me, but more fiercely. 

Magic and Mystery

“Relax,” Devlin whispered into my ear as he ran his hands up and down my slick hips.  He reached around me to grab the bottle of shampoo. Then he began to lather my hair and gently massage my scalp.  I couldn’t help but shiver from his touch.

            “This is probably not a good idea,” I sighed.

            “What is not good about it?” he rumbled in my ear.  “No, on second thought don’t answer that.”

            “Well, for one we are in the middle of this war …” I began anyway.  He turned me around and smashed my soft body against his demanding my full attention.  With swiftness he bent his much taller frame down to kiss me. His full lips lashed against mine taking control of my thoughts.  All I knew at that moment was the taste of Devlin and his body pressed against mine. 

Magic and Delight

I pulled out of the vision.  Devlin and I were kneeling on the carpet.  He had wrapped his body around me. My arms had snaked their way around his taunt waist.  His hands traveled up my back into my hair then he was pulling me back.  His mouth slashed across mine – hungry and fierce.  I couldn’t deny that I wanted him. His blood had a carnal effect on me.  A part of me realized I had indeed been avoiding him.  I was afraid to explore the possibility that I could get used to drinking his blood. I was surrounded by the wild earthy sent of him.  He kissed me until I was gasping for breath.

Want more? “Blood Magic” by RL Collins has been released on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson battles vampires, witches, and were-animals to save small town Virginia. In this adventure, carnal delights can bring death or life.

Take a sneak peek at “Blood Magic” the podcast at podcast central:  https://indigo-stone-va.com/blood-magic/

TREAT YOURSELF FOR 2020!

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Blood Magic #12 – Tiki Island

Sit back, relax, and enjoy podcast 12 of “Blood Magic,” a vampire hunter novel. This week, Selina and the Guardians take a detour to Tiki Island.

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town teacher with a big-time problem with vampires who are out to kill her before she can make them her next meal.  She is looking forward to a quiet lazy summer in Culpeper, Virginia, where everybody knows everybody.  At least this is her plan until three strangers enter her life in one day. 

Podcast Central:  https://indigo-stone-va.com/blood-magic/

Need a gift for Valentine’s Day? B&N/Nook readers can use coupon BNPLOVE2020 to save 30% at checkout from 02/01/2020 to 02/29/2020 on: Blood Magic – bn.com/w?ean=2940162884682

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Write that Resume – Part 4, The Meat

Welcome to the last blog post in the 4-part series on resume writing in 2020.

Hiring Managers have a difficult task. They need to fill job vacancies, but they must wade through poorly written resumes. Help a prospective employer make a quick decision to call you by crafting a nice resume.

The work history is the real “meat” to any resume. There are several ways to punch things up and make you look like a winner. The right resume will get the interview.

Do not copy the job description. Some job seekers copy and paste the job description. Big no-no!  Emphasize your accomplishments in previous positions. Quantify it. Use numbers, dollars, and percentages. Highlight how you saved the company.

Boast your problem-solving skills. Describe challenges, actions to overcome challenges, and results of your efforts in your work experience. Before you write the work history, you might consider drafting a list of all accomplishments in the last 10 years. Add the most impressive accomplishments to the resume. Write the result of your efforts, before concisely describing the problem and action.

Make it readable. Use a combination of bullets and paragraphs in work histories to keep it readable but not monotonous. Hiring managers need to be able to rest their eyes. Clearly label accomplishments as “accomplishments” or “key contributions.” Be concise. The resume should hook the reader and land you an interview. Do not tell your whole life story in a resume.

As always target the job vacancy. Use power words. You can find powerful verbs and synonyms online. Be honest. An honest and well-written resume will be called for interviews.

Have another person proofread your resume. When we write and read our own work it can be hard to catch mistakes. Before sending your resume to prospective employers, have a trusted person read over the resume. Have a friend proofread and check for tone.

NEXT STEPS:  Like, share, follow. Read last week’s resume tips:  https://indigo-stone-va.com/2020/01/19/write-that-resume-part-3-the-hook/

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