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Need a Distraction? Slide into Delight…

Selina Anderson, Vampire Hunter, is back in this sequel to “Blood Magic.” She is a small-town woman living in Culpeper, Virginia, torn between the forbidden desire for two beautiful men. Both men are strong and delicious but fight on different sides of the light and dark. In the meantime, a nation-wide pandemic has hit Culpeper requiring everyone to wear masks and social distance. The battle to develop a life saving vaccine draws the attention of vampires, were-animals, and other magical creatures.  Then, the Mayor of Culpeper turns up dead, murdered in cold blood.

NEXT STEPS:  Browse “Blood Drops on the Virginia Trail: A Novel” by RL Collins on Amazon.

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He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where
But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

Song Lyrics by Bob Russell / Bobby Scott

Cooperation is the key to surviving in families, communities, and the workplace. Having empathy for others means you accept differences in appearance, communication style, and thoughts and opinions. Everybody has a personal story based on a past, present, and future. Whether this story is shared with you or not, know it is there. 

“He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother,” is about supporting the people around you in healthy, positive ways. If you and your personal needs are met, reach back, and help someone else. How deep you dig to help someone else, depends on you and your circumstances. Some people volunteer at a local food bank once the month. Some people donate free change to charity organizations. Some people talk on their cell phone at midnight with a friend in need. There is no right or wrong way to reach back and help others, it all depends on what you can give.

The best strategy to supporting others, is to do it with no strings attached. How you choose to help is your business. Do not expect or ask for anything in return. Also be careful about being a martyr. Do not carry another person “on your back” until you are worn out and dragging yourself through life. You also must understand that at some point a person must learn how to stand strong in this world and be self-sufficient.

NEXT STEPS: What can you do now to support yourself and your community?

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The Power of Words: Use Wisely

Words have power. You can build bridges or destroy with the power of words. Before you speak to others, ask yourself—Is it true? Is it kind? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Be a role model of integrity, charisma, and good emotional IQ. Overtime, you will draw in like minds and hopefully build a community where people motivate and encourage others to be their best. What is the first step? Read literature that gives you armor to stand in the light.

“The Life and Times of Indigo Stone: 50 Life Lessons” is a good read for family, friends, and teens. The KINDLE and paperback are on Amazon right now.

“Whispered Secrets in the Man Cave: 50 Life Lessons” is a gift of love for the man in your life.

NEXT STEPS:  Browse books by the author RL Collins on Amazon.

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How to Find Great Love Through Great Emotional IQ

Emotional IQ is needed to have successful relationships with family, friends, and lovers. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict. 

Emotional IQ helps you build stronger relationships, succeed at school, and work, and achieve your career and personal goals. It can also help you to connect with your feelings, turn intention into action, and make informed decisions about what matters most to you.

So how can you build your emotional IQ that leads to great love IQ? Read literature that feeds your soul.

“The Life and Times of Indigo Stone: 50 Life Lessons” is a good read for family, friends, and teens. The KINDLE and paperback are on Amazon right now.

“Whispered Secrets in the Man Cave: 50 Life Lessons” is a gift of love for the man in your life.

NEXT STEPS:  Browse books by the author RL Collins on Amazon.

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Unshakeable Confidence: Part 3, The Finale!

Today is a new day. Here is your chance to start fresh in large and small ways. Having unshakeable confidence gives you the motivation to face each new day with hope and optimism. No matter the actual challenges, you have trust in yourself to handle whatever life throws at you. Here are some additional tools and strategies to building a healthy armor of self-confidence.

Step 4:  Use powerful body language

Much like how you dress, your posture and body language can affect how you feel about yourself.  This might seem small—try out powerful stances. Great posture can help adjust your frame of mind. When you are closing a deal in business, plant your hands on the table and lean forward. When you are pitching an idea, rest your feet on the table, clasp your hands behind your head, and lean back. Before an interview, plant your feet widely and stretch your arms overhead in a V shape. When talking to your boss, puff out your chest, plant your hands on your hips, and stand with feet hip-width apart.

Step 5:  Change a small habit

Not a big one, like quitting smoking. Just a small one, like writing things down. Or waking up 10 minutes earlier. Or drinking a glass of water when you wake up. Something small that you know you can do. Do it for a month. When you have accomplished it, you will feel like a million bucks.

Step 6:  Focus on solutions

If you are a complainer, or focus on problems, change your focus now. Focusing on solutions instead of problems is one of the best things you can do for your confidence and your career. “I’m overweight!” So how can you solve that? “But I can’t motivate myself!” So how can you solve that? “But I have no energy!” So, what is the solution?

Step 7:  Smile

Small, but it works. We feel instantly better when we smile. It helps us to be kinder to others as well. A little tiny thing that can have a chain reaction. Not a bad investment of your time and energy.

NEXT STEPS:  This article is not an exhaustive list of confidence boosting techniques, they are strategies you can start doing TODAY! Check out last week’s blog post.

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Advice: How to Be YOU in this World!

Prepare for Snowzilla and download “50 Life Lessons” today!

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 weaknesses. 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. Learn more by reading…

“The Life and Times of Indigo Stone: 50 Life Lessons” is a good read for family, friends, and teens. The book is on Amazon right now in two formats, paperback and KINDLE.

“Whispered Secrets in the Man Cave: 50 Life Lessons” is a gift of love for the man in your life. Choose a quick KINDLE download or savor the paperback.

NEXT STEPS:  Browse books by the author RL Collins on Amazon.

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Treat Yourself During Valentine’s Day Week!

Treat yourself during Valentine’s Day WEEK. Download an e-book that wraps you in love, light, and faith.

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” ― Mohandas Gandhi

The most basic definition of resilience is an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. You must imagine yourself to be a rubber band to navigate in this world of pandemics, political stances, and civil unrest. You stretch. You bounce back. No matter what, your strength lies in your ability to recover from stresses and challenges.

“The Life and Times of Indigo Stone: 50 Life Lessons” is a good read for family, friends, and teens. The KINDLE is on Amazon right now.

“Whispered Secrets in the Man Cave: 50 Life Lessons” is a gift of love for the man in your life. The KINDLE was released TODAY!

NEXT STEPS:  Browse books by the author RL Collins on Amazon.

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Unshakeable Confidence: Part 2

Happy Valentine’s Day WEEK! Reflect on ways to not only love family and friends, but yourself. You should be the biggest cheerleader in your life. Healthy self-confidence is your armor to navigating the wild unknowns in life.

Welcome to part two detailing how to have unshakeable confidence.

Step 3:  Conquer Your Inner Critic           

You know that little voice in your head saying things like,” I’m not qualified for that job, what’s the point of interviewing for it,” or “I keep getting passed over for a promotion, there must be something wrong with me.” Those nagging thoughts telling you that you are not good enough come from your inner critic (or critical inner voice).

Your Critical Inner Voice, suggests following this 4-step process to conquer your inner critic:

Try to identify what your critical inner voice is telling you. Acknowledge that this thought process is separate from your real point of view.

Write these thoughts down in the second person (as “you” statements). For example, a thought like “I can’t get anything right. I will never be successful” should be written as “You cannot get anything right. You’ll never be successful.” This will help you see these ideas as an outside point of view and not as true statements.

Respond to your inner critic by writing down a more realistic and compassionate evaluation of yourself. Write these responses in the first person (as “I” statements). In response to a thought like, “You’re such an idiot,” you could write, “I may struggle at times, but I am smart and competent in many ways.”

Remember not to act on the directives of your inner critic. Take actions that represent your own point of view, whom you want to be, and what you aim to achieve.

Keep your self-talk positive. Find the opportunity to express gratitude. Remember we all have our good days and bad days. This too shall pass.

To be continued…

NEXT STEPS:  Comeback next week, for the final installment on developing unshakeable confidence. Check out last week’s blog post encouraging you to take the first steps.

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Have a Staycation with “Blood Magic” the Abridged Version!

Indigo Stone has released the abridged version of “Blood Magic, A Vampire Hunter Novel.”

Wrap yourself in a warm blanket, grab some hot cocoa, and slide in the delectable paranormal romance.

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town woman 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 sexy strangers enter her life in one day. 

Next Steps:  Go to Amazon and decide on the paperback or Kindle.

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Love, Amor, Amour, 爱

“True love is inexhaustible. The more you give, the more you have.”

– Antoine De Saint-Exupery

The countdown to Valentine’s Day has begun. Give love to family, friends, and neighbors by offering words of kindness and motivation through good literature.

“The Life and Times of Indigo Stone: 50 Life Lessons” is a good read for family, friends, and teens. The paperback and KINDLE are on Amazon right now.

“Whispered Secrets in the Man Cave: 50 Life Lessons” is a gift of love for the man in your life.

NEXT STEPS:  Browse books by the author RL Collins on Amazon.

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Unshakeable Confidence

Having unshakeable confidence is the key to navigating a world of pandemics, political stances, and civil unrest. Healthy self-confidence helps us step out into the unknown and walk our own unique path. Without some level of confidence, we are defeated before we begin.

What is self-confidence? Self-confidence is not the same thing as self-esteem. A healthy self-esteem means you place a high value on yourself. You have strong self-worth. You like yourself. Self-confidence is the belief you can accomplish different goals regardless of your actual skill level. 

How do you build self-confidence? Having unshakeable confidence is changing the beliefs you have about yourself and it takes work. Building and maintaining healthy confidence takes daily practice. You do not just arrive, then magically you are done for life.

Step 1:  Try things outside your comfort zone

Stepping outside your comfort zone is, as you might expect, uncomfortable.  Real confidence is the ability to be comfortable in a variety of situations that would make most people uncomfortable. You can challenge yourself in large and small ways. For example, you might take on a new job or confront someone you usually avoid. Maybe you strike up a conversation with someone new if you are normally shy. Maybe you try a new cuisine at a restaurant. It is more important you regularly challenge your comfort zone in small ways rather than jump off the deep end in major ways. 

Step 2:  Try a new look

How you dress can affect how other people perceive you, but it can also affect how you perceive yourself. Wearing different clothes can prompt you to think or behave differently. This effect is not just limited to feeling good about yourself. For example, if you want that management job, try wearing a tie from time to time. Look the part, even if you have not actually been hired. If you want to feel more confident, dress the way a confident version of yourself would.

To be continued…

NEXT STEPS:  Come back same time, same place, next week for more steps towards unshakeable confidence.

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Hello February! Dive in with a Good Book!

Hello February! Welcome the new month with a new attitude. Read literature that motivates and encourages you to stand strong in the world. Come rain or shine, healthy self-confidence is the key to success.

“The Life and Times of Indigo Stone: 50 Life Lessons” is a good read for family, friends, and teens. The KINDLE is on Amazon right now.

“Whispered Secrets in the Man Cave: 50 Life Lessons” is a gift of love for the man in your life.

NEXT STEPS:  Browse books by the author RL Collins on Amazon.

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The Exploding Volcano and Mindfulness

Did she just roll her eyes at me?! Did he just slip into my parking spot?! Is this hair in my sandwich?!

The world can test us. Small things turn into big things. We want to beat our chest. We want to spill over like an exploding volcano. Somebody owes me!

Sorry sir, but this is not the way. The world is spinning from a pandemic, civil unrest, and political disagreements. We do not need more random anger.

Sometimes, we are short tempered because we are only tired, hungry, or low testosterone. However, family, friends, and co-workers do not understand this if we do not understand it ourselves. Mindfulness is the key to living in an unpredictable world and not becoming part of the problem.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a type of meditation where you focus on being keenly aware of what you are sensing and feeling in the moment. You drop the need to interpret or have personal judgment. There are different ways to practice mindfulness.  It involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.

How to Gain Mindfulness?

There are different tips and strategies to mindfulness. Try these:

  • Meditate. Taking even just 5 minutes to sit quietly and follow your breath can help you feel more conscious and connected for the rest of your day.
  • Focus on one thing at a time
  • Slow down
  • Eat mindfully. Savor the flavor and texture of each bite of food.
  • Limit time on the phone and computer. Set aside time to unplug.
  • Move and get some exercise.
  • Spend time in nature, get some fresh air, appreciate animals and/or plants

The Benefits of Mindfulness

Mindfulness can help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties. You are less likely be an exploding volcano with family, friends, or co-workers. You can navigate your own difficult emotions and be a resource to others.

NEXT STEPS:  If you are a beginner, try a guided mediation app or sit in silence and count your breaths for 5 minutes.

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Ready for Snow? Download a Great Book and Stay Warm!

2021 promises to be very, very interesting!  Remember to take time to recharge, refresh, and relax. As winter weather rolls in, download an e-book that motivates and encourages you to “go with the flow.” Appreciate the good things in life.

“The Life and Times of Indigo Stone: 50 Life Lessons” is a good read for family, friends, and teens. The KINDLE is on Amazon right now.

“Whispered Secrets in the Man Cave: 50 Life Lessons” is a gift of love for the man in your life.

NEXT STEPS:  Browse books by the author RL Collins on Amazon.

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Mastering Negative Self-Talk

Life, real life is a series of successes and failures. Sometimes we feel as if we are on top of the mountain. And sometimes, we feel low in the valley. How we talk to ourselves when we are low in the valley, determines how quickly we bounce back. No matter the size of your personal circle of family, friends, and co-workers, YOU should be the biggest cheerleader in your life. Always talk to yourself with kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.

What is Negative Self-Talk?

Negative self-talk is a common battle many of us must face from time to time. Negative self-talk is feeling disappointed that we were not perfect in a certain situation. Negative self-talk is thinking in absolutes and extremes. It is believing in terms around “you always” or “you never.” Failure is perceived to be a way of life, instead of a temporary, normal set back that happens to all of us from time to time. Negative self-talk can spiral into depression, anxiety, and chronic insomnia if not properly addressed.

How to Beat Negative Self-Talk?

Do not try to stop your thoughts. It is impossible. Acknowledge you have difficult feelings. Try to diagnose why. Replace them with a better alternative.

Are you a planner? If a project failed, figure out how to revise your steps to get better results next time. If a relationship failed, accept your part, and only your part. You have no control over the thoughts and actions of others. What can you learn to do differently with the next companion? If you set a personal goal and fell short, sometimes, just sometimes, it was not meant to be. What is the second-best goal you can obtain?

Are you more spiritual? Words have power. Replace your negative self-talk with affirmations, mantras, poetry of love. You can find free resources online and collect positive affirmations and quotes that you can say each day. Depending on your faith, every religion has spiritual mantras to connect you to a higher Power. Release yourself from trying to control everything in your life.

Do you like to get physical? Practice mindfulness, deep breathing, and exercise. You can practice mindfulness through meditation. You might start with just 5 minutes a day. Appreciate being alive when others have already crossed over. You do not have to be an athlete to appreciate exercise. You can go for a walk outside. Dance to a YouTube video for 5 minutes. You can do some stretching before going to bed. Keep to simple. Allow small accomplishments to replace your negative self-talk.

NEXT STEPS:  Realize that you are not alone. The fact that you are reading this article, means others have the same struggle as you.

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New Release of the Paperback: Whispered Secrets in the Man Cave

“Whispered Secrets in the Man Cave:  50 Life Lessons,” the paperback, is on sale NOW at Amazon. Check it out HERE.

What does it mean to be a man in 2021 and beyond? Do not look to the movies, magazines, and celebrities. It is something more organic. And in a lot of ways, it is gender neutral.  The world is rolling through major change and transition with the pandemic, political unrest, civil disruption. We need men, women, people who are honest with tact and empathetic.

“Whispered Secrets in the Man Cave:  50 Life Lessons” will help you develop a shield for your mind, body, and soul while allowing you to stand in the light.

NEXT STEPS:  Consider ordering this book for your family, friends, and lovers. Explore “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone,” the prequel to “Whispered Secrets in the Man Cave.”

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Balancing Act

Life can pull us in different directions. Family, friends, and co-workers need us! People count on us to problem solve, motivate them through difficult times, or to buy milk from the grocery store. How can you get it all done and balance with a certain amount of grace? Time management.

Understand You Are Not Perfect

It is okay, you can admit to yourself that you are not perfect. Did you also know that nobody is perfect? Take a moment right now to realize it is okay to make mistakes and be imperfect. As you work to improve your time management skills, understand that some plans will fall through. Try again.

Plan Each Day

You do not have to be a type A personality to plan your days. Even though there is some unpredictability to life, you can still make plans. There are different ways you can do this to be successful. One suggestion is to take a few minutes every night before bed and put together your agenda for the next day. Leave open spaces for breaks and the unexpected.

Prioritize Your Daily, Weekly, & Monthly Tasks

To boost the effectiveness of your private planning sessions, you should identify the priorities for upcoming days, weeks, and even months. Projecting out towards future tasks will allow you to spread your workload out over time so you are not overwhelmed or stressed out.  You will be able to establish a structured routine you can live with. 

Use Time Management Tools

One of the best things you can do to manage your time more wisely is by using as many tools as necessary to support your position. There are millions of computer programs and smartphone apps out there waiting to make your life easier with a simple download. Make technology work for you!

NEXT STEPS: Open a writing app on your phone and jot down 5 important tasks you have for the week. Then plan how to get them done.

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The Book That Loves You Through the Valley

Life by definition involves changes. Nothing last forever. Impermanence is a fact. When you find yourself in the valley, love yourself through it.

The real danger of being in the valley is believing there is no way out. There is a way out, it just might take time. The myth of being in the valley is thinking you are alone. Everybody finds themselves in the valley from time to time, they just might not tell you about it. The illusion of being in the valley is that it only happens one time. Once you accept that it is part of life, you embrace the highs, and remember the lessons to cope next time you are low.

Need more motivation?  Use the contemplative essays from the book “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons” to build you up.

This book is on Amazon for the New Year’s holiday. Check it out HERE.

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Count Down to Midnight in Wicked Delight!

“He licked and sucked and nipped his way down my neck, until I was gasping for air… (Excerpt)”

Count down to midnight in wicked delight with the novel “Blood Magic”

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town woman 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. 

This book is discounted right now, temporarily 77% off on Amazon for the New Year’s holiday. Check it out HERE.

NEXT STEPS:  Need more enticement? Enjoy everything including steamy excerpts of “Blood Magic” at the HUB.

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Count Down to Midnight with the book, “50 Life Lessons!”

Count down to midnight with the book, “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons.”

The best of us might have long-range plans, vision boards, to do lists, and a marked-up calendar. But nothing happens without small steady steps towards progress. Whether your goal is to be a happier you, Rockstar employee, or more organized parent – take it day by day. Use the contemplative essays from “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons” to guide you.

This book is discounted right now, temporarily 60% off on Amazon for the New Year’s holiday. Check it out HERE.

I guess darkness serves a purpose: to show us that there is redemption through chaos. I believe in that. I think that’s the basis of Greek mythology.”  –Brendan Fraser

A sliver of light can break the darkness. In dark times, we learn lifelong lessons. Unfortunately, most people like to stand in the sunshine and be in love. But through struggle, and sometimes painful struggle, we learn lessons that last a lifetime. Let the power of redemption help you shake loose of challenges and strike a new path.

NEXT STEPS:  Read “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone.”

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Let the Ball Drop in Mystery and Romance!

As 2021 rolls in, curl up with a good book that wraps you in mystery, romance, and intrigue!

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town woman 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. 

“Blood Magic” the paperback and KINDLE are on sale NOW at Amazon. Check it out HERE.

NEXT STEPS:  Need more enticement? Enjoy everything “Blood Magic” at the HUB.

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New Year, New You: 50 Life Lessons!

Happy New Year! As 2021 rolls in, it is time for resolutions that you can stick to!

The best of us might have long-range plans, vision boards, to do lists, and a marked-up calendar. But nothing happens without small steady steps towards progress. Whether your goal is to be a happier you, Rockstar employee, or more organized parent – take it day by day. Use the contemplative essays from “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons” to guide you.

“The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons” is on sale NOW at Amazon. Check it out HERE.

Read literature that builds you UP!

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New Release of Paperback & KINDLE: The Life and Times of Indigo Stone

Happy Holidays! Happy New Year! Read literature that feeds your soul…

The best of us might have long-range plans, vision boards, to do lists, and a marked-up calendar. But nothing happens without small steady steps towards progress. Whether your goal is to be a happier you, Rockstar employee, or more organized parent – take it day by day. Use the contemplative essays from “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons” to guide you.

“The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons,” the paperback & KINDLE are NOW at Amazon. Check it out HERE.

NEXT STEPS:  Order a copy of the first edition of “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons.”

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Do Not Wait on the Mail – Download a KINDLE!

Avoid shipping delays, COVID lines, and the holiday chaos by downloading a KINDLE book!

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town woman 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. 

“Blood Magic” the paperback and KINDLE are on sale NOW at Amazon. Check it out HERE.

NEXT STEPS:  Need more enticement? Enjoy everything “Blood Magic” at the HUB.

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Avoid Shipping Delays, COVID Lines, and the Holiday Chaos…

Avoid shipping delays, COVID lines, and the holiday chaos by downloading a KINDLE book!

“The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons” is on sale NOW at Amazon. Check it out HERE.

The best of us might have long-range plans, vision boards, to do lists, and a marked-up calendar. But nothing happens without small steady steps towards progress. Whether your goal is to be a happier you, Rockstar employee, or more organized parent – take it day by day. Use the contemplative essays from “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons” to guide you.

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Enjoy the Holidays with “Blood Magic!”

Unwind during the holidays with “Blood Magic,” the murder mystery set in small-town Virginia. If you love the smell of a new book, enjoy the paperback novel. If you are a tech wiz with an extensive online library, download the Kindle Edition. If you are super-duper busy and want to hear a good tale, check out the podcast. The podcast is on iHeart Radio, Spotify, Stitchers, and Indigo Stone.

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town woman 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. 

NEXT STEPS: Check out “Blood Magic” on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YKS9JVK

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Say Thank You with a Gift of “50 Life Lessons!”

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Anon

Saying thank you is not limited by time or space. A kind gesture may be large, small, or even behind the scenes. At this time of year be diligent with saying thank you to family, friends, and coworkers.

Use the contemplative essays from “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons” to guide you into a more grateful life.  Stay home. Stay safe. Read literature that builds you up.

“The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons,” the paperback & KINDLE is on sale NOW at Amazon. Check it out here.

NEXT STEPS:  Order a copy of “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons.” Grab a copy for yourself and a loved one.

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20/20/20 – Give a Magical Gift!

Magic is in the air! Relax during the holidays with a tale of romance, mystery, and small-town mayhem in the novel “Blood Magic.”

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town woman 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. 

“Blood Magic” the paperback and KINDLE are on sale NOW at Amazon. Check it out HERE.

NEXT STEPS:  Need more enticement? Enjoy everything “Blood Magic” at the HUB.

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Recharge During the Holidays!

Recharge during the holidays with “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons.”

The best of us might have long-range plans, vision boards, to do lists, and a marked-up calendar. But in reality, nothing happens without small steady steps towards progress. Whether your goal is to be a happier you, Rockstar employee, or more organized parent – take it day by day. Use the contemplative essays from “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons” to guide you.

“The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons” is on sale NOW at Amazon. Check it out here.

NEXT STEPS:  Need a last-minute gift? Consider “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons.”

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Beat Shipping Deadlines – Give the Gift of Life!

Treat yourself and a loved one to the inspiring essays from “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons.”  Use the life lessons to reflect and set plans for 2021 to be a happier you, Rockstar employee, or more organized parent. Read literature that feeds your soul!

Beat the holiday shipping deadlines and order now!

“The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons,” is on sale NOW at Amazon. Check it out here.

NEXT STEPS:  Order a first edition of “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons.”

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12 Days ‘til Christmas—Live Life!

Treat yourself and a loved one to the inspiring essays from “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons.”  Use the life lessons to reflect and set plans for 2021 to be a happier you, Rockstar employee, or more organized parent. Read literature that feeds your soul!

“The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons,” is on sale NOW at Amazon. Check it out here.

NEXT STEPS:  Order a first edition of “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons.” Grab a copy for yourself and a loved one.

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Escape into a World of Adventure and Romance – Blood Magic!

Once the gifts are bought, groceries in the fridge, the kids put to bed—unwind with the adventure and romance of “Blood Magic.”

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town woman 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 sexy strangers enter her life in one day. 

“Blood Magic” the paperback and KINDLE are on sale NOW at Amazon. Check it out HERE.

NEXT STEPS:  Need more enticement? Read excerpts of “Blood Magic” at the HUB.

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Resumes: The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing

There are a million resources on how to write a good resume. Some advice is good. Some advice is outdated. Use a few tips and strategies here to make you shine in front of a hiring manager.

Do not put your whole life story in the resume. List your last three relevant jobs. Explain employment gaps. Keep the resume to one page. Use key words tailored to the job vacancy.

Keep a master list of ALL your jobs somewhere private. Before you really put yourself out there, create a master document of all the jobs you have had. Include special projects, accomplishments, promotions, awards, and honors. Keep it handy so you can pull what you need for different job applications without too much thought.

Put your best experience and accomplishments on the top third of your resume. Employers use software to scan and screen resumes. If your resume makes to a real person, they are only going to skim your resume above “the fold.” You get a 3-5 seconds to grab attention! Hook the hiring manager with the juiciest bits of your career so he/she will keep reading and ultimately call you!

Use reverse chronological order. Chronological order is very traditional. You have other options like a functional resume or combination resume. You might even consider a skills-based resume. A fancier resume might look nice, but it could raise suspicion with a hiring manager. Use the tried-and-true reverse chronological order and explain employment gaps if it is a worry.

Consider using an online supplement to examples of your work. If you are worried about selling yourself short with a one-page resume, posts a link to your professional sites. At the top of your resume include a link to a personal website (e.g., LinkedIn) where you can dig deeper into why you are a Rockstar employee.

NEXT STEPS: Like, share, subscribe to this blog. Consider having a professional write your resume. Contact Indigo Stone for professional resume writing— indigostone@indigo-stone-va.com

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Resumes: Rocking the Work Experience

The work experience section of your resume is the real “meat” of the resume. A hiring manager will often skim the work experience first, to decide to contact you for an interview. Your work experience should describe previous employers, previous titles, dates of service, full-time positions, part-time positions, and volunteer work if you do not have relevant paid experiences.

Tailor your work experience to the job vacancy. Hiring managers want to quickly see that you are qualified for the job. Employers want to see matching experience, skills, and achievements to show that you can rock the job position.

What exactly do I include in my work history?

Companies you worked for

Provide the full, official names of the companies for which you have worked starting with your most recent followed by the next most recent, and so on. Exclude experience more than 10 years old. As a rule of thumb, include your last three employers. Double check your years of experience match or closely match the years required for the job vacancy.

Employment dates

Use the standard month-year format (ex. Jan 2014–Nov 2019) to list when you started and stopped working for each company. If you have short gaps in your work history, you may want to list only the years of employment, or if you have long gaps, you may decide to provide a brief explanation as to why. If you can include volunteer work to fill employment gaps – do it!

Job titles

You should be specific about your job titles in the companies you worked for. For example, stating that you were a senior technical writer is preferable to just writing “Writer.” Avoid using acronyms or company jargon that might confuse a hiring manager.

Responsibilities and success

Describe your main responsibilities and the skills you demonstrated in your previous jobs, such as project management, strategic planning, or team building. Pair your responsibility with a key impact, using numbers to measure your success. Keep it short and simple! Use numbers to quantify your successes.

Awards and honors

You can include your awards and recognitions in the job experience section or have a separate section for them. These accomplishments show that you can excel in your field of work. If you do not have extensive paid experience, you can include other volunteer positions and/or internships.

NEXT STEPS:  Like, share, subscribe to this blog. Come back next week for more resume tips.

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Enjoy Holiday Thrills with “Blood Magic!”

Wrap yourself tight in a blanket. Grab a cup of hot cocoa. Immerse yourself in the mystery, murder, and mayhem of “Blood Magic.”

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town woman 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. 

Cyber Monday deals last ALL WEEK!

“Blood Magic” the paperback and KINDLE are on sale NOW at Amazon. Check it out HERE.

NEXT STEPS:  Need more enticement? Enjoy everything “Blood Magic” at the HUB.

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Wear Your Pajamas and Enjoy “50 Life Lessons!”

Cyber Monday is not just one day, enjoy the week shopping in your pajamas while you are at home!

Treat yourself and a loved one to the inspiring essays from “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons.”  Use the life lessons to reflect and set plans for 2021 to be a happier you, Rockstar employee, or more organized parent.

“The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons,” the paperback & KINDLE is on sale NOW at Amazon. Check it out here.

NEXT STEPS:  Order the first edition of “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons.” Grab a copy for yourself and a loved one.

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Resumes: The Contact Information

Some might think writing the contact information on a resume is a no-brainer, but there are a few tips and tricks to make you shine. There are five pieces of information to include on your resume as we head into 2021: name, email address, abbreviated physical address, current phone number, and professional portfolio links.

First, include your first and last name at the top of the resume. The resume is not a legal document, so feel free to use a preferred name and/or nickname. Remember you get one time to make a first impression, represent yourself well.

With the pandemic, everything starts online. You need a clean, professional email address in the contact section of your resume. Do not use the email address for your current employer, that is a conflict of interest. Plus, it can be very awkward if your current boss finds out you are job hunting before you formally resign.  Avoid party names or sexy email addresses. A variation of your first and last name always works.

Nowadays, you do not need to list your complete physical address. As a matter of internet safety, do NOT include your complete physical address. All you really need is your city and state. Keep it simple. Wait to be asked for more information if it is needed.

Use a current phone number that you check on a regular basis. Just as you want a clean, professional email address, you want a clean, professional voice mail greeting. If you miss a call, return the message promptly. Most interviews begin with a screening phone interview.

Lastly, consider including links to a professional portfolio or online profile at the top of your resume. Reread the job vacancy to understand if it is required for the job. Then, double check that the profiles are current, relevant to the job, and free of typos.

NEXT STEPS:  Like, share, subscribe to this blog. Come back next week for more resume tips.

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A Gift of Love, “50 Life Lessons!”

All love does not have to be romantic. We can love our family. We can love our friends. Love is listening with our ears and our hearts. Love is making the effort to understand the other person.

Use the contemplative essays from “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons” to guide you into a more loving life. Read literature that lights your soul.

“The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons,” the paperback & KINDLE is on sale NOW at Amazon. Check it out here.

NEXT STEPS:  Order a copy of “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons.” Grab a copy for yourself and a loved one.

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Enjoy a Weekend Treat with “Blood Magic!”

Turn down the lights, grab a plate of Thanksgiving leftovers, and dive into the paranormal romance “Blood Magic!”

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town woman 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. 

“Blood Magic” the paperback and KINDLE are on sale NOW at Amazon. Check it out HERE.

NEXT STEPS:  Need more enticement? Read steamy excerpts of “Blood Magic” at the HUB.

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Stay Home, Stay Safe with “Blood Magic!”

Enjoy the thrill of an action-packed paranormal romance in the safety of your own home. Grab a copy of “Blood Magic!”

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town woman 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. 

“Blood Magic” the paperback and KINDLE are on sale NOW at Amazon. Check it out HERE.

NEXT STEPS:  Need more enticement? Enjoy everything “Blood Magic” at the HUB.

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Say Thank You with a Gift of “50 Life Lessons!”

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Anon

Saying thank you is not limited by time or space. A kind gesture may be large, small, or even behind the scenes. At this time of year be diligent with saying thank you to family, friends, and coworkers.

Use the contemplative essays from “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons” to guide you into a more grateful life.  Stay home. Stay safe. Read literature that builds you up.

“The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons,” the paperback & KINDLE is on sale NOW at Amazon. Check it out here.

NEXT STEPS:  Order a copy of “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons.” Grab a copy for yourself and a loved one.

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Resumes: Writing the Objective

The holidays are upon us, how are you going to spend the down time? Typically, companies boast lucrative job vacancies in January. Yearly budgets are set, and employers are ready to staff their teams in the new year. Start early and draft a competitive resume!

Writing a resume objective is optional but can be a critical step to landing you a job interview. The objective should be short, 1-3 sentences and it must pack a punch!  A resume objective focuses on your abilities and skills that are of benefit to an employer.

Match Your Objective to the Job

Do not just copy and paste your objective on 50 resumes. Tailor to a particular job or industry. The objective might state where you have been and where you want to go in your career. Highlight some Rockstar experience.

Be Specific

The resume objective should target the top skills needed for the position you are applying for. The top skills needed in a job, are typically the first 3-4 lines of the job vacancy. Show the employer that you are the right fit for the position.

Use Keywords

Strong keywords are very necessary, especially if the employer uses an electronic tracking system. Many times, an automated system is used to screen resumes before a human being sits down to do an additional screen. One job can receive 100 applications. The systems are designed to weed out the weakest resumes.

Make a Match

You should state career goals that are realistic for the company. For example, if you are applying for an administrative assistant position, do not turn around and state goals to one day be a song writer. Research the company, research the job, and be practical.

Focus on How You Can Add Value

It is okay to share what you want in the position, but you must also explain why you are an ideal candidate for the job. Add any experience that makes you shine. Specific examples are important.

NEXT STEP:  Like, share, subscribe to this blog. Come back next week for more resume tips.

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The Early Bird Gets the Worm

Indulge your pleasure with “Blood Magic,” the murder mystery set in small-town Virginia. If you love the smell of a new book, enjoy the paperback novel. If you are a tech wiz with an extensive online library, download the Kindle Edition. If you are super-duper busy and want to hear a good tale, check out the podcast. The podcast is on iHeart Radio, Spotify, Stitchers, and Indigo Stone.

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town woman 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. 

NEXT STEPS:  Beat the Black Friday rush and order copies for friends and family on Amazon!

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20/20/20 Change Your Luck!

Happy November 20, 2020.

Change your luck!

Change your life!

Use the contemplative essays from “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons” to guide you.  Whether your goal is to be a happier you, Rockstar employee, or more organized parent – take it day by day.

“The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons,” the paperback & KINDLE is on sale NOW at Amazon. Check it out here.

NEXT STEPS:  Order a copy of the first edition of “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons.” Grab a copy for yourself and a loved one.

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Enjoy the Holidays with “Blood Magic!”

Unwind during the holidays with “Blood Magic,” the murder mystery set in small-town Virginia. If you love the smell of a new book, enjoy the paperback novel. If you are a tech wiz with an extensive online library, download the Kindle Edition. If you are super-duper busy and want to hear a good tale, check out the podcast. The podcast is on iHeart Radio, Spotify, Stitchers, and Indigo Stone.

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town woman 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. 

NEXT STEPS: Check out “Blood Magic” on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YKS9JVK

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Spend the Holidays with Indigo Stone

The holidays are approaching. The year is starting to wind down. How do you plan to spend your free time?  Say hello to family and friends, then take some time for yourself. Set goals for 2021.

Use the contemplative essays from “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons” to guide you. Whether your goal is to be a happier you, Rockstar employee, or more organized parent – take it day by day.

“The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons,” the paperback & KINDLE is on NOW at Amazon. Check it out here.

NEXT STEPS:  Order a copy of the first edition of “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons.” Grab a copy for yourself and a loved one.

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Redemption

I guess darkness serves a purpose: to show us that there is redemption through chaos. I believe in that. I think that’s the basis of Greek mythology.”  –Brendan Fraser

A sliver of light can break the darkness. In dark times, we learn lifelong lessons. Unfortunately, most people like to stand in the sunshine and be in love. But through struggle, and sometimes painful struggle, we learn lessons that last a lifetime. Let the power of redemption help you shake loose of challenges and strike a new path.

Redemption is the compassion and forgiveness you give to yourself after surviving a difficult time. The slate is clean. The lessons are learned. You drop the regret. It is time to begin again.

Some may pray to reach a point of redemption. Some may meditate. Some may even go to therapy. Journaling is always good. Whatever your methods, it is normal to have some dark times in life where we feel lost. After you find your way back, process it, appreciate the new wisdom, and move forward.

NEXT STEPS:  Like, share, subscribe to this blog. Come back at the same time next week.

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Use “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone: 50 Life Lessons” to Refill Your Cup

Having time to self-reflect is a powerful gift. Most of us spend every waking minute of our lives on the go. We jump out of bed, grab a cup of coffee, and race to work. A friend calls us, we throw on our best outfit, and run to happy hour. Our family, friends, and coworkers need us.

Respect the pause. Whether your life is on hold by choice or by force—just sit down for a minute.

Take small steady steps towards progress. Whether your goal is to be a happier you, Rockstar employee, or more organized parent – take it day by day. Use “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons” to guide you.

NEXT STEPS: “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons” is on sale NOW at Amazon. Check it out HERE.

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Making Comebacks in Life

Sometimes life smacks you in the face. You did not 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. Make that comeback!

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.

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

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New Release of paperback & KINDLE: The Life and Times of Indigo Stone

The best of us might have long-range plans, vision boards, to do lists, and a marked-up calendar. But nothing happens without small steady steps towards progress. Whether your goal is to be a happier you, Rockstar employee, or more organized parent – take it day by day. Use the contemplative essays from “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons” to guide you.

“The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons,” the paperback & KINDLE are NOW at Amazon. Check it out HERE.

NEXT STEPS:  Order your copy of the first edition of “The Life and Times of Indigo Stone:  50 Life Lessons.”

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Time Change, Attitude Change: Gratitude

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.

There are several ways to express gratitude in life:

  • Volunteer in your community. Choose your passion and get involved!
  • Random acts of kindness. Help someone lost with directions. Donate unwanted clothes to charity.
  • Be respectful. Maintain standards of etiquette in your day-to-day interactions with strangers.
  • Tip your server. Give the effort to make your experience a positive one, service-industry employees are often unsung heroes.
  • Write, write, write! Write a thank you note for a gift. Send an email/letter telling a loved one how much they mean to you. Create the habit of journaling three things you are thankful for each day.

The month has changed. The time has changed. We are starting to wrap up 2020. Use an attitude of gratitude to end the year on a high note!

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Dive into November with Intrigue

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town woman 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. 

Black Friday deals have started early. Buy “Blood Magic!” Browse the paperback and e-book on Amazon HERE.

EXCERPT

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. 

NEXT STEPS:  Enjoy everything “Blood Magic” at the HUB.

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FLASHBACK: Embracing the Other

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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Magic, Mystery, and Mayhem!

As the veil thins and October ends, wrap yourself in the tale of Selina Anderson!

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town woman 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. 

Black Friday deals have started early. Buy “Blood Magic!” Browse the paperback and e-book on Amazon HERE.

EXCERPT (Spoiler Alert)

“In a moment of desperation, I grabbed one of the vampires lurching towards them. I twisted him around and grabbed on to his head ready to wrench it off.  He looked deep into my eyes and then whimpered, ‘You’re the One.’ I carelessly thought that I wished the vampires would just leave. His body froze and his eyes flashed gold.  Before I could twist his head off, he whispered, ‘Yes, I will leave.’ I released him and he turned to do just that. I looked around and saw that all the vampires had frozen in their tracks and began to walk away from us. They walked away from the fight. They left through the catacomb of tunnels through which they had come. The fight was over, and I had discovered that I had a new power.”

NEXT STEPS:  Enjoy everything “Blood Magic” at the HUB.

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Halloween, All Soul’s Day, and Release!

In the United States, October 31 is Halloween. In other parts of the world, November 2 is All Soul’s Day. We recognize the cycle of birth and death. We say good-bye to the departed. We release. Through writing, you can say good-bye and release that which no longer serves you.

Recognize the need to let go. After a certain point in life, many of us never say out loud that we are tired. 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 we do the best we can do to ride the ups and downs of life. However, eventually we just need to drop old baggage.

Learn from the past, do not repeat it. Take the lessons of the past and drop the negative emotion behind it. Release yourself from the weight. The challenges you had at 12, 21, 35 and above should not be the same. You are not required to hold on to it, revisiting, rethinking, rehashing it all!

Excess emotional baggage blocks opportunity. Feeling weighed down is not a fun experience. The only thing that never changes in life is that—nothing stays the same. With the dawn of each new day, you can begin again. Wipe the slate clean. Set new plans. Try again.

Journaling is a great way to release that which no longer serves us. 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.

As October ends, say good-bye to old ties, old baggage, and old ways of thinking through writing.

NEXT STEPS:  Like, share, subscribe to this blog. Come back same time next week.

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FLASHBACK: The Silver Lining

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:  Like, share, subscribe to this blog. Share the information with family and friends.

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The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Words

“Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates:

Is it true?

Is it necessary?

Is it kind?”

― Rumi

You are who you say you are. If you tell yourself you are magnificent, you are magnificent. If you tell yourself you are a failure, you are a failure. In this world, we take in messages from countless sources – family, friends, social media, Hollywood, etc. However, the loudest voice in our head, is our own.

Our thoughts are shaped by our perception of the world around us. Our thoughts become our words, and the words become our common language. Language is at the core of our personal relationships. How you talk to yourself and others, determines the quality of your relationships. If you do not like or love yourself, you speak words of negativity. The only people who will spend time with you are those who agree with your words. Then you wonder why you have difficult relationships with people who do not seem to like you or love you.

On the flip side, being positive and speaking words of encouragement to yourself can change your perception of challenging situations. Speaking encouragement and support releases stress and anxiety. The people around you will be attracted to your grace under pressure. You will have a healthier relationship with yourself and the world around you.

Remember, words DO matter. You are who you say you are. The people around you will mirror your self-perception. Positive people spend time with happy people. Pessimists spend time with other unhappy people…or alone.

Grab your journal or a post-it and write down your top three accomplishments for 2020, no matter how small. Whenever you feel doubt, review the list. Plan for more greatness in 2021.

NEXT STEPS:  Like, share, subscribe to this blog. New posts come out every Sunday.

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“Double, Double Toil and Trouble…”

“Double, double toil and trouble…” -Shakespeare

Enjoy the danger, delight, and determination of Selina Anderson, vampire hunter.

Black Friday deals have started early. Buy “Blood Magic!” Browse the paperback and e-book on Amazon HERE.

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town woman 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. 

EXCERPT

I felt another presence in the mansion. I felt it like a cold dark stain.  I ran to the foot of the stairs in time to see a figure descending in shadow.

            “Show yourself!” I demanded.  Then he came into the light.

            “Ah Selina, so you wish to be top dog,” Marcus growled at me.

I could feel Marcus’ fury.  I was still full of vampire blood and I reached out to his mind.  His steps faltered.   I knew what was coming.

            “Arm yourselves and fight!” I shouted to the others just as people swarmed into from the entrances of the house.  He’d brought humans to fight for him. I willed the vampires to fight for their lives against the humans. There was shouting and yelling all around us.  Body parts were hitting the floor. My mind-controlled vampires easily tore into the flesh of Marcus’ men.  My team of Guardians was also fighting.  Marcus meant to kill us all...

NEXT STEPS:  Enjoy everything “Blood Magic” at the HUB.

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Slide into “Blood Magic” During Amazon Prime Days!

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town woman 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. 

Amazon Prime Days are October 13-14, 2020. Buy “Blood Magic!” Browse the paperback and e-book HERE.

EXCERPT

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…

NEXT STEPS:  Enjoy everything “Blood Magic” at the HUB, including the podcast and more excerpts.

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Learn to Accept Peace

There may be uncertainty in our communities, the nation, and the world. But there are still opportunities to have peace.  Fall has arrived giving us crisp mornings for walking a dog.  Retailers are gearing up for the holidays cutting fabulous deals. Pumpkins and pumpkin spice lattes are back on the menu. Write!

Take the time to relax, relate, and release! Grab a journal or your phone to express your gratitude for moments of contentment or joy. All you must do is jot down a few words. “I am grateful for… because.” Refill your bucket with selfcare and selflove. Write and breathe through it.

There are several benefits to writing:

  • It lowers stress and anxiety
  • It helps you work through problem-solving
  • It inspires creativity and can shift of perspective
  • It keeps you mentally sharp as you mature
  • It promotes life-long learning

Accept that peace can be as simple as grabbing a piece of paper and writing in free verse or expressing the love of coffee in a gratitude app on your phone. It is inexpensive. It can be done 24/7. You can choose to be online or offline.

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Amazon Prime Days are Here! “Blood Magic” is Here!

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town woman 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. 

Amazon Prime Days are October 13-14, 2020. Buy “Blood Magic!” Browse the paperback and e-book HERE.

EXCERPT

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. 

NEXT STEPS:  Enjoy everything “Blood Magic” at the HUB, including the podcast and more excerpts.

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Explore Your Delight with “Blood Magic!”

Indulge your pleasure with “Blood Magic,” the murder mystery set in small-town Virginia. If you love the smell of a new book, enjoy the paperback novel. If you are a tech wiz with an extensive online library, download the Kindle Edition. If you are super duper busy and want to hear a good tale, check out the podcast. The podcast is on iHeart Radio, Spotify, Stitchers, and Indigo Stone.

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town woman 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. 

EXCERPT

“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. 

NEXT STEPS:  Check out everything “Blood Magic” at the HUB.

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Seeing the Humor in Life

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Tank you.

Tank who?

You’re welcome!

-Author Unknown

Sometimes, things happen and there are simply no words. You cry. You get mad. You scream. And there is no guarantee it will not happen again. Laugh it off. There are endless “Knock, Knock” jokes for when all else fails.

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FLASHBACK: Say “Yes” to the Small Joys!

The dark creamy swirl of warm liquid. Coffee. A cool stream of water down your back on a hot day. Cold shower. Hitting snooze on the alarm clock because you do not have to go to work. Saturday.  Sometimes, you take a step back and enjoy the small pleasures in life. 

There is a lot of potential worry in the world with this pandemic, politics, and an uncertain economy. If you slow down, look around you, there are small joys in life to keep you motivated. It is important for your health and well-being to be able to find the positive during difficult times. Self-care through simple pleasures will make you a better partner, parent, and friend. 

The greatest joys in life, often have no real price tag.

You can sit on your porch and watch the sun come up.  You can volunteer at the local shelter and cook meals. You can Zoom with family and friends who may be many miles away.  You can listen to a podcast while stuck in traffic.  You can sit up at midnight journaling your wildest hopes and dreams. The options are limitless.

Take care of you. Fortify your soul. Then reach back and bring others along with you. Build a family or community of support during these trying times. We are in this together.

Try your hand at this week’s journal prompt:  Look around the space you are in. Find one thing that brings you pleasure or is a favorite item. Describe it in detail. How does it look, feel, smell, taste, sound? Now, give it a personality and write a fictional adventure in your journal.

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Day by Day Strength

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”  -Eleanor Roosevelt

What is happening next week? Next month? Next year? Sometimes, we worry and obsess so much about the future, we forget today is here. Today is…HERE. Day by day strength means being grounded in the present and planting seeds for the future.

The best of us might have long-range plans, vision boards, to do list, and a marked-up calendar. But in reality, nothing happens without small steady steps towards progress. Whether your goal is to be a fitter you, Rockstar employee, or more organized parent – take it day by day.

We are summation of our daily habits. There is no guarantee of a tomorrow, next month, or next season. We have no immediate control over the weather, pandemics, international economies as ordinary citizens. Work with what you have. Write down daily goals. Leave room for missteps and those moments where we just “don’t feel like it.”

At times we feel like we must carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. But you just need to carry yourself through this moment. What is necessary in this moment? Do you have what you need to happy and whole in this moment? Are the people you love safe and well fed?

Whenever you come upon this post, stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and look around. Today is…HERE. What can you accomplish in this moment, without too much fuss?

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Spoil Yourself with “Blood Magic!”

Indulge your pleasure with “Blood Magic,” the murder mystery set in small-town Virginia.

If you love the smell of a new book, enjoy the paperback novel. If you are a tech wiz with an extensive online library, download the Kindle Edition. If you are super duper busy and want to hear a good tale, check out the podcast. The podcast is on iHeart Radio, Spotify, Stitchers, and Indigo Stone.

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town woman 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. 

EXCERPT

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.

NEXT STEPS:  Check out everything “Blood Magic” at the HUB.

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FLASHBACK: Hope and Action

“Without action, you aren’t going anywhere.”  Mahatma Gandhi

With hope you can survive anything. With hope and action, you do not just survive but you thrive. Hope is believing without seeing. Take your hope and persevere towards a goal through action. Even when you do not know all the steps and obstacles up ahead, take one step at a time.

Through journaling you can record daily motivational messages to keep your hope strong. Whether the nuggets of wisdom come from you, family, or unsung heroes – it does to matter. Write it down and let it seep into your soul. Then back it up with action.

The same journal can be used to make 30, 60, 90-day plans in career, family, personal growth, etc. The trick is that the journal is for your eyes only. It does not matter if you make little mistakes or are unsure about what you tell yourself. Keep it positive. Make little adjustments. Consistently work towards your goals. Let hope lull you to sleep. Allow action to wake you up full of passion and energy. Whether it takes you one week, one month, or one year – believe in yourself.

Here is your journal prompt for the week:  My hope today is…  Tomorrow, my next step towards this wish, will be…

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The Power of “I Can!”

I think I can. I think I can. I…think…I…can.

Remember “The Little Engine That Could (1930, Platt & Munk)?” The rain is heavy. The hill is huge. The train engine is giving it his all to carry the weight and preserve. The engine motivates himself and whispers words of encouragement to cross the proverbial finish line.

If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you can’t. Sometimes, we have family and friends who motivate and encourage us to get across that proverbial finish line. And sometimes, we don’t. The biggest cheerleader in your life should be you.

When you are your biggest cheerleader, it does not matter if a partner gets tired and distracted. It does not matter if a best friend takes a new job out of state. It does not matter if your co-workers are too distracted by water cooler gossip, to see that you need a little attention.

Most of the time, we are our own worst critic. Turn that around. Use the power of words to carry you through challenging times. You can borrow or write your own personal affirmations. Speak the words to yourself in the mirror or jot them down in a journal. You can borrow or write your own prayers regardless of your particular faith. Ask for help, ask for guidance, or just say “thank you” for what you already have. You can borrow or write your own meditations. Take ten minutes out of busy day to sit down, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Through meditation, be in the moment and drop the resentment of the past and worries of the future.

The words you feed yourself, determine your path. If you keep the words positive, you can persevere through the heavy rain and up the huge hill. If you keep the words negative or rely on everybody else to lift you, you get stuck in the muck.

Take a moment to check in with yourself. How are you feeling? Which cheer would you like to dance to right now?

NEXT STEPS:  Like, share, subscribe to this blog. Come back same time next week.

Buy Us a Coffee

Support Indigo Stone in maintaining content that is free and relevant for whoever needs it.

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Featured

Indulge Your Pleasure with “Blood Magic!”

Indulge your pleasure with “Blood Magic,” the murder mystery set in small-town Virginia.

If you love the smell of a new book, enjoy the paperback novel. If you are a tech wiz with an extensive online library, download the Kindle Edition. If you are super duper busy and want to hear a good tale, check out the podcast. The podcast is on iHeart Radio, Spotify, Stitchers, and Indigo Stone.

In “Blood Magic,” Selina Anderson is a small-town woman 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. 

EXCERPT

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. 

NEXT STEPS:  Check out everything “Blood Magic” at the HUB.

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FLASHBACK: Stop. Think. Reflect!

Stoplights. Thunderstorms. Pandemics. At times, life pauses and we have the opportunity breathe in the moment. We can sit down for a bit and and really look at our life. What is working? What is not working? What are our next steps?

Having time to self-reflect is a powerful gift. Most of us spend every waking minute of our lives on the go. We jump out of bed, grab a cup of coffee, and race to work. A friend calls us, we throw on our best outfit, and run to happy hour. Our family, friends, and coworkers need us.

Respect the pause. Whether your life is on hold by choice or by force—just sit down for a minute.

Real self-reflection is when you take an honest look at your life without judgment. There is no good or bad. You see where you have been, where you are now, and where you want to be in the future. It is an opportunity to silence the noise. Deep down how are YOU feeling? What do YOU want? How do YOU spend most of your time?

It can be difficult to hear our inner voice when we are constantly absorbing messages from different people and situations. Family says one thing. A partner may say something else. A favorite news station can deliver the opposite message. We can forget who we are and what is important to us in life.

At the next stoplight, check in with yourself. Ask, what do I hope to achieve at my next destination? During the next thunderstorm, do a forgotten activity that brings you joy. If you are still on pause during the pandemic, grab your journal, and draft plan B for the next 3-6months.

Here is your writing prompt for this week:  What is absolutely, necessary and what can I let go?

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Love Letters During COVID-19

“To write a good love letter, you ought to begin without knowing what you mean to say, and to finish without knowing what you have written.” –Jean-Jacques Rousseau

It is believed that the act of writing can evoke feelings of love in the writer. A love letter has no formal rules around form, length, or style. You can write a love letter that is long, passionate, poetic—a real labor of love. You can write a love letter that is short with a few powerful words in a text. It is up to the writer to decide on the type of message to be communicated.

What is love? You can write about devotion, ambition, obsession, disappointment, forgiveness, etc. Love is many things to many people.

For You

We are living during uncertain times. Write a love letter to yourself of motivation, encouragement, and selfcare. Revel in the splendor of knowing who you are, what you stand for, and living your life as you see fit. Describe the freedom of being able to stand strong and imperfect during difficult times.

For Your Partner

You may be at a distance from your partner. Or you may be too close in quarantine with your partner. Write a love letter of forgiveness, commitment, and fantasy. Remember better times and make plans for an exciting future. Write a romantic scene for a world without corona and share it with your loved one.

For Your Family and Friends

All love does not have to be romantic. We can love our family. We can love our friends. Love is listening with our ears and our hearts. Love is making the effort to understand the other person. Write love and support notes to friends who may be unemployed or furloughed. Write loving words to family who may sick and in recovery. Create a word collage of love for children going back to school who may be nervous about a different kind of school year.

As the world spins, we need more love and kindness.

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THURSDAY FLASHBACK: Write that Resume!

There is a lot going on in the world today. Jobs have been lost. Jobs have been gained. Some people are on furlough. If you are ready to write that resume, here are quick tips.

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? Using numbers, dollars, and percentages will really make you 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.

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Enjoy Summer Thrills and Chills with “Blood Magic!”

Starting TODAY “Blood Magic” is on sale directly from the publisher Indigo Stone. Enjoy the tease and titillation of this vampire hunter novel set in Virginia.

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. 

All orders are shipped within the continental United States. Spend an extra $5 and receive a copy autographed by RL Collins.

“Blood Magic” by RL Collins

Enjoy a 6X9 paperback copy, 543 pages. The cost of shipping is included for all orders delivered within the continental United States. Please allow 3-5 business days for shipping.

$20.00

“Blood Magic” by RL Collins – AUTOGRAPHED COPY

Enjoy a 6X9 autographed paperback copy, 543 pages. The cost of shipping is included for all orders delivered within the continental United States. Please allow 3-5 business days for shipping.

$25.00

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

REFUND POLICY: ALL SALES FINAL UNLESS UNABLE TO DELIVER TO ADDRESS. NO REFUNDS UNLESS UNABLE TO DELIVER TO ADDRESS.

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THURSDAY FLASHBACK: Stop Sweating the Small Stuff!

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.

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 another post “Finding Gratitude During Crisis.”

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THURSDAY FLASHBACK: Grant Writing During Corona

If you are a small business that needs funding or financial support to survive COVID-19, consider grants. There are great ways to find available opportunities:  1.) Check with local government agencies 2.) Check with federal agencies 3.) Check with major corporations 4.) Search the internet 5.) Ask around locally 6.) Visit the local library for the latest grant directories.

Important Tips for Grant Writing

The business of securing a federal, state, or private grant is extremely competitive. The organization must craft a professionally written, concise proposal that leaves no room for questions or doubts for the reader.  The first thing to do before writing a grant proposal is to read the announcement multiple times. Make sure all requirements are understood. Then have a conversation with the team to double check that the organization is equipped to satisfy all requirements. Not most, but all. The team should also discuss if the award is worth the effort and inspires full commitment.

Consider the financial structure of the business. Can the organization handle the financial reporting requirements and related tasks?  Finally, it must be decided who will write the grant proposal. Will the business use someone in-house or hire a professional grant writer? Regardless who does the writing, good proposals must include the following parts:

  • Goals & Objectives
  • Need
  • Response
  • Evaluation
  • Impact
  • Resources & Capabilities
  • Budget

Lastly, do not stop if you get a rejection. Keep applying, writing, and networking. Always be on the lookout for new programs that support small businesses.

NEXT STEPS: Like, share, subscribe to the blog. Are you looking for an opportunity as an individual? Check out Indigo Stone’s resume writing tips.

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Better Than Reality TV – “Blood Magic” the Novel

The characters in “Blood Magic” are spicy, dicey, and better than reality TV. Turn off the tube. Put your phone on vibrate. Dive in.

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. 

EXCERPT

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. 

An instant download of the novel can be found at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

If you prefer an autographed copy, you can shop directly at the publisher’s website Indigo Stone.

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

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Love in the Valley: Your Journal Prompt #120

Life by definition involves changes. Nothing last forever. Impermanence is a fact. When you find yourself in the valley, love yourself through it.

The real danger of being in the valley is believing there is no way out. There is a way out, it just might take time. The myth of being in the valley is thinking you are alone. Everybody finds themselves in the valley from time to time, they just might not tell you about it. The illusion of being in the valley is that it only happens one time. Once you accept that it is part of life, you embrace the highs, and remember the lessons to cope next time you are low.

What is love in the valley?  Ask for help as you need it, whether it is family or a paid professional. Maintain healthy boundaries with others. If you are not up to that community event, do not go. Create positive routines around sleep, diet, and exercise. Everything is harder when you are tired, hungry, or achy. Venting difficult emotions is also love in the valley. You can journal, sing, garden, cook, make art – you decide whatever it is that makes you feel lighter.

Use this week’s journal prompt to help you ride the highs and lows of life:

I love myself enough to make and keep this promise…

Today, I will set healthy boundaries by…

This week, I will reach out and talk to…

This month, I will set a plan for better sleep by…

NEXT STEPS: Like, share, subscribe to this blog. Want more love? Check out “Love and Independence.”

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THURSDAY FLASHBACK – Finding Inspiration to Write: College Students, Creative Writers, Professional Writers

Inspiration.

What is it? Where do we find it?

Most of the time we are given a writing assignment as part of a mundane project or to accomplish a goal. Perhaps the boss needs you to draft a PowerPoint presentation. Perhaps an instructor requires you to write an essay. Maybe you are opening for a civic event in your neighborhood. It is the heart and personality we inject into our writing that makes it come alive.

Brainstorm. Inspiration can be found in the sunset. Inspiration can be found in a 90’s tune on YouTube.  Hot coffee on a chilly afternoon can bring good feelings. Feel what you feel and write down the words and phrases that come to mind. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or punctuation. Then pick the best tidbits to build your story.

Read the works of other writers. Lighten the mood and read a comic strip in the newspaper. Explore and read an article from a new magazine. Or if you really have the time, check out a book on short stories from the local library. There is no magic formula. Don’t try too hard.

Review examples of art. Works of art can be found online and offline. If you’re lucky, you might have art galleries or museums in your community.   There are online marketplaces where you can browse art for inspiration. You may even try a happy hour painting session after work. There are options to suit one’s taste.

In the end, give yourself time. There is no right or wrong method to finding inspiration to write. Satisfy the requirements for the writing assignment. Then find a way to bring it to life and put your personal stamp on it.

NEXT STEPS:  Subscribe below and share this link with family and friends.  Indigo Stone supports new writers. We offer compassionate critique and editing services.

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Take a Break from Reality, Delve into “Blood Magic”

Need a distraction from the pandemic, politics, and a spinning world? Slide into the magic and adventure of “Blood Magic,” the novel. It is hard to know friend from foe while the masks are on.

Read an excerpt:

“In a moment of desperation, I grabbed one of the vampires lurching towards them. I twisted him around and grabbed on to his head ready to wrench it off.  He looked deep into my eyes and then whimpered, ‘You’re the One.’ I carelessly thought that I wished the vampires would just leave. His body froze and his eyes flashed gold.  Before I could twist his head off, he whispered, ‘Yes, I will leave.’ I released him and he turned to do just that. I looked around and saw that all the vampires had frozen in their tracks and began to walk away from us. They walked away from the fight. They left through the catacomb of tunnels through which they had come. The fight was over, and I had discovered that I had a new power.”

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. 

An instant download of the novel can be found at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

If you prefer an autographed copy, you can shop directly at the publisher’s website Indigo Stone.

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

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Set Powerful Intentions: Your Journal Prompt #119

“Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.” ― Dalai Lama

Distractions. Did that cashier roll her eyes? I wanted that parking spot, now he has it. I hate waiting in line at DMV. There are tons of distractions in the world today that can throw you off track. The key to survival is to set positive intentions. Put on angelic blinders to ignore the small stuff and set a strong focus.

Normally, the idea of putting on blinders has a negative connotation. But in this context, you must do it! Family, friends, and co-workers are dealing with COVID-19, an uncertain economy, and other stressors you may or may not know about. Focus on YOU. Make sure you have your sh*t together.  IGNORE small irritations that you cannot change.

If you are a night owl, set your daily intentions before you go to bed. If you are a morning person, set your daily intentions when you first wake up. Basically, all that matters during times of stress is maintaining food, shelter, clothing, and gas in your car or funds for public transportation. Take care of your own needs for survival first. When you are strong and stable, reach back and help others. You cannot help anybody if your “cup is empty.”

Use this week’s journal prompt #119 to help you get started:

There are limited hours in one day. Today, the top three things I must accomplish are…

This week, it is necessary that I accomplish the following tasks for peace and stability…

In the next 30 days, my household will be stronger if I satisfy these five goals…

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A Million “Blood Magic” Titles, but Only One Kick A** RL Collins

Did you know there are a TON of “Blood Magic” titles on Amazon and YouTube? Wow, its really a popular title (sarcasm intended). But there is only one fantasy author RL Collins writing about Culpeper, Virginia.

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. 

An instant download of the novel can be found at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

If you prefer an autographed copy, you can shop directly at the publisher’s website Indigo Stone.

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

EXCERPT from “Blood Magic:” 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 scent of him.  He kissed me until I was gasping for breath.

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THURSDAY FLASHBACK – A Journal, Your Best Friend During Change

In many parts of the world, businesses and schools are reopening. We want change. We want freedom.  It can be a busy time. It can be a stressful time.  Be careful about griping to other people who have their own lives to manage. Write it down!

Choose a journal that inspires you. Do not choose a journal that is so fancy and expensive that you do not want to write in it. Pick a reasonable size. If it is too big, you cannot easily carry it around. If it is too small, your writing might be cramped or a strain to read. Choose a paper journal. With a paper journal you do not need to boot up, recharge, or download when you feel inspired to write.

Date your journal entry. When the time is right, you might decide to reread your thoughts. With a date, you can reflect on your evolution, grand adventures, or repeating cycles in your life.

Tell the truth….at least to yourself. In life we have different roles to play—husband, mother, sister, nephew, employee, friend, etc. At times, we might present a certain face to navigate the waters. In your journal, tell the truth. If you feel angry—say you are angry. If you feel sad—talk about why. If you feel like king of the mountain—brag and brag until your heart is content.

Write down the details of the situation or location. Use the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, hear, and taste.

Write a lot or write a little. No one is going to see the writing unless you choose to share.  It is all about you. Write in prose, poetry, or even try a word collage. You decide.

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The Small Joys: Your Journal Prompt #118

The dark creamy swirl of warm liquid. Coffee. A cool stream of water down your back on a hot day. Cold shower. Hitting snooze on the alarm clock because you do not have to go to work. Saturday.  Sometimes, you take a step back and enjoy the small pleasures in life. 

There is a lot of potential worry in the world with this pandemic, politics, and an uncertain economy. If you slow down, look around you, there are small joys in life to keep you motivated. It is important for your health and well-being to be able to find the positive during difficult times. Self-care through simple pleasures will make you a better partner, parent, and friend. 

The greatest joys in life, often have no real price tag.

You can sit on your porch and watch the sun come up.  You can volunteer at the local shelter and cook meals. You can Zoom with family and friends who may be many miles away.  You can listen to a podcast while stuck in traffic.  You can sit up at midnight journaling your wildest hopes and dreams. The options are limitless.

Take care of you. Fortify your soul. Then reach back and bring others along with you. Build a family or community of support during these trying times. We are in this together.

Try your hand at this week’s journal prompt:  Look around the space you are in. Find one thing that brings you pleasure or is a favorite item. Describe it in detail. How does it look, feel, smell, taste, sound? Now, give it a personality and write a fictional adventure in your journal.

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THURSDAY FLASHBACK: Lighten Your Heart

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?

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Cool Summer Read – “Blood Magic”

It is the dog days of summer. School is out. You might be having a staycation because of the pandemic. Join the hot summer adventure in “Blood Magic” set in Culpeper, Virginia.

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. 

Enjoy a NO CONTACT shipment of the novel. All orders are shipped within the continental United States. Spend an extra $5 and received a copy autographed by RL Collins.

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

“Blood Magic” by RL Collins

Enjoy a 6X9 paperback copy, 543 pages. The cost of shipping is included for all orders delivered within the continental United States. Please allow 3-5 business days for shipping.

$20.00

“Blood Magic” by RL Collins – AUTOGRAPHED COPY

Enjoy a 6X9 autographed paperback copy, 543 pages. The cost of shipping is included for all orders delivered within the continental United States. Please allow 3-5 business days for shipping.

$25.00

REFUND POLICY: ALL SALES FINAL UNLESS UNABLE TO DELIVER TO ADDRESS. NO REFUNDS UNLESS UNABLE TO DELIVER TO ADDRESS.

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Hope and Action: Your Journal Prompt #117

“Without action, you aren’t going anywhere.”  Mahatma Gandhi

With hope you can survive anything. With hope and action, you do not just survive but you thrive. Hope is believing without seeing. Take your hope and persevere towards a goal through action. Even when you do not know all the steps and obstacles up ahead, take one step at a time.

Through journaling you can record daily motivational messages to keep your hope strong. Whether the nuggets of wisdom come from you, family, or unsung heroes – it does to matter. Write it down and let it seep into your soul. Then back it up with action.

The same journal can be used to make 30, 60, 90-day plans in career, family, personal growth, etc. The trick is that the journal is for your eyes only. It does not matter if you make little mistakes or are unsure about what you tell yourself. Keep it positive. Make little adjustments. Consistently work towards your goals. Let hope lull you to sleep. Allow action to wake you up full of passion and energy. Whether it takes you one week, one month, or one year – believe in yourself.

Here is your journal prompt for the week:  My hope today is…  Tomorrow, my next step towards this wish, will be…

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