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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!

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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…

NEXT STEPS: Like, share, subscribe to this blog. Indigo Stone supports new writers. We offer compassionate critique and editing services.

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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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THURSDAY FLASHBACK – Attitude of Gratitude

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

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

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

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

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

Are you ready to try it? Here we go…

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

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No More Crap: Your Writing Prompt #116

Do you ever feel pulled in different directions? Your family wants this. Your job wants that. The kids are buzzing around needing this AND that. Sometimes, just sometimes, the stress and anxiety you feel in life has nothing to do with you. It is OTHER people’s crap! Learn to drop it.

First sign of crap:  Every time you are around a certain person or situation you feel tense. If you can wake up feeling good, then flip a switch when you meet a certain person—it is NOT you. The person you are dealing with has a certain energy. Maybe there was a previous incident. Maybe they communicate in a difficult manner. Find a mutual friend to help bring you two together. Or limit your time with this person if you cannot pinpoint the source of conflict.

Second sign of crap:  Your stomach hurts. Some people are very stoic. They carry themselves through life. They carry whole tribes on their back and never say a word. If you find that your digestion is off every time you are in a certain situation, it is NOT you. The environment you are in is not healthy for you. Speak up. Ask for help. Or drop it and lighten your load.

Third sign of crap:  You frequently get robbed in tangible and intangible ways. Sometimes you meet snake charmers. These are people who smile and are very charismatic. However, every time you around this person you lose something. You lose time. You lose money. You lose power. You find yourself saying yes to things you should not be doing. It is NOT you. You are dealing with someone who is great at manipulation. Run, run far away.

The best way to prevent getting sucked into other people’s crap is to “know thy self.” Know what you will and will not stand for. Learn to say no in diplomatic ways. Build healthy, personal boundaries. Set aside time to be alone and turn off the noise. When you are always around other people, you constantly take in their energy and opinions. It is good to sit in the silence and reconnect with yourself. You may do this through journaling, meditation, gaming, gardening, etc. Pick an activity you enjoy and can perform solo.

Here is journal prompt #116:  The last time I sat in silence, I discovered…

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Have a Lazy Day with “Blood Magic!”

Are you ready for the work week? Is everyone fed? Is the grass cut? Sit down—get a little lazy with “Blood Magic,” the fantasy novel.

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 paperback, 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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THURSDAY FLASHBACK – Better Business Emails

Emails. We all use them in the business world. Some use is appropriate. Some use is inappropriate. The purpose of a business email should be to convey basic information – no more. Tell your reader the “when, where, and how” of a business matter. Emails should not be sent in times of high emotion. Emails should not be drafted with sarcasm or off-color jokes. Professional emails should not be used as the first step to address a problem or concern with a colleague.

The culture of your organization and the relationship you have with the reader determines how formal your beginning and ending should be. For example, in a formal environment you may begin with the traditional, “Dear Mr./Ms.” and the person’s last name. A more relaxed, but still professional approach might be “Good Morning/Afternoon” and the receiver’s first name. Whatever you do, never resort to texting style language in a business email, such as “Hey U.”  It is helpful to end an email with a call to action, highlighting next steps, or a simple “thank you” for the reader’s attention.

It is also important to use clear and direct language in all business emails. This is especially important if you are communicating with different regions in your country or on the international platform. Different cultures interpret certain word choices differently. For example, if you use the slang “what’s shaking?” to be friendly, this might be misinterpreted by someone with a different background. Use the standard, “how are you?” Whenever you write a business email, keep it simple, to the point, and free of typos.

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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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Stop. Think. Reflect! Your Journal Prompt #115

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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THURSDAY FLASHBACK: Self-Comparison Sucks

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

Before COVID-19, our self-comparison may have centered around wealth, status, and beauty.  Now, we struggle with our partners, family, and friends trying to decide who is more miserable. Understand this – everybody has a sad story.

Everybody has struggled privately or publicly. There is no hierarchy.    

When you compare yourself to someone and feel inferior, that really sucks. When you compare yourself to someone and feel superior, you are alone at the top. Today, we can all make a choice to grow. Self-love and self-respect are an antidote. We don’t need to have internal competition with the people around us. When you are happy with #1, you don’t need to overanalyze what other people are doing in their lives.

Redirect your self-talk and outward expression.  Give words of encouragement to someone you see is struggling. Say thank you for small acts of kindness. Show empathy to someone expressing difficult emotions.  In different parts of our nation, COVID-19 restrictions are gradually being lifted. Step outside into the sun. Bring someone special with you. It is okay to smile and feel a sense of renewed freedom.

Grab your laptop, notepad, or phone to record the progress you have made. Here is this week’s journal prompt:

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

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Justice Without the Courts: Your Journal Prompt #114

Have you ever felt the sting of injustice? This week’s blog post has real-world secrets for navigating unethical people and situations. After reading this post, please use your power of persuasion for good, not evil.

“The world is an ugly place. You have probably heard this before. We can all see the TV ads for lawsuits against talcum powder cancer, childbirth mishaps, and car accidents. Everybody wants to sue. Everybody wants justice. I am a VICTIM!

If there has been no real physical or financial injury, you do NOT have a court case. The best justice is prevention, reading early warning signs, and DISCRETION. Never tell someone who is ugly to you, that they are ugly. The person will work that much harder to be petty and throw down unnecessary obstacles.

When faced with the devil, kill her with kindness. Discreetly navigate around predatory people.

If you get a sloppy meal in a restaurant, do not complain to the waiter. Do not give them time to prepare another meal with a side of spit. Smile and say, “no thanks.” Try another restaurant. If you have a backstabbing coworker stealing your best ideas, change how you share your ideas. Instead of brainstorming with individuals, keep it to yourself, polish it, then share in team meetings. Put the grand idea in writing. If you are looking to buy a property, you have proven written qualifications, and there is real estate discrimination – do not waste your time getting a lawyer. Larger companies know the laws better than you. Take your case to the consumer alert department of your local news station. Most businesses hate bad publicity and will work with you to resolve the issue privately.

Use your power of persuasion for good, not evil. Do not complain about people and systems because you are having a bad day, or your favorite TV show was canceled. There are supposed to be challenges in life that we grow through. But when faced with a real INJUSTICE—stand up for yourself, navigate around, and SMILE.

Here is this week’s journal prompt: 

Describe a time when you stood up for the underdog in your family, community, or workplace.

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Love and Independence: Your Journal Prompt #113

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**Reposted from March 2020.

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Illusions: Your Journal Prompt #112

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

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

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

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

Here is this week’s journal prompt #112:

The last time I laughed, was __________________.

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

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

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

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

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

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First-time Authors: Editing Services Just for You

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

Indigo Stone Offers Editorial Evaluation

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

We Copy Edit

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

Indigo Stone Provides Proofreading

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

We offer price quotes

 There are discounts for first-time authors

Self-published writers are welcome

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

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Role Model, Be One: Your Journal Prompt #111

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Embrace the Other: Your Journal Prompt #110

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rebuilding the Fort: Your Journal Prompt #109

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

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

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

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

Here is this week’s journal prompt #109:

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

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Three Day Countdown – “Blood Magic” Book Sale

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

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

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

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

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Drop the Grudge: Your Journal Prompt #108

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Self-Comparison Sucks: Your Journal Prompt #107

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Grit vs. IQ: Your Journal Prompt #106

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Here is your journal prompt for this week:

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

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Blood Magic, Episode 22 – King’s Dominion

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

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

Author: RL Collins

NEXT STEPS:  Browse podcast central 

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The Silver Lining: Your Journal Prompt #105

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ready for this week’s journal prompt?

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

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Overcoming Obstacles: Resume Hacks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Repost from January 2020

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Releasing Fear Through Writing: Your Journal Prompt #104

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Blood Magic, Episode 21 – Tangled Webs

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

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

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

Author: RL Collins

NEXT STEPS:  Browse podcast central

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Surviving COVID-19: Resume Tips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Repost from January 2020

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Finding Gratitude During Crisis: Your Journal Prompt #103

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

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

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

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

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

Are you ready to try it? Here we go…

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

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