Are You Open to Happy Accidents?

There are two types of Pumpkin Lovers – Savory or Sweet. Savory folks love the pumpkin in its natural state: pumpkin soup, pumpkin ravioli, and roast pumpkin. Sweet folks are obsessed with sugar and spice: pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I have a foot in both camps though I don’t enjoy super sweet food.

Be Open to Happy Accidents. © ogichobanov – stock.adobe.com

You’ll find a can or two of “Pure Pumpkin” (just the pumpkin, ma’am. Not the pie filling) in my pantry all year round. Considering my love of this versatile and healthy food, I find it odd how much I hate pumpkin pie. Yep. My least favorite Thanksgiving fare.

A Happy Holiday Accident

I decided to forgo my usual sugar-free Pumpkin Custard dish and make pumpkin pie instead for Thanksgiving this year. Why? Maybe it was sentiment for a childhood tradition? I don’t know. Turkey Day Eve I took out the ingredients. Our family recipe and the instructions on the can of pumpkin called for evaporated milk and lots of sugar. I realized I’d purchased sweetened condensed milk instead. Opps! Not really invested in the outcome, I found a pie recipe using sweetened condensed milk. The ingredients are simple: pumpkin, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin pie spice, and a pinch of salt. No extra sugar.

What a difference! The pie was delicious. I believe it is my new favorite pumpkin dish. I’m delighted by this happy accident.

Are You Open to Happy Accidents?

What about you? Has a habit or belief you’ve held for years been suddenly challenged? Rather than struggling to revert back to old patterns, try embracing new things. Be open to them. Meditate on their nature and how it can impact your life for the good and bad. Make a mindful decision before acting.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Focus on Creation Not Outcome

2020 smashed all perceived notions of success. Institutions we KNEW were solid suddenly faltered. Movie theatres closed. Even the Big Mouse started their own streaming service and releases its movies on that platform. I don’t see many near-term plans for traditional theatre releases.

Be Kind to Your Inner Creator! © MarekPhotoDesign.com stock.adobe.com

So, what does that mean for your creative project? Will the time and creative energy you put into that novel, screenplay or other art go to waste? Let’s break it down to what we mean by “Successful.”

Financial – Simple. Nobody’s getting rich right now unless you own tons of stock in Amazon.

Conclusion – Everyone is in the same boat. No need to judge your progress by anyone else’s level of success (or failure). The pressure is off!

Fame – Globally, we are inundated with COVID 19 news, the American Presidency, and advertisements for early Holiday spending. Nobody can hear you right now unless you fit into one of these categories.

Conclusion – If you are counting on a huge social media party for your new book (or other artistic project), then there is a big chance you’ll be disappointed.

Changing Your Focus from Outcome to Fulfillment

In March 2020, I and my colleagues were told to work from home until further notice. The USA was on lockdown. We were all stuck at home. No face-to-face interactions with my readers. It’s very difficult to work in a vacuum. We produce art, but what if we don’t know whether or not someone is experiencing what we create? It has been frustrating and depressing. I wasn’t able to write much if at all during those early days.

The pandemic forced me to take a hard look at why I write. It’s easy to tell yourself you create your art for the sake of art. Then a horrible global event happens. Depression sets in. You crack open a bag of potato chips and lose yourself binge watching TV. The blank page stays empty. You no longer experience the excitement of planning for the next book’s release. No one knows if or when things will return to normal.

I can’t stay away from the act of creation for long. This time was different. I began to work on something new. It isn’t part of my book series. Nor is it in my “comfort zone.” This is a new story I am creating with no expected outcomes. I’m writing it, because I am a creator. I must create my art. It is who I am and what fulfills me.

Be kind to your inner creator. Cast out your expected outcomes for your creative projects. Now is the time to get back to the simple pleasure creation brings.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

My Pick of The Top Three Funniest Horror Movies

Halloween is the perfect time to indulge in one of my favorite movie genres – Horror Comedy. Master movie makers begin with terrifying scenarios capable of scaring the pants off their audience. Then they mix in a little humor and boom! You have classic movie gold.

Zombie Party! © sergo77 – Stock.Adobe.com

My Top Three Favorite Horror Comedies

# 1 Top of my list – Shaun Of the Dead – Simon Pegg and Nick Frost at their finest!

Shaun (Simon Pegg) tries winning his girlfriend back during the Zombie Apocalypse. Reconciliation is a challenge. Hmm. Maybe they should’ve avoided the Winchester?

# 2 Boo! A Madea Halloween – Tyler Perry’s Madea mixes hilarity and horror in this fun movie.

A college fraternity sets out to deliver some scary revenge. Has Madea met her match?

#3 Young Frankenstein – Classic Mel Brooks!

Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Terry Garr, Madeline Kaun, and Cloris Leachman lead this stellar cast in a funny take on the classic Frankenstein legend.

Special Mentions

Army of Darkness and Bubba Ho-Tep – Bruce Campbell! Need I say more?

Eating Raoul

Gremlins

Housebound

Tremors

Creepshow

Happy Halloween!

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Halloween Book Sale!

Five Ideas to Get You in The Halloween Spirit

Hello Halloween! © Elena Schweitzer – Stock.Adobe.com

Celebrating during the time of COVID can be a little daunting with so many restrictions and safety precautions. We NEED Halloween this year with its spirit of fun and mystery.

Here are some ideas to get you into the Halloween Spirit despite the pandemic:

  1. Plan a Scary Movie Watch Party with your friends. There are many Web-based platforms you can use: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Facetime, Webex
  2. Have an Autumn and/ or Halloween themed cocktail party online or by practicing social distancing
  3. Read a scary book. Check out Horror.org for ideas from my fellow Horror Writers
  4. Contact your city or local organizations to see if they are planning Safe Social Distancing Halloween events Social Distancing Friendly Ghost Tours (Check your Botanic Gardens or Zoos)
  5. Make the Face Mask Fun! Check Etsy.com for spooky Halloween Mask ideas

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Halloween Book Sale!

Feast Your Eyes on the Full Corn Moon Tonight

Corn Moon Rises over the fields. © Balazs Kovacs Images – stock.adobe.com

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, “when the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox, known as the Harvest Moon, happens in October, September’s full Moon becomes the Corn Moon.”

Step outside and look to the skies! It has been a tough summer and a tough year, but good things have grown in the garden of our lives too. Celebrate the Harvest! Feast on the new growth in your life.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

When Your Life Is in The Mud, Grow Flowers

© ruslan_khismatov – stock.adobe.com

Life can sometimes feel like a mudhole. It drags you down. Each step feels harder than the last. Honestly, how much more can a person take?

© 13smile – stock.adobe.com

Normally, I would tell you to focus on the goal. What is the target at the end of your journey? BUT –

That advice won’t do right now. We must be kind and patient with ourselves.

Take a moment to notice the mud. What is it trying to tell you? Is it trying to help you strip away old perceptions or unhealthy habits?

© DoraZett – stock.adobe.com

Then think about this. A mud or dirt patch can be the perfect place for a garden. What flowers will you plant? Think of the hardy prairie flowers like the sunflower and the coneflower. They grow in the toughest terrain and keep coming back year after year even more beautiful than before. Then there is the Marigold. Its vibrant beauty may only last for a season, but everything has its time.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Heroes Show Up

Firefighters of Colorado © Tomasz Zajda – Stock.Adobe.Com

It’s a hot and miserable August. Colorado is on fire. We’ve broken heat records for the last three days. The air is filled with smoke. Many of us are struggling with respiratory issues. We hide in our air-conditioned houses to stay comfortable. There are those who don’t hide from nature’s fury. They stand against the heat and fire, putting themselves at risk to save lives and homes. If you’re looking for the perfect example of heroism, think of our Colorado firefighters and other first responders.

Heroes show up while the rest of us stay safe.

Thank You! © laurarts – Stock.Adobe.com

Why I Changed My Mind About Memoirs

History Where You Live – © Tony Craddock stock.adobe.com

I’m fussy about what I read. So many books, so little time. The Memoir and Biography genre doesn’t typically interest me. Self-aggrandizing celebrities and politicians with their pictures splashed on a book cover written by someone else – hard pass. Then I started doing research for my novel about the Santa Fe Trail. My notion of memoirs changed a bit. The most impactful book I’ve read to date is a memoir not written by a sports star, but rather written by a woman living her life in the Southwest during the 1800s.

Land of Enchantment: Memoirs of Marian Russell Along the Santa Fe Trail is an authentic account of a courageous woman who traveled the Santa Fe Trail (more than once) and lived in old Santa Fe. She lived in a few forts with her soldier husband as well. Then helped him build a town in a rugged part of Colorado.

Her recollections make this memoir real for the reader. We share her shock and fear when the wagon train comes across gruesome deaths and other violence against innocents. These accounts, for me anyway, were more troubling when I stopped to consider this isn’t a work of fiction. The murders – witnessed by Marian as both child and woman – really happened. I found myself grieving with her when she experiences tragedy as a young wife. Marian was an extraordinary woman who took on a sometimes-brutal land. She was a true pioneer.

I believe part of the allure of this book for me is the setting. I’ve lived in the Rocky Mountains most of my life. Many times, I’ve traveled across Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada (in a car) passing through the places she mentions in her book. How about you? Do you know who lived in your hometown before it was a town? Seek out the stories that reveal more than one dull paragraph in a history book. You might be amazed by what you find.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Share Your Knowledge Share Your Joy

Share Your Interests © DM7 – stocke.adobe.com

The internet is a wealth of information. Some of the information you find is correct and helpful. Other tidbits are flat out wrong. Getting hardcore facts is critical when conducting research for my books. Readers want realism no matter the genre and I, as a writer, want to make them feel as if they are experiencing the story along with the characters. I enhance what I learn from books and historical evidence with human experience.

My current “Work in Progress” is a ghost story set on the Santa Fe Trail at the end of the US Civil War. Historical accounts and facts give the book accuracy, but the human experience comes from enthusiasts of the Santa Fe Trail. I’ve enjoyed watching lectures and travel videos of folks who love to visit destinations along this important route. Living in the Rocky Mountains most of my days, I have the life experience to draw on as well.

Are you an enthusiast in a special topic or historical event? Why not share your knowledge? If you write a blog, volunteer to speak on the topic, or make a video, I guarantee you will find an audience.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.