10 Parenting Publications That Pay Writers

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Source: 10 Parenting Publications That Pay Writers

Happy Thanksgiving from Silver Threading

Happy Thanksgiving

To all of you who are part of my on-line family: I hope your Thanksgiving is spent with loving family, great wine, and fabulous friends. I am thankful for all the wonderful connections we share!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Breathing life into your characters

Father and Daughter by susan52: DeviantArt
Father and Daughter by susan52: DeviantArt

I’ve been thinking a lot about role models and how they influence a writer’s work; the ways this translates to our readers.

There’s a reason writers become invested in their characters, why they often refer to them as real; a living, breathing part of the world as they know it. They have a history, complex personalities, and emotional depth. For readers, if we’re lucky, this equates to a character springing to life on the page.

Regardless of the process or how much planning is involved, as writers, we draw from our environment, and our experience. We observe behaviour, ask questions, have a sensitivity to body language, and pay attention. But it’s more than that. The people we meet, those we know – we use these observations to build unique fictional people. Then we give them a place to belong.

It’s not always a conscious decision and, like people as a whole, most have a variety of influences – their literary genes are inherited from all we see and hear. That’s why it’s so much fun when a character comes to us out of the blue. It can be difficult to pinpoint where they actually came from given the amount of information we carry in our head! It’s hard not to wonder at the magic of imagination, of fantasy, and marvel at the way the world around us has a direct influence on all we convey.

I can’t deny that many of my female characters are strong, passionate women. Quite simply, this is due to the fact I’m surrounded by resilient women. My mum is one of the strongest people I know. She is bubbly and affectionate, but, whenever I’m channelling sass – I think of her! My sister inherited that strength and I not only rely on her, I wouldn’t be the person I am without her.

And it’s not only my immediate family. My great-grandmother was a force to be reckoned with, a woman who practically raised four boys singled handed. Those boys (my grandfather included), were said to be hellions in their youth! She used tough love, an endless supply of patience and an iron will to keep them on the straight and narrow. I recognise her in a number of my characters, which isn’t a surprise.

The stories I grew with, family stories, certainly have an impact. My experiences of love and commitment, friendship and loyalty are also threaded through my work. I wouldn’t call us a military family per se, but most of the men served at one time or another and my grandmother lost her brother to the war. I never knew him, not personally, but through her I came to understand the man he was. It’s not only the good, it’s also the hurts and the disappointments we feel personally, and share with those closest to us.

I’ve had many wonderful male role models in my life. My brother is younger than me, but he’s my hero. It’s because of him I wrote my romantic crime series, and the experiences he shares about his life in the army all find their way onto the page. I haven’t personally served, but I understand camaraderie and the value of friendship and that’s what I try to reflect within the team I created. Growing up I had a lot more in common with boys than girls. My best friend, Tony, taught me valuable lessons about loyalty. He also has a wicked sense of humour, and I’m able to draw on those lessons.

That’s why, if we’re lucky, we connect with so many of our readers because, whatever the situation, whatever the outcome, it’s the characters who speak to, and for us. It’s in the connections they make, how they love, view the world and interact. A cacophony of life experiences that begin with our role models and build from there. That’s when a character truly comes to life. It’s what makes them memorable and why we want to spend time with them as often as we can. At least that’s how I see it.

There is a unique voice that lives within all of us. We might be shaped by others, but that’s not all there is, and it’s not all we give to our characters either. You could say, in one sense, the characters are an extension of us. So when a reader identifies with them, draws strength, laughs, cries, and celebrates their lives as we do, it’s a special kind of connection. There’s nothing quite like it. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

#BeWoW & #1000 SPEAK FOR COMPASSION – “Connection”


“A Connection”

I seek the compassionate divinity of communing with another soul,

of hearing jumbled thoughts pour out of troubled hearts

that are ready to blossom forth like a daisy in the sand.

I seek a joining to the rest of our disjointed humanity,

a chance to share the hurried threads of

some meaningful conversation,

with no assumptions or prejudices

of who I am or who they presume me to be.

I seek a bond that will unite,

a friendship into a community.

I

Seek

A

Connection.

It seems funny to talk about making connections in our supercharged internet world of today where every thought and image is displayed on social media sites around the world in just seconds flat. How can it be that people find it hard to connect, or to get to know each other?

Our friends and family are our earliest human contacts. Through them, we learn to spread our wings and fly through life’s challenges. Most life lessons are learned at home – good and bad, pass or fail. Yet we go on, always looking for that one special connection.

It is only when we begin to grow that we actively seek out individuals to mirror ourselves and explain who we truly are. It is as if, within humanity, we need the connection of another human being to complete us and make us whole. The bonds we share with another person are part of a common nature shared from one heart to another heart, a soul to a soul.

Thanks for visiting today. I enjoyed making this fabulous connection with you!

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Food ~ The Heart of My Family #BeWoW

Ronovan gave us the opportunity to talk about our families by asking, “What is family to you?”

It seems that whenever I sit down to write, I inevitably turn to subjects that have to do with food.  (Maybe I should have created a food blog?)  I realize that I associate family with food, because that is how we showed our children how much we loved them and cared about them.  We always served great meals with large amounts of healthy fare.  Our family was large, although our kids did not have the best of everything material, they ate wonderfully prepared meals.


When my husband and I got married 30 years ago, I brought my two daughters and infant son into our union.  My husband, Ron had sole custody of his two half-Thai daughters, and together we created a family with the five children.  He was in the Air Force and we were stationed in Florida.  I was young, twenty-seven to my husband’s thirty-seven, and that was my saving grace.  I had energy and love to propel me through those first years.


Our Family early 1990’s

My husband’s daughters were older than my children and soon we all bonded.  I honestly do not know that I could have coped all those years without their help in taking care of the younger kids.  Their mother was not in the picture for them much during those years.  She had her own demons to fight.  I was glad that I could be there for them.  It was almost a calling, and my emotions were always raw and deep when I saw how hard it was for them without their mother.

That seemed to be only part of the issue.  The girls looked Asian and felt an undeniable pull towards that part of their heritage.  As their step mother, I knew I had to step in and teach them some of the things that a Thai mother would have taught them.  In Asian families, food is everything.  They share a kinship through the preparation of different dishes that are many times special to their family.  The mother’s hand down these recipes to their daughters.

How was I, a girl from Wisconsin going to teach my Thai daughters how to cook traditional Thai meals?  I had such an overwhelming duty to mother these girls that I decided I would stop at nothing. I was going to figure out how to cook Thai food!

Now, this was before the internet, computers, and cell phones.  I was forced to go to the Base Library and hunt through book, after book, after book for recipes that the girls could remember their mother making them.  I would figure out the ingredients and then I would try to make spring rolls, Penang, and noodles the way they liked them.  My poor family ate some pretty nasty tasting concoctions, and all with minimal complaints too.  That was pure love.

When we moved into a larger house in Base Housing, I finally found some help.  My next door neighbor was a Thai woman!  The kids called her Grandma Pat.  She took pity on me, all the while secretly happy that an American woman would want to learn how to cook Thai food.  I think fondly of the times she would call me on the telephone saying in broken English, “Colleen, I cooking, come now.  We cook!”

Pat was able to teach me the things about cooking Thai food that the cook books could not.  Like how to chop a papaya with a knife, holding it in the palm of your hand, or how to roll spring rolls nice and fat without their contents spilling out into the hot oil while you fried them.  She shared with me how to season my soups and stir fries with just the right amount of fish sauce (Nam Pla) and hot Thai peppers.  She taught me about her life as a girl in Thailand, and she taught me about Buddha.  Pat was mothering me the same way I was mothering my step daughters.

Long ago I lost touch with Pat, which was not unusual for military life back then.  I always felt such gratitude to her for showing me how to relate to my step daughters and my own daughters.  Food is still an immense part of our family, and my grandchildren are proudly carrying on the same traditions.

Cooking in Nana’s Kitchen

Food and family. It does not get any better than this!

Thanks for stopping in to see me. I always enjoy our visits!

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Spring Break Fun


I realized yesterday that my one year ‘Blog-aversary’ had taken place on March 26th, 2015! Interestingly, I never received notification from WordPress of this momentous occasion! There used to be an “awards” tab, or page on my stats page. I do not see it anymore. Is it just me or… am I really not here?

Anyway, it has been a fabulous year on Silver Threading! Many thanks to all of you loyal friends who bolster my confidence daily! This is the best job I have ever had in my life! Thanks for taking this journey with me into retirement. All of you are so special to me, and I look forward to your comments and enjoy your blogs every day.


FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!

Ron and I had the best Spring Break we have had in years. We spent four glorious days with our oldest daughter Ronda, and our oldest granddaughter Maleah, and our youngest granddaughter Arianna. We visited the beach (of course) and it was one of those spectacular spring days. The sun was warm, and the sea breezes were just right – not too warm or cold!


We barbecued, cooked together, listened to music and just enjoyed each other’s company.


Sugar and Spice loved all the attention!

Last Thursday, Ronda and I and the girls ventured into downtown Pensacola where the University of West Florida has set up a section of town designated as Historic Pensacola Village.

We visited the Museum of Industry which featured an exhibit depicting early industry in the Pensacola area. This included our vast natural resources of forests, fishing, brick making, railroad and lumber industries which helped to fuel Pensacola’s early industrial boom. We saw original photographs, tools, and equipment. One of the first cotton gins was on display and we could see how back breaking gathering cotton must have been.

Please take the time to visit Pensacola and the historic village by watching the video:

Next, we toured the Lavalle House which was an 1805 French Creole colonial architecture home. The house was built during Florida’s second Spanish occupation by Carlos Lavalle and Marianna Bonifay. The furnishings were authentic 18th and 19th century artifacts showing the frontier lifestyle of Pensacola in the 1820’s. Most of the house was under construction, although the website does show the house in its prime.


Image credit: Historical Pensacola Village Virtual Tour

Our tour guide was quite knowledgeable about Florida history. Did you know that Pensacola, Florida was the first American city? It lasted for two years until a hurricane came through and destroyed the area. (Saint Augustine, Florida is considered the first American city that was consistent and survived through the years).

It took 137 years after that hurricane destroyed primitive Pensacola before it was rebuilt by the French. Not long after, the British occupied Pensacola. It appeared that Pensacola had a deep natural bay that made shipping and commerce easy. Everyone wanted Pensacola as their port.

We toured the Dorr House, which was an 1871 Greek revival architecture structure. Both Maleah and Arianna were amazed at the way people lived during these early days. For example, the family slept on the second floor of the home, as the windows had to be opened for circulation to stay cool. It also was a deterrent to drunken sailors that had a habit of visiting late at night. Many women were raped in the bottom floor rooms of their own homes!


Image credit: Historical Pensacola Village Virtual Tour

The next structure we visited was the Old Christ Church which had been an Episcopal Church, a public library, and even a museum. Four of the early rectors are buried beneath the church. This church had two aisles with seating on each side. Many of the locals hold weddings in this church still today.


Image credit: Historical Pensacola Village Virtual Tour

The last house we saw was the 1890’s Lear-Rocheblave House. This home gave us a great idea of what it was like to live in the late Victoria era. It had once been owned by a tug boat captain named Benito Rocheblave. Many of his personal effects and collection pieces gave you that sense of connection to the Gulf of Mexico.


Image credit: Historical Pensacola Village Virtual Tour


We had a great time. I could not believe how quickly the time disappeared. I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it is to see how busy my grand babies are. Arianna on the left is busy with gymnastics and fifth grade. Maleah on the right plays piano and violin. In her spare time she goes to school as an Eighth grader. Time sure flies when you are having fun!

Thanks for stopping by so I could share more of our fabulous spring break!

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Mindful Monday–Find Time to Love Who You Are

Mindful Monday

Welcome to Mindful Monday!  I have found that being mindful encompasses the act of being watchful, aware, wary, heedful, alert, careful, or attentive, in whatever area in my life I feel it applies to.  Each week I try to self discover new things about myself.  This week, I decided that I would concentrate a little bit on myself.  I am talking about self-love, or caring for myself as a person.

I have a busy week ahead, as March 31st our oldest daughter Ronda, and our two grand daughters Maleah, and Arianna, arrive for a short visit.  My normal mode of operation would center on cleaning the house from top to bottom, baking all kinds of goodies for healthy snacks, and generally working myself up into a frenzy trying to ensure that everything turns out perfect.  Usually, by the time they arrive, I am worn out and stressed from trying too hard.  In addition, these things that matter to me so much, (cleaning, etc.) really do not matter to them anyway.  They just want to spend time with us!

This time, I have planned differently.  I have planned time for myself.  Yes, I will dust and vacuum, and complete all the necessary things to insure that our daughter and grand daughters will be comfortable.  That is a given.  The rest can simply happen.  I decided that this visit, we will literally live in the moment.  No big plans, just whatever strikes us at the time, we will do.

This Tuesday, I even have a pedicure scheduled!  Gardening on Thursday, and Friday, Ron and I will go grocery shopping and get that chore completed.  I have allowed plenty of “me time,” where I can meditate and rejuvenate myself with peace and quiet.  That way, I will be refreshed to spend time with my grand daughters and daughter.  I am aging with grace.

Self love

Image credit: Everbrite

I have found that the positive affirmations above, help me take care of myself.  As women, we spend so much time taking care of everyone else and trying to make everything perfect for our families, we neglect the one that might need the most care – us!  Take the time to enjoy your own company.  Do the things that bring pleasure to you.  When you make yourself happy, your joy spreads to everyone else and becomes contagious.

Love blooms into mindfulness

What are your mindful goals for this week?

note-to-self

Image credit: The Sassy Life

Remember, this is not a challenge.  This is an offering of support.  If you would like to join in with your own Mindful Monday goals you can do so in the comments, or on a separate post of your own making.  If you want to link back to my post, please feel free to do so however, it is not necessary.  My main objective here is to give and get support to become more mindful of the things I take for granted in life.

Thank you for joining me in my pursuit of becoming more mindful.  I appreciate your support!  I wish much peace and joy to everyone this week.

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Peace & Joy

Thank you for taking this journey with me.  Merry Christmas to everyone.  ~Colleen, from Silver Threading~

Peace and Joy

I will be taking a few days off for the holiday.  See you Saturday, December 27, 2014.

The Swamp Fairy–The First Dream

Once Upon a Dream

Last night, I was at that stage of going to sleep, quiet in my breathing, when I heard the tiny swamp fairy talking in my head.  She whispered so quietly I had to strain to hear her.

“Come with me,” she said.  “I am going to take you to what it was before, long ago, in the beginning…”

Suddenly, I was in Fairy Swamp.  I could feel the heat and humidity press against me making it hard to breath. Moisture dripped from the leaves of the trees.  A steamy mist swirled beneath my feet.  I could smell old and new all mixed together to make a new scent.  All around me a choir of insect voices arose in a loud clamor of pitches, making it hard for me to hear.  It was near dusk and the light grew dark around the edges.  I drifted in that space and time as if on a wave floating high above and looking down…

Darkness descended dragging a veil of foggy gloom,

as Fairy Swamp came alive with a chorus of frogs and insects

singing the stories of the day.

Lightening flickered in shadowy clouds flitting across the inky black sky.

Tiny glowing translucent wings rose above the slough,

With heartbeats syncing and beating as one –

the Swamp Fairies

glittered in the remnants

of the setting

sun.

Swamp Fairy light trails

Fairy swamp was ancient in its gloom.  It had been here for eons, immeasurable by time.  I heard no words – only the sounds of the wind and of the swamp.  Birds settled high overhead in the trees ruffling the leaves above me.  Small scurrying animals looked for their homes for the night scampering beneath my feet.  Lightening made ghostly images shimmer before me.

I could sense them and feel them all around me.  The swamp fairies were everywhere.  I felt no fear.  Their iridescent wings gleamed in the last of the light from the setting sun.  I felt their unity, their strength in numbers.  I felt like I was part of them and my heart began to beat in time to the steady drumming of their wings.  I stood there, silently reveling in the unity of the fairies surrounding me.  I felt like I was home.  I closed my eyes and smiled.

The next thing I could remember, my two Pomeranians Sugar and Spice were licking my face and my sweet husband, Bronze was shaking me and telling me it was time to get up!  The Swamp Fairy had given me my first story to share with the world!  Follow the story from here or find the stories listed on my menu under “The Swamp Fairy.”

Thanks for stopping by to see me.  I always enjoy our visits!

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Silver Threading, The Fairy Story Keeper

Pixel Prose Challenge-Our Driftwood Christmas Tree

Amanda, of Unique Art Chic, has a weekly challenge where we can feature our own poetry and photography.  This week, I wanted to share my unique Christmas Tree made from driftwood.  The picture on the left is the Chesebro family name history.  The picture on the right is my brother-in-law, my father-in-law, and my husband, who at the time all worked for McDonald Douglas in Long Beach, California many years ago.  The driftwood tree represents our family.

Christmas tree

Our Florida Christmas Driftwood Tree

d d d

This tree represents our family –

plummeted about in the rough seas of life,

spread out – yet still strong.

Holding the sounds of the Gulf in its tumbled wood limbs,

echoing our children and grand-children,

all the while scattered like the sea shells

tumbled upon the beach.

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