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Books By My Friends That I Recommend

“Books by My Friends”

 

Shopping local is my latest passion, and that includes books written by my writing friends that are available online. I will be sharing some of the latest titles hoping you’ll find a good read for yourself or someone on your holiday shopping list.

 

First Kiss at Christmas

Lee Tobin McClain

Publisher: HQN

 

I know Lee Tobin McClain from graduate school where she was one of my mentors while I studied writing popular fiction at Seton Hill University. Lee’s books are well written stories of love, hope, working through struggle, and faith.

 

Blurb:

 

Not many women still have “first kiss” on their Christmas list, but somehow Kayla Harris is permanently in the friend zone with men. So when veteran Tony DeNunzio shows up in her preschool classroom with his nephew, Jax, her focus is solely on helping the troubled little boy adjust. But as Tony takes on a volunteer role at the school, she can’t help noticing his softer side is as appealing as his rugged male presence.

Tony will do anything to make Jax’s first Christmas without his mom a happy one. And that includes spending more time than is typical with the teacher who’s drawn Jax out of his shell. Beautiful and kindhearted, Kayla makes Tony long for family and a happiness he doesn’t think he deserves. But with the magic of Christmas in the air, a first kiss might lead them both to a forever love.

 

Falls Bend Christmas

Barbara Jean Miller

Publisher: Independent

 

Barbara Jean Miller was another of my graduate school mentors. Her books are fast, flirty, and fun with great storylines. There are many books in the Falls Bend series. Enjoy them all. This one is brand new and holiday-themed. Has a great mystery in it!

 

Blurb:

 

Nick Greyson comes to Falls Bend searching for his 5-year-old abducted son, Billy. Deputy Diane Flint pursues the case as she falls for Nick. When they rescue Billy he no longer speaks. Young psychic Evie Bovard is the key to healing Billy. But his addict mother is still on the loose and she has a gun, which may ruin everyone’s Christmas.

 

More Amish Christmas Miracles

Adina Senft and others

Publisher: Blessed Publishing

 

Shelley Bates writes across multiple genres and has a story in this new Amish Christmas collection under her pen name Adina Senft.

 

Blurb:

 

The Amish Cowboy’s Christmas by Adina Senft
In the beginning, there was no Circle M ranch. Thirty years ago, there was only the girl next door and the boy who was too shy to tell her he loved her…For Reuben, showing Naomi he’s the right man for her will take all the courage and love in his heart—and maybe even a Christmas miracle.

 

All good things,

Joy

 

Mindset, Motivation & Well-Being Online Workshop in November

MINDSET, MOTIVATION, AND WELL-BEING A TO Z FOR WRITERS WORKSHOP

BY JOY E. HELD

Hi, everyone!

I’m really looking forward to leading the online workshop “Mindset, Motivation, and Well-being A to Z for Writers” for AGED TO PERFECTION RWA November 1-26. As an author, educator, speaker, and dedicated journal keeper, the idea for this course came to me after reading Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. I was also inspired by The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works. Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal, Ph. D.

These topics readily apply to the writing life, and I’m always on the lookout for ways to keep myself and my clients motivated, healthy, positive, and forward moving. Both books mention the stick-to-ive-tive-ness of several famous authors, and I started to collect a list of all the modes and methods suggested by Duckworth and McGonigal. The list was long. To make it manageable, I alphabetized each idea and POOF! This workshop blossomed from there.

As a lifelong learner, I put the ideas into practice and recognized immediately how practical and accessible the techniques are. I decided to share my experience in a workshop in the hopes of helping others achieve their dreams, goals, and aspirations. Besides alphabetizing the tips, the workshop demonstrates the specific ways writers can make use of them in daily life and work.

What Is Mindset, Motivation, and Well-Being?

Here’s the workshop description:

“Mindset, Motivation & Well-being A to Z for Writers” presents a host of suggestions for overhauling your writing life inside and out. Some of the topics will resonate and some will need to percolate for a while, but everything from coping with anxiety to applying zero-based thinking can potentially recharge your existence until you are unstoppable in every aspect. These premises apply to more than just writers, but the creative juices needed to produce stories is more draining than it looks. These concepts could be the missing ingredient you’ve been searching for.

The course will present the ideas and offer outside readings or internet links to explain each one. Course participants will be encouraged to post experiences and thoughts.

Mindset

I like how psychology researcher Carol S. Dweck, Ph. D. of Stanford University describes mindset:

“Mindsets are just beliefs. They’re powerful beliefs, but they’re just something in your mind, and you can change your mind.” (16)

There are basically two mindsets: fixed and growth. In the workshop, we’ll tinker with what this means to writers.

Motivation

Of course, motivation means how much horsepower or get-up-and-go you have to accomplish a task. Looking at motivation from a writer’s perspective, we’ll take a peek at the consequences, competence, choice, and community aspects involved in being motivated.

Well-being

Although the term wellbeing is typically associated with emotional stability in psychological circles, I look at it with a wider lens that includes the areas of physical, emotional, spiritual, and communal strength. For my purposes, the hyphenated version well-being is more accurate because I’m a writer and because ‘well’ is an adjective and ‘being’ is a verb and such things require the punctuation. The workshop will present a myriad of ways you can choose from to improve your personal well-being.

From Action to Zero-based thinking, I’m sure you’ll discover something new in this workshop that can be added to your personal tool kit to move you from confused to confident when it comes to your writing career. Writing is not just about arranging the twenty-six letters of the alphabet over and over. Writing success depends on the writer/operator maintaining a good attitude and making the best choices. Please join me in the workshop to learn how the right mindset, motivation, and well-being attitudes can support your health and career.

Questions? Love ‘em!

writerwellness at gmail dot com

Be well, write well!

All good things,

Joy

Women with clean houses do not have finished books! ~Joy E. Held

Works Cited

Dweck, Carol. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Ballentine Books, 2016.

Registration link:

https://agedtoperfectionromancewriters.com/workshops/

Every yoga pose is a profound teacher. After years of practicing and teaching yoga and meditation, it’s a daunting chore to pick one favorite pose because I am keenly aware of the subtleties and micro-practices inherent in each asana. However, with its many challenges, effects on perspective, and demands on concentration, headstand is my favorite yoga pose.

The first reason headstand finds its way into my practice is the respect it demands from me. Core strength, breath awareness, spinal alignment, and laser mental focus combine for a successful headstand. Of all the balance poses, headstand requires wholistic stamina and physical control and rewards me with a new understanding of what equity means in my corporal and spiritual senses.

The lesson in humility is the second reason I like headstand. Because of how it changes my perspective, headstand insists that I appreciate a different view of myself, the world, and others. The pose teaches me perspective through attention to detail then laughs when my mind wanders. My body follows my wayward focus, and gravity pulls me into its palm. And I fold like an ocean wave finally reaching the sand.

Lastly, I like headstand because of the determination it encourages. Every headstand offers me the opportunity to approach the edge of my comfort zone then accepts my decision to either step over the boundary or back away from the question. I take this education from my mat into the world where I set healthy boundaries with self-love and courage.

Online Workshops in November

“Learning from the Masters” looks at the journals of published authors, explores how they used them to support their creative process, and how you might emulate their practices.

HOST: Contemporary Romance Writers of America

REGISTRATION INFO:

https://contemporaryromance.org/workshop/learning-from-the-masters-journals-of-published-authors/?fbclid=IwAR3vHJT6C91ojQd4cX7WaB53Gt_c8Qgvga5HiJjaIJXQxZXFstRfH8ZehH0

“Mindset, Motivation, and Well-being A to Z” looks at a wide range of ideas for improving your overall inspiration and health.

HOST: Aged to Perfection Romance Writers of America

REGISTRATION INFO:

https://agedtoperfectionromancewriters.com/workshops/

All good things!

Joy

Get my e-newsletter here and receive a free “Yoga for Writers” download.

https://artisanal-musician-5007.ck.page/016aec7954

https://headlinebooks.com/product/writer-wellness-a-writers-path-to-health-and-creativity/

Noodles, Winners, & Workshops

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

From the Joy desk

Hi,

Congratulations to Christy E of Ohio who won the newsletter subscriber’s September drawing for a signed copy of Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity (Headline Books, Inc., 2020.) Watch for an announcement about the October contest in a couple of weeks.

If you’d like a chance to win the next drawing, please sign up for my newsletter here:

https://artisanal-musician-5007.ck.page/016aec7954

On to the news…

Online workshops I’m leading that anyone can sign up for include:

October

50 Ways to Leave Your Muse: Creativity Hacks

Sponsor: Northeast Ohio Romance Writers

Link to register https://www.neorwa.com/online-workshops/upcoming-meetings/

November

Mindset, Motivation, and Wellbeing A to Z for Writers

Sponsor: Aged to Perfection Romance Writers

Link to registerhttps://agedtoperfectionromancewriters.com/workshops/

December

50 Ways to Leave Your Muse: Creativity Hacks

Sponsor: Romance Writers of America Online

Link to register

Reflective Writing: A Journal Workshop for Writers

Sponsor: Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Romance Writers

Link to register

The workshop descriptions and registration links to the sponsors are also on my updated website

http://www.joyeheld.com

Nutrition note

You may already know that am a fan of the blood type diet as explained by homeopathic physician Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo in his book Eat Right 4 Your Type. My blood type is O negative, and wheat products are hard for me to digest. D’Adamo suggests trying the ancient grain granddaddy of wheat called spelt. Less processing and high in B vitamins.

https://www.berlinnaturalbakery.com/

It was tough to find spelt bread and pasta when I first looked for it. It’s more available today thanks to my absolute favorite bakery located in Amish country in Berlin, Ohio. Give them a try. They are a small, family owned, multi-generational company that makes great products, and the customer service is awesome. Tell Nicole that Joy sent you!

All good things,

Joy

Women with clean houses do not have finished books.

Questions? Love ‘em!

writerwellness@gmail.com

Let’s connect!

https://www.facebook.com/joy.e.held

Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity (Headline Books, Inc., 2020)

Who is your writing champion?

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

From the Joy desk

Hi, sweet reader!

This is our moment. Yours and mine. And as my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Mary Young, was very fond of repeating, “You can’t get this moment back, so don’t waste it.”

Many years later, I think about Mrs. Young using this call-to-action to teach eleven-year-olds the value of time. I believed and followed everything Mrs. Young said. She was the first teacher to encourage my writing and tell me that I could and should follow the path of a writer. Even though she knew that I was the heir apparent to my mother’s thriving ballet school, (Mrs. Young’s granddaughter took ballet from my mother,) Mrs. Young let me know that I was a writer. She was also the first person to impress the importance and meaning of a deadline. She is why I became a writer, got a journalism degree, and have pursued the craft and publishing for fifty (yep) years.

The point of this vignette is that everyone must have a champion, someone who sees their potential and supports them in every way, even when the going is tough, and the champion falls off the horse. Who is that person for you? Who first voiced, “You can do this” convincingly enough to motivate you to pursue it? This person is due your thanks.

I often thank Mrs. Young in my journal and sometimes I complain to her that being an author isn’t a piece of cake. Those are the moments when I’ve fallen off the horse and am looking up from the dirt searching for someone to blame. That’s when the query letter doesn’t hit the mark. When a reviewer says something less than adoring (they’re allowed, but it still stings.) Simply dumping my frustrations into the journal helps clear away the doubt, and I’m able to remind myself that writing and teaching it is what I do. I get up, dust off my cheeks, get back into the office chair, and start typing or researching or whatever again. It’s what I do.

I write, publish, and teach to reach out, to connect with other people. Thanks to Mrs. Young, I have the belief (not always the confidence because I’m just human) that my words and ideas may help someone else.

This support notion applies to everything, every field, and every person. Who first pointed out that you make a fabulous fill-in-the-blank and drove you to be better at it? Send this wonderful soul an unsent letter of thanks by writing to them in your journal. Unsend the letter. Keep it in your journal, unless you want to send it in some way-message in a bottle, email, snail mail. It’s all good.

All good things,

Joy

Women with clean houses do not have finished books.

If you’d like to receive a free download YOGA FOR WRITERS exercise routine click the link below to sign-up for my newsletter.

https://artisanal-musician-5007.ck.page/016aec7954

https://artisanal-musician-5007.ck.page/016aec7954

Online Workshop: Writer Wellness

“Be well, write well.”

WRITER WELLNESS ONLINE WORKSHOP

STARTS: Monday, October 4

ENDS: Friday, October 29

COST: $29.00

DETAILS: Lessons, activities, and discussion covering the five key WW concepts

*Journaling

*Fitness

*Relaxation

*Nutrition

*Creative play

Taught in private Groups.io forum

12 lessons

REGISTER: Email writerwellness at gmail dot com

WRITER WELLNESS & FIVE THINGS FOR YOUR WRITING

By Joy E. Held

The idea for my book and workshop Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity (Headline Books, Inc., 2020) came to me when some of my critique partners asked how they could be my clones. They wanted to shadow me for a week to see what I did every day that led to my prolific publishing (over 500 articles and counting,) life as a homeschooling mom, and part-time hatha yoga teacher. Up to that point, I hadn’t done any self-examination of my processes, but when they asked, I stepped back and watched myself for a month while documenting my doings and beings in a journal. This article is a peek into what I learned.

Please take out a pen and paper (or your phone or computer) and list five things you’ve done in the last thirty days to promote/support your writing.

Now list five challenges or obstacles that you believe are standing in the way of accomplishing your writing goals.

Next, list five writing wishes or desires you want to come true.

Following the Writer Wellness plan will help you to always have five things on those lists.  It will also allow you to maintain a level of health and creativity that some writers are missing.

Are you happy with your writing in general?

Are you happy with your health?

Do you ever notice a direct relationship to the productivity and quality of your writing and quality of your life?

A physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy individual is by far a more productive, creative, and pleasant person.  This is evidenced by the fact that many corporations have implemented programs to keep employees happy and healthy.  Programs range from day care centers in the workplace to personal trainers for every ten employees.  A healthy, happy employee is more productive, misses less work, and is a more cost-effective employee.

As a writer, you are the employer and the employed.  Happiness, productivity, and health are definite factors in the quality of work you produce.  It is therefore in your best interest as a writer to do everything you can to stay healthy and be the best writer you can be.

But where are you supposed to get the time?  Let’s not jump ahead of ourselves to the time factor.  Hopefully, you will instinctively see that working these ideas into your life will make positive use of your time while adding to the quality of your life and the productivity of your work.

The whole premise of Writer Wellness is that creativity and productivity are crucially dependent upon an overall quality of life.  This includes the physical, mental, emotional, communal, and spiritual aspects of life.

To serve the purposes of Writer Wellness, I’ve broken down a writer’s quality of life into five interdependent components necessary to sustain a healthful, creative life. 

The five key concepts of Writer Wellness are JOURNALING, EXERCISE, RELAXATION, PROPER NUTRITION, AND CREATIVE PLAY.  These areas contribute to an overall wellness way of living and working.

I was raised in my mother’s dancing school.  Before she retired after 52 years, she kept the books, wrote the grants and publicity announcements, directed weekly rehearsals, and taught five ballet classes a week. Thanks to her excellent example, the principles of physical fitness and eating right were pounded into me from an early age.  At age fourteen, I began the Writer Wellness life (even though I hadn’t labeled it yet,) when a local newspaper carried a weekly column I wrote about my junior high school.  I saw my name in print.  I was hooked. From then on, I was a dancer and a writer. 

I discovered yoga, meditation, and modern dance in college, and everything fell into place for me.  Thirty plus years later, I still journal almost daily unless I’m working intensely on a writing project, exercise five to six times a week, follow a strict eating plan with supplements, practice daily meditation, and engage in creative play through art journaling, crafting, and scrapbooking.

When other writers in my critique group asked me how I published so much, I reviewed my life and named the process “Writer Wellness.”  Now I teach other writers the basic principles and encourage them to find their own versions of the five concepts.

Today I maintain myself as a writer by incorporating each of the five key concepts of Writer Wellness into my day. Depending on obligations and scheduling, I’m able to journal, exercise, follow a prescribed food program, and meditate seven days a week. The creative play happens more on the weekends when I’m not writing, editing, promoting, or teaching online. I have two new book releases in 2020,  a two-book contract with an independent publisher, teach college English composition online, teach hatha yoga three times a week, and run online workshops for various writing associations. I’m also on the board of directors for my RWA chapters.

You can do this as well.

Looking back to the lists of five things you made at the beginning of this article, make a pact with yourself to create a new way of life that will support your goals as a writer and a healthy, productive person. My book and workshop will show you the way so that you’ll always have five things done every month to help you live the writing dream.

The workshop I’m leading October 4-29, 2021 is a detailed look at the five key concepts of Writer Wellness and an exploration of how you can incorporate the practice into your life. With Writer Wellness as the foundation, you can achieve the writing dreams and personal goals you desire.

Be well, write well. See you in workshop!

All good things,

Joy

WRITER WELLNESS ONLINE WORKSHOP

STARTS: Monday, October 4

ENDS: Friday, October 29

COST: $29.00

DETAILS: Lessons, activities, and discussion covering the five key WW concepts

*Journaling

*Fitness

*Relaxation

*Nutrition

*Creative play

Taught in private Groups.io forum

12 lessons

REGISTER: Email writerwellness at gmail dot com

Blog Post Title

What goes into a blog post? Helpful, industry-specific content that: 1) gives readers a useful takeaway, and 2) shows you’re an industry expert.

Use your company’s blog posts to opine on current industry topics, humanize your company, and show how your products and services can help people.

Change your writing life for the better with this online workshop

Imagine being a creative, healthy, writing machine 365 days a year. Regardless of your genre, the tips in my online workshop Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity will guide you to realizing your potential as a creative person.

I have been sustaining good health and mountains of creative energy for many years by following this program, and I can help you learn the tricks then customize the program to suit your needs.

Writer Wellness centers around five fundamental practices:

  • Journaling
  • Physical exercise
  • Relaxation/meditation
  • Sound nutritional choices
  • Creative play

These components are already helping hundreds of past students who learned the particulars then organized each one around their needs and lifestyles. You can do this as well!

For the first time ever, I’m leading small-group online workshops that include all of the following:

  • Private online forum in Groups.io
  • Self-paced lessons (12)
  • Live chats (weekly)
  • Discussions (online)
  • 24/7 access to the course and
  • One-year access to the online content
  • Print copy of the book* (signed 😊)
  • Bookmark
  • Membership in a private “graduates” forum when you finish the program
  • AND
  • Personal one-on-one 30-minute coaching session via Zoom with me at the conclusion of the course!

There are strict start dates for the upcoming Fall 2021 sessions. The next workshop begins on

13 September 2021

When you sign up, you’ll receive full access on the start date to the course content to read at your convenience. The workshop runs for four weeks with new lessons and suggested activities posted three times a week in one of the main areas (journaling, exercise, relaxation, nutrition, and creative play.)

This workshop has never been available to the public until now. Only private writing organizations and their members have experienced this course.

The special introductory price is $97.00 which covers the online course, a print copy of the companion book, everything listed above, and the private coaching session!

Registration is limited to 15 persons, and you can register by contacting me at writerwellness at gmail dot com. You will receive a response from me with instructions on how to pay for the course.

The price will go up after this session! Alert your creative friends.

It’s more important than ever to maintain sound physical, mental, and emotional health so that you can reap the rewards of good health and being able to write the stories you want to share with the world.

From the beginning of time, stories have served to bind us together. Your story matters. Tell it. But if you don’t feel good or your health isn’t what it should be, you don’t feel like putting words on the page. Writer Wellness is an individualized approach to keeping you happy, healthy, and creatively productive.

If you have any questions, send an email to writerwellness at gmail dot com, and I’ll respond as quickly as possible.

I look forward to opening the door to your better life and awesome writing.

Be well, write well,

Joy

P.S. This offer expires on Wednesday, September 8, 2021. Please register before that date and feel free to share this offer with friends.

*Currently available to ship in the continental US only.

https://headlinebooks.com/product/writer-wellness-a-writers-path-to-health-and-creativity/

Online workshop in September

REFLECTIVE WRITING: A JOURNAL WORKSHOP FOR WRITERS

Looking forward to leading this month-long, self-paced online workshop for Hearts Through History Romance Writers. We’ll discover different styles of journaling and how published authors have relied on reflective writing to support their careers and so can you! Starts Sept. 6. Join us!

Go here to register.

Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity https://headlinebooks.com/product/writer-wellness-a-writers-path-to-health-and-creativity/

50 Ways to Leave Your Muse is about staying creative

I grew up in my mother’s ballet school, so, of course, I’m familiar with the image of the flowy, beautiful Terpsichore, the Greek muse of dance. I believe in the mythology of the muses, and I can easily play along with the notion when it comes to creativity, but if I sat around and waited on ideas to be gifted to me by some ethereal being, I wouldn’t have published as much or as long as I have.

From my love for studying history and literature, I have learned that the Greeks sought ways to explain their world and themselves. True, this ancient culture contributed a great deal to philosophy, government, education, and so on, but anything they couldn’t exactly touch, eat, or screw didn’t qualify to their norms of rationality and were obviously gifts from the gods who ruled their lives.

We’ve progressed a little farther from that perspective, but the image of the muse bestowing genius and inspiration upon a poet, writer, and others is still with us. For example, in between his writing advice to “work your ass off” and read, author Steven King claims that, “There is a muse*, but he’s not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter creative fairy-dust all over your typewriter or computer station. He lives in the ground.” (144-145)

As I see it, the problem with depending on a mythical character to do the grunt work is irrational and risky. And since my Scorpio roots ground me to at least listening to my intuition, I’m in between a rock and a hard place that are both falling in on me unless I take a pragmatic approach to things so I can get $h!t done. Because if I don’t, I don’t get paid, and I doubt if I need to explain the avalanche of problems that results from that precarious place. I actually have worked for food writing and posting social media for a local restaurant, so I know what it feels like to sell my ideas in exchange for a sandwich because that’s how they paid me—in calories.

The point is that inspiration most often comes from motivation. Even King explains that he wanted out of a distasteful, go-nowhere teaching job and that compelled him to write and submit until the strike hit the mark for him. He was motivated by survival despite his tongue-in-cheek nod to his muse which he describes as a “basement guy” who smokes cigars while admiring his bowling trophies but has wings and a bag of magic. The muse may have the magic, but the writer must have the motivation. Besides needing to pay bills, where do motivation and ideas come from?

The idea for my online workshop “50 Ways to Leave Your Muse: Creativity Hacks” was originally motivated by an assignment in graduate school. I was motivated by getting a grade and inspired by the work of college English teacher and author Wendy Bishop. Her book Released Into Language: Options for Teaching Creative Writing has a delicious chapter on how she teaches her students to always be inspired to write and not dependent on the muse. She calls it “getting in motion” to write. I like that imagery, not only because of my dance background but because I really do feel like whizzing, whirring, buzzing, clunking, clanking, cranking writing machine when I’m in the flow.

Bishop has students write to and about their personal muses. Those examples in Bishop’s book inspired me to make a list of all the things that can, do, and have contributed to my life as a writer. A writer who is constantly on the run from writer’s block because it doesn’t have a place at my writing table. There’s a place for my lovely muse who eats daintily and quietly with a constant twinkle in her eyes no matter what I’m serving. She’s polite and inspiring, but like King, I always do the dishes, which is the hard work of procuring, pounding out, and proofreading the sentences. We have a lovely relationship, my muse and I, because I stay open to EVERYTHING. That’s what the workshop “50 Ways to Leave Your Muse: Creativity Hacks” is about: staying open to the world so you never miss the whisper of the muse. And fun.

The next online workshop of “50 Ways to Leave Your Muse: Creativity Hacks for Writers” is a self-paced course hosted by Hearts Through History Romance Writers of America. It runs June 1-25, 2021. You can register here:

https://www.heartsthroughhistory.com/event/50-ways-to-leave-your-muse-creativity-hacks/#register

Be well, write well!

Joy

Bishop, Wendy. Released Into Language, 2nd ed. Portland, ME: Calendar Islands Publishers, 1998.

King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Scribner, 2000.