Writing Life

Woohoo! New Bookmarks! #booklover #LaurieWriting

These beauties were delivered while the roofers pound shingles on our roof (storm damage repairs).

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My corgi-chiuaua pup is waiting for the roof to cave in or the sky to fall, but she’s curious and less fearful. We’re perfectly safe.

Cover reveal for Serendipity Summer will be announced soon. There will be beautiful book-themed swag packages for sale in the near future. Be sure to follow my blog so you don’t miss out on the book giveaway celebration as the re-release Serendipity Summer is released this time by Booktrope Publishing!

Design for this bookmark was created by Chelsea Barnes. I have purchased  copyrights to all images created for me by CJPB  for author branding purposes.

Flash Fiction · Health and Wellness · Humor · Inspiration · Laurie's Works Of Fiction · Mental Health · Movies · Music · Musings · Uncategorized · Writing · Writing Life · Writing Tips

Go-To Resources To Unleash Creativity

There are times when we need to change up our routine to keep sane. For instance, if you work in the same cubicle doing the same tasks for the same minimal pay–perhaps your life could benefit from creativity. Or if you’ve finally taken time off to use your vacation time and don’t want feel like you need a vacation (from) vacation, simple creative activities could help.

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Check out this list of go-to resources to unleash creativity and use the ones that catch your interest. The lists are in two categories: writing related and non-writing related. I admit most of the recommendations are veered toward introverts because I’m a happy and proud introvert myself. 🙂

Writing Related

The thrill is gone. Once upon a time you had the feels for the book or story you started, but the thrill is gone. Maybe you need a break from a long-term goal. Your imagination can go wild when you write flash fiction. From 100-1,000 words, challenge yourself with a new story trope or idea.

Not sure about where to find ideas? Try TVtropes.org and find tropes from your favorite categories and genres related to movies and TV shows. Finish your story piece and publish it or keep it to develop later. But finish it. You did it! Now go back to that big idea. You can do that too.

No idea where to start or what to do. Do you like movies? Most people have a favorite movie they know or can quote. They are familiar with the story. But have you ever applied your writing to one of your favorite movies? Screenwriting tips from Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat” method uses a three-beat system to divide scenes up into three beats. Take a look and print off the worksheets. Then sit down and take brief notes when you watch the scenes in your favorite film or even tv show. You’ll eventually begin to grasp story structure.

Apply what you learned about writing to a short story idea. Perhaps the story could also have potential to become a working outline for a novel (Here is a helpful site to download free resources to outline a novel, when you’re ready.) You’re off to a great start. Keep writing!

Blog? What is this blog thing and how do I do it? A blog is a place of unlimited potential for just about anyone. You can make a blog as formal, as funny, as serious as you want to make it. It can be on any subject under the sun. Blogs are happy places where you can be yourself on your part of the web. You’re able to monitor comments or turn them off. Blogs LAST beyond the ever-changing whims of social media channels. Check out Hubspot’s blog topic generator for ideas on what to post. Visit bookpromotion.com to know how to effectively pimp your blog out. Also, don’t be afraid to go to your favorite blogs and see what they are doing. Copying posts is a BIG no-no without permission from the author, but you may come across content that inspires you to write your own spin on the topic.

“I’m all out of love for ideas.” Yeah. We’ve all been here before. It sucks. To re-vamp your inspiration try Pinterest. Type in some of your interests or things related to your interests. Like if you enjoy cooking, type “recipes” or if you only like to eat vegan type “vegan food.”

Non-Writing Related

Oh my, are the options endless here. I’ll throw a few out for you to explore. Of course, if you think of any others, do those too. You know you better than anyone.

*Love Machines (technology)*

I-Movie is a fun way to create a movie or book trailer. It’s simple to put something together and share it with friends for fun or compile something for a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary. The music is pre-loaded, but I think you’re also able to upload your own music. Just be sure to use royalty free images and music.

Did you know you can create simple memes, Facebook banners, and jazz up your photos in MS Word and Pages for Mac? You can. It’s time- consuming, but for those who love to tweak (not twirk) until the sun comes up, you’ll love doing this. Here’s a YouTube tutorial for Facebook banners . There is a ton of instructional videos on how to design on Word or in Pages (for Mac.) Go crazy designing and show off your work.

Move to the beat. Playlists encourage movement and happiness. If you’re sad, there’s a song for it. If you’re mad, there’s a song for it. Playlists on Spotify are a fun way to categorize music for whatever mood you want to nurture. If you’d rather bypass the low monthly fee, try I Heart Radio. There will be commercials on your favorite radio stations, but that is why it’s free. YouTube is another way to categorize music videos into stations, and it works sort of like a playlist. If you’d rather not be bothered with ads, the small monthly fee is well worth it.

*Hands-On Hobbies/Occupations*

Crocheting is a skill that can be learned and is a creative and relaxing way to create numerous things. Check out Crotchet Guru on YouTube.

Repurposing home goods is good for the environment, but it also saves money and encourages practical solutions in a creative way. Here are some ideas from a previous post I’ve written. Pick something you like to do and make it your mission to complete it.

Pottery creation is a way to spin ideas while creating original art. You can paint, glue, and design to your heart’s content. Then use the final product later as a centerpiece, stepping stone, or pen holder.

Adult coloring books are a thing now. Check out these free and printable designs. For those who are mentally burned out, coloring is a subconscious way to soothe anxiety and stress associated with burnout.

Cuddle an animal if you have high blood pressure, PTSD, have anxiety or depression, or want a better perspective on life. Local animal shelters are always in need of volunteers to walk and care for the animals. The advantage to volunteering is that you’re able to love on the animals too. When potential adoptive parents come in to ask about the animals, you’ll know their best attributes so they’ll find a loving home. Who doesn’t need more love in their life?


Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow this blog. I follow back and enjoy keeping in touch through blogs and email. My email is authorlauriekozlowski@gmail.com . I have two FREE flash fiction stories for you to enjoy. The first one is a humor diddy: Undercover Panty Agent . The second story is suspense: Dagger of The Damned. My usual genre is contemporary romance fiction and I write for Booktrope Publishing. More on recent publications can be found >here<.  I have book to be released soon and will set up a newsletter because it will be fast forward from there! 🙂 Happy reading and writing!

Laurie Kozlowski


Uncategorized

Our Safari Experience-Pictures Included!

Seeing a giraffe on safari was a highlight of our family’s trip. We were fortunate to observe many wild animals up close. To touch them would have not only been dangerous, but it would require climbing out of the gigantic jeep bouncing us and several other people around on the rough terrain, similar to an actual African safari.

I imagine Africa is a lot hotter than where we were, only a brief bus ride from the Magic Kingdom. I was relieved to see the animals had plenty of refuge in the area, and Disney had truly done what I perceived as a fine job at caring for them though they were out of their natural habitat.

This post is not me endorsing animal captivity, by the way. If I could know every animal on Earth is free from harm, I would arrange it. But reality says another thing, so I’m sharing what I feel is more of a moment of appreciation for these wild and beautiful beasts.

We were all amazed by the beauty of the majestic creatures surrounding us. I’d love to share the moments we captured in snapshots with our camera with you today. Here they are.

See the goofy gardener’s hat? The day we left the Animal Kingdom was the last day I wore it! It was replaced by a hip Minnie hat with polka-dots. Still, I miss this goofy hat! No pun intended!
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Our eyes caught the first sign of “Harambe.”
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Safari time! It was warm, but not too hot that day.
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Simulated mountains overlooking a very real bridge, trees, and beautiful waters. We viewed this from another bridge and I captured the peaceful atmosphere.
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Family safari! Zoko, my husband and I hop aboard a huge jeep. I think there is more technical term, but it escapes my thoughts.
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Rhino not feeling photogenic at the moment. Most likely, though, it’s because he can’t see but two feet in front of him. We learned many facts about animals from the tour guide.
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Hippo. I had to cut off the hind end of this picture because he/she…um…was flinging poo on the wall with its tail.
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Helllooo. Ostrich just being who it is. All feathery and calm for the moment.
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Flamingos hanging out near the water. Beautiful sight to see.
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This elephant had a few or couple of friends, but liked his space.
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I cannot remember the name of this animal, but his head and face was boxy and he stayed in proximity of a herd of similar animals.
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This one reminded me of some of the pastures I pass near my home. We do not have animals like these in Northeast Georgia, but it was serene. Loved it.
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There were several giraffes. This one played peek-a-boo while having lunch.
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Hippo and bird, up close.
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Small herd of rhinos!!
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We took a rest at a food court place afterward.
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This duck was not shy and loved to interact with people. We would talk to him and he would move his head to the side like he understood our every word.
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Man-made gigantic tree. It has several carvings of animals on the trunk including an owl, snake, horse, and several others.
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Waiting for Baloo and photo Op from the balcony.
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I loved this flower tree, so I stood beneath the branches on the last day I wore the gardeners hat and before we to dinner.

To add to this, I’m going to add an analogy a friend shared with me one day, a few months back. It holds weight concerning perception of ourselves and others, and I have reflected on her words more than once:

“There are giraffes and turtles. The giraffes are occupied looking up and pursuing possibilities while the turtles graze on lower possibilities.”

She shared this thought with me just after I had gotten finished going through a list of comparisons of myself versus a few other acquaintances. I think many people have this negative self-talk going on, and there are days we have to talk ourselves up from it.

The thing is, as I watched the giraffes nibble on the higher leaves of the trees and observed the huge tortoises below them, I knew I wanted to be the giraffe. My friend was sharing her faith in me that day, and today I’m giving it to you!

Being concerned with the turtles who are content on feeding on lower conclusions of themselves does not mean we giraffes of the world have to get down there with them. Some days we will lift the negativity from ourselves and be able to help others up. Other days, we may only be able to help ourselves up.

I know the big idea for me is to feed consistently from the upper branches while giving grace to myself and others going through the “turtle phase mentality.” This challenge is a work in progress, but I’ve come far in the past several months.

In the meantime, I’m keeping my eyes and heart open to receive and give grace. The posts will continue while seeking refuge in the possibilities while finding a way through moments when I think I’m a turtle! 😉

© Laurie Kozlowski 2015

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RWA Member | Founder of Book Escape Reviews | Pro Reader Participant, NetGalley | Founder/blogger @ luluzoko.com (Messy Muses, Children’s Books) | Also Tweets at: @nextbookescape (Book Escape Reviews)

Humor · Inspiration · Music · Musings · Relationships · Writing · Writing Life

Private Eye #badboys #humor #shopping

“Did you encounter a man in the women’s department who looked suspicious?” An attractive blonde woman, about early thirties and who rang up my items at the cash register asked me.

I was there for yarn. For colorful, soft yarn and possibly chocolate, because of being emotional. I had no idea about a suspicious man in the women’s department though I’d also added to the items a couple pair of sweatpants to accommodate the chocolate coma I expected to ensue later that evening.

“I uhm…suspicious man?” I asked.

The kind lady continued our discussion in a low whisper. “Yes. Apparently a strange man is lurking in the women’s department saying he’s doing research for a communications project, but he’s looking for women’s animal print panties!” She shook her head as if the man had committed a carnal sin for wanting animal print women’s panties.

I had an image of Duce Bigelow, Male Gigolo in my head and tried not to snort as strip music thumped in the brain. The cashier’s deadpan expression urged me to laugh out loud, but I held it in. Maybe like the guy “researching” was doing now, depending on his Monday panties or Friday panties. Weekends are made for thongs. But I digress.

“Ohhh nooo.” I attempted to sound disturbed. Not too hard to do, these days!

She nodded. “Yep. So if you see a guy wander around, the manager has warned him off. Hopefully, it’s no big deal.”

She sounded doubtful. I was on the verge of a cough-laugh because the “threat” was a real concern to her. I didn’t want to discount her claim of the wild panty thief under the guise of a mere communications research project.

What is love…baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more. Whoooaaa oh-oh whoahhhoaaa…

I squeezed my eyelids to tune “The Night at The Roxbury” by Haddaway music out of my head and focused on the cashier.
“But I didn’t see…”

“$39.95, please!” She stated my total.

When had I spent so much? YARN and CHOCOLATE. What the hell.

I paid up and smiled. “Oh, I’m sure it will be okay. Though, I’m sure there were better ways for him to go about researching for…whatever.”

The cashier widened her eyes and nodded. “I know! The women’s department! How weird,” she said.

“There are weird people everywhere. Seriously.” I smiled again.

“That’s the truth.” The friendly cashier shook her head but smiled back.

©LaurieKozlowski 2016-Present, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction permitted unless given by the author.

Contemporary Romance · Fiction · Giveaways · Laurie's Works Of Fiction · Writing · Writing Life

Serendipity Summer by Laurie Kozlowski *Cover Reveal* #Amwriting #Romance

In case you missed it on Facebook (I hop back and forth these days), I’m excited to share the cover of my debut contemporary romance novella, Serendipity Summer!

Serendipity Summer is the first book, of four, in the Riverbend Way series, set in the rustic and charming mountain town of  Riverbend Way, Tennessee. I’ve enjoyed developing the main characters and the side characters–including a couple of memorable animals that will make a regular appearance, throughout the series. I have wanted to hold on to the story for a while, now–but as everything has been coming together nicely, and just for the sake of making sure everything is just how I want it, the release date has been adjusted to the last week of October.

I am still learning the publishing ropes, so if anything changes, I will be sure to post the changes, and keep you updated. All should go well, though, because I’ve published, once before. I’m looking forward to having a release day celebration with giveaways and prizes! This is an exciting time! I have had the honor of being invited to be featured at a book signing event and have begun to order swag and promo items in preparation for my first release! (more details to come.)

Without readers, we authors wouldn’t be able to do what we do–so, thank you!

I am still tweaking the blurb, but I’d like to share the first teaser–and the second teaser (not yet posted to Facebook), of Serendipity Summer. But first, take a look at this beauty of a cover The Killion Group designed for me with images from Hot Damn Designs!

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 ****Teaser #1****

Her gaze traveled back up to his gorgeous eyes.

Eyes looking upon her with a familiar heat she’d seen only once before.

She struggled not to choke on the water as it dawned on her who was standing before her. A man who had made it into many of her dreams, but never, permanently into her life.

 

****Teaser #2****

The sound was far off in the distance, but Jake gradually became aware he was the person being observed as an older and feminine voice chimed in.


“No, Kady-bug. Not your Uncle Trevor. Just a friend of Mommy’s. We were having a sleepover.”


Jake resisted the urge to chuckle and kept his eyes closed to listen in.


“Why is he on the couch, in a suit, and not in jammies?” the young girl asked.


“Sometimes at sleepovers, not everyone wears jammies. They can sleep where ever they want to.”


Anna indulged the girl.


Now trying to swallow down a full-fledged belly laugh, Jake hid the grin on his face, knowing Anna would be angry as hell if he continued to pretend to sleep while the kid put her through the great inquisition.


Finally letting a deep chuckle go, he opened heavy eyes.

~ Serendipity Summer by Laurie Kozlowski ~ Copyright, 2014.