There’s Magic in the Air

Do you have a young reader in your life who loves the world of dance? Larkspur, and its exciting sequel Return to Larkspur, are fantasy adventure novels that will keep your 7-12 year olds on the edge of their seats! Fast-paced, magical, and inspiring!

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Use Music to Inspire Your Writing

Use Music to Inspire Your Writing! Click To Tweet

Do you listen to music while you write?

I’ve heard that many writers do. I actually find listening to music WHILE I write a bit distracting, but listening to music as a part of the writing process has been extremely inspiring!

Music has a way of fueling our emotions, setting a mood, creating imagery. Currently, I am writing a 1920’s historical fiction novel, full of creative dance numbers, dangerous criminals,  dreamy love scenes, and steamy speakeasies. I’m listening to not only music from the 1920’s, but also Epic Soundtracks, Ballet Music, Tango Music, Sad Love Songs…I find Pandora a wonderful source!

Music can even help a writer to get started on a new story!

Can one of your favorite songs be elaborated on to create an entire story-line? Listen to some of your favorites, close your eyes and envision the characters, the plot, the setting…where does their story start? How does it end? Imagine that song as the perfect choice for closing credits on the movie created from your book :).

Now put down your pen and listen!

 

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FREE Advice on How to Write a Query Letter

There are so many people out there willing to share valuable information with other writers, for a price!

However, I recently discovered this website that offers FREE advice about writing query letters; something many of us struggle with!

This query letter website offers information and support for those who want to know how to write a query letter. It was created by a former NY Times bestselling literary agent and Marketing & Licensing  Manager for a well-known book publisher.

 

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So don’t toss your hard-earned money out the window on your road trip to publication. Take advantage of the advice this industry professional is offering!

Write On!

Anastacia

 

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Writing Historical Fiction

How can you write what you know if you’re writing historical fiction?

“We grow up being told to “write” what we “know”, but history is the unknown. You have to learn almost everything about a period and the social customs just to get your characters out of their beds, (or off of their skins,) and feed them breakfast.”

~Seven Rules for Writing Historical Fiction By Elizabeth Crook 

My dad grew up in Chicago in the 1920’s.

Stirs up images in your mind immediately, doesn’t it? He was a dancer. His sister, Lillian, a model. A model who fell for a gangster.

I’ve been wanting to write my dad’s story for some time now. It’s a story screaming to be told. But sadly, my dad passed away in 1981. His stories stopped when his heart stopped. I was 16; too young and naive to realize how dear those stories would be, how I should have listened more closely, taken notes, recorded his voice. And now, 35 years later, his stories are like faded memories, hiding in my mind, peeking at me from behind all the other memories that have crowded them out. I’ve started this story so many times, always waylaid by the fear that I’m not getting it right.

“Don’t fret the details; let the story be told. Strive for accuracy, but when necessary, make your best informed guess and move on. And if you have to fudge something, well, that’s what the ‘historical note’ at the end of your novel is for!”

~Chuck Sambuchino

This is what I’ve discovered, as I’ve pushed through my fears and, this time, kept on writing.

This story is not a biography of my dad’s life; it’s an intriguing account of how it might have been. It’s a story loosely based on his experiences, and on my own memories of his stories. It’s fiction. Historical fiction. And an amazing story!

Now that I’ve reconciled that in my mind, I’m on a roll! My research has uncovered many fun and interesting facts about life in the 1920’s. I’m having a blast with the dialogue, with dressing my characters, with setting the scenes. How I wish I could transport back in time and see it all in person, but research has proven to be the next best thing. As well as reading other novels set during the same time period. 

If you’re thinking of writing historical fiction, these articles will help you get started:

SEVEN RULES FOR WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION

HOW TO WRITE HISTORICAL FICTION: 7 TIPS ON ACCURACY AND AUTHENTICITY

So Fear Not, and Write On!

Here Them Roar

 

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Write Yourself Happy; the Joy of Journaling

We all have problems. So many problems! Some big, some small, but molehills become mountains if not tended to. So, how do we manage problems that seem unmanageable?

Write about them!

This may seem so simple—too simple. But the fact is that journaling has been proven to help clarify thoughts and feelings, reduce stress, help you to get to know yourself better, help you to solve problems more effectively, and resolve disagreements with others.

Journaling is an ancient tradition, a tried and true avenue to a happier you. So why not give it a try?

Things to think about:

*How to start? Just sit down with a piece of paper and a pen or pencil (typing your feelings can benefit you as well, though there’s something about putting pen to paper).

*Write quickly. Try not to stop and think about what to write. Let your emotions and feelings guide you.

*Write anything. Turn your feelings into a poem, a short story, or a song. Make a pro and con list, or a list of your feelings starting with each letter in the alphabet, or write a letter to whomever has gotten you so riled up (just don’t send it). Be creative, be crazy, be honest, be kind, be harsh…just write.

*Don’t worry about spelling or punctuation. Your journal is not for others to see, it’s not going to be graded or judged.

*Hold on to your journals! Though it may be tempting to crumple up or burn those painful feelings, having journals to look back on can be very helpful in future predicaments. Seeing how life worked itself out, how friends came to the rescue, how prayers were answered gives us hope for a brighter tomorrow.

So start journaling today! Write yourself happy!

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Passport to Anywhere!

The Joy of Reading is like owning a magical passport. This passport not only allows us to travel to other places, but also to other worlds, other times.

I just finished reading an amazing book, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. It took me to war torn Europe, 1943. Before picking up Code Name Verity, I read a charming story, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman, which whisked me off to 1960’s Savannah, Georgia. And the book before that? City of Bones by Cassandra Clare threw me into the supernatural underworld of current day Manhattan.

As much as I enjoy the read, my favorite part is choosing where I will travel to next. Reading is not only escapism. It is a way of visiting not only today’s local attractions, or foreign countries, but also yesterday’s history in all its glory, or imaginary places that become so much a part of us that they feel just as real as some faraway land. When reading a great book, we are not just tourists seeing what’s on the surface, taking pictures to slip into forgotten photo albums; we are in it, a part of it, experiencing the emotion, the fears, the joys, the very moment in time and place. The characters become our friends, as well as our enemies. The experiences stay with us, can even change us, inspire us.

So pick up a book and enjoy the journey!

Bon Voyage!

LARKSPUR by Anastacia Hawkins

“Anastacia Hawkins takes readers on a mystical journey into the land of Larkspur. Female readers from third to sixth grade will quickly be swept away by this tale. Hawkins has combined, adventure, action, and romance in this tale; what more could a reader ask for?” (Readers Favorite 5 Star Review!)

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Author Interview!

Proud to share with you my FIRST AUTHOR INTERVIEW with Clean Indie Reads:
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CIR:  What inspired you to write the Larkspur series?
HAWKINS:  At age 11, my daughter was struggling to find a book that really grabbed her attention. She loved the Avalon series, loved books about magic and friendship, but also loved to dance, and wanted to read a story with dancers as the protagonists. Until then, I had only written short stories, but when your child sincerely asks you to write a book for them… well, could you say no?
CIR:  So this was written for your daughter.  Who else will love it?
HAWKINS:  Larkspur was definitely written with a female audience in mind. Girls, ages 7-13, will love the dancing heroines, the magical land of Larkspur, the handsome and helpful boys, as well as the dark side of The Realm of Light.
CIR:  You mentioned that your daughter liked the Avalon series.  Would you compare Larkspur to that or another series?
HAWKINS:  Larkspur has been compared to The Wizard of Oz and Narnia. It is a story involving a strange and magical land and those who find themselves lost in it. But what sets Larkspur apart is the element of dance. Most books about ballerinas revolve around the world of dance: rehearsals, performances, eating disorders, competitive personalities. Larkspur is pure fun and fantasy for dance lovers and magic lovers alike.
CIR:  Besides dance, what themes play through the series?
HAWKINS:  Courage, Love, Faith, and Friendship. These are themes that reach into the hearts and minds of our children as they struggle through adolescence to discover who they will be. I hope that Larkspur’s readers will identify with the characters and their struggles, and find strength and encouragement throughout the pages of this story.
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Just for My Followers! Excerpt From Return to Larkspur

In the anticipated sequel to the fantasy adventure, Larkspur, Taylor, Leslie, and Mason return to Larkspur to be infused with the Areli Light in order to help defend the land and people they have come to love.  As they face new challenges and form new friendships, their loyalties will be tested, and their hopes and dreams divided.  Will the Light bring peace once more?  Or will Darkness overcome it?

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“I could really use Mason’s help, Taylor. He’s a natural; it’s as if he was born to be a Light Keeper.”

“Born to be a Light Keeper? Do you hear what you’re saying? We aren’t even from here, Redmond. How could Mason have been born to defend a land that he didn’t even know existed until two years ago?”

“Just because you don’t know something exists, does not keep it from existing. There is a Great Plan that we cannot possible understand, but we are given glimpses and opportunities to be a part of it. It’s up to us what we do with those opportunities. Some back away in fear, others use logic to talk themselves out of getting involved. But there are a chosen few who take giant leaps of faith, and in so doing create a life of great worth with no regrets and no misgivings.”

A hush fell over the room as each of them pondered Redmond’s words. Taylor reached out and grabbed Mason’s hand. She looked into his eyes and saw such courage and faith. Redmond was right. They had been given this incredible opportunity to be a part of something big. She did not want to back away in fear. She wanted to leap.

 

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Write it Down!

write it down

 

 

 

 

 

 

I recently did an author presentation at a local elementary school. I love talking with kids about the joy of writing, and seek to inspire them to become writers themselves.

Our children are the next generation of novelists, poets, screen writers, script writers, and song writers! Our future literary adventures, cinematic escapades, weekly television viewing enjoyment, and song inspired moments are in their hands.

I am delighted to have even a small part in encouraging their creativity.

Here’s what I share with them:

If you have a passion for something, chances are you can write about it! Think of a passion of yours, and now consider all the avenues in which you can read and learn about that subject.

  • Books and magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Television shows
  • Movies
  • Blogs
  • The Internet!

Does it only take a passion for something to become a writer? No, there is another very important step on your journey to becoming a writer.

  • You need to write something down! All it takes is a notebook and a pencil to get started!
  • Imaginings left unwritten can be forgotten, never to be experienced again.
  • Carry a notebook and pencil with you wherever you go, and have them by your bed. You never know when creativity will hit!
  • It doesn’t have to be prefect, or even complete:
    • Have you thought of a great character, but don’t yet know his/her story?
    • Write it Down!
    • Do you have song lyrics rolling around in your head?
    • Write Them Down!
    • Have you thought of a great concept for a t.v. show?
    • Write it Down!
  • These thoughts/ideas could be the next great novel, the next blockbuster movie, the next Grammy Winner!
  • Anyone can be great, why not you!

 

So I encourage you, young and old alike, to start your writing journey!

Consider your passions, and pick up your pen!

The world needs writers!

 

 

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Life is the Messy Bits

“Life is the messy bits.” I love this quote from Letters to Juliet!

The messiness of life is inevitable. And it’s needed!

During my first writing course, I can’t tell you how often my instructor asked, “Where’s the conflict?” I didn’t want bad things to happen to my characters, any more than I wanted bad things to happen to my daughter, or any loved one. But a life without conflict is a life without victories.

It’s in the messy bits of life that we find

  • Strength we never thought we had.
  • Courage to do what we never thought we’d do.
  • Hope that keeps us going one more day, and then another…
  • Friends we didn’t realize we had.
  • Joy in the smallest things…like the warmth of the sun on our skin.
  • The cleansing therapy of a good cry.
  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Faith
  • Forgiveness
  • Unconditional Love

Great stories have conflict. So when your life gets messy, hold on tight and take it all in! Imagine being on the other side looking back at how you handled yourself and the situation. Your story could inspire others!

Here’s to the messy bits of life!

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