Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Power Of Accountability For Writers

A gourmet dinner at the hotel buffet after the recent RWA conference led to more than just a full stomach. It led to the birth of a new writers club for me and my fellow dining companions. We decided we were committed to being up on the conference stage to collect our First Sale Ribbons as soon as possible, and created a club to help each other achieve that goal – the goal of our first publishing contract.

Our desired outcome comes down to several factors of course, some of which are outside our direct control, but we believe that through commitment to our craft, consistency in action, support of each other, and confidence in our work we can achieve that outcome. And when the time is right for us, we believe we will be on that stage celebrating our first sale.

The club is now in its third week, and already I have achieved more than I would have without the club. Each Monday we state our weekly goals to the group, and share what we achieved from the week before. Doing this makes us focus on the little steps needed to lead towards our bigger goals, and helps us to be more productive.

For writers, life often gets in the way of being consistent with writing, especially when you’re not yet contracted and you feel like you should be doing something else. But having a few like-minded people around you who share your goals is a huge help, and helps you to prioritise your writing and take action towards your dreams.

There is something exciting about writing down your goals and ticking them off as they are completed, even more so when you share these goals with others. Having a writing buddy or a small writing group gives you the power of accountability. No one wants to check in with the group and say they didn’t achieve their goals, so knowing you have to share your progress with the group acts as a strong motivator to get things done, and to stay on the path you have chosen.

Authors receiving their First Sale Ribbons at the 2012 RWA Conference

If you don’t have a writing buddy or group, I strongly recommend joining or starting one. First of all, join RWA (The Romance Writers of Australia), as they are such a supportive organisation for writers and I have learned so much through them and made great new friends. You don’t even have to be a romance writer to join, we have writers of many different genres in RWA. Then, hook up with a suitable critique partner so you can provide feedback on each other’s work. RWA has a critique partner match-up scheme, or you can find one by asking around online and sharing a few samples of work to see who you click with. I found mine rather organically… we began a conversation on facebook earlier this year and never stopped, and after sharing a sample of work we decided we would like to work together and have been critiquing happily ever since (and our facebook chat is still continuing to this day!). Now through my new writers club I have an additional CP, as it can be good to get two different opinions on your work (plus, I have found the processing of critiquing another writer’s work helps me with my own writing).

So if you find yourself getting to the end of the week and wishing you had written more, learned more, or read more, then consider starting an ‘accountability group’; a group that doesn’t necessarily have to read each other’s work, but exists for the main purpose of helping each other achieve weekly or monthly goals. It makes a huge difference! 🙂

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9/11 – Lillie’s Story

In honour of those who died and those who risked their lives to help others on September 11, 2001, I decided to interview Lillie Leonardi about her unique and compelling experience of that day, and the days that followed…

1.    Thank you for joining me on the blog today, Lillie. Your memoir, In The Shadow Of A Badge, details your experience at the Flight 93 crash site in Shanksville, Pennsylvania; and how the 9/11 attacks affected your life. Can you tell us a little about your book and your experience of that day?

The book reflects my story about the visitation of Angels during the first moments at the Flight 93 crash site.  It is a narrative non-fiction account of the spiritual experience I encountered while serving in my professional capacity as the Community Outreach Specialist with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Pittsburgh Division. What I saw and/or heard is a personal interpretation of the events leading up to and following 9-11 and, in particular, the Flight 93 crash. The book also details my on-going journey of personal healing and recovery from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following my experiences that day.  The chapters penned include some significant historical facts as well.

 

2.    Can you share with us a brief excerpt from your book?

“On this day, the shimmer of light began to grow and was almost blinding. I looked again and the light began to evolve into a foggy white mist. The white mist then began to take shape. It moved and swirled in patterns of spectacular white light. All at once, the mist took full shape and I saw what appeared to be angels. There were angels standing in the open area to the left of the crash site. There were hundreds of them standing in columns. There was a field of angels emerging from the realms of the mist. They were Archangels with their wings arched up toward the sky.”

 

3.    How did the events of that day change your life and your view of the world?

Like many others who watched and witnessed the terrorist attacks of 9/11, my life was dramatically altered by the very nature of the events.  First and foremost, 9/11 removed any sense of security and left in its stay, a deep seeded feeling of fear.  This frozen fear caused trauma to my heart, mind and soul.  Yet, due to my inability to express the emotions felt, I became afflicted with PTSD.  As a result, every aspect of my life has changed.

 

4.   The memory of 9/11 brings with it a lot of strong emotions for people; do you think there are some positive things people can take from this experience to help them move forward in their lives?

Yes, I do feel there were some positive occurrences on 9/11.

From a law enforcement perspective, I believe many individuals served on behalf of their fellow man.  At each of the three sites, acts of bravery transpired.  When the Twin Towers were struck by the planes, the emergency responders rushed in to save lives and rescue the injured.  When the Towers fell, the responders assisted in recovering those who lost their lives and in the post clean-up efforts.  At the Pentagon, the same type of heroic deeds were witnessed on countless occasions.  And, the passengers and crew members aboard Flight 93, gave their lives to assure others would survive.

While at the crash site, I watched representatives from United Airlines, the law enforcement, human service  and government agencies work in tandem to address the needs of the family members who lost loved ones on Flight 93.  Each of these remarkable individuals gave their all to ease the pain and suffering of the survivors.

Additionally, residents of the surrounding communities rallied and offered unbelievable support to the families.   And, the area business owners provided essential supplies needed for an effective response to the tragedy.

There were so many individuals who helped to ease the pain and suffering of others.  They joined together to help rebuild the lives of those most affected.  It was amazing to watch the strength of spirit exhibited by one and all.

 

5. Your book is the first in a trilogy, can you tell us what the other two books will be about?

My Life In Black And White With A Smidgen Of Blue:

Book two provides the continuing story from where the first book left off. The many chapters trace my journey as a law enforcement officer, the PTSD diagnosis, the necessary healing processes and the difficulties faced.

The pages also unearth aspects of my childhood, spiritual path and the origins of my intuitive gifts. Additionally, the narrative is my version of a love story. Not, the conventional type that one may be familiar with reading, but it is my rendition of the “affairs of the heart”.

 

Messages From the Plane:

The third book of the series provides insight into my treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The pages penned delve into the initial treatment of Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) – a highly successful therapy used to aid those suffering from the effects of PTSD.

“Messages From the Plane” describes my journey to restore my mental health, as well as reveals the extraordinary phenomenon that occurred during each of the EMDR treatments. With my mind open, my intuitive abilities were tapped and my creativity began to reemerge. The pages highlight my path out of the depths of despair to a deeply enriched spiritual connection.

This book was co-authored by Dr. Deborah Conway, PhD.  Dr. Conway is the psychotherapist who treated me through conventional therapy and through the process of the EMDR sessions.

 

Thank you for sharing your amazing story and personal journey, Lillie.

Lillie’s book, In The Shadow Of A Badge, is available at Amazon, BN.com, select Barbes & Noble stores, and Word Association Publishers.

You can also find out more about Lillie at her website.

Do you have a 9/11 story to share? Where were you on that day?

Spring has Sprung… time for the Author Harvest!

The sun is shining in my part of the world today, birds are chirping, the ocean is sparkling, and colours are beginning to burst to life in the garden. To celebrate the start of Spring, I visited author Jenn J McLeod’s blog to be the first seedling to take part in her Author Harvest.

I love reading interviews that help me get to know other authors, but it’s nice to read something a little out-of-the-ordinary and this series of questions Jenn has come up with are so much fun! Click here to check out the interview, and while you’re there, find out more about Jenn whose debut novel, A House For All Seasons will be out in time for Mother’s Day 2013 in Australia. I can’t wait! 🙂