Category: Inspiration (page 2 of 4)

Countdown to Christmas: Peace

adventThis is the last week of the Advent Season. That means we light the last candle. We now have one rose and three purple candles lit; the circle is complete. Four candles representing the four thousand years from Adam and Eve to the birth of the Savior are all illuminated, and Christmas is almost upon us. We will be completing our last week of preparations.

The last candle we light is the Angel’s Candle, and it represents Peace.

As a matter of faith, I can think of no time of year more suited to peace than the Christmas season.

As a romance writer, Christmas is a wonderful time of year to incorporate peaceful elements into my writing.

Think about:

  • Soft music and candlelight
  • Softly falling snowflakes
  • Wine by the fire
  • Snuggling under a blanket
  • Soaking in a hot tub or bubble bath

What are you doing in this hectic season to add a little peace to your life? Why dont you share your secrets with us?

Christmas is just a few days away. For those of you who celebrate, have a very Merry Christmas. And for those of you who celebrating something else, I wish you the Happiest of Holidays. The rest of you are wished the most joyous of winter memories as this year draws to a close. I will be spending time with family and won’t be posting again until January. Until then, friends, be safe, and I’ll see you in the new year!

Countdown to Christmas: Joy

adventWe’re entering the third week of Advent. This week is called Gaudete Sunday. “Gaudete” (pronounced gow / dey / tay) is the Latin word for “rejoice” and this is the week priests wear rose-colored vestments and we light the rose-colored candle, because we are rejoicing reaching the half-way point through this anticipatory season.

This third week, the pink or rose candle is the Shepherd’s Candle, and it represents Joy.

As a matter of faith, of course I approach Christmas with a sense of joy.

As a romance writer, this season is no different.

Think of the joy a couple shares on that first exhilarating date. Or when they first say “I love you.” Or when they get engaged. Married. When they first move in together. When they first learn they’re expecting. That first doctor’s visit when they hear that rapid heartbeat, maybe even see a blurry image on a screen. When they hear that first cry, hold that sweet bundle in their arms. Take that precious baby home for the first time.

There is joy all around. Every first, every milestone. Every moment people choose to savor instead of squandering.

What joyous occasion are you looking forward to this season? What milestone are you celebrating? What everyday activity are you experiencing with a new sense of wonder instead of that same old sense of acceptance or dread? Why don’t you share your story here?

Countdown to Christmas: Love and Faith

adventThis is the second week of Advent in the church. Some modern conventions have a white candle in the middle of the wreath to be lit on Christmas Eve representing Christ’s birth, or even all white candles instead of the traditional purple and pink, but at our home, we use the traditional convention. That means we are lighting two purple candles.

This week is the Bethlehem Candle. Some say it represents faith, some say it represents love. It is indicative of the Holy Family’s belief in their mission and their trek to Bethlehem. I think a journey like that would require a lot of both.

As a romance writer, I could write forever on either subject: love or faith.

This is a beautiful time of year for love.

I know so many people who have winter weddings. There are many engagement stories at Christmas time. One in particular that sticks out is that of a friend of mine…Her boyfriend took her for a ride in a horse drawn carriage around the park (complete with sleigh bells), then stopped at one of their favorite places by the river where they had a spectacular view of the city, and while the snow fell, he got down on one knee and proposed. She said she always wanted an outdoor winter proposal because she grew up in Africa and didn’t have that kind of weather. She was enthralled by it and wanted a special memory in the snow. And despite that fact that he hated winter weather, he did it for her. That’s love for another. That’s faith in your relationship. That’s romance.

We could all use a relationship like that in our lives that demonstrates such commitment of love and faith.

How are you embracing love and faith as you prepare for this holiday season? Why don’t you share your story here?

Giving Thanks for the Spiritual

thankfulIt’s time to wrap up the giving thanks posts. For new readers, I’ll recap quickly.

Drawing inspiration from a friend of mine, I’m writing posts all month about things I’m thankful for. She does daily Facebook posts. I’m doing weekly blog posts. I’ve divided mine into categories: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. This is week four.

**DISCLAIMER** Things covered this month are in no particular order.

This week covers spiritual things. I’m grateful for:

  • God and the Holy Trinity
  • My faith
  • My parents who raised me as a Catholic
  • My godparents who reinforced those beliefs
  • My family who prays for me (as I do them)
  • The several Bibles in my home
  • The rosary that I pray every day
  • Mary, and her intercession
  • The saints, and their intercession

The Catholic faith is an often maligned and misunderstood faith. It has had its problems, but I pray for its fortitude and longevity, just as I know the first Apostles did, and still do.

I gain peace and strength from my spiritual life, and I wish that for all of you, regardless of your particular beliefs.

I’d love to know what spiritual things in your life you are grateful for. Why don’t you add to the list below? This, as always, is a safe space to share.

And if I’m not back before Thursday, have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

New Friends, Old Stories, Wonderful Memories

I get homesick a lot. I live nearly 1,000 miles from where I grew up, and sometimes it feels like 1,000,000. I knew all my neighbors—heck, I think I was related to half the town. Now I don’t even know my next door neighbors’ names. So I spend a lot of time talking to writers on online.

You can imagine my surprise when I met a woman who lived in Michigan (I lived there before), Florida (I wouldn’t mind living there if I can’t move home), and now lives in Pittsburgh (the city closest to my hometown and the city where I went to college). We immediately hit it off.

PC ZICKP. C. Zick’s writing career began in 1998 with the publication of her first column in a local paper. By day, she was a high school English teacher, but at night and on vacations, she began writing novels and freelance articles. By 2001, she left teaching and began pursuing a full-time gig as a writer. She describes herself as a “storyteller” no matter the genre.

She writes three blogs. Her blog and her novels contain the elements most dear to her heart, ranging from love to the environment. She believes in living lightly upon this earth with love, laughter, and passion.

She’s working on her sixth novel, Native Lands. Live from the Road was her first venture into self-publishing in 2012. Trails in the Sand followed in January 2013. She’s re-issued two novels previously traditionally published.

PC Zick book coverShe also writes nonfiction. From Seed to Table is a collection of blog posts about gardening and preserving produce. She’s also published her great grandfather’s Civil War journal, Civil War Journal of a Union Soldier. It’s this body of work I’ve asked her to talk about today, because it touches on connecting with our roots, a topic dear to my heart. So without further ado, I give you P. C. Zick.

Heroes for All Time

My great grandfather, Harmon Camburn, died nearly fifty years before I was born, yet for the past forty years a part of him has moved with me from Michigan to Florida to Pennsylvania. He lived between the covers of a light blue notebook on typewritten—and I do mean typewritten—pages prepared by my cousin from his handwritten journal. Those pages contained his experiences as a Union soldier from 1861-1864 when he joined Michigan’s 2nd Infantry and began the long journey to Washington D.C. where President Lincoln himself reviewed the newly minted and young soldiers ready to fight a battle for the preservation of the Union.

Laura LavilandThis past year, I decided that Harmon Camburn needed to come alive for our time. As I delved into his writings, I often veered off course as I researched some of the names he mentions in his journal. One trail brought me to a woman I’d often heard about in reverential terms in my family. My father and his siblings called her “Aunt Laura,” so I always assumed she was my aunt, too. Only upon researching her did I discover that everyone called her Aunt Laura because of her dedication to important causes. She worked tirelessly to ensure young women and African Americans received an education. She advocated for the abolition of slavery and became a leader in the Underground Railroad. She also fought for women’s suffrage although she died two decades too soon to see women receive the vote. Her Quaker upbringing created in her the quest to help all those who suffered at the hands of inequality. She later joined the Methodist Church after seeking a religion that best suited her beliefs.

She moved to Adrian, Michigan, from New York, with her husband. They had eight children, and yet she still managed to open the Raisin Institute, a school devoted to the education of all—no matter race, religion, or gender. She began working for both the abolition of slavery and the freedom of slaves through her work with the Underground Railroad.

LauraSmithHavilandStatueA statute stands in front of the Lenawee County Courthouse in Adrian with the dedication, “A Tribute to a Life Consecrated to the Betterment of Humanity” Her autobiography, A Woman’s Life Work, chronicles her pursuit of equality. Her philosophy and faith is shown through her active narrative. She doesn’t need to pontificate her viewpoint. Her work speaks what she believes. It’s rich with dialogue and shows a life lived with only one thought: the betterment of all humans.

She began hiding runaway slaves on her farm in southeastern Michigan, sometimes personally escorting them to Canada. She became friends with Sojourner Truth during her work at the Freedman’s Hospital in Washington D.C.

Her obituary states that when the Civil War began in 1861, she lost her students and one teacher at the Raisin Institute as they enlisted in the war effort. One of those students was my great grandfather, Harmon Camburn. In addition, after her death in 1898, they brought her body to Harmon Camburn’s home in Adrian for the public to come and pay tribute to “Aunt Laura.”

I discovered through the Camburn family tree that I can claim Laura Haviland as a relative through marriage. Harmon’s older brother married Laura’s daughter, Esther. Other siblings married Havilands as well.

My experience with researching and publishing the Civil War journal gave me a chance to gaze into the lives of both Great Grandfather Camburn and Aunt Laura. They did not live or die as martyrs for a cause, but as real human beings who fought for their beliefs without questioning why they did it. In their hearts and souls, they acted out their faith.

I consider my own life one of relative luxury compared to my ancestors and know that I have many miles to cover before I ever come close to the legacy left to me. Bringing to light the words of Harmon Camburn and the life work of Laura Smith Haviland is my start at walking respectfully in the large footprints they left.

The Civil War Journal of a Union Soldier begins with “An Excuse” from Harmon Camburn.

“If what I write meets the eye of others than those for whom they are intended, I have only this to say: It was only written for my children. And if I confer upon them as much pleasure as I shall take in gratifying them, I shall feel amply repaid.”

I hope both of them are smiling down upon me knowing the work they did is still alive so many years later. I am humbled and grateful for the legacy that both left.

                                                                                                                                                                

P. C. Zick has lived in Michigan and Florida. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband Robert.

For more information about her work or to follow her on social media, click on the links below:

A Woman’s Life Work by Laura Haviland

Civil War Journal of a Union Soldier (Harmon Camburn) presented by P.C. Zick

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/PCZickCivilWarJournal

Twitter: @PCZick

Blog/Websites:

Writing Whims: http://www.pczick.com

Living Lightly: www.pczick.wordpress.com

Giving Thanks for the Physical

thankfulOne of my dearest friends from college does something that I’ve always admired (but never managed to emulate) in November. In honor of Thanksgiving, she does a post on Facebook every single day of the month and lists something she’s grateful for. She doesn’t go into detail, and it’s not always something earth-shattering, but for thirty days, she tells the world what she is thankful for that day.

I always enjoy those posts.

In that spirit, I thought I’d take the next four weeks and try to do something along the same lines. Being that she has thirty days and I only have four, I figured I’d better break mine down into categories. So I decided the best way to handle it was to do the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual things in my life that I’m grateful for.

**DISCLAIMER** Things covered this month are in no particular order. That said, I’ll begin week one with the physical things.

  • My life
  • My family
  • My dogs
  • My friends
  • My house and the things that make it a home
  • My cars that get me to the places I need and want to go
  • The food that feeds us
  • The plants that give us air to breathe
  • The military, police, and firefighters who protects us

I know there are so many more physical things that I’m thankful for but they aren’t springing to mind because I’m trying to think of them. Why don’t you help add to the list?

Are You Making the Most of Your Relationships?

Something profound happened to me this week, so in lieu of promoting my new book or discussing writing techniques, I’m going to share my story.

foot injuryMy daughter is a tennis player. She’s been battling an injury, but she keeps on going. She’s supposed to wear a boot when she isn’t playing, and tape when she is, but she won’t. It’s inconvenient, so she just deals with the pain. She won her first match this week, 8-2, but to do it, she suffered. I’m concerned she might be doing herself more harm by not sitting out and resting, but she insists it’s worth it. I’m not so sure.

football playerMy son is a football player. He was doing great in his scrimmage this week, until he was blindsided. There was a helmet-to-helmet collision, and he lay unresponsive on the field for the longest five seconds of my life. When he stood, he wobbled and was led back to the bench. He’s now battling a concussion. His only desire is to get back to the game. I’m more worried about him healing.

labradorsMy dogs were outside this week and got into a pool chemical bottle that the pool maintenance people left out. I saw them on the patio, laying beside a puddle and a chewed bottle. Our vet rushed me out of his office with medicine, not even giving me the time to pay. He felt time was of the essence. My dogs kept spitting the medicine out, and of course they went right over to the puddle when I let them out again. They’re all about instant gratification, preservation-instinct be damned. I’m just worried their quest for fun will ultimately harm them.

Thank God nothing happened to my husband this week. I don’t think I could have taken the stress.

I have a lot of lives dependent on me. I don’t care what my “job title” is. Wife, mother, and pet owner take priority every time. As does daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, aunt, friend… I have lots of titles.

Unfortunately, one of those titles is not Ultimate Decision Maker. If it was, everyone would listen to me and there would be fewer problems in my life. (Of course, that would probably add a lot to my plate, and who needs that? Not me.) Maybe I would just like to be the mom/wife/dog owner who is obeyed, at least when she has everyone’s best interests at heart. But I digress…

People can say all they want that to be successful in any endeavor, a person has to put certain things aside and just work. And that includes relationships.

I say if you want to be truly successful, you have to nurture your relationships. They are what make you who you are. (tweet this)

The rest will take care of itself.

If you want to be a success, take the time to celebrate the people in your life. Spend quality time with them. Even at the expense of some “work” time.

You never know when something will happen to rob you of that chance.

As hard as this week was, I am blessed that no permanent damage was done to my loved ones. I’m not going to wait until there is a permanent issue to put them first on my priority list.

I hope you can say the same.

Enrich Your Characters in 5 Easy Steps

I am a space fanatic. It started when I was a little girl in school studying the constellations. I was hooked. Even today, I’d give anything to try an antigravity chamber and the multi-axis trainer. Don’t get me wrong; I have absolutely no desire to go into space (the thought terrifies me), but what’s out there is fascinating. I’m always watching television specials about the stars, the planets, dark matter, and black holes. I’m the one in my family telling people about upcoming meteor showers, eclipses, and anything interesting they might find in the sky. When NASA canceled the shuttle missions, I was devastated. But I still follow ISS news.

Luca Parmitano This summer has been particularly eventful. Did you know that history was made on July 9? Luca Parmitano was the sixth Italian astronaut in space, but the first of his country to take a spacewalk. He celebrated by sharing some traditional fare with his crew mates. The Italian Space Agency created an antipasto appetizer, a lasagna and pesto risotto first course, an eggplant parmesan main course, and a tiramisu dessert. (Imagine that. Tiramisu in space!) Parmitano began a second spacewalk on July 16, but the walk was cut short due to water leakage in his helmet. It was a dangerous situation, but he remained calm and tragedy was averted.

Of course I feel some Italian pride given his accomplishments, but that wasn’t the only exciting thing that happened this summer. On November 26, 2011, NASA launched a space probe to Mars. It just landed on August 6, after what is being dubbed as the “seven minutes of terror.” When it finally set down, undamaged, in the Gale Crater, NASA’s celebration was caught on camera—and instantly Flight Director Bobak Ferdowsi became an internet sensation.

Mohawk GuyFerdowsi, now known as “Mohawk Guy,” didn’t set out to break scientist stereotypes, but he’s doing it. He’s a self-proclaimed ‘exercise fiend’ and a recreational softball player, but what’s taken over the web is his hair. Ferdowsi gets a special cut for each mission, and this one was noteworthy. He sported a Mohawk with red and blue highlights and bleached stars in the side.  His cut inspired plenty of memes and a 10,000 follower spike for him on Twitter, but really, he is inspiring many of today’s youth to become scientists. By breaking the mold of “geeky scientist,” he’s opening the world of science to a whole new group of students. And isn’t that what’s really important?

Writers: Consider the characters in your WIP. Are any of them stereotypical in any way? Dumb jocks, nerdy scientists, Versace-clad models, Rolex-wearing businessmen? Try mixing things up a bit to add variety and authenticity to your characters. Here are five things to look at when analyzing pigeonholed characters.

  1. Clothing
    Do your characters wear clothes that announce what they do or who they are? Coaches may need sweat suits on the field, but not at home. Maybe your coach likes to lounge around in silk pajamas or dress clothes. This wardrobe change can help expose the hidden dimensions of your character.
  2. Hair
    Many people don’t think about it, but hair can be stereotypical. The librarian with her hair in a bun. The model with long curly tresses. The surfer with bleached streaks in his hair. It doesn’t have to be that way. Consider changing a stereotypical hairstyle to make your characters more individual.
  3. Accessories
    Are the props you’re working into your characters jobs and homes trite? Try using a few things that are unexpected, or omitting some things that are cliché. Using our librarian again, does she wear eyeglasses on a chain? Omit them. Does your professor have a pipe and leather chairs in his office? Nix the pipe. Switch an overstuffed sofa in for the chairs.
  4. Food
    Unless you’re trying to establish a strong cultural tie, you don’t want your characters eating and drinking only food from a specific ethnicity. The Irish don’t need to always be drinking in bars, an Asian character doesn’t have to eat rice with chopsticks for every meal, and Italians (and I know this for a fact) like more than just spaghetti or pizza.
  5. Activities
    Are your characters involved in cliché work and play situations? Does your English teacher only attend the theater? Send her to a ball game. Does your coach come home and turn on Sports Center? Have him play classical music instead. Doing something out of the ordinary will round out your people and make them more than cookie-cutter characters.

Changing from the unexpected will enrich your work, deepen your characters, and enliven the reading experience for your fans. Just a little work and forethought goes a long way in story development. It’s worth it.

Are you a space fan, too? Are you interested in breaking stereotypes or in encouraging students toward the science fields? Are you working on a story where you’ve shattered traditional labels? Share your story with us in the comments section.

While Waiting for Milestones, Do You Celebrate the In-Between? You Should.

mary and john weddingOn July 29, 1937, one ecstatic man had his dreams come true when a beautiful woman walked down the aisle to join him—in front of the altar, in holy matrimony, and in life. He wasn’t the only one who was happy; that woman was equally overjoyed. Everyone thought she was going to marry a wealthy local businessman, but instead, she fell in love with a man who had quit school at the age of fourteen when his father died to support his mother and six siblings. He was responsible, but certainly not well-to-do; it was likely they would never reach anything more than a middle-class lifestyle.

And she couldn’t have cared less.

He was smart, incredibly handsome, funny, and the kindest man she had ever met. On July 29, 2013, seventy-six years after she married him, she’ll still tell you that was the best decision of her life.

How do I know all this?

Because I’m talking about my grandparents, and this is their story.

mary and john laterThere were plenty of milestones in their lives. The purchase of their first and only home together, her first pregnancy (sadly, their son was a stillbirth), the birth of their two daughters, their twenty-fifth anniversary, the marriage of their two daughters, the birth of six grandchildren, their fortieth anniversary… You get the idea. Those are the same milestones we all look forward to.

Thing is, they didn’t make it to their fiftieth anniversary. My grandfather died in 1986, one year short of that milestone.

If my grandmother only lived for the milestone moments, she would have missed out on so much. Scenic drives, sitting on the porch watching sunrises and sunsets, sharing meals (large holiday celebrations with family and small intimate meals together), evenings spent by candlelight when the power was out, listening to the radio…

Milestone moments are highlights, but real life happens in the in-between. (Tweet this.)

When my grandmother reminisces about my grandfather, she doesn’t tell me about anniversary parties and major purchases. She tells me about board games and shopping trips, social gatherings and carwashes. My grandmother lived in the in-between, and because of it, she didn’t miss a second of her wonderful marriage.

I wish we all could appreciate the minutes we have instead of waiting for moments that may never come. (Tweet this.)

I learned from my grandmother to appreciate the in-between. Sure, I’m often going from tennis match to football game, speed camp to school event.

Life can get so hectic that we miss living it. (Tweet this.)

But, when was the last time:

  • your whole family gathered around the table for a meal?
  • you stayed up all night talking?
  • you turned the television off and danced to your favorite slow song?
  • you said “I love you,” not because you were running out the door, but because you needed to express your feelings?

If you believe life is worth living all the time, not just during special events, then you’ve already tapped in to one secret of happiness.

If you’ve been waiting for milestone after milestone, maybe it’s time to reevaluate.

In either case, I’d like to encourage you to read Jeff Goins’s new book, The In-Between.

The In-Between

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Jeff says, “The In-Between is a call to accept the importance that waiting plays in our lives by helping you:

  • Find personal meaning in the times that make the least sense.
  • Hone the underestimated art of living in the moment.
  • Experience the joy that comes with embracing inconveniences.”

The In-Between is available for pre-order, and if you buy the paperback copy now, you’re eligible for $240 worth of free gifts, too. (Click here to learn more about Jeff’s generous offer.)

For Writers: Do you let your characters explore the in-between? Plots grow stagnant if they don’t move from high-point to high-point, and character relationships are often forged in these moments. But remember the movie Speed? Keanu Reeves’s character parroted a statement Sandra Bullock’s character had said earlier in the movie. “…relationships based on intense experiences never work.” And there’s truth to that. Intense experiences make for interesting plot progression, but character feelings develop best in the quiet moments between those experiences. Give your characters time to grow in the in-between.

My grandparents lived, loved, and thrived in the in-between. Wouldn’t you like to do the same?

Do you have any in-between insights you’d like to share? Please tell us your story in the comments section.

How to Best Spend your Summer Vacation

Hi everyone! For those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook (links can be found by clicking the words or in the side panel), you’ll have noticed that I was silent this past week. Sorry for the disappearance, but I was on vacation.

Hilton Head Usually we go to the beach. We’ve been to plenty of them: Jamaica, California, Hawaii, the Bahamas, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and many on the east coast (from New Jersey through Florida). We’ve done amusement and theme park vacations, zoos, cities, and even a cruise, but we always go back to the beach. Sun, sand, surf… it doesn’t get better than that.

Until this year.

This year we spent our vacation in Pennsylvania. My husband and I are both from the same home town, our kids were born there, and we still have family and friends in the area. It’s a two day trip by car, but we stayed with family on the way there and back, so it was kind of like a two-for-one vacation. Sure, I miss the beach, but I have a pool if I want to swim, and I wouldn’t trade my visit home for anything.

pirate baseballWhen we crossed through the Fort Pitt Tunnel, the sight of Pittsburgh greeting us on the other side was spectacular. The only time it looks better is at night. We saw the fountain at The Point, the Gateway Clipper fleet on the river, the city skyline, Heinz Field, the Carnegie Science Center, and after a short drive, PNC Park (where a baseball game was in progress). I would have loved to have stayed in the city. There’s so much to do there—shopping and eating at The Strip; going to the four Carnegie Museums (Art, Natural History, Science Center, and Andy Warhol); visiting the Pittsburgh Zoo, the Allegheny Observatory, and Phipps Conservatory; riding the mt. washington, paInclines (Duquesne and Monongahela); touring Carnegie Mellon University so the kids could see where their parents went to school; attending a Pirate game; spending a day at Kennywood Park or Sandcastle… I could go on, but we didn’t stay in Pittsburgh. As awesome as the city is, we had better things to do.

We went home to see family.

vandergriftWe’re from Vandergrift, Pennsylvania… it’s a little town about forty minutes northeast of the city. Its claim to fame is that it’s the first worker-owned, industrially-planned town in America. Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape designer who designed Central Park, was responsible for designing the town. My husband and I met, dated, fell in love, and were married there. We still have a lot of family and friends in the area, and we went home to see them. That beats any trip to the beach, or anywhere else.

family visitWe spent time with my ninety-five year old grandmother, looking at old family photos and hearing wonderful tales of days gone by. We visited my husband’s grandmother and his great-aunt and uncle where we listened to stories of family and friends. We stayed with my parents-in-law, where we played games and enjoyed each other’s company. We ate many meals with my family, trying to celebrate Father’s Day and my dad’s birthday with the appropriate fanfare his holidays deserve. We spent time with siblings and their families, and ate the foods that we’ve been craving but can’t get here—both homemade and purchased spumoniitems. We even attended Mass at our hometown church… a church that is a national landmark and was designed in the gothic style (something that we just don’t see here where the churches are of modern styling).

It was fabulous!

scalzott familyThe best part was the reconnecting with family. We heard stories and histories that reinforce who we are and where we’re from. Some of the stories I’d heard before, and some were new, but they were all new to my kids, and watching them absorb their heritage was a golden experience.

I’m not sure what your vacation plans are this year. I could certainly recommend a trip to Pittsburgh. There’s plenty to do, to see, to eat… You wouldn’t be disappointed. But instead, let me recommend a trip where you can connect with your roots. That’s where the real memories will be made.

My entire family enjoyed our trip (adults, kids, and even dogs!), but I’m definitely going to benefit from our visit home. Not only were the areas good for me to revisit because my novel series is set in Western Pennsylvania, I now have fodder for several other stories as well. I bet a visit home would give you some ideas, too.

Have you ever taken a trip where you got ideas for a story? Why don’t you share the experience with us in the comments.

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