Chicago dreaming…

View of Lake MichiganTime to visit Chicago. Look how beautiful the view is. We’ve had a mild winter (knock on wood); however, that is about to change. Temperatures have dropped and tomorrow we are supposed to have snow.

When I see this view I think Harry Potter is going to be flying by soon.

A perfect view to spark a writer’s creative thoughts!

Imagine in July when the Blue Angels are flying by. It’s spectacular!

Can you tell I am getting ready for Spring?

Join STORYSTORM – Create 30 ideas for children’s books in the month of January

StorystormTara Lazar, children’s book author, came up with a great way to start every new year. It’s called, “STORYSTORM.” The concept is simple, it’s free and all that is required is that anyone who signs up for “STORYSTORM” comes up with 30 book ideas in 31 days.

Good news, this is stress free, because you are not held accountable for showing anyone your 30 ideas. You are the only one that knows if you did it or not. However, by signing up, you can join the discussions on Facebook, read posts by other authors, agents, editors, etc.

Lazar only does this in January. Last January, I found out about it, but it was at the end of the month, so I missed the boat. This year though, I am right on time.

Let the story ideas BEGIN…

Santa Mail -> There is still time… Have you mailed your letter?

Santa Mail 1

I was at Macy’s the other day looking for a gift. Look what I came across, a Santa Mailbox. They even had the note paper, quick and easy.

Santa Mail 2In my Junk folder I saw an email about Certified Santa Mail. REALLY, what a way to make money off of children’s wishes. When we were little, I admit, it was fun to write a letter to Santa hoping we would get our red bicycle or new radio, whatever it might be. However, it was simple and innocent, our letters were written on lined paper that we used for school homework.

Now, there are all sorts of websites with specialized Santa care packages, certified letters, etc. I’m smiling at that, because a young child does not even know what a certified letter is or means, so these company’s are selling to the parents WHO play the role of Santa.

Anyhow, just for “giggles,” I was tempted to write a letter to Santa and put it in the mailbox.

DEAR SANTA,

ARE YOU REALLY ALL MIGHTY AND POWERFUL ABLE TO MAKE ANY WISH COME TRUE? HOW OLD IS RUDOLPH NOW? YOUR SANTA SUIT IS LOOKING A LITTLE WORN AND YOUR SLEIGH WAS SQUEAKY LAST YEAR.

I’VE TALKED TO MY FRIENDS, WE ARE WILLING TO MAKE A DONATION, SO YOU CAN HAVE A NEW SUIT. MY FRIEND SALLY SUGGESTED STARTING A “GO FUNDME” CAMPAIGN FOR YOU (SANTA NEEDS A NEW SUIT AND MONEY TO FIX HIS SLEIGH).

WHERE SHOULD WE SEND THE $$$$ THAT IS DONATED?

CONTACT ME AT — SANTANEEDSHELP@GMAIL.COM

__________________________________

All joking aside, I bet people would donate to that fund and the next photo would be of the crook drinking a margarita in the Bahamas wearing a Santa hat.  Ho, ho, ho —

Succeeding as part of A TEAM!

The other day, sifting through emails, I pressed the “delete button” over and over. I ALMOST deleted this article, “Becoming Interdependent as A TEAM” from the LeadershipNow™ website. As I started reading, my first thought was back to my childhood where my mother taught us (four kids) to work as a team, stop complaining!

This bird photo is perfect in depicting how a team starts out. There were four kids in my family. Do you see how the birds are discussing WHO will DO WHAT. That’s how we were. If any of you have siblings or endured meetings for group projects at school or work, you know how meetings work. Someone always stands out as the leader, and there are one or two people who remain silent. They either want to play to win OR they are extremely lazy, nothing motivates them. They are dead weight.

My mother, tired of our annoying complaining, taught us (four kids) to work like a Navy Seal team. No one complains, everyone pulls their weight, because as children our goal was “getting to the beach.” If my father saw a lot of complaining, he gave us more chores, which meant no beach time. If we worked as a team, happy smiles, strong work ethic, we got to the beach by Noon.

This is where Jason Caldwell’s article comes in. Caldwell shares how he and his crew team, the American Spirit, worked as a team to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to win the 2016 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge and set a world record.

What Caldwell says, and I agree with, is that in order to build a successful team, you have to build TRUST and understand what motivates each individual team member. It’s not just about the main goal, you need to care about each person’s individual goal(s) and make sure you are aligned at all times. If you are out of sync, you cannot win.

GREAT ARTICLE!

Let’s find and build a winning team!

Sports and being a successful LEADER

SuccessWe are in the last quarter of the year. If you are like me, you are trying to find that “last bit of motivation” that will catapult you to the next level.

We still have time to make great strides. Here’s an article from Fast Company, “Watching a baseball game taught me more about leadership presence than any self-help book.

If you are looking for some quick motivation, take a few minutes and read this article. While I am not a baseball fan, I know enough about the sport to appreciate the author’s (Anett Grant) clever analogy between baseball and developing strong leadership skills. It’s a mind set, no question about it. Having confidence is “key.”

Here’s to finishing the year strong!

Hard work, trust and faith — we will get there!

Travel – self guided walking tours, TRY GPSmyCITY App

GPSMYWALK AppI’m heading to Munich soon. While I have been there before, I was interested in exploring different areas of the city. As I researched places to see, I came across GPSmyCITY App, which offers self guided city walks.

I haven’t tried this yet, but I thought I would share it with you. It was a brilliant idea. Bypass normal tours and with this APP, do the walk yourself. On their website, they have different tutorials that teach you how to use the App, it seems easy. You can download different walks to use “off-line,” which was great, because my phone drains the battery very quickly and in Europe it is hard to find places to charge your phone.

They also offer articles on each city with the usual, i.e. best restaurants, cafes, museums, historical sites, products to buy, markets to visit, nightlife venues and more. They have self guided tours of 1,000+ locations all over the world.

The reviews for this App are mixed, some people love it, others don’t. Their location is out of Las Vegas. If anyone has heard of and/or used this App, let us know.

Happy touring!

Writing inspiration from a storm…

LightningLast night I heard thunder and saw lightening. As a child, when a storm came over Lake Michigan, we rushed outside the house to clear the leaves out of the drains, so there wouldn’t be a flood.

For a writer, a storm brings creativeness in a different way.  If you write, you know what I mean. We feel the need to hunker down, stay indoors and write whatever comes to mind. A storm allows deep emotions to come out in our characters.

I’m off to write. HOW will my character make it out of the…

You see, there are so many possibilities!