Tag Archive | Inspiration

SHOWCASE: Author Tea Cooper

I first became acquainted with Australian author Tea Cooper through one of the various Facebook groups to which I belong. I enjoyed Tea’s posts and quickly realized I’d found a fellow history-lover. I invited her to share a few thoughts about love and romance in February, and her Valentine’s post was thoroughly enjoyed by Time for Love’s readers.

 

Valentine’s Day Musings by Tea Cooper

I wanted to know more about Tea, her appreciation for the past, and about her books.

Today, I’m delighted to have Tea as my “Showcase” author for March.

 

From Tea:

Why do I write romance?

 I can’t help it … an over active imagination and the Greek Gods smiling at me!

I received a great review the other day for one of my books – any author’s life blood! The best part of the review though wasn’t the stars or the delightful comments about my plot and my story but the sentence that read:

You have such wonderful ideas for your books, wherever do you get them?”

 It got me thinking. I know I’m a visual learner – too many years trying to work out how children learn – then I realized I’m also a “visual writer.” I backtracked to see if it is true and where I got my inspiration.

 Inspiration means literally, to breathe in and be filled with spirit of the Gods, the muses of ancient Greece. I like to think the gods smile on me.

450px-StatueFaunePomp+¬i

 

It was certainly true of my little Greek novel A WINNING STREAK. It harks back to a trip to Pompeii more years ago than I am prepared to admit!

 

 

 

 

 

Then I took a closer look at my other books:

 

IMG_0520TREE CHANGE is about a woman who has to choose between her career (she’s a sculptor) and the love of her life, who is an environmentalist. The actual starting point for Cassia and Jake’s story was a sculpture I saw.

 

 

As I’ve become more aware of the way I write, (I’d like to say the way I capture my muse but it sounds dreadfully pretentious!) it became easier to spot the starting point of a story.

My family saga FROM THE OCEAN TO THE OUTBACK, which will be published at the end of the year, began with this necklace.

Republis of You

 

 

JAZZ BABY, the first of my 1920s stories to be published in October, began with a trip to a wine bar in Sydney right in the middle of the back streets where the Razor Gangs ruled between the two world wars.

photo 3

 

 

The well-known meme I came across while I was sitting in a café in the local town called The Queen of Tarts combined to set PASSIONFRUIT & POETRY in motion.

Passionfruit & Poetry small

 

(PS That’s my daughter!)

 

And MATILDA’S FREEDOM and LILY’S LEAP (releasing July 2014) belong to Wollombi, the village where I live, my historical muse, the local museum and the surrounding countryside … there’s a very old winding road built in 1826 that runs through Wollombi and nastiest bend is called Ramsey’s Leap  – rumor has it that a convict leapt over the side in an attempt to escape. As I stood gazing over the culvert I couldn’t help wondering what if ….

ramsays_leap

 

What a strange collection of snippets! If I haven’t bored you to death my Pinterest Boards tell more of the stories behind my stories. Drop by if you have some time to kill.

Tea’s Pinterest Boards

Where does your inspiration come from?

Do the ancient Gods smile on you?

* * * * * * * *

Many thanks to Tea for sharing her thoughts and inspirations! You can find here at her website: Tea Cooper Author. You can also follow her on Twitter @TeaCooper1

About Tea: Téa Cooper lives in a stone cottage on one hundred acres of bushland, in the Hunter Valley. When she isn’t writing, Téa can be found haunting the local museum or chatting to the locals, who provide her with a never-ending source of inspiration. The settings for her stories range from the glittering beachside city of Sydney to small country towns and the harsh outback. 

  WANT A CHANCE TO WIN?

There is a Giveaway currently running on Goodreads for a print copy of TREE CHANGE and THE PROTEA BOYS. You can find details on Tea’s page at Goodreads.

Tea Cooper Author – Goodreads

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Writing the Story of Your Life

Everyone needs a little inspiration from time to time. As a writer, I sometimes joke about inspiration, as in this E-Card I created:

Inspiration by Noon

Of course, as a writer, I actually know better than to sit around waiting for inspiration. I’ve learned to create my own.

We live in a world of inspiration. We have only to look at the beauty around us to find moments of breath-taking wonder and awe. We can draw inspiration, too, from the words of others — words of love, encouragement, strength, and determination.

Each day, I come to my little writing room, I sit down, and I tell stories. I write about people who’ve come into my head, about their lives, their struggles, their dreams, and ultimately, their triumphs and happy endings. They are imaginary people, yet they’ve become my friends. They’ve whispered in my ear, sharing the stories of their lives and loves.

In many ways, each of us is an author. You might not write fiction, but you are writing a story — the story of your life.  With that idea in mind, I began browsing a bit.

I found this inspiring thought:

 

These are powerful words to remember. It’s up to us to create the life we wish to lead, up to us to develop our character, discover our strengths, and find the healing power of love. We can’t allow others to take control, to determine how our story ends.

Many of the ideas and principles I use in writing romance novels can apply as well to the art of writing our own life story.

All  stories begin with characters.  In fiction, good characters are imperfect; they have flaws. Yet they also possess a fundamental goodness. They make mistakes, but they do know the difference between right and wrong. They may be reluctant to reach out, but still, they do care about others.

In fiction, it’s important for an author to fully develop the main character. This means finding those flaws, helping the character acknowledge his or her weaknesses, and most of all, guiding the character through a process of transformation. Character development means finding strengths, too, and showing the character how to draw upon them, how to find courage and faith, how to love, and how to trust.

Often in writing a story, I find myself getting tangled up in lots of clever little sub-plots. At least, that’s how they first appear. Later, I realize they’re not so clever after all. They’ve taken the focus of the story away from what’s really important. They’ve created unnecessary complications for my main character. They’ve led me — and my characters –down pathways that go nowhere. There’s nothing of value to be found at the end.

In our own lives, we also get tangled up in awkward situations, wrapped up in worries that don’t rightly belong to us, and caught up in other people’s drama. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be there to support our friends and family during troubling times. I am saying that we need to maintain the proper perspective and draw lines when needed. Allowing ourselves to be swallowed up in another’s misery isn’t helping anybody. Not them. Not us.

Often, I submit scenes or chapters of stories I’m working on to the IWW — the Internet Writing Workshop — for critiques from other members. In return I read their submissions and offer my thoughts. We all like to think our prose is thrilling, our stories exciting, and our style so enthralling that readers will be unable to put down our book. As we’re writing, that’s how it feels. Thrilling. Exciting. Absolutely enthralling. But, it’s not.  I’ve written my share of dull, boring scenes. It’s important to catch them, revise them, or take them out of the story altogether. I think it was Sam Clemens who once said:

Writing is life…with the dull parts taken out.

Take out the dull parts in your life story. Life is short, and each day is precious. Make the most of every moment. 

Remember, too, that your life story will include conflicts and complications. In the tales I tell, my characters must encounter opposition. It’s how they grow, how they learn, how they discover the best within themselves. In the same way, each of us can learn from our past experiences and create a better future.

 

Much of my story-planning involves finding the way to happiness for my characters. I don’t like to begin writing until I know how the story will end. Love stories — at least, the old-fashioned variety that I write — always have happy endings. No matter how difficult the struggles, how far the characters have had to journey, how hard they’ve had to fight, they will find a way to triumph in the end.

Their happiness, however, isn’t a matter of chance. Over the course of the story, they’ve learned lessons about life, they’ve opened themselves up to love and to be loved, they’ve made difficult choices, and they have proved that they deserve their happy ending.

In the same way, you can find happiness. You can begin today to give and receive more love, to make the right choices, to demonstrate your own self worth. You do deserve your happy ending.

Faith often plays a role, as well. In romantic fiction, it’s not really the hero who saves the heroine, or, when the situation is reversed, the brave heroine who rescues who hero. Oh, that may happen in the story, but even when it does, the hero and heroine — together — usually find themselves facing a bleak, black moment. It’s the point at which all appears lost.

But miracles happen. As often as not in romantic fiction, divine intervention saves the day. Hearts are changed. Old feuds are forgotten. Forgiveness is granted.

Life is filled with opportunities for little miracles. Develop a strong faith, find the power you believe in, and expect good things to happen. Do all you can, and when you find yourself facing those dark nights when despair sets in, draw upon that faith. Expect a miracle.

Remember, too, that heroes and heroines in love stories are filled with doubts. When responsibilities are thrust upon them, they don’t often feel adequate to the task. They worry about failing, about letting others down. They’re painfully aware of their weaknesses, and they fear that others are better, stronger, wiser, and far more capable.

We all have doubts. But love is a powerful force. Find it, give it to others, share it with the world.

Write your own love story and create a happy ending.

A Season of Thanks

As we come to the start of November, our thoughts turn from witches and ghosts and falling leaves, to gray days, dark nights, and maybe even the first snowfall of the season. We turn, too, to a season of thanksgiving, a time for sharing, a time for caring, a time for love.

I’d like to open this Thanksgiving season by expressing my appreciation to the many romance authors who’ve taken time from their busy schedules to share personal reflections on the autumn season or to give us a fright or two for Halloween.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about D’Ann Lindun’s childhood in Colorado, and V L Locey’s goat-herding experiences! Nikki Lynn Barrett and Krista Ames wrote about falling in love, and Deryn Pittar added her own very unique perspective to the season.  Flossie Benton Rogers put a supernatural spin on things, and Charlene Roberts gave us a fright! Tricia Andersen added Halloween treats, while Gemma Juliana gave us a chance to stop and think about how we like our Halloween.

While reading posts from these great authors, I learned that Ashley Nemer grew up in Kansas, discovered that Judy Baker and her husband take an autumn bike ride each year, and learned about almond harvesting from Janice Seagraves.

Cindy Christiansen gave us an inspiring look at home and family, and Rose Anderson shared her little game of “Can You Stand It?” Lena Hart shared personal reflections along with a cup of hot cocoa, and Barbara Edwards took us to the Rhodes End for a spooky All Hallow’s Eve.

For a change of pace, debut author Giaconda Lyss wrote about overcoming fear and taking risks — an important message for any time of the year.

Ladies, I thank each of  you for your contributions.

In coming weeks, the focus at Time for Love will be on gratitude and Thanksgiving. Please visit often! My hope is that the thoughts and reflections you find here will inspire you to reach out to others to share your own love, gratitude, and thanksgiving.

Best Wishes for this Season of Thanksgiving