Book Review: Lazy Creativity: The Art of Owning Your Creativity

I received a free copy of this book for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Book Summary

Lazy Creativity is a guide to owning your creativity in a way that works for you. creativity is incredibly important and is something most of us want more of in our lives but struggle to make room for. We have limited amounts of time, energy, and resources, so we have to work with what we have. Lazy Creativity is a guide to owning, growing, and loving your own creativity, no matter what that looks like – it’s creativity that meets you where you’re at. Whether you’re a creative person with a current practice, are “new” to creativity, or are somewhere in-between, this book will guide you through the creative process from the (literal or figurative) first mark to the next idea while addressing all the ups and downs in-between on the way to finding (or building) your Lazy Creativity.

Review

I wasn’t sure what to expect coming into this book. A lot of self-help books are preachy and almost make you feel like the author is talking down to you. Not this one. The author does a phenomenal job of making the reader feel engaged and the writing relatable. The writing was light, with hints of humor mixed in that makes it feel like they wrote this book just for you.

The ideas in this book are real and actionable with the author’s own personal experiences illustrating how they have applied it to their everyday life. I enjoyed the layout of the book with the short, yet concise chapters that made reading enjoyable and relatable.

This book had me hooked from the beginning. I believe it is one that everyone can benefit from. Whether you are creative, looking to be creative, or not creative at all, we can all benefit from the lessons in this book. This book will be kept on my shelf for a long time and used as a point of reference for the moments in my life where my creativity is struggling.

Rating

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Why I’m Open About my Mental Illness

I can’t tell you how many times I have received a private message on social media from someone saying “I wish I had the confidence to openly talk about my mental illness like you do.” And while it makes me smile because I feel like I’m making a difference, it also makes me frown because I remember the stigma society has placed on mental illness.

It’s almost like mental illness is a taboo topic, one that people are afraid to talk about. Just because I have a mental illness doesn’t mean I’m a bad person. I’m a good person, and the vast majority of those suffering from a mental illness are good people. Society just chooses to see them in another light.

That’s why I’m so open about who I am and the struggles I’ve gone through. I want to help the world see that you can be successful with mental illness, you can be a good person with mental illness. Mental illness doesn’t define who I am, it’s just a small part of what makes us so unique.

We all have quirks and things that make us who we are, and my mental illness is one of those things. I’m proud of who I am, and I’m proud of the experiences I’ve gone through. They haven’t always been easy, but there’s always been a lesson to be learned.

I want to show those who struggle with their mental illness that there is hope. That your illness won’t stop you from winning. I want to inspire them to want to do and be more. Because nobody should feel ashamed of their illness.

I want to help educate the uneducated. And I don’t say that in a derogatory way, sometimes it truly isn’t a person’s fault that they didn’t understand something. We’re raised and molded as we grow to believe a certain thing. Many people have never stopped to think why are people with mental illness taboo?

The conversation has to start somewhere. I intend to start that conversation wherever and whenever I can. The more people I can reach and the more people that hear my message, the more change we can see in the world.

I’ve lived my life by the mantra ‘If I make one person smile or laugh a day, I’ve had a good day.’ I want to help people and see them smile. I want to make a difference and create a better future for my kids one day because, let’s be honest, the chances of my kids having a mental illness are high.

Author Interview: S.L. Hollister

Tell me about yourself

People have asked me why I don’t write about my adventures raising six sons. I have to admit that I prefer to write their stories as fiction because no one would believe the stuff they put me through if I tell it as fact. In fiction I can clean my boys up a little when I like them and make them the heroes of my stories and if they’ve pissed me off, I can make them the villains. It’s been a running joke around our house that mom will put you in her book and kill you off on page fifty, but some know they’re the smelly corpse discovered in the ditch at the very beginning of the story. Heck, it’s not even a threat anymore my grandkids are begging to be put in my books and even telling me how I can kill them off. I mean really, where’s the threat in that? We put the fun in dysfunctional, what can I say? I have long conversations with my children and grandchildren about blowing things up and how to get rid of bodies. The holidays are never boring around our house.

My mini bio: only child, married to my romantic hero for 30 years, raised six sons, have 21 grandchildren, published 7 (just finished number 8) books. Oh, and I’m the chairperson for the Pamlico Writers’ Group because no one else wanted it. That’s me in the nut shells. What else would you like to know. The color of my underwear is blue, I have pink nail polish on and no, I don’t color my hair unless it’s blue or pink or purple…


What inspired you to write?

My granddaddy and my dad were both awesome story tellers. I loved listening to their stories. As I got older, I began crafting my own.

What is your favorite genre to read?

I like to read anything with a little suspense or adventure but my favorite genre is historical romance.

To write?

My favorite genre to write, that’s a little more difficult. I dream of writing historical romantic suspense and romantic comedies but I’m enjoying writing my contemporary romantic suspense series.

What is your favorite piece of work you’ve written?

That is like trying to choose your favorite child. I have several favorites for different reasons but I think my most challenging and therefore my favorite, is a novella I wrote called “Only in My Dreams.” A World War 2 love story of a nurse and flyboy. 

How do you handle good and bad reviews of your work?

Oh boy, reviews. So far most of my reviews haven’t been too bad. I haven’t had very many, but it is difficult not to take them to heart. We can tell ourselves that it’s part of the process and we need to become thick skinned but in truth we want people to like our work, admire us and it’s difficult not to confuse our worth and our work.

What is your favorite part about writing?

I love writing! I love creating characters and watching them come to life. I know that sounds wacky to anyone who isn’t a writer but I’m a pantser so I write in layers. I write the first part as bare bones then add more details. The same with the plot, I love watching the story develop and grow into a finished product.

Least favorite?

Emotions, I get too involved in what I’m writing and can end up in a blue funk. I find myself skirting the emotional stuff so I don’t have to deal with the personal fallout but I know that the book is better when I bleed a little. 

What social media site has been the most beneficial for your writing?

I have found a hive on Twitter, where we met and another on Facebook, The New Romance Cafe, I also feel there are connections on Instagram but they are more individual writers, not necessarily part of a group.

What does the future hold for you?

No one knows the future but I am working on a long series, The Harrell Family Chronicles and I hope to start working on a historical series I’ve had in mind for several years.

Any advice you would like to give other authors?

Don’t give up. It may be daunting, seeing so many authors out Just keep writing and learning. Read everything. One of the greatest things to me is YouTube videos. You can find a video to help you learn anything from how to get started writing to how to format and even how to market your books. Listen to different ones in various genres, don’t think you have to do what they all say, but pick and choose what works for you.

Anything you would like to add?

We all battle our own version of the imposter syndrome. Fighting the battle within ourselves, the doubts and fears that come with being a creative and putting our work in front of people who may or may not like it… it’s not easy. If it was easy, everyone could do it. The difference between being a success and a failure is one more try. Keep putting yourself out there, keep putting your work out there, each time you don’t quit, you’ve succeeded. 

Social media, website, etc. links

Book Review: Chrome Pink (The Leeward Files Volume 1)

Book Summary

She has hope tattooed on her leg but carries the scars of self-destruction deep inside her soul. Rae Lynne Grimes is a survivor. A fighter. Set in the small fictional town of Leeward, North Carolina on the inner banks of the Atlantic Ocean, this suspense thriller brings rape survivor Rae Lynne Grimes face to face with her rapist who is now the town’s mayor.

Todd Bryant treats the town like his own private kingdom. Rae Lynne is grieving and trying to stay sober, just try to finish the restoration of the pink Harley she’s rebuilding for her best friend’s breast cancer fundraiser, so she gets the hell out of town. But she’s not leaving fast enough to suit someone. When the threats turn to murder, Rae becomes a suspect. She must put her trust in a man working for her greatest enemy or find herself at the mercy of a killer.

Logan Birdsong doesn’t have time to fall in love, he has a company to save. When it comes down to love or money, which will win out?

Review

Sometimes you read a book, and it lends you an honest truth. Chrome Pink by SL Hollister is one of those books that rips you into the pages. You yearn to read more about Rae, instantly feeling connected to her from the beginning. She gives a realistic look at a flawed character but flawed in just the right way.

Whether it was her rebellious nature or her decision to attend AA, Rae was a painfully genuine character. As you follow along with the story, you feel closer and closer to Rae and the other characters as they develop.

Hollister does an outstanding job delving into each of her characters and opening them up for the reader to see. From Rae to Billy to Todd to Logan, you slowly begin to understand each character more and more with every flip of the page.

The plot moves at a good pace. Just when things start to slow down, Hollister ramps the excitement and heat back up. She does an excellent job building up the story, allowing the reader to develop their own ideas and theories about the “who done it” aspect.

This story has an ideal amount of action, adventure, and romance with spots heating up in each of those areas. The writing is well-done and fluid, flowing well from page to page.

This was a well-written story with an amazing and creative storyline and developed characters. This was Hollister’s first published work, but I’m already looking forward to digging into the rest of the Leeward Files volumes.

Rating

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

How to Warm Those Cold Thoughts

We all have moments where our thoughts turn colder than an arctic winter. The constant self-doubt that plagues our thoughts and the nagging voice in your head that tells you that you aren’t good enough. The thoughts that send chills down your spine and intrude on the good ones.

One thing that I’ve turned to in order to warm up those cold thoughts was a wax warmer. Smells have always been one of my biggest soothers. A nice, calm, relaxing smell will typically put my mind at ease.

The smells transport my thoughts to something different. The smell of Beach Air brings me to a yellow beach with crystal clear waters as far as the eye can see. Calming waves slap against the shore, leaving white outlines in their wake.

The smell of Forest transports me to a cabin in the woods. Birds chirp around me as a stray deer feeds in the distance. The aroma of fresh morning dew resting on the leaves of the tall trees.

Lavender is one of my all-time favorites, though. Folk medicine circles have often touted lavender as being a natural aid for anxiety and depression. There have even been studies done on a certain kind of alcohol found in lavender and other flowers that resulted in a reduction in anxiety in mice.

Anyway.

There are so many scents to choose from that can transport you to countless places. Our senses are some of our most powerful tools, and using them to help soothe our cold thoughts is a valuable thing to know how to do.

So when you have your wax warmer plugged in and you’ve picked the destination scent you want to travel to, now what? Turn the lights out and allow the dim light from the wax warmer to warm the room.

Lay down and close your eyes. Focus on the place you want to go. Imagine every detail of the forest, from different creatures scurrying through the brush to the smells of a wood-burning fireplace and hot coffee. Take a deep breath in and hold it. One. Two. Three. Exhale.

Repeat that until your body becomes enveloped in the smells. You’ll feel weightless as the weight is lifted off of you. Hold on to that place for as long as you can, following the breathing process.

I have a goal of owning a cabin in the woods one day, so often my smells are forestry or calming smells. I transport myself to watching the morning sunrise and paint the fog orange. The tips of mountains around me come to life as birds wake up and begin singing.

I’m sitting there with my wife, drinking coffee on our porch overlooking the surrounding mountains. The smell of the coffee often materializes in between the smells of Grey Mist. I have a wonderful book in my lap, one of my books.

That’s where I choose to go when I need an escape from reality. It’s my calm place, the place that can warm those cold thoughts. It gives me hope.

Hope for a better future.

Book Review: Skyrocket Your Career: The No Bullsh*t Approach to Find Your Dream Job, Be Successful in It, and Transform into a Rockstar

I received a free copy of this book for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Book Summary

It’s Monday morning, and you wake up at 6 AM; you didn’t even have your first cup of coffee, and you already feel the whole week is going to be a disaster. You know you have to go to a job you hate and endure 40 hours of torture. You are doubtful whether you will make it through another week, and yet you are stuck in this hamster wheel. Is this how you want to live the rest of your life? Are you tired of being unfulfilled, and you know you want more? It is time for a change; it is time to Skyrocket Your Career.


In this book, Raj Subrameyer shares his real-life experiences living through these nightmares and making a dramatic transformation. Coming to a foreign land as an immigrant during the 2008 recession, he applied for 1293 jobs and got one job out of it. After many failures, he learned different strategies to convert his minimal-paying job into a six-figure business. Through this book Raj reveals his practical strategies to find your dream job, be massively successful in it, and uncover your rockstar potential, setting you miles apart from your competition. Using the tips, tricks, and tools discussed in this book, you can launch yourself into each opportunity and blast off with courage and confidence.

Review

I started reading this book not because I was interested in changing careers, but because I’ve been in the mood for honest, truthful, and real self-help books. After all, we can always work on becoming our best selves. The title of the book attracted me to it initially. I liked the realness it portrayed. The author’s authenticity, ruggedness, and knowledge shine through in his writing.

This book isn’t just for finding your next job, this book can be used and applied to all aspects of our life. With the real-life examples the author gives us and the honest dialogue he has with you as the reader, the book hooks you in. It motivates you and pushes you, inspiring you to want to do more and become better.

Now if you are looking for a new job or are just embarking on your career search, I even more highly recommend this book. The advice and exercises provided throughout the book are real and practical solutions to increasing your chances of finding a job. Not only that, but the author provides examples of how they have used these very same strategies to advance their career and move in the direction they are currently headed.

Overall, this book inspired me. I even took the advice of some of the suggestions on becoming a rockstar in my field. I got inspired to revamp my LinkedIn profile and use it more. It felt like I WAS made for more. When I closed this book, I felt empowered.

Rating

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Author Interview: Kelsey Anne Lovelady

Let me start by saying Kelsey is an amazing individual. I have known her for the last year and a half. We met during the Darkened Veil Universe project where I voiced the Cretan Creature Minotauros and she voiced the Witch of Camelot Morgan Le Fey. Our characters wound up married and Kelsey and I became really close friends. I’m excited and honored for her to be my first ever author interview.

Tell me about yourself

By day, I work in customer service for an insurance company. In 2018, I got my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre Performance from the University of Wyoming. I love dogs, reading, crystals, tea, and Dungeons and Dragons.

What inspired you to write?

Tamora Pierce, ultimately. I started reading her books in middle school, and that’s what got me to love reading. And from a love of reading, a love of writing naturally evolved.

What is your favorite genre to read?

Sci-Fi/Fantasy

To write?

Same, though I want to dabble in many genres.

What is your favorite piece of work you’ve written?

That would be my current work-in-progres, Indifferent. It’s like nothing I’ve written before and something I never thought I was going to write, but it has played a major part of my life now and I am excited to share it with the world.

How do you handle good and bad reviews of your work?

Frankly, I don’t read reviews. The reviews are for the readers. I get my feedback during the Critique Partner and Beta-Reader phases. I have someone send me good reviews to add to my motivation folder, but other than that, I don’t look at the reviews that weren’t from the ARCs.

What is your favorite part about writing?

Probably brainstorming. It is such an endorphin rush to come up with an idea and start fleshing out the ideas for characters, setting, world, and plot.

Least favorite?

Trying to find the right words. You wouldn’t think it would be so hard.

What social media site has been the most beneficial for your writing?

Pinterest. I love being able to visualize certain parts of my novels, and Pinterest really helps with that.

What does the future hold for you?

Right now I’m working on moving into my new apartment. I am also writing for Rewritten Realms online magazines, In The Pantheon and In The Crescent. And when I’m not at work, I’m going to be editing my novel Indifferent and preparing it for beta-readers.

Any advice you would like to give other authors?

If you are considering becoming a writer because you think you’re going to make your fortune that way, you are not going to succeed. People who can make a living off of their writing are the blessed few, and if money is your only motivation, you are not gonna finish that first draft. Because this shit is HARD.

Anything you would like to add?

Never wrong a writer. They get their revenge in print.

Social media, website, etc. links

TikTok: KelseyAnneLovelady

What is “Tea, But With Coffee”?

Ah, the mighty question: what is the meaning behind the name? You may be thinking that I have eccentric tastes and like to mix a little Earl Grey with my Cafe Bustelo. Alas, that is not the case. Though, I do still plan on trying that one day just for shits and giggles.

No, it’s more simplistic than that. It’s a play on my actual name. Tea (like ‘T’) for Tyler, the ‘b’ in But for Bruce, and With Coffee sounds loosely like Wittkofsky. With Coffee came first way back in high school. Obviously, nobody could say my last name, so I was mounted with a multitude of pronunciations. Witt-Kiff-Ski, Witt, Waffles, Mike Wazowski, Whiskey, and my favorite With Coffee.

It just kind of stuck with me. I was an avid coffee drinker, preferring mine in a five-gallon bucket, black. As I started getting onto the newer social media sites at the time, I had to come up with handles. I wanted something catchy that didn’t give away too much of my identity. With Coffee was often taken, so I added the “T” in most of my social handles. From that sparked an online alias of “Tea, But With Coffee”.

Who am I? I am an award-winning multi-genre author, poet, and mental health advocate from Leland, North Carolina. I graduated from South Brunswick High School and went on to receive his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

So what can you expect to find on my site? That’s the beauty of it, you’ll get to see the inner workings of my mind. Writing updates and tips and tricks, mental health articles, book reviews, and author interviews. I’m sure my content will broaden as time goes on because just like any person with a good ol’ mental illness my mind runs on fifty different tracks at a time.

I’m looking forward to what the future holds for me with this site. It’s an exciting new journey, and I’m glad you’re here to take it with me. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter HERE and receive a free download of my first published work, “(Not) Alone”.