Guest Post

HAVE A BOOK TO PROMOTE? Lyrical Pens welcomes guest posts. Answer a questionnaire or create your own post. FYI, up front: This site is a definite PG-13. For details, contact cj

Friday, January 24, 2014

cj's week

TGIF. When I was “gainfully” employed, that was a favorite expression of people at work. I guess I was a bit of a Friday freak because TGIF was not my favorite expression.

Don’t get me wrong. I was happy to be out of the office, but my weekends passed like whirlwinds. As a single mother, my weekends were filled to capacity with things that needed to be done around the house or with family or kids’ ballgames or grocery shopping, ad infinitum. I had to race to complete my to-do list in two days because my weekday evenings were tied up with college classes and homework.

I’m no longer in a company environment, yet I find that the habit has stayed with me. Instead of college classes and homework, I fill my weekdays and nights with gardening and writing. I can spend hours pulling weeds or working on the dialogue of a single paragraph. I can spend days and days on Internet research (of course, that “might’ include a game or two of Solitaire while I conjure a plot point or character flaw). It seems I am still racing through whirlwind weekends to get a to-do list completed. (Sigh) Maybe I’ll see you at the grocery store tomorrow.

I think I need a refresher class in time management.

Here’s hoping you’re doing better than I am.

Okay, you-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Welcome Wednesday: Kelly L. Stone

Lyrical Pens kicks off our new Welcome Wednesday series for guest posters with energetic writer, counselor, runner, and dog lover, Kelly L. Stone. We are delighted to have Kelly back this year.  

 Her online class, No Matter How Busy You Are, You Can Find Time to Write, begins Monday, January 27, 2013. To register or for more information,

  Kelly is the author of the popular TIME TO WRITE series:

  Time to Write: No Excuses, No Distractions, No More Blank Pages
Thinking Write: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind
Living Write: The Secret to Bringing Your Craft Into Your Daily Life. 

Why Do You Write? Honoring Your Writer Self-Image  

Answer this question: Why do you write?

Whatever your answer is, whether it’s to achieve a lifelong dream of seeing your novel on a store bookshelf, to pen your family’s memoirs, or for the simple pleasure of capturing an experience on paper, your answer to ‘why do I write?’ is what I call your Burning Desire to Write. It’s the sense of fulfillment you derive from writing. It’s that ants-in-the-pants feeling you get when you don’t write. It’s the deep abiding need that only the act of writing will satisfy. It’s what makes you a writer, because writers can’t not write.

Your Burning Desire to Write is also a manifestation of your self-image, or your self-esteem. When you feel good about yourself, you do things on a regular basis, like writing, that reinforce those positive feelings. Even thirty minutes a day spent working toward a goal has been shown to elevate a person’s general sense of well-being.

Your self-image as it relates to your writing goals, your answer to “why” you write, also gives you a reason to pursue those goals. It doesn’t have to be a lofty reason. Many people write because it brings a solace that nothing else can. Bestselling author CJ Lyons began writing her medical thrillers out of despair when a fellow intern and close friend was murdered. I write because working every day toward my goals adds value to my life. I feel like I’m living up to something, and that makes me feel good. Writing helps me understand life and all that living entails: happiness, joy, grief, and loss.

Honoring your “why” is the best way to nourish your writer self-image and your Burning Desire to Write; it’s a good way to stick to your goals and keep up the self-fulfillment that writing provides. Try the exercise below to honor your writer self-image.

Exercise: Nourish Your "Why"

Read through the exercise once, then practice.

Find a comfortable place to sit where you won't be disturbed for about 30 minutes. Have a pen and a notepad with you, or a journal, or if you prefer to type a blank page open in your Word files.

Close your eyes and begin to notice your breath. Don't force your breathing, simply watch it.

Next begin relaxing the major muscle groups in your body. Start with your feet, and imagine that they feel heavy and warm. Then move that heavy warm feeling to your legs, your stomach, your chest, your arms and shoulders, then your back, and end with your head and neck. Between each major muscle group, return to watching your breath for several inhalations.

When you're done relaxing all the muscle groups sit quietly for a few minutes and enjoy the relaxation.

Then turn your focus to this question: why do I write? Allow whatever comes up to rise into your awareness. Keep focusing on the question: why do I write? Notice thoughts, sensations in the body, emotions that arise and pass. Whatever comes, let it rise and pass, like waves on the ocean.

After a few minutes, open your eyes and begin to write about what you experienced in this relaxed state while asking yourself, why do I write? Note down the emotional reasons that came to you; perhaps writing makes you feel good about yourself, or it leaves you with a fulfilled feeling.

Next write about why all these reasons make you a writer? What does this say about who you are as a writer? Give some thought to your writer self-image, and note down all your thoughts and feelings.

When you feel done, get up and stretch, or have a cup of tea, or go for a walk. Allow some time to pass. Then go back and read what you wrote.

Hone in on what makes you tick as writer. That's where your heart is, where your writer self-image comes from; it’s also your Burning Desire to Write. That's what will keep you going on your writing journey.


Be sure and sign up for Kelly's exciting online class that starts January 27, 2014.  And give Kelly some feedback in the comment section about her post and if the exercise works to help you find your inner scribe.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Secret Santa Contest Winner

Congratulations to Lydia Christian, the Secret Santa Contest winner. What an imaginative story! Lydia is a junior at the University of South Alabama, pursing dual majors in foreign language and fine art. She has loved to read and write since she was old enough to string together her first sentence. Lydia is currently working on her first book in the quiet moments she can squeeze into her very hectic life. She hopes to have it completed in 2015. We wish her well.

 All in the Family

Eleven days of anonymous gifts never prepared me for the twelfth day. I still don’t know if I believe it or not. It seems too fabricated to be true. It was uncharacteristic of my mom, although I would definitely believe it of my mother-in-law, Cynthia.
            The pictures clipped to a note demanding $25,000 showed two women kicking a homeless man. The second photo was of them running away with the man’s shopping cart of belongings. It wasn’t unbelievable simply because it was my mother, but also because both women are in their sixties. Two older women shouldn’t be able to overpower a young man––even if he was malnourished from years of living in the streets.
            My mother was a minister’s wife since before I was born. Growing up, I watched her sing and pray in church every Wednesday and twice on Sunday. She’s worn out more Bibles than most people wear out shoes. If she was truly involved in something nefarious, it must be the influence of Cynthia.
            My father died five years ago, and my mom has been living with my husband and me since then. She immediately became best friends with Cynthia, and they’ve been inseparable ever  since. Cynthia and I have never gotten along. She babies my husband as though he was five years old. Our relationship is a stereotypical power struggle between two women for the heart of a man.
            I’m sitting at the table, staring in silence when my husband, Billy, walks in. Billy takes one look at me and knows that I need his attention. Always the one to shirk responsibility, he chooses to pretend he doesn’t notice.
            “Billy. Seriously. I’m sitting right here, and I know you noticed me.” I try not to sound too angry.
            “Long day. Wasn’t ready for whatever this is.” He pops open a soda and begins taking off his police gear.
            I shove the photos in his face and watch confusion flit across his porcelain skin. That man is just as beautiful as the day I first saw him. His beauty enables me to forgive his otherwise Neanderthal ways.
            “What the hell?” He mumbles in his thick Southern accent.
            I explain the situation, and Billy slams his fist into the wall. “This is the fifth time I’ve had to pay for my mother’s obsession! This time, she’s on her own!”
            This is the first time I’ve heard him mention anything like this. Talk about family secrets!

Be sure and let Lydia know what you thought of this short piece by commenting below.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Year: New Ideas

cj and I have exciting surprises!

  • wonderful posts on and for writers 
  • wonderful guests who will share their take on the art of writing
  • wonderful new contests planned
We hope you will join us as we celebrate writing throughout 2014!

 Mysterious Mondays, we talk about what else? Mysteries. A few examples include:
  1. what separates one kind from another
  2. building tension without revealing too much
  3. using the five senses to take readers into the scene
  4. our favorite mystery authors and why
  5. and much more to keep mystery authors on their toes.

Scrivener Saturdays include just about anything on the art of writing.
  1. excerpts from our published work and some WIPs
  2. networking with other writers
  3. building author platforms
  4. freelancing.................and on and on it goes.
 Welcome Wednesdays will bring you guests – some returns and some new. Stay tuned.

Check out the wide variety of contests and requests for submissions.

Contact us if you would like to do a guest post and promote your work. We'll send your our guidelines - plan to post these in the very near future. I promise!

Look over my 3-Part Series on setting obtainable goals and objectives and keeping track of what you’re doing in writing. (check December 2013 archives for info)

Sign up for a new class in Barefoot Writing Academy with new dates and times and fees.

And maybe I'll find time to learn how to space things the way I want them.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year Y'all Guys

I can’t claim credit for anything except copying this jpeg off of my Facebook page (hope that’s not illegal).

I figure it’s the one resolution this writer hopes to keep for 2014. It definitely fits the S.M.A.R.T. way of making resolutions (which also came from an online site).  S.M.A.R.T. is defined as . . .
Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time-Specific.  Yep, I like it.

Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy 2014. 

You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.


P.S. Mahala is so much more organized than I am. Her resolutions (see below) are very, very SMART.