Random Takes: Play on Words

I found a slip of paper at the back of my mom and dad’s address book. At first I thought it was just a list of medical words that my mom had written down until I looked closer. I had to laugh. Here’s part of the list:

Artery:  The study of a painting

              Bacteria: The back door of a cafeteria

              Barium: What the doctor’s say when the patient dies

              Cauterize: Made eye contact with her

              Dilate: To live longer

              Rectum: Dang near killed him

              Morbid: A higher offer

Hopefully this adds a smile to your day.

Beth M James – Author of novels based on strong characters and elements of romance. http://www.bethmjames.com

Writing: Story Idea

The first step to writing a novel (surprise!) is needing to have an idea for a story. Ideas can pop up at any time. It could be a name you heard, a photo that strikes you, a conversation you had, an event in your life, or something totally out of the blue. Whenever an idea comes to me, whether it’s an entire story, a scene, or a few sentences, I write it down and file it in a folder.


Last month, I opened my folder of ideas and read all of them. For those that had potential, I placed them in different piles on my office floor, being able to group some of them together. For those I would never expand on (bad, bad, bad ideas), I threw them away. After my review, I had three stories at the top of my list. I’ll call them Rock Life, Just Cancel, and The Orb Lady. I took a few days to think about each one, mulling over different ways to twist the stories. Rock Life was eliminated right away. I love the idea of writing about a rock star, but the other two stuck with me. I went back and forth with Just Cancel (dealing with family crisis) and The Orb Lady (ghostly events) unable to decide which one to write first. Both grew on me. I pitched the ideas to a few people and it seemed The Orb Lady intrigued people more. Yet, I still can’t decide. Maybe…just maybe…I’ll work on both.

Next up…characters.

Beth M James – Author of novels based on strong characters and elements of romance. http://www.bethmjames.com

Lessons Learned: Having Faith to Move Forward

There are times when you need to move forward but you’re not sure if you can. Fear takes over. You don’t know what will happen or if you’re making the right decision. The downside to keeping it safe and not taking the next step is that you’ll stay in a cocoon and keep from growing as a person.

It’s easy to stifle your inner being and keep from exploring those new things or a new way of life. One of my downfalls is that I over analyze when making decisions. For other people is the excuses, being negative or procrastinate as they come up with reasons why they can’t move forward. Sometimes it’s hard to make a change because it involves others. Most times it’s not them blocking your path but yourself. Determine what it is that you want to do.


Like me, you’ll need to have faith for that next step and know that it’ll be okay. Life will always throw you obstacles but that’s no matter where you’ve been or where you’re going. You learn to go around the obstacles and find new paths or solutions. Sometimes those detours are needed to help you find a better path and ultimately the one you should be on.

Go with what your heart wants to do. Have faith, keep your chin up, and move forward.

Beth M James – Author of novels based on strong characters and elements of romance. http://www.bethmjames.com

Lessons Learned: Born with Potential

Everyone is born with potential. The goal is to bring it out from inside you.

Pen and Paper

For me, I love writing stories. When I decided to write a novel, I realized that I had a lot to learn about writing. I also discovered there was a lot more to being an author than just writing (e.g., publishing, marketing, social media, etc.). I didn’t let the work overwhelm me to the point where I gave up.

What did I do? I took the time to improve my skills. I attended classes, I listened to peers, and I did my research. I knew I had the potential to write the story, I learned how to write it, and I realized my goal. Gitana – Life Plan came out in 2013. Kirkus Review gave it a great review. I was ecstatic! And I’m still going strong.

What about you? What do you see yourself having the potential of doing? Learn a new craft? Helping others? Whatever it is, now is a good time to start.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year 2020

Here’s to the previous year. Reflect on what occurred. Take away lessons learned.

Here’s to the next. Improve your well-being. Be kind to others. Enjoy nature. Be mindful. Simplify.

Beth M James – Author of novels based on strong characters and elements of romancehttp://www.bethmjames.com

Merry Christmas

Xmas Tree

Cherish the moments of Christmas …

Spend time with family and friends

Keep those you miss in your heart

Help those who need your support

And let the spirit of the day bring you joy.

Merry Christmas!

Beth M James

Author of novels based on strong characters and elements of romance.


Random Takes: Snow versus Heat

Today the temperature dropped in Minnesota/Wisconsin, and it’s heading to below zero temps—the first of the season. If winter stayed in the teens or in the twenties (Fahrenheit) I’d be happy. Unfortunately, here in the Midwest, the weather can easily drop way below zero. I’m not a big fan of having to go out in subzero weather, especially when the wind gusts and freezes your skin or when your clothes turn stiff and can stand on their own. But could I live in the south? A sunny Florida beach? I love vacationing there for a week or two, but I know I’d miss winter. There’s nothing like fresh, crisp air on a winter’s day to wake your senses and make you feel alive. Even freezing cold days are tolerable, knowing that there will be a few days of sun, no wind, and bright snow to enjoy.

So, what would you prefer? Cold or Heat?

Lesson Learned: Stress and Taking a Break

I went through a pretty stressful time this fall, especially in September with deadlines that I had at my fulltime job. I had to push my “author” work aside. I missed the deadline for getting my fifth novel “Peaceful Plots” published by the first week in October. Even with easing up on my work, I was in the emergency room due to stress.


Knowing that I had to slow down, I readjusted my priorities. Work came first since that paid the bills. Second came the book and that I released three weeks later. I also promised my husband that I’d take a break once my fulltime job settled down and the book was published.

Taking a break right after a book release isn’t the wisest decision, business-wise, but it wasn’t as important as my health. So, for the month of November, I wasn’t in my office every night working on author/writing tasks. I wrote my blogs, did some promotion, and started research on marketing. I’ll do the same for December with the goal to start writing again after Christmas.


The lesson that I learned in the last few months was seeing and feeling how stress can do a number on a person. After the ER visit, I had to get to a place in my head that repeated, “One day at a time. Live in the moment.” I then took a few days to figure out how to slow down. Can I say that I won’t have another stressful period? Probably not. Can I say that I won’t go to the ER again due to stress? My goal is not to get that point again.

What have you done to help relieve major stress?

Lessons Learned: Extended Families

Last weekend my husband and I went up to Hayward, Wisconsin to celebrate Thanksgiving with my daughter’s in-laws, who are wonderful people. The days were perfect, being able to spend time with our extended family as we enjoyed plenty of food and stories. This reminded me of other times when I celebrated Thanksgiving with a different type of extended family.

When I lived in Colorado, I remember one Thanksgiving when I couldn’t return to Minnesota to be with family. I was lonely and homesick. I knew I’d get through it. And then, while at work, I was talking to an English lady, who worked at another store nearby (I worked in retail), and she asked what I was doing for the holiday. She insisted that I join her and her husband for dinner. I declined, since I barely knew her, but she refused to have me spend the day alone. I went. I enjoyed myself. There’s a true thankfulness when someone opens their home and shares their holiday with you.

With this in mind, if you do know someone who will be spending the holiday alone, either Thanksgiving or Christmas, invite them to dinner. Not only will you feel good to have made someone feel better, but you’ll both learn what the season is about.


Beth M James

Author of novels based on strong characters and elements of romance.


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