Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Well of YOU

Today, we welcome the immensely talented Nancy Haddock, national bestselling author of the Oldest City vampire books, which take place in St. Augustine, Florida. I just love these books and am very excited about the newest addition to the series, Last Vampire Standing.

Here's Nancy:

I took a walk on the beach today, an activity that might not sound like a big deal since it's only a two-minute walk from my house. Sadly, I go long stretches without getting to the beach - something I never saw happening when I first moved to St. Augustine, Florida.

I didn't jog or power-walk the beach as I sometimes do. Instead, I held a steady but easy pace and fed my senses and my soul.

Southeast winds perfumed the air with eau d'ocean - fresh and salty without being fishy - and whipped the surf rough, with whitecaps past the breakers, and waves that scooped sand into their vortexes before folding with a smash.

Two surfers caught waves, then paddled back out past the line up, sliding over crests just before they broke.

A sailboat far off shore leaned to harness the wind, and I imagined the jarring bounce over swells.

Pelicans dove for fish, and three kinds of gulls circled overhead while sandpipers played chase with the foamy wash of dying waves.

The ebbing tide left shells in its wake, and one dinner plate sized jellyfish nearly blended into the gray-white sand. Bubbles of ocean foam glistened with rainbows in the late morning sun, worlds within worlds.

I danced on the beach in celebration of all the good news my friends have shared, then turned toward the boardwalk lighter in spirit than I've felt in weeks.

So why, I must ask myself, do I not take a beach walk every weather-decent day? If I had an ocean view from the house, would I hear and heed the call to visit more often? Do I forget the healing of a simple walk on the beach? Take the gift of the beach for granted? Become so immersed in writing and e-mailing that I shove my pleasure into an already packed closet?

Maybe it's a bit of all that, but I hereby vow to change my habits. Be it morning, afternoon or evening, I'll make my pilgrimage to the beach and not feel one tiny bit guilty that I'm away from the keyboard. In fact, I'll remind myself that I'm a happier, healthier writer when I replenish the Well of Me.

Of course, I'll also continue to indulge in my other method of filling my well - reading in general, and especially reading all the fabulous authors of Something Wicked.

What about you? Do you regularly treat yourself in a way that refreshes and replenishes you? Do you exercise, mediate, read, or simply "hold space" in some way that feeds your energy? Are you out of the feeding-your-spirit habit - why? If you want to get back into the habit, what steps will you take?

Please leave a comment to be eligible for a copy of Last Vampire Standing. If you're a published author and leave a comment, please also leave your web URL or title of your last or upcoming book! I like sharing the stage!

For more opportunities to win a book, see the Beach Party page on Nancy's web site - www.nancyhaddock.com.


Diana Cosby said...

Hi Nancy,
I enjoyed your post, a great reminder that it's necessessary to refill the well, something I admit I'm shamefully delinquent of as late. Sigh. I'm honestly not even sure how to begin. Go for a walk around my neighborhood? I live about 5-10 min from a big lake, but I've never been there, so I'm not sure. Good huh?
When I've lived near oceans, I've always enjoyed them. Of all the oceans I've lived near, my favorite by far was up in Maine. There was something about the crisp sea-infused air of New England that held a potency unmatched elsewhere. Maybe the relative coolness of the tropics, I'm not sure, but for me the most memorable.
Okay, so once I've sent my book in, I'm making a pact. I must feed my muse. Fun stuff. Thanks for the kick! My sincere best to your latest release. [No panther dreams last night! *G*]

Diana Cosby
Romance Edged With Danger

Ellen said...

Oh what a great reminder, Nancy. For me I like just sitting on our deck which is in the middle of the woods surrounded with peace and quiet. And , you know, for one reason or another I don't seem to do it nearly enough. But really I should, you need those moments to refresh your spirit and your mind :)

Chris said...

Alas, I slip too easily into being a slug, which isn't very revitalizing. Walking and bike riding are things I should do more to be reinvigorated.

Valerie H. said...

Thanks, Nancy, for getting me to check the water level in my well. Spring is here -- and that means morning coffee in the garden without guilt! But I'm way overdue for a well-filling adventure, a complete change of scene and tempo to get the creative juices flowing.

I've got a copy of Last Vampire Standing so please remove me from the contest.

Casey said...

We do it to ourselves, don't we? We tell ourselves there's no time for walks. Or exercise. Or reading just for the fun of it. And it's too bad, because we all need these sorts of re-charging times where we can feed our spirits. For me, it's knitting, craft and meditation and prayer, all rolled into one!

Thanks for visiting us here at Wicked, Nancy! I enjoyed your post!

Liese said...

Thanks for reminding us how important it is to renew ourselves and how nature is a perfect source. Sometimes I think our dogs are the only ones who enjoy our backyard.

Best of luck!

Edie said...

Nancy, I love walking too, even though it's not on a beach. A friend who lives near me goes on "walking meditations." Since I walk with a high-energy dog, it's not possible for me to meditate. We both enjoy our walks anyway. It renews my spirit and hers.

Sarah Simas said...

Hi Nancy! Lovely post! I could almost see and feel the ocean. lol

As a person who lives in a valley and atleast 2hours from the ocean, I have to settle for long walks pulling my two toddlers in a wagon. lol When its not too scorching hot!

But I agree that as writers, we have to have that quiet time to reflect. I know when I'm not trying to think about my characters, that's when they appear. So I value that nice walk even if I have kids fighting with each other. lol The neighborhhod knows when I go on walks!!

Thanks for reminding us of the need to nourish ourselves and our muses with something as simple as a walk. *helps me burn off the cookies*

I'm prepublished, but I do have a blog for new writers. http://TheLovestruckNovice.blogspot.com

Nancy said...

Good morning, and thank you for visiting with me today!

Diana, next time you're making a grocery run, drive to the lake and check it out. It's not the ocean, but you might find it to be a terrific retreat!

Oh, Ellen, your deck in the woods sounds like a wonderful haven to soak in energy! I hope you'll treat yourself to that quiet peace more often!

Chris, you're so right that it's too easy to slip into slug state. I hope you'll get out that bike and ride, or simply walk to charge yourself!

Valerie, I love your morning coffee in the garden without guilt - keep it up! As for an adventure, ahem, there is a trip to St. Augustine. :)

Casey, yes! We do this to ourselves, and it's so much about the time issue. We are creatures on the clock, and what's up with that? That you roll kniting and crafting and meditation and prayer together is fantastic!

Liese, you cracked me up about the digs being the only ones who enjoy the back yard. And, heck, y'all maintain it - y'all should do some enjoying, too! I hope you will make that a priority!

Hope you'll all do SOMEthing today just to fill your well!


Angie Fox said...

Welcome, Nancy! You have me wanting to go to the beach today, and that's a tough thing when one lives in Missouri.

But you're right - it is so important to refill the well. I like to get away and walk in the woods behind our house. But like most, I don't do it nearly enough.

Nancy said...

Edie! Having a walking partner is brilliant! Whether you chat and share, or mediate, or walk the dog, you're out there doing something good for yourself!

Sarah, you've homed in on something good to know about yourself and your process - that your characters show up when you're not thinking about them. Great! Maybe you could invite them along while you're pulling your darlings in the wagon. See the neighborhood from their eyes a bit.

BTW, I love the name of your web site! Catchy and fun, but I know you'll be changing the Novice part one of these days!


Billie Jo said...

Hi Nancy!!

Just wanted to pop on and say howdy to one of my favorite authors.

Loved your post and made me realize that I need to refill my well.

CONGRATS on the new release.

Billie Jo

Nancy said...

Angie, hi! It's so great to be here with you and all the fab writers of Something Wicked!

The woods behind your home sound like a treat of a retreat, and I hope you'll sieze the opportunities to walk there. As for the beach, I keep hinting that I'm available for flopping on the sand or showing folks around town. Hint, hint. :)

Have a marvelous day, and get out there!


Nancy said...

Billie Jo! Thank you for your congrats on the new release! I hope you'll do something just for you today to refill yourself, and that invite to visit, you can see it's still open!

Thanks for dropping in, and have a marvelous day!


bridget3420 said...

Reading is the best thing for me when all I want to do is relax. There's something comforting about completely leaving reality and jumping into a book.


Nancy said...

Oh, oh! Small service announcement.

I screwed up the acknowledgements in my new release and didn't include a biggie.

Forever thanks to Sandy Blair who brainstormed titles with me and gave me LAST VAMPIRE STANDING. Sandy's an awesome author and my "queen" of titles!

Love you, Sandy!


Nancy said...

Bridget, hi! I love that you fill your well with reading. Reality will be there when you get back from your book adventure! :)

Hugs for coming to visit, and hope you get to travel by book today!


Lynn Reynolds said...

Nancy, I loved your post. It's so true that we need to take time to replenish ourselves. Unfortunately, I think women especially look at taking care of ourselves as extravagant or self-indulgent, so it's the first thing to go in hectic times. And I know this has been a hectic time for me I'm gearing up for the publication of Thirty-Nine Again, my first book, and although it's with a small ebook publisher, the stress level still feels pretty huge.

I've also had a bunch of stuff going on with every day life - getting my son settled in a new school and then coping with his unexpectedly frenetic social life. Now I seem to spend all my time answering blog interview questions or chauffeuring adolescents to movies and music practices.

I suddenly realized in reading your post that I have pretty much stopped doing anything to refill my well. Better shut down the computer and get outside for that walk right now!


Nancy said...

Lynn, I hope you had a long, peaceful, inspiring walk! You nailed it that women put themselves on the back burner to take care of everyone and everything else. Nurturing others is fine and dandy, but if we don't nurture ourselves, too, what do we have left to give?

We're in charge of ourselves. If we skipped eating for days on end, it wouldn't be healthy. We need to adjust our mindsets to see me-time as nourishment, not indulgence!

So, woohoo! Let's go have a bite of beach, or woods, or simply a walk in the neighborhood!


Carolyn Matkowsky said...

What a wonderful column. I felt refreshed just reading about the beach. I live in an East Coast state, yet I haven't been to the beach in several years. I sometimes get too wrapped up in my writing and have to drag myself away to read or watch one of my favorite shows online, like Heroes and Lost. TV shows help relax me but I feel guilty when I'm not writing. You really helped me realize I need to take refreshing walks on the beach, even if the beach is a good book, or a segment of Lost. Thanks.

Jackie Ballway said...

Going to a bookstore is my relaxation technique. From the moment I step in the door, my heart rate slows and this strange euphoric feeling washes over me. It may have something to do with the fact that I leave the hubby and son at home, but I'm saying it's the bookstore. : )

CrystalGB said...

Hi Nancy. What a wonderful post. I like to sit on the deck and read a good book to refresh and replenish myself.

Jessica said...

The ocean has such restorative properties, Nancy! I am so glad to hear that you will make taking walks on the beach a habit. I will be there in spirit as I find what replenishes the somewhat landlocked me.

donnas said...

Great post. It sounds like you really have a wonderful beach to walk on. If I lived close enough I would try to walk along it once a day to relax. However, since I am in the midwest. I use books to relax and unwind.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Nancy said...

Carolyn, I love the idea of a book or a TV show being your beach! May you enjoy filling your well at least a little each day!

Jackie, I'll support you all the way - it's not leaving the family at home, it's the books. Savor that euphoria!

Crystal, I'll be picturing you on your deck being blissful in a book! I'm so happy that you know what works for you!

Jessica, I'll happily hold space for you on the beach as you discover what fills your well. Or come visit and I'll be sure you get maga beach time! :)


Nancy said...

Donnas, thanks for visiting with me today!

The midwest is filled with beautiful and peaceful spots, too. When I was landlocked in TX, I'd hit the neighborhood park when the kiddos were still in school. Then again, finding relaxation in a book is always a winner!

Have a terrific day!


Carmen R said...

Nancy, I never seem to take time to do anything for myself. I'm always worried about taking care of everyone else and just never seem to make time for myself to do anything. Maybe i need to start taking walks or something but there is just no place around here that seems very refreshing.

Blodeuedd said...

I used to love to write, I still do but I don't seem to have time anymore. But that did make me happy and gave me new strength. Now I like to relax with a good movie, or something I do every day, sit down look at the computer screen and just surf until my mind clears up :)

Pissenlit said...

Oh wow, now I wish I lived near a beach! :D

I love walking! Though if I'm doing it by myself, I need to have a destination. If I'm on auto-pilot, I'm liable to end up who-knows-where if I'm not going somewhere specific so I mostly make do with refusing rides and walking the 2.6 km stretch from church back home every week. Most people I know don't get why I choose to walk that far. Besides liking to walk, I don't think far...I can walk it in 21 minutes if I need to but I usually do it in just under 30.

Nancy said...

Carmen, is there a neighborhood or city park nearby? How about meditating? You can even get a poster of a place that appeals to you (for a solid visual), then close your eyes and imagine yourself there for a short vacation. I'll be pulling for you to find an oasis where you can retreat, even if just for a few minutes a day. It sound like you need the ME therapy!

Blodeuedd, congratulations on finding a way to nourish yourself via the computer! That's a new one to me, but I'm glad it works for you!

Pissenlit, how great that you regularly walk! Besides the health benefit, you have a chance to renew just by observing! Way to go!


Nancy said...

I'll continue to check in this evening, but I want to take this moment to thank each of you again for sharing your secrets for filling your well - and your frustration when you can't refill. I will be thinking of you putting R&R methods to work, or continuing in the ways that bring you peace.

Angie, thank you again for inviting me to guest today.

And, dear posters, if you have not read the fabulous ladies of Something Wicked, please give them a look! I read them regularly, and I'm richer for it!


Caffey said...

Hi Nancy!

I love to be able to go out in the summer under the tree and being able to be out in all that air but not the sun on me. Love to grab a book! I don't read in the bathtub no more cuz I made too many bathtubs books (dropped them in)

I have to deal with alot of pain and sometimes it makes me very nervous. I do alot with relaxing my body, just closing my eyes and thinking of each part of my body as I go up (or down) really helps!

Awesome post Nancy!

Nancy said...

Caffey, I'm so sorry you deal with pain issues! Hugs! It does sound like you have a good handle on pain management, and simply reading in under a shade tree sounds wonderful!

LOL about the bathtub books! I'm like you - gave up reading in the tub long ago.

Take good care of you!


macbeaner said...

Hi Nancy!

This sounds like a great book! Thanks for sharing!

Nancy said...

Macbeaner, hi and thank you for stopping by! If you give my books a try, I hope you'll enjoy them!


LadyVampire2u said...

Such a great post. We all need to look around more and see the wondeful things around us that we normally ignore. Me, I try my best to indulge myself when I can. Usually thats a book I really want, a food I really enjoy once in a while or visiting a place I love. And I center myself with lengthy rides on my motorcycle, long walks, and volunteering occasionally for things around me here. Makes me feel good to help clean up the forest preserve or bring food and company to someone who needs it. The closest beach I have is around Lake Michigan since I live in Chicago but I visit there too and love hearing the soulful cries of sea gulls. Its good to get away from yourself sometimes.

Nancy said...

Lady Vampire, it rocks that you have many things you regularly do to fill your well! Keep taking that excellent care of you!


danetteb said...

Hi Nancy,

I used to live twenty minutes away from the beach and I only went once or twice a month. I now live no where near a beach and I kind of regret not going more often when i had the chance.

Now I go for bike rides around my city. I enjoy the cool wind and listening to birds. I try to stop at a park and read for a few minutes inbetween. :)

Hugs, Danette

Just Another SAHM said...

I'll have to pick these up because we're going to St. Aug next year. Nothing says vacation like vampires, right? ;)