Healthy and Productive in 2016

Yoga CoverYes, it’s that time again. Festivities are over and thoughts turn away from booze and chocolate toward a healthier lifestyle for the New Year.

Most of us will have our resolutions and goals set for 2016. Amongst them, I’ll bet there are several that focus on wellbeing – losing weight, getting fitter, being more creative. We start out positive and fully intending that this year it will be different, and the wellbeing goals we set will come to fruition because this time we are absolutely determined to see them through.

January isn’t exactly the best time to be planning huge changes though, is it? The weather is often dreary, the nights long, and it seems an extremely long time until spring will be peeking around the corner. But as someone once said to me, spring will eventually come anyway whether we make changes or not, so it makes sense to plan and think ahead to those gorgeous days when the sun will shine and the days will grow longer. In the meantime, imagine yourself as the person you want to be. See yourself as healthy, happy, productive and successful. Do what you need to do to get to that place. But whatever it is you do, may I suggest you do it slowly, gradually and comfortably. When making changes, it is always wise to remember the old hare and tortoise principle. Slowly and surely gets there in the end.

Small changes made now, and incorporated on a daily basis, can yield huge results in a few months’ time. This is especially true when embracing yoga into your daily routine. I might be a little biased, having practised and taught yoga for well over half my life, but even the smallest amount of daily practice can bring enormous benefits in a very short time.

I’m especially interested in bringing yoga to the attention of people who spend large amounts of the day in a sitting position. Writers, artists, drivers, students, etc. Research has proven that sitting for just a few hours each day can cause problems like muscle strain, headaches, backache and eyestrain, but new research indicates that prolonged sitting can also affect sleep and cause depression, thus affecting mental health.

Taking regular breaks from the computer to engage in a few simple yoga stretches makes even more sense than ever, so as we step into 2016 take a few moments to resolve to change habitual working patterns, and in so doing help prevent potential future health problems.

Begin now. Sit straight and take a deep breath in through the nose. Close your eyes for a few seconds and then exhale slowly out through the mouth. Do this twice more.

Raise your shoulders up to your ears. Hold. Slowly release them back down and relax. Do this twice more.

Raise your arms up into the air, palms facing each other above your head. Inhale and stretch your fingers. Exhale and bring your arms down. Do this twice more.

Roll out your shoulders and shake your hands. Take another really deep breath and let it out through the mouth on a long ‘aahhhh’ sound.

Feel better? I hope so.

Wishing you a Happy, Healthy and Productive New Year!

Yoga for Writers – Simples Stretches for the Desk-Bound

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Thornberry Publishing

In Search of Dracula

Blogging at Over the Backyard Fence today about our recent visit to Whitby and the Dracula Trail. I’d love for you to pop on over and join the conversation!

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Landscapes, Legends and Literature

I’m blogging at Over the Backyard Fence today about a recent trip to Cornwall. Mainly for research purposes, but managed to enjoy a nice holiday into the bargain. Come on over and join the conversation!

The Calypso Ring – #MFRWHooks

logo book hooksTo celebrate the release of my first romantic suspense, I’m participating in Book Hooks, a weekly feature sponsored by Marketing for Romance Writers which offers story snippets to introduce readers to new books/authors.

The Calypso Ring

Anonymous notes, mysterious gifts, and a sexy stranger. Trouble really does come in threes.

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This snippet comes when poor Mia, already shaken up by what is happening to her, is failing miserably in her attempts to keep a determined Saul at a distance:

“The truth is I’m attracted to you. I find you fascinating, challenging, and beautiful. Okay, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hope to get you between the sheets at some stage, but I’m not totally driven by my hormones. I like a woman I can hold a conversation with, a woman who has opinions and isn’t shy of offering them. So far, you haven’t disappointed on that front.”

She eyed him warily. “I’m likely to disappoint on many others.”

“I could say the same about me, but why don’t we give it a shot? See how it pans out.”

 Very slightly, she started to swivel in the chair. “What did you have in mind?”

Blurb:

The arrival of anonymous notes with links to her past, throws English lecturer Mia Freeman’s ordered existence into turmoil. She is further pushed out of her comfort zone when an easygoing photojournalist seems keen not only to help her solve the mystery, but in further shaking up her life—and her heart.

Saul O’Donnell prefers reporting from war zones, but an enforced sojourn in London, courtesy of a bullet to the hip, takes a pleasurable turn when he meets Mia. He decides to help her find out who is sending the notes, and in the process discover the passionate woman beneath the cool exterior.

But when Mia is mugged it becomes clear that Saul’s current assignment and Mia’s troubles are too closely linked to be coincidental. Soon, Saul realizes that he will need every one of his investigative skills to protect her and keep her safe.

Buy Links:

Amazon.com
The Wild Rose Press

 

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New Release: The Calypso Ring

The Calypso Ring, my first romantic suspense, is now available from The Wild Rose Press.

TheCalypsoRing_w9295_med

Here’s the blurb:

Anonymous notes and a sexy stranger. Mia wasn’t sure which posed the real danger…

The arrival of anonymous notes with links to her past, throws English lecturer Mia Freeman’s ordered existence into turmoil. She is further pushed out of her comfort zone when an easygoing photojournalist seems keen not only to help her solve the mystery, but in further shaking up her life—and her heart.

Saul O’Donnell prefers reporting from war zones, but an enforced sojourn in London, courtesy of a bullet to the hip, takes a pleasurable turn when he meets Mia. He decides to help her find out who is sending the notes, and in the process discover the passionate woman beneath the cool exterior.

But when Mia is mugged it becomes clear that Saul’s current assignment and Mia’s troubles are too closely linked to be coincidental. Soon, Saul realizes that he will need every one of his investigative skills to protect her and keep her safe.

Buy Links: Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   The Wild Rose Press

Yoga for Writers – Protect those Peepers!

Eye strain and dry eye syndrome is becoming more prevalent among writers and long periods spent staring at a computer screen is certainly not conducive to eye health. It is easy to fall into the habit of staring at the screen while we work, and the eye muscles tighten and dryness occurs as we fail to blink and moisten the eyes. It is said that we blink far less when using a monitor than at any other time.

**Pop a little sticky note on your screen or by your keyboard with the reminder to: *BLINK*

When we are working flat out on the computer, it’s good to take a mini vision break every twenty minutes. It doesn’t have to be a long break, in fact you can apply the 20/20/20 rule to regularly rest and re-energize the eyes.

Your Vision Break:

  • Every twenty minutes, turn away from your screen. Sit up straight, relax your shoulders, take a deep breath and let it out on a sigh.
  • Look out of a window or into the distance approximately twenty feet away from you.
  • Do this for twenty seconds.
  • Close your eyes. Take a couple of deep breaths, relaxing your shoulders.
  • Open your eyes, blink a few times and return to work.

Extract from: Yoga for Writers, Simple Stretches for the Desk-Bound

Yoga Cover

A short dip-in/dip-out basic guide to yoga techniques beneficial for writers. These techniques can help alleviate some of the tension and stiffness which accumulate in the body while working at a desk for long periods of time. You can practice one or two stretches specific for your own particular needs, or preferably work through all exercises given to help offset the build up of stiffness and discomfort through the whole body. While this is a practical guide aimed at the physical body, yoga’s benefits also seep into the mental and emotional realms.

Available from:

Amazon.com and Amazon.uk
Barnes and Noble
ThornBerry Publishing

Yoga for Writers Release Day

Today sees the official release of Yoga for Writers, my first non-fiction book. Many writers talk of writing the book of their heart, and I would say this is probably mine. I’ve been a yoga practitioner and teacher for many years and have found that yoga provides an ideal solution to the demands of being a writer.

YFW Front Cover 1

Many people might think that the life of a writer is less physically demanding than many other occupations, but if you spend much of your day in an job that requires sitting at a desk for long periods of time you know otherwise. Immobility can lead to tense muscles, especially in the neck, shoulders and spine, and the pain and discomfort can equal that of a person engaged in more manual work. There is also the possibility of eye strain, shallow breathing caused by poor posture, a slowing down of the circulation, and myriad other problems. Thankfully, yoga can offer relief.

Try YOGA FOR WRITERS – Simple Stretches for the Desk-Bound. Available now in paperback and on Kindle.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Getting SMART for 2014

A few years back, I wrote a guest post for Alison Kent‘s blog. Yesterday, while setting my writing goals for 2014, I dusted it off as I needed a reminder of how to get SMART. I hope you find it helpful, too.

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If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there:

Goal-setting is so important, especially for writers. It’s far too easy to sit at the computer checking emails, loops, blogs and websites until a day has passed … a week … a month, and before you know it you don’t have an awful lot to show for the time spent staring at the screen.

Not only is it important to set goals, but it’s important to write them down. Writing out your goals allows the message to travel from the brain to the hand to the page, then as you read them back the message travels from the page to the eye to the brain, thus making your goals more concrete. Does this make them more achievable? I believe it does, as seeing your goals set out on the page, preferably in your own handwriting, makes them real. Also, as you keep looking at them, the words are driven into the brain and eventually become part of consciousness. You can even write them down fresh every day, which will help reinforce their impact. I have a lovely online writer friend and each week we email each other our goals for the week. At the end of each week we report on how things went, and if we didn’t reach our weekly goals we explain why not. Then we set the next week’s goals, and so on. We’ve both found that when we do this, our writing flows better and we get much more done.

While I like to dream BIG, letting my imagination go wild in the process, when I’m setting goals I use the SMART approach. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-related. “I’m going to write a book” or even “I’m going to write a book by Christmas” might be worthy goals but they’re not SMART … both are too vague, too easily put aside to focus on other things. Before you know it you’re setting the same goal twelve months later.

There are variations on the terms that make up SMART, but here’s my take …

SPECIFIC – What are you going to do and how are you going to do it? “I will write 500 words a day on my WIP before checking my emails or surfing the web” (oh, please, a dark chill has just swept down my spine). But this is a very specific and is …

MEASURABLE – I will write 500 words per day, seven days a week. You’ll know when it’s happened because you’ll have those 500 words on the page, which in turn will make you want to get 500 words down tomorrow, and the next day. Then you’ll be thinking like a winner, you’ll feel you’ve succeeded – and as we all know, nothing succeeds like success. Just make sure the goals you set are …

ACHIEVABLE – goals need to feel within reach, but make sure they stretch you. If we set unrealistic goals that need a huge commitment on our part, we’re likely to feel overwhelmed before we start, and it’s easy to let good intentions fall away at the first sign of difficulty. Equally, goals need to make us feel challenged. “I’m going to write a chapter each day until this book is finished!” Yeah, right. But 500 words a day, or 3500 each week, will get that chapter written. Again, stretch yourself a little, or it won’t seem particularly satisfying. Remember, we want that self esteem to soar!

RELEVANT – how do your goals fit with your long term plans? Are they consistent with other goals? Will they feed into your dreams and ambitions for yourself? Say your goal for the week is to rework a synopsis of an old oft-rejected manuscript, but your editor is screaming for those edits by Friday close of business. Is working on that synopsis relevant right now? Well, it might be if your overall goal is to be the very best synopsis writer in the universe, but if you want a career as a successful writer, I’d go for the editor option.

TIME-RELATED – put a time factor into the equation, otherwise things remain too vague and it’s easy to give priority to other things (remember that Internet surfing? Constant email checking?) Procrastination is the thief of time! No time factor = no urgency. Set those goals and make sure you’ve got a date by which you want them achieved.

And that’s all there is to it.

Richard Bach wrote, “You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it come true”. Setting SMART goals is one mighty step toward getting that power, and making those dreams come true.

Where will your road take you? Good luck!

Yoga for Writers


My first non-fiction book, Yoga for Writers (Simple Stretches for the Desk-Bound), will be released by ThornBerry Publishing in January 2014. Although it is aimed at writers, the book is suitable for anyone whose work involves long hours sitting at a desk.

Our bodies are designed to move, not remain inactive for long periods of time. By moving the body through a series of simple stretches, we restore energy – both physical and mental.  At the heart of yoga is the concept of balance, but this is often difficult for writers to put into practice. How often have we sat, eyes burning, back aching, shoulders screaming, head bursting, and thought “just one more line, one more paragraph, one more page”?

When the words are flowing and the muse is on fire it is hard – no, make that impossible – to turn off the computer or put down the pen. But a few minutes refreshing the mind, body and muse with simple yoga stretches and breathing techniques can release stiffness and tension in the body and actually enhance concentration and improve creative flow.

To celebrate the release of Yoga for Writers, I’ll be adding a new feature to this blog which will give tips and suggestions for incorporating yoga and healthy living into your day. I hope you’ll enjoy this.

If you would like to be notified when the book is released, please visit my website: www.tricia-jones.com and join my mailing list.

New Review – Diamond Heart

Lovely new review on Amazon for Diamond Heart. It’s so great to get reviews like this…

“This was a well written, emotionally satisfying story. I loved the sparring between Paige and Lucas as much as I loved the sexual tension between them. And the stakes…well, other characters will be affected by the outcome of this relationship. I love how it ended, but won’t spoil it by giving specifics here. I’ll just say this was a great story to take with me on a vacation.”

Buy Links:

Thornberry Publishing
Amazon. com
Amazon.co.uk