Friday, August 12, 2011

How To Write a Novel - Part One

Shhh ... listen carefully. Can you hear it? I think there might be an echo in here. It's okay though. I don't mind if you are my only reader. I'm glad you're here.

And this blogging thing is all a learning process for me, if nothing else.

I'll let you in on a secret. Sometimes I talk to myself. I hear lots of voices in my head, too. They are helpful. They guide me in my writing.

I've been toying with an idea for some time now. And now the voices are pointing me outward to "signs." You know the ones that are "in your face."

Wait a minute. Let me go back. Back to the beginning.

It was after I had taken a few writing classes that I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month with nothing more than a hint of an idea. I guess you could say it was one of those voices in my head telling me that I had to bring it to life.

So in November of that year, I sat down and let my fingers do the talking on my keyboard. I decided to let it flow out without an outline. It was rough, very rough. In fact, looking back, I was embarrassed that I had let someone else read it.

I had it edited and after I made the suggested changes, it got better.

But still, it wasn't good enough.

I signed up for another class. I learned a little more. I edited it again. And it got a little better. Now, at two-thirds of the way through re-writes, it's quite a different story than what I started with.

Time is hard to find though. I write a little here and a little there. When there is a lapse in my writing schedule, the signs start appearing. Yelling at me to get to work. Characters from my book appear in my everyday life.

While it is my intent to pick apart my journey of this whole writing process here, I really should be using this time to work on final re-writes.

So we'll see.

In the meantime, if you need some good reading material, visit my online literary magazine, Mouse Tales Press.

I hope to see you again.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Beauty Tips Using Oil

Oil has a bad reputation. The media often warns against ingesting excessive oil in the diet. However, there is another side to oil; it is an excellent beauty product that can be used in many ways to help maintain a youthful appearance. Before tossing out your oil, try using it for these home beauty treatments.

Skin and Hair Softening

Jojoba oil may be applied to the hair for a deep, nourishing conditioner. Apply approximately 1-2 tablespoons adjusting as needed according to your hair length and texture, and then wrap your hair in a warm towel for 30 minutes. For extra conditioning, apply before bedtime and leave in overnight. Shampoo and condition your hair as usual following this treatment.

Evening primrose oil is an excellent skin softener. It may be bought in capsule form to use as part of your diet. For skin softening, take one capsule and puncture it with a sterilized needle. Put one drop of oil under each eye before bedtime and awaken to soft, nourished skin in the morning.

Vitamin E oil is an excellent cuticle softener. After getting out of the shower or bath, gently push back the cuticles with your towel. Next rub a small amount of vitamin E oil on each cuticle. Apply also at bedtime to keep cuticles soft and nourished.

Cleansing with Oil

Jojoba oil may also be mixed with castor oil to make a powerful pore cleanser, ridding the skin of clogged pores known as blackheads. Mix according to your skin type; for oily skin, increase the concentration of castor oil, using one third castor oil to two-thirds jojoba oil. A drop of pure lavender oil may be added for an extra soothing cleanser. Apply the mix to your face by massaging it in to the skin for twenty minutes. There is no need to use soap to remove it. Place a warm,damp towel over the skin to dissolve the oil before wiping it away.

Another use for castor oil is as a natural cleanser which may be used to make packs applied to the outside of the body. A heating pad is applied over the area, usually the abdomen, which helps to rid the body of toxins. This method was developed by Edgar Cayce and has become well-known as an alternative remedy in dealing with major health issues.

For soft, glowing skin, use olive oil not only topically as a moisturizer, but also as a scrub. Place one-half cup of sugar into a bowl. Add one-fourth to one-half cup of olive oil and stir. Use this scrub in the shower to cleanse your body of dead skin and reveal the softer, glowing skin underneath.

An excellent oil for cleansing the body of toxins is sunflower oil, used in Oil-Pulling, an Ayurvedic method of pulling toxins out of the body. Upon rising in the morning and before ingesting any food or drink, take one tablespoon of cold-pressed sunflower oil into the mouth. Swish the oil around as though chewing it for up to 30 minutes, until the oil is thin. This remaining oil will be filled with toxins and should not be spit into your sink. When it has reached this consistency, spit the remainder into the toilet and rinse your mouth immediately with mouthwash.

These are only a few of the beauty treatments that oil may be used for. Months of soft, clean skin and hair may be yours in exchange for something that may already be in your kitchen cupboard.

**Author's Note: This article was first published on Suite101 on Sept. 23, 2008**