Soul Taker Secrets – Katie Goes South

Readers of ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series know that Katie, Guardian by trade, and Raphael’s consort loves to organize ‘family get-togethers’ where she cooks for the entire ‘Council of Twelve’ with their consorts (or at least, the ones who already have one). Now, Katie isn’t the best cook, to begin with, and her efforts are ‘unpredictable’ most of the time, to express it mildly. But her family loves her, and her friends help her as much as they can.

So it happens, that on occasion, the one or other family dinner succeeds, and Katie can be proud of her accomplishments. Those are the rare occasions she writes down the recipe and where she got it from. Like this one, for example:

Key West Chicken

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup lower-sodium tamari
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. grated orange zest plus 1/4 cup fresh juice (from 2 oranges), plus wedges for serving
  • 1 Tbsp. grated lime zest plus 2 Tbsp. fresh juice (from 3 limes), plus wedges for serving
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • ½ tsp. fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 large (1 1/2 oz.) shallot, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced (2 tsp.)
  • 4 (8-oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded 1/2-in. thick
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  1. Whisk together tamari, honey, orange zest, orange juice, lime zest, lime juice, oil, salt, pepper, shallot, and garlic in a large bowl. Add chicken, and toss to coat. Cover and chill until flavors meld, at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high (400°F to 450°F). While grill preheats, remove chicken from marinade, and set chicken aside. Place marinade (about 3/4 cup) in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1/2 cup, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Place chicken on oiled grates; grill, uncovered, turning and basting occasionally with marinade, until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of chicken registers 165°F, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a large plate; garnish with parsley, and serve with orange wedges and lime wedges.

(Source: https://www.southernliving.com/recipes/key-west-chicken)

Katie and the entire Council of Twelve with their consorts were delighted and loved this meal! Try it, and let me know how it is!

Picture courtesy of SouthernLiving.com

How’s The Weather In Your Story?

Picture courtesy of the ‘National Geographic Society’

Does it happen to you, that, writing a story, you have a scene in your head and try to describe what you’re currently seeing, you realize, the location, despite the nighttime and the darkness, is occasionally ‘enlightened’ by nature? Lighting bolds give your protagonist a quick, clear view of ‘the body’ in the alley. Thunderstorms often come with heavy rains, maybe it just started raining… So, what’s next? How do you describe the weather in your book, in your story, or in that particular scene?

I did quite some research about it and found, that some expert writers have blogged about it before. I therefore will lead you to their hard work:

The ‘Writers Write’ blog offers a post 101 Words To Describe Weather, written by Amanda Patterson

Worddreams shows an article, 160+ Ways To Describe Weather, written by Jacqui Murray

“Just Publishing Advice” offers a post “Describe The Weather In Writing With Much Better Vocabulary“, written by Derek Haines

I have my favorite, which I will permit myself to copy here: Bryn Donovan’s “Master List for Describing Weather”

HOT WEATHER 

blazing sunshine

fiery sun

fierce sun

glaring sun

baking in the sun

sun-drenched

scorching heat

extravagant heat

relentless sun

muggy air

dank air

like a sauna

steamy

sticky

dense tropical heat

sultry

dusty heat

arid heat

radiating heat

blistering heat

oppressive heat

insufferable heat

suffocating heat

heat pressing down

searing sun

shimmering heat

like an oven

like a furnace

WARM / PLEASANT WEATHER

(“Pleasant” is a matter of opinion, of course.)

a beautiful day

a fine day

a clear day

a mild day

a temperate day

a golden day

a glorious day

heavenly weather

bright and sunny

a gorgeous spring day

a dazzling summer day

a brilliant autumn day

a vivid blue sky

a cloudless sky

fluffy white clouds

gentle sunshine

lazy sunshine

kind sunshine

filtered sunlight

dappled sunlight

welcome warmth

one of those rare, perfect days

the kind of day that made people forget to worry

the kind of day that lifted people’s moods

COOL WEATHER

crisp air

refreshing air

stimulating cool air

invigorating cool air

bracing cool air

a nip in the air

a brisk day

a chilly day

weak sunshine

clammy air

damp air

GRAY / OVERCAST WEATHER

(Most people don’t like gray days, so most of these descriptions are negative. I love them, so I had to add a few positive descriptions.)

bleak day

gloomy sky

dreary day

colorless sky

a soft gray sky

a dove-gray sky

a gray day made for books and tea

steel-gray sky

stony sky

granite sky

cement-gray sky

threatening clouds

foreboding clouds

COLD WEATHER

frosty air

icy air

Arctic air

glacial air

bitter cold

brutal cold

cruel cold

bone-chilling cold

penetrating cold

devastating cold

numbing cold

punishing cold

dangerous cold

unforgiving cold

too cold to talk

so cold it burned one’s lungs

so cold it took one’s breath away

WIND

like a blast from a hair dryer

icy blast

a gust of wind

wild wind

raw wind

stiff wind

insistent winds

heavy winds

strong winds

cutting wind

whipping winds

biting wind

harsh wind

angry wind

wintry squall

violent gale

howling wind

shifting winds

restless wind

blustery

fresh breeze

soft breeze

balmy breeze

perfumed breeze

slight breeze

hint of a breeze

stirring breeze

wind rustling through the trees

RAIN

fine drizzle

gray drizzle

pebbles of falling rain

spitting rain

stinging rain

steady rain

rain falling in torrents

cascades of rain

deluge

downpour

rain beating down

shower of rain

sheets of rain

hard-driving rain

pelting rain

lashing rain

slashing rain

THUNDER AND LIGHTNING

rumbling in the distance

a roll of distant thunder

crash of thunder

crackle of thunder

crack of thunder

clap of thunder

bang of thunder

booming thunder

rattled with thunder

earth-shaking thunder

tempestuous

a furious storm

flash of lightning

streaks of lightning

SNOW AND ICE

flurries of snow

dancing flakes

snowflakes floating down

snowflakes wafting down

swirling snow

falling thick and fast

big flakes falling like petals

blinding snowstorm

raging blizzard

sparkling expanses

blankets of white

caked with snow

boulders of snow

branches coated in ice

glittering ice

crystallized by frost

silvered with frost

FOG

clouds of mist

dense fog

swirling mist

billowing fog

cloaked in mist

cocooned in fog

shrouded in fog

enveloped by fog

smothered by fog

made mysterious by fog

the fog rolled in

the fog was burning off

the fog was lifting

the fog was clearing

the fog was dissipating

(Source: https://www.bryndonovan.com/2019/04/08/master-list-for-describing-weather/)

Bryn Donovan did a phenomenal job with this list which will be of enormous help for many of us. (I do hope, she’ll forgive me for showing the entire list here.) Thank you, Bryn!

I realized, in my books, the weather does play a particular role, when I want to describe scenes. Sadness or happiness, enthusiasm or indifference can ‘dictate’ how I describe what is happening, and fog, wind, sunshine, or thunderstorms can very much help to accentuate the vibe of the scene.

Do you ‘play’ with the weather in your stories? Does it help you to describe a scene or happening in a better way, or is it easier to ‘feel the vibe’ of something thrilling coming up when the weather plays an additional role? Let us know in the comments.

SOUL TAKER – SMASHWORDS FALL SPECIAL – FREE – HALFTIME!

Dear Readers and Followers

On the first day of autumn 2022, I decided to give the first book in ‘The Council of Twelve’ series, Soul Taker, ebook for free for one month!

IT’S HALFTIME! USE THE OFFER AS LONG AS IT LASTS!

Click the link here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/911964

After long years in the line of duty as a ‘Soul Taker’, Kate is worn out.

When she gets a new job offer from the ‘Powers Above’, she accepts her new job as a Guardian gratefully without knowing that her teacher is one of the most powerful beings in existence, the Archangel Raphael.

Along with Raphael, she takes on her new task and the connection between them grows.

Raphael helps, protects, and supports Kate, but suddenly, she becomes a target for the Demons of Hell.

Raphael realizes that Kate means more to him than he expected, which causes him to fight furiously against danger. If he fails, Kate’s future will contain eternal darkness, evil, and torture.

Use the coupon code

LZ99M

Enjoy the book, and I’d be grateful for a review… and if you fall in love with the characters, you will going to get the other three books in the series as well:

Sundance: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/953202

Demon Tracker: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1014830

Bounty Hunter: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1065921

Enjoy your read, and please, let me know, how you like the book!

Interview With One Of My Characters VIII

Picture courtesy of freepik.com

Good Morning Joe, Can I call you Joe?

Well, yes, that’s my name, Joe… Good Morning.

Joe, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me, even more since I know you have had great changes coming your way just recently.

First of all, thank you for the invitation. I took your request to my superior and asked him if I was permitted to visit you. Zachariel agreed, but also made sure I wouldn’t tell too much since that story is currently a WIP and still needs to be told. So be careful with your questions.

I will. Thank you for the explanation. I would like to ask you about the time you spent on Earth among humans.

Well, what’s there to tell? First of all, we didn’t live ‘among’ humans, per se… most of the time we were quite far away from everyone. I built our house out in the ‘nowhere’ for humans to be safe. I still could meet some of my friends, with my motorcycle I was getting around quite well, for the worst weather, snow, and ice I had the truck.

Now, that’s interesting. But why did you need to keep humans safe from you? I mean, you’re…

… an angel, yes. But Cordelia is a supernatural being and even inadvertently can be a horrible threat to humans. She’s the nicest girl, but raising her wasn’t always the easiest thing to do.

How so? And how come it was you raising her? It’s not like you’re actually related to her, are you?

No, not blood-related. But at the time I was the only one who could do it, and who am I to deny a baby her right to live, grow up, and become a happy and useful being?

Didn’t you just say, she was dangerous? Isn’t that a bit of a…

… oh, don’t be so logical. Not every supernatural being is a danger to humans, provided said creature is able to control their abilities and skills, they can be very helpful, practical, and supportive… Look at me. I’m an angel, and you wouldn’t consider me ‘dangerous’ to humans?

No, of course not. I figure you did a phenomenal job raising Cordelia then.

I don’t know if I did. But I very much hope so. Her teenage centuries were quite an adventure, though. I had almost given up a few times. *laughs*

And it’s true that nobody knew where you were and what you were doing?

That’s correct, and that’s how it had to be. Too many of Cordelia’s kind were destroyed, just out of ignorance, superstition, and misinformation. I wanted her to be safe, and I needed that to be a secret. That’s why I gave up everything I knew up to then, and went back to Earth living with her, building us a home and raising her best I could, teaching her how to control her abilities, and build her skills, as also directing them to where they belong.

Where do they belong then?

*chuckles and shakes his head* Now, now… didn’t we say, we are careful with our questions?

Of course. My apologies. So, is it true that a member of ‘The Council of Twelve’ found you on Earth?

Yes, that’s true. But to find out more about that, you will have to wait until the respective book in ‘The Council of Twelve’ series is published.

I understand. Can you tell us how it is for you to return to military surroundings after you lived on Earth all this time?

*Scratches his chin* It’s not particularly easy, to be honest. I loved my career within the ‘Divine Army’ before I left. But our Father knows what’s best for us; that must not have been my place. I figure, He took me out of there and gave me a different task. We are currently trying to find out, what else will suit me, as a new challenge. But I trust our Lord to do what’s best for me, and everyone around me, including Cordelia, of course.

You still keep an eye on her, do you?

You must understand. For the longest time, she was everything to me, daughter, friend, companion, comrade, confidante, and closest ally. You don’t just throw that into the wind. A bond like that cannot be destroyed, except one of the ones holding the bond wants it. Cordelia and I were and are many things to each other. The only thing we never were, is a ‘couple’. She was entrusted to me, and this could never be. I felt I needed to prepare her to be ‘more’, and that’s what will happen. Our Father had other plans for her.

You’re a great friend, Joe. You’re the rock in the ocean of many, many people. Including me. But that’s another story. Thank you, for being my guest today.

It was my pleasure. Thank you for having me. We will meet again, I’m sure.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

(After Joe had left, I felt a little lost. His presence made me feel warm and fuzzy. Joe is of medium height, slim, well-built, and carries his graying hair a little longer than usual. He wears a beard, has the warmest eyes one can possibly imagine, and is, undoubtedly, a biker. One can see, this man, as a human, and a supernatural being, has fought many battles. I am proud to call him my friend!)

SOUL TAKER – SMASHWORDS FALL SPECIAL – FREE

Dear Readers and Followers

It’s the first day of autumn 2022, and I decided to give the first book in ‘The Council of Twelve’ series, Soul Taker, ebook for free for one month!

Click the link here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/911964

After long years in the line of duty as a ‘Soul Taker’, Kate is worn out.

When she gets a new job offer from the ‘Powers Above’, she accepts her new job as a Guardian gratefully without knowing that her teacher is one of the most powerful beings in existence, the Archangel Raphael.

Along with Raphael, she takes on her new task and the connection between them grows.

Raphael helps, protects, and supports Kate, but suddenly, she becomes a target for the Demons of Hell.

Raphael realizes that Kate means more to him than he expected, which causes him to fight furiously against danger. If he fails, Kate’s future will contain eternal darkness, evil, and torture.

Use the coupon code

LZ99M

Enjoy the book, and I’d be grateful for a review… and if you fall in love with the characters, you will going to get the other three books in the series as well:

Sundance: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/953202

Demon Tracker: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1014830

Bounty Hunter: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1065921

Enjoy your read, and please, let me know, how you like the book!

Complaints and Changes at Parliament House Press – Written By Victoria Strauss

Parliament House Press Logo

Last week, authors logging into the Parliament House Press Facebook group found a surprise announcement: Parliament House had a new owner, and a host of other changes were in store.

In its current form, Parliament House Press will be dissolved due to a combination of personal and economic considerations from our founder, Shayne Leighton. Shayne has spearheaded the publisher since 2016 and has been a force in bringing this small indie press to a larger stage. Shayne will continue to work with our team in a design capacity. In her stead, Malorie Nilson will take over as the CEO of a reincorporated Parliament House Press. Business will continue uninterrupted, but several essential changes will transpire during this transition.

All existing author contracts will be dissolved and replaced with new contracts, as is required by law, but there will be no interruptions to the day-to-day functions of the house. Unfortunately, due to the increasingly competitive landscape of the industry, we will not be able to offer contracts to all existing authors. Many of our current projects were brought on under a different team and different leadership, forcing us to take stock of where we are and what we are able to accomplish. We want all our authors to be successful, including those who will no longer be with us. Unfortunately, we are currently unable to serve the entirety of our catalog, so we are forced to downsize to ensure that we can give every book the attention it deserves. If you are not offered a new contract, please know that it is not because we don’t love your work, but rather that we do not have the capacity to give everyone the attention and care they deserve. We are working hard to bring more opportunities to our authors, which means narrowing our enterprise’s scope.

We will continue our partnership with IPG for digital distribution, as well as our work with the Seymour Agency to sell subsidiary rights. Furthermore, we will be moving our entire print catalog to Ingram, which will give brick and mortar stores the ability to purchase books through Ingram’s distribution program. Finally, we have revised our contracts to align with industry standards as we begin working more closely with literary agents for future acquisitions. As we invite authors back to the Parliament House Press, we will review the new contracts with you (which we have updated to reflect industry standard for royalties and terms) to ensure that each of you is comfortable moving forward. Of course, with the dissolution of the existing contracts, you are free to part ways with the Parliament House Press and seek other opportunities if you wish.

The abrupt announcement was a shock. But it didn’t come entirely out of the blue.

******

Founded in 2016 by Shayne Leighton and Chantal Gadoury, Parliament House Press (PHP) is “a small traditional publisher, working with authors to produce brilliantly bizarre, original, and moving stories with an edge.” It has better-than-average distribution via the Independent Publishers Group, and its subsidiary rights are represented by the Seymour Agency.

CONTINUE READING HERE

How to Build Brand Awareness Through YouTube Videos (for Authors) – Written By Kimberley Grabas

Brand awareness refers to people’s ability to recognize you and your creative work. It is the very first step in your marketing funnel. Brand awareness also helps you achieve your goals as an author by expanding your target audience, building brand affinity, and improving brand identity. In this guest post, Andre Oentoro simplifies the process of using YouTube videos to grow awareness for your author brand and business.


Brand awareness is very important for any author because it not only entices readers to buy your book but also keeps them coming back for more.

People are more likely to buy goods or use services from a business that they trust and as an author, your ‘business’ is no exception.

Your brand – how people perceive you and your creative work – is one of the first things that will draw readers in when they are searching for a solution to a problem they have or to fulfill an experience they desire.

In addition, if their experience with your brand is enjoyable, they are more likely to tell other people about your work which helps spread the word, further increasing your visibility and reach.

So, how can you build your brand awareness, and what is the best platform?

According to this post by Ahrefs.com, YouTube is the most visited website in the past few years. It is also the second-largest search engine, proving that people are crazy about video content.

Through video,

Anyone and everyone has the opportunity to entertain, engage, and rank.–Ahrefs

YouTube videos get good rankings on Google searches because Google has owned YouTube since 2006. This will certainly provide a huge opportunity for you to get noticed, to be known more widely in your topic area or genre, and thus help you increase brand awareness.

CONTINUE READING HERE

How to Write Two Characters Talking at Once – Written By Bryn Donovan

If you’re writing a conversation between two or more characters, you may run into the issue of characters talking at the same time. This is an easy thing to pull off in a TV show or a movie, but slightly trickier in a novel or a short story, so I thought I’d address it!

(By the way, I’m going to share a related post next week on how to write a great, believable argument between two characters. If you don’t want to miss it, be sure you’re subscribed to the blog—there’s a signup on the lefthand side of this page.)

Let’s look at some examples. You’ll notice that the solution to this issue usually involves just telling the reader that the characters are talking at the same time.

CONTINUE READING HERE

The Best Part Of Telling A Story – Part VII (Last Part)

April 14, 2022 I published the first part of this blog post series, on April 28, and the second part followedThe third part was published May 26, 2022, part #4 was published July 11, 2022 and Part 5 you can read here since July 25, 2022, part 6 I published August 11, 2022, and this one here will be the last part in this series. This blog post series talks about the best part of telling a story. There are so many good parts, to me, each holds its own appeal. Let’s have a look at them once more:

1. Drafting the plot

2. Finding a motive

3. Creating the protagonist and antagonist

4. Finding the perfect location

5. Thinking of plot twists

6. Create side characters

[7. Depending on the story, maybe even create a world]

Today we are trying to determine how much fun creating a world is…

I’m writing a mix of Fantasy and Paranormal Romance with my ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series. That means, creating worlds isn’t (yet) a big part of my writing skills. The ‘Council members and their consorts are splitting their time between Heaven, Earth, and Hell.

We all know Earth, and many of us know Heaven and Hell exist, but nobody alive has ever seen either one, which means, I can ‘create’ the part that exists differently in each of our imaginations.

Does Hell look like a vast mine with a fire in the middle and everybody down there is either dancing around the flames, or shoveling coal? Not in my imagination… Not even the inferno part, which is only one area of hell. Another site, for example, has been reserved for the houses, palaces, and castles of the Hellish-Elite residents, in my books, it’s the Demon Kings and the self-proclaimed ‘Emperor of the Nine Thrones Of Hell’, Lucifer. Needless to say, despite the fact he built his palace himself, he still doesn’t like it. ‘Not homey enough’, as he says. And he doesn’t like the constant twilight in Hell. There’s neither night nor day, no light or sunshine… It’s just constantly pale and gray, with the occasional foggy day, mostly, when Lillith is cooking.

Heaven is another part of my imagination, all light, sunshine, green pastures, forests, walkways, troop housing, and areas for the angels to live in… formerly there were ‘towers’ with penthouse lofts, where the Archangels lived. But since they practiced an ‘open door’ policy, it got too much to be disturbed at any given time, and with their ‘Creator’s’permission, they moved out and built their own area, precisely twelve breathtaking houses, where they live with their consorts (or alone), depending on their state of a relationship.

Is this ‘creating a world’? Not in my opinion… I’m just ‘extending’ what is already there, just the way I dream it could be perfect for me.

There are far more experienced writers in world-building than I am!

One of them, one of the ‘ultimate’ best examples, is, of course, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, author of ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ books, and the famous creator of ‘Middle Earth’.

Picture courtesy of Google.com

Tolkien went even further for his stories, his characters, his people and his books. He became the very gifted creator of languages! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_constructed_by_J._R._R._Tolkien).

All that, in my opinion, is the epitome of ‘fun’, but I could imagine, it wasn’t all ‘fun’ for him, all the time. It needs an enormous amount of work, concentration, imagination, fantasy, but most of all, skill, to go over this kind of length for the readers.

Of course, the success proves him right! Until this day, his books and stories are of enormous success and incomparable. He has my utmost respect and admiration.

But that doesn’t mean, there aren’t other highly skilled and talented writers and world creators around!

Let us hear your experience, please, in the comments! Tell us, where the fun is, and where the difficulties are! We are curious!

Do You Suffer Without Knowing It? Writer’s Health!

Picture courtesy of Forbes.com

Is your computer screen literally taking your breath away? It’s possible that you are holding your breath while using your computer, without even knowing it. Some people hold their breath while reading emails or messages, some others, during typing, and neither of them knows what they’re doing, or even, that they are suffering from irregular breathing.

You are not alone! We are talking about Screen Apnea.

What exactly is it?

What is screen apnea?

Screen apnea is the temporary cessation of breath or shallow breathing while sitting in front of a screen, whether a computer, a mobile device, or a television.

Studies have shown that over 80% of users suffer from Screen apnea without knowing it. And it’s unhealthy! I went into my personal investigation and found a few things online. What is the problem with shallow breathing?

According to ‘rubmassage.com.au‘ Dr Russell Greenfield believes that over time SA can:
· Disrupt your sleep.
· Lower your energy levels
· Interfere with you ability to think quickly and focus.
· Lead to mood disorders like depression or anxiety.
· Increase stress related disease.

“Screen apnea alters your bodies delicate balance of glasses like oxygen, nitric oxide and carbon dioxide.” Says Greenfield. “ This can cause inflammation and interfere with your immune system’s ability to fight infection.” Amongst a host of other things. (Source: rubmassage.com.au)

Forbes.com’ takes it even further. Most Americans sitting on the computer, or in a car, do that on an average of 10 hours a day, while eating regularly, and moving far too little. Many Americans aren’t aware that getting up, stretching and moving around will reduce stress and take pressure off your body. As many as 40% of the Americans who like being glued to their chair follow the advice of the late comedian Joan Rivers, who said, “I don’t exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, He would’ve put diamonds on the floor.”

Chronic breath holding can harm your health, lead to exhaustion and compromise your work performance. Prolonged sitting in front of your screen has been described as “the new smoking.” (Source: Forbes.com)

Now, what can we do about it? Rubmassage.com, Forbes.com, and an additional source, YogaInternational.com, agree on the treatments of screen apnea:

1. Notice when you aren’t breathing. Check in every so often and take some long vagus-nerve (our primary parasympathetic nerve) stimulating exhalations that last longer than your inhalations. Try humming your breath out, count a long exhale, or useujjayi breath to extend your exhalation.

2. Look beyond the screen from time to time, even if you’re glued to it for work. Try not to distract yourself with another screen when you do this, like your television. You’ll probably find yourself taking easier breaths.

3. Get up and move/express yourself. Dance, vocalize, do simple stretches, take a walk. These are natural easers for the breath.

4. Explore breathing practices that don’t involve breath retention and keep conditioning your breath to maintain a smooth, even, continuous flow; try brahmari(humming breath). Place more emphasis on how your breath feels in the moment than how you think you “should” make it behave. Focus only on breathing a few times during the day.

 5. Put your phone on airplane mode every now and then, or turn off work notifications after work hours. 

(Source YogaInternational.com,)

Breath Mindfulness

Chances are screen apnea causes you to use your shoulders instead of your diaphragm to move air in and out of your lungs. You might even stop breathing or hold your breath and not even realize it. Natural abdominal breathing from your abdomen sends additional oxygen to your brain and activates your parasympathetic system (your rest-and-digest response which offsets your stress response). Notice your breathing right now. Do your breaths come from high in your chest or deep in your abdomen? Are they fast or slow? If you’re aware of shallow breathing higher up in your chest, practice abdominal breathing. Take several deep breaths so that your diaphragm flattens downward, pushing the muscles in the abdominal cavity upward, creating more space in the chest so your lungs can fill up. You can’t get as worked up if you force yourself to breathe deeply. Your body can’t maintain the same level of stress with the extra oxygen you get in your bloodstream when you breathe from your abdomen

Moving Around

Statistics show that just moving around can cut your risk of sudden cardiac arrest by 92%, so don’t park it for too long. When you get moving, physical tension and mental stress melt away, and the solution to a mulled-over problem becomes crystal clear. Experts say being on your feet at your desk instead of sitting can help. Simply not sitting gives you the benefits of exercise.

Stand up, breathe deeply, shake, twist, and stretch out the built-up tension. Take a few seconds to reach high. Let yourself feel the stretch as you elongate your body and notice where you hold tension then release it. Shake the part of your body where you sense tension. As you continue to stretch, bring your attention to each part of your body that has remained tight. Bend over and touch your toes and feel that stretch letting the tension in your body evaporate.

Chair Yoga

You can improve your breathing and posture right at your desk in the very chair you’re in as long as it has a back. Sitting in your chair, inhale and raise your arms toward the ceiling. Let your shoulder blades slide down your back as you reach upward with your fingertips. Anchor your sit bones in your seat and reach up from there. Place your left hand over on your right knee. Place your right arm on the back of the chair. Stretch lightly for sixty seconds with eyes open or closed. Notice the stretch and what happens inside. After sixty seconds, bring your body back to center. Then reverse the stretch. Place your right hand over your left knee. Put your left arm on the back of the chair for another sixty seconds. Stretch lightly again with eyes open or closed. Pay attention to the stretch, and notice what happens inside. After three to five minutes of repeating this exercise, you will notice better breathing, a renewed energy and improved mental clarity.

Take An ‘Awe Walk’

An “Awe walk”—a stroll in nature where you intentionally shift your attention outward to the natural environment instead of inward—is a great remedy for screen apnea. Not only does it get you up and moving and improve your breathing, it also clears your mind and gives you a sense of awe from the natural surroundings. So, you’re not thinking about the tight deadline, the unfinished project or the strain in your relationship with your boss. A new study published in the journal Emotion found that a regular dose of awe reduces your stress and boosts your mental health. An awe walk gets your blood circulating and restores your breathing to its natural rhythm.

Screen Glow And Blue-Light Glasses

Most of the technology we commonly use—such as computer screens, smartphones and tablets—emits blue light, which past research has found can disrupt sleep. Workers have become more dependent on these devices, especially as we navigate remote work and school during the coronavirus pandemic. The media have recently reported on the benefits of blue-light glasses for those spending a lot of time in front of a computer screen. This new research extends understanding of the circadian rhythm, a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours. New research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that wearing blue-light glasses just before sleeping can lead to a better night’s sleep, better career decision-making and contribute to a better day’s work productivity.

The 20-20-20 Rule

Using the 20-20-20 rule can help you prevent screen apnea. The rule says that for every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen, you take a 20 second break, move around and look at something 20 feet away, which relaxes the eye muscles for 20 seconds and gives your brain a much-needed respite. Here’s how the rule works: Set an alarm or time popup for every 20 minutes when you’re working in front of a screen as a reminder to get up from your workstation, deep breathe and stretch. It takes 20 seconds for your eyes to fully relax. Every 20 minutes for 20 seconds walk around the room, hydrate yourself, close your eyes or look out a window—perhaps at a tree, squirrel or some aspect of nature. Take off your shoes and dig your toes into the carpet for 20 seconds. And you’re ready to get back to your screen for another 20 minutes.

(Source: Forbes.com)

It’s important that you take care of yourself, no matter where your work takes you. The COVID pandemic has had an enormous influence on our computer/screen behavior and severely limited our free time, outside time, where our bodies can relax and breathe fresh air. Be aware of these changes, and how you are stressing yourself out! Keep writing, under all circumstances! Bu also, stay healthy!