Writing is not something you choose to do. Writing chooses you.
What you decide to do with your gift is up to you.
I’ve always lived inside my head. I have a vivid imagination—not just for fiction but for living. I can picture myself on a plane to anywhere, anytime, even right this moment! I can read something in the news like the plane that crashed yesterday in Kazakhastan and imagine myself being a crew member when the plane went down. RIP 100 people.
I wander around my apartment in Istanbul—this time last year I was living in Mexico—and play out my next Code Raven Plot in my mind. Should I remain in Turkey, like The Istanbul Conspiracy I published on Christmas Day? The surprises in that book have me reeling! Maybe I will take CR 8 to Jerusalem, or Bangkok? Wait! But my next book will be another memoir!!
“Hah, you think you are in control, Lynda?” My cocky Muse.
“No ‘but’s’ about it. You ended that political suspense book with too much drama. We have to know where this story will go. So sit down, and plot it out!”
“Wait. I really want to write another memoir! I traveled this year, I learned so much. I grew so much!! This memoir will be so filled with life and love. My fans are waiting.”
“Okay, we will compromise. You can work on both of them at the same time.”
“Muse! You are out of control!! First, you aged my young Alice by 7 years in this book! Then, you did the unspeakable! I mean, really, right before the wedding a terrorist attack! How could you?”
My Muse remained silent. I imagine she/he/God is smiling.
A quote comes to mind, “When man plans, God laughs.”
As a writer, I can plan all I want, but the magic happens when I let my Muse have her way with me.
One must start the day off at Starbucks, and yes, Cats are revered in Turkey, in the Islam religion, so this beauty was saying hello to everyone before she went on her independent Christmas Eve day.
I sent Santa this above message and followed it up with the one below, because last year I was in Mexico, and I didn’t want him to worry about trying to locate me in Istanbul–the city has 17 million people!
Although there are no signs of Christmas in this Muslim country, colorful lights decorate every street in this intensely lively city!
And the weather feels like spring, not winter. I don’t really need to wear my winter coat just yet!
This week my boyfriend bought me chocolates from the Spice Bazaar for absolutely no reason! Well, maybe he realized Christmas was coming and I was feeling … lonely? I knocked them off in 48 hours!!! And two days later he came over with another box of the same. He adores me and thinks I look amazing even if I’m sure I’ve put on 10 chocolate pounds in the last week.
The mosques still fascinate me. I love to listen to the call to prayer. Last night I couldn’t sleep–maybe memories of Christmas past and family that is no longer with us. So I listened to the call to prayer well before sunrise. There’s something comforting in this age-old manner of professing a love of God. It’s one of the things I find special about this culture.
My hairdresser decided it was time to change my hair color for this festive time of year, He added blue!! If he had asked me first, we both would have had to use Google Translate! I laughed out loud when I saw it. It’s absolutely perfect for me.
And to top off my evening–because soup alone does not cut it on Christmas Eve–I had a lovely glass or two of Blush Shiraz from Turkey. Then I chatted online with people I love from all around the world.
And I almost forgot!! Today I released my latest Code Raven book 7 The Istanbul Conspiracy! https://amzn.to/2PSAApgMy Christmas gift to you! It’s available in download and in print.
The wedding of DJ Turk and the daughter of the Minister of Defense is about to take place on a mega-yacht on the Bosphorus in Istanbul. Hours later the much-anticipated photos show corpses lined up along the dock and a bride covered in blood. Was this a random act of terror, a targeted assassination of the Turkish political elite, or an attack on DJ Turk who leads a double life? Luke and Samaar of the Raven Group have their own wedding to attend but it’s called off at the last minute when they uncover a breach in their security. Instead of returning to Paris, they come to the aid of the Turk to get to the bottom of this horrific event. The conspiracy they uncover must be prevented before the balance of power in the world is perilously reversed. Get your copy at https://amzn.to/2EQdpWf
Thank you for your support in 2019. I look forward to continuing to cause trouble, shock, and entertain you in 2020!!
Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to graduate, Iraq, then Afghanistan. The ring is tiny, for a woman, and it has her initials engraved on the inside.
If you’re a fiction reader and love mystery and suspense, you’re familiar with Lee Child. I’ve learned so much about the art of writing from this contemporary author. I’m always reading something, blogs, books, fiction, non-fiction, Quora, research for my novels, etc. But I rarely remember a plot. The Midnight Line haunted me. Not only for the brilliance of the simple plot and unusual way LC approached a serious problem in society today; but also the empathy and passion of the character that LC created in Jack Reacher.
I have a new book coming out Dec. 25, The Istanbul Conspiracy (don’t tell the censors in TKY because I’m currently living in IST). During the writing of several scenes in this book—Code Raven 7—I found the words coming through me faster than I could type! When I would finish a section I would give thanks to LEE CHILD and The Midnight Line. I never thought I was studying his work. But I am such a fan of his plots, his simplistic yet haunting style, that I absorbed his style. And I am forever grateful.
A reviewer once compared my writing to Lee Child. That was a long time before I’d earned any such reference—and I still don’t. But he inspires and entertains me, and his books remain a source of motivation every time I sit down at the computer.
There have been many books over the years that left a lasting impression in my heart and soul. Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult.
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
I have a family member caught up in a world that Lee Child explores the Midnight Line. The book helped me understand addiction in a way I could never fathom before.
I knew I liked to shake up my life, but this year has been amazing!
It’s almost 2020, so I’m taking a moment to look back and do the proverbial: how did Lynda do in 2019? But today I’m going one step further, I’m going ALL the way back. How many times can I re-invent myself?
I was a good girl, a Canadian army brat. We moved every three years. You packed up your things, said goodbye to your friends, and moved on with your life. Didn’t everyone live like that?
In my teens, I thought I’d be a Catholic nun. I entered a convent of missionary sisters straight from high school. I was religious. I wanted to save the world, look after orphans, feed the poor. Instead, I recall days of washing floors and stealing cookies from the kitchen after lights out! Less than a year later, I left the convent, returned to Ottawa, and married my high school sweetheart. A year later, I was divorced.
I look back on my life and see the characteristics and events that define the woman I’ve become. At the time, I couldn’t see it, but as Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “I can see clearly now.”
First, I’m a loner. It turns out that’s a good thing because change is easy, maybe too easy for me. I don’t form the kind of attachments others form. As a result of my upbringing, I don’t have childhood friends. When people ask me where I come from, I never know what to say. I lived in Petawawa, Toronto, Lindsay, Edmonton, Montreal, Whistler—all in Canada. Then Puerto Vallarta Mexico for the last 17 years. What do I say Canada or Mexico? And now I’m in Istanbul, Turkey!
I could live anywhere in the world because “wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”
I did the same thing with my various careers and in my own businesses.
I started in sales part-time over the summer in Ottawa when I was 18. Then I taught myself how to type and assisted the GM of a stock brokerage firm. I moved to Toronto and began a short-lived modeling career that led me into fashion. I opened a store and sold ladies’ clothing. I built that into a chain of stores. Unfortunately, husband number 2 was a gambler, and he stole money from the business. And “the rest is history!”
The next stop was Montreal, where I began a career as a women’s clothing buyer for retail businesses, importing, designing, and creating. I woke up one morning and said to myself, “If you can make money for someone else, why not do it for yourself.” I opened a manufacturing plant.
Several years later, I now had two young boys. Quebec was in a recession. So I moved from Montreal to western Canada and began a career in resort sales that lasted 25 years! “Why invest money for inventory, rent, retail, and wholesale, when you can make just as much money using your sales skills without the financial risk?”
Witness the evolution of a woman:
“I can see clearly now.”
“Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”
“The rest is history!”
“If you can make money for someone else, why not do it for yourself.”
“Why invest the money for inventory, rent, retail, and wholesale, when you can make just as much money using your sales skills without the financial risk?”
And this brings us to the year 2019. After 54 years of working, 9-5, 8-midnight, and 3, or 4-hour days, I retired! Well, my version of retirement. I sold everything and bought an airline ticket with multiple destinations—precisely the way I’ve lived my life! I celebrated my 72nd birthday in Tel Aviv to the sound of air raid sirens. And from there, I traveled to Europe, India, Thailand. And along the way, I found Istanbul.
The one constant in my life is my love of books. I think my first memory of a book is Little Women. I will reread it someday. In my teens, I started to write poetry and journal. And in my 20’s I wrote my first novel. I never published it and lost the manuscript in one of my moves. But that’s fine with me. It was never meant to be published. I never even tried. But in 2008, I was diagnosed with incurable heart disease and told I had “6 months to live.”
This time I not only had to re-invent myself but re-create myself. “And that has made all the difference.”
Now the promises to self kicked in, and I began to write in earnest. I published three books of poetry and wrote several books of fiction. I waited for years to write and publish my journey to healing because I wanted to be sure that I actually survived what I call my miracle. And now I’m almost on the eve of publishing my 16th book on Amazon, The Istanbul Conspiracy! The 7th in my Code Raven Series.
So far, it’s been and wild and wondrous journey. I’ve managed to stay retired all of 2019 and finally returned to writing to gather my plots for this new release. Yes, I call this retirement even though I am super busy with writing novels, blogs, Quora, FB, IG, Twitter, yoga, traveling, and living my beautiful creative life. I love Istanbul and I think I will stay for a while. It’s been 8 months so far. I’m researching for my books, learning to cook Turkish food, wandering the streets, doing photography, and now I’m back to full-time writing. I finally have time to keep in touch with friends I’ve made along the way in Mexico and in Turkey and all over the world.
So, tell me something. How many times can you reinvent yourself? I say, as many times as it takes!
I LOVE that I am fearless and refuse to live my life the way society dictates. Every morning I find joy in my love of life that has led me to adventures beyond what I ever thought possible.
I woke up this morning and hit the yoga mat. I have immense gratitude that at 72 I am able to move every single part of my body without pain.
I sat down at my desk and finished editing my latest book, The Istanbul Conspiracy. I LOVE that I’ve been blessed with the gift of imagination and the ability to entertain and inspire.
When I take a my medications for heart/blood pressure, I give thanks to a world that has created drugs that have allowed a woman like me to continue living and loving even though I was given “6 months to live” in 2009!
And I take joy from my attitude in life: everything amazes, surprises, and delights me…simple things like the Istanbul cats, Starbucks coffee, caramel waffle cookies, and finding fresh lettuce for my salad at the corner store.
And I find joy — endless joy, in creativity: photography, writing my novels, reading, graphics, fashion, music. And style, like my new hair color. This is what happens when you don’t speak Turkish, your hairdresser doesn’t speak English — but he gets me!
I take joy in knowing I have two amazing sons in my life. We don’t always see eye-to-eye, but that’s okay. They are both just like me: strong-willed and on their own paths.
I’ve been through bankruptcies and divorces — make no comment about the plurals, please! But my stubborn determination to succeed means I’ve bounced back from both more times than I can remember and refuse to become hardened or bitter.
And at this moment in time, I have a very loving relationship with a guy who makes me laugh-out-loud and reminds me that I’m beautiful inside and out. He says that age is just a number to be ignored — ”It’s what’s in your heart that counts.”
Finally — although I’m sure I can come up with a lot more — I have a philosophy in life — many, actually, but I will share this one:
I believe that loneliness is a direct relation to self-love and self-worth. Let’s face the fact that aging is a subject that’s on every woman’s mind once she reaches the age of 30. Why is that? Why do we worry so much about getting older and being alone? I think it has to do with self-love. We just don’t love our selves enough.
We can blame it on the society we live in as aging is a first-world-obsession. All we have to do is look at the media to see that once a woman hits 50 she begins to become invisible. But mostly, this same woman is allowing society to create the fiction that there is something wrong with aging.
I know this might be a rambling comment, but it hurts my heart to hear talk of loneliness when I believe that within ourselves we are whole and complete. I’ve always been a loner—I’m a poet, a memoirist—LOVE The Beat Goes On—a novelist, a whole new career that began in the last decade.
I remember a time when I wouldn’t go to a restaurant and dine alone. I didn’t always have the confidence I have today. I had to work at it.
This photo was taken on my 70th birthday. I spent it at a high-end restaurant on the beach in Puerto Vallarta—a sunset dinner ALL BY MYSELF! It was a first. And it was amazing.
It took me until I was 72 to begin an amazing journey to many countries in the world, not on a tour, not with a group—all alone. And it’s been life-changing.
WE create a situation called loneliness. It doesn’t have to be that way.
I’ve always believed that happiness, contentment, love, health, all these things are related to how much we not only like our self but LOVE ourselves.
I love to say I live in my own little world, they know me there. I could also add, they—all the different aspects that make up the person I have become—LOVE me there. I don’t need other people in my life and yet, I meet new people everywhere. I met my current boyfriend at a touristy spot in Istanbul seven months ago. He was studying English and wanted to practice with someone. It was cold and rather rainy so I accepted the offer of Turkish tea. I took a chance and said yes to dinner later that evening. And here I am, living in Istanbul—for now.
Loneliness is a decision and a choice. You can meet people in a coffee shop, at an art gallery, at the museum, standing in line at the grocery store. I met a woman who has become a friend in a restaurant in Istanbul. She was dining alone and asked me to join her. I had a cold and didn’t want the company. But she asked again when her dessert came and you can always bribe me with “this is too much for me, please share my baklava!” She’s from the Philippines, lives in Florida with her sister, and is currently doing some freelance writing in Rome! She fell in love with Turkey at the same time as I did. Now she’s organizing a religious tour around Turkey next year!!
In today’s world, it’s easy to make friends if you want to. But you need to have the strength inside your own heart—self-love and personal happiness—to make it through the ups and downs of navigating the world.
It all comes back to self-love. And it’s never too late to learn to love yourself.
learn something new every day
Read, voraciously. Choose new genres, expand the mind
Travel, even if it’s to a new neighborhood—take risks, step outside your comfort zone
Take up a new hobby—everyone has a cell phone—take photos, have fun with them, join Instagram, connect with old friends.
And if you’re my age, do something crazy, like color your hair—okay, not this bright (I manipulated the brightness for the fun of it!)
And take care of your health, take your meds, do some yoga—you don’t have to leave home to find a great yoga video online
And try writing. I know you already love reading or you wouldn’t be here.
I LOVE this question! But I can’t answer with only one thing!
I’ve been on a long journey that started the beginning of February 2019 and spanned many countries and cities: Dallas, Tx. Paris, Fr. New Delhi, Agra, & Goa, India, (Istanbul, Turkey for 2 nights) Jerusalem and Tel Avi, Israel, and finally Bangkok, Krabi, Thailand.
But let me go back to last year when I said jokingly: “I could live out a suitcase!” And that’s a big thing to say when you are 72!
I decided to take myself seriously and after decades of working full time, I liquidated my life, put my photos and important papers into one suitcase, grabbed my knapsack with my computer and my iPhone X and took off! Turkey was not on my list when I planned this amazing voyage. But, I planned all this through a company that specialized in long trips (mine was over 4 months) and Chris said, “Lynda, layovers are free. Stop in Istanbul.” He and Istanbul changed my life.
Why do I LOVE Turkey and what shocked and surprised me? First. two days were not enough. So I came back to Istanbul after Thailand loved it so much I recently applied for a long term visa!
YES, I was shocked in an amazing way, with Turkey. Let me share the reasons why:
I LOVE the call to prayer. Do you know that there are over 81K mosques in Turkey? Over 3100 are in Istanbul. I was brought up Catholic and spent a year in the convent. But I don’t truly identify with any organized religion. The call to prayer happens through loudspeakers at every mosque, 5 times a day. I find it soothing and very special.
Islam. Turkey is a Muslim European country. Of the 17 million people of this thoroughly modern and gorgeous city, 96.4% practice Islam. And from what I’ve learned since I arrived here, the religion is not anything like what we learn and hear about in the West.
The people are genuinely kind. I’ve never experienced any violence whatsoever—not that it doesn’t happen, I’m sure—but I walk the streets at night, take the trams, wander endlessly, come home from dining through the city, walking down the hills from Taksim, and never once have I ‘felt’ unsafe. Btw, it helps to have a built-in-danger alarm.
And if all of these things alone didn’t surprise me, I must say the language drives me nuts!! Hah, I walk around with google translate, although most people involved in tourism speak English. I feel so stupid. I can’t wrap my tongue around the words. I can’t relate them to anything—I have some French, Spanish, and of course English. I can even understand some Italian! But Turkish, even though I watch Netflix Turkish cop shows, I still don’t get it!
Food! Don’t get me started! If you haven’t tried Turkish Ice Cream—it’s so creamy—you have not lived!The food is so good and so plentiful. And do try the varieties of baklava, and chocolate, and Turkish Delights!
The night. Istanbul never sleeps. You can find restaurants open at 2 a.m all over the city!
My “shocks” have all been positive—except the damn language!! haha.
Lynda Filler is the author of 15 published books on Amazon. Award-winning Target in the Sun is .99c today.
TARGET IN THE SUN’, a moving, high anxiety romance thriller, takes place on a perilous journey through the explosive dark underworld of organized drug trafficking and the complex, destructive human perils of use, abuse and the carnage it leaves in its unstoppable wake. Caught up in the onslaught is the powerfully engaging nurture of two lovers, Carlos and Mia, discovering and reaching out in a world that could ultimately tear them apart.
“Could not put it downand loved this unique and brilliant approach to letting each character tell the story through their own narrative.” Amazon Customer
“Gripping and suspenseful, clever and sharp, Target in the Sun is a romance thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat. I enjoyed the format, telling parts of the story through letters. I also enjoyed how smoothly it read, the type of book that sucks you in. Highly recommended.” Jane H.
“I won’t give away the plot, but trust me, it’s a great and very important read.” Vine Voice
“An unconventional love story.” A.A.
“This book is flowing, sensual, and exciting in its tragic and heartbreaking travels through two lives, as viewed by the agent. Well written with gorgeous details and descriptions.” S J
“This was a great read, with plenty of action and interesting characters. I would recommend this book.” Rea
“I’ll admit, it took me a few chapters in the first book, ‘Target in the Sun’ to get comfortable with the characters, the back-and-forth, the now-and-then, but, WOW, what a journey! I couldn’t wait to continue with the second, ‘Vanished in the Sun’. I read both in 2 days, and I’m totally exhausted now with all the action in the fight against the drug cartels, love, Mexican cultural knowledge and the beautifully descriptive word paintings of Western Mexico, especially the amazing sunsets! The super-secret off-the-grid organization keeping watch over these characters is genius! Very intriguing! Can’t wait for #3!” Bonnie T.
Highly recommend to fans of suspense, thriller, romance or anyone just looking for an interesting and different read xx Kirsty W.
“All in all I highly recommend this book for originality, vibrancy of the characters, and the solid story line that catches the reader from the first chapter.” Elizabeth Horton-Newton Author
Every day since the original posting of this answer on Quora someone finds it and responds. I hope this reminds you of something warm and fuzzy, and makes your heart feel full. If you’re curious read the comments on the link below.
This question gave me goose-bumps. You will see why when I post a photo at the end.
My older son was given a lovely plush “Teddy” from my mother when he was born. He also had a yellow “Blanky”—these became their proper names. Of course, Zack couldn’t live or fall asleep without these two things. Well, in the interest of full disclosure, he has always been kind of different. When he was two and couldn’t yet speak, he slept with a container filled with colored markers—yes, he’s a super creative Ad Guy! He knows exactly what he wants and at the age of 35, he still goes after what he wants and usually gets it.
Poor Teddy became less fluffy and more distressed as the years wore on. He ended up in the washing machine one time too many, and well, he managed to survive but definitely had a few bald spots! Blanky, on the other hand, shrunk—like older things and people tend to do. So from a nice baby-sized blanket, after cutting it down a few times, and redoing the ribbon on the side, Blanky was no longer at her best. Blanky became more like a napkin size but she was still perfect for Zack.
Now along comes University. Zack is leaving British Columbia and traveling to Montreal, Quebec to go to school. Now I asked my son, what do we do? He responded: “Mom. You know Teddy doesn’t travel.” And that was that. We found a special spot for him up on a shelf and Zack went off to college.
Fast-forward through the years. We sold the house. My husband and I split up. I moved to Mexico. Zack graduated and moved to Toronto, then Vancouver, and finally settled in Paris.
I now have a lovely grandbaby who just turned 3. Of course, I tried to find a teddy just like TEDDY, but it wasn’t meant to be. So Felix has a rabbit. Several of the same model. Because just like his daddy, there is no sleeping without Rabbit!
I can’t tell you how many panic attacks we’ve had when we can’t find our Lapin! But we always manage!
And then one day, a couple of months ago, my son sent me this photo through Messenger from Paris:
I responded with the ‘aaahhhs’ and lovely words of a Grandmother who misses her adult son and only grandson.
“That’s so sweet. It’s nice to see he has another toy beside his rabbit!”
“MOM, take a closer look!”
“Mom, Dad was visiting Judy in Montreal, and he brought this back from Canada for Felix!! It’s my Teddy!”
One day you will look back on your life. You will wish your daughter’s challenges in life were as simple as giving up plush toys.
Whether you are 14 or 35 or 72, there are some memories in life that are priceless.
It’s 12:30 noon on Sunday the 6th of October in Istanbul, Turkey where I’m currently living. It’s almost 3 pm in New Delhi, 4:30 in Puerto Vallarta, and 11:30 am in Paris where my son lives! I refer to the world clock often on my phone. It’s a way for me to keep track of friends, family, and readers that I connect with online.
The world clock also connects me to my travels, my imagination, the events I encountered and the work that I do when I write. I mention all this because many simple things can Kick Start your Creativity.
Here’s something that will inspire you today. Can you imagine life 5000 years ago? Do you believe we are born again, that our souls pass on to another form, another body and continue through generations and centuries?
Have you ever been somewhere and had the feeling of déjàvu? I felt it when I visited Jerusalem in March 2019.
I don’t have the answers but as far back as I can remember I’ve always been fascinated by these things: