How to Research a Location You Haven’t Actually Been To

Excellent tips for adding another layer of authenticity to your writings! 😉

A Writer's Path

by Helena Fairfax

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, or read any of my books, you’ll know how important setting is to me in my writing. In this post about Richmond Park, for example, I wrote about how I tried to combine the setting for The Antique Love with the theme of the book, and how I used the setting to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of my characters.

So far I’ve been able to visit most of the locations I’ve used in my books. My settings range from Edinburgh to the south coast of France, and they are all within easy reach for me. But sometimes it’s just not possible to get to the place you want to write about. I used to agonise about this. I like to “see” exactly what it is my characters see.

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The Whys and Hows of Guest Blogging

Dan Alatorre


jenny3 author J. A. Allen

Dan Alatorre recently invited me to post a guest blog while he vacations with his family in England. I jumped at the opportunity to fill the opening.


To newbie bloggers, expending the energy to write a post for someone ELSE’S site can seem like a lot of work with little reward.

So, I’m visiting to talk you through it.

stock-vector-welcome-to-england-red-round-ribbon-stamp-285269771 I’m still vacationing! – Dan

Writing a guest post is a great way to build relationships with other bloggers.

Forging strong connections with other bloggers/writers is highly beneficial to everyone involved.

I’m happy to write this post for Dan, because he’s a great friend to my site: Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins. And, as a conscientious guest, I will promote this post on HIS site on Twitter, share it on Facebook, stick around to reply to comments after the piece goes live, and re-blog…

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7 Tips for Living with Fibromyalgia

Living with Fibromyalgia

It is important for those living with fibromyalgia to have a plan of action in order to control their pain and continue on with everyday life.

1- Reduce Stress Levels

It is very important for those living with fibromyalgia to reduce stress levels.  Stress, fatigue, anxiety and depression are common issues that occur in patients with fibromyalgia.  Limiting stress in one’s life is a way to help cope with the pains of fibromyalgia.

People can reduce their stress levels in a number of different ways.  Some people are able to relax by reading, taking a walk, listening to music, meditating, or many other methods.  The actions taken will depend on the person, but can be greatly beneficial.

Reducing stress levels helps keep anxiety in check, as anxiety attacks can more easily be avoided when there is a plan in place.  Reducing stress can increase optimism and can alleviate depression.  Practicing stress management can also increase energy levels, as people who are less stressed tend to have more energy to complete the day’s activities.

2- Practice Regular Massage

Having a regular massage practice can be great for easing the pain of sore muscles and tissues.  Massage can be done in a variety of different ways, and each person should explore the type of massage methods that work best for them.  Some people prefer to go to a professional masseuse one to two times a week, in order to loosen tight and painful muscles.  Other people prefer to do daily massage and stretching at home.  One way to do this is to use a tennis ball to roll on the areas that are aching and sore.  This protects the body from too much pressure and can provide release from tight muscles.

3- Maintain Social Activities As Much As Possible

Living with chronic pain can be isolating.  People living with fibromyalgia can suffer from so much pain that they do not want to get out of bed or leave the house.  This isolation can often lead to the feelings of depression, loneliness, and anxiety that are so common.

It is important for people to maintain a healthy social life as much as possible.  This includes talking and visiting with friends and family, and sharing your troubles with them.  It can mean getting out of the house once a week or once a month to meet up with friends for a drink or for dinner.  It doesn’t really matter how you stay social as long as you do it!

There are also plenty of support groups for people with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain.  Attending these groups can be enlightening and can ease depression, as associating with others who are dealing with the same issues can give perspective on the situation.

4- Create a Schedule

It is important for those living with fibromyalgia and chronic pain to maintain a schedule that works.  This means not overexerting and committing to too much.  This is important, as pain can flare up at any time, and can cause issues when a person has committed to doing something.

Find a schedule that works and try to stick to it as best as possible.  Simply, this can mean trying to wake up and go to bed at the same time each night.  It also includes creating a work schedule that is not too draining, and being sure to schedule adequate rest periods throughout the day is extremely important.

5- Exercise

It is important to try to exercise as much as possible, as it is great for muscles and joints, and is also good for mental health.  Some great ways to exercise include walking, swimming, bicycling and yoga.  The key is to participate in low-impact activities that are easier on the joints.  Exercise that involves stretching is also great for muscles and joints, as it can increase range of motion.

6- Eat a Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy diet is important for overall health, as a variety of foods is best for the body.  It is great to eat fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamins, and to limit sugars and other foods that are not nutrient-rich. Eating a balanced diet increases energy levels and helps those with chronic pain maintain the energy they need to exercise and complete the day’s tasks.

7- Find a Compassionate Doctor

When dealing with the woes of fibromyalgia, it is important to find a compassionate doctor who takes the time to understand your health concerns.  Having a doctor who listens and cares will do wonders for your health, as appropriate medications and lifestyle habits can greatly improve quality of life with the condition.

The preceding information is from and is posted here for sharing purposes only. For additional information, please visit their site.