My personal Seven Wonders of my world - this is the weekly topic at the Facebook group, The Writers' Post
I had to think long and hard about this topic. Which seven things have changed me - for the better?
Okay, here we go:
1. My family has to come first, of course. My two daughters, who drove me to distraction when they were teenagers, are now (in their 40's) the best of friends. And my two grandsons, as different as chalk and cheese. Matt, the 22-year old, with a university degree, so laid-back and laconic (and still working at Starbucks while he finds a 'real' job), and Jordan, the 17-year-old, so mature and articulate, and so self-motivated. I love them all.
2. Writing has always been as natural to me as breathing, ever since I was 8 or 9. I wrote stories, my diary, long letters, anything. Even when I wasn't writing fiction (for a long gap in my life), I was writing articles. Writing is me, that's the only way I can describe it.
3. My computer and the WWW - how did I ever survive without them? I was into word-processing way back in the 80's - so different from the 'old days' of writing in longhand thern typing out my early novels on an ancient upright typewriter. But it's more than the 'convenience' of transferring my thoughts via the keyboard to the screen and correcting/editing as I go. It's been my link, not just to a wealth of research (yay for google!), but also to my cousins in America, my friends in different parts of the world, and also to other writers and friends.
4. 'The West Wing' - I have to include this TV series as one of the things which changed my life. I got hooked on it, not when it was on TV to start with, but when I bought the DVDs of the show. I've always been fascinated by American history and politics, and this show captivated me, not just because my favourite actor, Martin Sheen, played President Jed Bartlet, but also because it told me so much about American politics. It was also pivotal in my return to writing fiction after a 30+ year gap. I wrote several fan-fiction stories about Jed and Abbey Bartlet (my favourite couple on the show) and, as a result, my fiction muse finally returned and I started writing novels again.
5. Travelling -I LOVE visiting new places, in my own country and elsewhere. I've travelled extensively in Britain, mainland Europe, the Middle East, America and Canada. I've been to places which, at one time, I never thought I would ever visit - the place I used to learn about in Geography lessons many moons ago. I've seen the Pyramids, Auschwitz Concentration Camp, Gettysburg, Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, the Somme battlefield in France, the Abu Simbel temples at sunrise, and sunset over Galway Bay - just a few of the awesome places I've seen.
6. Ireland - there's just something about this small island which is total magic for me. I only 'discovered' it about 5 years ago, and have been back there 2 or 3 times each year ever since. So much history and scenery, not to mention the friendly people there and the music too. I am totally in love with Ireland.
7. England's Lake District - a beautiful area of lakes and mountains in North West England which I got to know in my teens when my parents bought a caravan there. It's the part of England I love most of all, and has so many memories for me, from being there with my parents to the times when my daughters were younger. I've set two of my novels there, and will probably set more there.