Ya know what? It’s still an amazing world, in spite of the crazy, astonishing, and sometimes horrifying headlines the news and social media focus on. I’m looking out the window, seeing the trees all decorated richly with leaves of green, chartreuse, and purple. A snow-covered mountain and the brilliant blue sky provide a perfect backdrop. There’s a robin carrying grass and twigs into the mulberry tree. Right now everything is still and quiet. So beautiful…

I’m so grateful for that—and that there is so much to be thankful for during the challenges we’re all facing right now! Sometimes it gets really tough to see the blessings through all of the messiness. I’m glad to have this regular feature pulling my attention to some of the good stuff.

It’s Still an Amazing World

Surprise Paper Bag Mask Zoom Party

Five Good Things #13—where we’re looking at Paper Bag Mask Parties, SPFBO#5, a Map of the Aquilan Empire, How Writers Can Make Peace With Their Busy Minds, and Feeling a Disturbance in the Force. robinlythgoe.comhttps://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/reader-submitted-covid-blog-roundup/
This is one of several included in an article at the Good News Network, and it just made me giggle.

GNN reader Andrea sent us a screen capture worthy of the best Halloween party, saying: “My mom threw a surprise paper bag princess-themed Zoom birthday party for my sister.”

Her sibling had no idea what was happening and thought she was just having a birthday call with her immediate family members—but family from around the country joined the call disguised in paper bags that they had designed.

 

Following the 5th Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off

https://thoughtsonfantasy.com/2020/05/08/following-the-5th-self-published-fantasy-blog-off/
In case you happened to somehow miss Mark Lawrence’s amazing contest for indie fantasy authors, this post will catch you up in no time. “SPFBO” is a contest for self-published fantasy writers. “10 different fantasy blogs act as judges or judging teams – each blog gets allocated a batch of books to review and selects a finalist. Then all of the bloggers read, review, and rate those 10 finalists to come up with a winner.” And it has a great picture montage of all the finalist covers.

 

Map of the Aquilan Empire, by Josephe Vandel

https://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=26465&highlight=skies+fire

A fantastic map for the Skies of Fire graphic novel project by Vincenzo Ferriero and Ray Chou of Mythopoeia. There’s such a rich, antique feel to this that is well worth checking out at a Really Big size.

Skies of Fire (Map and Book)

 

How Writers Can Make Peace With Their Busy Minds

https://www.well-storied.com/blog/how-writers-can-make-peace-with-their-busy-minds
This is a shrewd observation: “I suddenly wonder if my mind, with its blinking lights and thoughts catapulting through the white matter of my brain, has its own sort of creative process. I wonder if my guilt comes from the world telling me that I need to focus, that social media is a waste of time. I wonder if this isn’t entirely true.”

The idea that “making peace” can be a gentle sort of discipline is freeing. We don’t want to quash the creativity, we want to nurture it!

 

Have You Recently Experienced a Disturbance in the Force?

(A Book Nerd Quote)

Want to see more good stuff? I’ve got you covered: All Kinds of Good Things

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Which of these good things do you like best? What fantastic things have you seen in the world lately?

Share in the comments!