Tag Archives: Inspiration


By Rhonda Strehlow


Someone once asked me where I get ideas for my books. Some have been in my head for years. Take the premise for my first book, Second Act. All 70,000 plus words are based on a sixty-minute encounter that took place more than twenty years ago.

It started like this: my sisters and I took a long weekend break in Chicago. We had just seen a play and had an hour or so before we were expected at a nice restaurant. The evening was gorgeous. We talked and laughed as we wandered down the street. I was carrying a tiny evening bag. Feeling free and silly, I was swinging the purse in circles when a blond gentleman grabbed my arm.

This is downtown Chicago. We’re from a town with a population of 499 in northern Wisconsin. My sisters and I freeze.

He says, “It’s not safe to swing your purse in this city.”

En masse my sisters and I back away from him and his large bald friend we hadn’t noticed earlier.

He smiles and starts telling us about Chicago, its history, and famous residents. Within minutes we were captivated by his insights and barely noticed when we reached the restaurant.  We invited them to join us. They pointed to their shorts and sandals and declined.

“Thank you…” I hesitated. “We don’t know your names.”

The blond man smiled enigmatically, hugged me, and walked away.

I gave the bald man a quizzical look.

He leaned in and whispered, “If I told you his name, you would recognize it.”

In minutes they disappeared into the crowd.

If you want to know what could have been the rest of the story, you’ll have to read the book.

Travel for Inspiration

By L.E. Aronis

I recently bought a t-shirt that reads “Love Where You Are,” which is completely the opposite of my usual life-view. I’ve lived in Wisconsin all my life, and while there are many things I love about the state, there are increasingly more and more things I’m growing to dislike each year. I love the natural beauty and friendliness of most people, but the long winters have me longing for a more temperate climate.

I have been to several different countries, including Canada, Israel, Ireland, and Great Britain, as well as Puerto Rico, which is an American territory but feels like a different country. I’ve flown on many planes and taken a passenger train between Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland. I’ve taken a ferry from Wales to Ireland, spent a whole week exploring the amazing city of Edinburgh by city bus, and my two feet. I’ve spent way too much money to rent a car, driving along the Jurassic Coast of Southern Dorset, England, as well as County Cork, Ireland. I’ve harvested grapes in a vineyard for a winery in Israel and tasted the wine that those before me worked so hard to help produce.

I’ve taken chances and not always been very wise in my decisions when it comes to travel, but it’s all worked out, and I’ve learned quite a lot from it. Those experiences and the places I’ve traveled to have enriched my writing, as well as my life. I can draw on so many amazing things in order to create characters and situations that I’d never have thought of if I’d stayed put in Wisconsin. I’ve written about people living in large manor homes in Edinburgh, Amazing townhomes in London, beach houses near the sea in Dorset, as well as a normal, middle-income home in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Through travel, I’ve become a better writer and I think, a better person who sees things in a different, less narrow way. If you want variety and something different to write about, I’d recommend travel; you never know the things you’ll come up with, having gleaned inspiration through the people you’ll meet and places you’ll see.