EARLY PRAISE FOR “The Adventures of Isabelle Book I”
“This is a great book! Nicole Cutts has opened a new world for us. We are introduced to Xamayca, an unusual land of mystery and adventure – and apparent magic. You will like and care about Princess Isabelle – and her family. You will want to know more about Isabelle and where her journeys take her. I look forward to the next adventure!” –Flash 78
“While this genre isn’t my usual favorite, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Dr. Cutts is a good writer and the story was well-crafted and compelling. It is especially helpful for young women (and old ones, like me!) to be exposed to strong females who overcome adversity and find their inner strength. Dr. Cutts is a dynamic professional whose life coaching and Vision Quest retreats have helped many people on their own heroic quests. “The Adventures of Isabelle” complement her work and can help all of us find our own callings. I look forward to Books II and III!” –Maria Olsen, Esq. Author
“Tired of the old male dominated fairy tale? Here’s a new tale for the ages. Princess Isabelle sets off on an adventure (my fave word after cake) to see if there is more to life than what’s at the castle.” –An Unconventional Librarian
Book I of the Adventures of Isabelle is here! If you have been following this chronicle you know that I have been working on books I and II for some time now. It’s been an exciting and at times arduous journey but the book is finally here!
Order your copy today and be entered in a drawing for tickets to the VIP Book Launch & Birthday Bash taking place Saturday May 30th in Potomac, MD!
Welcome to the “Write Your Own Heroine’s Quest” Course. Please watch the introductory video below and see pre-work resources below the vid. (PLEASE NOTE You can start this course at ANY TIME)
Thank you for joining us for this fun course of self-discovery! Please work through the below lessons IN ORDER and please contact me if you have any questions/comments/or feedback at anytime. Dr.Cutts@CuttsConsulting.com or find me on Facebook at Vision Quest Retreats with Dr. Nicole Cutts.
4) Watch the movie Finding Joe (an inspirational movie that takes you on the ultimate heroes journey: the journey of self discovery. As you slay dragons and uncover treasures, you just may find that the holy grail you seek is closer than you think.)
*Want a FREE Sample of The Adventures of Isabelle Book I? Click Chapter I Excerpt
If at any time you have any questions about the pre-work or the course please feel free to email me at Dr.Cutts@CuttsConsulting.com or at any of my social media sites below.
Lesson 1: Character Sketches
Hopefully by now you have completed the above pre-work. (The rest of the course will make a lot more sense if you have.) This first lesson is fairly easy. Think of the people in your life who have had a great impact on you and played pivotal roles in your story. Use the Hero’s Journey/Monomyth as reference; looking for people who have been helpers, mentors and even dragons. Think of events that shaped your life’s paths and recall the people that were involved. These people may be your parents, siblings, teachers, friends or spiritual guides.
The Old Woman in the Tower from “The Adventures of Isabelle Book I”
Next… just write a list of these people (no big deal, just write their names down) You may already have character names for them or they might just still have their real names.
Next…Answer the following questions about each of your characters in your journal, on your legal pad, PC or whatever you use to write. A) What does he/she look like physically? B) How would you describe his/her personality? C) In what ways did he/she shape your life (you don’t have to write out long stories here, just jot down notes)
Once you have done the above pat yourself on the back and get ready for lesson 2. If you haven’t completed all the pre-work this would be a great time to go back and do it!
Questions/Comments? Drop me a line at the places below.
Lesson 2: Plot Outline Journal Exercise
Welcome Back! Hopefully by now you have completed the required pre-work and Lesson 1. This lesson involves plot development. Don’t worry you don’t have to write your whole plot in one sitting. This is a preparatory exercise or journal exercise (if you prefer). Return to this article on Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth/Hero’s Journey. Look specifically at eleven stages of the journey and their attendant narrative happenings (see below). Once you have reviewed them closely take each stage, one at a time and just write about any similarities or differences that you see in relation to your life and these narrative stages. Don’t worry if you don’t feel as if this is giving you your entire plot. This exercise is like gathering research from which you will later write your story. This exercise may take a few sittings so just take your time with it.
I. Departure Stages
1. The Call to Adventure, 2. Refusal of the Call, 3. Supernatural Aid, 4. Crossing the Threshold, 5. Belly of the Whale
Princess Isabelle Setting Out on Her Journey from The Adventures of Isabelle Book I. Illustrations By: Wayne Rodney
II. Initiation Stages
6. The Road of Trials, 7. The Meeting with the Goddess, 8. Woman/Man as Temptress, 9. Atonement with the Father, 10. Apotheosis, 11. The Ultimate Boon
If you have ANY questions or comments feel free to drop me a line at any of the places at the end of this post.
Welcome Back! Hopefully by now you have completed the required pre-work and Lessons 1 and 2. I also hope you are enjoying the course thus far and uncovering some valuable insights about yourself and your life as a heroine’s quest. Feel free to share any insights, reactions, comments or questions with me other members of the Vision Quest Retreats Tribeon Facebook or in the comments for this blog.
In this lesson you will be writing a draft of your introduction to your story or taking a stab at your first chapter (whichever appeals to you more). It might be a good time to remind you that this is more of a course of self discover and less of a writing course. In other words don’t stress about the writing aspect. Just let that flow.
Start out by writing the story of your origins. You may want to start with your birth story or your earliest memory. This is a creative process so there are no real rules. If you want to read a model download excerpt from Chapter I of The Adventures of Isabelle Book I.
Write as much or as little as you need to in order to feel that you have a ROUGH draft. Don’t worry about trying to hook your reader or introduce all the major themes and characters yet. This is an exercise that will give you fodder for your story later (should you choose to write a story for others to read) but for now this is for YOU so just sit there and WRITE. If you feel you need more direction give a shout and I will come running.
After you complete the above exercise just kick back and congratulate yourself and rest up for the next installment.
Lesson 4: Write a First Draft of Your Story
Welcome back to the fifth and final installment of this course. I hope you have been getting a lot out of it thus far! Today you start writing your story. We don’t expect you to finish it all in one day, but today is when you sit down to write. You can do this in a journal, with a word processor or if you are a hipster, with a typewriter! I wrote my first draft of Book I of The Adventures of Isabelle long hand on a legal pad and loose leaf paper. I found it helped me to flow faster and better than typing, but by the time I was writing book II I was typing on my laptop because it saved time. Whenever I got stuck though I often went back to long hand to get my juices flowing. Again this is your creative process so do what makes sense for you!
To get started you may want to re-read your intro and just pick up where you left off. Since the story is based on your actual life devising the plot and new characters should pose no problem. This isn’t to say that you can’t add characters and plot points from your imagination. This is like writing your own mythology so whatever makes sense to advance your heroine’s quest should enter your story. There are many examples of this in my tale i.e. the enchanted cuirass that appears in Chapter II of Book I. You will have your own unique elements and characters and narrative. The point is to let it flow keeping in mind that you are viewing your “ordinary life” through the extraordinary lense of the heroine’s quest.
How long should your story be? As long or as short as it needs to be to tell your life story in the context of the awesome mission that you are on. Where does it end? Good question. It’s up to you! If you want to end your story with your plot mirroring your real life to date that’s groovy. If you want to write your own fabulous fairy tale ending…GO FOR IT! I chose to end book I after Princess Isabelle’s formative years, and the attendant adventures she had and right after her major call to adventure which launches her into Book II. Book III is writing itself as I live, grow and experience my amazing life!
Ok so the above should be enough to get you started on the first draft. If you are doing this as the course is intended, for self discovery you can revise if it makes sense for you. If you plan to turn this into a book for sale revising and editing is a must. If you have questions on this or any aspect of the course please reach out via any of the below links.
Pura Vida! and welcome to my Costa Rican Travelogue. Lucky me I have come to San Ramos for work but I’m getting in some great hikes and sights. I am sharing my pics and story here. If you love adventure you should also pick up my fantasy/adventure heroine’s quest book; The Adventures of Isabelle Book I.
My little Casita at The Hotel Villa Blanca
Visit TheSuccessDoc on You Tube for some cool hummingbird vids!
When President Obama first ran for president in 2008 the question on everyone’s lips was “Are WE ready for a Black president?” Now that Hillary Clinton is in the race the question is “Is the United States ready for its first female president?” It’s odd that a country that likes to boast equality for women while pointing the finger of sexism at other countries and cultures has yet to have a woman commander in chief.
The question is really why is this even a question? Why do we look at female leaders as different than men? Why are many men more threatened by a woman in a position of power than a man? Why do men often see women as a threat to their masculinity as is suggested by the findings from three studies outlined in this Huffington Post article entitled Men See Powerful Women As Threats To Their Masculinity.
What are our perceptions of women’s leadership and in fact do women lead differently than men? There are myriad studies and articles out there such as this one from Psychology Today Do Men and Women Lead Differently? Who’s Better? that suggest that women MAY in fact lead differently and perhaps better than men. But this post isn’t about establishing superiority of female or male leadership.
I’d like to posit an ideal sketch (not really a model yet) of feminine leadership. Before I share my ideal vision of feminine leadership let me say I do not think that there is any one way women lead and one way men lead. No two people are alike let alone everyone in one gender. I’m exploring my own ideal vision and sharing it with you. This vision is based on my own natural inclinations and desires that have probably been sharpened by the resistance to them that I experienced as a girl. I’m sharing this vision in the hopes that it will provide another model for young women and girls and yes even boys and men. This vision has also made its way into my fiction writing through the character of Princess Isabelle of Xamayca who I have recently introduced in “The Adventures of Isabelle Book I: The Embryo Goddess and the Morpho” Princess Isabelle evinces the characteristics of the Ideal Feminine Leader.
I do not know why our society encourages little boys to be leaders and girls followers but I know that this is NOT a fit for many young women and men. Not all little girls want to be leaders but for those who do we need to offer nurturance and guidance to them. Our narrow gender role expectations have squashed and squandered too much leadership talent found naturally in little girls and women. Maybe my fledgling model can provide a different template that will resonate with some. Without further ado here it goes…
The Ideal Feminine Leader is:
Princess Isabelle of Xamayca
#Loves and Cares for Herself
#Highly Emotionally Intelligent (Knows herself and motivates others to give their very best).
#Focused on her Heroine’s Quest
#Promotes Peace and Healing for people animals and Mother Earth (She will put an end to war).
In nature, with a few biological exceptions to the rule, the feminine and masculine protocols are the keys to life and living. Human beings, although we forget this simple truth from time-to-time, are Nature’s crowning glory. Women and men are not meant to compete, but to bring out the best in one another, and make the world we share a better place, one capable of sustaining life for our children and the greater community of nations. If we want to be the best we can be, that means, sometimes I lead, and sometimes you do. The essential point is that we are living representations of Yin and Yang, and together we produce the energy that drives life into being.
So there it is. What are your thoughts on the idea of Ideal Feminine Leadership? Please leave me a comment.
Much continued success and well being on your quest!
Beautiful women, girls and elders attended this event in Potomac, MD This cross-generational event offered a unique and fun opportunity for women of all ages to enjoy and learn from one another.
Pre-event interview (photo by Tony Regusters)
After reading excerpts from The Adventures of Isabelle Book I the life events and challenges presented in this story of Princess Isabelle of Xamayca were used to spark discussion of the real life challenges and joys of those in the sharing circle. Using a technique of sharing based on Imago Dialogue, Bohm Dialogue and other oral history traditions the attendees had an opportunity to share their stories (experience, strength and hope) and learn from the heroine’s quests of each other. See pics below…
Vision Quest Retreats Presents a Cross-Generation Reading and Discussion of The Adventures of Isabelle Book I: The Embryo Goddess and the Morpho!
Sharing Isabelle with fabulous artist Lilian Burwell
Women and girls are invited to this event Aug. 8 11:30-2:00 in Potomac, MD (address provided upon R.S.V.P.)
This cross-generational event is a unique and fun opportunity for women of all ages; from young girls to women to elders to enjoy and learn from one another.
After reading excerpts from The Adventures of Isabelle Book I the life events and challenges presented in this story of Princess Isabelle of Xamayca will be used to spark discussion of the real life challenges and joys of those in the group. Attendees will have an opportunity to share their stories (experience, strength and hope) and learn from the heroine’s quests of each other.
I hope you can join us for what I’m sure is going to be an enlightening and FUN event!
Questions? Contact Nicole Cutts at 202-669-5777 or firstname.lastname@example.org
What are the Benefits of Cross-Generational Activities?
1) Increased creativity given that creativity relies on a number of different and divergent perspectives being brought to bear onto a situation or problem. A diverse cross-generational group has the potential to come up with more perspectives.
2) Improved knowledge sharing. Since different generations possess unique knowledge and skills. There is also a built in mentor structure available to be used if harnessed effectively.
3) Better solutions to life challenges in the long run, as long as we are able to listen to the diverse views. Having divergent perspectives and increased creativity leads to the ability to generate better solutions to the problems life throws our way.
4) Increased pleasure and fun through the opportunity for all parties to be of service to one another by sharing their stories.
5) Increased self-esteem and confidence that comes from taking the risk of putting oneself out there and using one’s voice to tell her story.
I’m happy to announce that after 4 yrs I’m publishing Book I of the Adventures of Isabelle! If you have been following this chronicle you know that I have been working on books I and II for some time now. It’s been an exciting and at times arduous journey but the final proof has been approved and the books will be here any day!
Pre-Order your copy today and be entered in a drawing for tickets to the VIP Book Launch & Birthday Bash taking place Saturday May 30th in Potomac, MD!
I remember the first time I was told I had a “good enough mother” I was in my early 20s in my then therapist’s office going on and on about the ways in which my mother had failed me as a child when my therapist said “It sounds like you had a ‘good enough mother*.'” At the time, not already a clinical psychologist and the more mature person I am today I begged to differ! Today I know differently and I will tell you how.
Tomorrow is mother’s day, the day we honor mom, but also the day many of us compare our own moms against OUR perfect image of mom and wind up feeling lacking. I don’t know about you but my mom was not perfect. At times our relationship has been kinda tough but today I am extremely grateful to have the mom that I have. Somewhat like the mother Queen Cythona in my new novel “The Adventures of Isabelle Book I: The Embryo Goddess and the Morpho” my mother could be quite an imperious and demanding figure. Also a brilliant and very practical woman this artistic, very sensitive, artistic Gemini baby gave her a run for her money. Needless to say heads often butted, hard battles fought and resentments accrued. At one point my perception was so bad that I thought I was in fact damaged by this relationship!
Queen Cythona of Xamayca
The turning point in this perception came in the office of a very different therapist. He was a psychiatrist but atypical in that he was very spiritual. When I tried to complain about mom he just told me that on a spiritual level I had wished for and gotten the PERFECT mom for me! By the time I heard him say that I was mature enough to know it was the truth. I stopped complaining about mom and got down to my other spiritual work.
Today I’m so grateful that my mom and I have lived as long as we have to get to know and understand each other better. I’m also grateful I had the mom I had because it’s in large part why I am the woman that I am today (and I really like this woman).
Today I can I can look at all my mother DID for me versus wishing for what she DIDN’T do. I can view her as a necessity on my heroine’s quest, providing me with very important lessons and I can stop wishing for a different childhood.
Maybe Most Important! I have stopped haranguing her about stuff I didn’t appreciate and now take time to tell her thanks for all the things she did i.e. educating me, exposing me to the world. I sat down one day and wrote her a letter with all the things for which I’m grateful (she treasures this letter and probably pulls it out when I get on her nerves).
I know some people may read this and disagree. You may have had a horrible mom or you may have thought your mommy was perfect from the start. This is just my experience and understanding. If you are in the category of those who think you had a pretty bad mom I will suggest something that really helped me gain a new perspective.
Here’s a video of Neale Donald Walsch’s parable “The Little Soul and the Sun”
Happy Mother’s Day to All Mother’s out there (yes even the imperfect ones),
*Good Enough Mother-a term coined by pediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott meaning a term for the ordinary and devoted mother who provides an adequate and good enough environment for the growth of the infant’s ego to be able to express its true self.