Thursday, December 24, 2015

Think You Know the Liberty Bell?

Check out these facts.


When I was grade school I had a teacher, who was in love with history. She told tales of the American Revolution like she’d been there. The stories were so vivid and detailed that secretly my friends and I wondered if she might not be old enough to have witnessed the war between Britain and the thirteen colonies in person. She’d been to many of the historical sites and she’d show us her pictures and say if we ever got a chance we should follow in her footsteps. She said when we went on this pilgrimage we should make a point of visiting the Liberty Bell.
Recently, when I’m probably the same age my grade school teacher was when she regaled us with historical legends and lore, I traveled to the east coast and I got see the Liberty Bell. In tribute to my teacher, I’d like to share a few facts I’ve learned.



1. The Liberty Bell hasn’t tolled for over 150 years.
2. In 1751, colonists ordered the bell from England, intending to use it in the Pennsylvania State House, which is now known as Independence Hall.
3. The bell arrived in August 1752. It weighed 2,080 pounds.
4. Then colonists built a special steeple for the bell. They planned a special ceremony for the bell’s first tolling on March 10th, 1753, but when they rang the bell it clanked. It was cracked.
5. The colonists’ first idea was to send the bell back to England for repairs, but they couldn’t find a captain willing to sail with the bell immediately.
6. Colonists decided to ask John Pass and John Stow to recast the bell.
7. The two craftsmen added copper to the bell’s mix to make it stronger, but when the bell chimed it sounded terrible because there was too much copper.
8. Pass and Stow melted the bell down again and added tin; however, when the bell rang it still didn’t sound very musical. People weren’t fond of the sound, but the assembly used it anyway to call meetings to order and to chime the hour.
9. Townspeople really didn’t start liking the bell until delegates rang the bell on July 8, 1776 in celebration after the Declaration of Independence was read in the courtyard of the Pennsylvania State House.
10. Because colonists were afraid the bell might fall into the hands of the British they asked Benjamin Flower to hide it.
11. He asked John Jacob, a local farmer, to transport the bell out of Philadelphia.
12. Where was the bell? Colonists hid it in Allentown, Pennsylvania under the floor of the Zion Reformed Church.
13. After the British army march toward New York, colonists retrieved the bell.  When the British surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia, on October 24, 1781, the people in the newly independent America rang the bell.

The Liberty Bell has a lot more significance and a lot more history than what I’ve shared today. I’m going to do another post and give you more facts soon, but I want to stop at thirteen and wish you a Merry Christmas.

Thanks for reading my posts and I wish you a safe and blessed holiday.

Sources
http://www.nps.gov/inde/learn/historyculture/stories-libertybell.htm
The Liberty Bell by Debra Hess
The Liberty Bell by Mary Firestone
The Liberty Bell by Hall Marcovitz

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Super-Hero vs Super-Noir


By Elizabeth MS Flynn w/a Eilis Flynn
Like a whole lot of other people, I’ve been watching the Netflix offerings in the Marvel universe. I watched the first series, Daredevil, with a tiny bit of knowledge, since I’d read the comic from time to time, saw the movie with Ben Affleck (which I liked, and apparently I was one of a select few in that, but I assumed that was because the romance portion of the story was too much for the fanboys out there), and paid some vague attention to the natterings from those greater fans around me. Anyway, the series was good; and the lead, Charlie Cox, was fascinating to watch. Another Brit doing a great job of playing an American, Cox was somehow mesmerizing with those dark glasses, playing Matt Murdock, blind attorney by day and radar super-hero in Hell’s Kitchen (an earlier name for a neighborhood in Manhattan) by night. The super-hero outfit was nowhere to be seen for the most part, but he was even more interesting without it, in that the black turtleneck and pants and the black scarf worked better than the uniform he ended up with at the finish.

At least he had a uniform to fall back on. The second Netflix series, Jessica Jones, was built on a comic I wasn’t familiar with, not unusual, since me and mine were never Marvelfolk (we were DCers). Not only that, the lead, an actress named Krysten Ritter (sp unc), was memorable in whatever I had seen her in, so that was about the only thing I knew about it. A former super-heroine who quit the biz and became a private investigator, Jessica’s overarching story turned out to be just as interesting as the subplots. A super-villain named Kilgrave (played by David Tennant of Doctor Who; you really do have to appreciate their casting) with mind control abilities was interesting but not arresting—creepy; effective in that I kept wanting to wash my hands—then again, I was fine to watch those scenes if it meant the background stories would be served. Then again, it took me a while to realize that this was a story in which the major characters were all female (with the exception of Kilgrave, of course, and the love interest: Luke Cage, the character who helped name Nicolas Cage, ably played by Mike Colter, and who, if I recall, will be the center of the next Netflix series), and of course, by then I was hooked. It didn’t hurt that Jessica’s best friend, Trish Walker (played by Rachael Taylor), turned out to be in an earlier life Patsy Walker, which was the name of a super-heroine called Hellcat. Gotta love it.

Anyway, I’m darn pleased with both DD and JJ. They work well in the medium and I can only complain that Netflix bounces me out every few episodes, and so I haven’t been able to binge-watch. If you haven’t had a chance to see either, I recommend them highly.

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for 39 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at emsflynn.com and reached at emsflynn@aol.com. If you’re curious about her books, check out eilisflynn.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Acknowledging our #veterans #PearlHarborDay #New release

I know, I've been gone a while. All I can say is between work and writing, well... I should do better.

I have a new release Merry Christmas, Baby  just in time for the holidays but coincidentally it went live on Pearl Harbor Day, a "Momentous" day in US history.

I shouldn't have been surprised though because my focus with this series stays on veterans. My oldest vet in the series, Grandpa Earl, survived Pearl Harbor.

Every time I research background for a story or brainstorm a character, my thoughts are on how I can bring something to light about our veterans that will expose facts we somehow think are not worthy of major public concern, like the fact that we lose at least 22 vets a day to suicide, or encourage them, or  convince someone who's reading to put themselves out there for our vets, even just your veteran neighbor who needs a hand.

It's hard not to sound preachy, and I don't mean to be. I was actually doubting the needs of vets when I began my research into the first book, Hard Days Knight. Boy, was I enlightened. They need our support now more than ever because our vets are coming out of the service younger and more traumatized and still they have to fight for their health, their families and often their very lives.

My hero in Her First Knight is a billionaire, Phd of bionics, ex-Army, who lost a brother to depression and has committed his life to making a difference for veterans. Luckily he has the money to create a consortium of private businesses to take over veterans' care. A dream because of course, it's romance, but also a possibility. There are many private businesses that are making a difference.

The thing is, if we each did something -- anything -- called our congressman, lend a helping hand, give a ride, donate (I have a short list of organizations on my Vet-links page) time or money, we could really make a difference. All of us have family members past or present who have served and it's getting more and more dangerous out there. Let's keep our vets at the front of our minds. They do such a tremendous job of protecting our liberty. And if you ask them, they don't consider themselves heroes. All they want is what's due them, resources and a job when they come home.

Please, next time you meet a veteran, don't just thank them for their service. Engage them, find out how we're treating them, what their concerns are and ask how you can help.

And if you or a loved one is a vet, I'm in awe of what you have given to your country.




Thursday, November 19, 2015

Books I'm Thankful For


It’s safe to say, I’m addicted to books. I may even have a book problem, so as Thanksgiving draws ever closer, I’m thinking about things I’m grateful for and books come to mind.


Thirteen Books I’m grateful for
1
The Bible
I like the stories about people, like me, who make mistakes, but count on God’s mercy, grace and help.
2
The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin
My friend gave me these books in college and I fell in love with Ged and the magic of Earthsea.
3
100 Cupboards by N. D. Wilson
The language, the story and the characters pulled me in and I liked all the baseball games mentioned.
4
Redshirts by John Scatzi
I grew up as a trekkie and this book just might show what really happened behind the scenes of Star Trek. Also, Wil Wheaton narrated the version I listened to, which made the story even funnier.
5
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
I’m not a huge Western fan, but this read taught me that any genre can be humorous and fun.
6
Warm Bodies by Issac Marion
I liked the unlikely blend of horror, humor and romance.
7
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Aibileen’s wisdom and kindness spoke to me.
8
The Patchwork Girl of Oz by L. Frank Baum
I read this book with my grandmother.
9
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
This book gave me a lot to think about.
10
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
I loved the friendship between the girls/ women.
11
Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
This epic fantasy is so complex, rich and noble.
12
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Mark Haddon
This book helped me to see things from an entirely new point of view.
13
The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht
Ever wonder what a person should do in a given situation? This book series has brief easy-to -read answers.

Since I read continually and my favorite read will almost always be the book I’m in the middle of currently, this list will change. In fact, I’m hoping that you will throw me some suggestions for additions.
What book or books are you grateful for? Why?
Please share.

Sources

http://www.amazon.com/






Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Writing and Looking for Ideas? Check out National Novel Writing Month and Seventh Sanctum


November started this week and with its start 2015’s National Novel Writing Month kicked off. Many aspiring authors, including me, will attempt to write a 50,000 word novel before the month ends. That means we have to pen 1, 667 or so words every day. And sometimes it’s hard to keep the story going and to simply come up with ideas.



To help another Nano participants and myself I’ve gone to Seventh Sanctum. It’s a page of random generators. I used one that made interesting characters because I’ve found if you start with some interesting people the scenes seem to come together quickly.  So here are thirteen classic, overused and archetypical types scrambled together to hopefully create some eccentric and intriguing oddballs to fuel a budding storyteller's inner muse.

See if any of these trigger your imagination or your funny bone.



1. The upper-class fop who has an unusual scar from an equally unusual incident.
2. The stealthy assassin who keeps repeating themselves over and over.
3. The mysterious elderly wizard whose scientific endeavors have given them a god complex.
4. The friendly sentient computer who wants everything for their children and who is bound by an unpleasant duty.
5. The rough-and-tumble dwarven fighter who is accused of a crime they did not commit and who is friend to a giant city-smashing monster.
6. The new kid in town who has nothing left to lose.
7. The emotionally detached genius who knows the solution to everyone's problems.
8. The family man who is a softy at heart despite strong biases.
9. The strong-willed yet elegant Southern Belle who is stronger and more skilled than most anyone.
10. The aristocratic vampire who is just this side of crazy and who wants to destroy the world due to emotional issues.
11. The loudmouthed opportunist with a heart of gold who has to prove their worth.
12. The scoundrel with a heart of gold who came back from the grave and who stands alone against the Main Villain.
13. The brilliant young adult who is persecuted by a government conspiracy and who surprises people with their ability to survive.

If you’re working on a manuscript or taking the National Novel Writing Challenge this November and you’re looking for ideas, consider checking out The Seventh Sanctum. It’ll inspire your creativity.

Sources
http://www.seventhsanctum.com/

Conferences: Worth Leaving the House for?



By Elizabeth MS Flynn w/a Eilis Flynn
This week I’m recovering from a writers’ conference I attended over the weekend. I gave two workshops and talked to a lot of people and in general did all those things that one does at a conference. And now I’m doing what people do the week after a conference: recover.

Then again, I’m lucky. It’s been a full week and I haven’t come down with anything. “Con-crud,” that indescribable and annoying ailment that hits con-goers almost immediately after the con (a cold, judging by all the symptoms), hits conferees and conventioneers alike. The last time I got hit with it was a while ago, after we hit San Diego Comic-con, but that was truly inevitable with all the hugging of people I hadn’t seen in (some cases) decades. Whether it’s something that gets introduced by someone just catching something, going through something, or getting over something, unless you make a point of not touching anyone or anything and possibly wearing a mask and using latex gloves, unless you are at SDCC or something similar, you’re going to stand out. (That is the advantage of going to a comic convention or cosplay convention or pop culture convention or some such. Wearing a mask and gloves will not make you stand out, not even a cape or a rubber chicken tucked into your belt. At a professional convention or conference, well, you didn’t really like that job, did you?)

Anyway, I haven’t gotten sick after a con since then, and seldom in general. (These are famous last words.) In the past few years, I figure I haven’t gotten sick because I now work at home and rarely come in contact with the outside world, except for the necessary trips to the grocery store or library or post office. Which I have little problem with, except my already poor talents at networking and socializing positively disintegrate. And since conferences and conventions are often places to go in order to network and troll for work, it helps if one can be sociable in order to glad hand for said work. See the problem?

But I’ve got to wonder. Back in the old days, all a shut-in had was the postal service and subscriptions. These days, with the Internet, someone who spends most of her time indoors rarely has to use the postal service and subscriptions for print periodicals aren’t what they used to be (and hence why I now work at home, since I worked for a print periodical). But a FaceTime/Skype session takes the place of a lot of face-to-face interaction. So do we really need to go to conventions anymore?

Wouldn’t get sick as often. Wouldn’t have to spend money, time, and aggravation to get there, spend time and money there, and get home. Wouldn’t be completely and utterly tuckered out and spend the next week or so recovering. But would a face-to-face work better than a FaceTime session or a persuasively written email when you’re trying to find work?

And I’m cheap. And poor. Then there is the problem that if you spend all your time drumming up work, you don’t have time to do the work you already contracted for. I know someone who’s hitting three conferences in the space of two months, and she’s contracted bronchitis and had horrible allergy attacks (grains allergies) pretty persistently. But she’s drumming up interest in her series, and she knows how to network.

It’s a real plus-minus thing. In the meanwhile, though, I finish off these blog posts and take unintended little naps.

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for more than 35 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at emsflynn.com and reached at emsflynn@aol.com. If you’re curious about her books, check out eilisflynn.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Announcing Our Readers' Choice--Love Spell




A few weeks ago, I shared the loglines from stories in Bewitching Desires. The readers voted and... The winner of our reader's choice award is Love Spell by Jennifer Ray. If you'd like a peek at this chosen story, please visit: http://www.miaceleste.com/

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Juggling Projects


By Elizabeth MS Flynn w/a Eilis Flynn
Since I was laid off a couple of years ago, my former freelance business, now full-time business, keeps me surprisingly busy. To the point that I have to keep track of what projects are going on at any given time with an activity tracker, like busy moms do with busy families and kids.

Well, close, not quite. Not having room for a complex piece of hardware (ie, a whiteboard) in my office, I keep track with a running sheet of projects on (who would have thought?) a sheet of paper. Old school, using a pen and paper, even. (I’m old school like that.) Once I finish, I cross it off. Simple, you say. Simple? SIMPLE? Well, yeah, it is, but if you’re like me, the constant reminder of the list just sitting there, ever growing, alarms you, just a tad. (Okay, in all fairness, that list is also ever shrinking. Because I do get things done. It’s just alarming, you know?)

The point of knowing what you have to do is so you can arrange and rearrange your management of projects so you give enough time to all those active projects and keep in the back of your mind how to deal with the upcoming ones, and also how to deal with anything that comes along unexpectedly. When I started doing this small-business thing full time, I predicted I would have periods of calm and periods of frenzy, like any business. What I should have realized was the constant surveillance of both periods is its own task. In itself, it is a running sheet. But that’s what a small business is—doing the work, looking for work, cleaning up the work. Determining what should be done and when. And that goes for any kind of business.

Coming up? Editorial projects to work on and two presentations at the Emerald City Writers’ Conference in a couple of weeks. They’re all there in the running sheet, but the conference had to be circled, just in case I forgot for some reason, and moved up on the running sheet! The revamping of my own websites, both emsflynn and eilisflynn, go lower, much lower, on the running sheet. The wrangling of authors for their work, already done but requiring handling of one kind or another, go higher. My own writing? A few pages here and there, but that’s got to go lower on the list. That’s the nature of the small business and managing it.

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for more than 35 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at emsflynn.com and reached at emsflynn@aol.com. If you’re curious about her books, check out eilisflynn.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Just in Time for October—Almost Thirteen Spell-Binding New Tales

A group of talented friends have a book coming out to celebrate Halloween and love among the things that go bump in the night. I’m betting you’ll be intrigued by their stories. Check out their elevator pitches and see.



1. Magical Shift by Kay Blake ~Sparks fly when a young telekinetic witch is put under the protection of a rugged, but handsome stranger who is more than what meets the eye. 
2. Running with Magic by Sonja Fröjdendal ~ Sunshine is a witch who can bottle emotions, but with the ruler of demons and his son crazy for her, loving the right demon is hell.
3. Heart of a Hunter by Andra Shine ~Ashley, a spoilt young witch must break a love spell, defeat her enemy and learn some manners, to win the heart of her true lover 
4. A Stolen Spell by A.E. Snow ~Can Isadora save Savannah from an evil spell and her own family?
5. Where the Heart Belongs by Maria Arell ~ Kilyn goes from being an orphan to having a large family in a matter of days, but is she ready to embrace her heritage?
6. Drifter’s Moon by Michele Mohr ~ A witch’s magic is put to the test when she becomes the target of a vengeful ghost at a haunted motel on Halloween.
7. Promised Magic by Sheri Williams ~Will the girl he was promised to as a child, be the one to unlock his magic?
8. The Banshee and the Barista by Danielle Donaldson ~ A young banshee can't escape the death that constantly surrounds her, but she can't seem to keep the handsome barista at arm's length despite the shadow hanging over them.
9. Love Spell by Jennifer Ray ~ When an inexperienced witch messes up her spell and the man of her dreams falls in love with her, she must figure out how to undo the mess, even if that means she’ll lose him forever.
10. Micah’s Mess by Niki Daninger ~ When an envious warlock bent on taking coven rule from his sister, saves an angel, he learns there is more to life than his bruised self-worth.
11. All’s Fair: Love & Warlocks by Tami Lund ~Sometimes what you think you don’t want is exactly what you need.
12. Kissed by the Reaper by Rebekah R. Ganiere ~ Some loves are worth a battle with both heaven and hell to keep.


Which story particularly catches your fancy? Let me know and I’ll feature it on my next post. 


If many of these stories trigger your interest you can follow find this anthology at the following link. 
As always I’m grateful for your visit and your comment. Thanks.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Want to Know a Secret? Check out PostSecret.com


Today, many people say the hand-written word is dying and that paper and pencil script has lost its power and soon be another technology relegated to antique shops and museums like rotary telephones or typewriters.

I disagree. I think hand-scribed texts are involving and merging with current social media to become something even greater impactl.  Don’t believe me? Check out PostSecret.com, a blog site run by Frank Warren.

In November 2004, Frank Warren handed out 3000 stamped, self-addressed postcards and asked people to “anonymously share an artful secret they’d never told anyone before.” The idea caught on! Currently, “PostSecret.com is the most visited advertisement-free blog in the world,” and Frank Warren possesses over a half-million secrets and hordes of readers like myself.


Here are thirteen of my favorite posts.
1. I thought he had no idea who I was and I dreamed about him for so long.
Now he tells me he loves me, he always listens to everything, he completely understands me, and he wants to grow old with me.
2. This is the moment I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. I wish I had the heart to tell you.
3. I shouldn’t have left you…Because I most likely won’t ever get you back…. I can’t get you out of my head.
4. I was in love with my best friend. We’re both girls. I never told her. We have lost touch. But I think she knew.
5. I will marry you here someday. You just don’t know it yet.
6. I’m still very much in love with the same girl since I was 11 years old.
7. The only reason I am with him is to see if you care enough.
8. I think your husband is a jerk. And you would be so much better off with me. But I am afraid if you dumped him for me…You would later think you made a mistake.
9. For years, I’ve wanted to find someone to connect with like I do with you.
10. I'm thrilled with the person I'm becoming.
11. It’s possible to fall in love when you’re young I fell in love when I was thirteen with him, and music. I had to choose I miss him but I don’t regret it.
12. I still check my missed call list to see if you ever called and I just didn’t get it.
13. I still remember your birthday… This secret is available as a postcard. Send it to someone.

Just reading these gives me shivers. Each one of the posted secrets is a poignant and likely hand-penned story. One I’d like to know more about.

 I’m guessing you might agree and so I’ve made sure to include the sources I used to put this post together, so you can visit them. 

Sources
http://www.ted.com/talks/frank_warren_half_a_million_secrets/transcript?language=en#t-70000
http://postsecret.com/
http://postsecretarchive.com/

Monday, August 31, 2015

So how's your year thus far?

How's your year so far? Some years are better than others, and boy, sometimes you use more floss than is necessary. And some years you find yourself quoting U2! How about you?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Mind-blowing Statistics About Social Media


YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, Goggle +, Instagram, LinkedIn, Flickr, Snapchat, Pinterest, Facebook, Counting and Blogs--most people would agree that social media has a big, but just how big is it? Here are some surprising statistics.



1. Over 12 million people blog.  23% of internet time is spent on blogs and social networks.
2. Companies with a blog have 97% more inbound links than others.
3. You Tube has over a billion uses.
4. Six billion hours of video is watched on YouTube every month
5. YouTube gets an average of a billion views a day.
6. Twitter has over 255 million active users. They sent over 500 million messages daily. That said, there are about forty-four percent of the users on Twitter, who have never sent a message or tweeted.
7. Over 20 Billion photos have been shared on Instagram since its inception.
8. Twenty-three percent of teens say Instagram is their favorite social network.
9. Snapchat has 30 million active users.
10. About 400 million snaps appear on Snapchat daily.
11. Over 39 million students and recent college graduates are on LinkedIn.
12. Every second two or more people sign up for LinkedIn.
13. Pinterest has over 70 million total users and most of those users are female. In fact 80% are female.

All these statistics point to social media’s huge popularity, but why is it so popular? Why are we draw to it? I’m taking an online class currently about social media and my instructor, author R. L. Syme says, it’s because social media is just that—social.  While traditional media—newspapers, catalogs and magazines, presented information to an audience, it didn’t truly invite interaction. It was primarily a lecture-type format where readers responded like an audience. Social media is a conversation, a give and take, where the response is just as important as the initial communication.
What do you think? I’m waiting to hear from you.

Sources
Baer, Jay. “Convince and Convert: Social Media Strategy and Content Marketing Strategy.” Convince and Convert Social Media Strategy and Content Marketing Strategy. Web. 20 Aug. 2015.

Bennett, Shea. "Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Snapchat – Social Media Stats 2014 [INFOGRAPHIC]." SocialTimes. 9 June 2014. Web. 20 Aug. 2015.

"Latest Social Media Users Stats, Facts and Numbers for 2014 - Digital Insights." Latest Social Media Users Stats, Facts and Numbers for 2014 - Digital Insights. Web. 20 Aug. 2015.

Syme, R.L. "Social Media for Writers." From the Heart Romance Writers. Loop Class, 1 Aug. 2015. Lecture.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Write, Right, Write: Thirteen Things You Can Do to Inspire Creativity

Ever have a deadline and have no clue how you’re going to meet it? That painful moment that seems to last ten years where your brain refuses to engage in thought and you’re left idea-less. I was there just minutes ago when I realized it was my turn to post and I had no topic and no clue what I’d write, so…


I decided to look for help. I googled ways to inspire creativity. Here are thirteen ideas to jump start creative thoughts.
1. Be grateful. Think about all the blessing and beauty around you.
2. Carry a notebook. Jot down thoughts, so that when you’re seeking inspiration you can thumb through and find it.
I believe in carrying a notebook. Here are three of my old ones.
3. That’s a good idea if you’ve started carrying a notebook and have written in it, but if you haven’t, you could doodle.
4. Or you could color, if you have crayons.


5. Keep the box of crayons out after you finish and see if you can come up with new names for the colors.
6. Speaking of colors, go somewhere you can see blue—i.e. gaze into the sky, or skip a stone across a lake or find a blue room you can sit in for a while. Apparently beholding the color blue triggers creativity.
7. Take a nap.
8. Play a kid’s game like Checkers, Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, or Go Fish.
9. Take a walk.
10. Do something else you love. For me that might be admiring flowers. Here’s one of my favorite lilies.


11. Help someone.
12. Just start. Don’t judge the result until you’ve got plenty to judge.
13. Seek out other creative people. Ask them to share ideas with you. This is my favorite tip and I know you guys are resourceful. Do you have any suggestions for me?
Thanks.

Sources
http://writetodone.com/201-ways-to-arouse-your-creativity/
https://www.themuse.com/advice/8-brilliant-ways-to-inspire-creativity-on-your-lunch-break
http://www.chopra.com/ccl/7-steps-to-inspire-creativity-within

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Digging Up the Past by Sandi Brackeen


Sometimes there are books that escape notice because it comes out at the wrong time or in the wrong venue. I found this book because I blundered into it, and because the author name was vaguely familiar. Turned out that Sandi Brackeen was a fellow ex-Cerridwen Press author, so I probably remembered her name that way. And it turned out that her book was a fun read, and worth telling people about!

The Spade of Apocatequil can raise the dead and grant immortality—and it’s been stolen!  
When supernatural agents Riley Perez and Jason, her partner at the clandestine government agency DUE, are given the task of tracking down the magical artifact, they discover that the culprit may be one of the workers at an archaeological dig at Shady Shores. Is it John Braden, the head archaeologist on-site, who was involved in the original discovery of the spade? Or is it Danny Roget, the anthropologist, who claims that there have been strange sightings? Riley and Jason’s hunt for the spade is endangered by a rash of sudden, unexplainable deaths of people involved in the dig. Together with Cameron Delaney, the intriguing alpha werewolf who runs Cerberus Security, the company in charge of protecting the archaeologists at the dig, Riley and Jason must find the spade before it can be used to destroy the world!
Sandi lives in Texas with a roommate, two yellow Labs, a shepherd/border collie mix, and two terrier mixes.  The animals were all rescues.  Her full-time job is as the public information officer for the local sheriff’s office, and she teaches English part time at the local community college.  She says she has a couple of degrees lying around somewhere, and she’s been writing ever since she can remember, although she took time off for work and school, and previously her writing has been more geared toward short stories and academic papers.  Sandi has now switched to writing fiction and currently has several more books in the works.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ask An Editor--An Interview with Cheryl Yeko



Ever wonder what an editor thinks? Or how a writer can connect with one? Today, you'll have a chance to find out. It's my privilege to welcome Cheryl Yeko. She is an acquiring editor for Soul Mate Publishing and an author of romantic suspense.


Her debut novel, Protecting Rose, won the 2012 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence in the Romantic Suspense category.

As an Editor, Cheryl welcomes Romantic Suspense, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Contemporary, and Erotica.
You can contact Cheryl atÿCheryl@SoulMatePublishing.com, but before you do, you may want to discover what Cheryl likes and what she's looking for. I interviewed her and here are thirteen of her insightful answers.

Header by Samulli
1. What length synopsis do you prefer to see with a partial?  Single spaced or double? I prefer double spaced and anywhere up to 5 pages, as long as I get the gist of the story from beginning/middle/end
2. For you, in general, which elements in a fiction submission are terminal problems that would garner automatic rejections and which are tempting and fixable meriting a look at a revision if a talented author is willing to accept your advice? For me, and this is just me, other Soul Mate editors may have a different take...but I prefer the sex to be confined to only the Hero and the Heroine...with no threesomes or sharing of any kind. I prefer my Hero's to be Alpha, and they would never share their women. I wouldn't necessary reject these stories outright, if they are well-written...but, I would offer them to one of the other Soul Mate editors to take a look at.
3. Do you look at sample pages without fail or only if the query is strong? I always look at the sample pages.
4. Cheryl has several reasons she might reject a story. Here's another one. I will reject outright a story that has been written with headhopping, and yes, I know Nora does it, but not everyone is Nora Roberts. Generally, the readers do not easily accept headhopping. I don't enjoy reading headhopping stories, and since, as the editor, I will be reading this novel 3 to 5 times, on average, I only edit or sign books I'd enjoy spending time with.
5. Another reason she rejects manuscripts is this. If I see a ton of grammar issues, passive writing, formatting, or other issues, but the story is good, I will ask the author to edit the manuscript and resubmit to me. Then if I see that the author is capable of making the requested changes...and I see good improvements, I'll offer a contract.
6. What are the most compelling elements you feel are necessary for a good read?   What particularly grabs your attention? I like to see the Hero/Heroine on the pages for the majority of the story, although I'm okay with side plots with romance as well. And in my novel Abducting Casey, I had three different romances going on. It was a lot a fun.
7. Is there a better or worse time of year to query? No. Anytime is fine.
8. Do you have any pet peeves? Yes...if I see a gratuitous scene, the harming of the heroine for example, that is used just for `shock' value and adds nothing to the story, I reject the novel or strike the scene before offering a contract. I have nothing against violence in my novels, and actually enjoy a well-written, dark and violent story...Black Dagger Brotherhood being my favorite J.R. Ward series... But, the violence must be an integral part of the story, and not just a scene thrown out to titillate the readers.  Oh, yeah...and I really hate it when they kill off the family pet.
9. Regarding submissions, what are you sick to death of and what would you like to see more of? I don't think there is a story that I'm `sick to death of'...as long as it's a well-written story, I'm happy to review it.
10. What does `just not right mean for me' mean to you? It means I didn't enjoy the story, and therefore don't want to commit months out of my life working with it.
11. Do you accept unagented and/or email queries? Yes, absolutely.
12. Which categories do you currently acquire?  Which category is your favorite? As an Editor, I welcome Romantic Suspense, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Contemporary, and Erotica. And, since I write Romantic Suspense, that is my favorite, with paranormal running a close second.
13. What do you love most about your job? I love helping the authors make their stories shine.

One of the factors that contributes to Cheryl being an excellent editor is that she's also a talented storyteller. This blog wouldn't be complete without mentioning Cheryl's latest release, a co-written novella with another Soul Mate Publishing acquiring editor, and also her BFF, Char Chaffin.


RODEO KING, Book 1 in The Dustin Lovers Series, is a contemporary western, and were both thrilled that it's been hanging out in the top 100, on and off, since its release in mid-June.

Here's the blurb:
Caleb Johnson, 'King of the Rodeo,' is on his way to becoming Wyoming's National Champion. Until an ornery bull sidelines him with a potentially career-ending injury. Returning home to recuperate puts him in the path of Rosemary Carmichael, the girl he deserted to become a rodeo star.

Now he's got to figure out what he really wants: returning to the rodeo circuit and going for that big, National prize, or convincing the woman he loves that he wants a life with her . . . and the son he never knew he had.

If you'd like to learn more about Cheryl and her novels, you can find her at the following places:
Where Love Always Wins: http://www.cherylyeko.com/
Soul Mate Publishing: http://tinyurl.com/lav53p3
Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/lb5xxlq
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectingRose
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cherylyeko
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/cyeko/boards/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5406425.Cheryl_Yeko
Google: https://plus.google.com/+CherylYeko



Thursday, July 9, 2015

How Many Books Does the Average Person Read Per Year? And other interesting facts about readers.



Recently I stood in line for a sale at a local bookstore. The first hundred people in the door received a book bag with swag including a five dollar gift card.  I’m always excited about free books, and I was right in the middle of the queue.  We had about 20 minutes to wait before the doors opened, so we started talking. The guy behind me was surprised he had so much company. He’d read an article that said the average American only read one book a year.

That didn’t seem right. All of us in the immediate conversation had read more, but then we were standing outside a bookstore waiting for it to open—maybe we were the exceptions to this one-book-a-year phenomenon.

But the one-book-a-year concept bothered me. After I came home with new books in hand, I opened Google, researched readers and soon found the one-book-one year notion. It turns out it’s not the whole story. Here are thirteen statistics I found.

Header from samulli



1. According to the Pew Research Center 2013 Reading Snapshot, the typical American read five books during the year.
2. Although a whopping 23% of those surveyed reported that they hadn’t read even one book during the same period.
3. I’m not sure I know many of those non-book consumers. Most of my friends are responsible for skewing the average for books read in 2013 to twelve books, about one a month. I know this because my friends and I discuss what we’re read and we will be talking readers in general in the future.
4. It turns out 82 percent of those who responded that they’d read at least one book in 2013 were women
5. while only 69 percent of men surveyed reported they had read one or more books.
6. Eighty-nine percent of those who told the Pew Researcher they’d read a book reported that it was a print book.
7. That said, the population of e-book readers is growing. In the 2013 Pew survey, the number of those who read e-books increased from 16% of all Americans (ages 16 and older) to 23%.
8. At the end of 2012, 19% of Americans (ages 16 and older) owned Kindles, Nooks or other e-book reading devices.
9. Again, referring to the Pew survey, the most likely e-book reader was a college graduate,
10. who lived in a household earning more than $75,000.
11. And that reader’s age was between 30 and 49.
12. The readers didn’t come from a single environment. Seventy-seven percent of those in an urban community completed one or more books a year, compared 76 percent of people in a rural community and
13. seventy-five percent of those in suburban areas.

All these statistics got me thinking about my own reading habits. I don’t keep track of how many books I go through, but I’d guess it’s about 1-3 a week. Most years have 52 weeks, so again I’m guessing, but I probably read between 53 and 159 books a year. Sigh, it’s clear I’m addicted to stories. Yet, there’s another factor in my book-devouring habit and that is I have a long commute, so I listen to audio books.

How about you? Where do you fit in these statistics? How many books do you think you read? Please share.

Sources
http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/01/16/a-snapshot-of-reading-in-america-in-2013/
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/01/the-decline-of-the-american-book-lover/283222/
http://www.quora.com/How-many-books-does-an-average-person-read-in-a-yearhttp://gawker.com/5971571/are-you-an-above-average-book-readerhttp://www.pewinternet.org/2014/01/16/a-snapshot-of-reading-in-america-in-2013/

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wait, There's More! Magic Marketing Words For You!


By Elizabeth MS Flynn w/a Eilis Flynn
I am the worst when it comes to marketing myself. This, despite being married to an old marketing guy, who’s worked on the advertising and promotion for classic items like: the US Army! DeBeers Diamonds! Consolidated Edison! DC Comics! Seagrams! Precious metals! There’s more, but you get the idea. Despite a lot of marketing knowledge that I’ve learned (from many hours of discussing marketing strategy and comic books), I’m crappy at it. All that knowledge and it’s all going to waste. Yes, sad.

So when I got a chance to use some of that knowledge by helping other authors, I decided to take it. I figured I might as well step back and see what I haven’t done for my own work and hope that others might be able learn something from my ineptitude. Can’t do, might as well teach.

Anyone who’s paid attention to advertising and marketing can tell you that there are magic phrases and words that get a reaction from consumers. And that definitely goes for the marketing of your books. What are those magic words? Beats me what they are for you—this is one of those things that you have to figure out uniquely for you—but I can give you some ideas of how marketing words work and what they may trigger for you and consumers in general. And from that, you should be able to figure out how those magic marketing words work for you.

Check out how your blurbs and your keywords and your marketing can get a second look from your prospective readers. Take a look at what kinds of words and phrases make people sit up and take notice and maybe, even, buy your book or story. In my workshop about key marketing phrases for you! And you! And especially you! I look at what classic marketing words work and don’t work, how you can scare away your potential consumer, what’s the deal with marketing your brand, the magic of WIIFM, and how to watch your words in a very particular way.

If you’re curious about when and how to deal with those magic marketing phrases, check out my online workshop for the San Diego romance writers chapter (www.rwasd.com/training/index_flynn3.html) in September and join in the discussion! (But watch out for those exclamation points. No more than one!!!!!)

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for more than 35 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at emsflynn.com and reached at emsflynn@aol.com. If you’re curious about her books, check out eilisflynn.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.

 
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