Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bestsellers:What Are They and, More Importantly, Have You Read Them?,d.aWc&psig=AFQjCNHEIFLo4YbuWQh4pS4KE_efnJ_nOQ&ust=1395400802045610

A bestseller is popular book, right?
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, defines a bestseller as “a book that is identified as extremely popular by its inclusion on lists of currently top selling or frequently borrowed titles that are based on publishing industry and book trade figures and library circulation statistics…”
But what books are the most popular of all time? The biggest bestsellers? Can you guess? The London Telegraph lists these thirteen.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
2. Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S Lewis
4. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
5. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
6. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
7. Animal Farm - George Orwell
8. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
10. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
11. The Time Travelers Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
12. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
13. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kasey

The list has lots of classic novels and seems right; however, How Stuff Works, supplies this list along with how many millions of books that have been sold.

  1. Don Quixote – 500 million
  2. Xinhua Zidian – 400 million (This is a Chinese-language dictionary that was first published in 1953.)
  3.  A Tale of Two Cities – 200 million
  4. The Lord of the Rings – 150 million
  5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone -- 107 million
  6. And Then There Were None – 100 million
  7. Dream of the Red Chamber – 100 million (This is a Chinese novel that was first published in 1791. Apparently it’s one of the classic Chinese novels.)
  8. The Little Prince – 80 million (or perhaps 200 million--sources disagree.)
  9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – 85 million
  10. The Da Vinci Code – 80 million
  11. Think and Grow Rich – 70 million
  12. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – 65 million
  13. The Alchemist – 65 million

I don’t know which list is correct. I’m presenting both as food for thought. What do you think? If you were to guess about world bestsellers, would your list have some of the same titles?

Did you think the Bible should be on the list? I did. How Stuff Works.Com decided not to include religious texts because their sales numbers are hard to verify because they’re often given away.

I’m okay with putting the Bible in a class by itself because I believe its author also is in a peerless position, but I’m eager to find out what you think about the other books on the list. Have you read many of them? Are any your favorites? Tell me what you think. Thanks.


Monday, March 10, 2014

May You Live In Interesting Times

May you live in interesting times...
Purported translation of a Chinese proverb and curse.

When I first heard this I thought, what curse? This is more of a benediction. Who wouldn't want to live in interesting times? Interesting beats boring, right?
That is until things become so "interesting" that you have to fight to keep your head above water. Which has been my home address for the past two years. In March 2012 I published my first novel, Fire and Blood, a paranormal romance. It was my intent to release book two of the series, Heart of Fire, by the summer of 2012. As we all know, no good intentions (okay, deeds) go unpunished--in my case, go unpublished! Interesting times stepped in and Heart of Fire went on the shelf.

Hi, I'm Cadence, and I'm a single-minded human being. No, I can not multitask. No, I can not write novels and handle social media promotions and work ten hour days.  And, no, I can not afford to quit my day job.
I admit I got sidetracked and writing took the back seat to paying bills.
One thing about creative people--we're creative in many directions. As the manager of a trendy juniors' boutique, I've had to create advertizing campaigns, acquaint myself with Instagram, Pintrest, Twitter, and the old standby: Facebook in order to keep my business relevant.
I've also had to learn how to handle a camera.
The good news: the boutique's business is booming, I have young people fighting to model, and we are considered "the" place to shop.

Of course there's bad news. I have been so single minded in promoting my day job that I've totally neglected my soul's desire - creating compelling worlds, exciting stories, and compelling characters. Then there's the new grandbaby. An additional distraction and added blessing. My beautiful granddaughter was born on my birthday, Sept. 4, this year past. My daughter and son-in-law honored me by giving her my name. Poor child, I hope she fares better!

In November 2013 during NaNowrimo, my best friend and extraordinary author, Livia Quinn, came up with a wonderful spreadsheet that covered anything and everything writerly. She gave me a daily word count that was more than do-able and voila'! Looks like I will have four - count 'em - FOUR new books up by the end of 2014.Check out my Books Page for additional information.
I'll be attending the Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas in July and cannot wait to meet peers, readers, experts, and most of all, to learn more about my craft.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

In Celebration of Work

Page by Jayson Taylor

I just started a new job this January and I love it.  I’m an adjunct instructor teaching English at a local university. In celebration, and because I’m still trying to juggle the rest of my life around my new job, I’d like to share thirteen quotes about work.

  1. There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. ~ Colin Powell
  2. Inspiration usually comes during work rather than before it. ~ Madeline L’Engle
  3. If you care about what you do and work hard at it, there isn’t anything you can’t do if you want to. ~ Jim Henson
  4. Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work. ~ Aristotle
  5.  Get going. Move forward. Aim High. Plan a takeoff. Don’t just sit on the runway and hope someone will come along and push the airplane. It simply won’t happen. Change your attitude and gain some altitude. Believe me, you’ll love it up here. ~ Donald Trump
  6. We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work. ~ Thomas Edison
  7. Work without love is slavery. ~ Mother Teresa
  8. I like to call in sick to work at place where I’ve never held a job. Then when the manager tells me I don’t work there, I tell them I’d like to. But not today, as I’m sick. ~ Jarod Kintz
  9. Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. ~ Confucius
  10. I like work; it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. ~ Jerome K. Jerome
  11. The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope. ~ Barack Obama
  12. When he worked, he really worked. But when he played, he really PLAYED. ~ Dr. Seuss
  13. Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. ~ William James

How about you? Do you have any advice about starting a new job?  Or a good thought about work? Please share. Thanks. 


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Take Your Sorta-Quiz About Dragons!

By Eilis Flynn

Here a dragon
There a dragon
Dragons everywhere!

Yes, that’s right! Everywhere you look around the world, there’s something about dragons. The names may change and the situations may change, but whatever you call them, dragons have been both kind and mischievous, good and evil, sometimes a symbol of order and sometimes of chaos. How much do you know about dragons? To find out, here’s a sorta-quiz. Check out how much you really know!

Q: Why don’t we have dragon stories in North America?
A: Of course we do!
B: It’s because dragons originate in Europe
C: What’s your definition of “dragon”?

The answers are (A) and (C). Yes, we have dragon stories in North America! There’s Manipogo up in Manitoba, Mishipizheu around the Great Lakes, Thunderbird, and even the feathered serpent, Quetzalcoatl! And if you’re surprised at seeing Quetzalcoatl included as a dragon, that’s because descriptions of dragons differ drastically from region to region. The typical Western dragon is a large, scaly creature resembling a large lizard. It usually has wings and can fly, and often it will breathe fire or noxious gases, as opposed to the dragons of the East, which are usually water-based, associated with rainfall and bodies of water, usually wingless, serpentine. So Quetzalcoatl fits into the dragon described in the Far East!

Q: Why do Western dragons seem to have a thing about maidens and treasure?
A: They’re insecure
B: They have money problems
C: It’s a metaphor, dummy

Yessirree, it’s (C)! Most likely. It’s not just Western dragons that guard or hoard treasure, it’s Eastern dragons too. And the thing about maidens? Well, they ARE a treasure… A classic European story involving dragons is one out of the south of London. A local legend out of Lyminster had a dragon who had both a treasure and a taste for maidens. The king put out a reward of his daughter’s hand in marriage if the dragon were killed, which was done, happy ending. A variation of this story has the dragon killed after being poisoned by a pudding. The difference with this story is that the mighty killer inadvertently dies from the same poison. Oops.

Q: We always hear about those English dragons! Does France have any?
A: It’s hard to tell. They dress in black and spend their time in bistros.
B: It’s hard to tell. They’re too snooty to admit to any.

(B) There’s a dragon tale in southwestern France, where a female dragon named Tarasque was as impolite a neighbor as any English dragon. Warriors and knights from all over the continent tried to slay her, but they were powerless against her massive size, armor, and fire. Using only her faith, purity, and a jug of holy water, St. Martha negotiated with Tarasque — and the villagers killed the dragon and sliced her up. And that was the end of Tarasque. In honor of the event, the town was renamed Tarascon. (Which is why the French dragons won’t admit to existing, maybe!)
Q: Are there Greek dragons?
A: I doubt it
B: I vaguely recall reading something about it in the Greek myths
C: You’re going to tell us, aren’t you?

(B) The dragons we encounter by the time we get down past the Mediterranean have less and less in common with the dragons we encounter in northern Europe. In classical Greek culture, one of the earliest mentions of a dragon is from the Iliad, where Agamemnon is described as having a blue dragon motif on his sword belt and a three-headed dragon emblem on his breastplate.

Q: Are there any mentions of dragons in the Bible?
A: I don’t remember. It’s been a while
B: If Kirk Douglas didn’t fight one, I’m kinda doubting it
C: I’m guessing there was?

(C)! The references to the “sea-monster” or “pole serpent” in the Bible, the “leviathan” of the Biblical stories, seem to be very close to the idea of the dragon.

Q: Are dragons of the East connected to the desert?
A: This question is planted here, right?
B: I’m guessing no
C: Are there any deserts in the Far East?

(A). As opposed to the dragon legends of the West, the dragons of the East are usually water-based, associated with rainfall and bodies of water, usually wingless, serpentine, often positive, often seen as an authority figure, and still very much part of contemporary culture. And yes, there are deserts in the Far East, but there are no dragon myths connected to them. As far as I can tell. Yet.

Q: Are Eastern dragons lizardlike the way they are in the West?
A: Have you been paying attention to this quiz at all?
B: Define “lizardlike”
C: More snakelike than lizard

The answer, of course, is (C). The Vedic god of storms, Varuna, is regarded as the king of the naga, the local version of the dragon. The naga, also known as a snake-spirit, guarded great treasures, just like so many stories in Western myths about dragons. The naga is often regarded as a deity in many Hindu cultures, and the king cobra is one of the images you’ll find when you look for naga. (We’ll see more references to the naga elsewhere in the East, specifically the Southeast Asia region.)

Q: What about Chinese dragons? Are Chinese dragons anything like the Indian ones?
A: Are there Chinese dragons?
B: A vague resemblance
C: Kissing cousins, really

(C). If you know anything about Chinese culture, you know that dragons are integral to their society. The Chinese dragon was the symbol of Chinese emperors, with a commonly cited life span of about 3,500 years.

Q: Are they evil or are they good?
A: Define “good” and “evil”!
B. Depends on the day of the week, right?
C. Is there chocolate involved?
(A). Dragons are good guys in China, powerful, a symbol of imperial power. To say that someone is a dragon is a very good thing, even though there are occasional references to the same streak of orneriness that we see in Indian naga culture.

Q: What’s the deal with the different-numbered claws?
A. I got nothin’
(A). The Chinese dragon had specific categories. In various dynasties, the symbol of the golden and five-clawed dragon was assigned to the emperor, the four-clawed dragon to the nobility, and the three-claws to the bureaucrats. In any case, the term “descendants of the dragon” has been used by the Chinese to refer to themselves.

Q: So how long have dragons been a big deal in China?
A: Since the 1980s
B: Since the 1890s
C: Since the 18th century
D: Since long, long ago
(D). At least seven thousand years, if the discovery of a dragon statue from around the fifth millennium BCE is any clue. Dinosaur bones were assumed to be those of dragons, of course, the way they were in other places.

Q: What kind of dragon kings does China have?
A: There are four according to Chinese legend, each representing one of the known seas in traditional Chinese culture. In fact, one king was referred to as the “Sea Dragon King” because of his work in bringing water to his people.

Q: Back to the naga. Is the naga origin story pretty common?
A: While the Cambodian origin myth has the people descended from a naga princess and a human man, the Vietnamese creation myth has the people descended from a dragon and a fairy. According to the story, the king of the dragons married a goddess, the daughter of the bird king. The daughter produced 100 eggs, which hatched into 100 sons and established the Vietnamese people, thus giving the old Vietnamese proverb, “Children of the dragon, grandchildren of the gods.”

Q: What about the Japanese dragons? Are they still big snakes?
The dragons of Japan are a lot like the Chinese dragons in appearance, but not identical; they are both water gods, connected with rainfall and lakes and rivers, usually seen as very big, wingless, serpents with clawed feet. The Chinese dragons are more serpentine, while the Japanese dragons usually are shown to have spines on their backs. Japanese dragons are also considered to be the founders of the society itself. The Japanese regard themselves as "children of the dragon."

Q: What could be dragons described as in the Pacific region?
A: Sharks
B: Crocodiles
C: Snakes
D: Lizards
E: Catfish
Yes. The Asia Pacific dragons are the water-based creatures you see all over the Far East, but the farther east we go, the more and more you read about dragons that sound distinctly crocodile-like. The Philippine dragon called the bakunawa, however, is said to have a mouth the size of a lake, a red tongue, whiskers and gills, and not one but two sets of wings. (Quick, what does a catfish look like?)

And this is just the tip of the ol’ iceberg when it comes to dragonlore! Every culture’s dragon represents something unique to that culture, that society. Sometimes those dragons are good, protectors of the people, and sometimes those dragons are wicked and evil, and must be killed (or converted to Christianity, as in the case of the alternate endings of the St. George story; there’s also a corresponding story about a dragon being converted to Buddhism in the east). Sometimes those dragons can fly; sometimes they’re sea serpents. Sometimes they’re snakes, but not in the West, because the snake represents evil incarnate there. Sometimes the dragons have five claws, or four, or three, or none at all. Sometimes the dragons sound like giant catfish. Sometimes the dragons sound like crocodiles. But there are stories about dragons.

Curious? If you want to know more—and there’s LOTS more—Jacquie Rogers and I will be presenting an online workshop for the Futuristic Fantasy & Paranormal chapter of RWA about dragons around the world from March 3 through 16! Sign up now!

Eilis Flynn is an editor by day, and she wants to edit YOUR work! She's also a writer when she has time. Find out about her editorial life at, and her books at

Monday, March 3, 2014

Good News, Bad News

I apologize for being absent for so long. I kind of unplugged to get some serious writing done.

It's been the coldest Louisiana winter we've seen in a while. We sometimes get one ice/snow storm every 7 years or so and it lasts a day and we're back up to the 80's for Christmas.

This year was different. Three storms in three weeks. The first one was brief but brought an inch or two of snow and had us all out watching our pets and children play in it. Temperatures rose a bit, then the next one hit. This one put an ice mix down that closed the schools and government offices but not the Mississippi River bridge which turned out to be a mistake because we're not set up for it and NO one around here knows how to drive on it. And besides who can drive on ice? Experience just tells you to stay in, not drive. After a semi spun out on the bridge the local law started handing out tickets to anyone out snow-seeing.

It wasn't just these three storms. We've been in the 30s and below for most of the winter. We're talkin' lows, people, Louisiana remember?  I know you're saying 30's! That's not cold. Well, when your winters are usually in the 50s with an occasional 30 and you have butane or small electric heaters, you never get warm.

I've spent the winter in ski skins and sweat clothes. Thank God for generators which we needed for three days during the last cold front when we got a couple of inches of icy rain and 20 degree weather which froze everything. Trees and limbs were coming down everywhere with booms and cracks. It was scary. But beautiful. Take pictures and pray an iced up spanish moss laden tree doesn't come down on your house.

DH kept coming in and telling me I needed to move to a different room in case the tree over the living room came down. I figure where ever you are, if it's your time, a plane can come through the ceiling, so I stayed in my comfy recliner, writing...

Well! It wasn't all bad. I got a LOT of writing done. Starting with Nano and going straight through until now when I'd planned on opening our snowball stand March 1st. I didn't really want to and it's early but decided people are usually ready so I'd just open early. Of course, I didn't consult the weather man. I did check the Farmer's Almanac and it said, first two weeks of March, colder and wetter than normal. I still didn't pay attention. But I did keep on writing.

The result four books in revision to be published every month beginning in June. And I have a new cover designer I'm giving the whole series to.

So bad news I froze my tail off, but it was great writing weather.

Was this a good news, bad news winter for you, or all bad news? Don't worry, Spring is on the way. It says so on the calendar at least.