Monday, November 30, 2009

So Long, Farewell...


I hope you know how to spell the rest of that because I sure don't, even though it's one of my favorite songs from The Sound of Music. I will no longer be updating this blog as of today, but I hope you'll decide to wander over to The Book Connection and follow me there, where I will be posting about books, my works in progress, my new articles, and anything else pertaining to my writing or the writing of others.

In leaving, I want to remind you that you have the power to make your dreams come true, if you only use it. If you dream of being a writer, find a way to make it happen. I'm living my dream. Isn't it time you lived yours?

Thanks for all the support over the years. See you at The Book Connection!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Moving to The Book Connection



Well, after a poll that only received three votes on this site and the other, I have decided that I will be moving this site to The Book Connection as of December 1st.

I will maintain my other two blogs, Book Tours and More and Laura's Little Houses--a blog dedicated to Laura Ingalls Wilder, her books and the movies and shows based upon them.

I hope you will become followers of The Book Connection if you aren't already, and enjoy reading more about my journey from aspiring author to published author at that blog.

Thank you for your support.

Cheryl

My First Writers Conference


Last weekend I attended my first writers conference in person. I have participated in the Muse Online Writers Conference for at least three years now, but this is the first conference that I drove to and attended all day.

Some of my writing friends have asked me to share my experience, so I'll try not to bore anyone with the details while I share my day.

This was an all day affair that started with a continental breakfast and a great keynote speaker. Then we broke up into our sessions. In the morning I took How to Write Great Beginnings. Having never attended a conference before I wasn't sure what to expect. What it entailed was four published authors--some multi-published--discussing what makes great beginnings. There was a Q & A session, but I didn't find this workshop overly helpful, and one author admitted to not being prepared at all and rambled a lot, so that part was annoying.

Then I went to a mystery workshop to see if I could get some help with my crime fiction piece and that suspense short story I've had lingering in unfinished hell for a year or so. Another Q & A session, but because it was such a small group, all four authors gave their perspectives on each question. I knew one of the authors in this group, as she was a former client of Pump Up Your Book Promotion. I introduced myself and made a few potential contacts for future virtual book tours there.

Right before lunch I bought one book from each of the mystery writers--one that I wasn't quite sure about, but I didn't want to leave her out. Now I have even more books to review. I also bought Write from the Heart by Leslea Newman, who was the morning's keynote speaker.

Lunch was very nice and I sat with my buddy Frank who had told me about the conference and some of the presenters from the first workshop.

In the afternoon we had an amazing keynote speaker, Roland Merullo. Absolutely out of this world. He's written several books and even though he had lost his voice two days before the conference he managed to speak for the full hour or so.

The best workshop of the day was How Agents Think. You got a chance to submit the first page of your work. Conference coordinators chose selections at random, read them, and the four agents provided their thoughts on whether they were interested, wanted to know more, would pass and why. I didn't put anything in the box and am kicking myself, but I now have contact infomation for four potential agencies, most of them out of NY.

My buddy Frank, had the chance to meet with one of the agents, the only man on the panel, and he requested that Frank send along the first three chapters of his novel, so I am excited for him.

Got home around 5 p.m. and got right into Mommy mode. A fun day, and I offered to help coordinate next year's conference because you all know I have nothing else going on. I figure this will keep me in touch with people I need to be in touch with as I move along in my career.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NaNoWriMo Update



This has been a painful but fun expereince so far. Only 6,444 words in and will never have time to come close to my goal, but I did work on Amelia's Mission for a little while today. It's so exciting to watch these characters develop and engage in conversations I never imagined when I first thought them up.

While I won't win NaNoWriMo, I am still proud of myself for sticking to it and I want to finish the first draft by early 2010 so I can get the story edited and submitted.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NaNoWriMo Update


Well, National Blog Posting Month over at The Book Connection is certainly going better than National Novel Writing Month. I should be over halfway to my goal of 50,000 words and I barely have over 6,000. I am slightly bummed, but I am writing every chance I get. Work and family life have made writing a challenge, as did many of the unexpected things that have popped up this month.

I'll be busy all weekend, so I don't know how much I will get to write, but we'll see what happens. At least I am further ahead than when I started.

Friday, November 20, 2009

WriteAngles24 Writers Conference



Tomorrow morning I am going to attend my first writers conference. While I participate in the Muse Online Writers Conference every year, this is the first time I am attending one in person. A reporter for our local paper who goes to our church invited me along, and I figured it would be great experience with my children's book coming out next year.

WriteAngles24 is happening at the Willits-Hallowell Center on the campus of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA. I'm excited to attend, but a bit nervous too. I'll be gone all day tomorrow, but I hope to get some time next week to share my thoughts on attending.

A New Year Brings Changes


Every year around this time I begin thinking of what changes I can make in the new year that will lead to me being more productive. An idea I am pondering is consolidating this blog and making it part of The Book Connection.

I've always tried my best to keep my book promotion work and my own writing separate, but it is becoming harder and harder. I also don't feel it's fair to those of you who check in from time to time to find this blog not updated as frequently as it should.

If I simply maintain The Book Connection as my personal and book blog, then I could still post motivational quotes on the weekends because I only host clients on weekdays. In addition, I could really work on branding The Book Connection when I don't have to split time with another blog.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this and feel free to vote in my survey in the sidebar. Thanks you for your support.

Cheryl

Sunday, November 8, 2009

NaNoWriMo Update



Well, the first week of NaNoWriMo has not gone as well as I expected. I knew it was going to be a challenge, but unexpected things really crept in, in a major way. But, in the larger scheme of things I am writing something new of my own and I now have 3391 words more than when I started, so that's good to me.

So, how's your NaNo project going? Keep plugging away my fellow NaNoers.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Blogging Can Be A Dangerous Profession



Until recently I never thought much about how dangerous blogging can be. You start a blog and decide to share what interests you. But what if someone doesn't like it? What if someone is offended by one of your posts and leaves a nasty comment on your blog? Worse yet, what if your blog is reported and subsequently suspended and you suddenly don't have access to months or years worth of work?

Depending upon the comment left at your blog, your online reputation could be damaged and there is little way to know how many people heard about the incident. Yes, blog stats will tell you how many people read it on your site, but who knows how many people your readers told about it or how many people the commenter told?

In addition, bloggers are at the mercy of the sites that host their blogs. Yes, we read the Terms of Service, but who ever thinks there will be reason to worry about them. They're standard and rarely do they apply to you. Right? Well, that's not always the case, as my experience this week shows. You can read more about it here.

The incident above came on the heels of a challenge that some users who are hosted by Blogger recently experienced. Google decided to place a 2000 label limit on blogspots. Well, after blogging for years, I exceeded that limit and for a week or so I wasn't able to take advantage of SEO to drive traffic to The Book Connection because it wouldn't let me use any labels--even ones that I had used in the past.

Google increased that limit to 5000 unique labels, which will be helpful, but what happens when I reach that limit? Do I have to start a new blog every time I can no longer use unique labels?

The WordPress incident truly sidelined me for a couple of days, but more importantly, that combined with the Blogger issue made me realize how little control we have over what happens with our blogs. Somehow, that doesn't seem quite right.

Where does that leave bloggers? I guess, like authors who send books out for review, we never know what we're going to get. We never know when our happy world will be interrupted by some blogging issue outside of our control, like the author whose happiness is destroyed by a negative review. It doesn't mean we stop trying to get our names out there, but it does mean we open ourselves up for some knocks that non-bloggers may never know.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Moving Forward


Well, by now most of you know how my week has gone. Up until yesterday I was having a very productive week. It came to a standstill when I went to post a review at my kid's blog and found it suspended.

I don't know if venting here was the wisest choice, but I guess since I don't usually do it I'm allowed one error in judgment from time to time. Not only am I disappointed, I'm angry that one person could do that to another human being. It would have been such an easy thing to ask if I would consider changing my blog's URL or put up a disclaimer stating there was no affiliation between the two sites; but instead I was immediately put on the defense by a confrontational individual who accused me of malicious intent when there was none, and it could possibly have done damage to my online reputation. Wishing that WordPress would see through the ridiculousness of these accuasations also proved fruitless, so I am still considering my next step; but life must gone on in the meantime.

While coming out here tonight I ran across a quote from Ann Landers who put this all in perspective for me:

"When life's problems seem overwhelming, look around and see what other people are coping with. You may consider yourself fortunate." - Ann Landers

In the larger scheme of things, this incident is just one royal pain in the neck. I can start a new blog like I did in July when I began The Kids Book Connection and work on building that brand up instead. The principle of the whole thing still shakes me to my core, but at the end of the day I am still safe and warm inside my house, loved by my family, and have been blessed by God in many ways. By the way God, if this incident was a test of my patience, I again failed miserably.

My thanks go out to all of you who offered words of encouragement and support over at The Book Connection and here. Those words mean a great deal to me, and let me know that no matter what I am falsely accused of, I am still surrounded by a lot of wonderful, helpful and generous friends in the virtual world.

Tonight I am preparing for NaNoWriMo, which will kick off on November 1st. I have several character interviews drawn up and have a basic idea of setting and plot. I'm more excited than I was in 2006 when I gave NaNoWriMo a shot, so hopefully that will bring me closer to success.

Good luck to anyone who is tackling NaNoWriMo this year, and thanks again to everyone for their support.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Should WordPress Be Able to Suspend Your Blog without an Investigation?


As my readers know, we branched off The Book Connection's children's and teen books onto a new site on WordPress and called the new blog, The Kid's Book Connection.

I wandered out to this blog today to post a review and found it had been suspended.

Why you ask?

Well, it seems that a woman paid WordPress to use the http://thekidsbookconnection.com/ to sell Usborne books and she feels that my blog--though it doesn't sell anything--takes business away from her. This is the comment she left on my blog on October 27th:

"DO you know or care your using another person domain name? your doing a free one on wordpress when others PAY to do theirs the right way PAYING for the domain name and hosting -How sad you choose to do this to another person who is just a work at home mom with a disbled husband trying to make extra money. WHY the need to do this instad of doing it the right way??????"

I deleted the comment, but retained it in my dashboard. I then explained in an email sent from a form I found on her site that my using http://thekidsbookconnection.wordpress.com was not done intentionally to steal her business--after all I don't sell anything on that blog. I merely chose a URL that made sense and flowed well with The Book Connection. I also told her I didn't appreciate her littering my blog with that comment and attacking me for all the world to see.

I have integrity and I would never do something as low as trying to steal business from someone else. The only thing I could be guilty of is not being smart enough to check to see if The Kids Book Connection was already being used on WordPress, and if I had, I wouldn't use it anyway because I don't want something close enough to anyone else's site to cause confusion.

I get this in return:

"Hello
I put NO comments on your blog at aLL id did was to view it only and ask some freinds who this can be allowed
I did not litter anything esp your blog trust me there as I am not the kind of person to do that
What words where as I di dnot do any!

When you sign up for a blog it offers to have you buy the domain name and you choose not to as it is already owned had you looked and tried to buy it

You say "" troublesome to you, "" well it is as a work at home mom I find this so sad!!
tryingto make a few dollars on line with a domain name and website which I PAY for both of them and then comes someone using it for free -SIgh! How sad!..."


Okay, so first she denies leaving the comment on my blog--which I have--and again, she's angry that I got something for free that she paid for, keeping in mind however, that "wordpress" appears in my URL and not in hers.

Today, I wander out to The Kids Book Connection to post a review and guess what--my blog has been suspended. Gee, is that a coincidence? I think not.

After reviewing their Terms and Conditions, I honestly don't see where WordPress has just cause to do that; but what worries me more is that any Tom, Dick or Harry can report your WordPress blog and it is immediately suspensed without warning and without sending you an email to let you know there has been a complaint issued.

So, I am asking you, my readers, is that fair? Do you think it's right that your ex-boyfriend could get ticked at you and report your blog and have all your work be held up in limbo without any type of investigation performed first?

I was considering a move to WordPress for all my blogs because Goggle has recently placed a limit on the number of labels your blog can use, but I definitely won't do that now.

I usually pride myself on keeping emotion out of my writing, but today I failed miserably. I can't believe another human being would do that to someone, and that all that work of mine might have to be recreated just because an Usborne sales representative is angry that she paid for a blog she could have gotten for free. I am totally beside myself and I certainly won't be buying anything from or recommending any products from Usborne in the near future if these are the type of people they employ.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Will you NaNoWriMo?


So, how many of you are going to tackle National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year? I had several reservations, as I am busier than I have ever been, but I decided I wanted to paticipate too much to ignore the desire and knew I had to go for it.

For those like me who are considering adding a sizeable project into an already jam-packed schedule, my latest Writer2Writer article might give you a hand. "Tackling the Big Gorilla - How to Add a Large Project to Your Schedule and Still Be Stress-free around the Holidays".

For help preparing for NaNoWriMo, including many links and resources, visit the Let's Write a Novel Together blog.

Good luck to everyone who will be participating in NaNoWriMo 2009!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The 2010 Muse Online Writers Conference



Well, in case you're wondering where I ran off to, I participated in the Muse Online Writers Conference last week. As always, Lea and friends did an excellent job, and this year attendees with completed manuscripts got the chance to vie for spots to pitch to publishers. Awesome new addition to the conference offerings!

Registration is now open for the 2010 Muse Online Writers Conference that will take place from October 11 through October 17, 2010. You can register at http://ca.groups.yahoo.com/group/2010MuseConferenceRegistration/ and be sure to put yourself on Individual Email so that you don't miss anything. Lea sends out numerous important message throughout the year and it is a bummer if you miss anything important.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Help Me Decide on My NaNoWriMo Project


I haven't attempted NaNoWriMo since 2006, and I sure don't know if everything will line up for me to give it a try this year, but I have three ideas that I'm toying with and I need some input from you. So come out of hiding and let me know your thoughts.

Idea One

In 2006, I began a story titled A Shepherd's Journey. This is Christian fiction story where I was able to the idea a bit and sell it to a children's publisher for a picture book, which will come out in 2010, but I still think it has potential as a more mature story.

Premise: As a child, a shepherd boy named Obed, is the in the hills outside Bethlehem on the night of Christ's birth with his father and two older brothers. They visit the Savior and sing His praises, but Obed's youngest brother Eli is later slaughtered by Herod's soldiers in an attempt to kill the new King. Time marches on and Christ begins his ministry and then is put to death and rises 3 days later. Right before the Resurrection, Obed's mother dies and he is worried for her soul, since her belief in God since Eli's death has ben shaky at best, and his fathers and brothers no longer worship God. Obed leaves home in search of the apostles, who are now in hiding, to see if he can learn more about this Jesus, and to figure out if He was the Savior he met so long ago, so that can bring his family back to God.

Like to write it because: I really feel this is a story God has called me to write.

Problems: Research was and remains an issue with this one. Fashion, food, typical weather are all things I need to find out. I have some texts here, but as I discovered in 2006, trying to research and write all at once doesn't work.

Idea Two

Premise: I had written a short story a while back titled "Montezuma's Revenge". In it, Reed's wife had attempted to murder him, but he survived and discovered his wife had vanished. Reed receives a mysterious text message claiming that this person knows where his wife Erin is and wants to meet him. During that meeting, he discovers that the text messenging stranger is his ex-girlfriend Sharon, who never liked Erin and thought she was the reason they broke up. Ben, Reed's father never liked Erin either, and is the one who hired Sharon (a P.I.) to find out where Erin disappeared to. Seems Erin ran away with a contractor who worked at Reed and Erin's house.

Like to write this because: I have some background started on these guys and gals and would like to turn this into something more than a short story.

Problem: Not sure if there is a full novel in here. It would be romantic suspsense because of the relationship with Sharon that would become more as the story progresses. Not sure where to start it off if I need to make it longer because originally I had is starting with Reed getting the mysterious text and discovering Erin's whereabouts early on. The plan was to have him take off to Mexico to find Erin and the contractor (Mark) and Sharon ends up following him there, a confrontation ensues, and though I didn't have all the details Sharon and Reed end up together.

I guess I could actually start it with Reed trying to figure out where that nasty wife of his went and then bring Sharon in, in a different fashion, but again, is there enough for a novel?

Idea Three

This one would be a total shot in the dark and I'm not quite sure how I would approach it because I really haven't given much thought to it.

Premise: This is a crime fiction piece with a romanctic element to it, though there is no happy ending because the woman is murdered. I put this together as part of a scene building exercise for a workshop last year. Gilbert and Jonathan are two detectives and Anne is the woman Gil is in love with, though he thinks she is interested in Robert, the son of a prominent senator. The senator's family has Mob connections, but it seems that Robert has some gambling debts that the Maronis (Mob guys) want paid and dear ole Daddy doesn't like his gambling and won't give him the dough; so Robert needs to wine and dine Anne, and hope that she marries him so he can use her money. But she can't decide if she loves him--seems maybe her heart belonged to Gil, they argue, and he kills her. A chase ensues and Robert is finally brought to justice.

Like to write it because: I would really like to see how far I could take it.

Problem: I set this in NYC in an unknown time period, but I was thinking 50's. I know next to nothing about NYC, police work, or organized crime other than what I've read, and I know even less about the 50's.

I guess there is a fourth idea hanging out there too, but since it would never meet the required word-count I don't think it's really a consideration. I was thinking of expanding my YA story "Amelia's Mission" and turning it into a novella. This would be along the lines of Lucy Maud Montgomery's work and I think it would be a great thing to put together, and fun.

I think that's it. If you want to share your thoughts on these, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Motivational Quote #31



"Have confidence in yourself, and you can lick anything." - Pa to Laura in These Happy Golden Years

This might seem like an unusual source for a motivational quote, but pioneers, out of necessity, were forced to persevere against seemingly insurmountable odds. In The Long Winter, which is two titles in the timeline ahead of These Happy Golden Years--the Ingalls family and other members of De Smet, SD are forced to pull together during the Hard Winter, when months of blizzards--sometimes only a day or two apart--kept the trains from reaching the town until spring. Eventually supplies ran low or were entirely depleted, leaving families close to starvation.

Fans of the books learn how Caroline (Ma) Ingalls makes a lamp out of a button and some grease. They feel the pain of raw hands as the Ingalls family endlessly twists hay into knots to feed the fire and their muscles ache as they read of the constant churning of the coffee mill that grinds wheat grain for bread.

After reading The Long Winter, you feel inspired by how everyone pulled together to survive until supplies came through on the first train in spring.

But I digress--as my love for Little House tends to make me do. The quote above is part of a conversation between Charles (Pa) Ingalls and Laura, who is on her way to teach at the Brewster settlement. Laura is not quite sixteen, and this is her first job away from home. She is scared about her ability to teach and maintain order since she has never taught before and because she is very small. As part of this exchange, Pa reminds Laura of the time a blizzard came up while Caroline and he were away, and Laura (if I remember correctly she had Mary's help) brought the entire woodpile inside the house so they would stay warm.

"Success gets to be a habit, like anything else a fellow keeps on doing," Charles says to his daughter. Then he reminds Laura of the woodpile incident and tells her, "That's the way to tackle things!...Have confidence in yourself, and you can lick anything."

These are very wise words for writers to keep with them. The thought of success being a habit might seem strange, but I believe it's true. Successful writers continue along their paths to success because they remain focused on their goals and religiously work to obtain them.

Our feelings of self-doubt and fear of failure zap our confidence. It is easy to retreat into a world ruled by our fear that we can never obtain our writing goals, even the smallest of them. Don't allow that to happen. Be confident that you can lick anything. Persevere like the townsfolk of De Smet, SD during the Hard Winter. While your very survival likely doesn't depend upon it, achieving your dreams of being published, do. And as Charles Ingalls said to his insecure young daughter, having confidence in yourself is "the only way to make other folks have confidence in you."

You have the power to make your dreams come true. Use it!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Motivational Quote #30



I am so bad. I saved this two days ago and never posted it. I was kind of busy, though, finishing edits to a manuscript and playing mommy.

If you've never read anything by or about Dale Carnegie, then you might not realize how amazing and inspiring he was. The son of a farmer, he was a traveling salesman and an actor before he began teaching public speaking at a YMCA In New York City.

Due to the popularity of his classes, Carnegie standardized his teaching methods and put them into pamphlet form, which he later collected into a book. His most popular title, How to Win Friends and Influence People--a title I've read--was published in 1936.

One man's vision has turned into an entire performance-based training company with offices worldwide.

Carengie's achievements are enough to inspire anyone, so it's not surprising that his quotes pop up here from time to time. When I saw this one the other day, I immediately fell in love with it and wanted to share it with all of you.

"All life is a chance. So take it! The person who goes furthest is the one who is willing to do and dare." - Dale Carnegie

So often as writers we doubt our abilities. We create excuses for why we can't focus on our dream of becoming published authors. Carnegie says it so well. "All life is a chance." He's so right. We can't always predict the outcome of things, but sure won't get anywhere if we don't try.

No one will ever accuse me of being a risk taker, but when it comes to my writing, I want to make it happen...most of the time. I am willing to take a risk here and there to make it work.

What is it that stops you from being the person who goes the furthest? Why are you afraid to do and dare? And are you ready to live with the consequences of your inaction?

Remember, you have the power to make your dreams come true. Use it!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Remembering September 11th

c) 2001 The Record, (Bergen County, NJ).

Just as those who are old enough to remember where they were when they heard of John F. Kennedy's assasination, people of our generation can vividly recall what they were doing when radios and televisions shared reports of the Twin Towers being struck.

I was home with my month-old daughter, still on maternity leave. The phone rang and my husband asked me to turn on the television to let him know what news stations were saying. He was at work and gaining access to the Internet was almost impossible with so many people trying to find out the latest details of what was happening in New York.

When news came of the attack on the Pentagon, I called my husband back and immediately felt that we were at war.

I would find out later, that my brother-in-law was supposed to be at the World Trade Center that morning, but at the last minute his meeting was changed to an alternate location. Our family was spared...but many others were not.

As our country honors those whose lives were lost on that fateful day, I personally hope that the many families affected by this horrible tragedy have begun the road to healing; that they have found some way to carry on after the unexpected loss of their loved ones; and that they may know the peace and comfort only God can provide.

God Bless America!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The President's Speech and Our Writing

President Obama delivers a speech on education at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va., Tuesday. (AP Photo)


This week, President Obama delivered a speech that was telecast to America's school children. I watched the speech and I got to thinking that the President's words could apply to other situations and environments. In fact, I knew it could also be applied to writing.

While I am going to paraphrase, you'll get the meaning of what President Obama was saying. We can have schools with teachers, parents and the government working to make them the best, but it is the child's responsiblity to stay in school, make the grades, set goals and reach for his dreams. Ultimately, the responsiblity remains with the student.

And so it is with your writing. You can attend the best writer's conferences, participate in the most helpful critique groups, and read hundreds of books on how to hone your craft, but it is up to you whether or not you have the writing career you desire. You have to use what is offered to you to the best of your ability and make it happen.

When I tell people I'm lazy, they laugh at me. How can someone who is so busy, be lazy? But when it comes to my writing, I am. Why? Because being published isn't what motivates me. Being creative, writing down my thoughts, and reading good books is what motivates me more than anything. With five blogs, the articles I put together for Writer2Writer, and the occasional fan fiction story I dabble in, I reach most of those goals. Add in the books I review, and I'm all set.

And honestly, I'm much better at motivating others than myself. I enjoy cheering people on and helping them improve their work. Someone has just asked me to be her writing coach and help keep her focused on a project that needs to be completed quickly. I jumped at the chance.

In all things, we must be honest with ourselves and admit what it holding us back. We have to realize that no matter what, you are responsible for putting into motion the things that will turn you into a published author.

You have the power to make your dreams come true. Use it!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Labor Day!




Here's to all of the workers who have and continue to make a difference in the American way of life. For a brief history of Labor Day, visit history.com.

Happy Labor Day!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Let's Write A Novel Together Blog


My friend Jean from Storycrafters has started a new blog to empower writers to take up the challenge of writing a novel. She plans to start the sharing in September and there will be some talk of NaNoWriMo, but she's basically doing this so we all have support and encouragement while we write.

You can visit the Let's Write A Novel Together blog for more details.

I hope you'll join us!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

End the Cycle - Stop Self-doubt from Stealing Your Time


Check out my latest article on Writer2Writer's time management subsite.

Self-doubt is something that many writers--myself included--struggle with. End the Cycle - Stop Self-doubt from Stealing Your Time will give you some tips on how to stop self-doubt from taking over, which leads to procrastination.

As always, your feedback is appreciated.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Motivational Quote # 29



"The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power." - Hugh White

I loved this quote as soon as I read it. Our past experiences always have an impact on our lives; but how much of an impact is up to us. I did not have an overly happy childhood, and that has been a stumbling block for me as an adult and a parent. My ability to interact with people suffered as a result, and its hard for me to feel comfortable in social situations. I'm always afraid I'll do or say the wrong thing. Oftentimes, I analyze previous conversations and chide myself for doing or saying something that I wish I hadn't. Additionally, my parenting style is much more like my father's than I want it to be.

But as Hugh White indicates, the future is in my power. Therefore, I have the power to make the necessary changes; as long as I take it.

The same holds true for our writing. We let rejections, fear of failure, fear of success and self-doubt keep us from aspiring to reach our goals. If we only used that power to plow through our fears and feelings of self-doubt, we could persistently work towards achieving our goals.

In what ways do you allow self-doubt and your fears keep you from obtaining your writing goals? What would you like to change? How can you make that change happen?

Remember, you have the power to make your writing dreams come true. Use it!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

And we're back!


This photo was taken in the gazebo overlooking the sound at Miller's Restaurant on Route 158. Miller's is one of the girls' favorite places to eat on the Outer Banks.

We had a great time, though we had more rain than we usually do; but that seems to be all of the east coast this year. We've had so much rain where we live that on the shady side of the house the ground is still moist, even after four days of sun and temperatures in the mid- to high 90's.

It's hard to believe, but after we finish off Vacation Bible School this week, we'll only have one full week before the kids head back to school. I honestly don't know where this summer went.

Starting in September, my hope is to add more to this blog on a weekly basis. I'll get back to regular motivational quotes, and as things progress with my book, I'll share my thoughts on the journey to publication with all of you.

Thanks for sticking with me. I appreciate the support.

All my best,

Cheryl

Friday, July 31, 2009

And we're off....


...to the Outer Banks that is. The family is taking a two-week vacation to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The above picture is of the girls and I walking through The Christmas Shop in Manteo. We were so disappointed one year when we went out there and The Christmas Shop was closed, and every time we drove by the empty parking lot my heart ached a bit.

What a pleasant surprise it was to see that it reopened last May, and it's even bigger and better than it was before. Along with the many Christmas items, they have artwork from local artists, antiques, a museum shop and a jewelry shop, in addition to the Outer Banks Fudge Company--which serves coffee and treats.

If you're on the Outer Banks, The Christmas Shop & Island Gallery is one place you must visit.

Starting in September, this blog will be updated more regularly. Weekly motivational quotes will be posted again, and I'll share more on my writing projects, in addition to having more guest spots from published authors.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

In Pursuit of an Idea by Kim Smith



Kim Smith is currently on a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion to promote her new romance novel, A Will to Love. This is an article she wrote for my book blog, The Book Connection, which will host her on July 24th. I liked this article so much, that I decided to feature it here first. Would be and novice writers could gain a lot from this article.



If you would like to follow Kim on her virtual book tour, please visit http://virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/ during the month of July to see where you stops next.

In the Pursuit of an Idea by Kim Smith

Recently, I was out of town on a business trip. No great thing but for the fact that I had horrible trouble with the airlines that was supposed to move me from point A to point B. The long wait times (two different days!) gave me plenty of opportunities to think about situations and writing and what worked and what didn’t.

For most beginning writers, the pursuit of an idea wide enough to carry an entire book is a big deal because many agents and publishers say “make the story universal, make it something that is timeless”. Most beginners (some who are not as well) take this advice seriously. They want to do everything right straight out of the gate.

I know many established, multi-published authors who take the idea that flashes through their mind and keep building on it “off the paper” for extended periods of time. Some have even developed their characters, their settings, or their plot for years in their pre-planning. But, for some of us, this simply won’t work. I happen to be one of these other writers, the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants sorts. This post is not for the writer who can create for extended periods before writing their first word, but rather the ones who cannot.

As I sat in the airport contemplating writing something (anything!) because my heart felt that I had put it off too long trying to make it into something useful not wasted, I remembered William Faulkner.

He is quoted as saying, "Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old writer, he wants to beat him"

So I am here to tout the news that it is okay to write out the idea on paper, not carry it around in our heads, go forward, dive right into the story by writing a few thousand words. It is okay to turn those few thousand into a few thousand more in an attempt to see if it will go anywhere, only to discover that you do not have a story. Yes, I am an advocate of broken beginnings, saggy middles, and books with no hope.

Why, you ask, would I do such a thing? Why would I encourage writers to write anything less than their best, and most well-thought out work? Waste paper, muddle a mind?

Because writers write. That’s what we do, that’s who we are!

Beginning writers (especially) need to keep poking the muse to see what she has to offer up. When we censor our writing mind, and toss out ideas before they have a chance to be developed (because someone says “that won’t work” or “that’s been done before”), we get into a mind-set that hobbles our creativity.

Let that weak idea flow! You may have a short story, not a novel. You may have a character sketch, or a mood piece, not necessarily a short story, but that is perfectly fine. You still have something to write. Something that moves your writing life forward a little bit more than yesterday. Along the way, you will know when it is right, when it is something that can be stretched, or developed, when it will go into a bigger piece of the puzzle, and who better to know such as that? It is your story to tell, your character to develop, your plot to pursue.

After returning from my business trip, I walked the grounds of Rowan Oak, Faulkner’s home in Oxford, Mississippi. I smiled when I felt the urge to write hit me. I didn’t tarry either. Maybe ole Will was standing somewhere under one of those huge, old trees in the avenue, waving at me—(laughing, probably) telling me to go, go, go at my fierce determination to wrestle something out in the name of writing. Telling me to be free in my methods, my failures. I had a small amount of success, churning out one small story. Thanks, Will.

Kim Smith is the hostess for the popular radio show, Introducing WRITERS! radio show on Blog Talk Radio. She is also the author of the zany, Shannon Wallace mystery series available now from Red Rose Publishing and also the new romance novel, A Will to Love. You can visit Kim’s website at www.mkimsmith.com.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day!



As America celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence, our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have served and who are currently serving in the U.S. Military and their families.

God Bless America!!!

God Bless America
by Irving Berlin


God bless America,
Land that I love,
Stand beside her and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above;

From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam,
God bless America,
My home, sweet home.
God bless America,
My home, sweet home.

Here's another excellent song that celebrates America:



To see Lee Greenwood's actual video you can go here.

Lastly, though I'm sure you know it, here are the lyrics to America's National Anthem:



The Star Spangled Banner
By Francis Scott Key 1814


Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Motivational Quote #28



"In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins - not by strength but by perseverance." - H. Jackson Brown Jr.

After a long, unplanned hiatus, we're back. While usually motivational quotes are posted on Saturdays, that might change now that my schedule has changed.

As writers, we hear a lot about perserverance, and in this classic quote from H. Jackson Brown Jr., author of Life's Little Instruction Book, we are reminded of the importance of perserverance.

It isn't always the strong who succeed nor the ones who are the best. It is the ones who don't give up. As a young girl I had a dream of becoming a writer. I wrote stories and poems, many of which I still have tucked away in a manila envelope in my hope chest. These stories and poems display my interests of the time and also helped me deal with the death of my mother when I was only 14.

Even though life threw me many curveballs, I never gave up on that dream. I began writing my first novel when I was a single parent working three jobs just to make ends meet. I poured hours into that manuscript when I remarried and had the chance to be a stay-at-home mom. The first draft was completed in 2006. Unfortunately, the co-author moved out of state and has been too busy to edit that draft, so the project lingers on.

I was disappointed, as I had high hopes for that novel. I still do! So, I began concentrating on my own projects. While contributing articles to Writer2Writer, I attended conferences, kept writing and getting critiques of my work, and spent as much time as I could honing my craft.

Now, the mother of a full grown son and two young daughters, my writing time is more limited than ever; but still I perservere. And, yes, it has paid off. My first Christian children's picture book will be released by Guardian Angel Publishing in the fall of 2010.

It has been a long road for that little girl who dreamed of becoming a writer. And even though it seemed like my dreams were unobtainable, I did it! I am going to be not only a writer, but a published author. It's amazing and scary all at once.

I encourage you to perservere as you journey along your road to publication. My own story shows that it can happen, even though I doubted it at times. Don't give up! You have the power to make your dreams comes true. Use it!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Catching the Waves by Tristi Pinkston


I recently reviewed Agent in Old Lace by Tristi Pinkston. In case you missed that review, you can find it here.

Tristi is currently touring the blogosphere to let people know all about her contemporary romantic suspense novel Agent of Old Lace, and I agreed to host her. Actually, if she hadn't asked I would have offered because I loved her last book, Season of Sacrifice so much, I knew I wanted to read Agent in Old Lace the minute it was available.

Though Tristi told me it might be dangerous, I allowed her to take the reins and discuss whatever she wanted to today. So, I'm taking a nap for a few moments and Tristi is moving in.

Catching the Waves
By Tristi Pinkston

When a surfer wants to catch a wave, he goes out into the water and gets ready, holding his board poised just right. When the wave comes, he takes full advantage, placing the board and hopping on, holding his arms just so in order to keep his balance, and he rides that wave as far as it will take him. As he’s standing in the water, waiting, he doesn’t feel guilty if the wave doesn’t come right when he thought it would. He just waits a minute, remaining ready, and then enjoys the ride when it comes.

Spurts of creativity are very much like waves. They come and they go, sometimes pounding into the beach and sometimes gently lapping, often with gaps in between. Writers ride those waves of creativity, tapping out pages upon pages as the wave takes them into shore. Yet, for some reason, the analogy stops here. Whereas the surfer patiently waits for the wave, knowing one is coming, the writer frets and stresses. “Where’s my next wave?” he moans. “I’m a fraud. A failure. I’ll never get published. I’ll never finish this book. I’m stuck and I don’t know how to fix it. I’m a loser.”

What the writer needs to realize is what the surfer knows instinctively. The wave will come. It might not come right now, or thirty seconds from now, but it will come. No amount of stressing or whining will bring it any sooner. The question is, are you poised in the water, gripping your board, ready to leap on when the time is right?

1. Are you getting enough rest? Sleep is one of the major factors in creativity. If you just can’t come up with a decent idea to save your life, it’s time for a nap, or two or three … whatever you need to recharge.

2. Are you feeding your mind? If you’re writing a romance, are you reading romances, watching romantic movies, and snuggling up with your sweetie? You’ve got to feed the fire. If you’re writing a historical fiction, read them. If you’re writing a nonfiction text, read them. Keep your brain firing on those topics so that when your idea flares to life, it won’t be like trying to start a rusty chainsaw.

3. Are you taking enough time away from the computer? That might seem counterproductive, but it’s not. Sitting in the same place day after day, staring at the screen, isn’t the most awe-inspiring place you could be. If the screen is mocking you, take a break. Go for a walk. Get some oxygen flowing. Go shopping. Sometimes changing your atmosphere is the best thing you can do to get those ideas coming again.

You are not a failure if your ideas seem slow in coming. You just need some time to recharge yourself and possibly even remind yourself why you love to write in the first place. It should never feel like a chore. If that’s where you are right now, take a break. Then get back in the water and wait for the wave. It will come.


I'm back! I popped in at Tristi's blog and noticed this post from the day she kicked off her virtual book tour. It's not often I read of an author interviewing herself, so please check it out.

You can also find Tristi online at her website.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Stop Juggling: Why Multi-tasking isn’t Productive


This article originally appeared in the May issue of Writer2Writer under the title, Multi-tasking - Tips and Tricks to Make it Work!. The above title is closer to capturing my feelings about multi-tasking.

When I was younger, I thought multi-tasking was great. Even though I made some mistakes here or there, I felt like I was accomplishing a lot more. Consider it wisdom or more experience, but now that I'm older, I've learned to appreciate focusing on one thing at a time and doing it well.

The article below will give you some tips on how to stop multi-tasking so that you can truly be more productive!

Stop Juggling: Why Multi-tasking isn’t Productive

Copyright Cheryl C. Malandrinos - All Rights Reserved.


If you’ve spent any time in the corporate world, then you’re familiar with the term multi-tasking. Employers mention it in their job posts and applicants proudly put “ability to multi-task” on their resumes.

Multi-tasking is a good thing, right?

Well, maybe not.

A University of Michigan study found that participants took longer to complete math problems if they tried to switch back and forth among tasks. In addition, Russell Poldrack, a UCLA associate professor of psychology and co-author of a study on multi-tasking says that, “Multi-tasking adversely affects how you learn," because “…that learning is less flexible and more specialized, so you cannot retrieve the information as easily.”

Author and management expert Dave Crenshaw even wrote a book to help business leaders and employees recognize why multi-tasking is counterproductive.

How can you stop multi-tasking in a world where cell phones, PDA’s and laptops keep you connected 24/7?

Here are some tips to get you started.

Write a to-do list

As a writer, you probably have three projects you’re working on and several more you want to work on. Problem is, when your mind is focusing on everything all at once instead of only on the task at hand, you’re more apt to make mistakes. Write a to-do list, prioritize it, and stick to it. Just make sure you leave a little bit of wiggle room in case something urgent comes up.

Keep a Pad Close By

Oftentimes when you’re working, an idea will pop into your head and you’re afraid to forget it, so you wander off to focus on that idea or perform a task you’ve forgotten.

Don’t do it! Write it down and get back to what you were doing. Not only will you keep your focus on the task at hand, think of how great it will feel when you check something off your to-do list.

Stop Distractions

Email, cell phones, and the Internet have made life easier in many ways. But technology has its downside. It’s so tempting to just take a minute to click over and check the daily news or your email. But it never takes only a minute, and before you know it, all your writing time has been spent on anything but writing.

When I work on deadline I don’t answer my phone. I keep it by my desk in case of emergencies, but unless it is one of the girls’ schools, I let the answering machine pick it up.

Set a time each day to check email and return phone messages and browse the Internet on a scheduled break.

Don’t Allow Interruptions

Family and friends need to be reminded that you’re working and not available. Constantly reinforce your work schedule with them and don’t allow them to interrupt you for anything that isn’t an emergency.

Make Time for Others

The flip side of not allowing interruptions is to train yourself not to work during family time. This is something I especially struggle with. Sometimes that means packing up a picnic lunch and taking my girls to the park so that I’m not tempted to do any work.

Keep family time sacred. Don’t return phone messages. Don’t check your email. Don’t hibernate in your office for an hour. Let your family know how important they are to you and they’ll be more respectful of your writing time.

Make Time for Yourself

The world might be going 24/7, but you can’t. You need down time and you need to get enough sleep so that you can stay healthy and productive.

Even if it’s just fifteen minutes a day, allot some time in your schedule to do whatever it is you want to do. Take a walk. Take a bath. Take a power nap. Whatever it is, do it.

Try to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night. While it might seem like you’re doing yourself a favor if you stay up late to complete what you’re working on, people who do not get enough sleep are more prone to making mistakes and forgetting things, not to mention the adverse health affects caused by sleep deprivation.

Don’t confuse being busy with being productive. Multi-tasking is not the way to balance your family life and your career. It could result in costly mistakes. Creating to-do lists, writing things down instead of trying to focus on multiple things at a time, stopping distractions and interruptions, and making time for others and for yourself will give you a better balance between your personal life and your career.

And you’ll be more productive too!

About the Author: Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelancer who specializes in helping writers increase productivity through time management and organization. She has also written articles on everyday life in the 1800’s, gardening, parenting, and women’s health issues. Cheryl is also a book reviewer, blogger, and a virtual book tour coordinator for Pump Up Your Book Promotion. You can find out more about Cheryl by visiting her website at http://ccmalandrinos.tripod.com/

Dr. Ronald J. Frederick on Living Like You Mean It



I'm very excited to tell you about Dr. Ronald J. Frederick and his book, Living Like You Mean It: Use the Wisdom and Power of Your Emotions to Get the Life You Really Want shares with you his proven four-step approach to overcoming fear and connecting more deeply with yourself and others.

Writers deal with self-doubt and fear often. Not only do we doubt our abilities, but we can be afraid of failing, afraid of succeeding, and afraid that no matter what we do it can't possibly be good enough.

With Living Like You Mean It: Use the Wisdom and Power of Your Emotions to Get the Life You Really Want you'll learn to:

* Break through old patterns and get unstuck,

* Open up to the energy and resources inside you and feel motivated,

* Get in touch with your personal truth and put an end to confusion and indecisiveness,

* Experience a profound sense of meaning, purpose, and belonging,

* Deepen and enrich your relationships and feel closer to those you love,

* Realize your true potential and experience greater fulfillment and happiness,

* ….and live your life like you mean it!


Today Dr. Frederick will discuss the power of fear and how it keeps us from achieving what we want.

The ability to live like you mean it hinges on being able to be emotionally present in our lives—really being there for the happy times and coming through the difficult times a much better person. It’s our feelings that make us feel alive and vital, energize us to meet and deal with life’s challenges, and point us in the best direction to get what we really want. Our feelings are what bridge the gap between ourselves and others, enliven our relationships, and help us feel close. Our personal identity—the core of who we are—is largely formed by what we feel and how we react. Our likes and dislikes, what makes us happy, what makes us sad, what excites us, what brings us pleasure, what annoys or frustrates us—all say so much about who we are. It’s in our feelings that we find our true authentic self.

Unfortunately, many of us are uncomfortable with our feelings. We have what I call a “feelings phobia.” We get close to our feelings, start to feel anxious, and avoid them. We do all these things to steer clear of our feelings—behaviours we’re not even aware we’re doing. When we avoid or deny our feelings, when we suppress them, we are in a way denying who we are, squelching our creativity and individuality, and sacrificing our true potential and power. It’s impossible to go the distance, to really live like you mean it, unless we can be fully present with our feelings.

But, as I discuss in my new book Living Like You Mean It: Use the Wisdom and Power of Your Emotions to Get the Life You Really Want, change is possible. We can loosen the grip of fear on our experience and unleash our inner wisdom and power. It all begins with opening our eyes and waking up to what’s going on inside of us. We need to find a way to put the brakes on, slow down, and tune in to our internal experience. In short, we need to develop what I call emotional mindfulness. Emotional mindfulness is about purposely paying attention to our physically felt emotional experience as it happens with the aim of helping us be more consciously aware of our feelings and, ultimately, more fully present with them.

How do you do this? You start by slowing down, going inward and just noticing. At any time you want to, stop and ask yourself, What am I feeling? and then tune in to what’s happening inside you right in that moment. Not what you think should be happening, not what you wish were happening, but what is happening. Consciously direct your attention to your felt experience. Watch and observe.

Each time you repeat this behaviour, each time you bring your focus back to your body sensations, you’re developing a new habit. You’re training your mind to be aware of and pay attention to your emotional experience. You’re opening up to a richer experience of yourself. You’re making room for your creative juices to flow. And, you’re beginning to transform your life.

To find out more about living like you mean it, please visit: www.livinglikeyoumeanit.com.


Ron Frederick is a licensed psychologist and life coach and author of the bestselling book Living Like You Mean It: Use the Wisdom and Power of Your Emotions to Get the Life You Really Want (Jossey-Bass, 2009). A long-time proponent of the power of therapy to transform lives, he co-founded the Center for Courageous Living which offers innovative therapy, coaching, and consulting.

Noted for his warmth, humor, and engaging presentation style, Dr. Ron travels throughout North America as a speaker and trainer, receiving consistent acclaim for his expertise and inviting teaching style. His work has been featured in the APA Monitor on Psychology, Clinical Psychiatry News: The Leading Independent Newspaper for the Psychiatrist, and Lavender Magazine. An invited contributor to several professional books, he has also been quoted on CNN.com.

Dr. Ron is a Senior Faculty Member of the Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) Institute as well as the supervising psychologist of Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s Park House Day Treatment Program.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Dr. Ron now lives in Minneapolis, MN.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Motivational Quote # 27



"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." - Helen Keller

When I first began blogging, I titled my blog, The Adventures of a Wife, Mother, and Aspiring Author. As if being a wife and mother aren't challenging enough, I had to add writing into the mix. I thought it even funnier when a friend who has spent decades in the entertainment industry told me that the publishing industry is just as competitive, if not more than entertainment.

Helen Keller was born in a small town in Alabama in June of 1880. A mysterious illness at a young age left her a deaf-blind mute. After consulting a specialist, they were put in touch with Alexander Graham Bell--the inventor of the telephone--who suggested they contact the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the Blind, to find a teacher for Helen.

In March 1887, Helen was introduced to Anne Sullivan, a blind woman who had graduated from Perkins. This meeting would prove to be a turning point for Helen. Once the meaning of words was unlocked for Helen Keller there was no holding her back. She became a writer and public speaker, graduated from Radcliffe College, and traveled the world raising money for the blind.*

The life of Helen Keller is truly an inspiration to everyone. How a young girl triumphed over seemingly insurmountable odds and left behind a legacy that is talked about to this day, surely proves anyone can achieve their dreams.

Your life can be an adventure too...if only you dare to live it.



* Information on Helen Keller can be found at this site.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

First Book Contract


As you can see, I didn't post a motivational quote this week. That's because I'm hoping that this will serve as enough motivation for you to get writing.

In December of last year, I submitted a manuscript to a children's publisher for a Christian picture book idea. It was a publisher I was familiar with and I knew some of the authors who had worked with them, so I felt safe sending it along.

The publisher requested some edits, which I sent along when they were ready. Last week I received a book contract from Guardian Angel Publishing for The Little Shepherd Boy.

I know I say this all the time, but my story is just another reminder of how true it is.

You have the power to make your dreams come true. Use it!

Don't let self-doubt, fear of failure, fear of success or any other obstacle stand in your way. You have what it takes to make your writing dreams happen. All you have to do, is choose the dream.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Motivational Quote #26



"Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it." - Michael Jordan

I apologize for my lack of posting lately. I worked with the children from our daughter's preschool to write and illustrate three books for their annual art show. Then I finished the edits to my children's picture book manuscript, The Little Shepherd Boy, and resubmitted it to the publisher who had requested the edits. And then my schedule got all messed up because my brother-in-law is getting married in June and he asked us to be in the wedding, which will take place a few hours away from us. So, while I might not have been here, I have been busy with a lot of good stuff.

But enough about me, let's move on to this week's motivational quote.

I know very little about basketball. Pretty much the objective seems to be getting the big orange ball into one of two orange-rimmed nets on a backboard hanging from the ceiling. Other than knowing you can't travel and hold the ball at the same time, I know nothing about the rules that guide this game.

I do, however, know a thing or two about motivation. It seems that basketball great Michael Jordan knows something about motivation too.

Why do we let obstacles stand in our way? Why do we instantly fold the moment the going gets tough? Why is it that we expect the best things in life should come with no effort on our part?

If the above weren't true, we wouldn't have so many motivational and inspirational quotes floating around. We're human. We like to take the easy road. We like to think that we're going to be one of those amazing break-out authors that we read about in trade magazines. You know the kind I'm talking about. She writes one book, secures a multi-book contract with a New York publishing house, is offered an astronomical advance, the book is optioned for film, and her book is talked about on Oprah.

The reality is, that's probably not going to happen to any of us. Now, we can waste our time waiting for it to happen and blame a million different people and reasons for why it doesn't happen, but in the end the result is the same.

Jordan's advice touches upon something that is vital to carving out a writing career--perseverance. Rejection letters are going to come; and when they do, you have to be willing to let the crying last for all of five minutes before you start typing again.

As children we learned that we weren't going to learn to ride a bike if we refused to brush off our dirty knees and get back on the seat after we fell off. The same holds true for writing. If we let obstacles stop us from pursuing our goals, then we'll never get anywhere. When that next rejection letter comes--and you know there are more in your future--figure out a way to work around it. It's the only way to make your writing dreams come true.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Are You Right or Left Brained?

As a writer, should I be concerned that only 35% of me is Right Brained?







You Are 65% Left Brained, 35% Right Brained



The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.

Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.

If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.

Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.



The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.

Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.

If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.

Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sign Up for Promo Day 2009


THE PROMOTIONAL EVENT FOR THE WRITING INDUSTRY IS BACK!

PROMO DAY makes its return in 2009 and promises to be the best yet. Mark your calendars for Saturday 9th May 2009!

An all day, online, international event for people in the writing industry packed full of tips and advice along with a variety of opportunities for writers, publishers, editors etc to promote their work and services. Readers are also welcome to drop in and get to know the authors better in the online chatroom, view the video trailers or read the sample chapters on site.

Founder and Organiser of the event, Jo Linsdell, had this to say “PROMO DAY came about because I was looking for opportunities to promote my books using the internet at little or no cost. After attending the Muse Online Writers Conference back in 2006, I searched the internet for similar events aimed at what to do after you’ve written the book and found none. I decided to fill the void and so PROMO DAY was born. PROMO DAY is a great opportunity to network with other members of the industry, take part in online workshops and promote and best of all it’s FREE”.

New features for this year are the Official Blog for the event, http://promoday.blogspot.com, where everyone can keep up to date with new announcements and information regarding the event and the official PROMO DAY book, packed full of information and resources, which will be available to buy during and after the event.

Visit the website http://jolinsdell.tripod.com/promoday for more details of how you can be involved.

BE PART OF THE ACTION, BE PART OF PROMO DAY!

Contact info:
Jo Linsdell - Founder and Organiser
Email: promoday@ymail.com
URL: http://jolinsdell.tripod.com/promoday
Blog: http://promoday.blogspot.com

ABOUT JO LINSDELL:


Born in Gillingham, Kent (UK) in September 1980. Married name Joanne Denise Feliciani. She uses her maiden name, Linsdell, as her pen name. Having passed 10 GCSE’s, she went on to study Business Studies, History and Art A-Levels at Yateley 6th Form. She left England and moved to Rome, Italy in June 2001, where she now lives with her Italian husband. She gave birth to their first son in December 2007.

She has had various jobs including working in hostels, being a tour guide and teaching English as a foreign language. She now works full-time as a freelance writer. She writes regularly for various websites, newspapers and magazines.

Her books, Italian for Tourists and A Guide to Weddings in Italy, along with her various ebooks; Il dolce Natale: Christmastime in Italy, Some Risks are Worth Taking, INSIDE.OUT, La Befana, The Patron Saint of Lovers and Free Promotional Techniques: Ways to market your books are all available to buy at www.lulu.com/jolinsdell.

She is also the creator and manager of the multi award winning site http://writersandauthors.blogspot.com

Visit her at http://jolinsdell.tripod.com or http://www.myspace.com/jolinsdell

Friday, March 13, 2009

Motivational Quote #25



Who would have thought that the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger would ever appear at this blog? But here is the man who made the line, "I'll be back" famous, sharing some very important motivation for aspiring authors.

"Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strength. When you go through hardship and decide not to surrender, that is strength." - Arnold Schwarzenegger

Writers must be very strong people because they deal with rejection and criticism so often. How many times have you poured your heart and soul into a piece of work only to be told by your critique group where it fell short? What is the number of times you've submitted a piece to an editor only to receive a form rejection letter?

Writing is not an easy gig, and anyone who thinks so is fooling herself. But, as Schwarzenegger reminds us, those struggles develop our strength, and after a while, critiques and rejection letters get easier to handle because we realize that they make us stronger and better writers. Perserverance is what will win the game.

Keep these words from California's governor in mind this week as you work toward your goal of becoming a published author. Go through the hardship, and never, never surrender.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Motivational Quote #24



"Fortune sides with him who dares."-Virgil

Look at this kick you in the behind quote that came up today when I logged into my Google account. I'm not going to say too much about this one because I really want you to think about what Virgil is saying here. As aspiring authors we have to dare to defy our fears and send out that manuscript for consideration. We have to dare to believe in ourselves even if no one else does. We must dare to live our dreams.

So, will you take that dare?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Motivational Quote #23



"Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them." - Orison Swett Marden

This particular Marden quote should be posted above my desk. Like many, I often let obstacles stand in my way instead of plowing through them. The scary part is that sometimes when my husband finds a solution for dealing with that obstacle, I immediately come up with a new one, so that once again, I cannot move forward. Sound familiar?

I have struggled with this aspect of my personality for years and it is through helping others that I found I have been able to help myself. While encouraging writing friends to pursue their dreams, I actually find a way to encourage my own.

An aspiring author faces many obstacles, and they often aren't easy obstacles to overcome; especially with self-doubt and fear of failure looming close by. But if we take the advice of Marden, who believed that our thoughts influence our lives and our life circumstances and that we have the ability to "...make the world we live in and shape our own environment," then we soon realize that the only thing stopping us from achieving success is us.

Does that mean that everyone who dreams of being a writer can do so right off the bat? No. Maybe we have to take classes to hone certain skills. Maybe we need to spend time networking and surrounding ourselves with people who can help us achieve our goals. Maybe we need to get organized first and really decide what our goals are.

What Marden's quote is saying is that you can do all that as long as you decide to tackle those obstacles instead of being afraid of them. I know I can do it...and so can you!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Motivational Quote #22



"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step."- Martin Luther King Jr.

I saw this quote and just had to use it for today. But first, a story.

Last week my youngest daughter won tickets to see Disney on Ice at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston. The tickets arrived in the mail this week and they could only be used for one of two performances: Thursday, February 19th or Friday, February 20th.

The girls are on school vacation this week, so that worked out well. But, I hate driving into Boston and my husband was working, so either I had to take the girls or we wouldn't go.

Actually, when I say I hate driving into Boston, I actually mean I don't like driving alone anywhere, but especially not to a big city. I'm happy in my little suburb where the worst trouble I can get into is getting lost in the woods behind our house--which I've done, in case you were wondering. The hubby thought it would be a great idea for me to take the T (commuter rail) into Boston, but again, it's not something I really like doing and I had worked myself up into such a fit by last night that I figured I would just find something around here to do with the girls today...even after my son's fiancee agreed to come with us.

Well, I did it. It really wasn't half as bad as I thought it would be. I drove to the Riverside Station, we took the T to the North Station--which is where the TD Banknorth Garden is--watched a great show, spent a bit too much money, stopped for lunch on our way back, and made it home in one piece. I'm exhausted, but I did it.

This story works really well with Martin Luther King Jr.'s quote. I had determined without giving too many valid reasons that I just couldn't make it to Boston and back with the girls. No matter how many times my husband told me how easy it was, I put up every fence to avoid going. And when he provided a solution to a problem I had stated: provided me with a link and directions to the Riverside Station, gave me his Charlie Card for the T, had his friends from work tell me exactly what I needed to do and how to get to and from where I needed to go, I still came up with every excuse as to why I couldn't do it.

But I could...and I did!

Writing is the same way. Too often we convince ourselves that we don't have what it takes. We don't try because then we can't fail. There are classes we can take to hone skills that might be lacking, there are tons of websites for aspiring authors, and there are so many published authors offering to help those of us who haven't quite made it yet, there's really no reason we can't try. But we have it in our minds that we can't.

What is your trip to Boston? What is it that stops you from working toward fulfilling your dreams of becoming a published author? What excuses do you use so that you don't have to try?

As King says, you don't have to see the whole picture to get started, all you have to do is take that first step in faith. Have faith in yourself. You have the power to make your dreams come true. Use it!