Posts

Showing posts from 2016

December 2016 Book Review: Maeve's Times

Image
Warning to all writers who scribe thoughts on bits and scraps of paper and throw them in a box to rewrite later.  Those bits and scraps may be published posthumously.  Maeve Binchy's husband, Gordon Snell, found her "to do later" box. He built a biography of her life with her thoughts, articles, and ramblings.

Maeve's Times is dated and referenced making it easy to follow. Thank you Mr. Snell for sharing insights into her professional and personal life. Her spirit lives on with her words.

 This author captured my attention with Copper Beeches. Maeve Binchy wrote about what she saw, lived, and felt. Her stories reflected both Irish country and city life. Each book made me feel better about people. She wrote about hard times and working through them. She wrote about love and love lost. Her book Minding Frankie demonstrates a community pulling together to help a neighbor. Any of her titles are a "goodread."


Be Strategic: Write A Holiday Memory

Image
The momentum of the holidays propels us into a frenzy of cooking, shopping, wrapping, decorating, entertaining, cleaning, and overindulging. Writing becomes an after thought in the midst of multiple "to do" lists.

BREATH. Schedule a break, whittle some time for your writing. Utilize these small chunks of time to "Write A Memory."  Exercise your creativity with the keyboard or a paper and a writing instrument to describe a "who, what, where, or how" about the Holiday Season. Find a quiet place and expound on the following events of the season or better still, scribe about something you experienced that day or during the season "to be jolly."

Cookie Exchange: Do you participate in this activity? Why or Why not? If you did, what was your choice of cookie? Who participates your exchange? Decorating the Outside of Your House: Who does it? How do you prepare for it? Describe the feelings and emotions of the participants of this outdoor activity.Gift wr…

Sunday Book Review - November 2016

Image
A friend handed me Sidney Sheldon's The Best Laid Plans. She said, "This should take your mind off the election." She went on to say the writing is "so-so" and the story is "loose." She described it as a quick read thriller.

I read many of Sheldon's books in my late teens on the bus, to and from college. This book demonstrated the author's talent for weaving a masterful tale through a maze of sharp twists and turns, only to to slap you in the face with an unexpected ending.

This is a fast read. The format is good for reading on trains, buses, in the airport, or on a plane. It didn't take my mind off the election, but it was interesting to read his book many decades later and evaluate his technique. 





Sunday Book Review - October 2016

Image
You Being Beautiful: The Owners Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty  is my October Sunday Book Review.  You may wonder why I selected this book. Well, after 18 months of outrageous comments on beauty and body image, I thought it was time to resurrect a book that really address healthy beauty. 





 Michael F. Rozien, M.D. and Mehmet C. Oz, M.D. dedicated this book- 
"To all who radiate outer beauty because  they treasure inner beauty."
These  doctors prescribe measures for a healthier life which in turns makes for a happier you. If you are  healthy you radiate beauty. You don't need plastic surgery, expensive gym memberships, or costly creams and potions. You need to take care of yourself.

I recommend this book for everyone. It is a great read for busy parents and stressed out career couples. Placed this book in the bathroom or on your kindle. I promise, it inspires.

Below is the "Inner Beauty Quiz" link. It is  lure to entice you to read this book:
http://a.abcnews.go.com/…

Be Strategic: Mind Map

Image
Another tool for managing  a story, scene, chapter, blog, character, or planning a novel is "Mind Mapping." It is not outlining in the traditional sense. It doesn't require a writer to use Roman numerals, the alphabet, or Arabic numerals. The following link takes you to a utube.com site that demonstrates various types and uses of mind mapping.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLWV0XN7K1g

 Mind mapping maintains status among management skills. It cuts through clutter for several Quality Process Improvement systems. It keeps a group of highly charged and motivated individuals on task.

Mind mapping tools are simple. A large white board, an erasable marker, and eraser works fine. My preference includes large "stickie" pads. Write you ideas down.  Paste them on a wall. You can move the parts around anytime in the writing process.

Mind Map Applications exist.

Google Play's mind maps on located on
https://play.google.com/store/searchq=mind%20mapping%20apps%20free&am…

Be Strategic: Checkout NaNoWriMo

Image
The children returned to school. The garden produced the last fall fruits and vegetables. Mother Nature paints the foliage. All writers and inspiring authors' thoughts turn to November-National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) when hundreds of thousands creative individuals worldwide take on the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days.

If you have a book you want to write, but need motivation to launch the endeavor, check out this link. This event is made for you. Got a list of book ideas you want to write? No excuse, NaNoWriMo is the ignition switch for hesitation. It powers individuals to write 1667 words a day.

Yes, write 1667 words daily to get to 50,000 by midnight November 30. This mean you write, write, write. No proof reading, editing, or fooling around with the dialogue and such...you write a 50,000 word rough draft.  The story running around in your head and tugging at your heart can't get on the paper unless you write it.  Remember a "rough draft" is t…

Sunday Book Review -September 2016

Image
This story grabs  you with the discovery of an old trunk. The trunk takes the narrator back to France at the time of the Nazi occupation and introduces you to two sisters. The story immerse  you into the lives of these two woman as they survive the Nazi occupation in France. It describes the hardships of the citizens of an occupied country. It gives you an idea of what is happening to women and children in occupied countries today.  It is an eye-opening story.

This books draws you in and keeps you up till early morning...you can't put it down.

It is a great read for a book club or even for an women's study group. Thanks Kristin Hannah, I loved it.


The Sunday Book Review: "Alive, Alive Oh!"

Image
Today I'm launching "The Sunday Book Review."
Writers must read to immerse themselves in the writing of others. Reading helps writers to see how other writers conquered the blank page. We need to investigate what type of events inspired an author to scribe. Reading other authors' products opens the window to understanding what lures a reader to a book.

My first choice is Alive, Alive Oh!(And Other Things That Matter). Itis a rare book. The author, Diana Athill Hill was born in England,
in 1917.  She spent most her life as a literary editor. She scribed her reflections on life. In her nineties, she asked an agent friend to read these "bits" of writing to see if they were worth publishing. Those "bits" became this book. This small publication shares her life as a woman passing through the twentieth century. She reveals her impressions of the tumultuous times experienced by world events. She opens the door to a world never discussed by women of her…

Be Strategic: Hire A Professional Editor

Image
A couple of months ago, Paul, a published writer friend of mine and I were talking about self-publishing. After he went through all my concerns, he asked, "Who is your editor?" My heart sank. I felt foolish. I had done my do diligence on so many levels for my book. I hoped to publish, but I didn't follow through on the editor.

He said, "Pat, Pat, you can't publish that book before you have a "professional" editor review it.

With a humility I asked, "Paul, who is your editor?"

He spoke her name.

I asked him. "Does she take new clients?"

He said, "I'll see her in a couple of days. I'll tell her you'll be getting in touch with her."

His concern about my editing was pivotal in helping me become a better writer.  I am indebted to Paul Genesse.

The process of working with an editor can be daunting, educating, and sometimes awe inspiring. I educated as a business communicator. My focus was research, newsletters, emai…

Celebrate Being An American

Image
Roll out the flag and bunting!  
Strike up the band! 
Light up the barbecue grills  Start celebrating! Despite all the tough times, hardships, the bickering, and the mean-spiritedness we experience, this country is still worth celebrating. We grow and expand. We make noise and rabble rouse.  We make it through hard times. We are an Americans first, not Liberals or Conservatives, not Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Tea Partiers, or Green Partiers.If we are born here or we landed here to become American, we all are Americans. Recently, my husband said to me, "I am grateful for being born in the United States." Think about that for a minute. Would you be able to say the same thing?
As a woman,  I am thrilled I was born a American. Where, during my life time women have had the opportunity:
to voteto seek political officeto seek a higher levels of  educationto work with men as equalsto compete in sportsto break the "glass ceiling" to bring social issues to the fore front…

Be Strategic: Cue Ideas as Drafts

Image
Writers groan about blogging. "It's a horrendous undertaking. You have to get an URL. You have to create a blog site. You have to come up with ideas on a regular basis." This last lament is perhaps the easiest of all issues to tackle.

Selecting topics to blog about can be annual even or quarterly event. Some writers use a blog as a journal, while others advertise. Both avenues are correct, but if you want to gain an audience, you need to offer something.  Readers come back if there is something in it for them.

Your offerings need to evolve from an overarching theme. "Be Strategic" is my choice this year. I started out with two ideas in January. Every time a strategic idea burst forth, a new blog draft is made. Sometimes the first draft consists of only a title. Other times the blog begins with sketchy notes or links from researching the subject.

These little "blog seeds" germinate while I write, live, and think. When a blog is due, I read through my …

Be Strategic: Commune, Critique,Discuss with Other Writers

Image
I don't know how many times I've heard "Writing is a solitary action." Whoever made that statement mis-spoke. The act of putting the ideas down on paper or keying them into a computer or phone is a physical act a writer does alone.  It is the only time a writer takes his or her collective ideas, experiences, and sensory inputs create sentences, ideas, and sometimes characters.  Writing is a culmination of multiple external and internal inputs.

One of the most important inputs is discussion with other writers. Now don't start giving me an examples of writers who never left their homes. If you can't leave the house, you have this wonderful tool you are using at this moment to read my blog. There a legitimate Writers' Communities on Gmail, FaceBook, Goodreads,  theProse.com,  Use your search engine to work for you and be discriminating.


Writers need other writers to talk the talk. If you can't attend your local writers' organization meetings, join i…

Be Strategic: Know Blogging Basics

Image
Once you have established your blog's goals and objectives, make a plan for your blog's installments. Unless you are going to journal your life as it happens, your blog needs to be planned to garner an audience.

Attracting an Audience
 What attracts an audience? Who are the readers you want to reach and maintain? This assessment is the first step in establishing a successful blog.  Knowing your "people" and getting them excited about what you write establishes your base.  These readers help share your information. When considering your audience, check out Google's Communities. This resource not only gives you ideas for your blog community, but one or two of the Google communities can become part of your distribution list.

Plan a Blog Campaign 
Blogging is marketing. It is marketing your brand as a writer. Plan an introduction blog that state's
your blog's goals, objectives, and enlists readers to become contributors. Your subject matter needs a schedule,  …

Be Strategic:Review Blogger Platforms 2016

Image
Blogging creates an identity, brand, and culture for a writer, business, product, instructional institution, or service. The creator of the blog needs to identify the goal and objectives of the blog before looking for the right platform (program).

A blogger platform is a program used to create a blog. These programs are either free or charge a monthly fee. How do you decide which platform works for you?


Well, it depends on the what you goals you want you blog to achieve:

Are you creating a word heavy blog? Do you need the versatility of templates?Are analytics critical to your blog success? Is your blog personal and only for you to read?Do you want to grow a social platform?Will your blog be rich with photos or video?How critical is the analysis of feedback?Do you want to make money with your blog?
I use Blogger because it was part of my Gmail offerings and several of my writer colleagues suggested it. Wordpress also was suggested to me, but I personally did not find it as easy to set…

Be Strategic: Consider Your URL Carefully

Image
Caution!
Selecting your URL (Uniform Resource Locator) or reference (address) on the Internet. Is among the most important decision you make about your blog. An URL is permanent. 
If you are blogging about one particular subject, e.g., parenting, podcasts, sports, teams, you may want to use a pithy web address (URL) for your blog.A cautionary word about being pithy: my blog was originally a just a rant on political observations, then I started writing books and my blog morphed into my writer's platform. I did some fancy research to make my author's name and my pithy name  interchangeable. The domain needs reflect your product or business.Your domain needs to be easy to read not only on a computer, but on a phone, ipad, and a business card.Make sure it ends with the correct suffix (.com, uk.com, edu)Keep your domain professional. It reflects you and your product.Is My Selection Available?
You need to register your domain aka web address.  Web address are registered so choose more …

Vigilant Silver Fox: Be Strategic: Blog

Vigilant Silver Fox: Be Strategic: Blog: Before we even place our fingers on the keyboard, let's explore the origin of the word 'blog.' The word 'blog' is deri...

Be Strategic: Blog

Image
Before we even place our fingers on the keyboard, let's explore the origin of the word 'blog.' The word 'blog' is derived from the term weblog. The act of journaling on the web became know as "blogging." The person who journals on the web is label a "blogger."

A blog consists of short concise valuable prose use by information seekers. This audience receives something of value. Your blog readership helps to build  and expand a platform for your books, speaking engagements, articles, and classes you create.


The key components of successful blogs:
Choose a name or URL (It is your brand) Make sure the software platform works for you and readersConsistency is key for building an audience Define the purpose for your blog Create a flexible annual blog planMake it easy for your readers to find your blogLearn to use 'Post Settings'Analyze your blog's dataMake sure your audience responds to your blogHave fun with your blog Your blog is a reflec…

January 2015-Strategic Planning: Refresh Your Profile

Image
Take a few hours this week to find out how the world sees you as a writer. Visit your profile on your social platforms. I'm not just talking about your Linkedin.com site. Right now make a list of all the sites you maintain and don't maintain. Allow me to help you brain storm:
How many email sites do you own?
How many Facebook sites.How many blogs?How many Twitter accounts?What about your Instagram? Goodreads? Pinterest? Stumbleupon? Reddit? Digg? Tumblr? Just to begin the litany of possibilities.Step 1: Decommission any site you are not updating or hasn't proven to bring in a sufficient audience. If you have sites dedicated to books published several years ago, consider if they reflect who you are today. If you wish to maintain them, update them or link them to your current site. In other words, it is time to "declutter" you social footprint. You are not the same person, let alone the same writer you were five years ago.

Step 2: Update your profiles. Potential emp…