Why Passion Trumps All (An inspirational post)

veldabrotherton:

This is such important advice I had to share it.

Originally posted on Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors:

Today’s post is inspired by a blog post written by a 24-year-old dying man who offered some words of wisdom I believe can be useful for us as writers.  This isn’t really a “how to make money” or “this is how to run your business as a writer” post.  It’s more of an encouraging post.

ID 38413064 © Ivelinr | Dreamstime.com ID 38413064 © Ivelinr | Dreamstime.com

Passion is the driving force for true enjoyment (and possibly success).

I’m not going to promise you’ll find success in writing what you’re most passionate about, but the man who wrote the post I linked to above had an excellent point.  He wrote, “Patience, passion, and dedication come easily only when you love what you do.” For longterm sustainability in this business of writing, I believe passion is the driving force to maximizing our chances of success.

If you are writing what you’re most passionate about, it’s easier to…

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April in the Ozarks

veldabrotherton:

I can’t help sharing this poem and photo with all my followers on this lovely Ozarks morning.

Originally posted on Freeda Baker Nichols:

When it’s April in the Ozarks
and the birds are on the wing,
when the showers falling gently
cause the meadowlark to sing.
The bird of blue fights the sparrow
and wins the honor to nest
inside the little house of wood
with its doorway facing west.
When it’s April in the Ozarks
and it’s time to welcome spring,
in a garden filled with flowers
there’s a bluebird who is king.

© 2015 Freeda Baker Nichols

bluebird

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A-Z Blog Challenge 2015–Crystal Fix–Kionite

veldabrotherton:

Because I’m busy getting edits done on one book and proofing the one coming out in May, I’m posting this blog from friend and fellow writer. Think you’ll enjoy her journey.

Originally posted on Sorchia's Universe:

K

 Is For Kionite

Kyanite—Attunement, tranquilizing, throat chakra

  • A meditation stone that amplifies higher frequency energy.Iolite
  • Use it to manifest spiritual energy and to find a spirit guide.
  • Put it nearby when you sleep to promote healing dreams and to aid in dream recall.
  • Kyanite requires no cleaning because it does not hold negative energy.
  • Connects the higher mind with the physical and illuminates the connection between cause and effect—the part decisions and visions play in the tapestry of a life.
  • A good stone to aid in the transition from life to death.
  • Use it to treat muscular disorders and thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, throat and brain.
  • It lowers blood pressure and can help infections.
  • Can release excess weight.
  • Balances yin and yang energies.
  • Position between the naval and heart or wear as a pendant.

Tomorrow’s Crystal Fix: Lapis Lazuli

 Bonus--Last year for the A-Z Blog challenge, my theme was Magic…

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Is Poe Too Scary?

telltale heart 3

When I first decided to twist the titles of Edgar Allan Poe for my sexy, dark, and gritty mystery series, I began to research this talented writer. The first book in my series is The Purloined Skull, twisted from Poe’s The Purloined Letter, a non-horror story. The books do not steal from Poe’s stories themselves, just his titles, but do have some dark moments as I hope to frighten my readers as well as intrigue them with the sensual relationship between my hero and heroine. Often I pull no punches with the story line as well.

Poe wrote some of the most frightening stories I’ve ever read. My favorite of these is The Tell-Tale Heart, which is creepy and scared me properly. His scary stories weren’t accepted by readers in his day because people thought them too scary. In telltale heart 2this day and age, there’s no such thing as too scary. Movies and books do their best to scare the socks right off their audience. Poe also wrote out of the box stories, as do some writers today. As time goes by and writers and movie producers vie to offer the most terrorizing tales, Poe’s could become tame. But I doubt it. I believe he will always hold the top notch award in scaring his readers.

For information on Poe, his work and his history,

Since my next book, The Tell-Tale Stone will be released May 5, I thought it might be fun to find a summary of Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart for those who haven’t read it, or read it so long ago they’ve forgotten it.telltale heart 1

An unnamed narrator opens the story by addressing the reader and claiming that he is nervous but not mad. He says that he is going to tell a story in which he will defend his sanity yet confess to having killed an old man. This is the lead in to a summary and analysis of this, one of Poe’s shortest short story. Go here to read the rest. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Can you name some authors who scare you? Would you rather not read stories that frighten you? Why not?

Here’s a really brief excerpt from The Tell-Tale Stone:

At the cabin, she ran through the dew-sprinkled grass, unlocked the door, and slipped inside. The yard light blinked once and went out, plunging the room into an intense darkness. Into the utter silence, something that sounded like a heartbeat fluttered to life. Slow at first, it sped up to match her own pulse.

Good God, what was that?

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Tribute to Chesty

veldabrotherton:

This is such a beautiful tribute by a good friend and specially talented author that I had to share it here for all my readers. Get out a Kleenex before you start to read.

Originally posted on Pamela Foster, Author and Speaker:

Chesty

Jack and I brought Chesty home as a six week old pup. He was about ten pounds then – a small, black, yellow-eyed whirlwind of mischief and energy.

Within hours Jack and I looked at each other and said, “What have we done?”
We lived in the Arizona desert at that time. Each morning we sat on the back porch, sipped coffee and watched the rabbits, roadrunners, horned toads, and the occasional snake hop, run, scoot and slither across the yard. Within hours of our first morning with Chesty there was not an animal, bird, or reptile to be seen. The dog had the prey drive of a deranged wolf and the single-mindedness of a heat-seeking missile. All any animal, wind-blown-newspaper, or raptor had to do was move and here came Chesty, tongue flopping, eyes gleaming in hot pursuit.
Nothing to chase? No problem. He found a plastic bucket, rammed…

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veldabrotherton:

Had to share these lovely bluebirds for spring from Freeda Baker Nichols. Enjoy

Originally posted on Freeda Baker Nichols:

Female Bluebird

Though not as colorful as he,
she’s still a lovely sight to see.

They make a very handsome pair
on the ground or in the air.

Bluebirds Build Nest (2)Bluebird

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It Had to do With Sex

 

Belle depicted as Sexy

Belle depicted as Sexy

Do you know why women were expected to ride side saddle in the old days?

Read on and I’ll tell you. March is women’s history month, which is a perfect time for a writer of western historical romance. The feminine mystique makes an interesting topic anytime, as does the history of women’s accomplishments. Since lists are boring, let’s talk about a few of the women who have done some fascinating things in spite of being tied down by society’s strict views.

Let’s look at the wild and somewhat daring Calamity Jane, who never settled for the norm. One can imagine she probably was what was often called a “tomboy” all of her life. But as she grew into a woman, she embraced everything she was told well behaved women were forbidden to do. She cussed (cursed) up a storm, drank most men under the table and could outshoot many of them. You don’t think these are accomplishments? Consider that she grew up when women were slaves to men in most situations.

Calamity Jane Astride

Calamity Jane Astride

I’ve always thought the reason men designers kept women dressed in such restrictive garments in those long ago days was to make sure none of them could break free of their expected behavior. Could you jog in a marathon wearing Victorian garb? Nor could you play basketball, go for a swim or any of the sports women enjoy today. Even riding a horse was restricted to a side saddle to keep all those blooming skirts under control. Even when they did wear pants, as shown in this photo, they bloomed. Keep reading the answer is coming.

They did wear pants

They did wear pants

Calamity saw right away that she would have to wear britches if she were going to do the things she wanted to do. I was reading something in We Pointed Them North by E.C. Abbott, otherwise known as Teddy Blue. He objected to movies showing women wearing pants in the days he was a cowpuncher, late 1800s to early 1900s. Said you’d never see a woman dressed that way in the western days of the past. Not entirely true, but ….

Here it is, the answer you’ve been waiting for. I’ve been told that the reason women were not supposed to ride astride a horse was that doing so tended to arouse them sexually. And God forbid if a woman felt aroused. That was something reserved for men only.

I guess Calamity was probably one sexy dish in that case. Another brave and wild woman, and one closer to home for me, was Belle Starr. She lived much of her life in Ft. Smith, the rest of it over in Indian Territory. Her daughter Pearl owned a home in Winslow, Arkansas, where I’ve lived for 42 years.

Some of the photos of Belle show her in dresses and riding sidesaddle, but that didn’t stop her from liking her men. After several affairs, she finally fell for Sam Starr, a handsome Cherokee who was also an outlaw. Some stories say she had other affairs while with Sam, but who knows about that? It’s a common failing of upper society to make up stories to downgrade even more those they see as already beneath them.

Belle Starr Side Saddle

Belle Starr Side Saddle

History is a dicey thing in that it’s difficult to dig up all the facts. As stories are told and retold, exaggeration comes into play. Not only that, everyone sees something with different eyes and so their telling disagrees with someone else’s. Only some things can be proven for sure.

Next week, more about women who misbehaved and became famous.

Now a bit about the book I’m working on because the heroine is patterned after Calamity Jane who spent some time in Hays City, Kansas with Wild Bill Hickok. My heroine lives in Victoria and she is the star of the third book in THE VICTORIANS. Her name is Tyra Duncan and if you’ve read the first two books, WILDA’S OUTLAW and ROWENA’S HELLION, (Check out their pages here on Word Press) you know she’s quite spunky and not at all like her two cousins. From the time Tyra stepped off the train in Victoria she embraced the ways of the west. And she is not one who behaves. Readers will like her. Some have already mentioned her in their reviews saying they can’t wait to read her story. Well, it’s coming soon.

Check out this marvelous site showing the garb of Victorian women including trousers.

 

 

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Throwing A Conference

Partying

Partying

 

We talk about throwing a party a lot, but today I’d like to write just a bit about what it takes to throw a conference.  Our Critique group decided over ten years ago that we might like to have an all-day conference and make it free. We’d heard so many people coming into our group saying they could not afford conference prices, plus a motel and eats and gas. So we decided to take the conference price out of the equation.

Could we pull it off? That would depend on whether we could get good speakers willing to give their time free to help us teach. We decided right away we would need about three speakers, then the two of us who had lots of experience in giving workshops, and guest speaking at conferences could fill up the afternoon. Right away we obtained the speakers, generous writers, editors and people in other facets of the business stepped up to share their knowledge. And we have been able, over the years, to find a place to hold our conferences without charge. The past seven or eight years, Ozarks Electric in Fayetteville, AR has given us a room well equipped and large enough for our needs.

Writers

Writers

 

Sometimes I think there are no people more generous than writers. Most will help newbies, mentor writers struggling with their first novels, short stories and the like, or help edit manuscripts, often without cost. Dusty Richards and I have been mentoring writers for thirty years, which goes back to us not knowing much more than anyone else just starting in the business. But we attended conferences, returned to our group to share handouts and our own notes with those who couldn’t go.

This past Saturday we held what we’re sure is our 11th or 12th free conference. Yeah, we didn’t keep records. Hey, we’re writers not secretaries or CPAs or the like. Each year we’ve hosted anywhere from 35 to 75 attendees. We provide tables for any authors with books to sell, and more recently have had two small publishers represented for writers to talk to.

It’s been a lot of fun, we’ve met so many people, and we hope we have helped struggling writers in some small way. Our critique group is Northwest Arkansas Writers Workshop and we’ve been around since the early 1980s, meeting weekly to help emerging writers. Check our website for a list of our membership and other information, or our Facebook page Northwest Arkansas writers workshop for more information. Anyone in need of professional speakers for special events may contact us as well.

A panel of speakers

A panel of speakers

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Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Describe in words

Describe in words

 

Most writers don’t want to hear that nonsense. We like to believe that our words are so clever that we can outdo any picture in capturing the attention of a reading audience. Well, yes, our books must sing in such a way that our readers see pictures in their minds, but when it comes to capturing their attention first, it takes something more visual than words.

Where can we put these pictures? Of course, there’s Facebook, where it is said that posts accompanied by a picture are liked, shared and seen more than those with just words. Then there’s Instagram, which I haven’t taken a liking to yet because charts etc. frankly bore me. But the fastest growing site where pictures are the main source of attraction is Pinterest. No, I am not being paid for this. And it’s come to my attention that Ogmaniacs have not yet embraced this picture driven promotional site.

The main difference between Pinterest and Facebook, picture wise is that we as authors may have a business page, which means we can promote our work 24/7 without being penalized. Learning to put this exciting new promotional tool to work without letting it suck the devil out of your time is the secret, along with knowing how to utilize it to your best advantage.

The best way for you to see how this works is for you to tool around on Pinterest and see how others are using it. My Pinterest business boards are all slanted to interest those who might want to read my books. There are boards for all my books, sure, but then there are boards covering what I’ve read. My readers want to know these things about me. My hobbies, what kind of animals I love (this is a biggie), clothing I like, where I live, things I’d like to do that I haven’t yet done, sexy men because everyone loves that. Well, almost everyone. Photo of your cat

Now, let’s back up a bit and talk about the boards for my books. It isn’t enough to have a cover and the 500 character blurb and a purchase link. The Victorian board has photos of clothing, for instance, castles, anything I can think of to relate to the series. Beyond The Moon has a collection of moon photos I’ve pinned from various posts, there are all sorts of photos of the Vietnam War and veterans, pictures of both the hero and heroine, or how my mind imagines them, etc.

sexy cowboy

Because I only changed over to a business site recently, it is still a work in progress. Shop around for other business sites by searching on the Pinterest page for specific subjects and seeing how these businesses are promoting online.

Keep in mind, you may be a writer first, but you also run a small business that needs to sell its product to make good. Have fun with the site, think of some kinky things to do to attract attention to your work and get busy.  There are other boards that will invite you to have a board on their site. Oghma Creative Media is one, but you have to have your own boards first. This muscular cowboy attracts a lot of attention posted on my board “Heroes to Die For.” He gets my readers excited about what I write.

Caveat: Don’t spend too much time shopping around yourself. Go there maybe once or twice a week to pin something new, or pin something when it pops up somewhere and you know you can use it. No copyright infringements, please. Ask permission if its posted on someone’s FB page, blog, etc. The rest of the time remember, public figures are all fair game. So are images you purchase for use. Otherwise, be careful. And pin from other Pinterest boards a lot to get a larger collection.

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Harper Lee and Me

Originally posted on Buried Under Books:

Sunny Frazier 4Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, is here today to talk about Harper Lee’s re-emergence as an author and how her own writing career got off track for a while.

The third Christy Bristol Astrology Mystery, A Snitch in Time, will be released on January 24, 2015.

sunny69@comcast.net   //  http://www.sunnyfrazier.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You heard the news that Harper Lee has a new book coming out in July, right? After 55 years the author is following up the success of her Pulitzer prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird (actually, she wrote Go Set a Watchman prior to Mockingbird and it’s set 20 years AFTER Mockingbird).

Fifty-five years! And here I was feeling guilty for taking six years to complete and release my third Christy Bristol novel, A Snitch…

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