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Guest Blog Post

21 Quotes to Keep Moving Forward in Anything

August 17, 2015
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Our guest blogger is Andrew Christison author of A Boy and a Bird (Children’s Literature).

21 Quotes to Keep Moving Forward in Anything

We all hit roadblocks that force us to stop and re-evaluate.

From family and personal issues to career and business conflicts, we are all challenged to define who we are and what we are doing every single day- sometimes more. In the countless moments when life has pushed back, these are 21 of the many quotes that have inspired me to pick myself up, dust myself off, and press on. I hope you find inspiration in them as I have.

21. “People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” — Earl Nightingale

20. “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” -Henry David Thoreau

19. “When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.” — Napoleon Hill
18. ‘The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.” — Jordan Belfort

17. “I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.” — Zig Ziglar

16. “If you’re bored with life — you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things — you don’t have enough goals.” — Lou Holtz

15. “Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” — Napoleon Hill Read more »

What if they’d been writers ?

August 8, 2015
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Our guest blog post is by Francis Powell author of Flight of Destiny.

What if they’d been writers?

They have had every morsel of their lives dissected in every conceivable way, but what if they had been writers themselves…what would they have written?

John Lennon could have been an artist (he went to Liverpool Art School) his work appears to be scribble-like cartoons, with an element of wit. His life was dramatically cut short, killed by a crazed “fan”…but what if he’d lived much longer and felt inspired to write a book? What would he have written?

John Lennon was somewhat of a complex character…he was brought up by his aunt and only formed a relationship with his mother, when her life was cut short, by an accident. His autobiography or Beatles Memoirs would have made compulsive reading and copies would have flown out of book shops…unless of course he inserted some controversial comments, like his quote concerning The Beatles being more popular than Jesus Christ.

Would he have written a book similar to a “Beat Generation” type novel? Some kind of psychedelic drug induced masterpiece. He certainly went through an acid phase. He was noted for his acerbic wit and sometimes cruel sarcasm, juxtaposed with this was his passion for causes, and for “world peace”. What would he have made of…this post September the 11th world we live in?

Jim Morrison packed a lot into his 27 years on this planet, he was a natural poet, might he have not also been a great dark fiction writer? Similarly he might have written some great drug fueled novels.

The more recently diseased Amy Winehouse, who could have written an open honest account of all the demons residing in her head, but unfortunately drugs and alcohol got to her aged 27…Alternatively she might have chosen to write about how the Music industry manipulated her fine talent.

What of Politicians…once Richard Nixon had passed through all the political memoirs…he might have chosen to write a political thriller, full of corruption and intrigue. Bill Clinton (ok this man is still alive) could write something with political intrigue mixed with erotica/kinky sex…there seems to be an influx of EL James type writers, so he could do really well out of this.

Read more »

Do vegetarians make great horror writers?

July 12, 2015
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a pig on a spit copieOur guest blogger is Francis Powell author of Flight of Destiny.

Do vegetarians make great horror writers?

I can’t remember the last time I sunk my teeth into a piece of meat. When I was eighteen I made two momentous decisions, the first was I would no longer go to church (unless it demanded…weddings, funerals…etc) the second was I no longer would eat meat. I grew up on a farm…I still have vivid memories of slabs of lamb, either overcooked and greasy or under cooked and bloody. I put the slab of meat on my fork and had to force it somehow down my throat, however abhorrent the taste was. I am from the UK, a country where these days cooking programs are overflowing and avidly watched and people are conscious of the richness of good cooking. This was not the case when I was a child. You had to eat whatever was on your plate, however disgusting, however badly cooked and I can assure you some horrors were served up. The Sunday “roast” was recycled, it was Mondays lunch, Tuesday’s dinner, almost right through to Friday, when there was relapse in meat eating, because being good Catholics, Friday was a non-meat day, however meat came back with a vengeance on Saturday.

You have to bear in mind, I was born during a time, when people still cooked and ate as if there was the second world war going on, hence food could not be wasted and had to made use of, right down to the bone. Ingredients were basic, you ate to fill your stomach, not to enjoy the delights of food and taste.

I have a distinctive memory of my time at Art College. I was doing a photography course, the tutor asked me which place I was going to photograph…I don’t know what possessed me (I went through a lot of weird phases during my time at Art College) I answered I was going to photograph in an abattoir. I must have fixed up a rendezvous and went equipped with my camera, ready to photograph this unreal environment. I recall the workers at the abattoir being jovial, but rather strange… what kind of people work in abattoir? This experience didn’t radicalize me as a vegetarian, but if memory serves me, I was very glad to get away from this place and from the people wearing big rubber boots, white overalls stained in blood, as well as squealing pigs being sent to their deaths. Read more »

Confessions of a Series Addict … Why Go On a Blind Date When You Can Go Steady?

March 1, 2015
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Our guest blogger is Susan Kraus the author of “Fall From Grace” and “All God’s Children,” the first two novels in a character-driven, psych thriller/mystery series that tackles provocative social issues and features a female therapist/mediator protagonist. “All God’s Children” focuses on a custody battle over a child in the gay-bashing, funeral-picketing Westboro Baptist Church. Kraus is working on novel #3, to be released August 2015.

Confessions of a Series Addict …  Why Go On a Blind Date When You Can Go Steady?

Starting a new book in a familiar series is like having a standing invite from an old friend (or beau) for an evening of engaging and satisfying conversation.  With every new ‘stand alone’ book, I’m not sure how the date will end. Like many blind dates, it’s a roll of the dice… with uncertain odds.

With a series, we can start up where we left off.  We already know something about our “date’s” background, family history, friends, habits, even food and drink preferences. There is a comfort in settling down in an easy chair with a Horsefeather (one part whiskey, two parts ginger beer, splash of bitters) … and the latest novel in a series.

A good series, for me, requires the following: a protagonist with whom I share some sensibilities (political, world view, etc.); an ensemble cast of family or friends that is engaging; a narrative that is both unpredictable and logical  (with elements of surprise, but a logic that, upon reflection, makes sense.) Of course, the writing must be reasonably intelligent.  (It makes me crazy to read a best-selling writer, series or stand-alone, with boring and formulaic language. I’ve been known to yell and rip out pages. Fifty Shades of Gray made me fifty shades of apoplectic.)

I want a protagonist who is not static, who evolves as their attitudes and psyche are shaped by their experiences. Read more »

Book Boyfriends; Making Them Real

February 12, 2015
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Our guest blogger is Jeannie Kaye author of Ever Locked (4.9 stars on 44 reviews).

Book Boyfriends; Making Them Real

An article came out a few years ago fraught with accusations against romance novels. It stated they are like pornography for women—addictive and robbing them  of the ability to experience true romance with a real man.

Ridiculous. Thankfully, many articles followed stating the exact opposite. Of course, we all knew that girl in high school that obsessed over celebrities while ignoring the boys that pursued her. Or maybe you saw the Bachelor episode featuring the contestant with the tie tucked in her dress, hoping to make the Bachelor into Christian Grey of Fifty Shades. Those women are anomalies, not the norm.

Truthfully, however, real life romance can sometimes fall into the dull. Book boyfriends are helpful because they remind us that things can be a lot more lively in our romance. So, let’s take a page from our book boyfriend’s novel and look at some ways to pump up the romance in our real relationships.

Here are ten things you can do to reignite the romance in your life:

  1. Write out the Story of How You Met and Fell in Love
    1. You have a real romance story right there!
  2. Make a List of Every Positive Quality in Your Spouse or Boyfriend
    1. We often focus too much on what’s not right. Focus on the positive.
  3. Remind Yourself of the Negative Traits of Your Exes
    1. There is a reason you are not with them anymore. Even if they left you, that makes them an idiot.
  4. Make an Effort with Your Appearance
    1. Wax, makeup and cute outfits make you feel better and act better. He’ll notice.
  5. Sexy Lingerie—Just do it!
    1. Order online. No matter what your size, everyone looks good in sexy lingerie.
  6. Go On a Date
    1. Remember how fun it was to just sit in a restaurant and talk?
  7. Go on a Trip
    1. It doesn’t have to be long or expensive, but getting away from the hum drum helps you remember the ooh la la.
  8. Cut the Complaints
    1. When you feel tempted to make a snide remark, zip it.
  9. Compliment Him
    1. It seems counterintuitive, but it’s like the magic formula. Give him at least three compliments a day, and you’ll watch Mr. Annoying transform into Mr. Amorous.
  10.  Send Him Messages
    1. Send texts and emails with short and sweet sentiments, promises of fun, reminders of how awesome he is, compliments and warm thoughts. Include some photos of fun times you’ve had together.

Even though I’m a Life Coach and author of romance novels, I’ll admit it’s sometimes easy to let my own marriage drift into empty space. After twenty-three years of matrimony, Read more »

Javelina Sydney

December 27, 2014
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Our guest blogger is Sydney Paige McCutcheon author of Henry.

Javelina Sydney

Back in middle school my scientist teacher had a yearly project she subjected called, “The Phylum Fashion Show”. All the science teachers do this, actually. It’s where the teachers assign each student with an animal and that student has to study the animal, do a research paper, and also make a mask. Then on a particular day all the students assigned the project will go to the library where a stage is set up with curtains and a draw-bridge (or so I call it). 
They have to wear their mask and say what their animal is, etc, in front of other students from their grade not in the class. 

Three days in correlation to this event I remember in particular. The year before I got this assignment and I would see other students modeling their masks as they spouted out facts – I hoped I would get that class because it looked awesome, especially the ones who got the tigers or the panthers (the coolanimals). The second day is when I am sitting in my biology class awaiting to reach my hand in the bowl filled with tiny strips of paper with an animal name on each of them. Everyone is excited to see what they will get, and soon my turn comes. 

I reach a hand in the bowl and take my strip of paper – something you can’t undo. Once you get your animal, you can’t pick another. That’s the rule. So unfair. 

While other girls got the tigers, panthers, leopards, and other graceful creatures. I got the opposite. 

The Javelina. 

A large rodent masked as a pig.

What was my first reaction? Read more »

Keeping Kindle

December 26, 2014
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Our guest blogger is Ginger Marcinkowski author of The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance (4.9 stars, 24 reviews).

Keeping Kindle

I’ve got a confession to make. I like the oldies, but goodies. I still hum the Beach Boys, Ba Ba Ba, Ba, Barbara Ann, to my year-old grandson. I put gravy and vinegar on my French fries like I did as a kid. I love vintage jewelry and classic-cut clothes. Change is not hard for me, and I love watching technology move along…but I can’t help liking nostalgic kinds of things. So it seems to not surprise anyone when I pull out my original pristine white Kindle. It was here that I downloaded my debut novel, Run, River Currents, to my Kindle—a thrill for any first-time author.

I remember that day so vividly; I was lying on a white beach in Mississippi, the day a summer-south kind of hot that made you sweat in air-conditioning. The day was bright, but it was no match for the clarity the Kindle gave me in the full sunlight, something my iPad cannot match. I was perched under a big, colorful umbrella, letting the sun bounce off my brilliant white legs while I read my latest download, Grace Unexpected. My cell phone rings, and I recognize the number—my book manager. “It’s up!” she gleefully tells me. “The book?” I cry. “Yes!” I slam the phone down, and within 30 seconds I am reading MY book!

So, it is no wonder that, when I returned a few weeks later from a business trip and pulled my now-famous Kindle (because I was an author and downloaded there) from my briefcase to charge it, I was horrified to see a small black square in the upper right-hand corner of my device. “NOOOOOOOOOO,” I screamed. “Not my Kindle!” My husband rushed to my side, thinking I had crushed a foot or broken my arm. Examining my Kindle, he declared it to be broken.

I slumped into my office chair and placed my left hand over my eyes. “What am I going to do now?” “Get a new one, honey!” he cheerfully offered. “I can buy you one for Christmas!” Now I have been married to this man for over 40 years. You’d think by Read more »

For Adults Who Read YA Fiction

November 24, 2014
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Our guest blogger is Jordan Rivet author of Seabound.

For Adults Who Read YA Fiction

A few weeks ago, I had a drink with a new acquaintance whose job involves organizing literary festivals. I wanted to impress her. I was participating in the upcoming festival to promote the book I wrote under another alias, but I was under no illusions about where I stood in the hierarchy of literary talents being featured.

As we got to know each other, I told Lit Fest Person that I write post-apocalyptic novels set at sea under my other name.

“Is it YA?” Lit Fest Person asked.

“No,” I said, rubbing at the condensation on my glass. “I mean . . . it’s an adult book, but it would appeal to the kind of adults who like to read YA, especially dystopian YA.”

Lit Fest Person nodded sagely.

“Actually,” I continued, “I’m sorry, but I love to read YA. No, I shouldn’t apologize. Those books are awesome. Hunger Games, Divergent, Shatter Me . . .”

I trailed off, waiting for the judgment. (I’ve read Salon; I know how some people in the literary community view YA fiction.)

But then . . . Lit Fest Person set down her glass, leaned forward, and said something along the lines of “OMG, have you read Brandon Sanderson’s YA series?! It’s called Steelheart. It’s soooo good!”

We proceeded to gush over the joys of YA fiction, science fiction and fantasy–basically every type of fun (dare I say commercial) genre book you’d expect a literary festival coordinator to deride. It was a real icebreaker when we got past the polite, high-brow conversation to the fact that we both just love reading.

Later (after our second rum cocktail), I got to thinking about why I’d felt the need to apologize for liking YA books in front of a Serious Literary Person, even if it was only for a moment. Why should I be ashamed of reading anything? YA fiction has some of the best world-building and most engaging plots out there right now. There are some cool concepts and great storytelling going around, and the target audience doesn’t change that. Read more »

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

September 29, 2014
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Our guest blogger is Evy Journey author of several books including Hello, My Love! (4.3 stars, 21 reviews, FREE on Sept 29-Oct 3).

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

If Àlain Badiou, greatest living French philosopher—according to his compatriots—writes a book called In Praise of Love, wouldn’t you pay attention?

I did. After all, aren’t the French also famed as some of the world’s greatest lovers (after the Spaniards, Italians, and Brazilians, maybe)? Besides, he’s in his late 70s—which means he’s wise—and he’s a writer/novelist and a sometime actor—which means he’s in touch with his feelings. Don’t all those add to Monsieur Badiou’s credibility as an authority on love?

In any case, I had to read this profound little book, dense with meaning and implications in its 90 pages. The title was borrowed from a movie released in 2001 by famous French director Jean-Luc Godard in which Badiou did a turn that might have been cut out of the final film. I have read the book twice, but still have not fully grasped all that it’s trying to say. Maybe, the vagaries of love are too complex to contain in any one book. It was also originally in French (Éloge de l’amour, published in 2009 by Flammarion, in hardcover) so something might have been added, lost, or reimagined in the English translation (2012). Or, maybe, it’s just the way of the philosopher to sound deep and abstruse.

But I am with Monsieur Badiou. I believe in love and agree with his thinking on it. Love is at the heart of the books I write—as one of the themes and as a necessity for the work that goes into creating books.

We are all, in our idiosyncratic ways, preoccupied with love issues—either as firm believers or as skeptics for whom love is, at best, an illusion that doesn’t last. Or, worst, as atheists for whom love is merely a veneer for sexual desire and who, therefore, Read more »

Why I chose Books Over A Boyfriend by Lauren Clark

September 22, 2014
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Our guest blogger is Lauren Clark author of several books including Pie Girls (4.9 stars, 24 reviews).

Why I chose Books Over A Boyfriend

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were having an animated discussion about free time. During our talk, I made this sweeping statement:  “If I had an extra hour every day, I’d spend it reading books.”

No brainer, right?

I added that I’ll read any genre—literary, dystopian, humor, romance, suspense, and thrillers. I’ll read on my iPhone, my iPad, my Kindle, hardcover, or paperback. I listen to audiobooks, too, and have been known to sit in the carpool line or my own driveway in order to finish the next chapter of a gripping novel. And when I’m not reading books, I’m thinking about writing, storyline, plot, and characters.

All of this was met by…a blank stare.

Now, let me clarify. My (ex) boyfriend is super smart. An engineer. Can multiply a quadrillion numbers in his head and divide by the square root of Pi. (What?) Can fix broken electrical stuff. Occasionally cooks me spaghetti. Yep. He’s a good guy.

But when it comes to books, there’s no real connection for him. No excitement about reading the first chapter of a long-awaited sequel. No late night, stay-up-until-you’ve-finished-the-best-novel-in-the-world moments. No imaginary cartwheels when a favorite author releases a new book.

And definitely no understanding of falling into total-groupie mode when meeting Fannie Flag, Joshilyn Jackson, Chris Bohjalian, and Bella Andre in person. (All awesome, BTW!)

So, fellow book lovers, for a girl with little free time on her hands, it came down to this.

My books. Or my boyfriend.

And…you guessed it. I’m spending my extra time with Jennifer Weiner, Sophie Kinsella, Emily Giffin, Mary Kay Andrews, and the dozens of other authors I adore.

Besides, who says that book-loving boyfriend isn’t around the next corner?

What do you think? Deal breaker or not?

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