Failure?

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all felt like we have failed at something or another during our lifetime. Yesterday, for me, could easily be one of those times. So, I thought about it and decided that “failure” is simply a matter of perspective.

I have a 1958 version of the Thorndike Barnhart Dictionary on my desk and consulted it for the true definition of the word. Here’s what it had to say:

Failure: 1. a being unable to do or become; 2. a not doing, neglecting; 3. a being lacking or absent being not enough, 4. losing strength; becoming weak…

So, let me start at the beginning. As most of you know, I write for Buddy Magazine. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to have a presence at a Dallas event, Lake-A-Palooza. As part of the exchange for me working a booth, I got to bring my books.

I have everything needed for an outdoor event. I have a pop-up canopy, an 8′ table, a 6′ table, card table and chairs. So, of course, I offered my setup.

Unloading was easy as I could drive my car in, unload, than go park. Setting up the canopy required help. Thankfully, the nice folks setting up next to me offered to help.

Take a look at the lake white capping in the background. The wind blew so hard that I had to put the easels away and lay my books down flat on the table.

Long story short, I was at this event for 12 hours and walked away with $76. Was it a failure? This is where my musings come in. Financially, yes it was a failure. That is not much money for the amount of hours invested.

Physically, it was a failure. I had to do the entire setup and tear down by myself (thank goodness for kind neighbors). Because the event was not over when I decided to leave, I couldn’t drive my car back in to load everything. I had to carry it all one piece at a time to the car. When I left around 8:30 last night, there was not one part of my body that didn’t ache.

BUT, in another way, it was a great success. I got to tell so many people about my stories and put my books in a few new hands.

So, how do you define failure? To me it’s all subjective.

Would I do it again? NO! Not by myself. That was the lesson I took away from it. At 67, I no longer can handle the big stuff alone. So, next time, I take someone with me or don’t go. 🙂

All-in-all, everything turned out okay. The wind finally laid and it turned into a beautiful day with lots of music and people.

The opposite of failure is success. And who knows – maybe next time I’ll sell out of books and go home with a pocketful of money!

At any rate, I LOVE this quote!

Thankful

Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving!

As I reflect on all I have to be thankful for, I am astounded that there is so much! We tend to go through our days without stopping to really take a look around us and truly appreciate what we have. We are always chasing a carrot just out of reach. But, today, I pause to give thanks for all that I am blessed with.

First and foremost, I am thankful for my amazing two daughters. They are strong young women raising families while still managing careers. I couldn’t be more proud.

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I am thankful for five unique and awesome grandchildren! And, I’m thankful I live close enough that I get to see them often (sometimes too often.) 🙂

I am thankful that I have created an entirely new career for myself…one I could never have imagined!

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I am thankful for the writing organizations that have enhanced, supported, taught and uplifted me along this journey.

 

The beautiful friendships that I have formed around the world are cherished!

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I am thankful for my apartment. I know that may sound silly, but I truly am thankful for my sanctuary. It is quiet, unassuming and has everything I need to be comfortable.

I am thankful for the music and the awesome people who make the music that feeds my soul!

I am thankful for my sister who patiently mentors and encourages me. We talk every Sunday morning over a cup of coffee, by phone, and solve all the problems in our stories and the world. 🙂

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I am thankful for my best friend of over 35 years. We have been through lots together!

As Rick told the Baptist preacher, I am thankful for the breath that sustains life. I’m thankful for faith and hope that are my constant companions.

I am thankful for the beautiful angels that watch over, protect and help when they can.

I am thankful for all of you who follow my blog and leave comments when something interests you. I appreciate the encouragement you give when I post stories.

I am a most blessed person!

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Trying Something New

I attended an Author’s Marketing Conference back in the summer and one of the workshops I participated in really piqued my interest.

Story Rocket

Story Rocket is a website created specifically to provide a place for TV and movie producers, agents, scouts, and directors to go looking for new material.

I don’t know about you, but I can visualize my stories on the big screen, whether it be a movie or TV show. So, I jumped at the chance to get on this bandwagon. The cost to join is $120 per year, but because I attended the conference, I got a substantial discount and paid only $75. To me, that was a huge saving.

Anyway, I have three of my books up so far on Story Rocket.

I would love it if you would take a look at one or all of them and give me some feedback. Have I chosen a powerful logline? Does the synopsis read well and tell enough of the story? What about the actors and actresses I chose to portray Luke Stone and Darlina Flowers?

This is all new to me, but I am excited that I am getting a good amount of views in the short time the projects have been up.

Here are the links to the projects I have up.

https://www.storyrocket.com/flowers-and-stone

https://www.storyrocket.com/the-convict-and-the-rose

https://www.storyrocket.com/home-at-last

Please take a look when you have a minute and see what you think.

If you have a book or series of books you think would make a great movie or TV series, join me on Story Rocket and let’s see what happens. 🙂 And, if you do put any up, please let me know so I can go take a look.

Wish me luck!

Taking a break?

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Or is it? Are you like me and feel that you have to work like a Trojan workhorse every day, day in and day out?

But what happens when we do? I can only speak from my own personal experience.

  1. Creativity all but comes to a screeching halt
  2. I find it hard to shut my brain off at night for sleep
  3. I feel exhausted all the time
  4. I get grouchy when I am not creating
  5. I get tunnel vision

Here’s the truth of it. Most of us are ambitious and anxious to write great books and get them into the hands of readers. But, no matter how much we do, there is always more to do: more writing, more marketing, more admin. A writer’s work is never done.

Writer's Work

I have one novel already written and two more in the series vaguely outlined and waiting. I fear I have failed miserably, as an author, this year. Yes, I put out several short stories and maintained my blog, but have not given much more than a glance toward my next full-length book. There’s a couple of reasons for that. I have been in this state of limbo since last year, waiting with bated breath to see if a publisher will take the first book of The White Rune Series. Guess what? I’m still waiting.

So, why couldn’t I force myself to work on the next one while I’m waiting? That would be the smart thing to do. I guess the truthful answer is I need to feel like it is worthwhile. Yes, I know. Everything we are inspired to do is worthwhile in some way or another. Maybe the better word for it is validation.

In telling Rick’s and my stories, I had passion. I was driven to get the story down and out into the hands of readers. I need to feel that burning passion again.

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I’m open to any advice. My sister tells me that if you don’t write a story, you lose it. I don’t want to lose them because they are good stories. Such a dilemma.

Then I have to ask myself this question. If the publisher that currently has the manuscript passes on it, what then?

Yes, I know I can self-publish, but I don’t have another $2,000 to $3,000 to invest with little hope of ever recouping. Since I suck at cover design and formatting, I’d have to pay for both of those services plus editing. If anyone ever said writing and publishing books is easy, they told a big lie.

So, the bottom line to all of this is that I took a break from working on the novels. Is that good? I suppose only time will tell.

How about you? Do you take breaks? Do you have books waiting to be published? Please tell me I’m not in this boat alone.

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Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a drawing for my latest collection of short stories, “Two Shorts and a Snort.” I’m giving away three eBooks.

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This book consists of two short stories and one poem from award-winning author, Jan Sikes, in response to a writing challenge from the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

Obsessed:

How far will one man go to satisfy an obsession? The price could cost him his life.

Maggie:

It is possible to pray up a baby? Frank and Mary Pyburn are convinced that is what they’ve done.

Friends Instead of Lovers:

Sometimes it’s better to remain friends instead of giving in to desires and crossing a line.

#RRBC Writers’ Conference & Book Expo

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One of the most fun and beneficial things any writer can do is attend a conference.  Not only do you walk away with new information and knowledge, but friendships and connections.

But, how can you create a conference with international participation? The answer was simple to the President of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, Nonnie Jules.

Have a Virtual Writers’ Conference and Book Expo!  And that’s what she did. This is a conference with something for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re brand new at writing or been writing for thirty years, you will benefit from this conference.

Please take a look and see for yourself. Explore the workshops offered, the opportunities to win prizes, discover new authors and create friendships. And you can do it all from the comfort of your own home. There is no other conference like the RRBC Writers’ Conference & Book Expo!

I’ve made it easy for you. Click on the links below and register to be a participant in this unique conference set for October 22- 28, 2017.

*General Info – https://rrbcwritersconferencebookexpo17.wordpress.com/

 *Registration Info – https://rrbcwritersconferencebookexpo17.wordpress.com/registration/registration-general-info/

 *Registration Packages & Pricing – https://rrbcwritersconferencebookexpo17.wordpress.com/registration/registration-packages-pricing/

 *Registration Page – https://rrbcwritersconferencebookexpo17.wordpress.com/registration/

See ya’ there!

RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB

I have posted this before, but today is Recruitment Day at the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and I can’t say it any better than this!! If you’re an author looking for a community where you truly belong, are supported and become like family, this is the place for you. 

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I know you hear me refer to The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB a lot, but when I find something that is exciting and rewarding, I like to talk about it.

I first became a member of #RRBC in August, 2014. I didn’t get involved much – read my required number of books to remain active in the club, tweeted now and then, caught a RAVE WAVES Blog Talk radio show now and then and skimmed through the WEEKLY CLUB UPDATES.

I didn’t see a whole lot of benefits at the time, except that immediately, when I listed on my Profile that I was a member of the club, my Twitter followers increased substantially. Well, that was good. I now had other authors interacting on a consistent level and more opportunities to spread the word about my books.

Then, in November 2014, I received the honor of a #PUSHTUESDAY spot that showcased The Convict and the Rose. I saw an immediate spike in sales on Amazon. At the time the book was spotlighted, I had ten reviews. That number went to 25 within a few short months. Hmmmm, I thought to myself. Maybe I need to get more involved with this club because it seems to make things happen!

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Long story short, I got more involved. I began supporting other members, following their blogs and helping spread the word about their books. Again, I saw a huge spike in followers of my own blog. Wow! Now that meant I had to consistently start blogging and provide interesting and interactive content.

Two more examples -I earned a spot in April 2016 on a RAVE WAVES Blog Talk Radio show where I had the opportunity to discuss and answer questions about my books and again the support I received was overwhelming.

When the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB  chose my third book, Home At Last as a featured book of the month in July 2016, even more miraculous things began to happen.  Up until that date, I had only eight reviews. And even though it’s not a huge number, I now have twenty.

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I’ve participated in a virtual Writer’s Conference with the club, gone on numerous Block Party Blog Tours and read some absolutely amazing books by talented indie authors. In fact, at the end of 2016, I decided to put together a TOP TEN list for the books I enjoyed the most during the year. Out of the 10 books, 8 of them were #RRBC Authors! Check them out here!

All I’m saying, is that if you’re looking for a community of like-minded people to support, uplift, encourage and propel you to greater heights as an author, you might want to take a look at the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.  Go to the FAQ page for the answers to any question you might have.

Membership fees are VERY affordable and the results (IF YOU PARTICIPATE) are amazing!

This group of supportive authors and readers have POWER!

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OH YES, AND ONE FINAL THING.  WHEN YOU JOIN, PLEASE TELL THEM I SENT YOU! 

Top Reasons Readers will close your book.

While recently attending the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia, I sat in on a workshop that gave out this information. I felt that it was valuable enough to pass along.

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1) Nothing happens in the opening pages. No one will keep reading about a bunch of characters that are going nowhere, or pages filled with pretty scenery. Start out with some interesting action or problem, and hook your reader.

2) Too much happens in the opening page or too many characters. If  the reader has to make a list to keep track of who’s who, you’ve got too many characters. Also, avoid the same sounding names or names starting with the same letter; Kark, Kanya and Kumbla.)

3) Info dump. Your story barely gets going when the reader is saddled with pages and pages of back story. This bogs down the pace and is tedious to read. Once we get engrossed in the story, a little bit of back story will add a deeper understanding of why your character is acting the way he/she is. The key words above are ‘a little bit’.  In the workshop, it was referred to as “Salting” the story, not dumping the entire shaker out. 🙂

5) Too much of anything will spoil your story. If it’s a romance, keep the romance alive with sexual tension. If it’s a mystery, don’t just have murder after murder. Give us a clever mystery to solve. If it’s an action/thriller, don’t have chapter after chapter of fight scenes and bombs and car chases. The reader needs to get a break. And this is the perfect spot to talk about cuss words. Use them sparingly. Okay, gang members swear. To be realistic you have to have dialogue that fits. Just don’t overdo it. It is very easy to lose readers from extended profanity.  (I realize this is totally based on opinion, but I think most readers will agree that over use of profanity turns them off to the story.)

6) Factual errors. Whatever it is that you’re writing about, someone out there will be an expert in the subject. If you don’t know medicine, be careful when writing a hospital scene. If you don’t know police work be careful when writing about a crime scene. If you have your characters doing something dumb, not only will you get letters, you will lose fans. These types of errors take the reader out of the story.

7) Too helpless and too hopeless. Don’t have your plot revolve around something that could be easily cleared up by asking a question or two.

8) And it is worth mentioning that hiring a professional editor (if you are self-publishing) is of utmost importance! A poorly edited manuscript is the #1 reason a reader will stop turning pages and close your book. 

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What are the things that will cause you to close a book and put it away without finishing it? 

 

Winners! #RRBC

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I am thrilled to announce the winners from my stop on the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB Springtime Book and Blog Block Party tour!

$10 iTunes Gift Card  –  NONNIE JULES

$5 Amazon Gift Card – PATRICIA GREEN

eBook of Flowers and Stone – Lynn Miclea

eBook of The Convict and the Rose – Rob Kimbrell

A BIG THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO PARTICIPATED! 

Don’t miss out on the rest of the tour! 

Here are today’s stops:

4/12 – Kim Cox

DAILY GIVEAWAYS: (1) $20 Amazon gift card;

4/12 – A. S. McGowan

DAILY GIVEAWAYS: (1) e-book copy of “FOR THE LOVE OF A CENTAUR,” (1) e-book copy of “THE GHOSTS OF A CENTAUR” & (1) $5 Amazon gift card; 

4/12 – Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko

DAILY GIVEAWAYS: (1) $10 Amazon gift card, (1) $10 Starbucks gift card, & (2) e-book copy of “MIRROR OF OUR LIVES: VOICES OF FOUR IGBO WOMEN”;

Let’s Play!

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Something similar to this circulated on Facebook not long back and I thought it would be fun to customize it a little for authors and bloggers. Let your readers find out something they might not know about you and in return you may learn something about your readers that you didn’t know. So, have fun and LET’S PLAY!

  • Do You have any Tattoos?    No
    • If yes, visible or not visible:
  • Where is the farthest place you’ve traveled?  Rome Italy
  • Pick one book shelf in your house and count the books on it:  124
  • Have you ever been to Vegas?   Yes
  • Do you gamble:      Yes (but only for FUN!)
  • Have you ever quit a job?   Yes
    • If Yes, Why?   To move to a different city
  • Have you ever sang Karoke?    Yes
  • What’s the most exotic animal you’ve seen:   A Bongko
    • Where were you?   Dallas Zoo
  • What is your biggest pet peeve in life?   Pet owners who don’t take care of their pets
  • What is the most exotic food you’ve eaten:  Fried Alligator
    • Where were you?     New Orleans, La. 
  • If you were granted ONE wish, what would you ask for?    Health
  • What is the scariest situation you’ve ever been in?   A war zone between biker gangs.
  • Have you ever seen a ghost?    Yes
    • Where were you?   In my bed in Coleman, Tx. I awoke and saw a small built little man with a fedora hat on standing and looking out the back window.
  • Do you have a bucket list:   Yes
    • If so, how many items are in it?   Lots
      • Can you name them?   I’ll name a few: I want to ride in a hot air balloon. I want to visit Ireland and Scotland. I want to visit every corner of America. I want to see New England in the Fall. I want to dance more before I get too old. I want to have a Bestseller book! I want to visit Switzerland and Amsterdam.
  • What’s the most memorable concert you ever attended?  That’s a hard one. I’ve been to so many amazing concerts, but in the 80s when Charlie Daniels was doing his Windows tour, he came to Shreveport and it was and still is memorable. Just amazing! 

  • If you could attend one concert anywhere in the world today, who would you see?  Again, that’s hard because I’ve seen so many. Dolly Parton, or maybe Joe Bonamassa. 
  • If you could sit down and visit with anyone alive or dead, who would it be?  Jacqueline Kennedy
    • Why?  I always admired the way she handled herself in good times and bad. She was the embodiment of a Goddess. 
  • What is one book you have read that changed you or you never forgot?   The Captains and the Kings by Taylor Caldwell – eye-opening and fascinating! 

So my answers are in RED

Reblog and give me your answers, or simply copy and paste. Let’s get to know each other better!!

 

Do what you love!

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I am thrilled it when inspirations come out of the blue. I have a feeling I will get lots of them living in my new place. But, I digress.

The thought I had was this, “Do what you love. Love what you do.”

“How?” you ask.

We all have to do things in life to put food on our tables that we aren’t particularly fond of, such as going to a thankless job. Maybe your boss is a jerk. Or perhaps your  daily commute is grueling. There could be a myriad of negatives about the things we must do to survive.

But…instead of focusing on the negatives, what if we sought out the positives and focused on them instead. So, your boss is a jerk, but the receptionist that greets you each morning is always full of sunshine and smiling. And, yes, the daily commute is grueling, but what about that cool audio book you managed to read in a week just sitting in traffic? Or how about that awesome new song that came on the radio and made you turn up the volume?

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Sometimes, it’s the little things. Maybe there aren’t any big positives to what you do that you can grasp, but as a wise man once said, “Littles make bigs.” By finding ways to love what we do, we free ourselves to do things we truly love. Writers find more time to write. Songwriters find time to compose new melodies. Families spend more time playing and less time arguing. It’s the proverbial domino effect.

By focusing on the aspects of life that we do love and less on the parts we don’t, the world instantly becomes a better place in which to live.

So, DO WHAT YOU LOVE AND LOVE WHAT YOU DO!

Hugs, light and love sent to you.

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