Unique Third Person POV Activity

Guesstimate: How much cash do you think you’re carrying? $______

Empty your pocketbook, tote bag, wallet.

man-with-big-bagFrom the third person point of view (he/she, his/her) write assumptions a stranger might make about the person who carries the items in that pocketbook, tote bag, wallet. For example, what would someone assume about the person’s:

  • Free time
  • Hobbies
  • Habits
  • Work
  • Family
  • Fears
  • Health
  • Values/morals
  • Worldview
  • Health
  • Spirituality
  • Idiosyncrasies

How much cash are you REALLY carrying? How close was your guess – within $5, $10…?

Now that you’ve considered the contents:

  1. What Bible verse, adage, popular title or idiom best describes your findings?
  2. What can you throw away right now?
  3. What surprised you?
  4. What do you want to stop carrying around?
  5. What do you want to start carrying with you?
  6. What do you hope to carry with you always?

By Beth Fowler, author of “Ken’s War.” Visit https://www.facebook.com/kenswar.

The Conversation – Book Review

I approach self-published books with lowered expectations. Calibrating my expectations was not necessary for “The Conversation” by Mike Gannaway, published by WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan.

 

“The Conversation” shimmers with some of the same vibe as the classic “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” but reaches its destination within an efficient 110 pages.

 

Diane, thirty-eight and unmarried, is on her way to Bethany Beach, Delaware. In setting up the story, Gannaway displays uncanny talent for creating interest and intrigue with sensory details and forward momentum.

 

Diane is a confident, well-read, thoughtful woman who has developed her own credo for life: Choose Freedom. Having abandoned “clubbing scene” days when she dressed her chiseled body to tantalize men, she now knows that “the key to freedom was not burning off drudgery; it was not succumbing to it in the first place.” That’s some hard-earned wisdom, wouldn’t you say?

 

Less than a quarter of the way into the book, Diane sees a man sitting on the beach. It’s nighttime. The switchblade in her pocket is insurance, of sorts. She joins the man and they begin chatting.

 

Chris is attentive, polite and asks the right questions. He lets her go on for a while, mostly about herself. Things are going swimmingly, and readers might think, “This is nice. ‘Nice’ can get boring.”

 

Diane says she reads “history, science, philosophy, religion, classic literature, poetry…anything that increases my understanding of the world and grows me in sophistication and wisdom.” She’s coming across as a smug and preachy woman.

 

With laser accuracy and timing, Chris challenges Diane.

 

Now there’s tension and an exploration of opposing worldviews about the BIG topic with which most humans grapple: Finding life’s meaning and purpose. From this point on in their conversation, the stakes are raised and Diane’s “Choose Freedom” credo begins to erode like a sandcastle under the waves of Chris’ questions and counterpoints. Chris is not harsh or cruel to Diane during this crucial conversation. He is empathetic and genuine.

 

Gannaway possesses the intuition and skills to know when to reveal information and when to withhold it until later to best serve the plot and the debate. His sense of pacing is superb. While his style is lean, it’s clear that he’s thought deeply about how to portray a woman’s spiritual journey convincingly. In this he succeeds. (I’m happy to say, Gannaway does not resort to using annoying Celestine Prophecy-esque contrivances.)

 

If you’re searching for meaning, or if like Diane, you’re sure you already know the meaning of our existence, then this book is a prime candidate for your “read now” list.  The Conversation is appropriate for truth seekers from young adult age upward.

***

Article by the author of Ken’s WarWhen teen rebellion & culture shock collide.

Visit https://www.facebook.com/kenswar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQjZBjqFNzs&feature=youtu.be

 ken's war cover

Ken’s War is vibrant with authority … Fowler’s elegantly written novel risks exploring the full range of teenage behavior and emotion.” Nancy Springer, award- winning author of YA books.

 

 

 

Writing Your Writing Goals Makes a Difference

Ruth, left, has met her goals and has written more. Visit https://www.facebook.com/#!/buckleupforbrittany to find out more.

Ruth, left, has met her goals and has written more. Visit https://www.facebook.com/#!/buckleupforbrittany to find out more.

(This blog is based on a writers’ workshop conducted by Beth Fowler)

Do you normally set goals or let things just happen (or just not happen)?

What kinds of things (if any) have you set goals for in the past?

What are some of your beliefs about setting goals?

Which beliefs need to be re-tooled? For example, I was taught, “If you start something you should finish it.” I no longer believe that.

A goal is worthless if ________________(fill in the blank until you run out of ideas).

According to one study, people who write their goals are 42 percent more likely to achieve their goals.

Ruth, shown in the photo, set goals and has taken steps to reach them. See for yourself at https://www.facebook.com/#!/buckleupforbrittany

Cite some examples of how God (or the universe or whatever entity you think runs the big show) has supported your writing goals so far.

Now, write your writing goal and steps you’ll take to reach it.

Be specific when setting your writing goal. Include dates, amounts, numbers, names. Someone else would be able to measure if you achieved your goal because of the objective, concrete way you state it here.

 Example: Send out a query a week for 8 weeks to print magazines that pay freelance writers.

 Example: Submit my story about adopting a baby from China to YorkFest Literary Competition, Spring 2015

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What steps will you take to reach your goal?

Example: 1. Write rough draft query “template.” 2. Read submission guidelines for magazines. 3. Read articles in targeted magazines. 4. Tailor query to magazine’s guidelines and audience.5. Send queries. 6. Log queries sent and responses received.

 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

 

Article by Beth Fowler, author of the beloved, coming-of-age novel “Ken’s War.”

Visit https://www.facebook.com/kenswar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQjZBjqFNzs&feature=youtu.be

 ken's war coverWhen teen rebellion & culture shock collide. Shop here: Ken’s War

Ken’s War is vibrant with authority … Fowler’s elegantly written novel risks exploring the full range of teenage behavior and emotion.” Nancy Springer, award- winning author of YA books.

 

 

 

“Life is Binary: The Choice to Live Love or Limitation” – book review

On one of his websites Vivbala himself asks, “Why do we need one more spiritual book?”

The author’s self-published “Life is Binary: The Choice to Live Love or Limitation” is divided into eight chapters which are further divided into subchapters. A dedication, acknowledgements and preface precede the table of contents. There is a reference section at the end. Apart from the colorful images on the cover, there are no other illustrations.

Vivbala starts with his personal awakening story, which in itself is engaging reading. Then he follows it with the insights he received.

Unlike “The Celestine Prophecy” that seems contrived, and some other books by authors who’ve made a business out of selling spirituality, “Life is Binary” is one engineer’s true story. Every writer has a voice, and it is Vivbala’s voice that helps set his book apart from others. He comes across as rational, caring, endearing, earnest and genuine. He’s a regular guy holding down a job and going to performances to watch his daughter dance.

Vivbala skillfully uses analogies and examples to explain his experience, insights and various phenomena such as synchronicity. He writes, “The best analogy I can come up with for what happened to me is the reboot of a computer. In computer systems, when the system starts to behave abnormally or at very low efficiency and there seems to be weird problems happening, the best solution is to reboot the system. A reboot kills all the processes that are running including those that are hanging and clears out the memory. It also deletes all the temporary files used by these processes. When the computer is shut down and restarted, it has a clear processor and memory. Spiritual awakening or near death experiences are nothing but the reboot of your mind and body.”

While reading “Life is Binary” I found myself nodding constantly as I was agreeing with the author’s statements, recognizing myself in his examples, appreciating nuggets of wisdom and realizing that retraining the mind is a life-long process for most of us who yearn to move beyond a limited existence.

Some of the ideas put forth, such as avoiding watching the news because it adds negativity to our lives, are easy to understand and are generally accepted in circles where mental health and well-being are the main focus. That we are immortal will be harder to grasp and believe.

In the final chapter, Vivbala reminds us that spiritual awakening does not come about by reading a book, even so, I wished there would have been more pencil-and-paper exercises to help me identify my patterns, fears, dreams and so forth and to help me apply some of his insights to my life.

Readers who notice typos will find a few, and some of the paragraphs seem mighty long.

If you’ve been reading spiritual development books for very long, you might not find many strikingly new concepts in “Life is Binary,” but that’s not a criticism whatsoever.

What is new and refreshing about this book is the being who is delivering the message and the way he delivers it.

So, why do we need one more spiritual book?

Because there might be at least one person left out there who is still sleepwalking through life. Maybe two.

***

 

ken's war coverWhen teen rebellion & culture shock collide. Shop here: Ken’s War

Ken’s War is vibrant with authority … Fowler’s elegantly written novel risks exploring the full range of teenage behavior and emotion.” Nancy Springer, award- winning author of YA books.

 

 

 

Tips for Writers Working at Home, But Not Alone: Part 2

Interruptions!

Interruptions!

 

 

 

Blog readers sent heartfelt comments about Tips for Writers Working at Home, But Not Alone: Part 1….it seems carving out writing time is a challenge, especially during the summer and for  writers who have kids, spouses, houses and a life.

  1. Write to write. Beginning writers spend more money than they earn from writing. This economic fact can be a source of guilt. Comments like, “You spent how much for ‘Writer’s Marketplace’?” weigh heavily. Invite your family to discuss their feelings. Does your writing really strain the budget, or is something else bugging your family? Meanwhile, keep writing.
  2. Write about it. Writers experience heavy demands on their time and emotions from family members. In an ideal world you might be spared this, but if you were, would you have as much to write about? Every experience is an idea for writing.
  3. Be honest. Some writers use outside circumstances as excuses to not write. This is dishonest. Putting the burden on others with comments like, “You trim the hedge so I can write,” is unfair. Hedges need trimmed, regardless. Say, “It’s your turn to trim the hedge,” and then go write. (You did trim the hedge last time, didn’t you?)
  4. Streamline and economize. Writing takes time and money, so I’ve streamlined and economized. I moved to a smaller house near two libraries and sometimes serve stir-fried rice instead of complicated meals. I swap magazines with writers’ circle members and buy used books.
  5. Search for nuggets. Angela Raeburn, a beginning freelancer, has two sons, a part-time job and a home to run. “I search for nuggets of time for my writing in between the school run, play group duty, taking the dog to the vet and delivering hubby’s suits to the cleaners,” Angela said. She added that she doesn’t feel guilty when ironing piles up because “I get paid for writing, I don’t get paid for housework.”
  6. Manage time. Susan Wilson, another freelancer, shared her time management technique. “Time mismanagement can be turned into positive control by actively noting daily what you do, when you do it and how long it takes over a period, say two weeks. Draw up a chart showing the chunks of time and concentrate the activity into that time.” Susan is partially paralyzed, but her determination takes her from England to Asia gathering ideas and material for writing.
  7. Divide and write. Horror writer Mark Morris shares domestic chores with his wife Nel, an artist who also works from home. “I work in the mornings and look after our one-year-old son in the afternoons, and Nel does it the other way around.” While one parent bathes and beds their son, the other cooks supper. Evenings and weekends are free for relaxing and socializing.

Making adjustments and finding solutions to meet each other’s needs—that’s what living and working together is all about.

“They lived happily ever after” is not a trite story ending. It’s the beginning of your story.

 

ken's war coverWhen teen rebellion & culture shock collide. Shop here: Ken’s War

Ken’s War is vibrant with authority … Fowler’s elegantly written novel risks exploring the full range of teenage behavior and emotion.” Nancy Springer, award- winning author of YA books.

 

 

 

Tips for Writers Working at Home, But Not Alone: Part 1

Beth Fowler headshot by Beth Fowler

 

 

 

 

 

When you sit down to write, does it seem as if family members conspire to prevent you from writing, and as if domestic duties scream for attention? Well, if you cave in and put writing aside, you won’t make money from what you didn’t write. Right? Here are techniques you can use to find writing time in your busy days.

  1. Build respect. One writer bribed her kids with ice cream bought with money she hoped to earn from articles. Not good. Healthy relationships are built on respect, not on bribes. Writers can say, “Writing is important to me. It would help if you didn’t disturb me for the next three hours. Can you do that?” Then stick to the agreement.
  2. Share enthusiasm. Encourage your family to write a neighborhood newsletter, a cookbook, a letter to an editor, a journal. Once they’ve seen their work in print, they’ll understand why you like to write. It’s rewarding.
  3. Compromise. Jolyn’s mother interrupted his writing by asking for rides to town. Jolyn chauffeured his mother for a ten-minute errand, which expanded to one hour. Jolyn and Mom could compromise: “Mom, I’ll take you to town at three o’clock. Until then I need time to write.” Mom agrees. But at noon she asks: “Can we go to town now?” Jolyn used to give in. Now he says, “You’ve interrupted me, even though we agreed I’ll take you to town at three o’clock. I’ll take you at three o’clock.” After all, compromise means vow together.
  4. Educate non-writers. When I told ten-year-old Christopher that I write at home, he said, “Oh, you don’t work.” Because I don’t pack a briefcase and commute daily to an office, I didn’t fit his idea of a legitimate worker. Had I explained that his favorite author J.K. Rowling began like I did—getting rejections, honing skills in relative anonymity, writing and rewriting (and re-rewriting) Christopher might have agreed that what I do is work, even if I’m not famous. Like all artists, writers serve apprenticeships too.
  5. Nurture important relationships. Screenwriter Tim Burton (“Beetlejuice” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas”) said that his “interiorizing” separated him from people. He added, “It makes you think you’re crazy.” Before everybody goes crazy, set aside time to nurture friendships and family ties.
  6. Empathize with non-writers. We writers are consumed with twisting our tales or creating zippy dialogue. How do others perceive us? Dusty Wesker is married to Arnold Wesker, author of 30-plus plays. She said, “Living with a writer and a writer’s ego is incredibly difficult. We’ve had a wonderful life together, but there have been ups and downs, but I’m resilient.” Resilience on everybody’s part is vital for every relationship’s longevity.
  7. Create a workspace. You’ll be taken more seriously if you create a permanent writing center. You’ll take yourself more seriously, too. Organize your filing system, install a shelf for reference and resource books, use good equipment, go to writers’ group meetings.
  8. Write in a healthy environment. The work center shouldn’t be tucked into a murky corner. Select a place that inspires productivity. Scientists believe that plants in an office improve productivity, lower energy consumption, reduce noise levels and are, of course, aesthetically pleasing. Choose a place with good circulation. Built up dust, pet hairs, traces of cleaners, mold and carbon dioxide can cause headaches and allergic reactions.

 

ken's war coverWhen teen rebellion & culture shock collide. Shop here: Ken’s War

Ken’s War is vibrant with authority … Fowler’s elegantly written novel risks exploring the full range of teenage behavior and emotion.” Nancy Springer, award- winning author of YA books.

 

 

 

TURNING BACK TIME by Tara Fox Hall

The struggle for enough time in any standard day of a successful, proven author is a given. Yet it pales in comparison to the frenzy of a new, yet-to-be proven author. There is advertizing, promotion, reviews, deadlines, book covers, links, blog posts, and a million other details that need to be at your fingertips with a few clicks. You’d need a Time Turner from the Harry Potter Books to get it all done. But Time Turners that really work seem to be in short supply. So how does a struggling author handle the stress?

Answer: get very, very organized.

First off, you’ll need to make friends with spreadsheets, either Excel or another type. Spreadsheets are not just for accountants; they are very a useful, necessary tool you will need to keep track of a minimum of things, such as the publishers and agents where you have submitted your book. If you’re past that stage, and have been published, you’ll still need spreadsheets to successfully promote your work, which is expected of all authors, both famous and not-so-famous. Even if you’ve published only one book, and you’re not sure if there will be a next one, this is important to do. If you plan on being a writer, there will be other books in your future at some point. Copying an existing spreadsheet of places to submit, complete with emails and feedback from your last round of submissions, is much easier than sorting through a ton of emails in your sent box to compile a fresh list of possible places to submit. If you have more than one book a year coming out, you’ll need to have multiple tabs on the spreadsheet, one for each book.

If you are asking for book reviews, you’ll have to keep track of who you asked, what they said, when this happened, and whether or not the book actually got reviewed. Trust me, this is very useful, especially when you last send out requests six months ago, and are wondering if you should bother submitting a new book to a review site that sounds familiar. You’ll want to know if they reviewed your last book, or never replied to a query you spent an hour or two crafting.

All promotiom—whether ads, blogging, interviews, or giveaways—also need to be tracked, the last just so that you don’t miss sending out a prize to a winner on time. Nothing alienates a fan like a coveted prize that never materializes. Have a file for all your frequently used files, such as book covers, so when one is needed quickly, you don’t have to try to pull it off the internet, or look through email. Customize your organization as needed when you discover what works best for you and what needs more organization.

At first, this will seem daunting. But when you’re rushed to finish a blog, hours from your deadline with your publisher, and you get that emergency email asking some random bit of information, like the word count of your second book, you’ll have it at your fingertips. Sometimes something small makes the difference between publishing and not publishing. Being organized will give you more time to write. And it’s far more reliable than trying to mystically turn back time.

Blurb: Grieving Krys Markman has come to lose herself in family memories at Letchworth State Park, and try to figure out her next step. Yet the unearthly beautiful music she hears each night stirs her soul to romance. Can its creator, the attractive vampire David Helm, heal her broken heart?

 

Excerpt: Krys sipped her wine flight, while looking around at her setting, marveling that so much was still the same, and still so beautiful. She’d been in these same surroundings so many times, yet they were still magical to her, even as their familiarity soothed her…

“Will you want dinner?” her waiter asked delicately. “Or would you like to try one of the wines you sampled?”

Where had the time gone? Krys had finished all three samples already. While another flight and more reminiscing sounded wonderful, it was better not to tempt fate, not when she had a hell of a climb in the dark to reach her rented house. “Yes.” She chose an entrée at random from the menu, then one of the wines she’d sampled.

As the waiter walked away, Krys noticed a tall man sitting by himself off in the corner. He was writing something by the light of the table candle. What was compelling was he was doing it in longhand in a small paper book instead of via electronic device. The act was so uncommon that she stared at him. Within a few seconds, the man raised his eyes and caught her staring, his dark eyes meeting hers. Krys immediately looked down, flushing. By the time she gathered enough courage to look up again, the man was gone, his seat empty.

The waiter came back, her wine on a tray. “We’re all out of the salmon, Ma’am,” he said apologetically. “Would you like to choose something else?”

The only craving Krys had was to find out who that handsome man had been. Food could wait. “There was a man sitting out here. Do you know who he was?”

The waiter shifted uneasily. “We’re not allowed to give out information on guests, Ma’am. Sorry.”

“So he is staying here?” Krys said hopefully. “Will he be here a few more days?”

The waited leaned down slightly, his expression secretive. “Aren’t you staying for a few days in Caroline’s Cottage?”

“Yes,” she answered conspiratorially.

“Then I’d advise you to get to know your neighbor during your stay,” the waiter said meaningfully.

Krys looked at him in puzzlement. “What?”

The waiter straightened, then set down her glass of wine. “Will you have another entrée, Ma’am?”

Comprehension dawned. “No,” Krys said, hastily grabbing her purse. “Put my drinks on my bill.”

 

 

Buy Links:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/445178

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Night-Music-Tara-Fox-Hall-ebook/dp/B00KRTHDVS

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Night-Music-Tara-Fox-Hall-ebook/dp/B00KRTHDVS

Melange Books: http://www.satinromance.com/authors/tarafoxhall/nightmusic.html

 

Author Links:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TaraFH

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/tara-fox-hall

Melange Books: http://www.melange-books.com/authors/tarafoxhall/index.html

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5286654.Tara_Fox_Hall

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Tara-Fox-Hall/e/B005YPAA4W/

Website: www.tarafoxhall.com

Email: tarafoxhallATgmail.com

 

Blog: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5286654.Tara_Fox_Hall/blog

 

Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tara-Fox-Hall/151813374904903

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/TerrorFoxHall

NightMusic