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Just a reminder that today marks the 200th Anniver­sary of The Star Span­gled Banner! On Sep­tem­ber 12, 1814, Fran­cis Scott Key was held pris­oner on a ship. Dur­ing the rainy night, he wit­nessed the bom­bard­ment of Bal­ti­more and observed that the fort’s small “storm flag” con­tin­ued to fly. Once the shell and rocket fire stopped, smoke filled the air mak­ing it impos­si­ble to know how the bat­tle had turned out. In the morn­ing, he could see that the smaller storm flag had been low­ered and a much larger flag had been raised. Although the large flag had been blasted until it was rid­dled with holes, it announced the Amer­i­can vic­tory to the world. Key was so inspired by the sight that he wrote a poem on the back of a let­ter he kept in his pocket. That poem became our National Anthem.

The Bottom Line

June 9th, 2014 | Posted by Annette in Perspectives - (0 Comments)

In my life, I’ve noticed that most peo­ple go through a period of life where they blame oth­ers for what­ever injus­tice they believe has been inflicted upon them. I’ve been there myself, more times that I care to admit. I think it’s human nature to blame oth­ers. But I also think that it’s unproductive–even dam­ag­ing. Every­one has been through hard things. None of us really knows the life of another. Some people’s prob­lems are obvi­ous while other’s are hid­den. On top of that, life is never “fair.” But look­ing back­wards all the time, blam­ing fam­ily or even the world for our prob­lems won’t solve any­thing. I am reminded of an African Amer­i­can spir­i­tual titled, “Hold On.” The idea in the song is to not give up. Hold on! A line from the lyrics goes like this, “Can’t plow straight if you’re look­ing back.” In other words, mov­ing for­ward is much more dif­fi­cult if we hold on to the grudges of the past. Instead, work towards your goals instead of fes­ter­ing over past injus­tices. For­get or for­give past injuries, whether real or imag­ined. It really will make life eas­ier. Move for­ward so that you can work towards your dreams instead of your nightmares.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Unknown author

FACE IT, nobody owes you a liv­ing.
What you achieve, or fail to achieve in your life­time
Is directly related to what you do or fail to do.
No one chooses his par­ent or child­hood,
But you can choose your own direc­tion.
Every­one has prob­lems and obsta­cles to over­come,
But that too is rel­a­tive to each indi­vid­ual.
NOTHING IS CARVED IN STONE!

You can change any­thing in your life
If you want to badly enough.
Excuses are for losers! Those who take respon­si­bil­ity for their actions
Are the real win­ners in life.
Win­ners meet life chal­lenges head on
Know­ing there are guar­an­tees, and give it all they’ve got
And never think it’s too late or too early to begin.

Time plays no favorites
And will pass whether you act or not
Take con­trol of your LIFE
Dare to Dream and take risks.……
Com­pete!
If you aren’t will­ing to work for your goals
Don’t expect oth­ers to.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!

Cancer

March 27th, 2014 | Posted by Annette in Perspectives - (0 Comments)

Kent and LyndseyMost peo­ple have been touched by can­cer in one way or another. Whether it’s a rel­a­tive or some­one close to you, I think we all know the ter­ror of that word. At times it seems unspeak­able, and the treat­ment is just as dreaded, not to men­tion expen­sive. My nephew, Kent, recently found out that he has colon can­cer. At 25 years old, it was a shock­ing dis­cov­ery. Instead of wor­ry­ing about school and tuition, his con­cerns turned to things that should be reserved until later in life.

Chemo. That sin­gle word says so much. It’s poi­son aimed at killing the can­cer cells. Unfor­tu­nately, because it is poi­son, the treat­ment affects the entire body. Any­one who has seen chemo up close knows just how bad it can be, espe­cially when a patient is young. The kind of chemo given to the young is almost always more pow­er­ful and aggres­sive, mean­ing that it’s seri­ously toxic stuff, which leads to extreme symp­toms and longterm effects.

I’m not able to explain it myself. It’s too much and I am ill equipped to put such things into words. Thank­fully Kent’s wife, Lyn­d­sey, has taken the time to share a few of the details. If you would like to read about Kent’s jour­ney, click on the link HERE.

I wish we lived in a world where the sick could focus their atten­tion on get­ting well. Instead we live in a world where the sick have to worry about how to pay for treatment.

If you would like to make a dona­tion to help Kent bat­tle can­cer, please click HERE.

Thank you so much!

~Annette

Clean Indie Read

September 22nd, 2013 | Posted by Annette in Books | Marketing | Perspectives | Reviews | Writing Tips - (0 Comments)

Clean Indie Reachs Blog ButtonI have posted about this on face­book but decided to post a fresh link on my blog. The Clean Indie Read blog that started a cou­ple of months ago has got­ten off to a tremen­dous start. It’s a site that lists inex­pen­sive ebooks rated G, PG, or PG-13. As I have watched this blog get started, I’ve been amazed at how fast it has grown. It’s a great resource for both read­ers and authors. If you haven’t taken an oppor­tu­nity to check it out, here’s the link: Clean Indie Reads. The blog is run by the amaz­ing, Lia Lon­don.

Below is a list of gen­res posted on the blog as of 9.22.13.

Have you ever noticed how polar book reviews can be?

I loved it!”

Eh.… it was okay.”

Bleck! Who writes this stuff!”

Clearly, no book is meant for every reader. But as writ­ers, it is imper­a­tive to set our egos aside and deter­mine the valid crit­i­cism from the invalid. For me, a few steps have really helped with this process.

1. Write with a tar­get audi­ence in mind. This is impor­tant for so many rea­sons. Read­ers out­side your tar­get audi­ence will prob­a­bly dis­like (or at the very least, not LOVE) your book. Under­stand­ing this make it much eas­ier when neg­a­tive reviews come in.

2. Crit­i­cism is your friend. Become an ana­lyt­i­cal machine and turn off your ego. Once your pride is set aside, this becomes much eas­ier to do. Look at your work the way a lit­er­ary agent would. They’re crit­i­cal, tough, totally unin­ter­ested in your feel­ings, but very objec­tive. I admit this is dif­fi­cult, but it is not impos­si­ble. Learn­ing to set your ego aside brings a fresh view. You’ll see things you never saw before. An added bonus will be the abil­ity to spot sour­pusses. These are the review­ers with an agenda. Obvi­ously, sour­pusses offer lit­tle con­struc­tive crit­i­cism. And if it’s not con­struc­tive, what good is it? Toss it out.

3. Be objec­tive, even if it’s painful. If more than one reviewer says the same thing, look at the sit­u­a­tion again. Take plenty of time before mak­ing a major deci­sion. Think, think, think.

4. The Aver­age Jane (or Joe) are prob­a­bly the best source for con­struc­tive crit­i­cism. These are the review­ers that don’t have an agenda. They just decided to write a review. Per­son­ally, I think they are AWESOME! (thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU to each and every one of them! Whether it was a review writ­ten for my books or some­one else’s. Review­ers like this are golden! Golden, I say! GOLDEN!)

5. Never allow crit­i­cism to put out your fire. Instead, use it. Dis­sect crit­i­cism. Focus through an ana­lyt­i­cal eye rather than an emo­tional one. (You’re a writer, so you have an amaz­ing imag­i­na­tion. Put your­self in the publisher’s seat. Think like a pub­lisher. Think like an agent.)

6. Most impor­tantly, ignore the mean peo­ple. For some rea­son there are a few out there chas­ing indie authors. (Weird.) Ignore them. Period. They’re just not worth your time. At least, they’re not worth my time. I’ve got books to write. Char­ac­ters to cre­ate. Plots to form and sce­nar­ios to twist. I’m busy!

7. Keep mov­ing ahead. Learn from your mis­takes. Embrace them. They are your teach­ers. Don’t beat your­self with a stick. There are plenty of peo­ple will­ing do that for you. Instead, keep working.

8. Write, write, write, write, write! You know you want to! Speak­ing of which, I’ll see ya later. I’ve got more nov­els in the works. Until next time. :D

~Annette

 

The For­got­ten Queen is Annette Mackey’s most recent novel. Avail­able on Amazon.

Readers Favorite

September 2nd, 2013 | Posted by Annette in Books | Perspectives | Reviews - (0 Comments)

The Forgotten Queen

Silver Award for THE FORGOTTEN QUEEN from Readers FavoriteI am so please to announce that my new novel, The For­got­ten Queen, has won the Sil­ver Award from Read­ers Favorite in the Fic­tion — Adven­ture cat­e­gory. I am so grate­ful! And con­grat­u­la­tions to all of the other win­ners too!! So many great reads are listed! If you’re look­ing for some­thing to sink your teeth into, take a moment to check out the list of win­ners: Read­ers Favorite Con­test Win­ners, 2013.

 

Man of Steel

June 19th, 2013 | Posted by Annette in Movies | Perspectives | Reviews - (2 Comments)

Best movie of the sum­mer? Def­i­nitely! Five stars–minus the parts that bugged me. See below for details.

WARNING: there may be spoil­ers ahead.

If you haven’t seen the new Super­man movie, it’s well worth it. But that’s not to say that it is with­out flaws. And who bet­ter to com­ment on a Super­man movie than a long­time fan? :D  (Except that I am a bit picky.)

Henry Cav­ill wears the suit well. Not every­one can make us believe that they are invin­ci­ble while main­tain­ing an endear­ing qual­ity that keeps us root­ing for them until the bit­ter end. It’s a bal­ance of humil­ity and power. Nicely done.

Every now and then I wished the direc­tor had let Mr. Cav­ill spend a lit­tle more time devel­op­ing the character’s emo­tions. Too many times I just barely began to “feel” a scene, only to have it clipped short in favor of action/graphics. (And I know Cav­ill can por­tray emo­tions because he was great even as a kid in “The Count of Monte Cristo.”) This was espe­cially true at the end of the movie when Super­man screams after Zod is killed. He’s at one of the low­est points in his life. The last Kryp­ton­ian is dead–and at his hand. If only the raw emo­tions had come through. Instead it felt all too super. That was the part where we wanted to see his human­ity. His cape, hair, and suit remained beau­ti­fully untar­nished. There was not even a scrap of shrap­nel on his shoul­der. After all of that, let his suit be torn! Let him be cov­ered in muck. Let the famous curl in his hair frizz! We already know that he’s pow­er­ful, but his clothes shouldn’t have to be. And his hair, no mat­ter how strong, blows in the wind. It should have been a mess. After a bat­tle to the death he should have looked more like a blood­ied glad­i­a­tor than an actor ready for his close up. We want to see him vul­ner­a­ble. We really do!

I liked Amy Adams as Lois. Some peo­ple may have men­tioned that she seems a lit­tle too frag­ile for the role. Eh? .… Pos­si­bly, but I still enjoyed her work.

And thank you WB (or who­ever) for putting in the back­story, which was awe­some. We learn a lot about who Super­man is, where he came from, and why his planet was destroyed. We also learn why Zod has an eter­nal hatred of him and is deter­mined to fight to the death when the two meet on Earth. But.… While the open­ing scene of  Kal El’s birth is ten­der, those feel­ings are barely touched upon before an onslaught of spe­cial effects takes over. I wanted to be drenched in Krypton’s pain. Instead I felt like I was watch­ing a reel of explosions.

Fast for­ward a few decades and Kal El becomes Clark Kent. He goes from job to job try­ing to main­tain his anonymity while being a guardian angel to those around him. This sec­tion reminded me of the orig­i­nal “Hulk” series that ran in the sev­en­ties. In other words, they got it right. At last! Emo­tions were full blown. MY FAVORITE PART was when Clark went to the aid of the men stranded on the off­shore oil rig. When he stood in the fire lick­ing his skin I wanted to applaud. Oh yeah! It was awe­some! And drift­ing in the ocean after­wards was a tremen­dous idea. I felt his pain as he tried to shut out the world. (Good job movie guys!) Another excel­lent spot was when Clark entered the Kryp­ton­ian atmos­phere. I was feel­ing it there.

I’m sad to say that my least favorite part was the por­trayal of Jonathan Kent’s death. Kevin Costner’s act­ing was good, but it was a stu­pid scene. No, I did not miss the part about Jonathan putting Clark’s “secret” above his life. Once again, I think they wrote & filmed it that way for the sake of spe­cial effects. Some­body wanted to make a tor­nado happen. It was a cheesy idea. Cheeeeeeeeeesy! Jonathan is sup­posed to die of a heart attack. That’s the whole point. Clark is sup­posed to learn that he’s just as help­less as the rest of us, at least when it comes to his fam­ily. The scene stunk. Please cut. Rewrite. Film it again and let’s for­get that it ever happened.

My last crit­i­cism is the lack of sparks between Clark and Lois. Hello? They needed a lit­tle chem­istry. Maybe the stu­dio is sav­ing that part for the next movie. I hope so, because if Amy Adams and Henry Cav­ill can’t get it together, then who can?

As a side note, how many build­ings can you knock down before you get grit on your shoes? Cut at least a quar­ter of the city smash scenes, put in more emo­tional exchanges between the actors, shred the cape when Super­man is knock­ing down build­ings, and voila, most of the prob­lems would have been solved.

Lastly, if I’ve deterred any­one from see­ing the movie … let me just say that I plan to buy it and watch it over and over again. Great stuff! I loved “Man of Steel” and can’t wait for the sequel.

Miss Utah flubs answer

June 17th, 2013 | Posted by Annette in Perspectives - (2 Comments)

So it seems that Miss Utah totally flubbed her answer at the Miss USA pageant on Sun­day night. While it’s a shame (and I do feel bad for her) the ques­tion still mer­its an answer.

The ques­tion she was asked: 

“A recent report shows that in 40 per­cent of Amer­i­can fam­i­lies with chil­dren, women are the pri­mary earn­ers, yet they con­tinue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?”

This is a seri­ous issue, one which deserves attention.

What she should have said:

Num­ber 1. In order to answer that ques­tion, the type of jobs reported must be assessed. For exam­ple, a wait­ress will never earn as much money as a CEO–it doesn’t mat­ter how many hours are clocked. The report must be analysed to see what jobs women are work­ing in.

Num­ber 2. Edu­ca­tion is required for high pay­ing jobs. Cre­den­tials are not optional. Women who expect to earn a high wage must put in the same amount of prepa­ra­tion as a male coun­ter­part. Which brings us to the next point.

Num­ber 3. Soci­ety does not respect moth­er­hood. For that mat­ter, it does not respect chil­dren. Women who choose to stay at home to raise a fam­ily are seen as skill-less. And yet, the skills nec­es­sary to raise a fam­ily are all con­sum­ing. No one ever put on their job resume, “Three chil­dren raised to per­fec­tion.” That may sound like a bit of a joke, but the truth is, rais­ing chil­dren forces the devel­op­ment of vital skills, includ­ing an under­stand­ing of com­put­ers, child devel­op­ment, and the edu­ca­tion sys­tem. Fur­ther­more, it is impos­si­ble to run a house­hold with­out an under­stand­ing of man­age­ment. Even so, a resume out­lin­ing these skills–learned on the job as a mother–would be scoffed at by an employer. Instead soci­ety prefers to think of moth­ers as women who sit at home eat­ing bon bons while their chil­dren run amuck.

So what does this say about soci­ety? It says that we have a long way to go. We need to edu­cate, pre­pare, and respect women. We need to stop glo­ri­fy­ing the way women “look” and appre­ci­ate them for who they are: our moth­ers who taught us to read and write, our sis­ters who helped us with our geom­e­try home­work, our daugh­ters who look to us for edu­ca­tion, our cowork­ers, and pos­si­bly even our boss.

I wanted to let every­one know about a great new blog that is really tak­ing off right now. It’s the clean indie reads blog. Even though it’s only about a week, the hits are really com­ing in–and so are the authors. Peo­ple who write clean books are com­ing together to help read­ers find them. There is a mar­ket out there for clean books, but with the explo­sion of pro­fan­ity and sex­ual con­tent in mod­ern books, read­ers who want clean books tend to be a lit­tle shy about pur­chases because they don’t like buy­ing some­thing that ends up offend­ing them. That’s why I decided to get the word out. If you enjoy HIGH qual­ity books that don’t con­tain explicit con­tent, then click on over and check it out. :) They have kids books, mid­dle grade books, and gen­eral fiction.

This is an update from a pre­vi­ous post:

I’m com­ing to the close of my first free pro­mo­tion, which ends tonight at mid­night. I can see why so many authors go for this pro­gram. “The For­got­ten Queen” has been at #1 in Arthurian since yes­ter­day, #2 in his­tor­i­cal since last night, and #574 in ebooks. Even though my “sales” have been pretty high, I feel like I need to watch and see how the num­bers land after the pro­mo­tion ends. It will be inter­est­ing to see how “The For­got­ten Queen” ranks tomorrow.

My biggest griev­ance with the KDP pro­gram is that I know so many peo­ple who love their nook and/or other ereader devices. I still haven’t made up my mind as to whether or not I’ll con­tinue with the exclu­sive KDP pro­gram for another 90 days or not. I guess it all depends on how the num­bers go in the next few weeks.