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.
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
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.……
If you aren’t willing to work for your goals
Don’t expect others to.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!
Most 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.
Thank you so much!
I 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.
- action (33)
- adventure (33)
- animals (13)
- audio book (3)
- Biblical fiction (5)
- children’s literature (4)
- Christian (21)
- coming of age (8)
- crime (9)
- drama (9)
- epic fantasy (3)
- family fiction (6)
- family saga (3)
- fantasy (35)
- historical fiction (24)
- horror (1)
- humor (10)
- inspirational (10)
- LDS (1)
- literary fiction (2)
- magic (7)
- middle grades (30)
- multicultural (3)
- mystery (15)
- myths/legends (6)
- New Adult (9)
- novella (8)
- paranormal (8)
- poetry (1)
- religion (1)
- romance (30)
- satire (1)
- science fiction (18)
- series (37)
- short stories (10)
- sports (1)
- spy (2)
- steampunk (2)
- superheroes (2)
- suspense (7)
- thriller (12)
- time travel (1)
- urban fantasy (3)
- war (8)
- western (4)
- women’s fiction (8)
- Young Adult (42)
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.
The Forgotten Queen is Annette Mackey’s most recent novel. Available on Amazon.
I 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.
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? (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.
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.