Monthly Archives: June 2014

Writing Tips



musical chordHere is another tip for you. I do hope it is helpful.

Cord vs. Chord

Latin chorda referred to catgut used to make the strings of a musical instrument. Chorda entered French with the spelling corde and the meaning “string for a musical instrument.”

English took the word from French, but eventually dropped the e and spelled it cord.

In English, cord came to mean different kinds of string or rope. The earliest illustration in the OED (1305) shows that “a cord” could be used to bind a person hand and foot; by 1330, cord could refer to the hangman’s rope.

In modern usage, cord is string composed of several strands twisted or woven together. By cord, modern speakers usually mean a light rope–the kind used for a clothesline–or a thick string–the sort used to wrap a parcel for mailing. In earlier usage, cord could refer to the ropes of a ship.

The OED shows that cord was used as a medical term for a body part that resembles a string, for example, a ligament.

The homophones cord and chord are often confused–with good reason.

As most of the readers of DWT know by now, some of our oddest spellings were born in the 16th century thanks to helpful grammarians who wanted to “restore” Latin spellings that weren’t missing. My favorite example is the alteration of the perfectly practical English spelling dette (“something owed”) to debt, to make it “accord” with Latin debitum.

The 16th century tinkerers decided that the spelling chord should replace cord because that was closer to Latin chorda. For a time, medical writers wrote about “spermatic chords,” “spinal chords,” and “umbilical chords,” but modern medical usage prefers the spelling cord.

For a time, the spelling cord was also applied to the musical term that meant “agreement of musical sounds,” or “a combination of three or more simultaneous notes according the rules of musical harmony.”

The musical term was spelled cord for a very good reason: it was a clipping of the word accord, a verb meaning “to bring into agreement.” Musical “cords” were sounds that agreed.

As it turns out, having different spellings for each term is quite useful. The current usage is:

cord: string
chord: agreement of musical sounds

Unfortunately, some speakers get mixed up when it comes to the anatomical term “vocal cords”:

Do you want to strengthen your weak vocal chords, so you can become an amazing singer?

How to Keep Your Vocal Chords in Good Condition

Although used to sing, vocal cords are not spelled “vocal chords.”

I’ve two more factoids to share before leaving the fascinating subject of cord:

The smokeless explosive called cordite got its name from its “curiously string-like appearance.”

A quantity of wood is called a cord because it was originally measured with a string.

What It Means to Be Fruitful


fruitfulnessOnce again I’m sharing wisdom and knowledge from Jim Rohn. I think the majority of us want to be fruitful and reap the rewards from our work. This article puts it into perspective for me. Enjoy and have a blessed day.

Over the years I’ve learned to challenge my audiences to turn their response to the ideas and information they receive into results. According to the Biblical story, the first couple, Adam and Eve, was instructed to be fruitful—to produce some results.

Fruitful is kind of an interesting word; it denotes abundance. Here’s what I think fruitful, abundance and productivity mean—to go to work on producing more than you need for yourself. I think we fulfill that command given to us so long ago to be productive, to produce far more than we need for ourselves, by blessing others, blessing our nation and blessing our enterprise.

Challenge yourself to produce more ideas than you need for yourself so you can share and give your ideas away. Produce more in terms of substance, money, treasure and all things valuable to human beings, far more than you need for yourself.

I am reminded of R.G. LeTourneau’s story, the man who built the big earth moving machines. It was his goal to someday give away 90 percent of his income—giving away far more than anyone could possibly imagine. Ninety percent is an awful lot to give away, but you should have seen the 10 percent that was left.

Once abundance starts to come, once someone becomes incredibly productive, it’s amazing what the numbers turn out to be. It’s amazing what it finally totals. So make sure when you are given the opportunity, that you turn your response into results, thus the chance to be more fruitful and more giving.
by Jim Rohn

Link to Shirley’s latest book. It is a 256 page Historical fiction that is family oriented called “Dobyns Chronicles”.

How to Make Sure You’re Not Wasting Time on Social Media


A great article through the book designer that I want to share with you. It explains a lot about using using the analytics of the social media sites to optimize your time. Have a blessed day. Shirley

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 12:01 AM PDT
By Frances Caballo
You cannot add more minutes to the day, but you can utilize each one to the fullest. – Menachem Mendel Schneerson
Social media platforms are free to use to help market our books and keep in contact with our readers, colleagues and friends. However, social media takes time, and it’s important to not only be efficient with our time but to be effective as well.
Dr. Alan Zimmerman, a business consultant and speaker, says that time is the world’s most valuable commodity and that our success or failure in business or life can depend almost entirely on how we choose to use it. He also makes these points:

Time is a resource but one that you can’t buy, rent, borrow or store; you can only spend it. The truth is obvious here and yet I think his point is a good reminder about how valuable and limited our time is.
Zimmerman says there is nothing more difficult than actually accomplishing something of value. We can easily keep ourselves busy, right? But how often do we examine our use of time to determine whether we’re using the time we have to set and reach our goals in life?

There’s a difference between being efficient and being effective. Zimmerman says that efficiency is doing the job right while effectiveness is doing the right job. Are we engaged in busywork frequently or are we making progress? I would add this to his notion: Are we simply using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms because we’ve been told that we need to have a presence on them, or, are our efforts focused and helping us to attain our goals of reaching more readers and selling more books?
Zimmerman cautions us to avoid the hamster’s dilemma. Instead of merely thinking about how much we can do in a day we need to contemplate what we want out of our lives. It’s always helpful to stop during the day and think about whether our tasks are taking us closer to the conclusion of our projects, such as finishing a book or organizing a blog tour.

Let me bring this discussion back to strictly social media. We know that in order to reach a worldwide audience with our books, social media is a vehicle we can use. But how much time do we need to spend on social media and when will we know whether our efforts are effective?
Social Media and the Return of Investment of our Time

I find that authors using social media tend to fall within three broad categories:
They have difficulty finding time to use social media.

They fear getting sucked into the vortex of distractions caused by social media, the Internet in general, and email.

They waste their efforts because they are unaware whether the content they create or share resonates with their fans and followers.

Previously on this blog, I discussed a four-point formula for using social media effectively. Here are the four steps:
Curate your content. Every day you need to search for great content that is relevant to your readers within your niche. Twenty percent of the content can be text or images your create while 80% of the content should be shared from other sources.

Use scheduling applications to post your content to your social media networks. For Facebook, use the scheduling feature within the status update box.

Allocate time in the day to be social. By taking time to comment, share and Like posts you keep the “social” in social media.

Analyze your metrics. This step is the crux for how you will continue to develop your social media marketing strategy and determine whether your time is being used well.

Facebook Insights

Let’s start with Facebook. Once your Facebook page has 35 likes, you have access to Facebook’s amazing analytics feature called Insights. For example, in the screenshot below I know which time of day my fans are most likely to be on Facebook and, therefore, will have a greater chance of seeing my posts. (I arrived at this graph by clicking on Insights and then Posts.)
Metrics – Facebook1x530
Based on the information above, I routinely post information at 8:30 AM, 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM because I know those are the times when the majority of my Facebook fans will be using Facebook.
There is also a graph that will tell you which day of the week your Facebook fans are more likely to see your posts. For my page, the numbers were inconsequential but you will want to check this for your own page. You’ll find it at the same location, Facebook > Insights > Posts.

When I click on the People section of Facebook, I can see the demographics on my fans. While most of my fans are from United States, I notice that I also have fans from the UK, Australia, and Canada.

When I click on People Reached, which is valuable information, the demographics change.

Facebook also provides demographics on the people who engage with your page.
When you click on Visits, you can decide whether you want metrics for a week, a month, or a quarter. In this graph, Facebook keeps track of the number of times fans viewed my Page and Tabs.
Tabs are the application boxes you can create for your Facebook page to generate sign-ups for your newsletter, interest in your books or to connect with you on another social media platform. The example below is of the three Tabs I created.
The screenshot below indicates how people arrived at my Facebook page. The abbreviation indicates those visitors who arrived from Twitter.

Facebook also provides metrics on the type of status updates that enables my posts to reach more people and generate better engagement. The metrics from my page indicate that posts with an image that I upload outperform text-based and link posts. For clarification, a text post doesn’t include an image or link.
Back in January, Facebook tweaked its algorithm to show fewer text-based updates from pages in Fans’ news feeds. In other words, if you liked my Page yesterday and if I wrote a text-based post this morning, it’s unlikely you would see it. However, if I instead posted an image with text, you would be more likely to see it.
Link posts can be generated in two ways: applications from blogs such as Networked Blogs or that auto-post links to your new blog posts on Facebook, and status updates that include links that auto-generate images. For example, this is a link post.
This is an image post.


Metrics for Twitter and Pinterest

When you sign up for a business account on Pinterest, or transfer your personal account to a business account, you will be able to avail yourself of its free metrics tool, which keeps track of impressions, reach, clicks, pins and more. It will also show you which of your pins have been most recently or most frequently pinned.
This chart shows how quickly reach drops when I post less frequently to Pinterest.

Twitter also offers a free analytics tool that you’ll find at This is what you’ll see when you navigate to that link:
If you click on Best Results, Twitter will line up the tweets that receive the most Faves and Retweets.
In addition, you can download the results into a spreadsheet to determine which were your most “shareable” tweets over a variety of date ranges.
Metrics – Twitter3
When you click on Followers, Twitter provides in-depth information about your growth in followers, their interests, locations, and genders.


When you sign up for Google Analytics, Google+ Page analytics are now integrated into the reports. In addition, if you subscribe to SocialReport (an application I use but am not an affiliate for), you can receive daily or weekly metrics on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Google Analytics, Blogger, MailChimp, Constant Contact, Tumblr, Instagram, SlideShare and other metrics all in one report.

The demands of our culture can make us feel as though we need to be plugged into our iPhones, tablets and computers 24/7. As some in the social media realm say, there is the Fear of Missing Out of some unknown innovation if we were to unplug to devote our time to other pursuits, such as our writing.
Mari Smith instead promotes the Joy of Missing Out. It’s her career to be on top of the latest tweak that emanates from Facebook’s Silicon Valley office yet she doesn’t worry. She makes time for a retreat every quarter to further her spiritual growth.

We need to make sure that the time we spend on social media is worthwhile and we can accomplish that my studying our metrics to better understand the demographics who follow us and discern the type of content that resonates with them.

This Is How You Leave a Legacy


This Is How You Leave a Legacy_This is another article from Jim Rohn, a life coach and Philosopher, who shares shares nine principles necessary for a successful life and a lasting legacy.

I think all of us humans want to leave a legacy in this world before we leave this world. Jim Rohn left his. He passed away December 5, 2009 and his philosophy about life has stayed in circulation. He made an impact on this world with his life and with this article he tells us how we can leave a legacy. Enjoy Shirley

“You know me, I am a philosopher. I love principles. Yes, actions are great and I talk about them regularly, but the important stuff is what lies underneath—the principles,” Rohn says.
Here are the principles he says we must commit to in order to leave the legacy we desire:

1. Life is best lived in service to others. This doesn’t mean that we do not strive for the best for ourselves. It does mean that in all things we serve other people, including our family, co-workers and friends.

2. Consider others’ interests as important as your own. Much of the world suffers simply because people consider only their own interests. People are looking out for number one, but the way to leave a legacy is to also look out for others.

3. Love your neighbor even if you don’t like him. It is interesting that Jesus told us to love others. But he never tells us to like them. Liking people has to do with emotions. Loving people has to do with actions. And what you will find is that when you love them and do good by them, you will more often than not begin to like them.

4. Maintain integrity at all costs. There are very few things you take to the grave with you. The number one thing is your reputation and good name. When people remember you, you want them to think, “She was the most honest person I knew. What integrity.” There are always going to be temptations to cut corners and break your integrity. Do not do it. Do what is right all of the time, no matter what the cost.

5. You must risk in order to gain. In just about every area of life you must risk in order to gain the reward. In love, you must risk rejection in order to ask that person out for the first time. In investing you must place your capital at risk in the market in order to receive the prize of a growing bank account. When we risk, we gain. And when we gain, we have more to leave for others.

6. You reap what you sow. In fact, you always reap more than you sow—you plant a seed and reap a bushel. What you give you get. What you put into the ground then grows out of the ground. If you give love you will receive love. If you give time, you will gain time. It is one of the truest laws of the universe. Decide what you want out of life and then begin to sow it.

7. Hard work is never a waste. No one will say, “It is too bad he was such a good, hard worker.” But if you aren’t they will surely say, “It’s too bad he was so lazy—he could have been so much more!” Hard work will leave a grand legacy. Give it your all on your trip around the earth. You will do a lot of good and leave a terrific legacy.
8. Don’t give up when you fail. Imagine what legacies would have never existed if someone had given up. How many thriving businesses would have been shut down if they quit at their first failure? Everyone fails. It is a fact of life. But those who succeed are those who do not give up when they fail. They keep going and build a successful life—and a legacy.

9. Don’t ever stop in your pursuit of a legacy. Many people have accomplished tremendous things later on in life. There is never a time to stop in your pursuit of a legacy. Sometimes older people will say, “I am 65. I’ll never change.” That won’t build a great life! No, there is always time to do more and achieve more, to help more and serve more, to teach more and to learn more. Keep going and growing that legacy!
These are core principles to live by if you want to become the kind of person who leaves a lasting legacy.
Your legacy is what remains on earth even after you’ve passed away. Learn more on how to understand, choose, focus and live yours.

Fireflies Are Cannibals


I love fireflies. When I see them on a warm evening flashing it takes me back to being a young girl running around my backyard with a jar and lid catching all the fireflies I could. I would then take the jar in the house to my bedroom and watch them flash. This is an article by Jason Bittle that I want to share with you. There’s more to a firefly that meets the eye. Enjoy

firefly-by-jessica-lucia-ccIn the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the eastern U.S., there’s a species of firefly (Photinus carolinis) that takes the showy spectacle to a new level.

In an attempt to woo a female, thousands of P. carolinis males flash their lanterns on and off at the same time, creating a synchronous bioluminescence display unlike any other on Earth. Every June, people come to the national park to witness the spectacle, which has become such a popular tourist attraction that you’d have an easier time getting into a Rolling Stones concert. Advance tickets sell out in a matter of minutes.

So for those of you who missed out on the natural light show this year, here are some amazing firefly facts to ponder on those warm summer nights. (See National Geographic’s photos of extreme summer adventures.)

Time Is of the Essence

For P. carolinis, the synchronous display is an event that’s simultaneously silent, rhythmic, tranquil, and frenetic, said Lynn Faust, a naturalist and the author of a forthcoming book called Fireflies, Glow-worms and Lightning Bugs: A Field Guide to the Fireflies of the Eastern U.S. and Canada.

“Peaceful to us,” she said, “life or death for them.”

Faust explains that synchronous fireflies live just two to four weeks after they reach their adult phase. That means each night is a desperate attempt to find a mate and pass on their genes. And if you’re a small black insect trying to find other small black insects in the dark, it helps to have a chemically activated beacon on your backend. (See other pictures of glowing animals.)

In P. carolinis, the synchrony goes like this: Around 9:30 p.m., a cloud of male fireflies starts to flash. Each male emits six quick blinks, then takes a break for about six seconds. Over time, the insects manage to coordinate their individual pulses to the point where the whole forest throbs neon green, then goes wordlessly dark.

The light show, as Faust calls it, is highly dependent on temperature, moisture level, and elevation—but given optimal conditions, the display can go on past midnight.

“Femme Fatale” Cannibals

Of course, there’s a downside to lighting up the night. As every little kid with a Mason jar knows, it makes the insects awfully easy to detect.

Among those taking notice are the females fireflies of another genus, Photuris. Entomologists have nicknamed these insects “femme fatales” because they eat P. carolinis fireflies—and they have some flashy ways of doing it.

Photuris fireflies attack synchronous fireflies in the air, a maneuver known as “hawking.” But that’s not how the femme fatales got their nickname.

“These fireflies flash the wrong signal and pretend like they’re a female Photinus carolinis,” said Rebecca Nichols, an entomologist for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. “The male will come down thinking he’s going to mate, and then the Photuris will grab him and eat him.” (Related: “Flesh-Eaters: 5 Cannibalistic Animals.”)

The femme fatales are such skillful mimics that they can even switch between the flash signals of several species, depending on what’s fluttering around that night. Cannibalism offers extra nutrients to females at a time when they, too, will be mating and laying eggs, but a balanced diet isn’t the only thing they get out of the meal.

“Poisonous” Bugs

Many fireflies produce defensive compounds similar to the venom found in toads. Predators find these compounds distasteful and have learned to avoid eating fireflies altogether.

Fireflies in the genus Photuris don’t have these compounds, but research has shown they’re able to absorb them by eating other fireflies. What’s more, the chemical defenses also pass into the Photuris fireflies’ eggs to safeguard the next generation.

Blood Defense

Synchronous fireflies aren’t totally defenseless though. When attacked by the femme fatales, the insects discharge a bit of their blood, which scientists call “reflex bleeding.”

For most predators, the blood offers a taste of the defensive compounds mentioned above and sends them packing, but for the femme fatale fireflies, it’s the stickiness that causes a problem. Faust wrote in 2012 in the Journal of Entomology that the blood “coagulates into a sticky mass” in the cannibal firefly’s mouth, sometimes giving the synchronous firefly enough time to escape.

But even reflex bleeding has a workaround. Faust has observed the femme fatales stalking and stealing fireflies from the webs of orb weaver spiders. These fireflies have already dispensed with their reflex bleeding and have been essentially gift-wrapped by the spider. The femme fatales will even do battle with the spider over a meal, though sometimes this means turning into a meal themselves.

“Recurring Miracle”

Though the Smokies firefly display is pretty much over, luckily the species can be found throughout the southern Appalachian Mountains in the eastern U.S. In fact, Pennsylvania will be hosting its second-annual Firefly Festival later this month. And, of course, the bug is found around the world, especially in warm parts of Asia.

To Faust, seeing the synchronous fireflies “never gets old—it is a recurring miracle each year, just like the first wildflower, the fall leaves, the first hummingbird,” she said.

“I like to be up there the very first night the first male emerges and flashes. It gives me a kick and reassurance that life goes on.”

Girls Need A Fathers Love


Fathers-and-their-baby-girlsIt’s known that fathers have a special bond with their little girls and they have been given a huge ability to influence the lives of their daughters. Based on the relationship with the daughter, father’s influence can go either way – positively or negatively. Building this bond through girl’s childhood and teenage ages can be crucial to how she shapes her views of herself and what she expects from other men in her life. Besides being loved, every girl needs her father to fulfill these tasks:

1. Love and respect the mommy

Kids learn by watching how their parents treat each other and everybody else. This perspective will be crucial for creating girl’s expectations further in life. Even if the parents are not together anymore, they should treat each other with respect even when the love is gone. Girls need to be shown the kind of love they should search for.

2. Help her be successful

Lack of self esteem is one of the main reasons why girls don’t strive to be more successful in life. Dad should be involved in all main events in girl’s life as she will always want to earn dad’s approval. One of the main factors in building a girl’s self esteem is hearing that her dad is proud of her. If a dad is supportive, she will most likely feel more comfortable to dream big. Praising and encouraging daughter to grab the opportunity will help her overcome the fears. Don’t forget, research shows that the most successful women have generally had fathers who were interested in their intellect and their academics.

3. Make her feel beautiful

Since we live in a world where girls are often insecure about their looks, few compliments from the dad will be enough to make a girl feel pretty. Giving her flowers from time to time, or complimenting her hair will do great things for her confidence. This will also help her define what to expect from her prom date, a boyfriend or a future husband. It’s true, girls will eventually learn that there is more to life than being beautiful, but there’s no harm in feeling pretty.

4. Set up rules and structure

We all know that parents can easily give in and lose control while setting up rules with their kids. This mistake can lead to creating unrealistic expectations and actually be a great obstacle in girl’s life later on. She needs to have a structure and understand that there is a line which dad won’t cross just because he loves her. Even this can be difficult to achieve, one day she will be grateful for the gift of having rules.

5. Love her unconditionally

All of the above can be achieved with a great will and dedication. This will is driven only by one thing – father’s unconditional love. This is a bond for the whole life and if each dad choses to build this relationship, it can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling both for a dad and a daughter.

Insults and Aspersions


This is from Daily Tips about the  proper use of insults and Aspersions.  Have a blessed day!     Shirley


Insults and Aspersions

Like the rabbit Thumper in Bambi, I was brought up on the admonition, “if you can’t say nuthin’ nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.”


How times have changed! Not only has insult come to pervade public discourse, the Web abounds with insult generators to assist the invective-challenged.


For instance, creative types who want to add a little class to their abuse can consult a Shakespearean insult generator.


The word insult derives from Latin insultare, “to attack”; literally, “to jump on.” In medicine, an insult is anything that attacks or causes injury to the body. The verb insult means to display a scornful attitude towards someone by speech or behavior.


As I have always understood the word, an insult is a deliberate attack on someone’s feelings, but there’s some evidence that for some folks, even a remark devoid of hurtful intention may be construed as an insult if it disagrees with one’s own views.


This is from an article offering advice about how to respond to insults:


It can be hard to know what to do when someone makes a thoughtful remark that is insulting to your convictions, values or beliefs

I can see how one person’s “thoughtful remark” might be offensive to someone of differing beliefs, but I don’t see how it’s insulting.


Here are some synonyms for the noun insult:
abuse [uh-BYUS]
aspersion (usually in the plural)
slap in the face
kick in the teeth
cheap shot
low blow


Here are synonyms for the verb to insult:
abuse [uh-BYUZE]
be rude to
cast aspersions on
call someone names
put someone down


Note on aspersions:
A reader asked me if one can do anything with aspersions other than cast them. The answer seems to be, “No.” The word aspersions comes from the verb asperse, “to besprinkle or bespatter.”

Personal Philosophy Is Like The Set of the Sail


sailboatI love reading Jim Rohns teaching about life and winning. I wanted to share this with you and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Shirley

June 2, 2014

by Jim Rohn
In the process of living, the winds of circumstances blow on us all in an unending flow that touches each of our lives.

We have all experienced the blowing winds of disappointment, despair and heartbreak. Why, then, would each of us, in our own individual ship of life, all beginning at the same point, with the same intended destination in mind, arrive at such different places at the end of the journey? Have we not all been blown by the winds of circumstances and buffeted by the turbulent storms of discontent?

What guides us to different destinations in life is determined by the way we have chosen to set our sail. The way that each of us thinks makes the major difference in where each of us arrive. The major difference is the set of the sail.

The same circumstances happen to us all. We have disappointments and challenges. We all have reversals and those moments when, in spite of our best plans and efforts, things just seem to fall apart. Challenging circumstances are not events reserved for the poor, the uneducated or the destitute. The rich and the poor have the same challenges that can lead to financial ruin and personal despair. In the final analysis, it is not what happens that determines the quality of our lives—it is what we choose to do when we have struggled to set the sail and then discover, after all of our efforts, that the wind has changed directions.

When the winds change, we must change. We must struggle to our feet once more and reset the sail in the manner that will steer us toward the destination of our own deliberate choosing. The set of the sail, how we think and how we respond, has a far greater capacity to destroy our lives than any challenges we face. How quickly and responsibly we react to adversity is far more important than the adversity itself. Once we discipline ourselves to understand this, we will finally and willingly conclude that the great challenge of life is to control the process of our thinking.

Learning to reset the sail with the changing winds rather than permitting ourselves to be blown in a direction we did not purposely choose requires the development of a whole new discipline. It involves going to work on establishing a powerful, personal philosophy that will help to influence in a positive way all that we do and that we think and decide. If we can succeed in this worthy endeavor, the result will be a change in the course of our income, lifestyle and relationships. If we can alter the way we perceive, judge and decide upon the main issues of life, then we can dramatically change our lives.