Monthly Archives: December 2014

My Book Review

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This is the last day of the year and I’m doing what I’ve done every day since May. I’m talking to people about my book, Dobyns Chronicles. I never realized how hard it is to get people to read a book you know they will enjoy.

My blog today is a review of my book by Motorwriter.com. I thought it was great and wanted to share it with everyone. It is a wonderful feeling when people like what you have put on paper.  Ok, I’ll have my arm casted tomorrow from patting myself on the back but today, since it’s the last day of the year I’m going to keep patting.

I also want to everyone to know how much I appreciate the support that has been given to me. I’ve made some new friends, and connected again with some old ones. Life is full of struggles and heartbreak but it is also full of love and kindness and I have been blessed with a abundance of the love and kindness.

As this year ends I want everyone to know how much they are appreciated and lets continue to make this world a better place to live for as long as we are here.  Blessings to all and Happy New Year.

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The Finest Generation – A review of the novel ‘Dobyns Chronicles’

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“It is so much simpler to bury reality than it is to dispose of dreams” – Don DeLillo

Author Shirley McLain’s latest novel ‘Dobyns Chronicles’ is a historical fiction loosely based on the life and times of her grandfather Charles Kenly Dobyns. Charles orCharley to those close to him was the eldest son of Kennerly, an American cowboy and Eliza, a Cherokee Indian and was raised in a farm in Red River in Bonham near Northeast Texas. The book chronicles his life story from the late 1800’s when he was a young boy in a Texan farm to mid 1950’s when he became a great grandfather in McAlester, Oklahoma. The book paints a moving real life story about a young man’s resolve dealing with the various tragedies life threw at him while also caring for his two siblings, younger brother David and sister Viola. This novel presents a fascinating look at vintage Americana and will fill your mind with nostalgia about a simpler life led in much simpler times.

Right off the bat, the first thing that you are going to notice and that too barely a couple of pages into the book is the wonderful use of the English language. It has become almost a rarity in mainstream literature to come across such beautiful phrases and prose that make you stop and read a line twice just for the sheer literary pleasure it gives you. The next best thing about this book is the pitch perfect way in which the author has been able to portray the laid back and lazy times with the back breaking, difficult and adventure filled day in an old western town. It is so descriptive that the character’s spirituality, the numerous odd jobs done around the house, cattle drive and horse breaking somehow become second nature to you by the time you are done with the book. And for people of this century where everything is available to them at the touch of a button, this book will be a throwback to our older and harsher times when day to day living meant a constant battle with the various elements of the nature.

Blending the fiction seamlessly with the many historical and factual events of the late 18th century and early 19th century, Shirley has made good use of various events like the yellow fever epidemic, the great depression and the absurd tax laws to good effect and has used them strategically at various points in the novel to underline the emotions of her characters in that setting beautifully. The changes happening over time and the various developments too have been captured nicely; case in point isCharley staying at a hotel for the very first time. Shirley also seems to have a knack in getting children’s behaviour and their conversations right, the change in tone and content when the conversation moves from a child to an adult is always bang on target.

The entire book will tug at your heart strings and make you think about your own family, it will also make you reminisce about your childhood as you read about the childhood of the Dobyn kids. And even though your childhood may have been vastly different from theirs, you will still feel a connection to the various commonalities that affect us humans across time and different nationalities. The epilogue and the photographs at the end really get to you and even though a life that you have been witness to from a young age has come to an end, you are in a strange way left with so many memories of this man. And this is because of the way the author has captured these scenes and emotions, by taking you right into the lives and homes of these people instead of merely narrating a story.

Great authors have often talked about the secrets that make a book appeal to audiences everywhere. They stress upon having a standout first chapter to make the readers commit to the book, a good first page that will blow them away and a great first line that will stay etched in their memory forever. If they are right then Shirley’s book has scored a definite ace on all three fronts and has emerged a clear winner.

Product Details

Print Length: 260 pages

Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1499024096

Publisher: Xlibris US (May 23, 2014)

ASIN: B00KNMM46S

Buy Fromhttp://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KNMM46S/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb

Rushing and Muddying Your POV

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We All Get There

We All Get There

Before we get into the meat of the blog of just wanted to say that I hope all of my Christian family and friends had a wonderful Christmas and have a great New Year. As I say every year, “its hard to believe that 2015 is here.” The time we have been given passes very quickly. When you’re young it drags and you know you will be young forever, but that is just a smoke screen. When you get past 30 the time starts increasing at a rapid rate. Before you know it the majority of your life is behind you and Christmas seems like it happens every two weeks.  Enjoy your life and make it mean something to someone or a lot of someones.

Now onto the blog.  If there’s one issue writing students worry about more than any other, it’s point of View. What is it? they ask.  Am I doing it right? Am I in omniscient of third? Should I be in omniscient or third? Many times the confusion over point of view overwhelms the writer.  The key thing to keep in mind is that choosing the right point of view will help you tell your story.  That’s all.  No one will come out and arrest you if you got it wrong.  You’re just likely to confuse the reader.

Consider the differences between these two paragraphs. In the first: Cinderella longed to go to the ball.  She dreamed of finding true love because no one ever loved her.  She looked at the rose bush in front of her, inhaled its delicate bouquet, and hoped that someday she would hold a bouquet like this when she married.

In the second: Cinderella wanted to go to the ball.  Prince Charming hoped he would meet her there.  She put on a dress.  He wanted to find some slippers. There was a pumpkin in the window.

In the first example, (which I hope you think is better), we’re seeing the world through Cinderella’s eyes.  We’re identifying with her.  In the second example, we don’t know whom we’re rooting for: Cinderella, Prince Charming or the pumpkin.  Finding the right POV helps helps the reader understand what the story is about.

We all want to be done. We all want to see our book in stores, our story in the magazine, our screenplay made into a movie.  Oh, and we’d like the money, too.  Ten thousand dollars would be nice. Right now.

One of the very first things I did as a writer, when I had written no more than three paragraphs of my first story was look through a reference book for places that might publish it.  My list had more words in it than my story. And I’m, embarrassed to say that the minute I finished the first draft, I sent the story out.  To 20 places. Each of them rejected me with a form letter. I actually called up Redbook to ask why there was a problem, and I believe I got someone in the circulation department.

Unfortunately, some things can’t be rushed.  You have to take time with your story;  writing a first draft isn’t enough.  You need to go through a couple of drafts.  You need to deepen the character, intensify plot, tighten the dialogue, and flesh out descriptions.  You need to proofread. You need to take enough time to do it right.

Many, many writers they that if they get good enough idea on the page and send it out, some insightful editor or agent will read it, recognize its inner value, take the writer under her wing, and fix it for her.  This worked for Thomas Wolfe, but I don’t think you can count on it as a career path.  Although there are lovely agents and editors out there, they are not really looking for extra work.  They want you to finish the job yourself.

There are however some things you can do to give your ego a boost before you’re ready to send that story out.  Try joining a writing community.  A positive critique can make you feel great.  You can also try writing some shorter work, which may be easier to get our quickly.  Seeing your name in print on a flash fiction piece may give you the boost you need to finish that novel.  Read literary journals and consider volunteering.  some of the smaller ones need people to help read submissions.  Sighing up can be a fun way to become part of the literary world.

Not Wanting To Make Things Up

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wordsAlmost all of us draw on autobiographical material when writing. This leads to a lot of powerful prose, and probably saves a ton of money in psychiatric bills. But it can also cause major problems with fiction writing, because it can make it hard for the writer to make stuff up. And if you’re not making something up, you’re not making something up, you’re writing a journal entry, which can be beautiful, but it is not a story.

Say you are inspired by your Uncle Louis, a real one of a kind sort of guy who was one of the most colorful figures you ever knew. You always thought you wanted to write about him. He applied for a patent on a copying machine, and he got it. You write up the story, give it to me, and I say, “That’s great that Uncle Louis got the patent, but the story would have more tension if he didn’t get it.”

“But he did get it,” you say.

“Yes,” I say, “but the story would be better if he didn’t.”

“But he did get it. Patent number 3333.”

“Well,” I say, “what if a woman steals his patent then?”

“But he was married to Aunt Irene for 50 years.”

You see where I’m going with this? Keeping the story too tied to Uncle Louis makes it difficult for the writer to use his imagination. It’s locking him into someone else’s story. It’s taking away the author’s power.

What to do? First, think of why Uncle Louis appeals to you. Why do you want to write his story? Is it because you admire his fighting spirit? Can you create a character who has the same fighting spirit but is different than Uncle Louis? Maybe, instead of making your character a little old man, you could make him a young man with red hair. Or, make him into a woman. The key thing is to take ownership of him. He’s no longer your uncle. He’s your character. You can do with him what you want.

We All Get There

Letting Characters Off Too Easily

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dorkPeople show the stuff they’re made of when they’re put under stress.  Sometimes they rise to the occasion and become heroic.  Other times they run.  Part of why war stories are so compelling is because soldiers face the ultimate stressful situation.  They’re putting their lives on the line.  Your character doesn’t need to face death, but he should have to deal with pressure.

Consider Bailiey, for example.  He likes to play golf, but he’s not that good at it.  Then he meets a woman who happens to be a very good golfer.  He begins to care a little more about his game.  Then the woman’s father invites them along on a golfing vacation.  Now our friend begins to care even more, because he doesn’t want to look like a fool.  Then it turns out that the father has been advising his daughter to break up with Bailey because he doesn’t consider him manly enough.  Now Bailey cares even more.  He’s going to beat this man if it’s the last thing he does.  Then, on vacation, they run into the daughter’s old boyfriend, who just won a golfing tournament.

I could go on and on, but the point is that each twist of the wheel puts this poor man under more stress and pressure.  His actions are going to have more significant consequences if someone he loves is involved.  His choices will be harder to make.  The reader’s going to care about him more, because we know how hard he’s struggling.  As a writer, I’m going to have an easier time writing a story when the stakes are higher.  Is he going to crack! Or is he going to reach inside himself and fine some strength of character he didn’t know he had?

In order to put your characters under pressure, you have to know them well.  This is why fleshing our character is so important.  For this story, I would want to know how Bailey learned to golf, how he met this woman, what sort of romantic history he has, where he works, what he looks like, how much confidence he has, how he dresses and why on earth his parents decided to name him Bailey.  The more I know about him, the more fully I can make him come alive.  What if, in thinking about Bailey’s character, I realize that he was captain of his high school football team? Does that change things? I think so.  Explore your characters. Get to know them. Make them suffer.

Leaving Out the Plot

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Have you ever run up to a friend and said, “I have the most amazing story to tell you.  Nothing just happened!” Probably not and yet there are stories all the time in which nothing happens. A mother sits at home with her kids and thinks about how difficult her life is.  A man goes to work and things his job is boring. A kid thinks about how much homework he has. I’m sure we’ve all read variations of these stories countless times.  These are all potentially great stories, but they need to be jumpstarted.  They need to have a plot.  Something has to happen.

Let’s go back to that harassed mother at home with her kids.  Her name is Carrie.  What could happen that would set a story in motion for her?  What if Carrie gets an email from a friend inviting her to meet for tea? Carrie would love to meet her. In fact, she’s desperate to get our of the house and have a normal conversation. But her toddlers are going through a difficult stage, and the babysitter just quit, and her mother has an important business meeting and can’t cancel it to help out Carrie.

Now we’ve got Carrie in motion.  We’ve made her want something.  To get out of the house.  We’ve given her an obstacle.  Motherhood.  She’s going to have to figure out a way to get a babysitter, or bundle those toddlers out of the house, or keep them quiet.  The story could be funny, tragic or somewhere in between.  But something’s going to happen.

Notice, Carrie’s story is about a small thing: meeting for tea.  There’s no tornado coming or asteroid about to hit. There’s plenty of drama in everyday life.  Just make sure you ask your character what she wants, and then make sure she has to work to get it.

There are eight basic elements to a plot and each of them are explained below.

1. Story Goal 2K+ The first element to include in your plot outline is the Story Goal, which we covered in detail in the previous article, The Key to a Solid Plot: Choosing a Story Goal. To summarize, the plot of any story is a sequence of events that revolve around an attempt to solve a problem or attain a goal. The Story Goal is, generally speaking, what your protagonist wants to achieve or the problem he/she wants to resolve. It is also the goal/problem that involves or affects most, if not all the other characters in the story. It is “what the story is all about. “For instance, let’s say we want to write a story about a 38-year-old female executive who has always put off having a family for the sake of her career and now finds herself lonely and regretting her choices. In this case, we might choose to make the Story Goal for her to find true love before it’s too late. There are many ways we could involve other characters in this goal. For instance, we could give our protagonist …… a mother who wants her to be happier. … friends and colleagues at her company who are also unmarried and lonely (so that her success might inspire them). … a jealous ex-boyfriend who tries to sabotage her love life. … an elderly, lonely spinster of an aunt who doesn’t want the protagonist to make the same mistake she did. … a happy young family who give her an example of what she has missed…. a friend who married and divorced, and is now down on marriage. (Forcing the protagonist to work out whether her friend’s experience really applies to her – or whether it was just a case of choosing the wrong partner, or bad luck.) We could even make the company where the protagonist works in danger of failing because it doesn’t appreciate the importance of family. It could be losing good employees to other companies that do. In other words, after we have chosen a Story Goal, we will build a world around our protagonist that includes many perspectives on the problem and makes the goal important to everyone in that world. That’s why choosing the Story Goal is the most important first step in building a plot outline. If you haven’t chosen a goal for your novel yet, do so now. Make a list of potential goals that fits the idea you are working on. Then choose one goal to base your plot outline on.

2. Consequence Once you have decided on a Story Goal, your next step is to ask yourself, “What disaster will happen if the goal is not achieved? What is my protagonist afraid will happen if he/she doesn’t achieve the goal or solve the problem?”The answer to these questions is the Consequence of the story. The Consequence is the negative situation or event that will result if the Goal is not achieved. Avoiding the Consequence justifies the effort required in pursuing the Story Goal, both to the characters in your novel and the reader, and that makes it an important part of your plot outline. The combination of goal and consequence creates the main dramatic tension in your plot. It’s a carrot and stick approach that makes the plot meaningful. In some stories, the protagonist may begin by deciding to resolve a problem or pursue a goal. Later, that goal becomes more meaningful when he discovers that a terrible consequence will occur if he fails. Other times, the protagonist may start off threatened by a terrible event, which thus motivates him/her to find way to avoid it.As Melanie Anne Phillips points out, in some stories the consequence seems to be in effect when the story opens. Perhaps the evil despot is already on the throne and the Story Goal is to depose him. In that case, the consequence, if the protagonist fails, is that things will stay the way they are.In our novel plot about the female executive, we’ve already come up with one possible Consequence – that she could end up like her spinster aunt. We could make the Consequence worse (perhaps the aunt dies of starvation because she is feeble and has no immediate family looking after her). Or we could create a different Consequence. Her employer may go bankrupt unless it becomes more family-friendly. Write a list of possible Consequences you could have in your plot outline. Then choose one to be the counterpoint to your chosen Story Goal. All We Need

3. Requirements The third element of your plot outline, Requirements, describes what must be accomplished in order to achieve the goal. You can think of this as a checklist of one or more events. As the Requirements are met in the course of the novel, the reader will feel the characters are getting closer to the attainment of the goal. Requirements create a state of excited anticipation in the reader’s mind, as he looks forward to the protagonist’s success. What could the Requirements be in our executive story? Well, if the goal is for our protagonist to find true love, perhaps she will need to join a singles club or dating service so she can meet single men. Perhaps she will need to take a holiday or leave of absence from her job. Ask yourself what event(s) might need to happen for the goal in your novel to be achieved. List as many possibilities as you can think of. To keep things simple for the moment, just choose one requirement for now to include in your plot outline.

4. Forewarnings are the counterpart to requirements. While requirements show that the story is progressing towards the achievement of the goal, forewarnings are events that show the consequence is getting closer. Forewarnings make the reader anxious that the consequence will occur before the protagonist can succeed.In the plot outline for our story, events that could constitute Forewarnings might be…the company loses one of its key employees to another firm that was more family-friendly.the protagonist has a series of bad dates that make it seem like she will never find the right guy.the protagonist meets a woman at a singles club who tells her that at their age all the good men are already married.one of the protagonist’s friends goes through a messy divorce, showing that marriage may not be the source of happiness it’s purported to be.While the Story Goal and Consequences create dramatic tension, Requirements and Forewarnings take the reader through an emotional roller coaster that oscillates between hope and fear. There will be places in the plot where it seems the protagonist is making progress, and others where it seems that everything is going wrong. Structure these well, and you will keep your reader turning pages non-stop. For example, here’s how our plot outline might look so far …”A female executive in her late 30s has been married to her job. But she has a wake-up call when her elderly, spinster aunt dies alone and neglected (consequence). The executive decides that she needs to have a family before she suffers the same fate (goal). In order to do this, she hires a dating service and arranges to go on several dates (requirements). But each date ends in disaster (forewarnings).” As you can see, using just these four elements, a story plot is starting to emerge that will take the reader on a series of emotional twists and turns. And we’re only halfway through our 8 plot elements! (Of course, we started with the four most important ones.) Notice too that these elements come in pairs that balance each other. This is an important secret for creating tension and momentum in your plot.Before moving on to the remaining elements, list some possible events that could serve as Forewarnings in your story. For now, just choose one. See if you can create a brief plot outline like the example above using just the first four elements.

5. Costs Generally speaking, good plots are about problems that mean a lot to the characters. If a problem is trivial, then neither the protagonist nor the reader has a reason to get worked up about it. You want your readers to get worked up about your novel. So you must give your protagonist a goal that matters.One sign that a problem or goal matters to the protagonist is that he/she is willing to make sacrifices or suffer pain in order to achieve it. Such sacrifices are called Costs. Classic examples of Costs include the hard-boiled detective who gets beaten up at some point in his investigation, or the heroic tales in which the hero must suffer pain or injury or give up a cherished possession to reach his goal. However, Costs can come in many other ways. Protagonists can be asked to give up their pride, self-respect, money, security, an attitude, an idealized memory, the life of a friend, or anything else they hold dear. If you make the costs steep and illustrate how hard the sacrifice is for the protagonist, the reader will feel that the protagonist deserves to achieve the goal. In the case of our female executive, perhaps she must give up a promotion she has worked hard for because it would require her to travel so much that she would have no chance of settling down and raising a family.Make a list of possible Costs your protagonist might be forced to endure in order to achieve the Story Goal. Again, just choose one idea to include in your plot outline for now.

6. Dividends The element that balances Costs in your plot outline is Dividends. Dividends are rewards that characters receive along the journey towards the Story Goal. Unlike Requirements, Dividends are not necessary for the goal to be achieved. They may be unrelated to the goal entirely. But they are something that would never have occurred if the characters hadn’t made the effort to achieve the goal.In the case of our executive, perhaps her efforts to meet men give her an idea for creating a business of her own – a kind of executive dating service, for instance, that will lead her to a happier career. Or perhaps the quest for love and family forces her to become more compassionate towards her co-workers when their family responsibilities interfere with work. List possible ways to reward your characters and choose one that feels appropriate for your plot outline. Then move on to our final pair of elements.

7. Prerequisites Prerequisites are events that must happen in order for the Requirements to happen. They are an added layer of challenges to your plot outline. Like Requirements, as Prerequisites are met, the reader feels progress is being made towards the goal. For instance, in order to free the Princess, the hero must recovery the key from its hiding place, but first (Prerequisite) he must defeat the dragon guarding it. In order to win the maiden’s hand, the gallant suitor must show he would not risk losing her for anything. But before he has a chance to do that, he must show he is willing to risk everything to win her (Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice).If the Requirement for our novel about the executive is that she must go out on several dates, perhaps the Prerequisite is that she must sign up at a dating service, buy a new wardrobe, or get a make-over. Take a look at your chosen Requirement and make a list of possible Prerequisites that must be accomplished before the requirement can be met. Choose one.

8. Preconditions The last element to balance your plot outline, Preconditions, is a junior version of Forewarnings. Preconditions are small impediments in the plot. They are stipulations laid down by certain characters that make it more difficult for the Story Goal to be achieved.A classic example is Pride and Prejudice in which Elizabeth’s quest for happiness is made more difficult by the terms of her grandfather’s will, which state that the family property can only be inherited by males. This means that, upon her father’s death, Elizabeth and her sisters will be penniless unless they find good husbands first.However there are many other ways characters can impose conditions that impede the attainment of the Story Goal. They can make their help conditional on favours, insist on arduous rules, or negotiate tough terms.For instance, perhaps the company where our female executive works has a rule that executives must attend meetings very early in the day – say 6AM on Saturdays. This rule makes it very hard for her to go on Friday night dates and be alert in the meetings. Or perhaps the singles club she joins has some seemingly unfair rules that cause her problems.You know what to do by now. List possible Preconditions your characters might encounter, and choose one you like. Once you have chosen your eight elements, the next step is to arrange them into a brief plot summary. It doesn’t matter what order you put them in, so long as all eight are included. In fact, most of the elements can be repeated or included in more than one way. For example, here’s how we might put together all eight elements for our executive story together into a one-paragraph plot outline…“A female executive in her late 30s has been married to her job. But she has a wake-up call when her elderly, spinster aunt dies alone and neglected (consequence). The executive decides that she needs to have a family before she suffers the same fate (goal). So she buys a new wardrobe and signs on with a dating service (prerequisites). Her boss offers her a promotion that would involve a lot of travel, but she turns it down, so that she will have time to meet some men (cost). She goes on several dates (requirements). But each one ends in disaster (forewarnings). On top of that, because the agency arranges all her dates for Friday nights, she ends up arriving tired and late for the company’s mandatory 6AM Saturday morning meetings (preconditions). Along the way, however, she starts to realize how the company’s policies are very unfair to people with families or social lives outside work, and she begins to develop compassion for some of her co-workers that leads to improved relationships in the office.

<div style=”font-size: 8px;”>Original by Breen and Strathy</div>

Beginning A Story

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CinderellaMany writers start their stories before the interesting part.  Way before. So instead of beginning with something intriguing, the author walls for a few paragraphs or chapters, which causes the story to slow down.  This is a particular damaging mistake when you’re planning to send out material for publication.  Anything that causes an editor’s attention to wilt is a bad thing.

Let’s say you’re writing a story about Cinderella.  Here you have a vulnerable young woman whose step family mistreats her.  She longs for love, escape of a good time, depending on how you want to write the story.  What should your opening paragraph say?  Where are you going to begin?

You might decide to start with a bang and have the fairly godmother arrive in the opening paragraph. “Who is that beautiful creature” Cinderella cried out. She stared in awe at the vision in front of her.  This sort of opening  paragraph is the literary equivalent of shouting to the reader that she’s about to read an interesting story.  Later in the story you’ll explain who Cinderella is and why we should care.  For now, in this type of opening paragraph you’re just grabbing attention.

You might prefer to start the story a little earlier in Cinderella’s day, before the fairy godmother gets there. Perhaps when Cinderella is going about her chores.  Cinderella winced as she scrubbed the floor for the 50th time.  This sort of opening paragraph intrigues the reader with Cinderella’s character.  Why does she have so much work? What sort of person is she that she’s not complaining? The reader suspects, from reading an opening like this, that something is going to happen that will disrupt Cinderella’s day.

Where writers go wrong is in starting the story much, much earlier in Cinderella’s day around the time Cinderella wakes up.  Cinderella opened her eyes. She listened to the birds. She got out of bed and brushed her teeth.  She hoped it would be a good day. She flossed.  This does not intrigue me.  I don’t have a hint of what the plot’s going to be. Since waking up is something I do every day, so far. I’m not that excited that Cinderella’s doing it. Worst of all is that because so many writers start with someone waking up, it becomes just another waking-up story to me.  Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule. Prouse comes to mind.  But if your story starts with someone waking up in bed, trying cutting out the first three paragraphs.  See how the story reads then. Chopping out the beginning almost always improves the story.

I know I’m guilty of starting the story at the very beginning. She got out of bed with her feet sinking into the soft carpet. I believe it has to do the inexperience of writing a story. I know that the majority of us, when talking to someone telling them about an event, we start at the beginning. Maybe they’d appreciate us beginning a little later in the tale so we wouldn’t be so long winded.

<div style=”font-size: 8px;”>Original by Susan Breen</div>

 

28 Internet Acronyms Every Parent Should Know

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If you think you are tech savvy all because you know what “LOL” means, let me test your coolness. Any idea what “IWSN” stands for in Internet slang? It’s a declarative statement: I want sex now. If it makes you feel any better, I had no clue, and neither did a number of women I asked about it.

Acronyms are widely popular across the Internet, especially on social media and texting apps, because, in some cases, they offer a shorthand for communication that is meant to be instant.

So “LMK” — let me know — and “WYCM” — will you call me? — are innocent enough.

But the issue, especially for parents, is understanding the slang that could signal some dangerous teen behavior, such as “GNOC,’” which means “get naked on camera.”

And it certainly helps for a parent to know that “PIR” means parent in room, which could mean the teen wants to have a conversation about things that his or her mom and dad might not approve of.

Katie Greer is a national Internet safety expert who has provided Internet and technology safety training to schools, law enforcement agencies and community organizations throughout the country for more than seven years.

She says research shows that a majority of teens believe that their parents are starting to keep tabs on their online and social media lives.

“With that, acronyms can be used by kids to hide certain parts of their conversations from attentive parents,” Greer said. “Acronyms used for this purpose could potentially raise some red flags for parents.”

But parents would drive themselves crazy, she said, if they tried to decode every text, email and post they see their teen sending or receiving.

“I’ve seen some before and it’s like ‘The Da Vinci Code,’ where only the kids hold the true meanings (and most of the time they’re fairly innocuous),” she said.

Still, if parents come across any acronyms they believe could be problematic, they should talk with their kids about them, said Greer.

But how, on earth, is a parent to keep up with all these acronyms, especially since new ones are being introduced every day?

“It’s a lot to keep track of,” Greer said. Parents can always do a Google search if they stumble upon an phrase they aren’t familiar with, but the other option is asking their children, since these phrases can have different meanings for different people.

“Asking kids not only gives you great information, but it shows that you’re paying attention and sparks the conversation around their online behaviors, which is imperative.”

Micky Morrison, a mom of two in Islamorada, Florida, says she finds Internet acronyms “baffling, annoying and hilarious at the same time.”

She’s none too pleased that acronyms like “LOL” and “OMG” are being adopted into conversation, and already told her 12-year-old son — whom she jokingly calls “deprived,” since he does not have a phone yet — that acronym talk is not allowed in her presence.

But the issue really came to a head when her son and his adolescent friends got together and were all “ignoring one another with noses in their phones,” said Morrison, founder of BabyWeightTV.

“I announced my invention of a new acronym: ‘PYFPD.’ Put your freaking phone down.”

LOL!

But back to the serious issue at hand, below are 28 Internet acronyms, which I learned from Greer and other parents I talked with, as well as from sites such as NoSlang.com and NetLingo.com, and from Cool Mom Tech’s 99 acronyms and phrases that every parent should know.

After you read this list, you’ll likely start looking at your teen’s texts in a whole new way.

IWSN – I want sex now
GNOC – Get naked on camera
NIFOC – Naked in front of computer
PIR – Parent in room
CU46 – See you for sex
53X – Sex
9 – Parent watching
99 – Parent gone
1174′ – Party meeting place
THOT – That hoe over there
CID – Acid (the drug)
Broken – Hungover from alcohol
420 – Marijuana
POS – Parent over shoulder
SUGARPIC – Suggestive or erotic photo
KOTL – Kiss on the lips
(L)MIRL – Let’s meet in real life
PRON – Porn
TDTM – Talk dirty to me
8 – Oral sex
CD9 – Parents around/Code 9
IPN – I’m posting naked
LH6 – Let’s have sex
WTTP – Want to trade pictures?
DOC – Drug of choice
TWD – Texting while driving
GYPO – Get your pants off
KPC- Keeping parents clueless

Reblogged from WHNT.com: posted by Kelly Wallace

Cross Promotion

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Cross PromotionI have to start out telling you the inspiration behind this blog.  Yesterday I agreed to cross promote my book, “Dobyns Chronicles”, with a gentleman I’ve never met who has written a book called “Alter Ego”. I’ve never cross promoted before so I decided to do some research and make sure I was doing it right. Hence the blog.

The article below doesn’t pertain to book marketing so much but other areas, but it still may give you some ideas on cross promotion.

Here are the links to Tory Allyn’s Book, “Alter Ego.” Take a look at it. Who knows it may be the best gift for someone you know.  Have a blessed day, everyone.   Shirley

 
Amazon link to the print version:
Amazon link to the Kindle version:
Barnes & Noble link:

19 Ways to Attract More Customers Through Cross-Promotion

To stand out from their competition in a crowded advertising marketplace, all kinds and sizes of businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies are joining forces to reach their mutual market of “customers” more efficiently. Their cross-promotions include “bundled” offerings, cause marketing, co-branding, coop marketing, and shared space. Cross-promotion has the potential for a big marketing payoff because partners can successfully expand through one another’s customer base. They can gain an inexpensive and credible introduction to more of their kind of customer more effectively than with the traditional “solo” methods of networking, advertising, or PR.

Here are some low-risk and high-opportunity ways to jump-start your first cross-promotion.

1. Print joint promotional messages on your receipts.

2. Offer a reduced price, special service, or convenience if customers buy products from you and your partner.

3. Hang signs or posters promoting one another on your walls, windows, or products.

4. Mention one another’s benefits when you speak at local events or are interviewed by the media.

5. Drop one another’s flyers in shopping bags.

6. Pool mailing lists and send out a joint promotional postcard.

7. Promote your partner’s products during their slow times, and ask them to do the same for you.

8. Share inexpensive ads in local shopping papers or a nonprofit event program.

9. Give a joint interview to local media.

10. Put one another’s promotional messages on Lucite stands on counters or floor stands in waiting areas.

11. Encourage your staff to mention how your partner’s products can be used with yours.

12. Give your partner’s product to your customers when they buy a large quantity of your product, and ask your partner to do the same.

13. Use door hangers, posters, flyers, or postcards to promote special offers for one another’s products.

14. Co-produce an in-store or office event – a demonstration, celebrity appearance, free service, or lecture.

Some More Ways to Cross-Promote to Stand Far Out from the Competition

1. Co-produce special promotions you could not afford by yourself. Hire local community college broadcasting/cable TV students to produce a “how to use” video and/or audio tape that involves your and your partner’s products and services. Show the video on an eye-level TV monitor in your outlets where people have to wait or in the window for 24-hour viewing. Or play the audio-tape portion as background. ***Example: An enterprising advertising agency, local quick-copy printer, and video production house get priceless visibility for cross-promoting with others to co-produce an educational audio/video/book package that prominently displays their company names: “Thirty Ways Smart People Make Their Homes More Safe.” The package is widely displayed and distributed to their partners’ customers: a hardware store, home security company, police department, real estate firm, home contractor, electrician, and school district.

2. Display combined use of partners’ products in your outlet, and ask partners to do the same. ***Example: A “Valentine Love Food” display appeared in all partners’ outlets a month before Valentine’s Day. Partners — a cooking school, kitchenware shop, florist, card shop, restaurant, and supermarket — all displayed the makings for a romantic dinner menu to be served on Valentine’s Day at their partner’s restaurant.

Their displays were created by a local theatre set designer, who designed the current play, for which the customers of the partners’ outlets received a reduced price ticket when they bought the restaurant meal or certain products from the participating partners.

A local newlywed couple who won the partners’ “Valentine Love Food” drawing and the local couple who proved they’ve been married the longest joined the local newspaper’s food critic at the center table for the featured meal, free to them.

3. Have a contest, with the prizes contributed by your partners. For the next contest, roles change, and you contribute your product or service as a prize for a partner’s contest. ***Example: For two weeks, a dry cleaner places tags on all customers’ hangers, containing fashion tips. The tags are numbered tickets for a contest to win gifts from the partners’ clothing stores. When the dry cleaner’s customers make any purchase from the stores, they show their hanger card to see if it matches one of the “winning numbers” on a card of numbers created by all the partners at the beginning of the contest.

4. Give customers a free product or service from a participating partner when they buy something that month from all of the partners listed in an ad or on a promotional postcard. ***Example: Participating pediatrician practices, child care centers, children’s clothing shops, and toy stores all display a “Love Means Being Prepared” child-designed poster describing the recommended contents for a home medicine cabinet for families with young children.

5. Cross-promote by literally getting closer, sharing space. ***Examples: A store or franchise leases space within another establishment (or agrees on side-by-side sites, or actually sells both kinds of products on site) — Noah’s Bagels sells Starbucks Coffee. A restaurant or fast-food operation leases space within a hospital or motel — Pizza Hut in Days Inn. Kinko’s leases space within certain hotels. Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuits in a Kroger supermarket increases traffic for both guest and host companies. The post office locates a substation in a supermarket.

An accessories store leases space within or next to a clothing store and is joined by internal doors. A stadium leases space to a concession operator.

The less traditional cross-promotions are just starting. A campus leases space to a travel agency. Some franchises are co-branding with complementary services such as Copy, Pack & Ship.

<div style=”font-size: 8px;”>by Kare Anderson </div>

How to Have Joy in Your Life

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How To Have Joy In Your Life

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1. Keys for Joyful Living

Here are some thoughs for finding and experiencing joy in your life from Chris Widener. If there were one thing I could wish upon my family, friends and you, it would be joy in everthing you do! As humans we tend to lean towards thinking of all the bad that could happen instead of finding the joy in what we have. Change your thinking and change your life.
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Know your purpose. Nothing will bring you joy more than knowing what it is that you are about on this earth. Not knowing bring sadness, wondering, fear and lack of fulfillment. Above all, find out what your unique purpose is here on this earth – then fulfill it! As you do, you will experience joy!

Live purposefully. This is a follow up to number one. It is one thing to know your purpose, but then you need to live according to that purpose. This is a matter of priorities. Let your actions and schedule reflect your purpose. Don’t react to circumstances and let them cause you to live without your purpose fully in site. Living without your purpose will cause frustration. Living purposefully will bring you deep satisfaction and joy!

Stretch yourself. Don’t settle into the status quo. That will leave you unfulfilled. Always look to stretch yourself. Whatever you are doing, stretch yourself to do more! Stretching yourself will break the limits you have set for yourself and will cause you to find joy in your expanded horizons!

Give more than you take. It brings happiness to accumulate. It brings joy to give away. Sure, getting the car you worked hard for will bring you a sense of satisfaction and even happiness. But it won’t bring you joy. Giving something away to the less fortunate will bring you deep, abiding joy.

Surprise yourself, and others too. The words here are spontaneity and surprise! Every once in a while, do the unexpected. It will cause everybody to sit back and say, “Wow, where did that come from?” It will put a little joy in your life, and theirs.

Indulge yourself sometimes. Too much indulgence and you are caught in the happiness trap. Looking for the next purchase, celebration etc to bring you a little “happiness high.” But if you will allow yourself an infrequent indulgence as a reward for a job well done and a life well lived, you will appreciate the indulgence and experience the joy of it.

Laugh a little – no, a lot! Most people are just too serious. We need to laugh a little – no, a lot! Learn to laugh daily, even if you have to learn to laugh in bad situations. This life is to be enjoyed! The next time you go to the movie rental store, get a comedy and let loose! Let yourself laugh!

Joy can be yours! Look for it, pursue it and enjoy it!           Joy and happiness

2. Leadership & Success Quotes

Words do two major things: They provide food for the mind and create light for understanding and awareness. – Jim Rohn

The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there. – Vince Lombardi

Never cease loving a person, and never give up hope for him, for even the prodigal son who had fallen most low, could still be saved; the bitterest enemy and also he who was your friend could again be your friend; love that has grown cold can kindle. – Soren Kierkegaard

Be a voice, not an echo. – Chris Widener

The Key to successful Leadership today is Influence, not authority. – Ken Blanchard

I will go anywhere as long as it is forward. – David Livingston

Since Today is the tomorrow that I thought about yesterday, Today, I will do something to improve my tomorrow

Joy and happiness2

“Here’s to your joy and success”

Take a look at my book. It’s a good one. You can trust me 🙂 amzn.to/1yL4hKC