Writer's Quote Wednesday ~ Carpe Diem

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January 2017

Writer’s Quote Wednesday does not exist anymore but I feel I need to be reminded on what I wrote in 2015 so I share it with you again :-).

March 2015

Today I discovered “Writer’s Quote Wednesday” on Colleen’s wonderful blog “Silver Threading“(This link leads to her renamed blog). She encourages us to share the writer’s quote that inspire us.

Instantly “Carpe Diem” usually translated to “seize the day” came to my mind. Apparently, it is taken from Horace’s “Odes” but many of us probably know it from a film called “The Dead Poets Society“. I cannot tell you how many times I watched this film. The late Robin Williams played a teacher trying to get his pupils to think for themselves and to discover poetry. I so wished I would have had a teacher like that.

I was 18 when it came out, and it spoke right to my heart and I can still cry about one of the boy’s suicides. My mother had passed away six years previously, and I think that is one of the lessons I learned not only from that film but her passing:

Don’t wait until you have time to do something you love. There will always be something that gets in the way, and suddenly it will be too late.

The older I get the more I think in the mornings: If I would die today what would I regret not having done? I can honestly say most of the things I really wanted I have gained or achieved. Writing the fantasy novel still stands out but I am working on that one. (We can’t be perfect all the time, can we? 😉 ).

Even if we would get 90 years old, this life is short. Time runs and if you do not do what you love and what your heart really graves for you waste your life. Just go for it! Because you are worth it! 😉

Carpe Diem

Morning Pages ~ Basic Principles

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January 2017

I have read and worked with Julia Cameron’s tools and ideas for more than 20 years but in 2014 I  had another go at them and blogged about it. One part that has changed my view of creativity is her “basic principles”. I think it is good to remind ourselves of them at the beginning of the year therefore, I share my old post with you again:

2014

As I wrote before I just have finished reading Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way ~ A spiritual path to higher creativity” but I thought it might be good to just do it again and to share with you what changes are happening. Besides that is exactly what the book suggests :-).

There is an introduction bit where she explains how she came about to write the book and start the “The Artist’s Way” movement. What I like about the book is that it is filled with quotes from different artists and teachers which reinforces what she is writing about. I also like the idea that creativity is a spiritual experience and expression.

After this and at the beginning of the course she is speaking about the so-called “basic principles”. The book explains that we usually have an idea of a God being against our creative motivations even though many religions teach that god is a creator. Artists are creators as well as they create art and so the book’s idea is to align the idea of a creator god with the creating artist: God (no matter which spiritual path you follow) wants you to be creative ~ which is a very empowering thought.

The basic principles amplify this idea to lead the reader from a culturally enforced guilty feeling about wanting to do art towards a guilt-free enjoyment of anything creative one wants to do as god asks us to do exactly that.

She then asks the reader to read the basic principles once every day for seven days and watch the changes that happen. Here are those basic principles and I challenge you to read them every day and then take notice of what changes in your perception of art, being creative and in your life as a whole.

(The following sentences are taken from the Kindle Version of Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” at location 296)

wave on pebble beach

Basic Principles

  1. Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy.
  2. There is an underlying, in-dwelling creative force infusing all of life – including ourselves.
  3. When we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the creator’s creativity within us and our lives
  4. We are, ourselves, creation. And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.
  5. Creativity is God’s gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God
  6. The refusal to be creative is self-will and is counter to our true nature.
  7. When we open ourselves to exploring our creativity, we open ourselves to God: good orderly direction.
  8. As we open our creative channel to the creator, many gentle but powerful changes are to be expected.
  9. It is safe to open ourselves up to greater and greater creativity
  10. Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move towards our divinity.

Video credit: Lilou Mace via YouTube

Good Morning Writers ~ What's Social Media For by Randy Ingermanson

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91802-good2bmorning2bwriters2521Good morning writers, bloggers and poets. How is your writing, blogging, versing going? Do you feel stressed because the holidays are coming up and all that present buying and baking is on the map and you hardly find any time for writing or is it going to plan?

I have become a lot more relaxed lately with my blogging. First of all, I have blog posts scheduled for nearly 4 weeks in advance so even if I can’t write anything there will be something be posted. However, no matter what I need to advertise for my posts to attract more readers.

Interestingly, Randy Ingermanson wrote about Marketing for writers and what social  media has to do with it in his November Newsletter.

(This article is reprinted by permission of the author.
 
Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 15,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.)

Marketing: What’s Social Media Good For?

Social media is widely alleged to be a powerful marketing tool for novelists.

Is it true? How would you know? What would that mean?

Let’s take these questions in reverse order.

Marketing is about selling your book. If social media is a powerful marketing tool, then using social media in the right way would get you lots of sales.

You know your marketing is working when you can trace the connection between your marketing and your sales numbers.

If there is no connection, then your marketing doesn’t work. If there is a connection, it does. Simple as that.

Whenever I put things this way, I quickly hear from people claiming that the world doesn’t work that way, because you can’t trace the connections between marketing and sales, because things are complicated, because … um, because.

My response to that has always been that if you can’t trace the connection between your marketing and your sales, then either you’re doing something wrong or there is no connection between your marketing and your sales. Which sounds like I’m raining on the parade, but I don’t think it’s raining on the parade to point out that there isn’t any parade.

A Case Study in Marketing Effectiveness

It’s useful to look at a case study done a few years ago by Darren Rowse at ProBlogger.com. Darren is one of the best bloggers in the world and he had a new product to launch. He used several different marketing tools and used standard tracking methods to trace that pesky connection between his marketing and his sales. You can read his article here.

Darren found that 3% of his sales came from all his combined social media efforts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google Plus. That is not a typo. 3%. Three percent. You may be thinking, “What??? Only 3 percent?” The answer is, “Yes, 3 measly percent.”

Another 3% came from Darren’s affiliates—people who actively promoted his products in exchange for a percentage of sales.

Another 7% of his sales came from Darren’s blog posts. 7% is shockingly low, considering that Darren is one of the most famous and successful bloggers in the world.

So where did the other 87% of Darren’s sales come from? The answer is simple: E-mail. Darren made the overwhelming majority of his money from the e-mails he sent out, even though e-mail was just a small part of his marketing efforts.

In Darren’s blog post where he reported these results, he faced up to the obvious question: If social media doesn’t generate sales, then what’s it good for?

You can read his article to see what Darren thinks on the matter. I have an opinion which I’ll give you a bit further down in this article.

But first a little marketing theory so we have the vocabulary we need.

Basic Marketing Theory

Any working marketing strategy needs to achieve three things. If you do all three of these things well, you succeed. If you fail on any one of these three things, you fail. Here are the three phases of marketing:

  1. Attract
  2. Engage
  3. Convert

“Attract” means that you find a way to make people learn that you exist. There are 7 billion people on the planet. Most of them never heard of you and never will.

“Engage” means that you provide enough information to one of the people you attracted so that they know you’re a person worth listening to.

“Convert” means that you motivate somebody you have attracted and engaged to finally pull out their credit card and buy your stuff.

You can’t convert people you haven’t engaged.

You can’t engage people you haven’t attracted.

Attraction, engagement, and conversion can happen very quickly. It’s very possible to take somebody who never heard of you through all three of these phases in 15 minutes, as long as you do them in the right order and do them well.

What Social Media is For

Now let’s look at what Darren measured in his experiment. Darren was exclusively measuring conversion. He e-mailed, blogged, tweeted, Face-booked, and more—all in an attempt to get people to pull out their credit cards and buy his product. E-mail worked best for conversion, by a huge margin.

If you look at Darren’s explanation of what he thinks social media is for, it all comes down to attracting and engaging. Darren is a smart guy. I think he’s right.

So if you’re going to use social media, then focus your efforts on those two things.

Attract people to your web site, where they can sign up for your e-mail list.

Engage them so they know you’re a person worth listening to.

That’s what social media is for.

And by the way, you can measure attraction. You can measure engagement. You can measure conversion.

The important thing to keep in mind is that these three things don’t ADD.

They multiply, because they happen in sequence:

Marketing Success = Attraction x Engagement x Conversion.

If any of these is zero, then your marketing amounts to zero.

If all of them are maxed out, then your marketing efforts are maxed out.

Homework

  1. What’s your marketing strategy? What do you do to attract? What do you do to engage? What do you do to convert?
  2. How are you measuring your attraction? How are you measuring your engagement? How are you measuring conversion?
  3. Which of these phases is maxed out and which isn’t?

Good Morning Writers! ~ What Now?

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October 2016

I am sure I am planning ahead for my writing besides getting the house sorted and working while I am offline.

So a look back might help 🙂

February 2015

How is your writing going? Are you spilling with ideas and words or are you blocked and annoyed?

I leave a hard week behind and now am on holiday. The week itself was probably not that hard, but my depression had raised its ugly head again and I made my life harder than it needed to be.

Do you know those moments when you have been running your old rut for a while? It was pretty successful in the beginning but now its run out of steam?

You take a breather and see that you need to let it go, but nothing new is there yet? That’s how I feel right now.

I have started a wonderful blog hop on “Fooling Around With Bee(This post was first published one my retired blog “The Bee Writes…” which doesn’t exist anymore) but have neglected “Zara” a little. It was a decision I took, but I believe it was not a good one. I should have kept the momentum going. Now I have to get myself back into it all.

But how amazing the community is on that blog hop and what wonderful and diverse posts have been created and will be created. That is a wonderful experience, and my mind as been challenged and invigorated a lot.

Sounds like a contradiction? Well, it is! But in my experience life is like that: A contradiction of extremes from one to the other. It can be exhilarating, but it can also be entirely exhausting.

No matter of the “What Now?”. I believe life has a tendency to sort itself out and obviously there are lessons I have not learned yet. So I will take some time this week (I am off the day job) and consider the lessons and then get on with it.

And you? What lessons do you have to learn?

 

Mother’s Day Magic IV ~ Q.D. Purdu

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Mother’s day Magic…
with love
Every mother’s heart holds a bit of magic…her children’s love. Enchantment awaits in a dozen brand new, previously unpublished-stories, written by #1 bestselling and/or multi-award winning authors from across the globe. Whether it’s a captivating tale of romance or fiction fashioned from loving memories, these poignant stories are sure to touch your heart.
10% of proceeds from this anthology will go to
the National Multiple Sclerosis Society toward research.


Amazon
 
Barns & Noble
 
 
Kobo
Itunes
 
24symbols
Scribed
Inktera (formally Page Foundry)
Tolino


AN INTERVIEW WITH Q. D. Purdu
C:\Users\Brenda H\Desktop\1.16The Light We Found\11PhotoAuthorQ.D.Purdu.jpg
One of the Authors FROM
MOTHER’S DAY MAGIC
1st Place Writers’ League of Texas Romance, 2014
C:\Users\Brenda H\Desktop\1.16The Light We Found\11CoverQ.D.Purdu.TheLightWeFound.jpg
The Story I’ve Contributed Is
The Light We Found
Calla has survived divorce and developed her first newly-single crush on Ben, the special guy in her triple-two-step class.  Life is rocking until her ex confesses a long-hidden betrayal and Ben reveals the most hurtful secret of all.


What Was The Inspiration For Your Mother’s Day Magic Story?
My mother and step-father had the most beautiful, loving relationship of any couple I’ve ever known.  Their lives left me with the belief in happily ever after…even after disaster.
How much research was involved in writing your story? How did you go about it?
Cody, an eighth grade student in the story, has received a liver transplant because of a congenital condition.  I researched transplant protocol on the Internet and by interviewing a registered nurse.
How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?
Constantly!  They challenge me!  They refuse to follow my original plot plans.
Do you miss spending time with your characters when you finish writing this story?
Yes.  I would love to live my story.
    What writer has been your biggest inspiration?
Claire Ashby who wrote When You Make It Home.


What non-writer had the most influence on your life And why?
My mother.  Her love and courage and tenacity have guided my whole life.
How important is the choosing of character names to you? Have you ever decided on a name and then changed it because it wasn’t right for the character?
My characters come to me with their names.  I honestly can’t say how/why I choose them.  The only time I’ve changed a name was when a beta reader said that two names in my manuscript were too similar and would cause confusion.  The reader was right, so I changed one.
Do you allow others to read your work in progress, or do you keep it a secret until you’ve finished your first draft?
Yes.  I have two amazing reader/writer friends.  Their reflections on work in progress help me stay inspired.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My mother’s life.  She overcame insurmountable odds, and after years of determined effort to raise my sister and me, she found the love of her life—my stepfather.  Their story, their love, inspires.
What might we be surprised to know about you?
I love to make things out of repurposed wood.
In Addition
Calla and Ben come to each other with years of baggage from earlier relationships. But they find that love in the present moment is the only thing of lasting value.



About the Author
Q. D. Purdu’s debut romance, DESDEMONA FINDS THE BIG O IN LOVE by won first place in the Texas Writers’ League Romance category, 2014. The book will be released in 2016.
Q. D. loves her rescued puppy, red wine, running through sprinklers, dark chocolate with sugared ginger, and anything wrapped in a corn tortilla.  Her prized possessions include a hot pink Christmas tree and a garden full of okra and basil.
She hasn’t decided what she’ll be when she grows up, but whatever it is will be filled with romantic impossibilities.


LINKS:


Q. D. Purdu’s debut romance, to be released 2016, won first place, Texas Writer’s League Romance, 2014: DESDEMONA FINDS THE BIG O IN LOVE…
Desdemona’s life is fine until her ex announces on national television that he dumped her because she fakes.  This scoop goes viral and plunges her into a steamy quest to fix her, um, need to pretend.

 

After stumbling through new lovers, a sex club, her old first love, and psycho-analysis, she finds the answer in a blunder that happened nine years earlier.

Thank you so much, Q.D., for being on “The Bee Writes…” 

and for introducing us to you and to “Mother’s Day Magic”!

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Bee Social:

The Bee Talks With… EM Kaplan

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EM Kaplan
photo credit: EM Kaplan

Today I am very glad to introduce EM Kaplan to you, the author of the mystery series “Josie Tucker”. Emily was so kind to offer a guest post which will be posted next week Friday about writing Josie Tucker and “real-life” but of course I wanted to know a little more about her and her way of writing.

 
Therefore, with no further ado: The Bee Talks With… EM Kaplan:

How would you describe yourself in one paragraph?! !

Most people are a mixture of something or other, but I’m a mixture of extremes. I was born in Bangkok, but raised in southern Arizona. I went to college in Boston, but have lived in California, Texas, and now I’m near Chicago. I’m half-Chinese, but my family came to America in the 1880s, so our roots are Confucian, pre-Cultural revolution, pre-communism. On the other side of the family, we’re Jews who left Russia during the pogroms. Half of that family settled in Sydney and the other half came to Boston. What am I? Sometimes I hardly know. Half the fun is figuring it out.! !

How did you start writing in the first place?! !

My older sister was an primary school genius. I was slower to catch on to the whole learning process, so I didn’t really start reading for fun until the fifth grade. Then, I was insatiable. I went from fairy tales to Agatha Christie to Edgar Rice Burroughs to Daphne Du Maurier to . . . basically anything I could get my hands on. And when I couldn’t find the stories I wanted to read, I started making up my own.! !

Which authors influenced you and why?! !

In college, I loved William Styron and Chekov. Virgina Woolf made me cry. I read Shakespeare plays as quickly as it took to perform them. I could live in the novel Pride and Prejudice if they had modern medical care and air conditioning. I love Helen Fielding, Jill Shalvis, Jennifer Crusie, Robin Hobb, and the Harry Potter world. Each of these books has magic. That’s what I love. That’s what I want to create also.! !

Josie Tucker Series
photo credit: EM Kaplan



Your writing ritual (if you have one)?! !

I need a glass of water—I have to keep my mouth occupied and I’d rather not chew on a pen or mindlessly eat. I don’t need silence or big blocks of time, though. I have kids and a full-time job, so I squish writing time in whenever I can. It fills the cracks between the bricks of my reality, like mortar. ! !

Do you suffer from writer’s block and if, what do you do against it?! !

I probably have. I don’t really acknowledge it. I call it “being stuck.” My husband is also a novelist, so when I see him writing, it makes me want to write, too. When I’m stuck, I try to let myself daydream more than usual. I read over things I’ve written before. And if worse comes to worse, I just sit down, write crap, and worry about fixing it later.! !

Your advice for apprentice writers?! !

Read and write. Often. It’s OK to emulate people or styles that you like. Experiment. Find people who write well and listen to their criticism, even if it hits you in the gut. Later, you might find out they were full of baloney, but then it’s just a lesson learned. Don’t be afraid to try.

Thanks so much Emily for your time and your enlightening answers. It was a pleasure to have you in my little bee hive and I am looking forward to your guest post next week!

Want to know more about EM Kaplan and her books? Look here:

EM’s Author Page
EM on Twitter
EM on Facebook
EM on Amazon
EM on Barnes & Nobles

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Bee Social: