INDI-AUTHORS UNITE. Leave a link and find a read! Open book swap!

Indie Authors, share a link to one of your novels or to a really great book you love and then follow Didi’s instructions and come back tomorrow when there is lots of books to choose from! Let’s give Indie Authors a Chance to shine!

Didi Oviatt

I’ve noticed a slight lack in support as of late. There is a lot of talking and not much reviewing of each others Indi books!

So, I’ve decided to do this a couple times a month.  Leave an order link in the comments with your work, THEN come back tomorrow when there’s a variety to choose from, and PICK ONE TO READ! Please only share if you plan on reading another.  

This isn’t only a promote yourself post, but a show your support for another amazing authors! Please share share share!!   I’m talking share you links, share this post, and lets share our thoughts on each others work!

It’s time to pay it forward fellow Indi’s.  Lets read others just as much as we promote our own 🙂 ..  I can’t wait to see all of your books!!

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10 Ways First-Time Writers Can Get Noticed on Social Media

Writer’s Digest, Emily Sweet, Guest Column, March 8, 2017

The changing literary and book publishing landscape makes it difficult for new authors to breakout. A plethora of new distribution formats, especially focused on self-publishing, opens brand new avenues for writers to get noticed, but also makes it incredibly easy to get lost in the sea of content. Unless you have a pre-existing social platform or public profile that extends beyond the world of books, “discoverability” can be a very elusive thing and it can be nearly impossible to get noticed on social media.

The changing literary and book publishing landscape makes it difficult for new authors to breakout. A plethora of new distribution formats, especially focused on self-publishing, opens brand new avenues for writers to get noticed, but also makes it incredibly easy to get lost in the sea of content. Unless you have a pre-existing social platform or public profile that extends beyond the world of books, “discoverability” can be a very elusive thing and it can be nearly impossible to get noticed on social media. That said, there are many ways first-time authors can leverage social media to build their online presence and gain momentum in their careers. Here are my top 10 insights:

  1. Choose the platform that works for you 

Are you Twitter or Instagram? Are you Snapchat or Pinterest? When first starting out, it can be tempting to sign up for every platform under the sun. And while it’s a good idea to at least reserve your handle (preventing someone else from taking it), you probably shouldn’t start posting away everywhere. What platform do you like and feels most instinctual to you? Do you want to share pithy quotes? Then choose Twitter. Are you out of storage space because of all the photos you’ve taken on your phone? Then choose Instagram. Do you have pages and pages of inspiration for your characters? Then put it all on Pinterest and invite your readers to find extra content there.

  1. Make all your social media handles consistent

This may seem intuitive, but it’s important. You want followers to easily find you. And, unfortunately, this can be more difficult than it seems as well, because some handles may already be taken. So, chose one where you can be consistent.

  1. Don’t use the same content across all platforms

It can be tempting to link all of your accounts together and post one thing at one time, but try to resist that temptation. Each social media platform has its own community and set of rules. For one thing, if people follow you on multiple platforms, they’re going to know that you’re just being lazy. And that concern aside, often certain things won’t translate across platforms (tagging, for example, is hard to do when platforms are linked). But most importantly, each platform should have its own voice, which should be developed and honed.

  1. Develop a strong voice

Your content should reflect who you are as a writer. Share ideas and insights that distinguish you from other authors and public figures. Always remember who you’re talking to – your audience and who they consist of – and think about your “brand” (see number 6 for more on branding).

  1. Post consistently

Post consistently and often. At this point, most platforms reward you for activity, i.e., there are algorithms that will naturally boost more popular posts, but consistency helps as well. It will also encourage people to follow and engage with you.

  1. Focus on your brand, but don’t fall into the “ABS” (Always Be Selling) trap

Social media is a chance to get to know and really engage with your readers. If they like your writing, they’ll want to know when your book is coming out… but they want to engage in different ways too. No one likes being asked to buy something every time they see you.

  1. Interact with your followers to get noticed on social media

Don’t forget to go back and comment on comments. This is the whole benefit of social media! You can talk to your followers in real time and build a relationship with them.

  1. Interact with other authors

Authors can be a hugely supportive community. Just as you would reach out to other authors for blurbs, reach out and engage on social media as well.

  1. Make sure all your posts are tagged

Hashtags help drive engagement and help grow your fan base. Tagging helps lead people back to your page that may not have otherwise seen it.

  1. Be careful

It’ seasy to forget that you’re becoming a public figure if you’ve spent most of your life being private. But now simple posts are subject to scrutiny, so just watch your intention and tone. You don’t want something taken out of context, or to turn people off from your writing. All publicity is definitely NOT good publicity.

Emily Sweet is the Executive Director of Brand Development and Client Initiatives at Park Literary & Media. Among other things, she advises PLM clients on how to find their voice on social media, create an online presence, and develop a consistent brand strategy. She’s a former lawyer who now works with Nicholas Sparks, Emily Giffin, Debbie Macomber, Janice Y.K. Lee, Taylor Jenkins Reid, and many others.

For more information on Park Literary & Media, as well as the authors they represent, visit parkliterary.com or find them @parkliterarymedia on Instagram and @parkliterary on Twitter.

DR. SUESS

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An Actual Dr. Seuss Cartoon – 1941

This cartoon is amazing.  You know what history says don’t you?  “History is Bound to Repeat Itself, If Good Men and Women Do Nothing!”

***Remember this? Thousands of Jewish immigrants fleeing from Nazi concentration Camps in 1941 were denied entry in to America and they were returned to Germany where they were put to death in the Gas Chambers. Where is America in times like this – Voting for Hate-filled Promises? Do Really Believe in Democracy?  As a People, do we really believe in the Common Good for Humankind?  I think not.  We don’t even care about saving our planet! So, I guess worrying about the common good is a moot point. I asked myself,

“What does the human good mean?

The Common Good – Ethical Decision Making – Ethics Resources – Markkula Center for Applied Ethics . Commenting on the many economic and social problems that American society confronts, Newsweek columnist Robert J. Samuelson once wrote: “We face a choice between a society where people accept modest sacrifices for a common good or a more contentious society where group selfishly protect their own benefits.” Newsweek is not the only voice calling for a recognition of and commitment to the “common good.”

Appeals to the common good have also surfaced in discussions of business’ social responsibilities, discussions of environmental pollution, discussions of our lack of investment in education, and discussions of the problems of crime and poverty. Everywhere, it seems, social commentators are claiming that our most fundamental social problems grow out of a widespread pursuit of individual interests.

What exactly is “the common good”, and why has it come to have such a critical place in current discussions of problems in our society? The common good is a notion that originated over two thousand years ago in the writings of Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero. More recently, the contemporary ethicist, John Rawls, defined the common good as “certain general conditions that are…equally to everyone’s advantage”. The Catholic religious tradition, which has a long history of struggling to define and promote the common good, defines it as “the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment.” The common good, then, consists primarily of having the social systems, institutions, and environments on which we all depend work in a manner that benefits all people. Examples of particular common goods or parts of the common good include an accessible and affordable public health care system, and effective system of public safety and security, peace among the nations of the world, a just legal and political system, and unpolluted natural environment, and a flourishing economic system. Because such systems, institutions, and environments have such a powerful impact on the well-being of members of a society, it is no surprise that virtually every social problem in one way or another is linked to how well these systems and institutions are functioning.  https://www.scu.edu/ethics/ethics-resources/ethical-decision-making/the-common-good/

Well, at least 45% of Americans do believe in the Common Good for Humankind!  So, I have hope…..still!

BURNING DOWN THE SYSTEM TO THE GROUND?

20161126_blp902-bannonWhy does Steve Bannon want to “burn down our form of government to the ground?”  By Steve Bannon’s definition, it means doing away with our democratic system of government. With words like nationalism, populism, and his strong belief in Eurasian, the writing is on the wall, literally.

Eurasian means a system of authoritarian government that is, at best a dictatorship, at worse a medieval form of governance. Think, the Ottoman Empire. Bannon is not a conservative, he is an “Imperialist – like Putin – but worse.

Bannon’s belief in Eurasian, is a system of government that loathes secular modernity, like America and most Western European countries. Bannon’s belief heralds back to the Slavic-Turkic land empire and it is Bannon’s wish to do just that, democracy must go, ergo, he intends through Trump to do just that – “burn down our system of government to the ground.”

How do I know this? Because Steve Bannon has talked  about this kind of authoritarian/dictatorship for many years. It is easy to find out for yourself. Just go to google and go to http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2016/11/america-russia-and-new-right

Also google Steve Bannon’s favorite philosopher’s  Alexandre Dugin (Putin’s Rasputin), and Julius Evola to know more about Steve Bannon’s (Trump’s Brain) plan for America.

 

YOUR NOVEL BLUEPRINT, by author Karen Wiesner

 

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I found “Your Novel Blueprint” on Writer’s Digest,  it is a book by Karen Wiesner. It  is a very useful and very complete guide from start to finish.  I am posting the first couple of pages and then a link to her article (10 pages) and also her book  can also be purchased there.  Read the article and then see if it is for you. I loved it.

You can find Karen Wiesner on Writer’s Digest http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/your-novel-blueprint

Writing a novel and building a house are similar when you think about it. For instance, most builders or homeowners spend a lot of time dreaming about their ideal houses, but there comes a time when they have to wake up to the reality of building by analyzing what they expect from a house, and whether the plans they’ve selected will meet their needs. Architects argue that it’s better to build from the inside out.

This is where a home plan checklist comes in handy. This list assembles the key considerations to keep in mind when deciding on a plan, including what are called external monologues, relating primarily to the outside of a house and its environment, and internal (interior) monologues. (The word monologue, in building, refers to a single facet of overall composition on the inside or outside of a house, such as flooring material or landscaping aspects.) Writers spend a lot of time dreaming about their ideal story. Eventually they have to face reality and analyze whether or not the story will work. Authors, too, usually build from the inside out—in other words, they know what they want at the heart of their stories and they build around that.

This is where a Story Plan Checklist becomes essential, because it targets the key considerations necessary when building a cohesive story that readers will find unforgettable. The checklist has basic external and internal monologues.  Monologue, in writing, refers to a single facet of overall composition concerning the internal or external elements, such as conflict and motivation. Generally, these are composed individually in free-form summaries, but they need to develop and grow cohesively.

The Story Plan Checklist can ensure cohesion between character, setting and plot. This checklist connects all the dots between internal and external conflicts, and goals and motivations, thereby guaranteeing the cohesion all stories require. In its most simplified form, a Story Plan Checklist—which you can find an example of at writersdigest.com/article/first-draft-finish-novel—includes free-form summaries (or monologues) covering each of the following:

PART I: THE BASICS

  • Working Title
    •    Working Genre(s)
    •    Working Point-of-View Specification
    •    High-Concept Blurb
    •    Story Sparks
    •    Estimated Length of Book/Number of Sparks

PART II: EXTERNAL MONOLOGUES

  • Identifying the Main Character(s)
    •    Character Introductions
    •    Description (outside POV)
    •    Description (self POV)
    •    Occupational Skills
    •    Enhancement/Contrast
    •    Symbolic Element (character and/or plot-defining)
    •    Setting Descriptions

PART III: INTERNAL MONOLOGUES

  • Character Conflicts (internal)
    •    Evolving Goals and Motivations
    •    Plot Conflicts (external)

I call this list a Story Plan Checklist not only because of its correlation with a home plan checklist, but because if you haven’t considered each of these areas, written something solid about them and checked them off, your story may not be fully fleshed out and cohesive enough. Sooner or later, the basic structure will begin to fall apart.

While you’re in the beginning stages of forming a story plan, sit down and figure out some of the working details (which may change throughout the process).

TITLE AND GENRE SPECIFICATION

First, come up with a preliminary title. All you need here is something to reference the project. While you don’t want to lock in your genre too early (stories evolve in unpredictable ways), get started with genre specification. For now, list all the genres this story could fit into.

POV SPECIFICATION

Now, start thinking about what point of view you want to use for your book. It’s very important to start your Story Plan Checklist with this because the identities of your main characters will play a huge part in your characterization and, subsequently, each of the areas you’ll be summarizing on your checklist. Most stories spark with a character who may end up becoming your main character. Your best bet for deciding which character’s viewpoint to use: In any scene, stick to the view of the character with the most at stake—the one with the most to lose or gain.

HIGH-CONCEPT BLURB

The high-concept blurb is a tantalizing sentence—or a short paragraph with up to four sentences (one or two is ideal)—that sums up your entire story, as well as the conflicts, goals and motivations of the main character(s). It’s no easy task. Here’s a simplified explanation of what your sentence needs to contain:

A character (the who) wants a goal (the what) because he’s motivated (the why), but he faces conflict (the why not).

Or you can simply fill in the blanks—whichever works best for you:

(name of character) wants (goal to be achieved) because  (motivation for acting), but she faces  (conflict standing in the way).

Three Secrets to Great Storytelling!

Whispering3 SECRETS TO GREAT STORYTELLING as presented on Writer’s Digest. I found this article by Steven James helpful in forming the structure of scenes.  (this is a re-blogging from 2014 but I thought it deserved a revival now, because it is simple, straightforward, and to the point.)

As a novelist and writing instructor, I’ve noticed that three of the most vital aspects of story craft are left out of many writing books and workshops. Even bestselling novelists stumble over them – Steven James But they’re not difficult to grasp. In fact, they’re easy.And if you master these simple principles for shaping great stories, your writing will be transformed forever. Honest. Here’s how to write a story.

Secret #1: 
CAUSE AND EFFECT ARE KING.

Everything in a story must be caused by the action or event that precedes it.  As a fiction writer, you want your reader to always be emotionally present in the story. But when readers are forced to guess why something happened (or didn’t happen), even for just a split second, it causes them to intellectually disengage and distances them from the story. Rather than remaining present alongside the characters, they’ll begin to analyze or question the progression of the plot. And you definitely don’t want that. When a reader tells you that he couldn’t put a book down, often it’s because everything in the story followed logically. Stories that move forward naturally, cause to effect, keep the reader engrossed and flipping pages. If you fail to do this, it can confuse readers, kill the pace and telegraph your weaknesses as a writer.

Secret #2: 
IF IT’S NOT BELIEVABLE, IT DOESN’T BELONG.  

The narrative world is also shattered when an action, even if it’s impossible, becomes unbelievable. In writing circles it’s common to speak about the suspension of disbelief, but that phrase bothers me because it seems to imply that the reader approaches the story wanting to disbelieve and that she needs to somehow set that attitude aside in order to engage with the story. But precisely the opposite is true. Readers approach stories wanting to believe them. Readers have both the intention and desire to enter a story in which everything that happens, within the narrative world that governs that story, is believable. As writers, then, our goal isn’t to convince the reader to suspend her disbelief, but rather to give her what she wants by continually sustaining her belief in the story. The distinction isn’t just a matter of semantics; it’s a matter of understanding the mindset and expectations of your readers. Readers want to immerse themselves in deep belief. We need to respect them enough to keep that belief alive throughout the story.

Secret #3: 

IT’S ALL ABOUT ESCALATION.  

At the heart of story is tension, and at the heart of tension is unmet desire. At its core, a story is about a character who wants something but cannot get it. As soon as he gets it, the story is over. So, when you resolve a problem, it must always be within the context of an even greater plot escalation. As part of the novel-writing intensives that I teach, I review and critique participants’ manuscripts. Often I find that aspiring authors have listened to the advice of so many writing books and included an engaging “hook” at the beginning of their story. This is usually a good idea; however, all too often the writer is then forced to spend the following pages dumping in background to explain the context of the hook.

IN CONCLUSION

By consistently driving your story forward through action that follows naturally, characters who act believably, and tension that mounts exponentially, you’ll keep readers flipping pages and panting for more of your work.

 

Steve Bannon’s Idea for America: Eurasianism

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Today, President Trump reorganized the National Security Council by elevating his chief strategist Steve Bannon and demoting the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They will only be invited to sit at the table when Steve Bannon deems it necessary.

Erasmus, www.economist.com, writes” It’s a fair bet that America’s [president-elect] doesn’t spend too much time on Russian philosophers, but somebody close to him is certainly aware of Alexander Dugin. That is, Trump’s campaign manager Stephen Bannon (pictured). Answering questions at a conference in 2014, [Bannon] expounded on Russia’s leadership, its intellectual origins and on why some people in the West might find those origins worth exploring. Thinking aloud rather than in full or coherent sentences, Bannon said:

“…Vladimir Putin, when you really look at some of the underpinnings of some of his beliefs today, a lot of those come from what I call Eurasianism; he’s got an adviser [Alexander Dugin] who harkens back to Julius Evola [Fascist] and different writers of the 20th century who are really supporters of the traditionalist movement which…… eventually metastasized into Italian fascism…We, the Judeo-Christian West, really have to look at what [Putin] is talking about as far as traditionalism goes, particularly the sense of where it supports the underpinnings of nationalism…”

Robert Zubrin, writes, www.standard.com, Alexander Dugin is an exponent of “Eurasian” geopolitical thought which dreams of a great Slavic-Turkic land empire under Moscow’s command, he saw his influence soar during the early months of the conflict in eastern Ukraine in 2014.  Along with some figures on the nationalist fringe of Russian Orthodox church, he gave moral support to the leaders of the Russian-backed rebellion against the government of Ukraine. Dugin sometimes describes his credo as Orthodox Eurasianism, but he is not much interested in Christian theology as such: more in Orthodoxy as a mark of distinction from the West.

K.D. Dowdall, writes, “Julius Evola, one of Steve Bannon’s favorite philosophers and  esotericist,  was an Italian guru, Neo-Nazi Fascist, of the far right who also drew on a strange “traditionalist” view of wisdom in many ancient and elaborate faiths and loathes secular modernity.” According to one scholar, “Evola’s thought can be considered one of the most radically and consistently antiegalitarian, antiliberal, antidemocratic, and antipopular systems in the twentieth century.” Many of Evola’s theories and writings were centered on his idiosyncratic mysticism. Evola’s work was influential on fascists and neo-fascists.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_Evola

Putin, Dugin, and Bannon denounce liberal and secular humanism in the name of the Judeo-Christian Western world and believe that their definition of Traditionalism is “a return to the traditionalism of the Middle Ages, as written by Julius Evola” or in other words— eliminating the America we know: our American Democracy.

Referencing the following articles:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2016/11/america-russia-and-new-right

http://www.weeklystandard.com/putins-rasputin-endorses-trump/article/2001344

https://thinkprogress.org/putins-rasputin-has-lauded-donald-trump-as-a-sensation-8de320369bc1#.kwu6hcq8a