My Dad. Always Missed, Never Forgotten.

Dad’s birthday seemed another perfect time to re-blog this tribute I wrote for him. R.I.P., Dad, and a very, very happy birthday – wherever you may be.

Alice White Author

I wrote this tribute to my darling Dad after he passed on November 16th last year. Fathers’ Day seemed to me the perfect time to share with you all what a truly wonderful man he was.

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Peter Halliwell, My Dad

15th October 1931 – 16th November 2014

Dad

Always Missed, Never Forgotten

Nothing has seemed normal here since I got the terrible and sudden news on Sunday, November 16th, of your passing. Numbness engulfed me when the words did not ring true. The sudden overwhelming freight train of grief crept up; silent and unnoticed, then careered with full force into my heart and crushed it. Despondence followed and haunts me still. Even the most mundane of tasks takes on a surreal air, as if I am not here at all. On autopilot. Crying at the drop of a hat when the emptiness of losing you consumes me and batters my…

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Branding and the Brain—What We Post On-Line Matters

Thanks, Kristen Lamb, for another informative blog 🙂 I have actually two foods I can never go back to. Scrambled eggs once made me very sick when in my teens, and I became averse to peanut butter – which I used to LOVE – during pregnancy. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stomach either again. On the other hand, the smell and taste of apple crumble brings back happy memories of childhood in early autumn in England, when Mum would bake her own! I totally get what you are saying here, and can only hope that my own brand might bring some happy vibes to others 🙂 Thanks again for the great post! xox

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 12.18.24 PM

We’ve been talking about social media and building a platform the past couple of posts. I know this is a topic that makes most of us break out in hives, especially when you don’t yet have a book for sale. Been there, done that. Got the t-shirt. It’s sort of like credit. You can’t get any credit because you don’t yet have any credit but you don’t yet have any credit because no one will give you credit because you don’t have credit.

My head hurts.

Thus, today is for all levels of authors. Yes, even Jane Newbie who hasn’t yet finished the first book. We are going to talk about the bare essence of branding.

In my book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World I go into a lot more detail about the science behind branding, but today we are going to talk about why our…

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To Prologue or NOT To Prologue? That is the Question

Kristen Lamb gives some great insight into prologues.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image via Flikr Creative Commons, via Mikko Luntiala Image via Flikr Creative Commons, via Mikko Luntiala

Publishing, like most other things, is not immune to fashion. This is what makes teaching craft a moving target. What is en vogue today could be passé tomorrow. And yes we are artists, but I believe most of us are artists who’ve grown rather fond of eating. This means we do need to keep audience tastes in mind when we are “creating” since they will be the ones who fork over cold hard cash.

Today we will touch on a question I get a lot from new writers.

To prologue or not to prologue? That is the question.

The problem with the prologue is it has kind of gotten a bad rap over the years, especially with agents. They generally hate them. Why? In my opinion, it is because far too many writers don’t use prologues properly and that, in itself, has…

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6 Signs Your “Lifestyle Plan” Is a Risky Diet in Disguise

Another wonderful and informative blog post from my friend and fellow author, August McLaughlin.

Girl Boner

The number of people who say they are dieting is at an all-time low, according to research released in 2013. To anyone who realizes how risky dieting is, fueling everything from nutrient deficiencies to obesity, this could seem like spectacular news. But here’s the thing:

Many people are now dieting without realizing it.

The weight loss industry is extremely smart from a financial standpoint. (They must be, to profit over $60 billion per year.) As dieting’s risks and almost zero percent success rate became widespread knowledge, many diet makers have responded by changing their packaging. “It’s not a diet,” many claim. “It’s a lifestyle plan!”

While this may be true in some cases, I’ve come across loads of “lifestyle plans” that are merely risky diets in disguise. If you’ve developed one or more of the below problems since adopting a dietary plan, it’s time to make some changes.

6 Signs Your “Lifestyle Plan” is a Risky Diet in Disguise

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Common Services for Indie Authors: Are They Worth It?

Wonderful post from August McLaughlin, wonderful friend and fellow author, about the worthiness of certain services for authors.

Girl Boner

I’m in the process of finalizing my first non-fiction book for publication. (So stoked!) I’ll reveal more about that soon, but today I want to explore a topic all indie authors face: where to invest our money.

It’s no mystery that self-publishing requires a financial investment. The last thing any serious author should do is write a book, attempt to edit it themselves, slap on a makeshift cover and send it to Amazon. But we also need to be mindful of that little thing called a budget.

Circulation in business

Most indie authors don’t make huge income quickly or at all through their books—though it’s possible. It takes awhile for most of us to break even upon publishing, then go on to profit. (It took me a good year to start profiting on In Her Shadow.) Many companies profit far more than writers from self-publishing, and there can be a fine line between a worthy investment and being…

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For Bailey, Our Sweet Boy

This exceptional piece was written by my friend and very talented author, Lori Ericson. What a great insight into a doggie frame of mind from Bailey’s point of view.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful piece, Lori. I know first-hand how tough it is when our furry children are sick or pass beyond the rainbow bridge, and my heart goes out to you both!

Lori Ericson, Author

I wrote this post some time ago. Since then, we’ve lost Riley to old age and Bailey is now sick with tick disease. 

The boss hollers at me, but I ignore him. He thinks that if he provides a few benefits, which I more than deserve, I should trot my ass right on over when he yells.

He calls again. I turn my head and glance over my shoulder. He’s not even looking my way but appears to be scanning the sky, checking out the clouds. I’ll stay right here where I please, enjoying the breeze and watching a squirrel run up and down the big tree just beyond the fence.

I’ve about had it with his demands. I should just walk out and see what other opportunities there are for a guy like me. I know how to contribute. I’m good at security patrol in a place like this…

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Embrace Your Journey

A timely reminder from Amy Weaver to enjoy the journey of life, no matter what it throws at us. Very relatable, Amy, thank you for sharing xox

thelongandwritingroad

My, oh, my…  has 2015 been full of unexpected twists and turns.

First, I rang in the new year with the excitement of working with a publisher.

Second, the hard decision of postponing my publish date.

Third, another hard decision of leaving my publisher. I haven’t written about this or made a huge announcement about it. It was a very personal decision on how I want to go about writing, editing, and publishing my book. I may share more later, but as of right now, I’ll just say I’m looking at my options. No matter what, my goal is a Fall 2016 release.

Fourth, the choice my husband and I made to sell our house in South Carolina and permanently move to Vermont. That moved along faster than we ever thought. Our house sold two weeks after putting it on the market, and as of October, 6th, we’ll be headed to…

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The Magical Red Kimono

In this blog post, Jan Morrill detail the scene I referred to in my re-blogging of her previous post. A wonderful scene indeed 🙂

THE RED KIMONO

My mother's red kimono. My mother’s red kimono.

This morning, while giving my children’s story, The Magical Red Kimono, a final read-through before submitting to a publisher, I read a blog comment from my friend, Alice White. In her comment, she mentioned the scene in The Red Kimono where Sachi teaches her black friend, Jubie, to dance in her mother’s red kimono.

When I wrote this scene, I certainly did not intend Jubie dancing in Sachi’s mama’s red kimono to be any form of cultural appropriation, though, according to the Metropolitan Fine Arts Museum’s “Kimono Wednesdays” protesters, it would be.

I wrote the scene, imagining my own mother’s red kimono and remembering my childhood in California, the afternoons when my black friends who lived across the street came over and danced with my sisters and I.

In fact, I created The Magical Red Kimono around it, because we can learn a lot…

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Outrage over a Red Kimono?

This event was run BY the Japanese and is being protested “on behalf of the Japanese” by NON Japanese people… what on earth is this world coming to?! In Jan Morril’s The Red Kimono, Jubee wears Sashi’s mother’s kimono and performs a Japanese dance, which Sachi has taught her. Does Jubee do this because she is racist? Of course not. She does this to honour Sachi and her culture.
By the same token, I have copious amounts of Blue Willow china, which I display lovingly in a cabinet bought specifically for the purpose. Am I racist for collecting this china? No, I am not. I just love the Blue Willow design, and even have a few very old pieces made in Japan.

In my humble opinion, people need to get a grip and stop being offended by so many things that do not concern them.

Going back to The Red Kimono – a great read, for those interested in REAL history and wonderful storytelling – when Jubee did that, I remember thinking how lovely it was that those two girls from very different backgrounds shared their heritage and culture with each other so openly. Some adults could learn a lot from the open acceptance of the innocent, non-judgemental attitudes of children.

THE RED KIMONO

I’ve been following a discussion on Facebook about the outrage over an event called “Kimono Wednesdays” at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the more I read about it, the more infuriated I get.

Claude_Monet-Madame_Monet_en_costume_japonais

Through the month of July, the museum invited guests to try on a replica of the kimono that appears in Claude Monet’s 1876 painting titled “La Japonaise.” They were also invited to have pictures taken. Some people were offended and considered the event racist. (See Angry Asian Man’s post, “Get Your Geisha On at the Museum of Fine Arts.“)

Here’s a Facebook comment that appeared on MFA’s Facebook page about the event:

This is honestly one of the most vilely racist things I’ve ever seen. White folks wanting to play dress up and feel Japanese? Please, don’t. Japan isn’t your mystical fantasy playground for you to go galavanting around in…

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6 Ways to Protect Yourself from Predators

Another super blog by my friend and fellow author, August McLaughlin.

Girl Boner

When I think of personal safety, two things pop to mind: The Gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker, and the creepy man on the subway who followed me home. If only I’d read de Becker’s book back then.

I was working as a model in NYC when, after a long photo shoot that ended at dusk, I hopped on the subway. When I felt a man staring at me then looked up and confirmed he was, I did what I typically did in such cases: darted my eyes away. Then I settled further into the crowd around me so I could keep daydreaming, sans creepy-stare.

Several train transfers and blocks of walking later, I arrived at my apartment building. As I stepped onto the elevator, commotion erupted behind me. I turned to see the creepy guy who’d been staring inches behind me—being yanked back by the building’s security guard. I was okay physically, but shaken and…

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