Friday, December 19, 2014

Lobster Award - Uh, Say What? Self Correcting Computers…UGH!

by M. J. Joachim



Annalisa Crawford was kind enough to present me with the Lobster, I mean, Liebster Award today. Unfortunately, it’s a hit and miss with my Internet since yesterday, so I’m not even sure I’m going to be able to post this and make it live.

I was able to briefly read Annalisa’s post this morning. Recipients are supposed to share information about their work in progress. These days my main task is Christmas, a holiday that never takes me by surprise, but always surprises me just the same.

Since my Internet was so bad yesterday, I turned off my computer and took care of a few things like decorating and wrapping presents. I’m about halfway through a book I’m reading for a review. I’d hoped to have it completed and the review up at least a week ago, but that was not to be. I’m eager to read the next book I have in queue…did I mention Christmas? That one will be the first book I review in 2015. 


Regarding my WIPs…I’ve a couple in the works. Two don’t have characters at all. One is in its earliest phases and I’m not sure what I want to do with the main character yet. I can tell you it’s a girl. I can also tell you the background deals with some pretty hefty social issues, and the villain is very easy to hate. I’m still working on placement for this fictional story. It wants to belong in a city, and yet the country seems to be beckoning me to make events take place there.

Everything in me wants to write a book of short stories based where I live/have lived. Yes, Annalisa, you get credit for this inspiration too. Arizona and California make nice backdrops for all sorts of short stories. I’m sure I can created some very detailed scenes for my stories in both of these states. This is a project for 2015, when everyone’s schedules change and the house gets quiet again. 




Other than that, I’m plugging away keeping up with my blogs for the most part and trying to clean them up a bit. I managed to unfollow some blogs of folks that haven’t blogged in years this week. No sense following bloggers who have long since moved on. I’ve much more to do in that regard. It will be nice to get the list of blogs I’m following up to date and current. 

The screen shots you’re seeing in this post are of various Liebster Awards. I Googled it and these are some of the images that came up. I really like the berries and the lighthouse one. Flowers and hearts are nice too. Simple works well to share the badge of honor, which I’m sharing with all of you. It’s Christmas and on that note, you’re all invited to get this award. Simply write a post about your work in progress, whatever that might be. Since I can’t get on the Internet right now, I can’t access the questions, so I’m making this a easy for you.

Take a screen shot of any or all the awards you see in this post, or get creative and make a new Liebster Award Badge, and write a post about your work in progress. How about using the Giant Lobster Sculpture as your badge, unless your computer corrects “liebster” with some other letters, or doesn’t correct it at all. It’s a screen shot too, a public domain picture taken by Andrew McMillan. I found it on Wikicommons and he grants anyone to use it for any reason.



Okay, it looks like my Internet is working right now, so I’m going to try and get this posted asap. With the busyness of the season and a strange web connection, I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to post again until after Christmas. On that note,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everyone!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What Should I Write About Today? How to Develop New and Exciting Writing Topics

by M. J. Joachim


Choosing good topics to write about takes practice, but it’s not difficult to do. All you really need to do is think about what you already know or are learning. If you have a hobby, take the time to define it, literally. Analyze it and break it down into several different pieces. Use these detailed descriptions of intimate aspects of your subject matter to develop topics to write about.

Develop Clear Focal Points

Everyone washes laundry. By itself, that’s a pretty broad topic. However, when you start to analyze all the steps involved in washing laundry, you begin to realize that there are several different things you can discuss on this topic. You can write about different types of washing machines, doing the laundry at home or in a Laundromat, sorting clothes, removing stains, pre-soaking. The list is never ending. All you have to do is pick a focal point and write about it as your topic.

Debate Pros and Cons

People love to take sides about things. Pick a topic like mowing the lawn and discuss the pros and cons of using different types of lawn mowers. You can write one article discussing electric mowers, one article discussing push mowers, and another one discussing gas mowers. Simply list the pros and cons of each type of mower and let your audience decide if they agree with your assessment or not.

Compare and Contrast

While we’re on the subject of mowers, you could compare using an electric mower against using a gas mower. You might even conduct a little experiment detailing time, energy and expense of using each to include in your article. Stress the pros and cons of each mower, and then list them to show your readers how the two items are the same and different.

Consumer Reports does this all the time. They pick several similar products and test them. Then they share the results with the public so consumers can decide how to best spend their money.

Enhance a Narrow Topic

Instead of narrowing down a broad topic, work backwards and open up a clearly defined topic. Take for instance an extremely focused article on how to make New York Style Cheesecake. You can develop topics based on the history of New York Style Cheesecake. How did it get its name? What are the origins of its ingredients? Where can you find the best recipe adaptation of it? How do you make cream cheese? And let’s not even get started on all the topics you might come up with related to New York.

Finding new topics to write about can be turned into a bit of a game. Write down a main theme in the center of your paper, and then make a web with all the different things you might be able to say about it. Once you make the first tier, expand on it, ever extending your web further out into new and different possible topics. In no time at all, you’ll have more topics to write about than you ever dreamed of. The hard part will be finding time to write all your new articles.

I’m so glad you stopped by and visited me today. I hope you find this post helpful and informative and would love to read your comments on it. Oh, and if you really, really like it, do feel free to click the share button. Thanks again for your much appreciated support of my work here.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Nansoriginal, Inbound Marketing Process, CCA-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How Coded Pictures, Badges and Book Covers Can Mess Up Your Blog

by M. J. Joachim

You know what they say, one bad apple spoils the whole bunch! I read a blog post over the weekend that really got me thinking about all those badges out there, and how their codes might not be so good for our blogs. The thing is, we all use different computers that interact with different blog platforms. Who’s to say how adding code to include pictures and badges on our site will affect us?

I’ve taken to the idea of making screen shots of photos, badges, blog awards, book covers and anything picture related at all lately. It prevents the unnecessary code of all things coded from messing up my blogs. If I need or want to add a link, it’s easy enough to do. I simply grab it from wherever it’s found and attach it to the photo or badge in turn.

As a woman, I know it is very necessary to clean out my purse from time to time. No harm, no foul. The darn thing just gets very full and cluttered with receipts, other people’s junk, change, pens and pencils, make-up etc. I need to clean it out periodically, because it weighs too heavy on my arm if I don’t.

The same holds true for our blogs. Added code from anywhere - photos, badges, blog hops, book cover reveals etc. weighs down our blogs as well. They run slower, don’t format correctly, get glitches and are difficult to navigate, which is why we need to keep them clean.

Oh, that and the fact that that post I read over the weekend mentioned something about spammers using badges and blog hops to steal our page views from us, or give us computer viruses and such. Spammers can write any code they want, and if we are none the wiser, we might get burned by including their code on our blogs. While this is a valid and important concern, my main thought is that I just want my blogs to run as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Here’s to keeping the blogosphere clean. Take a screen shot and leave the unnecessary code off your blog. After all, it’s your blog and you alone are responsible for how well it works and what it has or doesn’t have on it.

Thanks so much for visiting, commenting on and sharing my post today. I hope you find it helpful and informative.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Screen shot, Oh How I Miss You Blog Hop Badge

Monday, December 15, 2014

Alex J. Cavanaugh, IWSG and Juggling Writing Responsibilities

by Alex J. Cavanaugh
(Updated November 2, 2015)



I don’t know about you, but I have a lot to juggle in life.

I’m a very active blogger. I’m on Twitter and Goodreads. I maintain the Insecure Writer’s Support Group website. I’m a co-host for the A to Z Challenge. I write books. And I have a life outside of the internet that involves family, work, church, and music. Despite the rumors that I employ clones, I manage to keep it all flowing.

Want to know how? All it takes is a little planning…

First, we have to know our limits. We only have so many hours in the day for work, family, friends, writing, social media, life… You get the idea. It’s a lot! And for each of us, it’s different. We have to know our limits and how much time we can devote to each item on our list.

Once we have a handle on that, we can set our goals. What do we hope to accomplish each day? What do we NEED to accomplish? And the goals need to be realistic. We want to stretch, not break.

Now we can prioritize. Make a list. What’s most important? How much time can we devote to each item? We can’t forget the personal stuff, either. (At some point, our families really do need us.)

Next step–organize! Map out the day. What will we do when? What’s our time limit? Make a schedule. If we know a certain two hour block is for writing only, we’re more likely to get it done.

The last part is maintaining connections. Really! I believe in balance. Even when we’re in writing mode, we still need our connections. We can’t lose contact with our family, friends, and social media. Relationships need to be cultivated to survive, both online and in the real world.

Can it be done? You bet! If I can manage it all, so can you.

One of the things I juggle is the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. It began when I casually told another author he needed such a group. The idea took hold, and in September of 2011, we did our first blog post for the IWSG. From that point, it has grown to almost three hundred members who post every month, a website that’s a database of writing information and resources, and two Facebook groups with almost 2000 members.

That in turn led to our latest venture–The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond. We invited members to contribute their expertise in the areas of writing, publishing, and marketing. The book is packed with information and spotlights some amazing writers–and it is completely free!

Enjoy the book, check out the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, and may you be a better juggler!

Alex J. Cavanaugh

http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/
http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/
http://twitter.com/AlexJCavanaugh

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm, along with many more books. The author lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond - ISBN 9781939844088, 235 pages, Free!

Tapping into the expertise of over a hundred talented authors from around the globe, The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond contains something for every writer. Whether you are starting out and need tips on the craft of writing, looking for encouragement as an already established author, taking the plunge into self-publishing, or seeking innovative ways to market and promote your work, this guide is a useful tool. Compiled into three key areas of writing, publishing, and marketing, this valuable resource offers inspirational articles, helpful anecdotes, and excellent advice on dos and don'ts that we all wish we knew when we first started out on this writing journey.

Available at these fine bookstores: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and Goodreads

Join the Insecure Writers Group at these locations:

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/IWSG13/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/IWSGCC/

Thanks again for sharing this important information with us today, Alex. I read the book, and it's really good. Here's wishing you lots of success in all your ventures. And may we all be successful jugglers with our lives, writing tasks and this month, the holidays. Here's wishing you all a stress free and very wonderful season of joy!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Book Review: Peaks & Valleys by Spencer Johnson M.D.

by M. J. Joachim



Starting a business takes the right attitude to succeed. There will always be ups and downs as you trudge through the process. These can be discouraging, frustrating and downright painful, but they don’t need to prevent you from pursuing your dreams to the point of giving up. You can learn to deal with ups and downs, peaks and valleys, in constructive ways that will actually help you succeed at your new business venture more quickly, all the while making you happier as you go through the process of reaching your goals of success.

Peaks and Valleys by Spencer Johnson M. D. is a wonderful little book that takes you through a psychological process of visualizing your business plan and developing realistic goals to achieve it. This is not a get rich quick resource, but rather a life’s resource type of book, enabling you to recognize and rely on your own abilities to conquer fear, tap into personal creativity, set reasonable goals and achieve realistic results in a timely manner.

At the beginning of the book, you learn to recognize and come to terms with a true definition for the word “valley”. You come to terms with your own self defeating ways that have often led you to give up on ideas that might have been achieved very easily, if only you’d given them a chance or taken the time to think about them.

As you make your way through the book, you begin to understand the power you have through positive thinking to acknowledge your own ability to change the outcome of events, thus lessening the pain and discouragement of setbacks and trials, while minimizing their impact. Of course your ultimate goal is to have as few challenges as possible when starting your business, but life happens and with it, ups and downs.

You begin to understand that while there will be low points and setbacks when you start your business, these don’t have the power to determine any final outcomes. They rarely have to last for long periods of time, and they can be overcome with the right attitude. Sounds too good to be true, I know. But since no one can live a life of complete success and happiness without having a few tough times along the way, it’s a good idea to find tools that help us deal with low points, making them more bearable and less severe.

Peaks and Valleys is such a book. It shows us how to enjoy the high points by staying humble and acknowledging the low points we went through to get to them; it also shows us how to appreciate the low points when we are in them, enabling us to move through them a little easier.

I strongly recommend anyone thinking about starting a new business to read Peaks and Valleys by Spencer Johnson M. D. In fact, I recommend it even if you’re not starting a new business. It will help you in your relationships with your co-workers, friends and family too. It’s that good.

Thanks so much for stopping by, commenting and sharing my post today. It’s a thrilling boost when I see that you enjoy my work, and it really does keep a smile on my face.

Best to all,

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Pisang Peak & Marsydagi Valley, Greg Willis, CCA-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

’Tis the Season…and oh, what a busy season it can be too…

by M. J. Joachim


It’s been a crazy and hectic week so far, but then the holidays are upon us and while I’ve started my shopping, preparing the packages for mailing is still a work in progress, one that needs to be completely finished by tomorrow, since Friday is pretty much packed with a few other things that need to get done.

I have the worst time writing when I’m scattered and going in too many different directions at once. I need quiet, calm and limited interruptions. Add on a list of things I didn’t expect - no details, just a big pile of work that needs to get done. I didn’t see it coming and yesterday it landed on my desk. Here’s a brief attempt to describe the scene.

She sits at her desk facing the window that looks out into the shaded patio, pool and backyard. By all accounts it is a comfortable day for writing. Her dark hair is pulled back into a relaxed bun. The aroma of homemade jerky drying in the oven fills the house. She’s deep in thought when the shrill sound of the dog’s bark startles her, causing her to scream and jump.

She regains her composure, calmly telling the dog to be quiet or go outside. The dog makes a beeline for the couch, looks at her rudely, circles and lays down. She starts typing again when an email with several very large files arrives, its contents needing to be addressed in a timely manner. Then more files, another few emails and more files follow.

She looks at the citrus green yarn on her desk, the 9-patch crocheted square only one piece of the afghan she wants to keep working on, and her kindle. “Crocheting and reading will have to wait today,” she sighs. “Ah, but that jerky sure does smell good,” she smiles and opens the first of many files.

I’ve seen something floating around the web lately. When there are dishes in the sink, most people see dishes in the sink. When the garage door doesn’t close all the way, someone retraces their steps to close it. A chair not tucked in at the table is merely a chair that needs to be tucked in. For writers, however, these things are writing prompts. They are stories in the making, full of color, detail and emotion, waiting for a description, act and characters to enter the scene. Nothing is or should be ordinary to a writer. Everything can come alive, taking twists and unexpected turns, tempting the audience with scintillating tidbits capable of surging energy through one’s veins.

I’ve been watching too many episodes of Sons of Anarchy and The Following lately. Can you tell? Edge of seaters, both and very entertaining too.

I’m giving a big shout out to my son who turns 19 today. I’ll save that story for another time.

The Book Gurus has asked me to share the following invitation with you:

#romcom #festivus #holiday #celebration

Come and join Penny Reid, Daisy Prescott, M. Mabie, Jennie Marts, Z.B. Heller, C.C. Wood, A.C. Netzel, Zack Love and N.M. Silber as they celebrate the holiday. A Festivus for the rest of us! December 16, 2014 from 4:30-11pm est.
https://www.facebook.com/events/569040546560417/

Now I must get back to that email with all the files, finish wrapping for the boxes I’m mailing tomorrow and do some promised reading for the next reviews I’m planning to post here. Here’s to blogging during the Christmas season. Oh, what a busy time of year it can be!

Best to all,

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Santa Claus, Jonathan Meath & Heather Morey, CCA - Share Alike 2.5 Generic License

Friday, December 5, 2014

Responsible Writing and the Need to Perform Our Duty

by M. J. Joachim

Writing is hard sometimes. It knocks the wind right out of your sails, takes your breath away and depletes your energy store. I was there yesterday after finishing three articles for the 2nd Annual Holiday Food Drive. Today’s the second day and there’s still a lot more work, reading, research and writing to be done. Mind you, I started immersing myself in this work last month when we decided to have an online food drive.

Studying hunger statistics is grueling, often depressing work. Reading and watching videos about the plight of those less fortunate and relating to them enough to write about their suffering, that’s not an easy task. Yet, as writers we have a responsibility to do just that. We have a need to tell the stories, raise the awareness with our words and try to make a difference.

It doesn’t matter how we do it - fiction, prose, poetry, non-fiction or pictorials, blogs, books, the list goes on. Thinking outside the box, there are probably as many ways to tell a story as there are to experience one. That’s our job and our passion. It’s what we do and what we can’t not do. Thankfully, not all the stories are so intense. Many of them don’t require as much in-depth research or kick us in the gut as hard.

Those that do must be told regardless. Our voice matters. It doesn’t matter if we’re telling our first person story about suffering from going hungry, promoting organizations that help people who are hungry or sharing statistics and news about our world hunger crisis. The goal is to keep the discussion going, perhaps engage a few more people in it and try to help wherever, whenever and however we can.

This is Day 2 of the 2nd Annual Holiday Food Drive taking place everywhere online. I hope you’ll join us by participating in the discussion, raising awareness about hunger as each new opportunity arises and assisting whenever and wherever you can, because it’s our world and while there will always be those suffering from hunger in our midst, we can make a difference. We can work together to ease the suffering of the many and help those in need.

Thank you for being a writer. Thank you for sharing your words and making an impact in our world with them. I appreciate and respect you, and I will always applaud your efforts!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Pinterest, World Hunger Free Photo

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Book Review: The State of Food Insecurity in the World

by M. J. Joachim

Published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

It’s a very dry and informative report, one that is important for all of us to read. The world has come together in an effort to decrease by half, “the proportion of undernourished people in developing countries by 2015.” All estimations are that this goal can be reached.

The good news is that only approximately 805 million people suffer from malnutrition, “down more than 100 million over the last decade, and 209 million lower than in 1990-92.”

Among the things most poignant about this book is the fact that decreasing world hunger is everyone’s problem and requires a community effort by governments, citizens and anyone compassionate enough to care and try to make a difference. Efforts, particularly by individual governments, must be organized to be effective. Multiple variables should be considered to establish the necessary infrastructure to meet the needs of their people.

“Public and private investments to raise agricultural productivity; better access to inputs land, services, technologies and markets; measures to promote rural development; social protection for the most vulnerable, including strengthening their resilience to conflicts and natural disasters; and specific nutrition programmes, especially to address micronutrient deficiencies in mothers and children under five.”

Malnutrition is different from starvation. Feeding the hungry is not solely about making sure they have enough to eat. It is about making sure they have the right foods, resources and nutrition from what they eat too. All the produce in the world isn’t worth anything to a hungry person, if it is contaminated by a polluted watering system destined to make people sick.

Not surprisingly, countries ravaged by war pay a high price when it comes to food. People often migrate away from the turmoil with very few belongings, little to no food - they give up their homesteads where they might have had known resources, gardens and fresh water - they wander, not knowing when or if their next meal will come.

Regardless of whether or not you read this book, you can’t help but understand its message. There are people in the world who are hungry, malnourished and starving. We’ve made much progress in decreasing how many people suffer this way, but we have a long way to go too.


805 Million Hungry and Starving People 
That’s quite simply not acceptable at all!


I hope this post inspires you to try and make even the smallest possible difference. Thank you for visiting, commenting on and sharing this post which is part of the 2nd Annual Holiday Food Drive. I do hope you’ll join us in our efforts! Here’s the link to the book, if you are interested.
#feedthehungryeh

Sincerely,

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Food System, Hunt041, CCA-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Book Review: The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond

by M. J. Joachim

Jammed and packed full of writing inspiration, publishing knowledge and marketing strategies and tips, The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond is every writer’s one-size-fits-all resource and reference book. You’ll get sticky when you read it. You’ll get full too.

Early on I wanted to put it down, not because I wanted to quit reading it, but because so many authors were encouraging and inspiring me to write. I do have a fiction novel I’m working on, plus a non-fiction book I’m preparing to publish soon. It was all I could do to stay focused, because I also wanted to finish reading it, so I could write this review today.

I know many (if not all) of the authors in the book. They’re fellow writers, bloggers and friends. Their advice and essays ring true. This book is written from the voices of experience, which is one of the reasons it can be trusted. Seasoned and inexperienced authors will easily benefit from the essays within, sometimes recognizing themselves in the words, other times being thankful for the timely counsel. New authors will be highly enlightened, as they engage and travel the path to being a writer, a journey not sugar-coated in this book, but encouraged just the same. Writers write…and publish, and query, and market, and sell…

Yes, I strongly recommend this book to you all. 

Thanks for visiting, commenting on and sharing this post today. I’m a writer and I appreciate you taking the time to read what I wrote.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved

Book Review: A Cure for Little B*****ds by Calum MacKinnon

by M. J. Joachim

Keeping in mind that this is a book written for children, I suppose if I were an eight or nine year old little brat I might find A Cure for Little B*****ds extremely hilarious. Never mind the fact that I take issue with the title, considering it is a children’s novel.

Antic after antic after antic…followed by more antics, all so completely out there and nonsensical! Yawn! Even the grownups were bad! Nod, raise head, open eyes more fully, stretch neck, yawn some more.

I was bored. It could have been much shorter. It needed to be edited much more, and not for length alone. There were typos, a few words misspelled. I’ve always heard you should put a period after Mr, Ms, Mrs - there aren’t any in this book. Since it’s geared for children, I think proper punctuation should be a given. Do we really want them learning all of our bad writing habits, because we don’t correct them in our professionally published works?

In a roundabout way, there was a shell of a story filled in with a lot of filler. Did I mention the story needs to be edited? Okay, so I wasn’t overly impressed. In fact, I wasn’t really impressed much at all, except for the creativity and imagination it must have taken to write this thing. MacKinnon is very creative and expressive both in his writing and his artwork. There are many of his original illustrations throughout the book.

Onward and upward. My reading list won’t get whittled down if I don’t keep reading. Thanks so much for visiting, commenting and sharing my post today.

With warmest regards,

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: No Bad Behavior Sign, Virginia Beach, Ben Schumin, CCA-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving Poem

by M. J. Joachim

I wrote this poem on paper early last week. With all the festivities and busyness, I never even scheduled it, so I thought I’d share it with you today. Also, if you get a chance, please check out this guest post I wrote for Phil’s blog last week. It has a couple of blogging tips I think you might like to consider. Without further ado, I present to you my poem.

Happy Thanksgiving Poem

I’ve got a big ol’ family
You know it’s very true
I’ve got a big ol’ family
With things we like to do

Thanksgiving time is my time
To pull out all the stops
No time for war and tragedy
Don’t want to bring the cops

Instead we feast so merrily
Eating not curds and whey
So many things to choose from
They never go away

First there’s lots of jerky
Then candy - gobs, galore
Pie and ice cream ready
They won’t fit out the door

Turkey on the barbie
Stuffing and taters supreme
Rolls, green beans and cranberries
I’ll never lose this team

Cheers to the cooks and hostess
For everything we’ve got
Thanksgiving sure does please us
And we give thanks a lot!

This post is scheduled in advance (not)
My family is here to play
Thanksgiving is our week long fest
Not just a single day!

Thanks also for my wonderful blogging family and all the joy they bring to me too! Oh, and please don't forget to participate in this year's Holiday Food Drive on December 4 - 6 everywhere online. Anything we can do to help those in need is truly wonderful and positive!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Bountiful Harvest, Free Thanksgiving iPad wallpapers, iFunia

Monday, December 1, 2014

Notes, News and More

by M. J. Joachim

I’m being a bit random today, after taking my brother to the airport only a few hours ago. It was a simply mauvelous Thanksgiving here at my home. Gotta love it - computer thinks I wanted to spell “marvelous” which I did, but with a twist as I thought of Billy Crystal, so I backspaced and typed it the way I wanted it to sound. People do that all the time. It’s how we came up with an entirely new vocabulary for texting each other. I still won’t use half of the shortcuts, texting shorthand as it were. They make me noivous. That one came from a commercial I’ve heard way too often.



In the News

The Internet will be taken over by millions of Santa’s Helpers later this week, as they write, promote and share all things related to feeding the hungry in the 2nd Annual Holiday Food Drive this year, planned for December 4 - 6. You can be part of these wonderful festivities by sharing links, writing posts and volunteering at your local food banks. Click through here for all the details and more information on this Internet Invasion which plans to highlight hunger around the globe and raise awareness on all fronts about this important societal issue.

On the Blogging Front

There is no right or wrong way to write a blog post. Blogs are as unique as the individuals creating them. Trial and error is the best way to find out what works for you and your penny jar, that is assuming you have ads or some other way to make money from your blog.

As the keeper of several blogs, I can attest to a few things about blogs for certain. Content is king. Getting it out there is a must. Responding to those who notice it is right and polite. Pictures make it “pin”able, which also make it more likely to be shared and passed around, consequently increasing page views. Meeting new bloggers and commenting on lots of blogs is a great way to make friends and increase your page views.

Venturing Out in the Community

Effectively Human invites you to join our Google+ Community. It’s as easy as clicking the join button, so I hope to see you there.

Christmas is right around the corner. Today is Cyber Monday, the other day was Black Friday, last Saturday was Small Business Saturday here in the United States, and the holidays are officially in full swing - only 23 more days until Christmas. Holiday lights are brightening our streets, Christmas music is playing in stores and on the radio and decorations abound, along with decadent treats, parties and treasures waiting under the tree.

I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted just thinking about it, and I live in a relatively warm climate where I don’t have to fight the snow and ice to get it all done. On that note, I give you this original Christmas poem.

Christmas Shopping Poem

Stay safe and warm, away from harm
Don’t let the cold winds bite
Tis the season to be jolly
Not weary or full of fright

Don’t drink and drive, to stay alive
Enjoy sweet treats instead
It’s best to be more conscious
When you lay snug in your bed

Check the sales to avoid the wails
Of paying more than you should
This way everyone on your list
Will believe they’ve been too good

Good brings a smile all the while
Being positive fills us with glee
The perfect way we want to feel
After our shopping spree!

Happy Holidays Everyone! Hope to see you again real soon!

M. J. 

©2014 All Rights Reserved  Photo credits:  Holiday Food Drive, Jeremy Hawkins; serial the Spellbinder, GNU Free Documentation License; Christmas at the Mall, lamraincrystal, CCA- Share Alike 3.0 Unported License

Monday, November 24, 2014

What Interstellar Can Teach Writers About World Building

by Michelle Murrain, Author of the Science Fiction Novel, Friends With Wings.

No worries, there are no spoilers in this post. Alongside many science fiction fans and writers, I saw the movie Interstellar. It was a fun movie, with a great story line, and fascinating concepts to think about. It's about a common science fiction trope: Earth is dying, so let's go somewhere else to start over fresh. I've used that trope in my most recent novel, "Friends with Wings." Even though I consider it one of the better science fiction movies to come out this year, Interstellar does have its flaws. There have been plenty of critiques of the basic physics in the movie, and I'm not going to talk about those. I'm going to talk about problems in basic world building in Interstellar. Problems that writers should be aware of.

Movies can get away with shoddy world building much more easily than novels can. Flashy effects and star power make it much too easy to skimp on detailed world building. And also, some flaws in world building are put there just for the drama, which takes away from a movie. Some movies manage to do great world building anyway, but Interstellar isn't, sadly, one of them. There are two specific pretty inarguable world building flaws in the movie Interstellar I wanted to highlight, because they are actually relatively common kinds of pitfalls writers can fall into.

The first flaw has to do with the movie's premise of Earth, and what's happening on Earth because of climate change. In the movie, a blight has killed all of the food plants except for corn. And so for years, all that could grow was corn, and all people could eat was corn (Many years - it seems like more than 20). Sounds interesting, except that everyone would die of malnutrition within a period of months if all there was to eat was corn. It's not a complete protein, and does not provide other necessary nutrients. A population could not survive for years on just corn.

The second flaw has to do with the premise that the world has gotten so bad, that there aren't any armies anymore. The problem with this premise is that based on everything we know about history, the exact opposite is going to happen. When resources get scarce, people fight over what's left. The last thing the US government will do when faced with the ravages of climate change will be to disband the military.

These are just two of the major flaws in world building I noticed. I'm sure there are others. These flaws are based on not really thinking about whether or not a specific premise makes sense, based on what we know to be true - whether it be because of history, biology, psychology, what have you. World building is an art, but it's also a science. You have to do research, and make sure your ideas make sense. You should make sure that things fit, and work, with what we know now to be true.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Friends with Wings by Michelle Murrain

What if you were stranded on another planet? What would do? How would you live? And how would you deal with the intelligent native winged species on the planet?

The year is 2102, the earth is in crisis, and Trina, a gutsy young woman from a poor family, is forced to sell herself into slavery to pay off her family’s debt. To her surprise, she ends up being sent into space to help colonize a star. Her future seems bright until crisis strikes the colony – leaving Trina the only human being left alive on Planet Johannes. Another spaceship is slated to arrive in a decade, but how will Trina survive alone for ten years? And even if she does, how can she keep the next colony from meeting the same fate?

Read an excerpt here

Bio:

Michelle has been writing science fiction since 2006, and has been an avid reader and fan of science fiction since she started to read. She has been both a scientist and a technologist by trade, and she even went to seminary. So as a polymath, her interests span a wide range of topics, including science, technology, religion and spirituality, philosophy, history, culture, politics, race, gender, and sexuality. She brings all of these to bear in her science fiction writing. She specializes in stories of culture clash and/or first contact, and her work has numerous strong female protagonists and characters, as well as a lot of diverse characters. She lives in Sonoma County, California with her spouse and 2 cats. Find out more about Michelle here: http://author.murrain.net/

Thanks so much for this wonderful guest post, Michelle. You’ve made some excellent points and given us some terrific writing tips to consider.

I’ve got family coming in for the holiday all week, which means I probably won’t be online much from here on out for a couple of days. Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating. Mine will be busy with family, food and festivities, something I look forward to hosting every year.

Best to all,

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved

Friday, November 21, 2014

Organizing Your Writing

by M. J. Joachim

It’s not easy to think about how far behind I am with organizing my blogs. Filing, I’m not sure anyone likes to do it, especially when there’s such a huge stack to be filed and put away. Still it must be done, so visitors to our blogs will find what they’re looking for more quickly and easily. Our search buttons give us a small reprieve, and yet, it would be so much easier for visitors if we made everything readily available to them, without hoping they’ll take the time to play seek and find on our blogs.

Pages

Pages are a wonderful way to organize our blogs. Give them a clear title and link everything that remotely fits on them by title and description. If you’re like me, you write about a lot of different things and you have quite a few posts. It’s okay if you add the same link to more than one page.

Layout

Layout has numerous gadgets and widgets you can add to your blog. Keep it clean and uncluttered, but don’t be afraid to add a few that might highlight your work and the work you do to help others. We can learn a lot by listing our popular posts. We also have an opportunity to make those same posts more popular when people see them on our blogs, or find out the trends as other posts surpass them in the ranks.

Files

Pages and Layout are the two things I find most helpful for my actual blogs. There are other things that go on behind the scenes. I keep a WIP folder on my desktop. If I’m currently working on something, it’s in there. My blog docs are all in there separately, so I can add to them when inspiration comes and needs to get out in a hurry.

I also keep a photo folder on my desktop. When I take or find pictures I may need, I document them and keep them at the ready, noting their copyright information as necessary. I have a folder of books to review and books I’ve reviewed for easy access too. With so many books to read, it makes it easy to know where to look for ones in queue.

The Writing

Outlines work well for a lot of people. I use them for more technical works, but not so much for stories and blog posts. That said, it’s important to keep notes. I’m always copying and pasting things to my notepad. Research links, random thoughts of things I don’t want to forget to include, photo links, quotes, references and resources, it’s all in there on a note, organized according to the project it refers to.

I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to writing, so I believe in writing raw and uncensored until the proofing and editing process begins. Writing organization is more important than you might think in this regard. Rough drafts are rough drafts. Proofreads are proofreads, editing is editing and polishing before publishing is vital and essential.

  • Rough Draft
  • Proof
  • Edit
  • Polish

Organizing your writing is never a matter of slapping up those first thoughts that entered your brain and got written in your rough draft. There is a true organization process that needs to take place. Being organized in all areas around this process makes it much easier to see this process through in the most professional manner.

Audiences appreciate a well organized writer. They don’t have to know what takes place behind the scenes. All they have to do is read the completely ready for publication article or book. It’s like watching a play. The obvious is when the actors stumble over their lines, the scenery and background look thrown together in a rush and the costumes are hazards waiting for a mishap to happen. Our writing reflects everything we do behind the scenes, without giving details about what it is we are doing.

I’ll be spending some time in the background soon, filing, sorting and filing some more. It’s not the most fun part of being a writer, but details matter and make all the difference in our work.

Thank you for visiting, commenting on and sharing this post today. I wish you every success with your writing!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved   Photo credit: Archivo de cabildo, Gusvel, GNU Free Documentation License

Thursday, November 20, 2014

To Schedule or Not to Schedule?

by M. J. Joachim

To schedule or not to schedule blog posts? That is the question I ask of thee. 



In a perfect world, they’d all be scheduled way in advance. Those books we promised to review would not be sitting in a stack, as we slowly finish reading one at a time. Those posts that flurry into our minds would be written perfectly every time, without the added insult of forgetting half the words before we put a towel around ourselves after taking a shower. What? Doesn’t everyone’s brain explode with new and exciting ideas when they’re relaxing & scrubbing in the shower? Surely I’m not the only one.



Yes, in a perfect world, everything would be…
Well, um…
Perfect!


But this is not a perfect world, and I know far too many bloggers who feel hurried and frustrated with the lack of perfection they feel torments their blogs, and the time they have to devote to them. It’s written about all the time, mentioned in comments when they are praising other bloggers they perceive are better than themselves, and felt by so many of us who do what we can and leave it at that.

I don’t schedule blog posts. I sometimes write a few of them in one day, because nothing else seems too pressing that day, or because they simply need to be written before my brain explodes from all those thoughts merging at once to get through.

I hate smart computers that fix so many words I’m typing fast, btw. Admittedly it looks like I’m dyslexic when I’m typing this fast, but I do my proofreading diligently and with "with" being spelled like wight or some other word changing itself to beth - like I’d be able to figure out the same typo I make almost every time when that happens, it's just frustrating. I know my typos, so it’s very easy to fix them when I proofread, without having my own too smart for me computer doing it for me, leading to utter confusion when it’s time to start my editing process!

Back to what I was saying now…

I draft my post in a text document. I don’t schedule them. Then I draft them in the blog. I still don’t schedule them. Then I publish them when I’m ready. So yes, I pre-write quite a few posts, but I don’t actually schedule many or any of them. I tried that, but they aren’t as easy to circulate that way. I’d rather publish them when I want, and spread the word about them via social networking at the same time.

That’s what works best for me. What works best for you?

As always, please comment, share and email me with your thoughts on this. I’m eager to hear from you and appreciate it more than you know!


Oh, and before you go, check out this guest post I wrote for Pat's other blog. Can you solve the mystery I pose there? Or at least share your thoughts and ideas about it?

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Wikimania 2007 Schedule, Kat Walsh, GNU Free Documentation License

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hold It! Stop Everything! Write What You’re Thinking Right Now!

by M. J. Joachim

Well, wait until you finish reading and commenting on my post first, please. That’s what I meant to say in the title, but it would have been way too long…


I was in the middle of vacuuming the couch cushions when suddenly it hit me. I had a brilliant blog posts entering my brain, and if I didn’t sit at my computer and start typing, it was at risk of evaporating into thin air. I couldn’t let that happen, so I put the vacuum hose down, walked over to my computer and started typing about writing guest posts for other blogs.

I’ve done this before on numerous occasions. It’s how I write. The writer in me insists on it. I’ve dropped plates heading for the dishwasher right in the middle of the kitchen floor, only to sweep them up after the writing was done. I’ve shoved things off the kitchen table, because I needed room to create the original crochet pattern I would post on my blog.


I’ve stopped drinking coffee, something those who know me might not believe, all because the words came, inspiration happened and I wanted raw, unfiltered bliss to get them out before they went away.

It’s happening right now, in fact. Not less than five minutes ago, I was drafting the post about writing guest posts for other blogs. It’s done now, and this one is being typed above it. Today could be a banner writing day. The couch won’t be any worse for wear, though it does need to finish getting vacuumed, and that will happen today no matter what.

I’m a little bummed though, because as I’m typing this post, another is fighting to break loose, and I can’t stop typing this post to get it down above this one. Perhaps it will come when I start vacuuming the couch again. Poor couch was supposed to be done days ago, but I was busy typing as fast as the ideas would come.

Writers must write. They must set priorities and make it happen. If they don’t, they lose. It’s not about practice. It’s about doing. I don’t practice writing or crocheting. I write and crochet. I don’t practice cooking either. I either cook or I don’t. It’s a choice because these are things I’m good at and I don’t need to practice them anymore.

Stop saying you want to be a writer and be one. Have confidence in yourself and know that it happens every time you sit at the keyboard and type, whether you publish what you write or not. Get in the zone and believe what you already know. You are a writer and you either write or you don’t. That’s all there is to it at this stage in the game. It’s about doing what you do, or wondering why you didn’t.

Thanks so much for stopping by, commenting and sharing this post today. Your visits really make me smile. You can’t see the personal reaction, one of the drawbacks of working on computers, but if you could, it would make you smile too. Yea, it’s contagious, just like when you smile at someone in line at the grocery store. Most of the time, they just can’t help but smile back.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Vagrant Thoughts, Nabakishorec, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Writing Guest Posts for Other Blogs

by M. J. Joachim

How you think about writing guest posts matters as much as getting your name out there to help promote yourself and your work. Think of it as an opportunity to share a sample of your writing with another group of possible fans. If you write a guest post for the sole purpose of self-promotion, with no meat, no guts, no glory, you won’t be doing yourself any favors.

Guest posts should be written with the blog owner in mind. Study the blog you want to guest post for, to get a feel for the tone and style of writing there. Chances are this blog already has a fairly nice following and quite a few fans of its own. Your guest post should rightfully be tailored to this group, showing not only that you are a good writer in your own right, but also that you are versatile, flexible and able to write words that inspire, educate and reach the masses.

It’s not as difficult as you might think. Consider the blogs you already follow, the ones you visit regularly, whether you leave comments there or not. These are the blogs you are naturally drawn to, so you already know how to write guest posts for them. 

Now think about the blogs you’d like to get to know better. Start visiting them more frequently, so that by osmosis you pick up on some of their traits. Incorporate little things you’re learning into your own style of writing, for the sole purpose of changing things up a bit, to provide a little added flavor to your own work.

Finally consider the blogs that are completely out of your comfort zone. You’d never want to write for them in a million years, but that shouldn’t stop you. Think of it as an exercise in creativity, a challenge to learn to be a better writer.

Now start writing - not for your blog, but for each of the blog types mentioned above. Write three guests posts, one to submit to each of their audiences. Look them up, see how to contact them and ask if you can send a guest post for their blog.

Most bloggers are thrilled to receive guest posts. I know I am. I drop everything and get them published as soon as possible, because I appreciate the extra content for my blog. My posts are the ones that get put on hold, while their posts go out right away. Not all bloggers can put their own work on hold so quickly; perhaps they’re in the middle of a series or something. However, many bloggers would jump for joy to receive extra posts for their blogs.

Think of blogs like mini-magazines. Get to know them and what they do. Learn their style so you can do it too. Query them to see if they’d be interested in receiving a guest post from you. Then send it asap, so they have it at the ready. Hey, if they decide not to use it, you always have extra content for your own blog this way. What’s stopping you? Write a guest post today!

Please pass this one around so we can generate a lot of guest posts out there. I hear they are very good for marketing and promotion, as well as building lasting and treasured friendships here in Blog Land.

Thanks so much for visiting and commenting on Writing Tips. Your guest posts are always welcome here, and your support is way more than appreciated.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Boston Public Library, You’re Invited…, PD-US

Monday, November 17, 2014

My Road to Writing and Self-Publishing

by S. J. Hermann

The journey begins roughly a year and a half ago with a simple scene that repeated in my mind like a skipping record. A teenager using supernatural powers to choke another while his best friend watches in horror, begging for him to stop. From that one scene my novel Morium came to be, but it had to have more substance than just two teenagers with supernatural powers running rampant.

I knew I had to have strong characters, without strong characters the story I wanted to tell would fall flat. Drawing from my own experiences back, and I won’t say just how far back, when I was in high school I wanted to tackle a tough subject to write about - bullying. Being heavily bullied during my school years I had a foundation to draw on, to bring the emotions that my two main characters, Lexi and Nathan, were feeling and the psychological effect that bullying had on them. Not only did they have to deal with the torture they went through at school but also home problems. Nathan’s parents put work before their only child, while Lexi lost her mother and her dad struggled financially.

With a small spiral notepad next to me at all times I would jot down ideas as they filled my head. If I was out doing my daily business and an idea hit me like a brick, I would use my phone to type it out. When I first sat in front of my laptop, that notepad was filled in an unorganized mess of words. With the second book I cleaned up my process by using simple index cards to organize each chapter to get a good flow to the story.

I wrote, then wrote more, and wrote even more until I hit what I call the 20,000 word wall. This is a wall that I had never been able to climb over with any story I had started to write. That wall blocked my vision and clouded my mind with thoughts if the story was worth even continuing. I didn’t know what was on the other side; a calm, bright sunny day beckoning me to finish or a mixture of ridicule, negative thoughts and panning from reviewer’s swirling around in a tornado. I climbed each letter on that wall until I was able to see the other side of my doubts. There they were, Lexi and Nathan waving for me to join them, for they felt it important enough for their story to be completed. I ran, not jogged, towards them after I jumped off that wall and greeted them with a smile. Together we walked off onto the screen of my laptop and for the first time I climbed over that dreaded wall and pressed on.

After weeks of editing re-writes I had reached that point of hitting the publish button on Amazon. I can’t remember how long I sat there staring at the publish button deciding if this was the right thing to do. I don’t know if you could call it butterflies, or even a knot in the stomach, but there was self doubt. I had gone through the entire book so many times that it didn’t even makes sense to me anymore. My beta reader’s enjoyed it but was that enough? Oh, there were some bad thoughts; what if my precious baby that I have nurtured and cared for gets bashed with every review? Worse yet, it gets called the worst book on Amazon. It was at that point I shut off the computer and walked away. I pondered for a few days and came back to that publish button, but this time I did not hesitate and pressed publish. I still don’t know what came over me to do it.

I sent out reviewer copies to anybody who would read them and waited. Waited for negative to flood in, for that’s all I could think about. I knew that there is no such thing as a perfect book, or will there ever be. After a few days I received the first email from a blog that did a review. This is when the butterflies fluttered wildly in my stomach. There was sigh of relief as for the review was positive, highlighting that the characters were very relatable. With each review I received each one commented on the strengths of the characters, while the latter reviewers also added how they liked the flow. Well, I thought, I did something’s right. I know that not everyone will like my books, there will be flaws that people will point out, but that is the only way that I will become a better writer. That is the way anyone will become a better writer.

If I were to give advice to anyone who is considering writing a book I would say to them, “Don’t let anything stand in your way. Don’t let self-doubt get in your way. There will be bumps, and yes, even some detours on the way, but navigate through them and you will reach your destination of being a self-published author.”


Hermann’s first novel, Morium, was published on Amazon this past September 20, 2014. Hermann prefers to write supernatural, horror and science fiction stories, but is working on some stories that fall outside of these genres. You can find S. J. Hermann on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Blogger.

Thank you, S. J. for sharing the process you went through to publish your first novel with us. Bullying is a tough issue. It’s important for authors to address society’s issues from time to time, raising awareness about them through our work, so I applaud you for taking this on and trying to make a positive difference for those who are bullied.

On another note, the Effectively Human Community is hosting the 2nd Annual Holiday Food Drive on December 4 - 6 this year. Please mark your calendars and save the dates. You can read all the details, as well as my own back story about starting this with Tina Downey last year, on the Effectively Human Blog. I hope you’ll join us and I hope you join our community too.


Thanks so much for visiting, commenting and sharing this post today. It’s always important to give first time authors encouragement and support for their work, so I’m sure your attention to this post is making S. J. smile.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bring on the Weekend

by M. J. Joachim



The day’s been kind of crazy
In a normal sort of way
First I woke with bed head
Had fun with that today

Then I did promote it
Updated Follow Me
Visited a few folks
Vented at Rhymer’s sea

Vacuum was too dusty
Washed it in the sink
Explained someone a pattern
Boy she made me think

Clouds are getting heavy
Rain may come our way
Weekend on horizon
I’m so ready to play

Best of the weekend to all,

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Direct Hit, Ernst Vikne, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Real Writers Just Do It!

by M. J. Joachim

It’s been quite a whirlwind today! First we overslept which prompted my husband to work from home. I still cleaned the bathrooms, something I’ve been trying to get to for two days now. Sometimes you need to make things happen, because in the case of the bathrooms today, you’d be too grossed out if they didn’t. 

A normally quiet and boring day (save for the dogs), suddenly turned into an energetic, buzzing atmosphere because even the kids’ schedules allowed for extra activity on the home front. Amidst the noise of computer games, blaring music and action adventure movies playing in the background, I steadily worked on one solitary article, a piece that took so much longer than I expected.

The microwave interrupted my Internet signal as it always does, so right when I was about to post, all things stopped on my computer. Don’t even ask me how my posting happened. I never had so much trouble formatting blogger in my life! Meanwhile, I was exchanging emails with a fellow blogger friend trying to solve the mystery of not being able to send him some promised information. 

When the Internet wouldn’t work, I tried to work on a crochet stitch for that blog. Of all the days to be all thumbs, I ended up all tangled up in knots - twice. I’m determined to succeed and make a crochet post today, so we’ll see how it goes.

Then my loving and supportive husband asked me how work on my books is going. I guess he thought I’d been working on them all day. “Oh my gosh! I haven’t even started working on those yet today, and I’m so close to finishing the one for proofreading too!” 

The more I wound up, because I wasn’t really stressed, just a little rattled, the less the words (or stitches, as is the case with my crochet) would come. They still haven’t come, which is why I’m taking time to use this post as an example. 

If you expect me to explain what I mean by that, reread the last sentence of the last paragraph, beginning with “They still haven’t come.” I’m looking at the word example and trying to finalize my unfinished thought and statement. It escapes me. 

Writing tip for the day…

Just write it already! Persevere and make something happen. If you want to be a writer, if you want to put your words out there for everyone to read, write, publish and write some more. You are the only stumbling block in your way if you don’t. You can be your biggest and best writing advocate in the world, or you can be the one who sabotages it all. Write when the words are readily there and write when the words won’t come. Write when the house is quiet and write when it's ablaze with family activities. That’s how you fulfill your dream of being a writer!

Here’s to lots of noisy keyboards!

Best to all,

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Annaviis, Kiidos, GNU Free Documentation License

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Just Being a Writer Today

by M. J. Joachim


Today started slowly as I sat on the couch drinking my coffee. Thoughts were racing through my brain. By rights I should have been sitting at the keyboard getting them out before they disappeared, but today was not a good day for that. I needed to embrace my thoughts, mull them over and let them simmer. 

It wasn’t about being productive, something I’ve been working overtime on for the past few weeks. It was about waking up slowly and just being in the moment, knowing I had way too many things I should be doing today, realizing I probably wouldn’t finish all of them anyway and being okay with however the day played out, because being a writer isn’t always about sitting at the keyboard, typing and publishing the words. Sometimes being a writer is about just being.

“Just” is one of those words I try to catch myself using, because frankly, I think I just use it way too much in my writing, so I just try to catch it and avoid using it, but it just so happens that “just being” is the most accurate description of what I’m just trying to say right now.


I also need to just thank Alex for mentioning me on his blog today.

And I just need to invite all of you lovely people to join a new group I just started in the Google+ Communities. It’s called Effectively Human, because it’s about us and people matter. I do hope you’ll check it out, join and maybe just share it with whoever you know who might just like to join too.

There now, you see what just sitting on the couch, drinking coffee and just embracing the moment can do for a writer. The words just flow, and then I just type and publish and everything is just swell.

Remember, your posts and work promotions are always welcome here. There’s no way I can read all the books I receive asking for a review in a timely manner, which is why I’m opening up this blog to all of you. You work hard writing, publishing and marketing your books. I know that, because I’ve written and published a few of my own. This is just one more avenue for you to share and promote your work, because I appreciate you and it’s one small way for me to give back to all of you for your encouragement and support of my work here. Please send your posts to: mjjoachimswriting@gmail.com

Thanks you so much for visiting, commenting and sharing my blog today. I hope to get to know you even better in our Effectively Human Community.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Brown Leghorn Rooster in Austrailia, Fernando de Sousa, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic