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New Website and Blog

I finally got my stuff together and consolidated my websites and blogs.  You can find me over at http://lindafaulkner.com – where my blog and website are all in one place.

If you like the layout, check in with Slocum Design Studio — they’re the wonderful folks who designed and created it for me.

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Attainable New Year’s Resolutions

We all know about New Year’s resolutions … about how we always make them and never seem to accomplish them.

Well, I’ve managed to accomplish my last two New Year’s resolutions. Of course, they were rather vague and not very specific. For that reason, however, they allowed some flexibility and managed to be not only reasonable but also attainable.

For many years, I actually quit making New Year’s resolutions because I always failed to lose weight or acquire large sums of money. Our of sheer desperation one year, I decided I really needed to take care of myself … instead of everyone else: family, clients, even strangers in line at the grocery store who had far fewer items to check out and were really in a hurry.

Why do so many of us actually believe other people are busier than we are, live more stressful lives, and face more challenges? Well, I got over that. We all have 24 hours in our days. Most of us have parents, siblings, children, co-workers, bosses, employees, friends, neighbors, strangers, etc. who bring joy to our lives and/or manage to seriously mess with them.

Two years ago, my New Year’s resolution was to take better care of myself–as in, every single day I thought of something I could do to take care of myself. I accomplished that goal by putting a sticky note on the bathroom mirror (Take care of yourself today!). I accomplished a lot more thinking about taking care of myself than actually doing it, but the point is I truly thought about my own well-being each and every day. And managed to take better care of myself in 2010 than in previous years.

I began 2011 with the goal: Be Selfish. This was the result of 2010’s goal being too vague. Being selfish is a lot more specific. Or so I thought. About a month into the year, I realized selfish was too harsh a word. (Of course, I should have looked it up in the dictionary before making my resolution.) According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, selfish means “concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others.” Since I’m a writer, I decided to take poetic license with the definition and, for my purposes, simply eliminated the “without regard for others.” It worked for me and I did a terrific job. Resolution accomplished.

So, there I was on December 31, 2011, and I still hadn’t come up with a New Year’s resolution. I admit it’s tough coming up with one that beats those of the last previous years. And, being the over-achiever I am, I really do prefer to keep beating past records. Instead, I decided to pitch my competitiveness (even with myself) and go a little deeper with my goal of taking care of myself.

So, here’s my New Year’s resolution for 2012: Do something for myself each and every day that improves my personal well-being.

Yes, it’s posted where I can read it every day–although not on my bathroom mirror. And I’m more than happy to share it with you. Feel free to take it for yourself.

If you have one, what’s YOUR New Year’s resolution? How did you arrive at it. If you don’t have one, why not?

Regardless, here’s wishing you good health, weight loss (if you want it), large sums of money (if you get them and don’t want them, feel free to donate to the Linda Fund), and much happiness in 2012.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Dreams

When we’re little, most of us want to grow up to be someone wonderful and/or famous: a brain surgeon, an astronaut, a professional athlete, an Oscar-winning movie star, a chart-topping singer, a bestselling author … and the list goes on.

Somewhere along the line, however, most of us begin to believe our dreams are not only far-fetched but unattainable. According to Webster, a dream is a “strongly desired goal or purpose.” But our parents, or brothers and sisters, or teachers, or friends tell us we’re nuts to think we’ll ever hit number one on the country charts … or the New York Times bestseller list. They lay out the odds, in explicit detail, against us becoming the first-string quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys or the starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.

We buy into all the “good advice” about how we’re being unrealistic and immature and selfish when we plan to skip college to join a rock ‘n’ roll band or submit our applications to NASA.

My job here today is to tell you that all that “good advice” is bullshit. And those people don’t know what they’re talking about.

Doris McHenry

How do I know? Because I began living my dream on 11/11/11–which would have been my mother’s 78th birthday if she were still alive. Which is ironic, since she was one of the biggest supporters of my dream … while also being one of those people who nagged me to put my dream on hold while I attended to the responsibilities of living in the “real world.”

I always wanted to be a published writer. As in: a writer who supports herself with her writing. Yes, part of that dream was being a bestselling author of fiction–which hasn’t happened yet. But I am supporting myself with my writing. Exclusively.

Am I doing it exactly as I’d dreamed? No. Am I doing it as quickly as I’d dreamed. Hell, no. But am I doing it? Yes. Imagine how quickly I could have done it if I hadn’t allowed myself to believe all the garbage…

Then again, maybe this is exactly the way it was supposed to be. Maybe the lessons I learned along the way– and the patience I acquired and the flexibility and adaptability that are so much a part of my professional repertoire–were an essential part of the journey.

Here’s the lesson: don’t give up on your dreams. Even if you have to put them on hold while you live your life in the “real world,” take them out and examine them on a regular basis. Do what you have to do to fulfill those dreams. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Because if you do, your dreams will come true.

 

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Inspiration, Just Saying..., Motivation

 

New Release: DARK MIND by Jennifer Chase

Emily Stone is hot on the trail of an abducted child and the clues take her to the beautiful island paradise of Kauai.  It doesn’t take long for her to get thrown into the middle of murder, mayhem, and conspiracies.  A serial killer stalks the island, taking women in a brutal frenzy of ancient superstitions and folklore.  Local cops are stumped without any clues or suspects. 

Can Emily find the killer before it’s too late?

Scheduled release date: November 21, 2011

Book Trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1Y6V0RfvFQ

Blog: www.authorjenniferchase.com/
Website: www.jenniferchase.vpweb.com/
Crime Watch Blog: www.emilystonecrimewatch.wordpress.com/
Book & Crime Talk: www.blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase/
Books: Compulsion = Dead Game = Silent Partner = Screenwriting

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2011 in Crime, Mystery, New Release, Thriller, Writing

 

EIKO, a new release by Kenan Brack

 

In this martial-arts fantasy, a young girl is raised by the assassins who killed her family.  When she comes of age, she becomes their next target.  Eiko follows a dangerous and fascinating journey as she grows from child to young woman, along the way experiencing a world few could understand.

Eiko was released on October 1, 2011 and is published by GrayBooks, LLC. It can be found at http://graybooks.net/aisleseatbooks/eiko.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2011 in New Release, Writing

 

Musty Writing – a guest post by Michaelbrent Collings

When considering self-publishing on Kindle, there are four things you must do (“Must”y writing – get it?  Ha!).  They are like the mustard on my hot dog: a non-negotiable element.  Without it, you may as well not even try.  ‘Cause I won’t bite.

Now, before I dive into what those elements are, I should probably tell you how I know about them.  So y’all know I’ve got street cred.  And mad skillz (part of having street cred is always spelling “skillz” with a z).

I’ve been writing for most of my life.  I sold my first paying work when I was fifteen.  Going to college, I won a bunch of creative writing scholarships and awards.  Then I became a lawyer, where my job involved mostly (wait for it!) writing.

Oh, yeah, and somewhere along the way I became a produced screenwriter, member of the Writers Guild of America (which is statistically harder to do than it is to become a professional baseball player), and a published novelist.  Throughout all this, I had a book that I really liked, called RUN.  And though I had done all the above, no book publisher would touch RUN with a ten foot cattle prod.  Largely, I suspect, because it was very hard to figure out how to market it: it was a sci-fi/suspense/horror/thriller/apocalyptic novel with romantic elements.  There is no shelf for that at Barnes & Noble.

But I believed in the book, dangit!  So I researched around, and discovered self-publishing through Amazon’s Kindle service.  I decided I didn’t have much to lose, since RUN was just sitting on a shelf anyway, so decided to try my hand at self-publishing an e-book on Kindle. 

Within a few months, RUN became a bestseller, topping Amazon’s sci-fi chart, and eventually becoming the #61 item available for Kindle, out of over ten million books, games, puzzles, and blogs.  I also published a young adult fantasy called Billy: Messenger of Powers which has hovered on various genre bestseller lists on Amazon for the better part of a year now.  And followed those up with another e-book, and another, and another.  Some of the others became bestsellers, some didn’t.  But all have made money, and all have increased my fan base.

Now I don’t say this to brag, but I want you to understand I know a bit whereof I speak.  Through the process, I have learned the ins and outs of Kindle publishing (and e-publishing in general), learning as much from what didn’t work as from what did.  And that’s why I’ve come up with these four important things to do:

 1)  Make a kickin’ cover

This is one place where approximately 99% of self-published authors get it wrong.  Look at most self-published books, and they look less professional.  And like it or not, a lot of people go strictly off the cover.  You have about ten seconds to wow them with your cool cover before they click the button and move on to another book.  For the Kindle edition of Billy: Messenger of Powers, I spent days upon days designing the cover.  Everything from the cover image, to the typeface, to the composition of the elements.  It was critical.  And it paid off.  Same for RUN, and another of my books, Rising Fears, all of which have been praised for the fact that the covers are interesting enough to “hook” readers.  Some of my other covers aren’t as effective, or as professional looking, unfortunately.  And guess what?  They also don’t sell as well.

2)  Market yourself

Here’s a fact of life in general: people generally don’t give you things for free.  You have to earn them.  And that includes getting people to read your work.  When I wrote Billy, I spent over a month designing a website (www.whoisbillyjones.com) that was interesting, conveyed a message about the book, and had a look and feel that I felt would intrigue people and make them want to find out more.  Same with the website for RUN (www.seehowtheyrun.net).  And my own website, michaelbrentcollings.com, took even longer.  But that was only the start.  I also had a Facebook “fan” page, a Twitter feed, and did the rounds of book and genre conventions.  Not to mention doing interviews, podcasts, guest blogs, and generally talking to anyone and everyone who would listen.  You have to do more than write a book.  You have to create an event.

 3)  Have a grabby description

 “What do you do when everyone you know – family, friends, everyone – is trying to kill you?  You RUN.”

 That is the description on amazon.com for my book RUN.  Two sentences that I spent an extremely long time writing.  Like the cover of your book, the production description is something that has to grab people, reel them in, and not let them go.  Some self-published authors think the best way to get someone to read their work is to describe every jot and tittle.  But in reality, the secret isn’t information, it’s captivation.  You have to intrigue your (prospective) readers.  You have to leave them with serious questions that they want answered.  Describing what your book is about is less important than creating a specific feeling in the mind and heart of your audience: the feeling that they will be better off reading your book than not.

 4)  Write something worth reading

 This may seem obvious, but the fact of the matter is you have to have something pretty darn special.  I’m not saying this to depress anyone: I firmly believe that most people have great stories in them, and have the potential to learn how to tell them.  But make no mistake, it is something that takes practice, dedication, and perspiration.  Writing is a skill.  It is a discipline.  Anyone can knock out a sentence or two.  But getting those sentences to grab a complete stranger to the point that he or she is willing to fork over hard-earned cash to read them is another matter.  Let alone getting them to like the sentences enough that they want to tell their friends to spend their hard-earned cash on them.  Again, I really do believe that most people have it in them to do this.  But I also believe just as stridently that to get to that point takes practice, practice, and more practice.  I have spent thousands of hours learning how to write … and I continue to learn.  Any author who wants to charm people into buying his or her work has to be willing to put in the effort to make it happen.  Because without the skill to back up your work, no matter how good your basic ideas are, they probably won’t sell.  There are exceptions (that’s right, Twilight), but for the most part a book has to be extraordinarily well-written in order to get people to buy it. 

That’s not to say that everyone will like your book.  Some people don’t like RUN, or Billy: Messenger of Powers.  Or Harry Potter or anything by Stephen King or even the bestselling book of all time (the Bible).  But if you don’t care enough to develop your writing skills in service of your storytelling, you can bet that few (if any) will like it at all.

And so…

… there you have it, folks.  Again, I think most people have interesting stories to tell.  But without doing the four things above, the great story will probably sit quietly in a dark corner of your closet.  And that, my friends, is no fun at all.

Michaelbrent Collings is the author of Billy: Messenger of Powers, RUN, and several other bestsellers (all available at amazon.com), and has also written and sold screenplays for Hollyweird.  He can be followed on Twitter at @mbcollings, and has a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Michaelbrent-Collings/283851837365?ref=ts, and you can also check him out at michaelbrentcollings.com

 

 
 

Law of Attraction by Michael J. Losier

As a person who believes in the power of positive thinking and winning friends and influencing people, I really enjoyed this book.

It took a number of principles I believe in, and practice, and expounded upon them in a way that allows me to practice them more faithfully and enthusiastically.

I especially liked Losier’s suggestion to make a list of things I don’t like and translate each item on the list into a positive. For example, if I hate my job and want to look for a new one but am not precisely sure what kind of job I’m looking for, I can attract the right job, employer, and situation for me by making a list of what I don’t like and then translating each item into something I DO want; for example:

  • I don’t want a job that involves travel translates into I want a job that requires me to work at one location;
  • I don’t want to work weekends translates into I want a job that requires me to work only on weekdays;
  • I can’t accept less than $20 per hour translates into I must be paid at least $20 per hour.

By focusing only on positives, and not negatives, we train ourselves to be open and look for opportunities rather than being negative and griping about what’s not right.

Losier also suggests that we consciously appreciate and focus on only the things that are going right with our lives, such as:

  • I just heard my favorite song on the radio;
  • The weather is beautiful today;
  • I’m lucky to have a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/child/parent/friend who loves me so much;
  • I’m grateful for my job;
  • Lucky me! I didn’t hit one red light on the way to work this morning!

By focusing on what is going right in our lives, and appreciating our blessings, we radiate positive thoughts and vibrations and attract the same.  You know that old adage about water seeking its own level? That’s what the Law of Attraction is all about.

Another technique I appreciated was focusing on our decisions and what we’re in the process of rather than our lacks. For example:

  • I’ve decided to lose 25 pounds in the next year;
  • I’ve decided I don’t want to be single any more;
  • I am in the process of living a healthier lifestyle;
  • I am in the process of finding a better job.

You owe it to yourself to check into the Law of Attraction.

 

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

 
 
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