moneyLast week I wrote about how slavery is still alive and is a sickness in the world today. (Here’s the Link) There is, however, a different kind that no one really calls slavery and it is much more prevalent today. This type of slavery is called living from paycheck to paycheck. The majority of Americans–8 out of 10–live paycheck to paycheck. There are basically two causes for this type of slavery and that is either not earning enough money or having so many financial obligations that individuals are unable to spend their income in the ways that they want.

Most families have no reserves for emergencies. Fortunately, my husband had the foresight to give us a cushion in case of emergencies. Back in October, my husband became ill and was out of work until January. Most families would have had it extremely rough, but we were fortunate that he had the forethought to have a full six months of his income in reserve for such an emergency.

The solution to the slavery of paycheck to paycheck is simple, but not always easy. You either must spend less or earn more or a combination of the two.

How to Save Money

The most important thing for anyone to do is to try to limit their discretionary spending habits. I am not going to give any specific details on how to do this. I will just say that the place to start is to write down everything that you spend your money on for a month. What spending habits can you change even if it is just temporarily? Write down your monthly bills. Look over your list. Are there any there that you can eliminate or reduce? Are there bills that you could pay using automatic payments that will reduce your rate? Are there payments that you could pay every quarter, every six months or even annually that would save you money as well? Plan your purchases. Don’t buy on credit unless absolutely necessary. The object is to spend less money than you bring in and avoid adding any credit card charges. A great goal that will help you getting out of the slavery of living from paycheck to paycheck is to pay off any credit card balances at the end of each month. Using credit cards isn’t the problem. Having credit is good when you need it.

Seven Ways to Earn More Money

Sometimes, just saving money isn’t enough. Sometimes what’s needed is more income. However, taking the step of getting more income without first getting control of your spending could lead to a being more of a slave than you were in when you made less money. So, once you get control of your bills and know what you have to spend, then you can determine how to make additional income.

Get a Raise

The first way to get additional income is to leverage the experience that you have in your current job. If you have worked hard and done a good job, then asking for a raise might be an option for you.

Get a New Higher Paying Job

Another thing that you could do is to get a promotion or go out and look for a higher paying job.

Get a Second Job

If getting a higher paying job is not possible or you like what you’re doing but it’s not paying the bills, getting a second job might be a better option. However, having two jobs is not always a sustainable option. Burning the candle at both ends can wear a body out, keep you from your family, and can turn you into even more of a slave to working for some else.

Sell Your Excess

Today, more than ever, there are ways to sell the things that you no longer use. Go through your closets and storage areas and garage and go through the stuff that you are just storing and haven’t used in a long time. If you have storage units that
Now find the best places to sell your stuff. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. For most clothes and household items you could have a yard sale and clear things out. You might also consider having a stall in a flea market. You can also sell some things to specialty shops. You can also sell on local Facebook selling sites or on eBay. For bigger things there’s Craig’s list.

Clearing out storage lockers that you are paying rental on not only pays you for what you sell out of them, but it frees up that money to invest.

Invest Wisely

One of the best pieces of financial advice is to invest in yourself. Once you have sold your Excess stuff and closed storage lockers that you no longer need, take the money that you saved and invest it in some way that will pay you back.

Start a Business

The final way to increase your earnings is by starting a business. There is a science and art to starting a business and it is the best way to get free of the slavery of living paycheck to pay check. With starting a business, you will use many of the principles already stated when developing personal finances. The difference between business expenses and personal expenses has to do with the art of utilizing credit. Credit in business should be used for moving your business forward.
Money guru Dave Ramsey has observed that “80 percent of personal finance is behavior” not education. Therefore, make positive financial behavioral changes on a regular basis. Replace bad habits with good ones and set yourself free.

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slave-sale-posting-POn January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln put the Emancipation Proclamation took effect where he freed the slaves forever. However, that day, no slaves were set free. It wasn’t until after the end of the Civil War that through Constitutional amendments, the practice of the slavery of African Americans was finally put into law. Though legally free, many of the struggles of freedom and equality continues to this day.
Unfortunately, slavery still exists to this day in one form or another. According to American professor Kevin Bales, co-founder and former president of Free the Slaves, modern slavery occurs “when a person is under control of another person, who applies violence and force to maintain that control, and the goal of that control is exploitation”. According to this definition, research from the Walk Free Foundation based on its Global Slavery Index 2016 estimated that there were about 45.8 million slaves around the world in 2016, with 58% of them live in India, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan. Of these 45.8 million, it is estimated that around 10 million of these contemporary slaves are children. Bales warned that, because slavery is officially abolished everywhere, the practice is illegal, and thus hidden from public authorities, making it impossible to obtain exact figures.
Modern slavery is a multibillion-dollar industry with estimates of up to $35 billion generated annually. The United Nations estimates that roughly 27 to 30 million individuals are currently caught in the slave trade industry. According to Walk Free Foundation, there were 46 million people worldwide enslaved in 2016 in the form of “human trafficking, forced labor, bondage from indebtedness, forced or servile marriage or commercial sexual exploitation”, with an estimated 18 million of those in India. China is second with 3.4 million, followed by Pakistan (2.1 million), Bangladesh (1.5 million), and Uzbekistan (1.2 million). By percentages of the population living in slavery Uzbekistan tops with 4% of its population living under slavery followed by Cambodia (1.6%), India, (1.4%) and Qatar (1.4%). 4.3% of the population of Mauritania remains enslaved.
Slavery also exists in advanced democratic nations, for example the UK suggested 10,000 to 13,000 victims in December 2015. This includes, forced work of various kinds, such as forced prostitution. The UK has recently made an attempt to combat modern slavery via the Modern Slavery Act 2015. Large commercial organizations are now required to publish a slavery and human trafficking statement in regard to their supply chains for each financial year.

Causes

So why is there still slavery? Modern slavery is a by-product of poverty. Countries lacking sufficient public education, economic freedom, the rule of law, and societal structure create an environment that fosters the acceptance and propagation of slavery. Slave-owners only have to pay for sustenance and enforcement so slavery is an attractive investment because paid laborers demand more than just sustenance. Modern slavery can be quite profitable and corrupt governments tacitly allow it, despite it being outlawed by international treaties such as Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery and local laws. Total annual revenues of traffickers were estimated in 2004 to range from US $5 billion to US $9 billion. American slaves in 1809 were sold for around the equivalent of $40,000 in today’s money. Today, a slave can be bought for $90.

Slavery in contemporary Africa

Slavery in contemporary Africa is the form most often associated with the word “slavery”. It stems historically from either conquest, where a conquered person is enslaved, as in the Roman Empire, or from slave raiding, as in the Atlantic slave trade or Arab slave trade.

Debt bondage

Millions of people today work as bonded laborers. The cycle begins when people take extreme loans under the condition that they must work off the debt. The “loan” is designed so that it can never be paid off and is often passed down for generations. This form of slavery is prevalent in South Asia. People become trapped in this system working ostensibly towards repayment though they are often forced to work past the original amount they owe. They work under the force of threats and abuse. Their helplessness is reinforced due to the large power differential between the “creditor” and the “debtor”.

Forced migrant labor

Some people are enticed to migrate to a country with the promise of work, only to have their documents seized and are forced to work under the threat of violence to them or their families. Undocumented immigrants may also be taken advantage of. Without legal residency, they often have no recourse to the law. Along with sex slavery, this is the form of slavery most often encountered in wealthy countries such as the United States, in Western Europe, and in the Middle East.

Sex slavery

Along with migrant slavery, forced prostitution is the form of slavery most often encountered in wealthy regions such as the United States, in Western Europe, and in the Middle East. It is the primary form of slavery in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. Many child sex slaves are trafficked from these areas to the West and the Middle East. An estimated 22% of slaves to date are active in the sex industry.

Early or forced marriage

In the culture in certain regions, early or forced marriage is a form of slavery that affects millions of women and girls all over the world. When families cannot support their children, the daughters are often married off to the males of wealthier, more powerful families. These men are often significantly older than the girls. The females are forced into lives whose main purpose is to serve their husbands. This fosters the environment for physical, verbal and sexual abuse.

Child labor

Children comprise about 26% of today’s slavery. Most are domestic workers or work in cocoa, cotton or fishing industries. Many are trafficked and sexually exploited. In war-torn countries, children have been kidnapped and sold to political parties to use as child soldiers. Forced child labor is the dominant form of slavery in Haiti.

Occupations

Modern slaves are often forced to work in certain occupations. Common occupations included construction, laying driveways, car washing, domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, cosmetic bars, and teenagers are trafficked from Vietnam to work on illegal cannabis farms.

Signs that someone may have been forced into slavery include a lack of identity documents, lack of personal possessions, clothing that is unsuitable or has seen much wear, poor living conditions, a reluctance to make eye contact, unwillingness to talk, and unwillingness to seek help.

Governmental efforts against slavery

The governments credited with the strongest response to modern slavery are the Netherlands, the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, Portugal, Croatia, Spain, Belgium, Germany and Norway.
In contrast, the governments accused of taking the least action against it are North Korea, Iran, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Hong Kong, Central African Republic, Papua New Guinea, Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.
What can we do about slavery around the world?
Start with this website: End Slavery Now http://www.endslaverynow.org/connect
Become a Modern-day Abolitionist: http://www.freedomcenter.org/get-involved


 

Imacon Color Scanner

Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812

 

This month we have gone over how I will be developing plot, primary characters, and secondary characters of the yet unnamed novel that I will be writing this November for NaNoWriMo in November. Now we are going to discuss the other main aspect of a book and that is setting.

What I know About the Place and Time

In a screen play, the setting and time are separated, but in my novels, I combine the time with the setting. In my yet unnamed book, I know my setting and that is Erie County, Pennsylvania in 1812 through 1815. I grew up in that county, so I know the terrain. The difference, of course, would be how man has changed certain aspects of the area and how people did things differently back then. The trees were old growth trees, some so big that it took two men to put their arms around them. The house I grew up in had been built around 1860 from old growth timber. The sawn lumber produced wide boards and you could see the two-man saw marks on many of the marks the handsaw made in at lumber. The stairs going up to the second story was and is still held together with square-headed blacksmith nails. It is not hard to imagine going back a few years further and imagining before when the houses were log cabins built using the same two-man saws and wooden pins holding puncheon logs together.
At the time, the growing villages of Erie and Waterford were starting to develop into sizable communities. Some of the homes in the area were already built as stick rather than log houses. It is a little-known fact that in Erie at the time, street lamps were already using natural gas to light up the muddy village streets.
A ship yard had been developed in early. During the War of 1812, President James Madison ordered the construction of a naval fleet at Erie to regain control of Lake Erie. Shipbuilders Daniel Dobbins of Erie and Noah Brown of New York led construction of four schooner-rigged gunboats and two brigs. Oliver Hazard Perry arrived from Rhode Island to command the squadron. His fleet successfully fought the British in the historic Battle of Lake Erie, which was the decisive victory that solidified United States control of the Great Lakes.

In addition, wild animals still prowled the area. Families worked hard and the fear of Indian attack was still a possibility.

The Back-drop for Character Activity

These pictures of life in this part of the Great Lakes Region give a back drop for the characters and events that I develop in this book that I plan to write in November. In the meantime, I have two other books to develop and ready for publishing as well as eleven other books to promote. I will let you know more about this book after I finish the first draft in November.

Read the Locket Saga

The Locket Saga 5 books

Have you read the books of the Locket Saga? In the first book: When God Turned His Head, Kanter starts the tradition by giving the locket to Drusilla. From that time on, the Locket was passed down from bride to bride. Join the Tradition, read the books of The Locket Saga and discover what all the fuss is about.
Available on Kindle https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007SM23IK
Available in Print http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cygnetbrown

More from Cygnet Brown

Also read my guest blog post on Pam Young’s Blog

The Journey of a Self-Publisher is Paved with Good Intentions (5)

https://skatingthru2012.com/2018/05/27/i-could-find-ways-to-make-things-happen-on-my-own/

 

 


The Plight of the Unnamed Crew Member

galaxy quest

The Crew of Galaxy Quest with the unnamed crew member on the far right back of picture

Last week we discussed the main characters which include the protagonist, antagonist, and the love interest (Haven’t Read it? Here’s the Link) In addition to a protagonist, antagonist, and love interest, there are other characters in the story and these are called secondary characters. What you don’t want for secondary characters is what I call the “unnamed crew member” in other words, you don’t want too many of those people who are only there to serve the protagonist and antagonist. If you’ve ever seen Galaxy Quest, you’ll probably remember the plight of the unnamed crewmember is vaporized at the beginning of the episode to indicate that the idyllic planet that they were on was not so idyllic.

Secondary Characters are Not Just Props for the Main Characters

It is too easy to use secondary characters as simple props for the main characters. You wouldn’t want someone using you for their own gains, and I don’t think that secondary characters like being used that way either. Therefore, just as you develop the protagonist, antagonist, and love interests, you want to develop their sidekicks as well.
So how do you do that? To develop secondary characters, I create character sketches and work to get inside of their heads.

How to Develop a Character Sketch

A character sketch is a document that tells the physical, emotional, mental and social aspects of a character. It takes you from telling about the character and actually getting inside of his head.

What goes into a secondary character’s sketch? To create a character sketch, you want to have a number of things that you know about this character. First, you want to know a little about this person’s physical appearance, but you want go a little deeper than what color hair, how tall, and the color of their eyes. Does this person have any scars? How did he or she get it? Was the protagonist or antagonist there when it happened? Do they have any other physical defining characteristics? Did he or she have an illness as a child or older that caused other physical defects, limps or whatever? Does this person have any bad habits like smoking or drinking too much? How does this person relate to the protagonist and antagonist? If the protagonist is controlling, how does the sidekick relate? Does he feel intimidated? Does he resent the main character’s control over him? What is his or her history with the protagonist/antagonist/love interest? Have they always known one another or how did they meet? What kinds of things did they do together in the past? The more well-rounded you can get your secondary characters, the more well-rounded your story will become.

Read the Locket Saga

The Locket Saga 5 books

 

Have you read the books of the Locket Saga? In the first book: When God Turned His Head, Kanter starts the tradition by giving the locket to Drusilla. From that time on, the Locket was passed down from bride to bride. Join the Tradition, read the books of The Locket Saga and discover what all the fuss is about.

(Have you read Book III of the Locket Saga: A Coward’s Solace? If not, a copy May 22-28, 2018 at a discount.)

Available on Kindle https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007SM23IK
Available in Print http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cygnetbrown


prince madoc

Every story has its main characters. The protagonist is the good guy and the antagonist is the bad guy. In a romance novel there is also the love interest.

The Protagonist

I think the protagonist will be Joseph McCray, Elizabeth and Phillip’s youngest son. He is very much like his brothers and sisters. He is like his mother in that he likes adventure, so he goes with his Cousin Jonathan Mayford to Erie to work at the shipyard building the Great Lakes Fleet.

The Antagonist

If you haven’t noticed, most of The Locket Saga series does not have a lot of antagonists per se. If there could be an antagonist in most of the series, it would be the environment or perhaps the friction between the future bride and groom. Even the two books that are coming up, Two Rivers and Sunrise on the Mississippi don’t have any other antagonist than the environment and the struggle preventing the couple from being together. It is not that I don’t think they are good stories. I do, but I want to change that for the book that I write in November. I want to include a real villain.

In The Anvil, I put James in as a pseudo-antagonist where Robert thought that James and Judith had a love relationship, but that was an illusion. For this story, I want a real antagonist. Perhaps I could have a British spy set out to destroy the Niagara. This person could be someone who has an interest in the protagonist’s girl who finds the other guy charming, or maybe not. I will have to keep you guessing throughout the book. Don’t you think?

The Love Interest

So, who should this love interest be? If she is anything like the other female love interests of the series, she is a hardy female. No matter what situation she finds herself in she can handle the situation and the man at her side. She is sure of herself. She doesn’t accept the female stereotype of fragile female. Not even Lowri, the noblewoman of Sailing under the Black Flag, was able to stand up for herself.
The girl of this story also probably lives at the port in Erie. Imagine a girl living in a town along one of the Great Lakes knowing that at any time, the enemy, who’s territory is just across Lake Erie, could invade the secluded town. This, of course is just how I see this story might unfold. I won’t even be doing the character sketches until October.

Read the Locket Saga

The Locket Saga 5 books

Have you read the books of the Locket Saga? In the first book: When God Turned His Head, Kanter starts the tradition by giving the locket to Drusilla. From that time on, the Locket was passed down from bride to bride. Join the Tradition, read the books of The Locket Saga and discover what all the fuss is about.
Available on Kindle https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007SM23IK
Available in Print http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cygnetbrown


the enemyHave you ever wondered what it takes to write one of the books in the Locket Saga? Because each book is part of a family dynamic, I already have the already in place for the characters, I must decide the plot. In determining the plot, I first decide what events I want to cover in the book.

Research Begins with Curiosity

I get inspiration for my books from actual history. I like reading history and our country is rich in history that we never are exposed to in school so its easy for me to find a story that I want to share in future stories of the Locket Saga.

Setting Up for Future Stories in the Locket Saga

In Book VII of the Locket Saga, Two Rivers, I decided that I wanted to have two of the cousins Isaac Thorton and Andrew Mayford go down the Ohio River with Meriwether Lewis as he forms the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Isaac goes up river with the expedition. I had been curious to know about the details of the expedition and was fortunate enough to find an online site that not only told the adventure from one view point, but from the viewpoints of numerous members of the expedition party. The plot for this book, not only sets up this story, but also the plot for the next book which I have the first draft written called Sunrise on the Mississippi where Andrew becomes the first person to pilot a steamboat down the Mississippi. By sending Andrew down the Mississippi into Natchez, I am setting set up a southern branch to the family in preparation for the saga continuing through the Civil War.
The book after that will be the book that I will work on next during NaNoWriMo. I am not exactly sure yet what the plot will be, but I have some ideas from history for developing this plot. I have decided that the story will happen during the War of 1812. There’s a lot of cool history for the part of Pennsylvania where the families were living. There’s the fact that Chief Cornplanter comes out of the woods and no one is certain whether he is at this point a friend or an enemy because during the Revolution, the Seneca were on the side of the British. There’s the fact that Jonathan Mayford had been on a ship during the Revolution and that many of the young men of the revolution were the heroes of the War of 1812. The fact that he knows something about ship building from his father and that his relatives don’t live that far from Erie, Pennsylvania, port where battles on Lake Erie originated was, makes Erie a great setting for the story.
So, I have a lot of subplot material, but I haven’t yet determined yet who will get the locket, or the love story involved. This is what I need to develop before including it as a blog post. This needs more development. This I will show how this will develop during the next blog post.

The Locket Saga Series

The Locket Saga 5 books

 

Have you read the books already published in the Locket Saga? In the first book: When God Turned His Head, Kanter starts the tradition by giving the locket to Drusilla. From that time on, the Locket was passed down from bride to bride. Join the Tradition, read the books of the Locket Saga and discover what all the fuss is about.

 

Available on Kindle https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007SM23IK

Available in Print http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cygnetbrown

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