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Monthly Archives: July 2015


What should I do now?

What should I do now?

Can you believe it? Here it is the end of July already. Already many of us who have children are taking them back to the stores to get their back-to-school clothes. It seems as though summer just started and already we can see some of the leaves on the trees starting to change. Where did the time go?

July’s Affirmation: “I posture for Success”

Finished A Second Draft of a future publication

This month, I have worked diligently on the completion of Book V of the Locket Saga: In The Shadow of the Mill Pond which is a whodunit set in the backdrop of the whiskey rebellion of the 1790s in the then frontier town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
I finished adding the final words of the 80k on July 26 which was five days ahead of schedule.

Planning For My Book Launch in August

In addition to adding 30k to my manuscript, I have also been researching about book marketing and have spent the planning for my book launch of my next book Book III of the Locket Saga: A Coward’s Solace. This launch will occur August 29 at 1pm Saturday afternoon at the Oregon County Local Food Producers and Artisans Cooperative.
Much of the work on the launch has been done during the last week of this month. The execution of those plans will occur throughout the month of August.

Planning to Start a Writer’s Club

Another project that I have been working on is that I am getting ready to start a writer’s club here. As far as I know, there are no writer’s clubs in this area and I wanted to be in a writer’s group so I decided that I would start it. I have the place and time set for Monday, August 31 at 7pm also at the cooperative. My major challenge will be getting the word out there so that writers around here will know that this is for them.

Looking ahead to August

In August, I will be implementing the plans I made this month. At the same time, I am going to be fighting one of my biggest fears which is the fear of rejection. Every day in August, I will do at least one small thing that I am afraid to do that is related either to the book launch or the writer’s club meeting.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon. Click here for more information about Cygnet Brown and her books.

 

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Is Tolerance Equal to Real Love?

BeliefBreedsIntolerance
Tolerance is related to Apathy and is selfish in nature. When we tolerate certain behaviors from others, we are saying that because it doesn’t relate to us personally, we let it go. An unbeliever will tell a Christian that it is his or her life and that it is none of their business what they do as long as they do not harm another person. However, what the person asking for tolerance is asking is that the Christian overlook sin and all sin is harmful not just to the individual, but to everyone around them, even if that harm is not obvious to anyone.

An Inclusive but Intolerant Creator

Our Creator is inclusive to a point. He desires that we all should be saved from the future judgement that the rebellious demons of hell will have to face. However, the salvation can only be on the terms that he created.
According to Romans 3:23,”all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Then in Romans 6:23 it goes on to say. “the wages of sin is (eternal) death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.”
God the Father sent his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for us so that we can choose to live with him for eternity. Jesus Christ willfully gave his sinless life so that our sinful lives could spend eternity with our Creator. The catch is, we have to believe that what he did, he did for us. We have to come to the terms that he has given us eternal life. We have to recognize that He is right and we are wrong. We have to recognize that we have willfully gone against his plan for our lives. When we recognize that, we are finally able to go on and do what it is that he has not only called us to do in this lifetime, but also in our eternal life with him.
God is slow to anger, but he cannot tolerate sin for long and judgement does eventually come to everyone. In Revelation, it talks about a final white throne judgement where God judges the entire world system and those involved in that world’s system. Everyone at that judgement will be condemned to the lake of fire forever.

Not Tolerating Blind Tolerance

Eternal damnation is not something that I am willing to tolerate for anyone. Am I going to point out a specific sin and say that these people are going to Hell? No, I am not the judge. God is the judge. However God did say that everyone has sin and that’s what I say too. I John 1:8 it says, “if we say we have no sin, then we do not know the truth either.”
My message is not to condemn anyone for their sins, but to introduce them to the only one that can bring truth and salvation from our sins. In John 14:6-7 Jesus Christ said, “I am the way , the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me. If you have known me, you have known the Father, also: and henceforth, you have known him and seen him.”

IMG_8330 final copy

 

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon. Click here for more information about Cygnet Brown and her books.


Planning My Book Launch

What should I do now?

What should I do now?

I have been working lately on my book launch. I have been creating one list of individual that I want to email to invite to my book launch and creating another list of individuals to ask to guest blog for me. I also have a list of individuals or organization to request an appearance or interview, I want to individualize each of these invitations or requests. I want to let each one know why I have chosen them.
Although I want to personalize each email that I send to people that I want to get involved in my book publishing venture, I also want to begin the process by creating a template with the basic information that I want to be certain to send to each recipient. It is important to remember who, what, where, when, why. I need to be certain that there is consistency of this information on every email or letter that I send.

Writing Press Releases

I may not need Superman, but a guy like Clark Kent comes in handy when you want others to know about your book.

I may not need Superman, but a guy like Clark Kent comes in handy when you want others to know about your book.

I need to start writing my Press releases and sending them to the media and posting on social media online. Press releases  need to be standardized, but, at the same time, they also should be personalized to the recipient. For instance, I live here in Missouri, but I grew up in northwestern Pennsylvania. I want to be certain that not only do I need to be prepared to send a press release to the local newspapers and radio stations here, but I will want to be prepared with a press release to send to Pennsylvania with specifics that relate to area and my connection with that area.
Creating a Phone Script
My favorite mode of communication is writing, not speaking on the phone. However, in many cases where I have sent emails, I may have to follow up with a phone call. Again, each call will need to be personalized, but a phone script can also help ensure that all of the information that I want to relay to the person I have called is relayed and I don’t forget anything.
By creating a template phone script for specific types of contacts will help me stay on track when I call each contact. By phoning related calls at the same time, I can also build momentum with each call that I make.
Making A List And Checking It Twice, make that Thrice
This month, I have been making a series of lists. From the first list, I have created subsequent lists. I have a list of marketing ideas. I have a list of sales ideas. I have lists related to each item on the marketing ideas lists.
I have specific markets that I want to hit. I also have specific places that I want to sell my books. In addition, I have a list of people that I want to know about and potentially attend my book launch. On that list of individuals there are also groups of people that I want to research further.
From these lists I build a database of places and individuals that I am able to talk to about my book. It certainly beats going door to door.

Starting A Writer’s Group

In addition to my book launch, in August I intend to start a local writer’s group. I have been talking about starting one for several months now, however, I have finally decided to take the plunge.
I recently set the date for the writers group.  August 31 will be that first meeting. I think that the first thing that we will do at the meeting is fill out a form (that I will create) in which write down what genres that we plan to write in, what each of us hopes to get out of the writers group, and what expertise each of us feels that we bring to the group, our writing strengths, and our weaknesses. In addition, we could include on that list who we know who might be willing to speak to the group as well as our wish list of individuals who would like to hear speak to our group about writing. (Remember, skype!) We will then introduce ourselves and we will discuss what we have written on our papers. Since it will be the organizational meeting, I have will have us elect officers (except President, this year, I will be president because I am the original organizer. Next year however, we will open that position as well). Also, I was thinking about perhaps naming the writers group something more creative than The Oregon County Writers Group.
I was thinking about possibly speaking myself at this first meeting about the online writing platform and how I would suggest someone could start or improve their online platform very quickly by including book reviews (related to their genre) into their blogs (every active blog should have at least a weekly post so they might consider writing one review per month.)

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon. Click here for more information about Cygnet Brown and her books.


Sexism and Racism

Ozarks Hillbilly

This past week I had the privilege of taking with some women who had similar views concerning social justice issues that I have. We talked about racial issues, gender issues, poverty and history. The American Civil War was the major catalyst of the conversation. We talked about racism and sexism and how unfortunately both are alive and well in this country. we talked about how much of the culture here still hold to the idea that somehow white Anglo Saxon males were still the Lord and master.

The Ozarks Stereotype

Part of what we talked about was how people from other parts of the country view people from the Ozarks. What comes to your mind when you think of the Ozarks? My guess is that when you think of the Ozarks, you might think about the characters from the television show the Beverly Hill Billies, or the characters in the movie Winter’s Bones (Won an Academy Award), or possibly the characters in the book Weight of Blood. Individuals of the Ozarks are often portrayed as poorly educated, clannish, and often bigoted red-necked, white trash who drink home- brewed moonshine, take meth and sit on the rocker on the front porch waiting for their government checks to arrive.

Ozarks Quilt

Homemade Crafts and Grandma’s Home Cooking And Good Music

Another face of the Ozarks are homemade crafts. Crafts around here include homemade quilts, hand knitted and crocheted items, hand spun and woven materials, artisan woodwork. Blacksmithing and farriering are both still practiced in the area.

The food around here is stick-to-your-ribs good. Breakfast wouldn’t be breakfast without homemade pork sausage and biscuits and gravy. Lunches and dinners might involve barbecued beef, chicken or pork or even fried chicken served with mashed potatoes and country gravy with a vegetable for a side. This time of year, dessert is likely to include fresh picked blackberries in a cobbler with homemade ice cream.

elevenpoint

Recreational activities usually revolve around hunting, fishing, or canoeing. After a good day at the river or hiking in the woods, you would understand why the sidewalks roll up after five pm in the small Ozarks communities. You are too tired to think about going out.

The face of the Ozarks would not be complete without a word or two about the music. the instruments played in Ozarks music has included drums, guitars, fiddles, and at times a ceramic jug. Just south of where I am sitting and writing this blog, is the town of Mammoth Springs Arkansas, the inspiration for the Grand Ole Opery. One of the biggest towns in this area, West Plains has a street named after Porter Waggoner a pioneer in country music.

Porter_wagoner

Porter Wagoner in 1999

The Future Face of The Ozarks

Recently,  I witnesses a new face in the Ozarks. I had the privilege of sitting in on The Oregon County Youth Council meeting (Oregon county, by the way is currently the poorest county in Missouri) where a group of enterprising high school students are looking to make the county a better place to live. Last night’s discussion was about starting a weekly county newspaper. Although six other papers (5 weeklies, 1 daily) service the county, they do not adequately serve the county. Because of the cost of the project, the group determined that it would be better to begin by creating an online paper and forgo the cost of printing on paper for the time being.

Already this summer, the youth council has sponsored two movie events in a local park where they paid a band to come in before the movie and play for the participants. In addition, there were games for the kids and most everything was pay as you are able for any who attended. They have another movie event planned for this weekend.

Finally, the County Youth Council plans to help needy students in one under-served school in the county by helping children get school supplies and backpacks. And they are planning to fund and build a self-sustaining tiny house complete with solar power as the first of what they hope will be a community of tiny homes that not only offer housing, but healthy organically grown food as well. The hope of the Ozarks appears to be in good hands.


Crucifixion_Icon_Sinai_13th_century

Last week I talked about how we share in God’s sorrow, but we are able to share in his sorrow because we share in his love. In I Corinthians, chapter 13, in the King James it speaks of charity, but in the Greek the word is agape which means unselfish love that is higher than any other type of love. I think the best illustration of this love, of what agape love is, can be found in the writings of the Apostle John.

In The Gospel of John

, Chapter 17 Jesus prayed to the father. He said that he wanted all of his followers (including future ones) to look to him not just for direction, but for guidance in the same way that he takes His guidance from His Father. He wants us to be one as he and his father are one. He says that if we are one (in his love), then the world will believe.
How sad it is that Christians around the world and especially in the US are more concerned with maintaining the divisions (denominations) than they are at seeing what each sect has in common with one another. Our determination of whether we are Christian or not is: whether or not Christ is Lord of our lives. If we choose not to do what Christ wants for us as believers, then perhaps we should reconsider whether or not we should call ourselves followers of Christ.

The Book of First John

In the book of I John, this same writer tells us that we need to love one another. He says that if we do not love our brother whom we can see, then we cannot love God either. We are lying to ourselves if we say otherwise.
This book also says that God is Love. If God is in us, then we will love one another.

II John

In this book John has a prayer. He prays that the people that he is talking with prosper and be in good health. I pray that for everyone, including those who do not know Christ as I know Christ. To prosper to me includes prospering in knowing Christ, and I wish that for everyone.
My daughter and many of her generation believe that everyone has a right to believe what they want. It’s the philosophy of tolerance. And although we have the right to believe, we do have to face the consequences of what we believe. I can believe that a hurricane coming will not harm me, but if I do not seek shelter, I will get hurt and probably die.
If I am in a canoe on a river and someone warns me that there is a waterfall and that if I don’t get out of the water, I will certainly fall to my death, I shouldn’t want to stay in that water. If I want to survive, then I need to get out.
All of us from the day that we are born are on the river of sin. John 3:16&17 says that Jesus came to draw us out of that river of sin. Each of us has a hurricane headed toward us that if we don’t get out of the way, it will destroy us. Accept the hand that Jesus is offering. Believe that he is and that he rewards those who diligently seek him.

The Revelation

In Revelation 3:7-13 John had a vision and in it Jesus tells him about the Church at Philadelphia, the righteous church that is not under persecution.
This church should be the example in which all Christians should want to be included. The first thing that we must realize is that the name Philadelphia means brotherly love. This church has a little strength and it has kept Christ’s Word, and it has not denied his authority over their lives. To those of this church, to those who overcome the pull of division and Satan, he will make a pillar in God’s Temple. Jesus said that he would write the name of God on him and the name of the city which is New Jerusalem and will write on him Christ’s own new name.

My Thoughts On Aging

Today’s my birthday. Some people get hung up on the fact that they are getting older (It beats the alternative, I always say.) I really don’t worry about getting older even though the calendar says that I am a year older than I was yesterday, I am in fact just a day older than I was yesterday. I do know however that my life here on earth is limited, but when this life here on earth ends, I am assured that I have another, better life waiting for me when I get there. My life here is temporary, but my life there is eternal and age won’t matter anymore. I just hope that I make the most of the time that I have left here and that I will bring a few others with me into His Glory.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon. Click here for more information about Cygnet Brown and her books.


I'd Rather be Writing

I have a tee shirt that I made that says “I Would Rather Be Writing” I have worn this tee shirt when I have been out marketing my book, but I think I am going to stop wearing it. Of course, I would rather be writing, but I really need to market if I want to make any money writing. It is just a fact. All the resistance in the world is not going to change that.
I had a comment on one of my blog posts recently from my friend Bill Holland related to the subject of public book promotion. He said:

“You could post this blog once each week for an entire year, and about 99% of the writers who read it will nod their head in agreement but never do anything you are suggesting. For whatever reason, writers do not like to promote their own books in public. It is a phenomenon that I do not understand but it is very real. Anyway, all great suggestions here.”

I started commenting back, but then I realized that this was a topic that would be better addressed in a blog post rather than simply in a comment.
What I have found is that many of us writers start to believe our own happily ever after stories. We think that somehow we will be discovered and all of our marketing troubles will be over. News flash, they are not.
When I am thinking about waiting to be discovered, a scene in Shrek The Third comes to mind. In that scene, Fiona and the other fairy tale princesses have been captured by Prince Charming and Fiona is trying to figure out how to get out of the prison cell that they are all in. The other princesses assume the position of waiting to be rescued. Fiona’s mother on the other hand determines that they need to take the situation into their own hands and get themselves out of the cell. Like these fairy tale princesses, most writers will be waiting a long time before they are discovered.
Sadly, a lot of the advice that most writers are given is that they need to write the next book in order to get success. However, without marketing, you’ll have not just one book that no one knows about, but two.
A writer who isn’t marketing is likely to complain that they are not getting any sales. They will complain that the market is saturated. Although there are a lot of books on the market, saturation isn’t the real problem. The problem is that the writer has not done marketing its due.
Sure, I could continue to complain that no one is buying my books or I can wait until the publishing prince comes to rescue me from my writing tower, or I can do the things that I know are going to make a difference. I have decided that I am going to do the things that I need to do to make book sales.
I am conducting a book launch. I am writing my own press releases and sending them out. I am scheduling public appearances and radio interviews on my own. I am doing guest blogging. I am scheduling a blog tour.

I am marketing my own books.

 

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon. Click here for more information about Cygnet Brown and her books.

 


rebel flag

Recently, I have been watching Gettysburg and its prequel Gods and Generals on DVD while at the same time, I have been reading the books on which these movies were based. In case you didn’t know, the movie Gettysburg was directed by Ron Maxwell and written by Michael Shaara and was called Killer Angels. Michael had died in 1988, but the movie was produced in 1993. Several years later, Michael’s son Jeff decided to write a prequel (Gods and Generals-in 1996) and a sequel (The Last Full Measure-1998). These books too were made into movies.
Gettysburg and the other two books were, of course, all about the individuals who participated in the American Civil War. What I especially like about the books and movies is idea of getting inside their heads and understanding the war from each participant’s viewpoint.
One of the participants in the movie was Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, a professor turned colonel. He grew up in Maine and was well acquainted with the abolitionist movement and he is in the war to free the slaves.
Another participant is Robert E. Lee. His primary reason for being the commanding officer of the Confederate army was that he was fighting because the United States was sending troops against other American States and he felt that was morally wrong.
In scene in Gettysburg, Thomas Chamberlain, Joshua Lawrence’s younger brother was talking with two rebel prisoners and they asked him why he was fighting the war. He said. “to free the Negro, of course.” One of the rebels stated what he was fighting for had nothing to do with the ‘darkies’ (as he called them) but that he was fighting for his rights.
At the same time that I have been watching the movies and reading the books, there has been that issue in Charleston concerning the Rebel flag and that it is being taken down because of how it offends many African Americans.
The removal of the rebel flag from the courthouse in Charleston was prompted by the incident where nine black church members were killed by a white gunman who allegedly expressed racist sentiments. The massacre prompted many in the state to question whether the flag’s presence on public property delivered a not-so-subtle message of bigotry. It led to permanently taking down the rebel flag that hung over the Charleston Court House.

I have to wonder if this symbol doesn’t represent something else that many of us Americans value–our civil rights.
Before I get any hate comments about what I am about to say, I just want to say that I believe that slavery is wrong and that none of my immediate ancestors were slave owners. All of my ancestors lived in the North or still lived in Europe at the time. There is evidence (though circumstantial) that some of them may have been conductors on the Underground Railroad. Racial slurs make me cringe and I am against bigotry.
That said, I can understand why after over 150 years, people still cling to the Rebel flag. To them, it more than represents the old south that supported slavery. The rebel flag represents to them the ideas that our founding fathers had concerning not only States’ rights, but individual rights as well. Over the years as our government has become more and more centralized, States have lost many of the powers that they have had to govern themselves as they saw fit. Many now fear that centralized government will give way to something that they feel is even more sinister, globalized government.
In authoring and publishing my books the way I do, I can identify with the Rebel flag’s standard bearer. As a self-published author, I too like my freedom and I like the fact that I can do as I see fit when I publish my work. I don’t have anyone else telling me how to write what I write. I write the stories that I want to tell. I get to keep most of what I earn when I write and I like that. I want to keep those rights as long as possible.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon. Click here for more information about Cygnet Brown and her books.

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