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Monthly Archives: May 2016


Today’s Gardening Subject is Bugs.

caterpillar-garden-insect

Should you or should you not kill this caterpillar?

Before you start running away screaming in the night, It’s time we realized that–

Not All Bugs in the Garden Are Bad

Not all insects in the garden are bad.I know that may surprise a lot of people who keep a can of pesticide handy every time them see a bug, but the truth is, there are a number of good bugs.Just because you see a bug crawling on your tomato plants, does not mean that you have to run screaming for the insecticide.

Although it is true that many of the insects on your plants are herbivores (meaning they eat plants), some insects are not on your plants to eat the plants. These insects might instead be predators which means they eat other insects. They might instead be what are known as scavengers. In other words, they could be read more

Top Ten Garden Insect Pests of the US and How to Control Them Organically

Now that you know that not all bugs in the garden are pests, you still shouldn’t head for the insecticide. Insecticides are toxic not only to the bad bugs, but to the good bugs, your pets, you and your children. That’s why it makes sense to try to use safe nontoxic organic methods of controlling garden pests. Here are the top ten pests and how you can combat them read more

How to Get Rid of Garden Pests Organically Video

Here’s a YouTube Video with a couple other suggestions for getting rid of garden pests.

 

For Even more information about ways to get rid of bugs in your garden, check out my FREE e-book Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available on Kindle, Nook, PDF and more, click here

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has  published a 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, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


Cover of Sailing Under the Black Flag

Cover of Sailing Under the Black Flag

Tuesday, I took you through what I do to produce a book. It took me a long time to tweak the process that I now use to produce my books. I must confess that my marketing plan, especially online has not been what I would like it to be, so lately I have been studying marketing tactics and strategies.

Gone are the days of the idea portrayed in the movie Field of Dreams where if you build it, they will come. Build a book and without marketing, my books could sit on the proverbial e-bookshelf for months.Gone too are the days, for most writers anyway, when when traditional  publishers whisk authors out of obscurity, give them huge advances on their first novels and give them the publicity tour of their dreams. I have talked to enough authors to know that I prefer the Indie author route, hard though it may be, anyway.. I have determined that if I need to do most of the marketing myself, I am going to get more of the pay than I would have if I looked for a publisher to publish my books.

Book Marketing Starts with the Book

One of the first considerations in book marketing must begin with the book itself including the cover. One important thing to remember about the cover is that the title has to be prominent. Part of the reason for this is that the book cover can be as small as thumbprint size on some sites and being able to read this title will be vital. Another important consideration on the book cover is my biography and the book description. Not only do we want an exciting description to hook the reader into the book, but it helps to consider SEO as well so that when people are looking for my type of book, the reader will easily be able to find it.

Inside the book, marketing continues not only for this specific book where you encourage readers to review the book and share it with their friends on social media, but also previous books through back of the book advertising and for future books by encouraging the reader to connect with me through my social media, my website, and my newsletter.

Before My Next Book Launches

There is a lot marketing work that can and should be done prior to a book launch. Part of that marketing includes making people aware in your social network (through social media) that you are going to be launching another book. Part of that pre-launch activity that I have started doing for my upcoming book Sailing under the Black Flag is to ask my social network which book cover design they prefer. I started with ten potential covers, reduced it to three and chose the final cover.

In addition, I need continue increasing my network, particularly influencers and other authors is something that I need to work on prior to the e-book launch.

Paperback Book Launch

Once upon a time in traditional book marketing history, books came out first as hard cover books, then as paperbacks. Now books are more likely to come out as paperbacks and e-books. Some authors start by publishing e-books first, and follow with paperbacks, but I prefer to start with the paperback and then do the e-book. Part of the reason has to do with timing. Usually, I find myself finishing the editing process just before a major summer or autumn event and I like to have physical copies of my print book available at those events. This year is no different.  I intend to have copies of Sailing under the Black Flag available for Corry Fest in June. In addition, I will contact book reviewers to see if they would be willing to read and review a pdf book while I am waiting for the print books to come in. In return for their review, I will then give them print copies of the book for reviewing the book.

E-book Launch on Amazon

I create the print book for live events, but I tend to publish e-books for online sales. Here’s my plan for the e-book launch. Prior to the e-book launch of Sailing under the Black Flag, I am going to complete the KDP select promotions that I have on my other books leading up to the e-book launch. I will have a couple of weeks between each promotion. I will promote them on all of my promotional sites. Once the In addition, I will be doing a presale of Sailing under the Black Flag on Kindle prior to the launch on Amazon. Once the book is out on e-book, I will then complete my promotion on KDP select for that book.

Wide E-book Launch

Once the e-book has completed its promotional obligation on Amazon, I will give it what is called a “wide launch” this means that I will put it out in other formats other than the format used on Amazon. For this I will be using Smashwords because Smashwords not only offers to create the various e-book formats, but they distribute to the various distribution sites as well.Over the next several weeks I will be sharing this experience with all my readers. I hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has  published a 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, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

 


Return_of_the_Prodigal_Son_1667-1670_MurilloControversial Passages?

I have been saying that God created light, but that darkness already existed. I used the verses in Genesis one to show that God created light and then separated the light from the darkness. The verses didn’t say that he created the darkness. The verse says nothing about the idea that he made darkness, but in this passage, he separated the light from the darkness. Evil is always associated with darkness because it was not part of God’s light or what he creates because all that he creates (as it says in Genesis one) is good. I put this idea to a Bible study that I attend, and the idea wasn’t well received, however, several other people that I approached who also knew the Bible understood my stance.

One of my friends from the Bible study said that she had recently read that God created evil and darkness. She pointed out the verse–Isaiah 45:7 which says “I form the light and create darkness. I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.”

And yet I John 1:5 says, “This then is the message which we heard of him (Jesus Christ) and declare unto you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all.”

These two verses seem to contradict one another, but do they really?

Let’s first look at Isaiah 45:7 for a moment in context with the rest of the passage. What he is doing here is showing that he created contrast between light and darkness. Because he formed light, he created the contrast with darkness. Because he created peace, he created a contrast with evil.

In Genesis, he told Adam and Eve that if they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would die. They knew the light of God already. It was the darkness of evil that they did not know. When they ate of the tree, they then knew the contrast of good which was evil.

In contrast, the Israelites were given the law so that they would have a contrast between what was right and wrong. Before they had the law they did not know transgression because they did not know the law. Afterwards, they had a contrast between sin and righteousness. They couldn’t live up to it.

Jesus is the Only Way to God’s Eternal Life

When we understand that God’s way is separate from the way of the world, that there is no darkness (evil)  in God and that God is only light (good), then we should be able to understand that it is not through the law that we are saved, but he offers us the only way in his son Jesus. If everything EXCEPT Jesus is in darkness and evil is in darkness, then the only way to eternal life with God is by following Jesus. I know, that’s a spiritual concept that few can grasp even among Bible believers, but it true whether we believe it or not. As it says in Acts 4:12 “There is no other name (authority) given among men whereby we must be saved. God is tolerant on a lot of things, but not on this point. Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

I John 1:6-7-If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowsip one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanses us from all sin.”

Another Related Seemingly Contradicting Passage

“What about what it says in Romans 9:14-24,”, you may ask, “where it talks about God raising up the Pharaoh that he could demonstrate his (God’s) mercy to Moses?” The word there for raised is not the idea that he “made him that way” but that word “raised”does not mean that he created Pharaoh for that purpose. It means that he “resuscitated him or kept him alive”. When I read that passage in that context,, God kept Pharaoh from destruction to prove to Moses God’s ultimate power over the Pharaoh. Pharaoh was marked for destruction or God’s wrath, but God prolonged his life for Moses’ sake so that Moses could see that God was even more powerful than Pharaoh. In other words, God knew that it would take this object lesson for Moses to fully trust God.

God is Always Good

If we stand by the idea that God is always good, that he always works from wanted the best for you as his follower, it does make it easier to understand these verses that seem to contradict that idea.  When we come across one of these  verses that seem to indicate that God makes evil or bad things happen, we should take a moment and examine those verses more closely. If like the Bereans of Acts 17:10-12,  we search the scriptures ourselves and not just listen to what others tell us the word says, we will discover that Romans 8:28 is exactly true, “All things (DO!)work to the good of those who love the Lord who are called according to His purpose.”

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has  published a 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, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


me_on_the_laptop

I have learned over the years that I have been producing books that it helps to have a pattern on how a book is produced from idea to the completed paperback and e-book. Basically this system is the same for both my nonfiction as well as my fiction. Here is my system from going from idea to completed manuscript.

Coming up with the Idea

I have heard people say that coming up with an idea is difficult, but as I stated last week, there are no new ideas, there is only a difference in perspective and yours hasn’t been written yet. In writing nonfiction, look at things that you are passionate about or would like to learn more about. Write down what you know about the topic. If it is something you want to know more about, write down your questions about the subject. With fiction the matter is to create a plot, create characters for the situation of the plot, and create a setting and you have the basis for a book.

Doing Research

Whether your work is fiction or nonfiction, you are bound to have at least something you need to research so researching is the next step in the process. Determine what you need to know for the big picture, you may be researching more as time goes on, but do research based on holes in the information you are able to provide and the questions that you have about the subject.

I have learned that it is important to limit my research to the portion of the topic that I want to cover. For instance, the research that I did for my book Help from Kelp was written based only about Kelp and how I use kelp to improve my health. I didn’t include how kelp was used in products, just how I personally could use kelp every day. Same way with Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, again, I only wrote the book about how to use DE around my home and yard but I did not write about other substances I could use to do the same thing.

Creating an Outline

I know a lot of people who poo-poo  the idea of writing an outline when writing a book, but I have found that when I participate in NaNoWriMo, I find it so much easier to complete the 1667 words I need to write that day if I have an outline to go by. With nonfiction, I find that an outline is absolutely necessary. My outlines are not overly detailed.

The First Draft

Using my outline as my guide and writing as quickly as I can, I write the first draft of my book. Having an outline makes the whole process so much more enjoyable for me. Sort of like a trip where you’ve studied the map and you know what routes you’ll take to get where you’re going. I believe it takes a lot of stress out of the process and eliminates any  potential for writer’s block. For me this first draft is finished when I reach the end of the book with 50 thousand words or more in my fiction or have completely covered the subject with my nonfiction.

Prior to starting a second draft, I read through the first draft. I’ll edit out things that don’t fit and put in notes of ideas that I have for adding to the book. If there are any hole in the plot (in fiction), I will also make note of those as well.

The Second Draft

Based on the notes that I make in the manuscript at this point, I increase the word count in my fiction books to 80 thousand words or more. It is during this draft that I do any additional research based on the notes taken after reading through the first draft. Again, I will want to stay as specific on my research as possible so that I don’t end up following rabbit trails that do not finish my manuscript.

 

Numerous Self Edits

Once the second draft is completed, I begin a series of edits.

In fiction, I begin by examining the arc of the main plot, the main characters, and the basic setting. Then I look at each subplot and minor character arcs. Are they developed as they should be? Then I will look at timing and pace. Do can things happen as they happened in the proper time sequence? Do parts of the story seem to drag? Do other parts fly too fast? Next I make certain that characters are saying words that they would actually be saying in that era. Next I would determine that the chapter lengths are about the same with good endings that keep the book moving while at the same time allowing the reader a good place to break. Next comes making certain that grammar, spelling and punctuation are correct.

With my nonfiction, I have similar book self-checks. I check that the title is not misleading the audience concerning the content of the book, that the subject is adequately and correctly covered in the book. I then look at the main chapters of the book, do they cover the entire topic? Do all chapters relate to the main subject matter or does one of the chapters stand out as not fitting the book’s subject? Does the introduction adequately draw the reader to continue reading the subject?  Does the last chapter of the book adequately summarize the book. At this point I will then include a table of contents, index and resource pages. Does the book now appear complete?  Now look at each chapter, do you have a good hook to lead into the chapter and a good summary of the information covered in each chapter? Is the information presented in this chapter in order and correct? Do you over use certain words, if so change them. Finally check grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Getting Others Involved in the Editing Process

I know that I am personally done with the editing process when I get to the point where I cannot edit any more. I then know that it is time to allow someone else to take a look at what I have written. I have in the past hired a wonderful editor for one of my books, but recently I found two beta readers who edit my books as a labor of love. I make a physical copy of my book and give it to these beta readers. I then consider the edits that they have made and I make the changes.

At this same time, I work on getting the final cover ready for the book. I create several ideas and present them to those who have read my previous books. These readers vote and I give them a preview of the finished cover.

Finishing Touches

The final part of the production process is in the formatting both for fiction and for nonfiction, for paperback and for e-book. Front matter needs to be added and these include the Title page, copyright page and acknowledgements, someone else who is known to have expertise related to my book may write a forward for me. Then I do back matter which includes my about the author page and promotional pages for my other books.  Once the book is formatted, I am ready to focus on marketing my book. That is the subject of Thursday’s post.

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has  published a 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, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

 


New Gardening Tips Friday!

Although I will show a video every Friday, Video Friday has been changed to Gardening Tips Friday. Every week in addition to a video about gardening, I am going to include articles that I have written.

This week we have: an article about how to grow green beans, an article on growing Swiss chard and a video about growing bachelor buttons.

Easy to Grow Bush Beans

greenbeans_galore

Even if you think that you have a “brown thumb”, The bush green bean is so easy to grow that even a beginner grow them successfully. I love growing bush green beans! They are the easiest of all vegetables to grow and can be grown by people new to vegetable gardening!. The bush green bean can be grown in almost any climate. Unlike pole beans, bush beans don’t need any special supports. Click here to read more

 

red swiss chard

Most greens bolt in the heat of summer, but if you’re looking for a green that does not quickly go to seed during the heat of summer, plant beautiful, nutritious Swiss chard. Not only is Swiss Chard beautiful, it is perhaps one of the most nutritious greens you can grow. Recent studies have shown that Swiss chard contains at least 13 different  click here to continue

A Romantic Summer Flower Garden

I hope you enjoyed this week’s garden segment of howmyspiritsings! I would love to hear what you have to say about the changes!

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   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, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


There are numerous ways to get publicity on and off line. Here are a few that i have come up with. What other ways do you know for getting publicity for books you may have authored?

Offline Book Publicity

newsstand

One of the ways that we can get publicity off line is through advertising in magazines, newspapers, signage at live events, and direct mail. In addition there are items that you the author give away “free” to potential buyers like pens, bookmarks, brochures, and of course business cards. In addition, we give away books to individuals that we want to endorse or review our books.

Another way to get publicity that has been around a long time is through press releases. With press releases, you send media personnel a package related to me and my books. It used to be that this package was sent by mail to the media, but today, it is much easier to get our information to the media. Today we can contact media via phone or email. My author press release information is on my website. After I have built a relationship with a person in the media, I give them a link to my press release information online. From there we sometimes set up for an interview.   However, it is important that as an author, I have more to offer the media than just the fact that I have written a book. When contacting the media, often finding a local angle is a good way of getting my foot in the door. For instance, I am originally from Corry, Pennsylvania and will be having a book signing at an event called Corry Fest which is occurring during the alumni weekend. In addition, I have contacted the local library about donating them one of my books. Both are press release, local interest pieces that not only are free publicity for me, but also free publicity for both events. In addition, this public appearance on this specific weekend may also open doors in other parts of the country. As important as giving my business cards would be collecting other business cards so that I can follow up with those people after I get home.

In addition to offering my business cards, I can let these people know that I have an online website where they can go to pick up a free copy of one of my smaller books in exchange for signing up for my weekly newsletter. This too will keep individuals in touch with me.

Our books themselves can be publicity for our other books. I know that in my print books, I include information concerning every other book that I wrote prior to that book’s publication. I also include information about myself and my website where there is information concerning how to contact me concerning my other services.

 

 

Online Book Publicity

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As already mentioned in our offline activities, online activities can benefit publicity. We have mentioned the website where we can bring people that we have met to sign up for our newsletter in exchange for one of our books. This online newsletter then because a form of continuous publicity. This newsletter can lead to other online promotional and informational materials that we create to benefit our audience.

We can also pay for advertising online as well. Various types of Google, Facebook and Twitter all are ways to sell ads on their sites. Like offline ads, these cost money up front and are dollar for dollar, much more cost effect now days than off line advertising. Thanks to well monitored algorithms, your ads are more likely to be seen by the audience most interested in what you have to offer. However, many of us do not have the funds necessary especially in the beginning to fund enough ads to get our books visible by the right audience.

Online content can be developed in any number of ways, some of our audience will gain access to this content through our newsletters and others will gain access to our information through other channels such as articles, forums and other online sites. Some online websites offer to include information concerning books along with promotional packages for a fee while other sites allow authors to post photos of their books along with book descriptions at no fee.

Digital books, like their paperback counterparts also have included within their content information regarding previously published books and information about how to reach me through my website and email.

Getting Others Involved

It is one thing to tell people how good your books are, but it is even better when others can tell your potential audience how good your books are.

Getting others to like and share on social media is an important way of getting publicity. Your friends who read your book tell their friends who tell their friends.

Reviews, both with online or offline are another form of free publicity that a writer can solicit. Never pay for a review of your book. I have heard of Amazon taking down reviews when they discover that reviews were paid reviews.

Another way to get others involved in online publicity is by conducting blog tours. You can do this by discovering another author who has a blog who would be willing to let you talk to their audience about a specific topic that is directly or indirectly related to their topic of interest. Sometimes you can exchange blog posts. The other person can guest blog for you and you can guest blog for the other person.

In addition, e-book sellers also offer publicity and the more books you sell the more free publicity you receive from those sites. Online e-book sellers include Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Apple among others. If you sign up to a site called Smashwords, they will connect you not only with all of these sites but with library sites e-book as well.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   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, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

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