Archive

Monthly Archives: August 2016


4715759467_6c46d6a181

Use Heirloom Seeds for Seed Saving

Do you know that you can save your vegetable seeds from one year to the next? Some people worry about violating Monsanto’s seed patents, but the truth is, the seeds that you get from a seed catalog or from an online source is not GMO. Unless you have signed a form saying that you will not save seeds from a plant because it is GMO, your garden produce is not GMO. If eating GMO foods is something you don’t want to do, then growing your own garden produce would definitely give you the security of knowing that the vegetables that you are serving your family are not GMO. The main concern with vegetables that you grow in a home garden is not from GMOs, but the concern whether you are growing heirlooms or hybrids.

If you don’t know the difference between hybrids, heirlooms, and GMO plants, check out the article that I wrote: The Difference Between GMO, Hybrid, and Heirloom Seeds  http://hubpages.com/education/What-is-the-difference-between-GMO-Hybridization-and-Heirloom-seeds

How to Save Different Types of Heirloom Seeds

So, as you see, unless you want to experiment cross breeding, the seeds you really want to save heirloom seeds. Several of my articles include a section on how to save seeds. Check them out!

The Hottest Tips for Growing Hot Peppers http://hubpages.com/living/Hot-Peppers-in-the-Garden

Sustainably Growing Zucchini with Heirloom Seed http://hubpages.com/living/Zucchini-in-the-Garden

Heirloom Tomatoes How to Grow and Save Their Seed http://hubpages.com/living/Growing-and-Saving-Seed-from-Heirloom-Tomatoes

Is Anything Easier to Grow Than Okra? http://hubpages.com/living/Is-Anything-Easier-to-Grow-Than-Okra

 

And, of course, we cannot forget the video. This time we have: Vegetable Seed Saving Video-The Basic Rules! Enjoy!

 

IMG_8330 final copy

 

As Author Cygnet Brown, Donna Brown  has  published  several nonfiction books including Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener, Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, and Help from Kelp.

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,  Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag is also on sale now!

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

 

Advertisements

Make Friends With Your Local Librarian

bookshelf

A couple days ago I was talking with the Director of the Corry Public Library, in Corry, Pennsylvania and we discussed how I could get my books into the library system. She says that when the Corry Public Library published my books, she had to manually put them into the system. Once the books were in the library system, Once the books are in the system, other libraries can go and find the books and buy them as well. The problem is that the information could take six to twelve months to show up in the database. This means that as a self-published author,  I want my books in the libraries, I need to put legs to my dreams and introduce myself to librarians.

As I contact libraries, I first need to discover who the director of the library is and send my request to that person. Libraries are available in almost every town so getting books into libraries is not as difficult as you may think. Most libraries have websites and can be contacted via email. Many libraries now love working with local authors or regionally popular authors. Your goal with dealing with libraries, like dealing with bookstores is not in just getting the book into the library, but also in developing a synergistic relationship where both win from the relationship. Offer more to the library than just your books. Ask the library about programs that are held there that you might be able to participate in at some future date. I recently had a book signing at the Corry Public Library in Corry, Pennsylvania and the following night I participated in a book club there as well.

Keep your first contact with the library brief. Tell them a little about who you are and about your books. Send them to your website (or Amazon) to see your books. Include a wholesale price list of your books. Make the process as simple as possible for them to purchase. Ask what programs at the library are available that you might be able to assist. Libraries are looking for ways to stay relevant and developing relationships with authors is one way that they can do this.

When you hear back from the library, develop a relationship with that librarian. Discover what programs they have available and see where you might be able to help out. Not only does this help the library, but it also helps you gain exposure. For instance, librarians are always looking for someone to help with summer reading programs.

Consider Having Your Book Launch at Your Local Library

I have talking with the librarian we are discussing having the official launch of Sailing Under the Black Flag at the library in the near future.  This way, when I have a press release, not only will it benefit me, but will also benefit the library with publicity.

IMG_8330 final copy

As Author Cygnet Brown, Donna Brown  has  published  several nonfiction books including Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener, Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, and Help from Kelp.

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,  Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag is also on sale now!

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


(Scripture Reference: the book of Job)

Job

Job was a man who had everything. One day the devil came to God and said that Job praised God because God gave him everything. God said that was not true, that Job would not deny him under any situation. It didn’t matter what happened, Job still praised God.

Job’s well-meaning friends wanted to help Job get to the reason for all of his problems. They all thought surely it was because of sin. Job refused to believe that he stood firm on his belief that his problems were not because of sin in his life. No one stood by Job in his convictions, even his wife said, “Curse God and die.”

Finally God came into the picture and said that it was not because of sin and that no matter what happened to always remember that he was God and we are not.”

In the end, God restored twice as much as Job had lost (Except for his children, those he gave back at the original number.)

“And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God who are according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

Like in the case of Job, God knew what he was doing in our lives. We may have bad things happen to us, but even back in Job’s day, God worked everything out for good. Everything God ever did in anyone’s lives has been for good and never forget that he is on your side.

IMG_8330 final copy

As Author Cygnet Brown, Donna Brown  has  published  several nonfiction books including Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener, Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, and Help from Kelp.

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,  Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag is also on sale now!

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


bookshelf

Whether you’re writing a fiction book, a nonfiction book, an article, a persuasive letter to the editor, locating a good recipe for a special mean, or even just an informative comment in a blog post, there will be times when you will need to research a topic.

Probably the most important thing that you need to know when doing research is to know exactly what you need to know before you begin so that you do not get bogged down reading research materials and end up going down rabbit holes along the way which steals valuable time.

Begin with a goal in mind

Know specifically what you want from your research.

It used to be that when we had to research information from books, we would have to wade through hundreds of volumes of books to find the information that we were looking for. Now, we can simply go to the internet and within minutes we can find the information we want in minutes rather than hours or even days. However, there is so much information out there that it is easy to get lost on the information highway. That is why it is important to

For instance, in my upcoming book: Book V of the Locket Saga:  In the Shadow of the Millpond, I wanted to describe a keelboat, so I needed a good description of one. Rather than just type “keelboat” into the search engine, I typed in “description of keelboat”.  This got me the specific information that I was looking for. Even when I am doing macro-research, I try to get as specific as possible. When  I wanted to know more about “Pittsburgh” rather than typing just Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania” I typed in “Early History of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania” that way I didn’t have to wade through a bunch of travel information relating to modern Pittsburgh.

Use Reliable Information

A lot of the information we can find on the internet is simply not true. Much of what is there is either opinion or is meant to sway us toward a specific way of thinking about a specific topic. Information on the internet is often sensationalized. Rumors can be toted as fact. Headlines can be purposely misleading to increase the article’s ability to go viral. How can we separate the truth from the sensationalism?

The most important consideration is to “consider the source”. Wikipedia is often a good place to start research, but it should never be the final authority regarding information that you find online. Most of the Wikipedia articles have good reference links to follow regarding the information provided in the article, and if there isn’t one, then the information might not be accurate.

Some of the best articles online come from government (.gov) or university sites (.edu) sites. (Unless you’re a conspiracy theorist, then this information is suspect too.)  Organizations that specifically deal with your topic are also great resources. If I am dealing with a historical question, I might go to a historical site. I may even go to nongovernment and educational sites as well. For instance, if I am writing about a certain civil war battle, a great resource could be a re-enactor website where the re-enactors have included their research of the topic. Asking questions of the administrators on these sites are also possible.

First-hand  accounts recorded on the internet are also great resources. Many diaries of specific individuals, both famous and not-so-famous are available online. These first-hand accounts, however,  can be limited and speculative on the part of the eye-witness so therefore should never be considered the ultimate authority. I always look up at least three sources and try to include the eye witness account whenever possible and first-hand accounts offer depth that other sources cannot possibly offer. For instance, I used an eye-witness account of the Boston Tea Party when I wrote Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues. According to one of the participants of the incident, dressing as Mohawks was not planned ahead of time, but because some of the men were afraid they would be recognized, they covered their clothes with blankets and blackened their faces. Then someone said something like, “Hey, you look like a Mohawk.” The story then became that they dressed as Mohawks.

I Cut and Paste My Research into a Word Document

Once I found the information I want for my project, I have learned that it is important to record at least the part of the article where I found the information on a word document. Usually, I cut and paste the information and then get the URL for the website page where I found that information and paste that onto the document as well. This way I have a ready reference if someone questions my accuracy or I want to go back to that article to get more information that I didn’t feel that I needed right then, but then decided that I did. I find that this works so much better than bookmarking websites when all I want is a few lines of information from that website. I mark the document ORIGINAL RESEARCH so that I can idstinguish that information from my own writing based on that research.

This way too, I can do all of my research in just a short time. I can go online, find what I need for that day, record the information word for word and then go back later, mash up several different accounts of the same thing and incorporate it into my story and have that same information available for any other book or article that I want to write about the subject.

NEVER Plagiarize

Once I have cut and pasted my research into a document along with the URL, I open another document and rewrite the information that I obtained into my own words before including them in my fiction. When I add it to the actual story and in the case of the Separating Fact From Fiction Chapter at the end of the book, I pay careful attention, during the editing process., I edit the information even more to avoid any appearance of plagiarizing.

IMG_8330 final copy

As Author Cygnet Brown, Donna Brown  has  published  several nonfiction books including Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener, Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, and Help from Kelp.

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,  Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag is also on sale now!

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


Image via Bill_Owen Flickr Creative Commons

Another important aspect of marketing books is getting reviews. Many of the primary online book sellers (like bookbub) do not allow you to put your book on their site until you have a certain number of reviews and have an overall 4.0 review rating. Getting reviews therefore is imperative if you want to have access to such sites.

Get Reviews Locally

One obvious way that I get reviews is from family and friends and other people who organically buy my books. In addition, I have a newsletter where others read my work on a regular basis. When I have a new book that comes out, after they have read the book, I ask them to write a review. This has been my main strategy. So far, I have few reviews on each of my books. I need many more, many more. Therefore, I am making special effort to go beyond this organically produced group. I am actively seeking reviewers.

I am searching for others who regularly read books and review them. Some of these people include other authors within the same genre (building relationships with others in your same genre is beneficial in other ways as well).

Another group of people are people who regularly do reviews for local magazines or newspapers. know the magazine or newspaper’s policies concerning reviewing your work before submitting.

How to Find Reviewers of Your Book’s Genre

Still another group is someone you contact through a social media source. Amazon is a good source for that because Amazon not only tells who wrote the books, but often provides connections to reviewers who regularly review your book genre.

To find a reviewer of your book’s genre, google “book reviewer” and “your specific genre” for instance, I googled “book reviewer” “Early American historical fiction”  In addition to reviewers in Amazon I found a Booklist Online a reviewing service connected with the library service which offers reviews for libraries, book groups and book lovers. Give them the information pre-publication and they review it for you.

There are a number of other reviewer sites online that charge money to share your book with reviewers. I believe that you should never pay for reviews. It is unethical to pay a reviewer for his or her “opinion”.

There are also genre specific reviewing sites like Historical Novel Society. Historical Novel Society has an online magazine and a print magazine and posts their reviews online too. I know that other genres have their review sites too. The easiest way to find them is to google them.

Getting Reviews from Other Authors

Another way to get Reviews is to exchange reviews with other authors within your genre. My plans for next quarter (October-December) I intend to start writing reviews for other authors in exchange for that author reviewing my work. I am going to include a review on my blog as well as putting reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. I will also do interviews of these same authors on my blog in exchange for my interview on their blogs.

IMG_8330 final copy

As Author Cygnet Brown, Donna Brown  has  published  several nonfiction books including Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener, Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, and Help from Kelp.

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,  Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag is also on sale now!

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


(Scripture Reference: The book of Exodus)

israelites in captivity

The Israelites spent over 400 years in Egypt after Joseph’s intervention on their part. For a while things went well for them. They seemed to prosper there, however, as the years passed, the Pharaoh didn’t remember Joseph’s dreams and his help to Egypt.

The king saw how the Israelites were blessed in material goods and healthy children and he was afraid that they would take over the country. He determined that he would control them to the point that he asked that all the baby boys be killed so that the Israelites would have to marry their boys so that the Israelites would assimilate into the Egyptian culture and would no longer separate themselves in Egypt.

Egypt is associated with our sinful nature. Something similar has happened in the US in recent years. We have played around with sin. Even we Christians have seemed to have forgotten the positive effects that God has played in this country. Now the Non-Christians of this country see how God often blesses Christians and the world around us becomes jealous over our blessing from God.

The children of Israel spent more than four hundred years in captivity. For over 400 years, the children of Israel begged God to deliver them from their servitude. Today, Christians in our country are seeing their rights and blessings eroding before them.

When God finally rescued them from their servitude, the Israelites continued to have their doubts about God. God kept them wandering in the wilderness until Joshua trained up a generation who would not doubt God’s promises.

IMG_8330 final copy

As Author Cygnet Brown, Donna Brown  has  published  several nonfiction books including Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener, Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, and Help from Kelp.

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,  Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag is also on sale now!

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


bookshelf

When I was in college, I had to do a lot of research for school papers. Because I had to write one every week, and because I had a lot of those papers to write, I learned to do it efficiently. Now that I am starting to research my next book in the Locket Saga, I am using what I learned back in college to make the most of my researching time. Here are a few ways that I do that.

Use Your Research Time Effectively

  1. I research as specific a subject as possible. For instance, in the latest work that I am researching for Two Rivers, I have Andrew going south on the Mississippi River on a flatboat. Because I learned somewhere that the word millionaire was first coined in Natchez, Mississippi, I thought that I would check out that city as Andrew’s destination rather than New Orleans which I knew was also a port of call. But Natchez, Mississippi still wasn’t specific enough. Not only did I need to limit the city of choice, but I needed to limit the time period on or before 1803-1806. So I limited my research about Natchez Mississippi to the time period of prior to 1806.
  2. I do Macro-research before Micro-research. Macro research is a term that I created meaning general research about a specific topic. For instance, when I googled Natchez and looked at the history of Natchez before 1806, I learned that Natchez was named after the Natchez Indians, that it was first ruled by France and then by Spain and then transferred to the Americans in 1798. Well to do society built a town up on the bluff, but the men who ran the riverboats worked along the river in the rough part of town called ‘Natchez-Under-The-Hill. When a flatboat docked, the river men aboard would find entertainment at the taverns and brothels set up along the river. I learned that when they docked in Natchez, the men sold their boats and walked north along a dangerous tract called the Natchez Trace.
  3. I use Macro-research to discover what Micro-research I need to examine. Based on this general information, I looked deeper into Natchez-under the Hill and Natchez Trace. I learned that certain highway men frequented the area. One I discovered started after my story began so I didn’t include him in my story, however, another one—Samuel Mason– had led a gang of river pirates during this period so I examined his story more deeply. I discovered however that his story actually ends shortly before my book begins, but I am going to include it anyway because it is such an interesting aspect of river-boating.
  4. Next, I determine where in the story the research will be used. One of the reasons that I find that I have to outline my books has to do with the fact that I plug research into specific parts of the story. Because I have a general outline written and have the book divided into chapters, I am able to plug the research into a specific part of the book. This way I don’t have to go through a bunch of notes to find the information that I need. I have already included it.
  5. In addition to plugging the information into the book to be edited later, I post the information into another document specifically about that subject. Since I have already researched the material, it is easy to reuse that research. For instance, when I was writing A Coward’s Solace, the information that I wrote about Lucy Flucker Knox I made into an article on Hubpages Check that article out here: An Unsung Heroine: Lucy Flucker Knox. https://1authorcygnetbrown.wordpress.com/2016/07/29/2416/  Here’s another one I did about The Boston Massacre:  The Boston Massacre—Powder keg of the American Revolution http://hubpages.com/education/The-Boston-Massacre-Powder-Keg-of-the-American-Revolution/  Including your research in online articles improves your credibility in facts relating to your novel’s subject matter.
  6. I personally have not yet done this tip, but I have known several people who have done this. They use the same research used in their fiction and write a nonfiction book with the same information. Currently, I include a section in the back of my novels called Separating Fact from Fiction which explains the true story behind my fiction. I started doing this after someone criticized my first book by saying that “some of the women were too modern” and that “cocoa did not exist in Colonial America”. The criticism about the modern women revolved around Mrs. Hiller who was a real person but fictionalized. (She really did all the things I wrote about) and though cocoa back then was not “ditched” as it is today, it did exist, but it was brewed like coffee and was much more.
  7. I also save research discoveries for future books. Sometimes I’ll come across information that I hope to use in a future story. For instance, when researching Natchez, I learned some of the story about the first steamboat trip that occurred in 1812 that went from Pittsburgh, PA to Natchez, MS. I was going to have Andrew meet the love of his life during Two Rivers, but decided that I couldn’t pass up this information. It connects so well with other aspects of the Locket Saga especially the Natchez Pittsburgh connection.

Be specific with your research, use macro-research to determine micro-research, plug research into the story immediately to save time, and utilize your research in more than just your fiction to make the most of the time you spend researching your next book.

IMG_8330 final copy

As Author Cygnet Brown, Donna Brown  has  published  several nonfiction books including Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener, Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, and Help from Kelp.

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,  Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag is also on sale now!

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

%d bloggers like this: