August 31, 2017

WGTHH not the First Book I started

When God turned his Head was not the first book of the Locket Saga that I started. I actually started Soldiers Don’t Cry several years before I started When God Turned His Head. I started writing When God Turned His House, based on a conversation that Rachel and Elizabeth had with Phillip and Gerald when they were talking in the parlor of the Mayford house the night that Phillip and Gerald arrived. Rachel mentioned that Elizabeth was only her half sister and that her parents had been indentured servants.

Death by Chocolate

death by chocolate

I know that this sounds crazy to people who have never written a novel, but I became curious about the lives of their parents. Who were they? What was their story? This was over twenty years ago, before a lot of information was out on the internet so I went to the library to see what I could find out about indentured servants. Not much, but I did find the story about the John Codman murder, who did it and why. I learned how the murder was conducted and included many of the actual events from the murder including the way Codman took the poison (in his hot chocolate).

 

 

I then started asking “what if” I wondered what would happen if I not only gave Codman a wife, but also gave him a daughter. Then wondered, what about Elizabeth’s father? Who was he? Where did he fit in the picture? I made quite an elaborate back story to all that happened before the murder. Drusilla, Elizabeth’s mother, had known Kanter Thorton when they were still on their way to America. Kanter had proposed marriage to her but then she married Codman and he married someone else. She had a daughter and he and his wife had three sons. He loved his wife, but he still feelings for Drusilla. He couldn’t understand how one day she seemed to be in love with him and a week later she was married to a man who treated her like chattel.

 

This brought me to the idea that John Adams who would have been a young lawyer at that time would make an interesting addition to this story. I put him and his cousin Samuel Adams into the story. After all, they did live in Boston at the time. I thought it would be interesting to compare the difference between Kanter’s marriage and Drusilla’s marriage. I decided that I wanted to have this occur in a church, the Old North Church to be exact.

yes, that John Adams, the one who later because our 2nd President

 

I studied a lot about Boston during that time. I even had a map of the area during the mid-1700s. I studied how different the culture was from the culture today. I even discovered that a Mrs. Hiller was quite the entrepreneur at that time. She was so interesting that I made her Rachel’s dame school teacher, one of Mrs. Hiller’s many enterprises. She was also a real dressmaker as she was in the story. The idea that she was anything more than just a resident of Boston at the time was sheer imagination on my part.

 

There was some involvement of Dr. Clarke’s slave Robin too, but of course, I am not going to spoil this story for you. You’ll have to read it for yourself.

 

To learn more about this story, it is regularly lways available free on Kindle Unlimited all the time. Through tomorrow Soldiers Don’t Cry is available FREE through KDP select. Pick up both today and HAPPY READING. Check them out here! https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007SM23IK

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The Dream

When people ask me where I got the idea for my Locket Saga series, I tell them that I had a dream where a young woman and a young man were sitting on a rustic wooden bench made from a log split in half in front of a log cabin wall and he used the old line, “Haven’t I seen you before?” To that she answered, “matter of fact, I think we knew one another as children.”

 

After that I woke up and wondered how that might be incorporated into a story.

A Story From Parkman’s Works

A few months later, I was at the library and was reading a dusty old history book about America during the French and Indian war called Parkman’s Works. I love old history, especially stories that are not well known by the general public, so while I was reading, I discovered an incident that occurred  in 1763 where a military wagon train was going to Fort Schlosser. At one point the wagon train was on a narrow wagon road sandwiched between a tall hill on one side and the two hundred foot gorge of the Niagara River.

Hostile Indians came over the hill and literally pushed the wagon train over in to the gorge. The wagons, horses and men all thrown into the gorge shattering and scattering wagons and provisions and crushing the bodies of the horses and men on the rocks below. The drummer boy also went over the cliff, but on the way down his drum strap caught on a bush and stopped his descent. He pulled himself up to safety. The only other person to survive was the scout, a Mr. Stedman who was on his horse at the front of the wagon train. When he saw the Indians, he spurred his horse to safety.

Mixing up Fiction with History

This was the start of the Locket Saga, I used the concept of “what if”. What if the drummer boy was the same boy that met the girl later? Of course, it would have to be during the American Revolution that they met again, and rather than have the scene exactly as it was in my dream, I would make them meet again in Boston and to create conflict, I would have her be a patriot and he be a British officer. After I read the book Traitors, Turncoats, and Spies, I decided to make the conflict even deeper and made Elizabeth a spy and smuggler for the Patriot cause.

The story became Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues.

 

Soldiers Don’t Cry now FREE on Kindle

If you have not read Soldiers Don’t Cry, you’re in luck because beginning today, Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga continues will be free on Kindle. Download your copy now.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ATWT80W

When God Turned His Head

If you know anything about the Locket Saga, you know that Soldiers Don’t Cry isn’t the first book in the series. You know that the first book in the series is When God Turned His Head. To discover how When God Turned His Head became the first book, read my next installment of this blog on Thursday August 31. Follow this blog to read about how When God Turned His Head was written. And while you’re at it, pick up your Kindle copy today https://www.amazon.com/When-Turned-Head-Locket-Saga-ebook/dp/B007RHXTTI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503241811&sr=8-1&keywords=when+god+turned+his+head

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August 21, 2017

I have been asked numerous times how I am able to publish nine and have two more books in the editing process in seven years. It seemed a lot harder when I first started than it does now. It is really not easy even now, but I have discovered some tricks over the past few years that not only writers can use, but anyone can if they want to make better use of the time that they have.

Finding time to write is no different than finding time to exercise, time to make from scratch meals, garden, or even take care of livestock. Everyone is given the same twenty-four hours every day. It’s how we spend that twenty-four hours that determines what we make of it.

I discovered that once I did the thing that I wanted to do and did it regularly, I was able to get into what experts call “the flow” much easier than I was able to do at first. Here are some of the key ingredients.

Goals

The first thing I had to do was decide what I really wanted to do.

I once read in Stephen Covey’s Book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People that having goals is “starting with the end in mind”. I remember being told that having a goal is like having a destination. Imagine deciding that you wanted to go on a trip, but didn’t know where you were going. How would you know when you got there?

One of my first writing goals was to write a book. That first time was most difficult. As I tell others, it took me twenty years to write that first book, If you go back to when I first had the goal of writing a publishable book, I could take you back forty years. Now I have written eleven books. More are on the way. I wouldn’t have finished any of them if I did not have writing them as a goal.

Plans

Having a goal is not enough. You need a plan too. Having a goal without a plan is like knowing where you want to go, but not having ordered the tickets for the flight or rented the car, and put gas in it for the trip. Without a plan to make something happen, a goal is nothing more than a dream.

Another old saying says that we need to “plan our work and work our plan”.  These same people will also say that the plan itself is worthless, it is the planning that is the necessary part. Again we can use the trip analogy. How often have you gone on a trip and found that road construction caused a detour or your flight was canceled? You still made it to your destination, and you had to make adjustments along the way.

My own plans changed. My original plan had been to publish using a traditional publisher, however, as I did my research about publishing I discovered the advantages of self-publishing.

Habits

I have often said that if a person writes new words for fifteen minutes every day, that person can write an entire book in a year. I personally write every day, but I don’t write all day long either. However, I do write consistently every day, and as a result I finish my books. I don’t write a lot every day, but with consistent action every day, I get the job done.

Routines

No habit stands alone. The habit of writing every day is surrounded by other habits that are arranged into a routine. Recently I discovered a planner that helps me put all of this into perspective. I am learning that I am more than just a writer. I wear a lot of different hats and have a lot of responsibility, not only to myself, but to those around me. Because I am a human being, I have to take care of my body. Because I am a wife and mother, I have to take care of my home and develop relationships with them. Because I am also a teacher, I have responsibilities there regarding keeping up with certifications and my own education. I have civic responsibilities as well.

In order to “get it all done” I have learned that I have an order of doing things so that I don’t miss anything.

Mindfulness and Willpower

There’s a saying that goes “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Having a routine is beneficial to getting things done, but having a routine that never changes can be detrimental. Over the past year or so I developed a great morning routine. Most mornings I get up at 5 am and begin my day. I am a morning person, so I find that I function best if I start new projects and write new work in the morning. Also I add new habits to my morning routine because my will power is highest in the morning. I am aware of this because I am mindful of what I am doing, especially at this time of day.

 

I am also mindful of the fact that on weekends I also get a lot done because of the routines I developed during that time too. However, I would like to optimize after work and evening hours so I am trying to move more automated aspects of my day from the morning hours and the weekends to make better use of those times when my willpower is not as keen.

 

Besides the usual things I do for getting ready for the day, some of the things that I was doing every morning was to write a gratitude list, read an affirmation, write in my journal, and write a to-do list for the day and put it my list on the website, “Trello”. I then do one lesson in “Duolingo” which an online language course. All this took up about a half hour every morning that I could just as well use to write new material. I also want to do more Duolingo in that I want to not just work on Spanish, but French as well. Therefore, I am moving some of this to the evening. Because I know Spanish better than I know French, I’ll move the Spanish to the evening hours and do French in the morning. I’ll keep reading the affirmation in the morning, but move writing the gratitude list organizing the to-do list in the evening. For journaling, I plan to write a question at night and answer it in the morning so that I can be pondering while I sleep. (I have done this before with great results.)

 

In addition, because much of my routine on the weekends involves housecleaning, I am trying to incorporate more of that type of work into my afternoons especially doing the laundry and some vacuuming. This week for instance on Thursday, I washed my sheets and vacuumed upstairs. On Friday I did the rest of the laundry and I divided the rest of the weekly housework between Saturday and Sunday.

 

Housework isn’t all that I do on the weekends. I do all of my weekly projects on the weekend. I write this blog, set up my newsletter, and post this blog to my website on the weekend. I am currently doing an online business course where I do most of the work on the weekend. I also try to spend extra time working on my current project in the Locket Saga during this time.

 

I do all this on top of working a full time job and spending time with my family.

 

I am able to do all of this because I have goals that I want to accomplish, a plan to accomplish those goals, habits that make it easier to start working my plan and routines so that I can fit it all in. I am purposely mindful of the fact that there are always better ways to do things.

oday, The Power of Now

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If you liked this article, you’ll love Cygnet Brown’s book Living Today, The Power of Now  This self-help book goes deeper into the various ways to make better use of every day. Order your copy now!

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MOOO, not that old joke again!

A few weeks ago I wrote a joke about an interrupting cow. Here’s a link to that post http://wp.me/p2sm3J-Fw If you went to the site and this is the first time that you heard of the joke, you probably laughed. If it was only the second time, you may have only chuckled a little. However, any more than that and you would have probably just rolled your eyes and said that old joke again.

 

Why is it that we don’t react the same way with bad things that happen to us? Why is it that we relive and agonize over the bad things that happen to us and yet, but we tend to forget those things that are good? Why can’t we just forgive both ourselves and those around us and let go of the emotions just as readily as we do the emotions we feel when we hear a joke?

 

The truth is, we don’t have to hold onto the agony we feel when we have hurt ourselves emotionally or others have hurt us. We can learn to forgive in much the same way that we dismiss the emotion related to an old joke.

 

If I experience a situation where I discover that I am hanging onto the feelings that I blame someone else for something that has happened to me and I feel unforgiveness, I have to first make the decision that I am going to forgive that person. If I am harboring unforgiveness, I know that since I seldom feel that way, it will be a hard thing for me to overcome. Forgiveness- we stop laughing at jokes that we have heard before, so why do we continue to rehash and become emotional about things that have a negative impact on our lives? Whether its forgiveness of ourselves or forgiveness of others, it’s something that will improve our lives, but how do we do it?  Forgiveness doesn’t have to be difficult.

 

Take Pity on the Offender

One of the most powerful tools that I use when trying to forgive someone is to see that person as a victim first. Much of the time people who hurt people are hurting people. A bully becomes a bully because he was bullied in some way. I start out by saying aloud, “I feel sorry for this person because he/she was hurting. I pity this person.”

 

I make it a point to feel the pity. I don’t have to understand why. I just need to believe that this person was a victim before I was. Just by feeling this pity toward this person, I have taken the pain an\ put it back on thp person who tried to put it on me. Once that happens, I see that person in a different light.

 

Every time I think about that person, and I start feeling angry, I try to remember that this person is a victim. I then remember to feel sorry for him. I then am able to see that person as the victim and I have to forgive. That person didn’t realize what he/she was doing to himself. Eventually I change the pity into compassion. I am no longer the victim. I take my power back. I am a victor.

 

I Use This Principle and It Works!

 

A couple of years ago a co-worker’s husband stole my debit card from my purse and put charges on it. I had insurance at my bank, so my main concern wasn’t the loss of the money, but maintaining the relationship with the co-worker. Once I was sure that he was the guilty party, I went to the co-worker and explained to her the evidence and that I had to press charges or the insurance company would not cover me. I told her I had no ill-will against her husband. I later told him the same over the phone. He ended up on probation because of what he did and I saved the relationship with the co-worker because I recognized that the young man was the real victim, not I.

 

Something similar happened a couple weeks ago when someone stole my truck radio. This time there was no insurance, and I don’t know who took it, but I refuse to be the victim here either. Whoever took it has far worse problems than I do from losing the radio. I sincerely hope that someday this person gets the help he needs too.

In Living Today, The Power of Now, you will not only know about how to forgive, but you’ll learn about  how to properly use “yesterday thinking” and “tomorrow thinking” can improve everything you do today. Pre-order a copy of this short book. Get it in print  http://www.lulu.com/shop/cygnet-brown/living-today-the-power-of-now/paperback/product-23261831.html or on Kindle .https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072WFW3HZ

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August 7, 2017

 

I learned a number of years ago that kelp is an excellent supplement not only for me, but for my pets, livestock, and the Soil. Kelp is a form of seaweed that I think everyone should know about. This is why I wrote this book.

Food Supplement

Probably many of our health problems relate to the lack of trace minerals. Kelp contains every trace mineral our bodies need. I sprinkled kelp powder in my animals’ food. (Chickens loved it, goats not so much, but they ate it). I took it in tablet form. Kelp is chep and  in my opinion, it is far more effective as a food supplement than most food supplements that cost three, four and even five times as much.

Gardening Aid

As it states on the cover of my book Simply Vegetable Gardening, I started gardening over forty years ago. During that time the only way I ever gardened was by using strictly organic methods. I used my household food garbage and yard wastes and composted them (sometimes directly into the garden). I fed the soil. Kelp and DE were the only supplements I ever bought for my garden. When I put kelp into the planting holes when planting tomatoes, they never have blossom end rot (a common problem locally).

High Iodine Content

Kelp is high in iodine, is in a form easily absorbed, and therefore is a great supplement of that mineral. Iodine protects our bodies from the effects of radiation both from the sun and nuclear fallout. In addition, iodine supports the thyroid so kelp might help in weight loss.

Good For Ecology

Extensive Kelp growing could in many ways be used to improve not only the soil but also the oceans by removing excess nutrients causing dead zones when harvested. By taking these excess nutrients and putting them back on the land, the nutrients are moved from where they are not needed back to where plants, animals and even people are deficient in the nutrients it provides..

What others are saying about Help from Kelp

 

“Well researched! A must read for everyone interested in natural methods” Beatrice Jordan

 

“Well research and filled with interesting information! Wonderful book with great information. Highly recommend if you have ongoing health issues. Well research and filled with interesting information about minerals and health. After reading this informative book I ow take kelp supplements.” Another Kindle Reader

Now is a great time to check this book out for yourself. Beginning tomorrow, (Aug 8-12, 2017) this nonfiction book Help from Kelp will be available FREE on Kindle Click here to get your free copy http://dld.bz/fX7mp

 

Another New Book,  Now Accepting Pre-orders

 

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In my upcoming book, Living Today, The Power of Now, I wrote this book primarily to help myself make better use of every day that God has giving me. The book will be launched on Kindle, on September 8, 2017. Be of the first copies by following this link to pre-order now.

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Since the beginning of the year, every morning, whether I feel like it or not, I have been writing down three things that I am grateful for. When I say whether I feel like it or not, I mean when I start, not necessarily a few minutes later when I have written something that I am thankful that I have.

It’s easy to complain. It is easy to find what is wrong in this world, but it is important that we go beyond the rain and look for the rainbow. Gratitude is a special kind of mindfulness that we have toward those things that have already happened. It is actually a tool we can use to help us deal with negative emotions. Everyone has bad days, but your day doesn’t have to stay bad. You can overcome your misery today by expressing gratitude.

Physical Benefits of Gratitude

According to a scientific study, , grateful people feel fewer body aches than others.They also report feling healthier than other people on average. In addition, people who feel gratitude are more likely to take care of their health by exercising more and having regular checkups.

People who express gratitude sleep better at night.

 

Emotional Benefits of Gratitude

Gratitude is an instant mood elevator. I find that when I write down something that I am grateful for, I believe it makes my day go better. I think that focusing on all of the good things in my life will improve my mood like nothing else.

Gratitude defuses toxic feelings including envy, resentment, frustration, regret and shame. Multiple studies have been done and gratitude is proven to increase happiness and reduce depression.

Expressing gratitude helps prevent retaliation when someone treats them wrong. People who express gratitude try to walk in the other person’s shoes and don’t seek revenge.

Gratitude fosters resilience. A person who is grateful does not stay down, but keeps on going even in adversity.

Grateful people have improved self esteem. They are gracious and applaud the accomplishments of others.

 

Social Benefits of Gratitude

Because people who are grateful say “thank you” a lot more than other people, being grateful helps you win new friends. When you meet someone and appreciate them for who they are, they are more likely to seek a continued relationship with you. So, smile at and hold a door for strangers, send a thank-you note to a collegue who helped you wiht a project and all this can lead to new opportunities.

Spiritual Benefits of Gratitude

Gratitude can help in almost any situation even the loss of a loved one. Gratitude helped me focus several years back when I lost my father, brother and sister within a short period. I realized how blessed I was that I had them in my life at all.

In addition, gratitude helped me focus on the fact that the Creator offers eternal life to anyone who believes that “he is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.” Death to me is notgood-bye forever, because I believe that I will see my loved ones again in eternity.

Gratitude Helps Me See the Possiblities Instead of the Problems

Gratitute helps me think about the world around me with a different mindset. It helps me see what I can do to change the world around me.

What are you grateful for today? Name three right now.

In my upcoming book, Living Today, The Power of Now, I delve deeper into this virtue of gratitude. I wrote this book primarily to help myself make better use of every day that God has giving me. The book will be launched on Kindle, on September 8, 2017. Be of the first copies by following this link to pre-order now.

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July 24, 2017

Today I have another interview with another writer friend of mine Tracy Gregory. She connected with me on Facebook and we became fast friends. I read her most recent book, her first novel called Ways of War. I wrote a review.

Review of the Ways of War

The Vietnam War was the most despised war in all of American History would have had to have been the Vietnam War. I remember being a young child while the war was going on. I remember the agony of daily body counts and the unbelievable celebrations of MIAs who returned after years of torture by the Viet Cong. I remember the reports of I remember draft dodgers and the protests.

What I didn’t know about was the secret war, the insidious war of mind control experiments that the government conducted at the same time. Tracy Gregory in this book brings them all together when Grant Windsor goes to Vietnam leaving behind a wife and two young children. Word comes back that he was killed in a fire, his body never recovered. The only sign that he had ever been there, was his dog tags. His wife Anna tries to move on, but even though she has Stephen waiting for her in the wings, she can’t seem to shake the idea that if she falls for Stephen, she will be cheating on Grant.

 

I highly recommend this intriguing spell-binding historical novel. I look forward to reading future novels by this author.

 

Interview withTracy Gregory

ME: Hi Tracy, I am glad you could join us today. First, would you be kind enough to tell my readers a little about yourself.

 

TRACY: Well, I was born in Concord, New Hampshire and raised in Soldotna, Alaska. My parents divorced when I was young. My mother remarried which resulted in our moving to the Last Frontier. We lived a simple life in Alaska. We lived without electricity and water for some years. Our free time consisted of hauling wood and water. I learned to appreciate every little gift, even the gift of free time. I am the second of six children. When I graduated from high school, I returned to New Hampshire to attend college. I got married, had two children and got divorced. I remarried when my children were young, and remain married today. I love to read and write. I’m an avid gardener, and I enjoy being outside. That’s the short version. Maybe the long version will show up in bookstores someday.

 

ME: What or who inspired you to start writing?

 

TRACY: Believe it or not, my desire to write came from Judy Collins. She is a folk singer whose stories mesmerized me and sparked my imagination. When I was eleven or twelve, I received a record player and a Judy Collins record from my mom for Christmas. I still remember the record “Early in The Spring.” I listened to the songs over and over wishing I could tell the stories she was singing.

 

ME: Do you find it difficult to get reviews from readers?

 

TRACY: At first, I was somewhat defensive when it came to comments made about my writing. But once a sat back and thought about the big picture I came to realize that the opinion of my reader is important. Their opinions and input are what will make me a better writer. I try to look at it as constructive criticism. I have learned you can’t please all the people all the time so I have resorted to pleasing my readers first by placing value in their opinion.

 

ME: Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

 

TRACY: I love to read! I have a library of books that I have read and reread. I enjoy everything from the old classics such as Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Dickens to science fiction writers such as Wells, Bradbury and George Orwell. I would have to say my favorite genre is historical fiction. I enjoy Jeff Shaara, Phillipa Gregory, Michael Sullivan, Amy Harmon, Soraya Lane and Cygnet Brown of course.

 

ME: Do you have an interesting writing quirk? If so, what is it and how does it help your writing?

 

TRACY: I lead a busy life, as I’m sure you (and many others) do so I believe you can relate to that statement. Because of the interruptions, I find it difficult to write every day. I find the most productive writing time for me is at night when the world is asleep. I consider myself a marathon writer. What I mean by marathon writer is instead of writing a little each day, I find myself hiding in my library and writing forty thousand words at a time. I then set the work aside, and it could be weeks before I return to writing.

 

ME: How many books have you written? Which was your favorite?

 

TRACY: Ways of War is the first Novel in what will be a series. Usher of Truth will be the second and should be released by the winter of 2017. Days of Doom will be the third work in the series. I haven’t decided if that will conclude the series.  I also have some poetry available on Amazon. If I had to say I have a favorite Novel, it would be “Ways of War” as it is the first to be published. I will say my favorite work of poetry would be “Children’s Anthology.” The poems are all inspired by my children.

 

ME: What are some of the greatest struggles you’ve faced to further your writing career?

 

TRACY: The greatest struggle for me as with many other writers is the promotion of my first work. The idea of having to prove myself to a base of readers that have an interest in a topic so broad yet very targeted was challenging. Historical fiction in itself is as broad as the history that defines the genre. It is difficult to target a market of readers and present the “hook” so to speak that would draw them in and create a following.

 

ME: How can readers discover more about you and you work?

 

TRACY: It is my desire to be a successful author and create a following and keep those followers interested for years to come. I am only as successful as those that support me and share my work with their peers. I try to make sure I am available in as many ways as possible. My website address is http://www.tlgregory.com. You can also follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tlgregory.info/  My Twitter address is http://www.twitter.com/@TracyLGregory . In addition, I have a blog site Traces of Tracy Gregory the site address is http://www.tracesoftlgregory.com.

 

Tracy’s books are available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble.com, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, other local bookstore, and on her website.

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