December 23, 2017
My Christmas Gift to You
I did this last year and I decided to make this an annual event. Here it is, Cygnet’s Annual Christmas gifts to all of my readers. Pick up your copy now and book you choose OR You can pick ALL of the titles below for free from midnight December 22, 2017 until midnight Christmas Day 2017! You don’t have to wait until Christmas Day to open your gifts either. Start reading today! Enjoy!
Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag
Jonathan Mayford wants to join the Patriot Cause because he wants to prove that he’s a man. Despite his parents’ misgivings, they allow him to join his father’s privateer, the American Elizabeth.
Jonathan befriends an old sea cook, Finis Henderson who teaches him about the sea. Later, he also becomes friend with a young African American boy.
Jonathan’s young friend, James Forten, though born a freedman, does not realize what freedom means until he experiences it as a privateer. He, also, did not realize the treachery of slavery until sees individuals of his own color in chains on the auction block.
The relationship that takes Jonathan from boyhood to manhood began when he met the red-headed Lowri Howell, a daughter of Welsh nobleman. Jonathan dreams of the day that he will become worthy of her affections. He hoped that in winning this war, he might have a chance at capturing her heart, his greatest prize of all.
Both Jonathan and James discover fighting in the war is not what makes a man. They learn that becoming a real man requires integrity and character.
Book V of the Locket Saga: In the Shadow of the Mill Pond
Fifteen-year-old Lacey Mayford has been infatuated with Matthew since she was a little girl. Matthew, a half-breed Indian, doesn’t see her as anything more than a little girl cousin. How can she convince him that she is growing into a beautiful young woman he should consider?
In the frontier town near the turn of the century, Matthew Thorton is blamed for Luther Hannibal’s murder after an altercation with Luther over stolen furs. Lacey defends Matthew with the help of a teacher, Felix Grackle. They look into other suspects who could have killed Luther Hannibal. Matthew’s father Luke and his best friend Jacque Pierre are looking for the person responsible for stealing the furs. They believe the thief might have something to do with Luther Hannibal’s murder.
Will Lacey be able to clear Matthew’s name? Will Luke and Jacque Pierre find the man who stole the furs? Will the vigilantes stop the Whiskey Rebellion without bloodshed? The truth is far more sinister than anyone could imagine.
Book VI of the Locket Saga: The Anvil
Robert McCray dreamed of the day when he would marry Lillian O’Hare. He went north with his father, Uncle Luke, and Cousin Isaac to Northwestern Pennsylvania. He built a shed behind the cabin to set up his blacksmith shop. The only tool that he needed was the anvil. Little did he know that in a matter of hours, all his dreams would come crashing down.
Judith Campbell was the eldest of Duncan Campbell’s three daughters. After her father lost his farm in a rigged land grab, he decided to take up the US government’s offer to Revolutionary War veterans to settle on lands at no cost in unsettled parts of the country. Duncan and his family become neighbors to the Thorton and McCray families. There the three families bind together to survive the hardships of the wilderness. What does the future hold for Robert and Judith?
Living Today, The Power of Now
What if you only had one day to live? How would you live your life differently?
You really do only have one day at any given time, and that day is today. You cannot live in the past. You cannot live in the future. Today is your day to shine.
Today, and only today, you have the power of now, and it is strongest when you know that you are on the right path.
From Living Today, the Power of Now, discover:
- Awareness and Focus on the present moment.
- Tips for obtaining fire starting focus
- Change bad habits to good habits
- Creating a Time and a Place to dream
- What “Don’t Worry” really Means
- Learn How to Build on Past Experiences
- Overcome Fear and Find Faith
- Letting Go of the Past
- The value of forgiving yourself and others
- And much more
Write a Book and Ignite Your Business
Are you a business owner looking for surefire way to get the edge over your competition? Thanks to social media, the advertising world is changing. People can connect with you and your products like never before. They want to see the face behind the product. In addition, people want to know what is in it for them. They don’t care about the features so much as they want to know how what you do will benefit them. Writing a Book related to your business opens doors like nothing else can.
Writing a book can help you:
- Offer more than just your business card to your high end clients
- Demonstrate to your clients that you are an expert in your industry
- Go places you would never have dreamed of going
- Provide numerous chances for free publicity and even publicity that pays you!
- Find the ultimate marketing tool!
No longer is it necessary to send your book out to a traditional publisher to publish your books. You don’t have to depend on vanity presses either. Today, it is possible to publish using a system called self-publishing where you do the work of writing your book then prepare it for publication, have copies printed using print on demand technology, then market the book yourself. This book not only tells you why you should write a book to ignite your business, but it gives you a step-by-step guide that shows you how to go through the self-publishing process from an author who has been through the process numerous times.
What Would I Like in Return?
What do I want in return? I am not asking for anything. I am not asking for your email address or anything like that. As I said, this was a Christmas gift to you.
Share this post If you would like to give me something in return, you don’t have to, but I would love if you would Share this post on your Twitter or Facebook page.
A Review on Kindle Also, after you have finished reading, I would really appreciate if you took the time to return to the page where you picked up the book(s) and offer me a good review of the books you read and enjoyed. That would be better than any other Christmas gift or card you could give me.
I wish you a Very Merry Christmas
And a Happy, Happy New Year!
December 18, 2017
Tis the Season
How is Christmas shaping up for you this year? When we think about Christmas, we think about all of the gifts that we have to buy, the decorating, taking children to visit Santa, Christmas programs and getting together with family and friends to enjoy time together. Even among believers, people offer the babe in the manger a slight nod as we continue with our busy schedules.
In churches, the birth of Jesus is limited to a few carols, and a pageant displaying the story where angels, shepherds, animals, and three wise men all converge on the infant. The story sadly stops there with everyone kneeling to worship the young child.
At the same time, every year, this same peaceful manger scene is fought against in courts all over the country. What kind of power could this scene have that it causes some to be drawn to it, and at the same time causes others to be repelled, and yet the majority dismiss so easily?
The Angels, shepherds, the wise men knew what others do not understand. They knew that this event demonstrated that God loved them enough to give his best to his creation.
This story did not begin at the manger. We learn in the Bible in the book of Genesis that God created the heavens and the earth. We learn that in six days he created everything that is on the earth. His greatest creation, mankind, was made in God’s own image.
Then mankind turned his back on God and decided to do things his own way. They thought that they could live up to God’s standard without him or that they could somehow win God’s approval through their actions. This misunderstanding of truth continues today.
In the Beginning
There are times when we realize that we need God, but for some reason we think that we can fix our own problems or that we have to do something in our own efforts, but that isn’t God’s way. God wants us to need him and his ways. He wants the best for each of us and this is why he chose to give us Jesus who was not only made in his image, but was literally a chip off the old block.
This story did not end at the manger, either. After the angels went back to heaven, the shepherds and animals went back to their fields and the wise men returned to their countries, Jesus lived his life here on earth by giving in the same manner that his father had given him. He gave health to sick and life to the dead. He made the blind to see and deaf to hear. He then gave his own life on the cross so that he could also free us from sin. He never asks us to give up sin first, he became our sin instead. With that his life on earth was finished. All we have to do is believe in his resurrection, and share his gift with those around us.
Let’s Just All Agree to Get Along
During this Christmas season, let’s put aside our differences. Let’s share God’s gift of love with everyone we know, even people we don’t like. For the Love of God and for the rest of the year let’s forget about all of the fighting over religion and politics
Let’s give the gift of Peace on Earth, Good Will to Man!
Can you Believe that 2017
is Almost Over?
It is hard to believe that it is almost the end of 2017.It seems as though it just started, and here it is the end of the year. This past year has certainly been busy for me. I started two different part time jobs. I did some public speaking. I attended two live events. I self-published four books.I did all this, and I wrote at least one blog post every week of the year.
Most Popular Posts in 2017
Even though the year isn’t over yet, I am close to breaking my previous record number of blog views (and counting) which was set back in 2012. Though some of the posts were written in previous years, a number of these posts were written this year. Here are those posts.
The tenth most popular blog post on How my Spirit Sings was the photo of Character Stereotypes.
Coming in at number nine is Make the Last, First
The eighth favorite post of 2017 was Embracing Failure written on April 24, 2017.
On July 24, 2017, number Seven Interview with Tracy Gregory was written.
Sixth was Fictional Character Archetypes written August 26, 2016.
Fifth place goes to Seven Things I Learned from the Got Marketing Workshop with Tierney James Which was written June 12, 2017.
The Fourth most popular post this year was Parallels between First Century Corinth and Our Present Culture written on August 1, 2012
Coming in Third place and written during the summer of 2017 is Elisabeth Zguta’s Latest Book in the Curses and Secrets Series: Seeking Redemption
Second–Written November 11, 2015-–What are the Enemy’s Strategies?
First, Originally written April 15,2015, it is still the most popular this year. —Who was Mary, the Mother of Jesus Really?
Which ones did you like best? Which type of article would you like to see again? Write your answers in the comments below and include the number of your favorite.
I was listening to a commercial for an interview the other day, and a woman said that a her writer friend “never had a blank page”, in other words he always had something to write about. It is another way of saying that he never has writer’s block.
Nora Roberts once said that a poorly written page is better than a blank page. I totally agree.
I Never Sit In Front of a Blank Page
I am like that myself. I never have writer’s block. I always have plenty to write. Sometimes I have too much. For instance, I just finished a month long project of writing a first draft of a fiction book in 30 days. This program is called NaNoWriMo.
I finished this project on November 29 and spent the next two days distancing myself from that project and didn’t write anything for those two days. The reason I took the break is not because I didn’t have anything to write. Last year during December, Every day I started a new book. So I have numerous projects I could work on. The fact is, I simply needed a break from writing. I took the break because I needed to evaluate where I should go next. Sometimes just helps to stop and think things through. That’s what I did the past two days.
I currently have three NaNoWriMo projects that are still unpublished. One of them is Sunrise on the Mississippi which I just finished its first draft. I have one book ahead of it in The Locket Saga series called Two Rivers which I wrote last year for NaNoWriMo. I plan to publish that this year. Another book that is in the series which is actually much later is On Mercy’s Wings which is set during the American Civil War.
One of the things that I was thinking about was projects that I have in the works. For a couple of years now I have been working on two nonfiction books that address the phenomenon of “writer’s block”. One addresses tips to nonfiction writers writing and the other addresses tips to fiction writers. I may be working on those books and work to get them published this year. Neither book will take long to complete. I just had projects that I thought that I needed to finish first.
However, what I thought about most during the past few days is something that has been bothering me for a while and that is, I have not had the sales on my previous books that I know I could have if I spent less time writing and more time marketing what I have already written.
A Tip for Getting Past the Blank Page
If you have trouble writing anything, the first thing I would suggest is to get away from the blank document and think about what it is that you want to say. Take about fifteen minutes to do this. Write down what comes to mind.
If nothing still comes, sit down in front of the document and whine on paper about how you are unable to write anything and then start writing down all the reasons (or excuses) that you can think of for not being able to write anything. Spill everything that comes to mind out on paper even if it has nothing to do with your current project. Write down things that you need to research before you write. Write down people that you need to see before you can write. Write down ideas about your project. Write down all of those things that you have to do that do not relate to your writing project but are on your mind. Do this for fifteen minutes.
This is called a brain dump. Now look over what you have written and delete your rants. Put those things that don’t relate to this project on a list and promise that you tell yourself that you will get to after you have spent time on this project.
Now you no longer have a blank page. You may not have much, but you will have something left that relates to this project. Organize the information related to your writing project into a logical sequence and start filling in some of the material that you know. Include questions that you need to research. You may find that you are no longer blocked.
How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was great! My husband was home. My son came to visit from Washington, DC and the food was great! However, I find that I have not been doing as much as I had in the past. Lately I be getting fewer and fewer projects finished. I am sure that a lot of it has to do with my second job as an elementary after school tutor. Then came NaNoWriMo, my husband became sick in the hospital, and then my son and his girlfriend came for Thanksgiving. Now Thanksgiving is in the past and I can start thinking about getting back on track.
Using Fifteen Minute Sprints
I haven’t been doing this all the time, but when I know that I have a lot of work to do on various projects from housework to writing to editing to marketing, I like to prioritize the projects that I have to finish. Next I set a timer for fifteen minutes, focus and get to work at whatever I have to do that day.
Take Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago, for instance. I had a number of projects to do. I had to clean house for the weekend. I had this blog post to write, and since it is NaNoWriMo month, I had to make a specific word count for Saturday and every day this month.
I started first thing in the morning by sorting out a load of clothes and set the alarm for fifteen minutes. During that fifteen minutes I took dishes out of the dish washer, cleaned off counters, took a few things upstairs, cleaned the coffee maker, cleaned the microwave, and took out the trash. I made a serious dent in getting the kitchen clean. During the next fifteen minutes I wrote long hand a scene for my book. The fifteen minute task completions went on for the rest of the day. I got a lot done, including taking my daughter to and from a school activity.
Rejecting What Doesn’t Work
I have tried other techniques that didn’t work for me. It might work for others, but they just weren’t a right fit. For instance, I have tried the Pomodoro technique where I would work for twenty-five minutes on a project and then taking five minutes off to get away from it for a few minutes. As I said, I tried, but I really never was able to get into it. since I’ve tried it and it didn’t work, I am letting go of the idea of using it and going back to what I know does work.
I have decided that I will go back to the fifteen minute sessions because they are short, and I am amazed at how much I can get done in that length of time.
Eating the Elephants
Goals are like elephants that have to be eaten one bite at a time. I have found that goals have to be broken down into projects that have to be broken down into smaller and smaller segments until I have bite size tasks that can be done in fifteen minutes. I have learned that if I have something on my to-do list, it needs to be broken down into something that I can do in fifteen minutes.
I start out the first fifteen minutes deciding how I am going to break the goal down into projects and use subsequent fifteen minute sessions to break the projects down to tasks that can be done in fifteen minutes.
Making Plans for the Future
November is coming to an end this week, and I am almost finished with NaNoWriMo. (Just 3 more days left!) Next month is coming up fast and my goal for December is to make plans for next year especially in the area of book marketing.
When I originally started thinking about writing this blog post, I knew that I would write it about gratitude because it was to be a Thanksgiving blog. What I didn’t realize is that my gratitude would be tested this year.
About a month ago, my husband was on the road (he’s an over-the-road truck driver) when suddenly he had sharp pains on the right side of his chest. That following Monday he went to his general physician. He complained of the pain and he was also spiking temperatures and having night sweats. The doctor told him that was his gall bladder and he gave the impression that he didn’t think that it was so bad that Jeff would need surgery for it. He had ordered some blood work that showed that all things seemed normal although he did have “a bit of an infection” the doctor never ordered any x-rays or antibiotics for the infection.
My husband did not want to get gall bladder surgery, so he used every alternative medicine he could find to cleanse his gallbladder. He’d say he felt better and go back to work for a run and then he’d feel sick again. From what I gather, he never really felt better. He just got used to being sick. He went to see his work’s physician for his DOT physical. They gave him a clean bill of health.
He was Sicker than Anyone Thought
Finally, last Wednesday, I woke up in the morning and heard a strange sound. It was a rapid rattling noise that I had not heard before. It was Jeff’s breathing! I told him. “There is no way that is a gallbladder issue. There is something else really wrong.” He decided to go to the doctor. I told our daughter to expect the worst. He was going to the doctor and would probably end up in the hospital. She needed to be prepared for that. I had to take her to school and to not depend on her Dad to do it for her.
His doctor was not in that day and would not be in the next day either so the staff at his practice told him that he would have to go to urgent care. I was teaching my first class of the day when he texted me that he was being admitted to Cox South for pneumonia.
When I got to the hospital that evening, I found out how bad his situation really was. He was going into surgery the next morning to get tubes put in his lungs. He was on three antibiotics. The surgeon thought he would be in the hospital for five to six days. b
From Bad to Worse
The next day, Thursday, I went to work and his mother sat with him as he waited for his surgery. The doctor had said that his surgery would last two hours. It lasted over three hours. When the doctor called us in, he didn’t give us much hope that he would recover quickly or that he would recover at all. He wasn’t even certain that Jeff was coming off the breathing tube they used in surgery. He had said that they drained one and a half liters of fluid off of his lungs. He said that he was very sick.
My daughter and I went to see him after he went to CVICU that night. His body was cold and clammy. He was pale and still. He was covered in tubes and wires and he really looked bad. The nurse was having difficulty getting his pulse and respirations under control.
In one sense, I was extremely angry with the doctors that had seen him during the month prior to his admission to the hospital. His surgeon said that he had been sick for a very long time and yet those doctors had not picked up the diminished lung sounds when they were supposed to have put their stethoscopes to his chest. When the doctor saw that he had an infection, he didn’t give him any sort of antibiotics. No one even did an x-ray to rule out pneumonia.
I also felt fear. I was afraid. One of the things that went through my mind was that it was during Thanksgiving week that my eldest brother (a year younger than I) had become sick and then died that Saturday after the holiday. My husband born just a couple of months before than he was. I was afraid I might end up facing the same situation with my husband. I went home that night and knew that I needed to take the day off because I might have to face making decisions. It wouldn’t be fair to my students if I had to leave in the middle of class.
This may sound strange, but I did feel some gratitude. I was thankful that my mother-in-law had been there while I was working. I was grateful that urgent care was so quick to realize that he had something serious going on. I was grateful that he was at the best hospital in Springfield. I was grateful that his surgeon was thorough and didn’t sugar coat anything.
The next morning, about nine hours later, after my daughter gave blood at her school, she and I went to the hospital to see him again. Things had changed dramatically. Though he was obviously on pain medications, he was alert and knew what was going on. The breathing tube had\ been removed. He was able to talk to us. Everyone was amazed by how fast he came around.
We stayed until visiting ours were over and went home, took naps ourselves and returned that evening. He was even doing better. He had a full liquid lunch and then had eaten a regular dinner. He had even walked while we were gone. Barring a major set back, the nurse agreed with me that it was not unreasonable to think that he would probably be going home by Thanksgiving. I saw the surgeon on Saturday night and he told Jeff that he was amazed at how well he was doing after what he saw during surgery. It was, in my opinion, a miracle. ,What a relief!
Previous plans changed. My husband\ and daughter were planning to go to visit her sister’s family in Colorado over the holiday. That obvious wasn’t going to happen. However, my son and his girlfriend from Washington, DC had also planned to visit me during that same holiday. They are still coming and my husband\ and daughter will be part of that too, so it will still be a good day. All the more reason to be grateful.