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Archives for May 2012

New Authors Have a Reason to Smile

Dellena Ludwig shows off her new book, “Where Did Dinosaurs Come From? ” In her book, children will learn just that! A poetic, biblical look at the history of dinosaurs is sure to teach you but also entertain. You’ll laugh and smile as you learn the important history of the origin of dinosaurs and where they are now.

Dellena is putting the finishing touches on her book release party slated for this upcoming weekend.


Dwayne Carl kicked off the first signing of his memoir,” Out of My Second Closet: I Have AIDS Get Ova It,” last week at the Gay Pride Parade and Festival in Long Beach, CA. Dwayne’s book is a compelling journey of one man’s plight from a deadly illness, to a life of prejudices, inequality, stigmas, the world’s misunderstanding the pain of a person living with the aids diagnosis.


Both of these authors have a reason to smile because they followed a dream of sharing their compelling stories when most aspiring authors never do. It is believed that 4 out of 5 people want to write a book but most never do. That puts Dellena and Dwayne in rare company, along with my other successful clients.  By the way, their books are available on Amazon.com and from other major booksellers.

How about you? Are you ready to experience the smile that only holding your new book in your hands can bring on? It’s not magic. It requires taking the first step and following through with determination and courage.

If you are ready to go, I’d love to be your travelling companion to make your writing journey a fun trip with a soft landing. Send me an email at flora@florabrown.com with “Ready” in the subject line along with your phone number and best time to call. I will call you at your next availability.

I’m going over to check for your email right now.

Have a Laugh about Language, Writers and Writing

Writers, It’s time to laugh at ourselves.
*****
A visitor to a certain college paused to admire the new Hemingway Hall that had been built on campus.

“It’s a pleasure to see a building named for Ernest Hemingway,” he said.

“Actually,” said his guide, “it’s named for Joshua Hemingway. No relation.”

The visitor was astonished. “Was Joshua Hemingway a writer, also?”

“Yes, indeed,” said his guide. “He wrote a check.”

*****

A linguistics professor was lecturing to his English class one day. “In English,” he said, “a double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative.”

A voice from the back of the room piped up, “Yeah, right.”

*****

There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed his desire to become a great writer.

When asked to define great, he said, “I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, howl in pain and anger!”

He now works for Microsoft writing error messages.

*****

A screenwriter comes home to a burned down house. His sobbing and slightly-singed wife is standing outside. “What happened, honey?” the man asks.

“Oh, John, it was terrible,” she weeps. “I was cooking, the phone rang. It was your agent. Because I was on the phone, I didn’t notice the stove was on fire. It went up in second. Everything is gone. I nearly didn’t make it out of the house. Poor Fluffy is–”

“Wait, wait. Back up a minute,” The man says. “My agent called?”

*****

How many mystery writers does it take to change a light bulb? Two. One to screw the bulb almost all the way in, and one to give a surprising twist at the end.

*****

From the pen of Paul Ogden

  • A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
  • A backward poet writes inverse.
  • No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery

*****

From http://bit.ly/N4pjcW
A Spanish speaking bandit held up a bank in Tucson. The sheriff and his deputy chased him. When they captured him, and the sheriff, who couldn’t speak Spanish, asked him where he’d hidden the money. “No sé nada,” he replied.

The sheriff put a gun to the bandit’s head and said to his bi-lingual deputy: “Tell him that if he doesn’t tell us where the money is right now, I’ll blow his brains out.”

Upon receiving the translation, the bandit became very animated. “¡Ya me acuerdo! Tienen que caminar tres cuadras hasta ese gran arbol: allí está el dinero.”

The sheriff leaned forward. “Yeah? Well..?”

The deputy replied: “He says he wants to die like a man.”

*****

Can you add a joke or funny thought about writers, writing or language to this pitiful collection?

What I Learned About the Kindle Select Program

It’s my pleasure to welcome guest contributor, Tea Silvestre, aka the Word Chef (http://thewordchef.com), as she shares her recent experience with Amazon’s KDP Select program.

Now that my book is published, I’m finding more and more authors expressing opposing sides of the Yay/Nay debate on joining the Kindle Select Program.

My thought is this: if Amazon is THE 100 lb publishing gorilla, why wouldn’t you try it out?

Funny how when you know you’re going to be publishing a book, you start to see relevant thoughts and opinions everywhere.

That’s what happened to me and how I found my way to the Kindle Direct Publishing page and its Select Program

My experience with Kindle Publishing (and their Select program) has been pretty cool.


I reached #57 on Amazon’s list of nonfiction free e-books on my first day.

Not sure that the free day has increased subsequent sales, but that’s okay with me. I really just wanted to get my book into the hands of new people. To get exposure to new prospects.

KDP would work best for folks who have a series of books (where you give away the first in the series, and then folks are prompted to get the next one).

My biggest headache? Formatting the manuscript. And really — it wasn’t a full-blown migraine type of headache. Just the kind of dull sort of ache that happens after a long day.

Here’s what you need to know before we get started

  • I used to teach people how to use Microsoft Office software for a living (waaaay back in the day); so even though I’m not intimately familiar with the current version of MS Word, I know the functionalities and what they’re capable of accomplishing.
  • I’m comfortable with technology and don’t freak out when I need to learn something new; this is a state of mind you need to cultivate if you’re going to feel successful in the digital publishing (DIY) world.
  • I know how to use Google to look for answers to my questions. Need to know how to do a particular thing? Google it!

So that’s the place where I started from (technology-wise) in terms of launching this book.

Here are my tips for making your experience just a little bit smoother

  • Read the directions. My honey is constantly teasing me about my habit for not doing this. Yes, I’m a bookworm. Yes, I love to read. Just not directions. Those? I skim those (if at all). In this case, it’s a good idea to read the directions thoroughly before you start. Had I done that, I would’ve known that I needed to save my manuscript not just in html, but in html filtered. Apparently there’s a difference.
  • Zip your final files before you upload them. Html projects create a separate file for things like images. Your html doc needs to be zipped with that folder to keep everything together nice and tight.
  • Format your pages to 3.5″ x 5″ so you can see what your book will look like (roughly) at those dimensions. It helps to see if you need to fix any line breaks. (Then put the margins back before you save and upload them to Kindle.)
  • My best advice? Don’t rely on the Select program as your sole marketing channel. It’s just one tiny piece of your entire book marketing plan. And when my 90-day contract expires, I’ll be adding my book to Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Apple’s iTunes and Smashwords (not to mention my own website!).

Until then, if you’d like to get my book for free, my last free download day is Wednesday, June 6th (24 hours only).

Bio: Tea (pronouced like Tay’ah) Silvestre is the author of “Attract and Feed a Hungry Crowd: How thinking like a Chef can help you build a solid business.”  She’s also the founder of the Tastiest Small Biz Brand Awards and a sought-after marketing consultant and speaker.

What Can You Learn About Life from a Dog?


When Charmaine Hammond and her husband saw Toby for the first time they were smitten.

They had worked through their grief over the death of their last dog, Dooks, and were ready to welcome another dog into their lives.

“Look, it’s a Chesapeake Bay retriever,” Chris said, “just like the one we saw at
the SPCA. His name is Toby, he’s five years old, and he’s in a rescue agency in
Sherwood Park, so he’s a local.”

I looked at the picture of a big, dark-brown dog with floppy ears and a white
spot on his chest and felt drawn to him instantly. Who could resist a dog who
smiled for the camera?

So Charmaine and her husband adopted Toby.

They figured he might need some adjusting time, but they certainly didn’t count
on what he’d do in the meantime. For the first few weeks he was well-behaved,
an absolute joy. And then one day he did what must have seemed like a Dr. Jekyll
and Mr. Hyde switch.

He became a holy terror who routinely opened and emptied the hall closet, turned
on water taps, pulled and ate things from the bookshelves, sat for hours on
end in the sink, and spent his days rampaging through the house. Oddest of all
was his penchant for locking himself in the bathroom, and then pushing the lid
of the toilet off the tank, smashing it to pieces. After a particularly disastrous
encounter with the knife-block in the kitchen— and when the couple discovered
Toby’s bloody paw prints on the phone—they decided Toby needed professional help.

They learned that Toby needed a purpose, and so they set out to create
specific jobs for Toby. When I interviewed Charmaine Hammond, she shared details
of what Toby taught her and her husband about the importance of life purpose.

Charmaine Hammond is an international transformational speaker, helping
people live inspired, resilient lives and is a leading trainer in corporate
North America helping transform workplaces. She is also an award winning
and bestselling author of On Toby’s Terms (Bettie Youngs Books, Sept.
2010), Toby The Pet Therapy Dog – and his hospital friends (Bettie Youngs
Books, Aug. 2011). Her book On Toby’s Terms is currently in development to
become a major motion picture! She has been featured on CBC, CTV, Global
TV, 820 CHAM, Alberta Prime Time News, many major newspapers, and in
various magazines.

To hear the full interview with Charmaine, click What I Learned About Life from My Dog–Charmaine Hammond

Then enjoy the poem I wrote during my elementary school years about our childhood dog, Rex.

A DOG NAMED REX
by Flora Morris

Maybe you have had troubles
Which have caused worry and vex,
But your worries have only begun
When you’ve met my dog, Rex.

I wouldn’t say Rex was a good dog,
Although he obeys only Dad.
And he’s not really a bad dog,
But the opposite of good is bad.

Rex is very much like a human
For he enjoys the good things in life
Why! I even think now he has in mind
Finding himself a wife.

Quite naturally, he likes food
Such as fruit which has been diced,
But his favorite is roast turkey,
Well done and highly spiced

Although he’s a dog,
Dog food to him is a hex
No matter what the brand,
No doggish foods for Rex.

And speaking of drinks
He likes tea and cool-aid,
And strong drinks like champagne,
Strictly of a high grade.

There are many dogs in the world,
And now that I’ve presented my text
I ask you, have you ever seen
A dog to compare with Rex?

Do you have memories of a beloved pet who made an impact on your life? I would love to be your partner in fetching those memories to share the lessons you learned about life in your book. If you are ready to begin, pop me an email right now with “READY” in the subject line at flora@florabrown.com. Be sure to include your phone number and the best time to call you.

I’m going over to check for your email right now.

Writing Poetry is a Way of Figuring Things Out

Sarah Kay,  spoken word poet and founder of Project V.O.I.C.E. says that she writes poetry to help her figure things out.

Do you write poetry? Does it help you figure things out?

I’m not sure what I figured out with the poems I wrote throughout my life, but I’m so happy I wrote them. Thanks to my mother, I still have the originals of my childhood poems. As I grew up I wrote about the mundane and the profane. Occasionally I was reflective. I’m sure that my poems won’t win any awards or be etched on monuments, but no matter how corny or fractured they may be, they are precious to me. This week I will share some of my own poems and those of others.

Here’s a poem that came to me after my first child was born. Following it, an inspiring video of the amazing poet and teacher of poetry, Sarah Kay, who could coax a poem from a rock.

SUMMARY

 

Once little Sally Walker sat in her saucer
And Miss Muffet ate curds and whey,
But no matter how hurriedly I lapped,
My ice cream cone melted away.

It melted into a fireside chant,
“Rise up, oh flame!” we’d implore.
Green-clad girls awed by the night,
Watched the star-sprinkled canopy hang o’er.

My eyelids weary from swimming and hikes
Closed for no more than a wink,
But when I awoke and wiped my eyes,
I was slurping a cherry Coke drink.

Seventeen Magazine lay by my side,
I was sprawled by a blaring TV.
Then the telephone rang, “Could I go?”
Sophomore prom? Who’d believe it? Me!

Oh-h-h!
What will I wear?
What of my hair?
How much does he care?
Will we make a good pair?
Who’ll be there?
Do I dare?  Do I dare?

Blue lace!
Flowers in place!
Happy face!

Oh-h-h!  I’m floating on air.
Yes, I was floating on air for awhile,
My airy raft lifted me high.
When suddenly the steady “War March of Priests”
Brought me down, tassle dangling in eye.

Goodbye, giggling teens and teachers so dear.
Goodbye Drama club, Majorettes.
Goodbye my first love, so tall and suave.

Hello my first cigarette. (Cough),
Hello lecture notes scribbled in haste.
Calm down sorority girl!
Be wise on those frequent walks through the park,
Your future has joys to unfurl.

One day I bent to scrape mud from my shoes
But when I rose back to full view
There stood a stranger, white cake, pretty lace,
And me, vowing “I do”.

“I do what?” I wanted to ask,
But the stranger whisked me high.
Mother in tears and friends bearing gifts
All happily sobbed their goodbyes.

I wanted to question the stranger
But he was excitedly babbling then.
So I waited, but when I opened my mouth
Out dropped a pink diaper pin!

Lullaby little fluff, an image of him.
Wait, don’t crawl away!  What’d you say?
“Little Sally Walker sitting in her saucer….
Mommy, what are curds and whey?”

 

Flora Morris Brown
January 1972

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Do you have poems you’ve stashed away? I would love to be your partner in bringing them out of hiding. If you are ready to begin, pop me an email right now with “READY” in the subject line at flora@florabrown.com . Be sure to include your phone number and I’ll call you within 24 hours.

I’m going over to check for your email right now.