People always have a special workspace. All our lives we do things there – we study school subjects, do homework, or work on other projects Many people work in offices, where they need a place for their belongings.
From time to time we forget to clean it. One day we wake up and see millions of various things on our desks. Right after the busy holidays is the day to address the organization of our workspaces.
The second Monday in January (This year January 8) is National Clean Off Your Desk Day in 2018.
My desk isn't really a desk at all. It's a table - a 100 year old cafeteria table. I've owned it for 40 or so of those years. I found it when I lived in Memphis, Tennessee. My Uncle Bill and Aunt Gwen were visiting from Arkansas. They were veteran flea market/antique show shoppers. A very large Flea Market was being held as part of the Shelby Country Fair around 1980. It was a hot day and vendors fans did nothing. We were about to leave. Then I saw the tables. There were two China Red and black laquer-topped wood tables painted to look as if they were made of inlaid wood. I knew at a glance that they were from the turn of the 20th century and so I asked. They were old cafeteria tables from West Tennessee State Normal School which would later become my own Alma Mater University of Memphis. Except for badly crackled paint that had actually become the "cool part" of the design, and varnish which looked in need of a redo the tables were perfect. My uncle bought them and gave me one. It's been with me ever since.
The "office" which I refer to as my "pink lotus office" is in my gothic revival house. It's old too! It's nearing age 90 and the office part is situated in a former "sunroom" sporting nine tall windows -- It's pretty brutal in winter and on summer evenings when the heat of the sunset pours in.(No air conditioner) My books, in their present form, were written there and I suspect that I will write the rest at that table, even if we move. You see my WIP Heart of the Lotus on the screen in the typical 3 stages/colors: black for pre-beta draft, lime green for almost final and purple for original idea. To the left in picture 2 is the messy part: crayons, notes, research books and drawings, as well as candles for setting the mood. Do you have a special place where you are most creative? Please post a picture and email it to email@example.com. or describe and attach your photo in the comments.
Last week we got to know the writer-ly life of Darran Handshaw. This week he presents his character Knight Arbiter Eisandre sof Darovin.
1. Go ahead and introduce yourself.
I am Knight Arbiter Eisandre sof Darovin.
2. Tell us where you were born.
The Order of Arbiters does not discuss such things with the public. We are all born in different places, some in the Dominions while others are born of the Altheans or some other group. All that matters now is that we are one with our Order, to protect the neutral sanctity of Pyramid so that a safe center of Redemption exists to further the cause of civilization.
3. How would you describe yourself?
How would I describe myself? I do not understand your question. Suffice it to say that I am loyal to my Order.
4. Tell us about where you grew up.
As I stated earlier, the place I grew up doesn't matter. I was taken in by the Order of Arbiters as a young woman, and my training with the brothers and sisters of my Order as an Initiate prepared me for the role I serve in now. As with most Initiates, I was trained in Redoubt to the northeast of Pyramid.
5. How old are you?
I am twenty years of age.
6. Did you have a happy childhood? Why/why not?
My childhood was quite happy. I was surrounded by family who loved me. I miss them, but their path lies elsewhere from my own.
7. Past / present relationships? How do they affect you?
Knight Arbiter Garth sof Belidur is my partner. We are tasked with patrol of Pyramid and its surrounding area. He is an effective fighter. I am fortunate to have him at my side.
8. What do you value above all else in life?
Above all else in life, I value the potential for humanity to achieve a lasting, peaceful civilization in Redemption. That is why I'm devoted to protecting Pyramid's neutrality.
9. What are you obsessed with?
I am trained to avoid obsession or fixation with any worldly things. Such would be a distraction from the goals of an Arbiter. I am driven, however – driven to train and to work hard to improve
my skill as a swordswoman, to be more observant during patrols, and to be a better servant to my Order.
10. How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about?
As a member of the Order of the Arbiters of Redemption, I devote myself to the pure vision of a civilized society, in which all the people of Redemption work together toward their common goals of survival, prosperity, and happiness. I believe there is a fundamental worth in all men, women, and children and in their collective ability to create a society in which cultural and personal differences are embraced in the light of a greater and more unified whole. Unity of Vision for a better future. Clarity of Purpose in assisting those who are in need. Honor and Civility, that I might rightfully earn the respect of those around me. Personal Modesty, that I may remember I serve a purpose greater than myself. Purity of Focus to concentrate on the task before me. May I have the enduring strength, integrity and conviction to remain true to this difficult path, that all the people of this world might know a brighter future.
These are my vows. In serving them, I do my part in giving the people of Redemption a chance at a future worth living.
11. Biggest fear?
My biggest fear is that I will fail to uphold those vows. I train so that I might never fail.
12. What line will you never cross?
Would that I never put anything ahead of my vows.
13. What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
The best thing that ever happened was that I was entrusted with the opportunity to be an Arbiter.
14. Biggest secret?
Knight Arbiters keep no secrets. My Order knows everything there is to know about me. Of course, there are secrets that we keep from the public – details of Pyramid's inner workings, strategic information on Redoubt, and the like.
15. What is the one word you would use to define yourself?
16. What is your current goal?
My goal is to continue to serve the Order in the best way they deem possible. It gives me great satisfaction to be of use to such an important cause, and I can only hope but to spend the rest of my life in that service.
A review of Wizard's Rising (aka The Deadly Wizard Games)
Just as the world is on the brink of global nuclear disaster, four young wizards take over all world governments and announce that they are now in charge. They are bringing sweeping changes that will solve all the petty problems the “mortals” experience. Because they rule from an off-world location in the sky and have little real interaction with humans, they choose liasons.
Amanda Fullerton, a young social worker, gets the job which is one of mostly explaining the changes and fielding questions or complaints.
As the story develops, Amanda begins to see not all is well with wizard rule. People’s questions and troubles are often ignored even though the mortals get everything they need. She develops a closer relationship with the four and tries to influence them. In return, they show her some of the games and tell her some of their secrets. This is an ambitious work of political and economic fantasy. It is easy to read, flows nicely and covers a lot of ground as the author, Mr. Spotson relates Amanda’s adventures with the wizards. The descriptive world-building is great. Some of the game scenarios have a vintage video-game feel: like Tetris and 3D chess. Character development could have been better. The wizards personalities blended together with the possible exception of rebellious Demus. They seemed like naïve children who didn’t understand why the mortals were less than happy after all needs were fulfilled. Amanda, too, even seems innocent, despite the wisdom she acquires. The resolution is a strange one that asks, at the end, if there is more to the story. A good Young Adult read that makes the reader think, and ask what if?
Cindy Tomamichel is a multi-genre writer of action adventure novels, spanning time travel romance, science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, and sword and sorcery genres.
Druid’s Portal is a time travel romance series, set in Roman Britain around Hadrian's Wall. Action and adventure with plenty of fighting, ancient goddesses and druids. It's not your typical romance, but it will set your heart racing!
She also has poetry and short stories in three anthologies by Rhetoric Askew and a science fiction comedy story in Quantum Soul, a science fiction anthology by the Scifi Roundtable.
The latest project is ‘5 Minute Vacations’ a series of tranquil scenes with photos to provide a mental holiday. Due for release in February 2018.
How long have you been a writer?
I started my first novel about 20 years ago, but have dabbled in short stories and ghastly poetry since a teenager.
Are you Traditionally or Indie published? If not yet, what are you considering?
I have my time travel romance series Druid’s Portal out with Soul Mate Publishing, and several short stories with the indie/small press publishers Rhetoric Askew and Scifi Roundtable. I intend to self-publish some short story collections this year.
What writers inspired you? Favorite Authors?
My favourite writers to read are RE Howard (Conan), Peter O’Donnell (Modesty Blaise), Robert Heinlein, David Morrell, Andy McDermott, and Matthew Reilly.
But inspiration comes in many forms, and I would have to say the support of fellow authors in the Scifi Roundtable facebook group has been of great practical help and support.
What is your book/series about (elevator speech or quick tweet post)
Druid’s Portal: A genre blend of action, adventure, romance, time travel and magical historical fantasy. Travel back in time with modern day archaeologist Janet and meet Roman soldier Trajan. Set in Roman Britain in the shadows of Hadrian’s Wall.
What is the setting and genre?
Roman Britain around Hadrian’s Wall, and time travel romance with a good dose of action, adventure and fantasy.
Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
I am writing the series at the moment, following the generations through as they all take up the guardianship of the time travelling Arwen pendant.
However, my favorite character is Trajan. A hero in the first book as a Roman soldier, and adapting to life 2,000 years in the future.
What character is most like you?
I am not sure any of them are like me, but I guess they all have some elements. Branwen bakes, Janet is an archaeologist, Trajan is practical.
If you had a supernatural power, what would it be?
To be able to communicate with animals.
Would you say your book has a message or underlying theme? What is it?
The series has the theme of family, and what people will do to save family, or rescue a loved one.
How are you marketing your book?
I had a facebook launch, and do various graphics for advertising. I also have the paperbacks for sale at two upcoming Comic Cons at the Scifi Roundtable stand.
Albuquerque ComicCon on Jan 12-14th,
Phoenix SF/Fantasy Con March 16-18th.
A wonderful thing has happened! Hollywood wants to make a movie of your book! You get to pick the actors & actresses.
Kayla Scodelario (Pirates of the Caribbean) as Janet,
Sam Worthington or Mark Ruffalo as Trajan and Benedict Cumberbatch as Daman the bad guy.
What music do you hear (what songs) remind you of your story?
I used some celtic music with a book trailer I made, and Janet listens to Christine Anu. I reckon Trajan would like classical music.
What Favorite foods do your characters eat?
I have Trajan eating snails in garlic, and Janet eats a chickweed salad, and she eats biscuits when stressed. Food gets a reasonable mention in my work as food research and history is a bit of a hobby.
What makes you laugh/cry?
Terry Pratchett and Tom Sharpe are my favourite comedy writers. Erma Bombeck as well. I was very sad reading the last Terry Pratchett, realizing I would never know how the characters ended up in books forever unwritten.
What do you want written on your head stone and why?
I don’t really want a headstone, I would prefer to be composted, so long as I didn’t end up a nutrient contaminant in groundwater!
Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Cooking, gardening, reading. Not much time for extra activities these days.
What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I really don’t watch TV, although I do enjoy the occasional Dr Who when I can. I love action movies, and old black and white movies.
If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Well, I have already been a geologist and an environmental scientist, I am not sure I could squeeze in another career, although I am working on crazy cat lady. I would have liked to worked with animals in a zoo.
What are you working on right now?
A new release for February, which is ‘5 Minute Vacations’ a series of tranquil scenes to provide a mini holiday and some mindful peace. Also the sequels to Druid’s Portal, some short story collections, and a couple of stories for anthologies.
How much research do you do for your novels? Bonus –what’s the weirdest thing you have Googled?
I do quite a bit of research for my historicals, and have completed a couple of online courses in archaeology and Roman Britain. Otherwise I make sure the facts – even if stretched – are at least possible.
Pro tip – don’t google maggots in images. I did this for a blog. Scarred for life.
What’s the scariest thing you have ever done, and did it end up in a story?
Skydiving was absolutely terrifying. I think I am still processing it several years later as it hasn’t surfaced in a story yet.
Name 5 fictional characters you would invite to a dinner party. Where would the party be?
I will go for a feast of wit and reason, and invite Severus Snape (so he can relax with some elf wine), Aragorn (so he too can sit back with a pipe of the Shire’s finest pipeweed), Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin with their range of knowledge of the obscure, and Kylo Ren since I feel he needs some mature guidance if he ever wants to run the galaxy properly. Lazarus Long would be running the bar.
Then the restaurant at the end of the universe party gets gate crashed by Gimli, Conan and Mother (from Matthew Reilly), Indiana Jones and Xena. Then the party really gets going!
What links or website do you have? List them below.
Contact Cindy on Website: http://cindytomamichel.com/
Turning the reader off: when “self-promoting” turns into “self-absorbed”
Posted on May 6, 2017 by mesmithcity - reblogged :-)
I’m on a lot of social media nowadays.
It’s something you pretty much have to do, whether you’re a brand-new, fresh-out-of-the-box indie author or a well-known and traditionally published household name. You gotta Facebook blog, Tweet, Instagram, and Snapchat yourself and your books all over the place. It’s just the way it is.
But despite decades of having been advertised to, it seems that most of us. including all the advertising “gurus” who are now hawking their wares all over the net, haven’t learned a damned thing.
No. Seriously, you just keep doing those things that don’t work.
You need to listen to yourself and think a lot harder about what it is your advertising is for.
This is pretty important.
If your FB page and Twitterfeed is populated entirely by either people offering to advertise your book (for a price) or other authors hawking their stuff, you haven’t hit your target audience.
And this shotgun approach means that even on retweets, there’s a good chance your cozy mystery is going out to people who only read vampire fiction with a lot of sex.
Those people…they aren’t even LOOKING at your ad.
Apparently the concept of less is more has no meaning on the internet.
And yet, if you analyze your own response to ad campaigns that are just that little bit (or way too much) repeated ad nauseum, you’ll notice that the main result is ad-fatigue to the point where one actively will NOT buy the thing. Even if it’s what they want. Because it looks old and tired by the time they decide to look for a book about whatever.
It’s pretty much the most off-putting thing around when an author describes their book as “the best” or “the most” or anything else superlative. You don’t get to say that about your own work. Yeah, you think you’re the bee’s knees.
But no one likes a braggart.
It’s the reader who gets to decide that it’s the best book ever, not you. You don’t get to say “My book is the most exciting new take on Steampunk you will ever read.”
That’s how you wound up with that one-star review.
Because you were an arrogant prick who couldn’t deliver.
The flip side is to do the self-mocking, “my book is awful” ads.
Because people will believe that, and then…well, why would they buy it?
It’s the spice of life, and yet, when it comes to ads on the internet, all I see is the same tagline, endlessly repeated.
Look, if it didn’t make me click the first time, why would I click on the 1001st?
Engagement is not measured by volume.
Sure, your friends share and retweet your buy-links. Sure, lots of people “like” and “favourite” those posts. But that’s not really engagement.
Engagement means that you make an effort to connect with people as something more than dollar signs. If the only thing you ever post – even on your author page – is urgent pleas for people to buy something, you aren’t selling yourself.
There was a time when people didn’t care so much about the personality of the writer. They read a review, or they looked at a book cover and a blurb, and made a choice. They either wanted to read the book, or they didn’t. The closest they got to “knowing” an author might be if you got a radio or tv or newspaper interview.
What they cared about was whether they liked the books.
Nowadays, with all this communication happening, you can’t expect to entice new readers to follow or friend you on social media unless you are offering one of two things.
Either you are just there to increase their numbers or venues for advertising, or you are giving them something of value beyond endless shilling of your books or services.
And those authors who only ever tweet or post the same old buy-links with boring or repetitive or over-the-top taglines – well, I don’t know about anyone else, but frankly, I mute/hide those people pretty ruthlessly, because out of the thousands of tweets or posts I need to wade through every day, those are kind of a waste of time.
A “friend” offers more than a “What can you do for me?” interaction. A “friend” talks about something other than themselves, at least once in a while.
There’s an old saying that to have friends, you need to be a friend.
Meatspace or on wifi, it still applies.
*NOTE: The other really important thing about all this is that we know that “word of mouth” is what really sells – and “word of mouth” means that you tell your friends and family why you like a particular novel so much that you are willing to “sell” other people on it.
When you retweet or share, don’t you think it would make more of an impact if you included a few words about WHY you think this book is worth reading?
That’s what you need to do for your author-friends, and what they need to do for you.
https://www.amazon.com/Threadbare-Stuff-Nonsense-Andrew-Seiple-ebook/dp/B078KGS4V4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1515346601&sr=1-1&keywords=Andrew+Seiple December 21, 2017
Our three winners have been discovered. Watch for the hats in your inbox so you can name your prize or your chosen winner. I'm reworking the "Hat" system so my e-mail only fans who are not on Facebook or are not often there can play. I'll let you know next week who won and what prizes they chose
Hat Day WIP "Miss Hattie and the Hoppers" excerpt
4 Methods for Developing Any Idea Into a Great Story
A great thought for the New Year
see you next week! and above all... comment and share this blog everywhere