The Occasional Bad Day – And Taking It With Humor


I knew today wouldn’t be my best day ever. I had to face a few quite hard facts. I was behind everything, but in particular, I was delayed on a few things I had to do – and should have done quite a while ago.

After waking up with a hammering headache, the prospect of getting something done that I had secretly postponed day-by-day-by-week wasn’t compelling. However, I knew it was time to get it done and over with. I was still within ‘the deadline’, but I was definitely on the ‘late’ side, which I don’t like. But so far, everything else has seemed to be more intriguing than sitting down and getting that stuff done.

But a deadline is a deadline is a deadline. And yes, Douglas Adams has something to say about deadlines:

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” ~Douglas Adams

I knew I couldn’t wait until that deadline flew by and moved over to my office. On the way, I stumbled over Charlet, my black tabby cat, who decided to cross my path just as I surrounded the corner from the living room to the office.

Thank God I could catch myself and didn’t fall, but in my haste to see myself, I hit two fingers on my desk, and one of my fingernails folded over – backward. Now, if you have nails as hard as mine, that hurts! I howled like a hungry wolf on a full moon. But that was no reason to delay. However, it was a reason to go back to the kitchen, get me a glass of buttermilk and wait until the pain had lessened a bit. Unfortunately, from yesterday to today, the buttermilk in question has gone sour.

Well, I got myself apple juice and shuffled back to the office.

Then I sat down and worked intensely for five hours to get my task done. That worked fine… until I found out that this wasn’t the only task I had. I promised to record something and send it out – which I did too. Two jobs are done. And I had to write a blog post for tomorrow, which I am doing right now, three tasks done.

I had to go to the bathroom in between, which I didn’t bother to slip into my house shoes, and stepped with my bare feet into a cat hairball… what a mess!

When I returned, I found out I had not finished the September Newsletter yet, which means, instead of getting ready for bed, I’ll get ready to get that done as well.

After all, it wasn’t a perfect day for me today. When I surfed through some quotes for this post, I found that quote from English author Douglas Adams and laughed loudly.

I know precisely, my day could have been much worse! There are people with horrible problems! (Even though I do have a few things that cause me stress and anxiety…)  But this quote made me laugh, and only the laughter made me feel better!

And I remember that very often, laughter can help. Look for something to giggle, for something to laugh about, look for a movie, a quote, a memory, or a couple of kitties, that tickly your humor center – and you will survive!

And with that, I’ll let you read a few more giggles from Douglas Adams. Giggle – and feel good about it!


Douglas Noel Adams was born on the 11th of March 1952 in Cambridge. He was an English writer and dramatist. Adams went to Brentwood School in Essex from 1959 to 1970. Until then his interest lied more towards Science rather than Arts. It was not until the age of ten when after achieving a full score in an essay, his teacher Frank Halford, encouraged him to follow a career in writing. While Adams was studying in Cambridge he hitchhiked from Europe to Istanbul, working various jobs to generate funds for it. After he left school in 1970 to follow his career as a writer, Adams was certain that success was eminent. However, the truth was far from this. After being discovered by Graham Chapman and John Lloyd he also made brief experiences in the series ‘Monty Pythons Flying Circus’. But Adams writings were not aligned with the style of radio or television of that time which proved to be a great hindrance in his success.

To make a living Adams tried several jobs including hospital porter, barn builder, bodyguard and chicken shed cleaner. Nevertheless Adams continued his efforts, though few of his works were accepted. In 1976, however, his career escalated a little when he wrote and performed ‘Unpleasantness at Brodie’s Close’ in a festival. But by the end of the year, he was in strife again. This left Adams with great depression and low self esteem. Slowly he learned to cope with his situation and decided to keep working hard for success.

His early works include ‘The Burkiss Way’ (1977) and ‘The News Huddlines’. In the same year later he worked once again with Graham Chappal to write an episode of ‘Doctor on the Go’. Adams most notable work is ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ which reached immense heights of success with the book being the number one seller in UK. He also became the youngest author to have received the Golden Pen Award for his book. ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ moved on to become a television series, a record album, a computer game and also theatrical plays. In 1980 he wrote another successful book ‘The Restaurant at the End of the Universe’ followed by ‘The Universe and Everything’ in 1982 and ‘So Long and Thanks for All the Fish’ in 1984 and ‘Mostly Harmless’ in 2002. Douglas Adams sold more than fifteen million books in United Kingdom, The United States and Australia and was a best seller in many languages including German and Swedish.

His works received many awards some of which are the ‘Imperial Tobacco Award’ (1978), Sony Award (1979) and ‘Best Program for Young People’ Society of Authors/Pye Awards for Radio (1980). In 1982, three of Adams books made it to the New York Times bestseller list and the Publishers’ Weekly bestseller list making him the first British author to achieve this target after Ian Fleming. His phenomenal book ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy’ was at the 24th number in the Waterstone’s Books and Channel list of the 100 greatest books of the century.

Douglas Adams died in Santa Barbara, California in May 2001.


All pictures in this post are courtesy of Google.com

Writing Progress – Slowly Catching Up


I intensely wrote on a book outside of my ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series; I have written about it on different occasions.

I was very enthusiastic about that book. The draft is completed… but, of course, when I write, I forget everything around me.

That means book 7 in ‘the Council of Twelve series is still waiting for me to complete the personal editing, book 8 was halfway typed into the computer, and book 9 is still waiting to be typed in.

Now, here I am, planning to do some catching up. And I started. (Sometimes I surprise myself).

In the meantime, Book #8 is typed into the computer and awaits the start of my personal editing. (Book 7 is still waiting for me to complete the editing, but it shouldn’t take much time anymore). And, I started typing in my new book.

Does that mean I’m slowly catching up? I’m not sure I am. I cannot be without writing, and I started to work on book #10 in the series. That doesn’t mean I will forget to type in. But I wrote so much, and I forgot that writing is the fun part. The real work starts after the first draft is completed.

I’m also behind my blog posts, which means I should consider writing a few of those and schedule them. It’s not easy to be a writer.

But at least, after everything got stuck and the drafts were piling up on my desk, I got the feeling that I was getting somewhere.

Keep your fingers crossed that I will keep on working on typing my drafts into the computer. It’s not the easiest or funniest part of my writing process.

I had someone telling me, why don’t you hire someone who is doing that for you? I’m telling you why:

  1. I was told my handwriting isn’t very easy to read
  2. This is only a first draft, which means, while typing it into the computer, I need to make adjustments and those are on me. Nobody can do that for me – and I don’t want anyone to try.
  3. I have an editor and a copyright lawyer, and a book cover designer… they all are a GREAT part of how my books turn out to be. But I still want to be a big part of my books and investing my time and efforts into my stories is part of the job description.

My books mean a lot to me, and the writing process they go through has turned out to be right for me. I doubt I want to change that.

What is your experience with your process? Have you changed anything lately? Let us know in the comments.

Bounty Hunter Also Accepted On ‘Indie California’

For the fourth time now I got exciting news! I was informed that Bounty Hunter, the fourth book in ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series, too, now is available in “Indie California’! Read more about it below – This is so wonderful. Please, help me spread the word! Thank you!

See the message I got here below


Hi A. J. Alexander,

Congratulations, you have successfully moved into the library space!

Your book, Bounty Hunter, is now available in Indie California, a collection of books from local indie authors available exclusively on the BiblioBoard Library mobile and web platform. This collection is available to patrons of participating libraries all across your state/region. That’s right, your book is now available with just one click of a button to thousands of new readers in your state/region!

 

 

Your Book
http://library.biblioboard.com/content/1bb52116-94c9-4c39-825e-73c79a5d463d

‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ Celebrates 100K Views!

It happened… it really did! With great pride I can announce that my blog, ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ has passed 100,000 views! This is so exciting.

But, of course I cannot let this celebration pass without telling you all how grateful I am! When I started that blog I didn’t know exactly what to expect. But you all, loyal readers, friends, regular visitors – and the ones finding it by accident… you all made this blogging adventure a wonderful one for me!

Picture courtesy of Google.com

The secret of internet dating and its devastating repercussions on the human disposition

Today I’m a guest blogger on Juliette Kings’ Vampire Maman blog with one of my humorous posts…
Enjoy the read and laugh heartily. I hope, you’ll have as much fun reading, as I had writing it.

Vampire Maman

The secret of internet dating and its devastating repercussions on the human disposition

Written by A. J. Alexander – Copyright, September 2021

Sex is overrated. Yes, I can easily imagine the confused looks on surrounding faces, would I stand in a room and proclaim that fact, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m talking about the fact that I tried it, and my current opinion is the result of my experience a while ago.

We keep thinking, that’s like in the movies, where the violins cry (meow-meow-meow) and the candles spend warm light (flicker-flicker). It’s a miserable attempt at physical exercise. You hit your skull on the headboard, the nightstand lamp crashes onto your temple, and every five minutes, Mommy comes in and brings cheese sandwiches, now there.

And that’s not even it! I’m beslobbered from head to toe, what am I? A popsicle? And then, afterward… afterward…

View original post 590 more words

Celebrating The End Of The First Draft Of My New Book

Picture courtesy of Google.com

In my blog post “How Not To Start A New Book” I announced that I was writing on a book outside my ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series’.

I’ve been excited to tell that story ever since I started to write it. That’s one reason why I didn’t prepare as carefully as I usually do.

I needed help in the middle of writing to create the plot realistic since this time, my readers won’t face magical creatures, wings, and whatever makes my series unique.

The story faces reality, and so do my characters.

I’m not going into details at this time; after all, we are talking about me writing the first draft of the book.

Now, M.L. Davis from the ‘Uninspiredwriters.com’ blog published a post where she recommends celebrating the finalization of every book draft! And that’s what I’m doing right now.

I DID IT!

I ended the first draft of my new book last night. And today I’m celebrating. There are so many reasons…one of them is, celebrating hard work. Many people seem to imagine us typing for a few weeks, then magically, a new book shows up.

As I explained to a friend today: ‘The fun part is over, now the work begins.’ And I stick with that! Writing is the fun part; now we’re going to typing into the computer, a process that gives me the possibility to catch mistakes, plot holes, confusion, and a few other things, and then…. Oh, wait! I’m not going there yet! Today is a day of celebration!

Please raise the glass with me: “Here’s to the next steps in the process to turn this into a readable story!”

And please:

Stay curious!

A Dark Day In History – Remembering 9/11 – 20 Years

Twenty years ago, I sat in an office in Europe when our boss came in and informed us that the World Trade Center in NYC was burning due to an accident… it was the first airplane hitting the North Tower. I politely asked if I could check that please online, but he refused. His words were something in the line of: “We need our internet for significant things…”

I was working temporarily for that company and decided to call it a day. It was already afternoon in Western Europe, and I went home to find out what happened.  I turned the TV on and started crying. I think I didn’t stop weeping until 11 pm.

It’s been 20 years that nearly 3,000 people lost their lives in terrorist attacks, born out of purest hatred and evil.

But something else happened that day: It united the US. The United States of America has proven to be ONE UNITY. There were no ‘us’ and ‘them.’ There was no exclusion, no dividing… families lost loved ones and needed help. Victims were mourned, no matter who they were! Memorials were held for ALL of them! And American people united to help.

I pray that the US finds that solidarity again – WITHOUT such a horrific catastrophe.

But also, and most of all, I pray that we never forget the lives lost that day, 20 years ago, when the sky over the US burned.


Dear Lord

Would you please help us remember the souls who wandered to Heaven that day, 20 years ago? Let us burn a candle for them, deep in our hearts. Please, let them rest in peace forever.

Amen

Picture courtesy of VideoHive.com

Where were you when the world stopped turnin'
That September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or workin' on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Risin' against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?

Did you weep for the children, they lost their dear loved ones
Pray for the ones who don't know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out with pride for the red, white, and blue
And the heroes who died just doin' what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN, but I'm not sure I can tell you
The diff'rence in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope, and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turnin'
That September day?
Teachin' a class full of innocent children
Or drivin' down some cold interstate?
Did you feel guilty 'cause you're a survivor?
In a crowded room did you feel alone?
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her?
Did you dust off that Bible at home?

Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset for the first time in ages
And speak to some stranger on the street?
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun?
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watchin'
And turn on I Love Lucy reruns?
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some strangers
Stand in line to give your own blood?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love?

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN, but I'm not sure I can tell you
The diff'rence in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope, and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love
I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN, but I'm not sure I can tell you
The diff'rence in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope, and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

And the greatest is love
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turnin'
On that September day?


God Bless America Photograph by M James McAdams

How To Set Up A Smashword Widget On Your Blog

I was asked lately how to set up a Smashword Widget on your WordPress blog. It’s not very hard to do that. Basically, your computer does most of the work for you. Just let it happen.

Let’s start with creating the ‘Smashwords’ ‘button that you see here on the right side.

Go to Smashwords, open your account, your dashboard, and then click the book you would like to create the ‘button’ of. This example will be the first book in my ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series, ‘Soul Taker.’


The page opens, and on the right side, you will find ‘Create Widget’. Click it.

You will see the ‘button’ as it will look like. Below you can see the entire HTML code that you need to enter into the widget. On the left side, you can adjust the size, font, Background, Button color, Ribbon text, Ribbon Color (There is a possibility to remove the ribbon). Play around a bit. The HTML code will be automatically adjusted.)

As an extra possibility: You can make it easy: Play around as much as you want, you will see every change in the ‘button’ when you make the changes. Instead of copying the HTML code to paste it into the widget, you can also just take a screenshot from the ‘button.’


Now, let’s go over to our WordPress Dashboard and pick ‘Appearance’.


As soon as you chose Appearance, now, pick ‘Widgets.’


The Widgets on my blog ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ are on the Sidebar, that’s what I’m going to click:


Now, click the ‘+’ to add a new Widget. It will appear BELOW all other existing Widgets, you will have to scroll down.


Now, you can search for the widget you are looking for, in this case, ‘Custom HTML’ – OR, if you picked the ‘extra possibility,’ you can search for ‘image.’




You can now either paste the HTML code from the ‘Smashwords’ site or upload the screenshot you took from the Smashwords button.


Now you can enter a Widget title, caption, and, if you pasted the screenshot, you could hyperlink it to the Smashwords site, where your readers can buy the book.


9999


At the very end, if you have adjusted and set up your new Widget the way you want it, you can move it. I told you earlier, it will be at the very bottom of your already existing widgets. With the arrow, you can move it up or down.


Good Luck with your new Smashwords Widget. Have fun!

Warning Of ‘Award Profiteers’

The past few weeks, I got emails from ‘MainCrest Media,’ telling me that they have the greatest respect for my talent and summoning me to participate in their ‘Awards Program.’ They promise recognition and increase of sales. Their website is quite well designed, a professional invitation to step right into that well-created trap.

The moment I saw their submission fee of $99/per entry, reduced from $149, I got goosebumps, and I knew something didn’t seem right. I started my search about their practice and found several websites and articles warning from so-called ‘Award Profiteers.’

On the reedsyblog, I found a long article, warning of Author Scams and Publishing Companies to Avoid. In the middle of the page, you will find the following paragraph:

Writing Contests and Awards

Do you feel like a winner now?

Writing contests are a great way to reach an audience, solidify your writing credentials, and even make a little money in the form of prizes. There are, however, competitions that are little more than money-spinning enterprises. And you can usually sniff them out by the fact that their prizes are not really prizes.

Some contests will publish winning entries in a magazine or an anthology — which is great. But sometimes, ‘winning’ authors will be obliged to pay an ‘editing fee’ for that privilege — which is not great.

There are also some competitions in which the prize might be a trophy. The catch here is that the author will be expected to pay for the cost of the physical prize. This isn’t necessarily bad — unless you mind paying $80 for a slab of acrylic that dozens more have also ‘won’ that month.

In short, read the fine print. To find contests that have been vetted, you can look through this directory of the best writing competitions.


ALLi, the Alliance of Independent Authors, published a blog post, written by John Doppler: ALLI Watchdog, who rated and reviewed Author contests and awards on the following page: https://selfpublishingadvice.org/author-awards-contests-rated-reviewed/

According to John Doppler, the ‘watchdog’ criteria for contests and awards are the following:

Author Awards and Contests Rated and Reviewed: Guiding Principles

John Doppler

1. The event exists to recognize talent, not to enrich the organizers.
Avoid events that are driven by excessive entry fees, marketing services to entrants, or selling merchandise like stickers and certificates.

2. Receiving an award is a significant achievement.
An event that hands out awards like Halloween candy dilutes the value of those awards, rendering them meaningless. Beware of events that offer awards in dozens of categories. These are often schemes to maximize the number of winners in order to sell them stickers and other merchandise.

3. The judging process is transparent and clear.
Watch out for contests whose judging criteria and personnel are vague or undisclosed.

4. Prizes are appropriate and commensurate with the entry fees collected.
If a cash prize is offered, it should align with the size of the entry fee. “Exposure” is not an appropriate prize. Representation or publication are acceptable prizes, but only if offered by a reputable company without hidden fees.

5. Entrants are not required to forfeit key rights to their work.
Avoid contests with onerous terms, especially those which require the forfeiture of publishing rights without a termination clause. When in doubt, have an independent professional review the terms.


Another clear warning I found on one of my favorite blogs: Victoria Strauss’ Writer Beware blog. She published her article about ‘Award Profiteers’ in 2015 already but re-blogged it in 2019. MainCrest Media was not specifically mentioned. But she tells us clearly where to keep our eyes open:

– Solicitation. To maximize entries, profiteering awards and contests often solicit entries. An out-of-the-blue email or an ad on Facebook urging you to enter a contest or awards program should always be treated with caution.

– High entry fees. Profiteers charge $60, $75, $100, or even more. There may be “early-bird specials” and multiple-entry discounts to tempt authors with the illusion of a bargain. And that’s not counting the books you’ll have to send for award consideration–a considerable expense if the profiteer only accepts print.

– Dozens of scores of entry categories.To maximize income, profiteers create as many entry categories as possible and encourage multiple entries.

– Anonymous judging. Profiteers promise expert judging by people with standing in the writing and publishing field but don’t reveal the identities of these purported experts. In fact, the judging may be done by the profiteer’s staff, who may simply pick winners out of a hat. One of the things that lend credibility to a contest or award is the prestige of its judges…which is why you always want to know who they are and should always be suspicious if that information is not provided.

– Non-prize prizes. To avoid cutting into their profits, profiteers offer prizes that cost them little or nothing: press releases, media announcements, database and website listings, features on satellite websites, or in self-owned publications. Some offer little more than the supposed honor of winning the award.

– Opportunities to spend more money. Profiteers’ profits don’t just come from entry fees. They also hawk stickers, certificates, critiques, and more.

You will find her entire blog post here: AWARDS PROFITEERS: HOW WRITERS CAN RECOGNIZE THEM AND WHY THEY SHOULD AVOID THEM


I think, these are fair warnings and clearly tell us where to keep our eyes open.

Happy Writing!