An Unusual Post

Today I had planned to write about ‘The power of positive thinking’… instead I decided to write about something else:

We all know that earlier this month Russia has invaded the Ukraine. 

I’m not going into details about known facts, or any political discussion here. 

All I would like to ask you at this moment is:

Please, pray for Ukraine and its people, pray for the end of that war, pray for peace in the world!

Thank you.

Picture courtesy of Google.com

Imagine

Song by John Lennon

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us, only sky
Imagine all the people
Livin’ for today

Ah
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Livin’ life in peace
You

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the 
You

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one



 

Book Of Love Movie – And A Writer’s Nightmare

Picture courtesy of Google.com

Unsuccessful English writer Henry’s novel sells to no one. But when his book is suddenly a surprise hit in Mexico, his publicist insists he travel there on a promotional tour. Upon arrival, a confused Henry discovers the reason behind his novel’s popularity – Mexican translator Maria has rewritten his dull book into a steamy erotic novel. As tempers flare between them, the sparks begin to fly.

As writers we can only imagine how confusing it would be to find out that our translator has turned our work into something we barely know anymore.

That’s exactly what happens to writer ‘Henry Copper’. What sounds like a nightmare to us writers, turns out to be the hilarious plot to a very cute movie. I watched ‘Book of Love’ today, and had a lot to laugh. There are quite a few sparks to fly between reserved Englishman Henry and enthusiastic and extroverted Maria. To people with a ‘flair’ for romance, please, watch the movie.

But this is not a movie review. I decided to prepare this blog post looking at the movie’s plot from a writer’s point of view.

Imagine your publisher tells you, nobody wants your book, but it’s very famous in another country, one, whose language you don’t speak. You are invited on a book tour in said country, and find out, your translator actually changed your book. Suddenly you sit there, your wonderful, thoughtful, considerate and logical characters had turned into passionate irresponsible hot-blooded lovers, without regrets.

As a writer I have to say: please, translator, whoever you are… don’t change my book! That’s not your job! As funny as it sounds in this movie, I’d like to have my characters the way I wrote them!

Let me make an example: ‘Soul Taker’, the first book in my series. The main characters, Katie and Raphael… I write Young Adult fantasy. And even though they do fall in love, I wouldn’t want anyone to turn them into wild sex-maniacs. It would be completely off. That’s not what I had planned. However, I figure, I would have to make amends, I expect. Another language means often, that a ‘word-by-word’ translation isn’t possible. The translator knows how to interpret my book without effectively changing it. But how do we trust that person’s work? If someone translates ‘Soul Taker’ to German, Dutch, or French, I could follow easily… but Spanish, Russian, Chinese? (And yes, of course, I hope, one day, ‘The Council of Twelve’ series is going to be loved globally).

How can we trust the respective translations are correct and leave my story the way I wrote it?

I have never translated an entire book. I translated short stories and a few articles and blog posts into German, and I was always making sure I kept everything the way it was written, including the tone, which wasn’t always easy. But not in a million years I would have even considered changing anything. I consider that unethical. I wasn’t actually thinking twice how the authors of the respective pieces felt about trusting me. Did they? Or did they just ‘accept their fate’ and hope for the best? I can imagine it’s quite a risk!

If someone has experience with their books being translated, would you let us in on the secret in the comments? We’d really appreciate it! Thank you!

Author Spotlight – Jan Sikes

Welcome!

1.            When did you start writing?

I began my writing journey after my husband passed away in 2009. For years, people would come into our home and our lives and say to us, “Someone needs to write your story.” We always agreed and thought someone would. I awoke to the realization one day that if someone else wrote it, I would have to tell them the whole thing. So, I got busy, took writing classes, and dove into the project. It took four books to tell it. Then I published a book of poetry and art and thought I was done. Wrong! Six novels and ten short stories later, I can’t find a way to stop.

2.            What motivates you to write? 

Story ideas are my biggest motivators. It is my belief that when I am given the inspiration for a story, it is my duty to the Creative Gods to do something with it. As long as the story ideas keep coming, I will keep writing.

3.            What genre do you write in and what made you choose this particular genre?

This is a hard question to answer. The first four books I wrote were biographical fiction – true stories told in fiction format with fictitious characters. Then I launched into writing short stories in varied genres. I experimented with everything from sci-fi and young adult, to a western. My current series is in the romance genre. Ghostly Interference is a paranormal romance and Jagged Feathers is romantic suspense.

4.            What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?

My writing goal is simply to affect someone’s life, to perhaps give a different perspective on situations. Each story I write has a theme or message. I like to make someone stop and think “what if?” My dream is to get my true story made into a movie. That would be amazing!

5.            Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?

I can’t say I have ever suffered from writer’s block, but I have hit some brick walls. Often, I find if I stop and take a walk or listen to music, I find where I need to go with the story.

6.            What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors? 

Write! If you have the inspiration for a story, write it. Then what you do with it is up to you, but the most important thing is to just start. Statistics show that most people who venture into writing a book do not finish it. It is not easy. It requires the 3 p’s, patience, preservation, and persistence.

7.            Please, tell us about your work.

The White Rune Series is my latest work. Book 1, Ghostly Interference, was published in December 2020. I actually got the idea for this book when I was writing book two of my true story series. But, I couldn’t stop what I was doing at the time, so took some notes and wrote one chapter, then put it aside until I completed the true stories. After I finished Ghostly Interference,  I decided to try and find a publisher for it instead of self-pubbing. I pitched for three years before the Wild Rose Press picked me up. That was a huge day for me and a big step in my writing career. It is a paranormal romance, with the paranormal aspect being that of a ghost.

The second book in the White Rune Series is Jagged Feathers and is romantic suspense. The release date for Jagged Feathers is January 31, 2022. This book deals with some big subjects like PTSD and amputation as well as psychic visions.

The third book in the series is Saddled Hearts and I have finished it and signed a publishing contract for it. It should be released later in 2022.

I’ve started a new series I am calling The Magnolia Series. It is different from anything I’ve ever written and look forward to the challenge. The first book in the series will be entitled, Bitter Magnolia.

Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!


Connect with Jan:

WEBSITE: http://www.jansikes.com

BLOG:   http://www.jansikesblog.com

TWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/jansikes3

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks

PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/jks0851/

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes

BOOKBUB:   https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jan-sikes

LINKEDIN:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/jansikes/

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK


Jan’s New Book:

Vann Noble did his duty. He served his country and returned a shell of a man, wounded inside and out. With a missing limb and battling PTSD, he seeks healing in an isolated cabin outside a small Texas town with a stray dog that sees beyond his master’s scars. If only the white rune’s magic can bring a happily ever after to a man as broken as Vann.  

On the run from hired killers and struggling to make sense of her unexplained deadly mission, Nakina Bird seeks refuge in Vann’s cabin. She has secrets. Secrets that can get them all killed.

A ticking clock and long odds of living or dying, create jarring risks.

Will these two not only survive, but find an unexpected love along the way? Or, will evil forces win and destroy them both?

UNIVERSAL PURCHASE LINK:

https://linktr.ee/Rijanjks

BOOK TRAILER LINK:  https://youtu.be/CwGRyRVMyLE

Soul Taker Secrets – Valentine’s Dinner A La Katie

Lately, we celebrated Valentine’s Day, the day for loved ones, and the ones that mean the most to us. Katie decided to have the Council Members over with their respective consorts. We know, our consorts love to cook together, but unfortunately, this year, the only one who had time to help Katie, was Simin. Sundance had to answer a call and Zepheira needed to take over a tracker class. That left our two consorts Simin and Katie with the dinner preparations.

They decided to take it easy and keep it light and served Easy Lemon Butter Fish with rice for dinner. Of course, the mandatory tiramisu followed the main course, but that goes without saying.

The ladies were complimented on their cooking, and the fish was excellent (because Simin made it). Since Katie took responsibility for the rice, it was a bit dry, but our Council members didn’t expect anything else and ate it like warriors do: without complaints or groaning.


(Of course, the Council of Twelve with consorts, is a group of 16 people… but this recipe I decided to show you for a group of four instead)

Ingredients

  • 4 good-sized firm white fish fillets, about 6 inches long, 1-inch thickness (cod, halibut, or mahi would work well.)
  • 3 TB melted butter (I use salted, but unsalted is fine)
  • Juice and zest from 1 medium lemon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus extra to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • freshly chopped basil or parsley leaves, for garnish and flavor
  • extra lemon slices for serving

Instructions

  1. Use paper towels to thoroughly pat-dry excess moisture from fish fillets – this step is crucial for fish to brown nicely in pan. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine melted butter, lemon juice and zest, and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Stir to combine well. Taste and add a bit more kosher salt, if desired.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 tsp kosher salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. Evenly press spice mixture onto all sides of fish fillets.
  4. In a large, heavy pan over medium high heat, heat up the olive oil until hot. Once your oil is sizzling,  Cook 2 fish fillets at a time to avoid overcrowding (allows for even browning.) Cook each side just until fish becomes opaque, feels somewhat firm in the center, and is browned – lightly drizzle some of the lemon butter sauce as you cook, reserving the rest for serving. Take care not to over-cook, as that will result in a tougher texture. Season with extra kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  5. Serve fish with with remaining lemon butter sauce, basil or parsley, and lemon wedges.

Notes

** Be sure to use coarse kosher salt, not fine table salt. Kosher salt is much milder and less salty. ** The actual cook time varies, depending on type, cut, and starting temp of fish. Katie typically cooks about 3-4 minutes per side. She checks for doneness by lightly pressing fillet centers for firmness. Once it feels somewhat firm, it’s usually done. ** She served it with white lemon rice with parsley.

Picture courtesy of ‘Chew Out Loud’. Full link below

(Recipe Source: https://www.chewoutloud.com/easy-lemon-butter-fish-15-minutes/)

Smashwords Alert – Big News! Smashwords and Draft2Digital to Unite as One

A letter from Mark Coker

Dear Friends of Smashwords,

This letter isn’t a goodbye; it’s a new hello.

Today we announced that Draft2Digital is acquiring Smashwords. We’re joining together to do more for authors, publishers, and readers.

Fourteen years ago when I created Smashwords, I set out on a crazy mission to change the way books were published, marketed, and sold. I wanted to empower every writer in the world with free tools to self-publish ebooks with pride, professionalism, and success. I wanted to give readers the freedom to enjoy the wonderful diversity of indie-published titles that I knew our publishing platform could help unleash.

Thanks to your trust and partnership, today 150,000 authors and publishers around the world use Smashwords to publish almost 600,000 ebooks. Nearly $200 million worth of Smashwords ebooks have been purchased at retail, and over $110 million paid out to authors and publishers. These books enriched the lives of readers, indie authors, publishers, booksellers, and the broader culture of books.

The impact of our little startup reached far beyond the numbers. As a friend of Smashwords, you’ve been part of something really big.

CONTINUE READING HERE

What Kind of Book Translates Well to the Screen? – Written By Jane Friedman

Given the increase in book-to-screen deals in recent years, and the tendency of the TV/movie industry to build off existing intellectual property, it’s natural for authors to wonder if their own work is suitable for adaptation—or if they can increase their chances of writing something that will be adapted. In a panel last year at the virtual Bologna Book Fair, several players in the industry discussed what they look for in projects.

Continue reading HERE

15 Rules For Advertising Books – Written By David Gaughran

I started working in digital advertising way back in 2004 and while it is tricky to generalize about three very different ad platforms – Facebook, Amazon, and BookBub Ads – there are some general rules that I recommend everyone considers, before losing their shirts on book advertising.

Not least because books present a pretty unique marketing challenge when compare to generic products. Something which can surprise marketers who move into publishing.

Continue reading HERE

How to Write the Perfect Author Bio – Written By C.S. Lakin

on Live Write Thrive:

One of the important marketing tools a writer needs is an author bio. This descriptive bit of writing informs readers, in few words, who you are, what you write, and what makes you unique. It’s the marquee announcing your author presence in the world of publishing.

Think about your author bio as your “elevator pitch” that sells you rather than your book.

It may seem odd and uncomfortable penning your own biography, and writing about yourself in third person (which is what you need to do) can makes it feel even weirder.

To compound matters, most of us don’t like to toot our horn and share glowing praise about ourselves. We know how off-putting it is to hear someone brag about themselves and their accomplishments. Yet … we authors need to do just that—with at least modicum of modesty or humility, along with professionalism.

All of this in just a few lines.

Continue reading HERE

The Re-post Of One Of My Most Successful Blog Posts

For today, I decided to make my readers giggle a bit and repost one of my most successful blog posts of the past years. I hope it’s as much fun to you now as it was before. Enjoy the read.


A Little Bit Of Childhood – Or – How To Become A Tough Adult

I’m now talking to the kids, teenagers, and the ones who one day want to become teens, young adults, and millennials. I’m talking to those wimps who have no clue that one can grow up without having everyone (namely, the parents) fighting for them while they lean back and continue playing on their computers and not do anything…

Picture courtesy of Google.com

****************************

We and I very consciously talk about that group of people, born before 1980, we didn’t have what you have today – what did we have? Nothing, after the war! We had nothing! (And I know exactly who of you is laughing now and got the joke!) 😀

What did we have? We didn’t have mothers who bought us fast food or whatever we wanted to eat and ordered deliveries of our favorite sweets. We had a mother who cooked! Our mothers cooked spinach, green beans, peas, cauliflower – I grew up in a time before broccoli! We had real oatmeal and soup! We had to eat what was on the table – OR NOT EAT AT ALL! And when we didn’t behave as we should, there were days we were sent to bed without dinner.

We had toys – our toys came from China! All the lead paint and cadmium we sucked off the toys ourselves! Nobody helped us – and we didn’t die. Our mothers drove us around in cars without baby’s safety cushions and children’s seats, without airbags and some of them even without seat belts! Our mothers didn’t drive their children around in family vans and SUV’s. We had Volkswagen Beetles! Vacation time came, and our Dad was driving us, his wife, and two kids in the back of his baby blue beetle for 16 hours across the continent! Our mother had a few plastic bags for us kids to vomit into in case we didn’t feel so well.

When we were on the road, our mother didn’t have baby wipes or sterile medical wipes. She had a fabric family handkerchief where she spat into and wiped our faces with! That is actually the best stain remover on Earth! If a cleaner-production-company would be smart, they’d bottle up mother-spittle and sell it as an ‘all stain remover,’ because it removes everything, from mud to blood. And in that handkerchief, if anyone would ever have it scientifically investigated, you could have found the DNA from our great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, robber-knight Alexander!

When we couldn’t sleep as kids, we didn’t get ‘sleep-well-baby-tea’ or ‘baby-sleeping-juice’ from the drug store. No! Grandmother came in with the big bottle of brandy, and if there was none in the house, we got eggnog instead – we were forced to open our mouth and got it fed with the tablespoon, followed by a handful of gummi bears which we ate, one after another, then turned around and slept, and we still have all our teeth!

If we once in a rare while got a chewing gum, we didn’t chew and carelessly discarded it by the side of the road after half an hour. We chewed the entire day – and then in the evening, carefully placed it on our nightstand! In the morning, we blew the fluffs off the gum and stuck it back into our mouth – and in school, in the break, when talking to our best friend, we loaned it to her for the duration of the break – and the next lesson!

To play with we didn’t have Wii-consoles, Playstation, i-phones, i-pads, i-pods and were glued to them and frozen in time. What did we have to play with when we were kids? We had FRIENDS! And with these friends, we played daily! Yes, and sometimes we argued, we wrestled and once in a while one of our teeth fell out – but back then an incident like that wasn’t followed by an immediate meeting with parents who threatened to contact their lawyers! We were the ones being responsible for what we did!

And additionally, to the lost tooth, we got a clean slap across the face from Mom what she considered a clear statement in educational measures. Then we played ball – all kinds of ball. Softball, Basketball, soccer. The athletic kids were picked by the respective team captains, the not-so-athletic ones (like little AJ) were watching, not playing because these kids had to learn to handle disappointment – without the constant support of a children’s psychiatrist.

We all drank from the same glasses. Not the matching glasses – the SAME ones – like our siblings, parents, neighbors, neighbors’ kids, friends, and the neighbors’ dog sometimes. That wasn’t always nice – and sometimes we even drank from the garden hose when we were really thirsty – and we all survived!

We barely ever drank water and never soda- nor ‘filtered water’ out of a bottle, or water with a taste – no, we drank lemonade, yellow lemon tasty liquid with tons of sugar, sometimes the thing was syrup with orange taste and bubbles – and then we went back playing and ran it off.

We got grades in school – from first class on! And when we had bad grades in school, our parents told us off! They didn’t go giving their opinion to our teachers! We were the ones who had to work hard in school because only the kids with good grades who knew things and were good in school went to college, not every Ritalin-addicted brat whose parents were too lazy to work in school back in their times and hired tutors for their kids from the second class on, still believing their brood is highly gifted.

We had everything – we, the ones born before 1980 had everything! Freedom, success, failure, happiness, disappointment – and lemonade! We grew up, we experienced the first computers – we learned how to use them, we grew with the technology – but it doesn’t control us! We are neither addicted, nor are we dominated by technology! To us, it is a relief, a help, not our master. We can survive without it – the one after 1980 can’t! We are the ones who are tough; nothing is killing us, shattering us or making us giving up – because we learned to live with whatever was thrown to us – and we survived!

(First published on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ March 5, 2020)