It’s Autumn in 2022

Once more the season changed… wasn’t it just summertime and hot as in an oven around pie time? Oh, yes… and now, we got the most beautiful rain… water, the dry soil urgently needs, cooling, we all need.

Slowly, but surely, the leaves of trees and bushes are turning yellow and red, before they slowly fall to the ground, where they become beds, blankets, and hiding spots for numerous small animals, and later will turn to fertilizer… but first, they cover the ground, form a sheet, that protects the land from the upcoming ice and snow, that soon will cover the world in a bright white ice palace.

But for the moment, we can enjoy watching nature taking its course… the world prepares for the cold season, where we writers thrive. For example, right now, I’m sitting on a beautiful porch. It’s dark outside, and an antique white lamp spends a calming, pleasant light on my laptop…. the rain washes the windows, but the drops and the sound is nice to listen to, almost inviting to meditate, calming.

Temperatures are going down… instead of the bright summer colors, people start wearing the warmer Earth tones, beige, brown, umbra, gray, anthracite, black, burgundy, and navy blue. In a not-too-distant future, we will see the first boots showing up, the first jackets.

My porch is still cozy and inviting, and the warm saffron tone of the light comforts me…

There is a little heater in the form of an oven on the wall, but it’s not cool enough to use it yet.

Once it will be cooler, its cozy light and warmth will make the porch my favorite room in the house.

What I’m missing now, is someone to share it with… someone I love to endlessly discuss every possible topic we stumble upon, someone I love to listen to, someone, whose voice I enjoy hearing so much, and someone, whose laughter I miss the moment I hang up the phone.

Sometimes, feeling alone isn’t a good thing. In particular, when the days get shorter, the air gets cooler, and the sheets do too.

But at this moment, I decided to enjoy the change of colors, the changes this new season brings, and the changes in my life that will come up. Enjoy it too, it won’t last too long.

Picture courtesy of Google.com

A Small Dangerous Friend – A Riddle

We are small and we are feared

We don’t know exactly why…

But knowing the world without all of us

Would soon be prone to die.

**

We are a female society

Our males are there for play

They’re only used at certain times

And then they pass away.

**

We are working, flying, every day

Collecting what we need.

We’re protecting our home as guards

Every one of us does her deed.

**

We fly close and far, for what we collect

We clean and raise our kids

We fly out, collect, and transport our fuel

on our hind legs with sense and wits.

**

We communicate to let us know

Where danger is and not

And we use our wings to cool our home

When it’s humid out and hot.

**

Our work helps the earth and spread pollen

Of trees, and flowers too.

You better take good care of us

And honor us, and woo.

**

We wear a hairy top and a striped back

Transparent wings, can you see?

And as you might have guessed by now

Each one of us is a honey bee!

*****

(Copyright, Aurora Jean Alexander, September 2022)

Picture courtesy of Google.com

SOUL TAKER – SMASHWORDS FALL SPECIAL – FREE

Dear Readers and Followers

It’s the first day of autumn 2022, and I decided to give the first book in ‘The Council of Twelve’ series, Soul Taker, ebook for free for one month!

Click the link here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/911964

After long years in the line of duty as a ‘Soul Taker’, Kate is worn out.

When she gets a new job offer from the ‘Powers Above’, she accepts her new job as a Guardian gratefully without knowing that her teacher is one of the most powerful beings in existence, the Archangel Raphael.

Along with Raphael, she takes on her new task and the connection between them grows.

Raphael helps, protects, and supports Kate, but suddenly, she becomes a target for the Demons of Hell.

Raphael realizes that Kate means more to him than he expected, which causes him to fight furiously against danger. If he fails, Kate’s future will contain eternal darkness, evil, and torture.

Use the coupon code

LZ99M

Enjoy the book, and I’d be grateful for a review… and if you fall in love with the characters, you will going to get the other three books in the series as well:

Sundance: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/953202

Demon Tracker: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1014830

Bounty Hunter: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1065921

Enjoy your read, and please, let me know, how you like the book!

Complaints and Changes at Parliament House Press – Written By Victoria Strauss

Parliament House Press Logo

Last week, authors logging into the Parliament House Press Facebook group found a surprise announcement: Parliament House had a new owner, and a host of other changes were in store.

In its current form, Parliament House Press will be dissolved due to a combination of personal and economic considerations from our founder, Shayne Leighton. Shayne has spearheaded the publisher since 2016 and has been a force in bringing this small indie press to a larger stage. Shayne will continue to work with our team in a design capacity. In her stead, Malorie Nilson will take over as the CEO of a reincorporated Parliament House Press. Business will continue uninterrupted, but several essential changes will transpire during this transition.

All existing author contracts will be dissolved and replaced with new contracts, as is required by law, but there will be no interruptions to the day-to-day functions of the house. Unfortunately, due to the increasingly competitive landscape of the industry, we will not be able to offer contracts to all existing authors. Many of our current projects were brought on under a different team and different leadership, forcing us to take stock of where we are and what we are able to accomplish. We want all our authors to be successful, including those who will no longer be with us. Unfortunately, we are currently unable to serve the entirety of our catalog, so we are forced to downsize to ensure that we can give every book the attention it deserves. If you are not offered a new contract, please know that it is not because we don’t love your work, but rather that we do not have the capacity to give everyone the attention and care they deserve. We are working hard to bring more opportunities to our authors, which means narrowing our enterprise’s scope.

We will continue our partnership with IPG for digital distribution, as well as our work with the Seymour Agency to sell subsidiary rights. Furthermore, we will be moving our entire print catalog to Ingram, which will give brick and mortar stores the ability to purchase books through Ingram’s distribution program. Finally, we have revised our contracts to align with industry standards as we begin working more closely with literary agents for future acquisitions. As we invite authors back to the Parliament House Press, we will review the new contracts with you (which we have updated to reflect industry standard for royalties and terms) to ensure that each of you is comfortable moving forward. Of course, with the dissolution of the existing contracts, you are free to part ways with the Parliament House Press and seek other opportunities if you wish.

The abrupt announcement was a shock. But it didn’t come entirely out of the blue.

******

Founded in 2016 by Shayne Leighton and Chantal Gadoury, Parliament House Press (PHP) is “a small traditional publisher, working with authors to produce brilliantly bizarre, original, and moving stories with an edge.” It has better-than-average distribution via the Independent Publishers Group, and its subsidiary rights are represented by the Seymour Agency.

CONTINUE READING HERE

How to Build Brand Awareness Through YouTube Videos (for Authors) – Written By Kimberley Grabas

Brand awareness refers to people’s ability to recognize you and your creative work. It is the very first step in your marketing funnel. Brand awareness also helps you achieve your goals as an author by expanding your target audience, building brand affinity, and improving brand identity. In this guest post, Andre Oentoro simplifies the process of using YouTube videos to grow awareness for your author brand and business.


Brand awareness is very important for any author because it not only entices readers to buy your book but also keeps them coming back for more.

People are more likely to buy goods or use services from a business that they trust and as an author, your ‘business’ is no exception.

Your brand – how people perceive you and your creative work – is one of the first things that will draw readers in when they are searching for a solution to a problem they have or to fulfill an experience they desire.

In addition, if their experience with your brand is enjoyable, they are more likely to tell other people about your work which helps spread the word, further increasing your visibility and reach.

So, how can you build your brand awareness, and what is the best platform?

According to this post by Ahrefs.com, YouTube is the most visited website in the past few years. It is also the second-largest search engine, proving that people are crazy about video content.

Through video,

Anyone and everyone has the opportunity to entertain, engage, and rank.–Ahrefs

YouTube videos get good rankings on Google searches because Google has owned YouTube since 2006. This will certainly provide a huge opportunity for you to get noticed, to be known more widely in your topic area or genre, and thus help you increase brand awareness.

CONTINUE READING HERE

How to Write Two Characters Talking at Once – Written By Bryn Donovan

If you’re writing a conversation between two or more characters, you may run into the issue of characters talking at the same time. This is an easy thing to pull off in a TV show or a movie, but slightly trickier in a novel or a short story, so I thought I’d address it!

(By the way, I’m going to share a related post next week on how to write a great, believable argument between two characters. If you don’t want to miss it, be sure you’re subscribed to the blog—there’s a signup on the lefthand side of this page.)

Let’s look at some examples. You’ll notice that the solution to this issue usually involves just telling the reader that the characters are talking at the same time.

CONTINUE READING HERE

Darlene Foster is back! Welcome!

It is a very special pleasure for me to welcome you back to ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’. During your former visits, we learned about your writing, and your writing process and asked for some advice. But there are so many more questions to ask!

We want to find out today, what new sides we will unveil:

  1. Is there something on your desk, or in your bag, that you consider a ‘mascot’, or a lucky charm that’s supposed to help you with your writing? What is it, and why?

On the wall above my desk is a collection of pictures of my family that I consider my lucky charm. My family has always been there for me, motivating and encouraging me along the way. Without them, I would probably not have accomplished any writing goals. I live far away from them now, so having their pictures where I can see them as I write lets me know they are watching over me and whispering, keep going!

  • Imagine you wrote your first draft of your book and in the middle, you discover a major plot flaw. What is the first reaction? And how are you going to face the problem and solve it?

My first reaction is to just forget it and start a new story. I find these problems overwhelming initially. After a good cry, I would close the computer and leave it for a few days. Then I would look at the problem with fresh eyes and rework it. There is nothing that can’t be fixed. What doesn’t kill you makes your writing stronger!

  • Some writers are phenomenal storytellers, but they have problems with their networking. What would you recommend they should do?

I love networking but realize not everyone does. I would recommend starting a blog first and foremost. It is the best way to connect with other writers and readers. I know not everyone likes social media but I think it is important that writers have some presence. So pick one or two that you feel comfortable with. Without social media these past two years, I´m not sure what writers would have done to network and sell their work. Of course, face-to-face networking is always the best and in non-pandemic times I would suggest attending writers’ conferences, workshops, and book fairs. Connect with local libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, and arrange a reading and book signing. Always carry a book with you or at least a bookmark or postcard describing your book. I sold books to the person sitting beside me on an airplane because I had a book with me!  

  • What do you think about writer’s contests? Do you participate? If yes, what’s the challenge for you there?

I do submit to writer´s contests but only if there is no cost or a low cost. I have won prizes and have been included in some anthologies because of contests. I like them as they motivate me to come up with new ideas. And working to a deadline is good for a writer.  I must say I entered more of these when I was starting out and needed the motivation. It looks good on your writer’s resume and in your cover letter to a publisher if you have won some prizes. It also gives you validation as a writer that others like your work well enough to give you a prize. The stories that didn´t win a prize can be reworked and submitted elsewhere. I now have enough short stories to compile a collection. I look at entering contests as good practice. I would just stay away from those that ask for a high fee.

  • There are many warnings when it comes to Book Awards. In many cases, you pay a lot for the submission, but it doesn’t really help the marketing or the sales. What do you think about that?

If you win a book award, it does help sales. But the competition is tough. My publisher has submitted my books to a few reputable Book Awards but nothing has come of it. I have not submitted on my own as the cost seems too high. If I did, I would only consider submitting if it was a reputable award.

  • I personally wanted to participate in a ‘Writer’s Conference’ two years ago and lost the money I had paid because the organizer made a major mistake. Do you participate in ‘Writer’s Conferences’? If yes, what’s the excitement for you there? Are there conferences you would recommend?

It´s sad that you were not able to get your money back. I love Writer´s Conferences and have attended many over the years. My favourite is The Surrey International Writer´s Conference in Vancouver BC. Writers from all over the world attend and I have met some amazing people there, including Diana Gabaldon, who writes the Outlander series. A few years back, I had an opportunity to share the first three pages of my first Amanda Travels book to Meg Tilley (author and academy award winning actor) at SIWC. She gave me some suggestions and encouraged me to continue sending out the manuscript. It was just what I needed as I was about to give up on ever being published. The next year I found a publisher willing to publish my books. I have just signed my ninth contract with the same publisher. Every time I attend a conference I leave with new knowledge and great connections. It is a good way to keep abreast of the writing industry as things change all the time. I also attended the Winchester Writer’s Festival in Winchester, England which was great. Once this pandemic is over, I will be attending more conferences.

  • What’s the biggest excitement for you, when you introduce a new book to the public? Please, tell us about it.

Like having a baby, I am always so excited to show off a new book. My publisher does such a fabulous job of the covers too. It just never gets old, that feeling of accomplishment. When readers tell me they are so happy to see there is a new book out, that makes my heart sing. Good reviews get me excited as well. After all the work that goes into writing and publishing a book, it is so satisfying to be able to show it off.

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

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

About Darlene:

Growing up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. When not travelling herself, Darlene divides her time between western Canada and the Costa Blanca, Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.


Connect with Darlene:

website http://www.darlenefoster.ca/

Blog https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter/
Twitter https://twitter.com/supermegawoman
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/darlenefoster
Amazon author page https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Darlene’s Books:

Amanda in Holland https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-Holland-Missing-Action-Travels/dp/1771681713/

Amanda in Malta https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-Malta-Sleeping-Travels-Adventure/dp/177168237X/

Amanda in New Mexico https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-New-Mexico-Ghosts-Travels/dp/1771681209/

Amanda on The Danube  https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-Danube-Sounds-Music-Travels/dp/1771681020/

Amanda in Alberta https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-Alberta-Writing-Stone-Travels/dp/1771680199/

Amanda in England https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-England-Missing-Novel-Travels/dp/1926760778/

Amanda in Spain https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-Spain-Girl-Painting-Travels/dp/1926760557/

Amanda in Arabia https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-Arabia-Perfume-Flask-Travels/dp/1926760360/

Amanda in France: https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-France-Cathedral-Travels-Adventure-ebook/dp/B09R2JJTN5/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?keywords=Amanda+in+Malta%2C+Darlene+Foster&qid=1662666031&sr=8-1-fkmr0

The Best Part Of Telling A Story – Part VII (Last Part)

April 14, 2022 I published the first part of this blog post series, on April 28, and the second part followedThe third part was published May 26, 2022, part #4 was published July 11, 2022 and Part 5 you can read here since July 25, 2022, part 6 I published August 11, 2022, and this one here will be the last part in this series. This blog post series talks about the best part of telling a story. There are so many good parts, to me, each holds its own appeal. Let’s have a look at them once more:

1. Drafting the plot

2. Finding a motive

3. Creating the protagonist and antagonist

4. Finding the perfect location

5. Thinking of plot twists

6. Create side characters

[7. Depending on the story, maybe even create a world]

Today we are trying to determine how much fun creating a world is…

I’m writing a mix of Fantasy and Paranormal Romance with my ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series. That means, creating worlds isn’t (yet) a big part of my writing skills. The ‘Council members and their consorts are splitting their time between Heaven, Earth, and Hell.

We all know Earth, and many of us know Heaven and Hell exist, but nobody alive has ever seen either one, which means, I can ‘create’ the part that exists differently in each of our imaginations.

Does Hell look like a vast mine with a fire in the middle and everybody down there is either dancing around the flames, or shoveling coal? Not in my imagination… Not even the inferno part, which is only one area of hell. Another site, for example, has been reserved for the houses, palaces, and castles of the Hellish-Elite residents, in my books, it’s the Demon Kings and the self-proclaimed ‘Emperor of the Nine Thrones Of Hell’, Lucifer. Needless to say, despite the fact he built his palace himself, he still doesn’t like it. ‘Not homey enough’, as he says. And he doesn’t like the constant twilight in Hell. There’s neither night nor day, no light or sunshine… It’s just constantly pale and gray, with the occasional foggy day, mostly, when Lillith is cooking.

Heaven is another part of my imagination, all light, sunshine, green pastures, forests, walkways, troop housing, and areas for the angels to live in… formerly there were ‘towers’ with penthouse lofts, where the Archangels lived. But since they practiced an ‘open door’ policy, it got too much to be disturbed at any given time, and with their ‘Creator’s’permission, they moved out and built their own area, precisely twelve breathtaking houses, where they live with their consorts (or alone), depending on their state of a relationship.

Is this ‘creating a world’? Not in my opinion… I’m just ‘extending’ what is already there, just the way I dream it could be perfect for me.

There are far more experienced writers in world-building than I am!

One of them, one of the ‘ultimate’ best examples, is, of course, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, author of ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ books, and the famous creator of ‘Middle Earth’.

Picture courtesy of Google.com

Tolkien went even further for his stories, his characters, his people and his books. He became the very gifted creator of languages! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_constructed_by_J._R._R._Tolkien).

All that, in my opinion, is the epitome of ‘fun’, but I could imagine, it wasn’t all ‘fun’ for him, all the time. It needs an enormous amount of work, concentration, imagination, fantasy, but most of all, skill, to go over this kind of length for the readers.

Of course, the success proves him right! Until this day, his books and stories are of enormous success and incomparable. He has my utmost respect and admiration.

But that doesn’t mean, there aren’t other highly skilled and talented writers and world creators around!

Let us hear your experience, please, in the comments! Tell us, where the fun is, and where the difficulties are! We are curious!

A Divine Intervention – 1925 (Gabriel’s Past)

It was 1925 in New York. I just walked out of the theater where I watched the film premiere of ‘Ben Hur’. You’re now going to say, ‘Wait, wait, wait! Ben Hur was released in November 1959!” Yes, and no. Ben Hur with Charlton Heston was the 1959 movie. But there has been an earlier movie with Ramon Novarro as the leading actor… and that was the movie I went to see.

I always liked Ramon Novarro, an excellent silent movie actor. But I was a bit disappointed by this role. He didn’t seem to be a great fit for the Prince of Hur… however, I’m not a film critic, in fact, I’m just a fan who likes to watch movies… no… my profession is another one.

I didn’t feel my best that day and actually didn’t even feel like going. But my friends and brothers talked me into it, and to get them off my back, I finally decided to take a short trip to New York. *chuckle*

That might be a weird thing for you, to ‘read’ me chuckle, when I say ‘short trip’. We winged individuals travel a bit differently than you humans. But let’s get back to 1925…

It was December 30, almost the last day of the year… people in the movie theater were thoughtful after the movie… in good spirits, but thoughtful. I was lost in my own thoughts, mostly, if I remember correctly, I was suffering from a small heartache, after my last girlfriend’s breakup. I should have been used to that by now, I know. Being with one of the ‘Council of Twelve’ members isn’t an easy task. We don’t have much time for our love interests, we do expect a lot, but don’t give much back, but most of all, we are too powerful for women to feel comfortable in our presence for a longer period of time.

And then, a few streets further away, when I was looking for a quiet hidden corner to ‘dissolve’, I discovered a woman, desperately trying to escape from a man who followed her, laughing… I didn’t see the lady’s face, but I could sense and taste her fear. She was in a panic.

Within only a second I teleported ahead of the lady, waited for a moment, and then surrounded the corner of the building, to let the now panting lady bump into me.

The man stopped immediately and stood still like a rock while I carefully comforted the sobbing woman in my arms. When the man looked up, one of the weak street lanterns permitted me a good look at his face. I knew him… He was a nightmarish individual with no conscience whatsoever, one of the most dangerous predators in existence… He was absolutely ruthless, sadistic, and generally evil. It was time he got off the streets. The man was a serial killer. I wondered idly, where law enforcement was when you needed them.

I didn’t hesitate long. He might hunt for helpless ladies, but he seemed to be well trained, and overconfident in his own abilities, and I felt like swiping the smug grin off his face.

I released the woman’s hands from my coat, where they had cramped the fabric, and carefully lifted her chin. “Go home, child.” I softly said. “All is good. No harm will befall you, I promise.” She smiled… I knew what effect I had on victims, and these few words were all she needed. Her eyes were dreamy when she left us…

The man stared at me. “Why did you have to come along and interfere? It was not upon you to get in between my wife and me.” I looked at my fingernails. “We both know, she’s not your wife, Gaston.” I had to say, he kept his smug smile, but other than a slight widening of his nostrils, nothing betrayed his surprise.

He chuckled. “Why don’t you and I make sure something like this doesn’t happen ever again, pal?” Gaston asked. And I smiled… My brothers in the Council of Twelve would have known that was a very, very bad sign. But this human had no idea. I knew, he was up for a fight, and nothing would satisfy him more at this moment, than showing me his physical superiority. My shoulders slightly slumped, my entire form shrunk a bit, and I took a well-calculated step back. “N…no. I don’t think so. Also… I have to leave…”

He took a brave step closer, and then another one… when my fist collided with his nose. Blood splashed down his face and I sighed softly. “Hurts, doesn’t it?” He had instinctively clutched his nose; when he now pulled it away, blood was dripping from his fingers. “Are you out of your mind?” He screamed. Furiously he pulled a handgun and pointed it at me…

And that was the second, I decided to show him, who he was dealing with…

My wordly attire disappeared, I wore leatherpants and a white silk shirt, boots on my feet, and my hat was gone… but, of course, what left Gaston frozen in shock and fear, were a pair of huge, white, black speckled wings, similar to the one of a Snowy Owl.

He screamed in fear, and blinded, he sank to the floor, the revolver had fallen out of his hand… crying he begged: “Please… please, don’t kill me! I will do whatever you want.”

I grinned. “That you will anyway. And I won’t have to kill you. You’re already dead.” He clearly struggled to understand what I said to him. “W…what?” He finally seemed to grasp the point. “Does that mean, I’m going to Heaven now?” I had a blast with this one. It took all my control not to laugh loudly. I only shook my head. “No, Gaston. The way up is not yours. You’re traveling into the other direction.” He seemed confused again. “But… but…” I smiled and pointed behind him… “Here comes your escort.”

He swung around, and there they stood, three giant, strange looking creatures, horned, unusually deformed, dressed in dark attires, armed with swords and sickles… Gaston howled. “No… no… no! Protect me!” I laughed. “No way. You’ll get what you deserve. Eternal torture, inferno, emptiness… Whatever you fear, it will be yours.”

There was nothing he could do. He tried to run for it, but the three collectors were faster. They grabbed his spirit and dragged him through the dimensional portal behind him. When the crossover had closed, Two of my friends landed next to me… Centriel and Zachariel. Both shook their heads. “Really, Gabriel. You can’t even go to a movie theater without getting into trouble.” Centriel said. I nodded and sighed again. “It seems very much trouble finds me.”

Zachariel clapped my shoulder. “Let’s go home, brother. Dinner at Tsechirel’s place, and I want to introduce a very cute little Guardian to you.” I smiled. “Thank you… just what I need now…” Within only a few seconds, we were on our way…

Picture courtesy of Google.com

Labor Day 2022

Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894.



IT’S LABOR DAY AND I WISH YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES:

Picture courtesy of Google.com