I’m very excited to let you all know that ‘Soul Taker’, the first book in ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series, got its third 5-star review. This is wonderful, I’m literally bouncing through my day.
New author A.J. Alexander excites us with her debut novella Soul Taker. Kate is an angel of death, taking the soul into the afterlife. After a job that went bad Kate wants to call it quits. Her request is granted in that she is now a Guardian angel and will learn under the tutelage of the great charming, and alluring Archangel Raphael. While Kate is being trained to be a Guardian demons attack kidnapping Kate. She has something they want. After her rescue by the Council of Twelve, we learn Kate does not have something hell and Lucifer want she IS what they want. You have to read the rest of the book to find out why.
Soul Taker is nicely written. Alexander pulls you into her world that is warm and welcoming. The characters are well written. Kate is written with a large innocence and vulnerability, yet it is also her strength as well. Lucifer is luxurious and I love him and Kate’s banter. This book is to be a series and it’s a nice beginning. Alexander is on my radar and will be interested in what else this series brings.
Kate is a warmhearted and nurturing person. From the very beginning, she felt the need to tighten the connection with her new ‘family,’ the Council of Twelve and invited them over for dinner. Kate loves to cook, which doesn’t necessarily mean she’s good at it. The Council members keep teasing her about her cooking, but still, they bravely show up to every single one of her invitations, grateful for the two members of the ‘chef-crew’ who are supporting Kate in her ambitions. This is one of the first courses Kate serves to the Council of Twelve.
Pecan and dill crusted salmon
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
6 tablespoons butter,
melted 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill weed
1 (3- to 3 1/2-lb.) boneless, skinless side of salmon
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°. Pulse first 4 ingredients in a food processor 5 or 6 times or until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper; place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Spread pecan mixture over salmon. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or just until salmon flakes with a fork.
Lately, once again, I have been asked a bunch of those really, really dumb questions I keep hearing over and over again.
I was discussing books with someone, and that person tells me: “For years I plan to write a book, but I just don’t have time. I replied: “Time is not the only thing you need. It needs a lot more to publish a book.” – The question back: “Why would you know?”
My answer: “What do you think?”
Or another situation: We’re talking about hobbies, how we’re spending time off work, and people do things like cooking, sports (often means watching football), walking dogs and so on. Except me, I said. “I write.” And of course one asks me: “You mean, you’re writing a diary?”
I looked at the person and replied scornfully: “Oh, I’m sure writing my personal diary is important enough for me to mention.”
Let’s say, the embarrassment of my conversation partner was clearly visible.
The next question is even worse. “Oh – you published a book? Can I have one?”
I replied: “Of course, you can – the title is ‘Soul Taker,’ you can get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo…”
(Seriously: What do people think? Am I running around with a stack of my books in my purse to hand it out like candy?)
I’m sometimes surprised how insensitive some people are with authors. There are a few more of these, what I call ‘dumbest things you can ask an author.’
Is it good? What am I supposed to reply? No, it’s the biggest crap you can imagine, but buy it anyway?
Will I like it? What am I, a fortune teller?
How much are you making? So discrete and tactful, your question. (And yes, I’m sarcastic!)
Don’t you have a great time writing instead of having a real job? What the hell do you think I do? Sleeping in, typing three sentences into the computer and then wait until the book magically writes itself?
So you are a second J. K. Rowling then? No, not really. J. K. Rowling is one of the most extraordinary writing talents of the last century, and I admire her! But I don’t want to be a second J. K. Rowling – I want to be a first A. J. Alexander!
Can you write a book on teenage pregnancy/family inheritance rows/vampires and werewolves/superheroes/dystopian futures because I’d love to read that story? No. I’m not a performing monkey. I write what I want to write, what I’m interested in and what I love. Also, YOU (asker of said question) are almost definitely not my target audience!
There are so many more stupid questions one can ask an author; this is only a small portion of the insensitivity most of us a facing far too often. If you have any experience with questions like this, funny situations or similar, let’s hear them in the comments, please. We’re curious.
In my January Newsletter, I asked my subscribers to help me collect stupid questions they are asked occasionally because I thought they make a funny blog post. Here are mine and the ones I got sent by Rachel Twomey. Thank you, Rachel.
Lately, I found a link to The Good Ebooks & Books Company online, which offers book ads, free as well as paid ones. I checked it out, and it seems a decently long existing way to advertise my book. I tried it with the free version.
Not even a day after I filled out the form online I got an email which was written politely and friendly, confirming my submission and telling me that they’ll get back to me as soon as possible.
Two days later I received the information that ‘Soul Taker’ is online. Of course, they’re telling me what advantages a ‘premium’ account would have, but I didn’t get the impression they’re telling me: “Either you’ll upgrade or…”
“Good E-Books” connects authors and readers. They placed ‘Soul Taker’ in the middle as a New Release. They set it up with its cover picture, the blurb and linked it to its Amazon page.
Writer’s Treasure Chest has grown significantly in the past year.
almost 7,300 comments
almost 110 guests
I’m so lucky to be part of the blogging world with all your help. Without guests, friends, followers, supporters and people encouraging me again and again this blogging adventure would not have been progressing at this pace and wouldn’t have been as successful as it is.
It seems writers are at high risk due to their sitting job, to get different illnesses caused by sitting too long.
Who of us doesn’t know the situation that just when we are writing a particularly demanding scene in our book, we have to get up? Our back hurts, our eyes burn, our legs seem to be on fire, our feet are numb, and we have to go to the bathroom. And still, we ignore all these signs that scream at us to get up and walk around, and we continue concentrating on finishing our scene rather than giving our body some relief.
Studies show that sitting too long can cause serious injuries and damage to our body and can even kill us.
Some of us, in our long writing careers, can face health problems like:
weight gain, weak muscles, and resulting diabetes
poor blood circulation, possibly causing thrombosis, heart disease, cancer, and even brain damage
posture problems, resulting in chronic neck and lower back pain
anxiety and depression
In other words, this means: sitting in front of a computer like a pretzel, hour after hour isn’t doing our bodies much good.
There are, indeed, several workouts and exercises for us to practice while sitting, and in particular after getting up. We all know, when writers are inside their story they don’t like to get up. We have no idea when writer’s block might hit, we’re on a deadline, or we forget our body. All reasons are insufficient. A short walk to relax our eyes, our neck, our back, our brain, to use our muscles, get the blood circulating and our heart working, is a good thing!
Very important is to make sure our computer, keyboard, and monitor are set up for us to use it in a healthy way. Our arms and hands, our neck and spine and our feet will thank us.
And one more personal advice: get a massage once in a while. It’s relaxing, helps our body, and refreshes our brain. We’re working hard, we deserve some pampering.
Let’s keep us healthy and remind ourselves that we need to be in good shape to write a good story.
During my research I found there are about as many definitions of ‘creativity’ as there are people. For example:
Henry Rollins says: “Starting with nothing and ending up with something. Interpreting something you saw or experienced and processing it so it comes out different than how it went in.”
Daniel Pink‘s definition is: “Giving the world something it didn’t know it was missing.”
The English Oxford Dictionary‘s definition is: “The use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.”
Now, according to ‘Psychology Today’ creativity cannot be taught. In 2011 they wrote, you can teach everyone how to use a hammer or knitting needles.
But knowing how to use a hammer or a knitting needle doesn’t make you creative. Visualizing, dimensionally manipulating or modeling the chairs you build in your mind’s eye won’t necessarily make you creative either. Whether material or mental, these tools just provide the techniques and materials that make creative outcomes possible.
Seven years ago many states started calling for tests to find out about the student’s creativity, Massachusetts and California ahead.
Psychology Today does believe that tools for imaginative and creative thinking can be exercised and that habits, behaviors and strategies within the creative process can be taught. But they don’t believe creativity itself can be taught.
Neither do I. Let’s take a look at the quote I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I found many more quotes like these and each one of them included words like “imagination”, “fantasy”, “ideas”, “invention”, and “mind-wandering”. None of these habits would go with a person uninterested in inventing a creative process, creative thinking or any creative mind.
Wharton University of Pennsylvania wrote an article in 2014, about 4 feet long, including tons of complicated words, unnecessary studies and quotes, and at the end came to the conclusion that creativity cannot be taught. I had to read the post twice to be sure of the result. (Source: Wharton)
Monica Malhotra, Managing Director of the MBD Group, an interior designer and decorator without a technical degree, clearly declared in 2016: “Creativity cannot be taught to anyone. It’s a quality which is god-gifted. People can help you polish this quality but no one can imbibe it into someone,”
Even Steve Jobbs said: “When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”
How do you teach fantasy, imagination, vision and painting pictures in your head to someone? I believe it’s as simple as that: “You can’t.” I’m with Steve Jobbs and Monica Malhotra on that. Creativity is a God given talent that cannot be taught nor learned.
Share your opinion about this conclusion in the comments, please. I’m curious.