Summer 2020

The sun burns hot, but there’s a breeze

in the yard I can hear the hum of the bees.

The ocean, it never is very far away

the sun is shining, here I want to stay.

**

Temperatures are hot, the air, it sings

We know already what the next day brings

more blue skies, more light and sun

Southern California is home and fun.

**

This summer things are different though

the danger is omnipresent, that we know.

But still, I need the sunshine and the air

I’ll go outside and I take care.

**

The sunsets still are so one-of-a-kind

I have a hard time to get them off my mind.

The colors, the clouds, and the palm trees

swaying in the summer breeze.

**

And even when the times are hard

when we are in crisis and hold up our guard

There’s still the beauty of nature to roam

outside our window, in our hearts, we call it home.

*****

(Copyright: Aurora Jean Alexander, July 2020)

Picture Courtesy of Google.com

 

A. J. Alexander’s Writing Assistant #3

On April 9, 2020, I published a post about how I got my ‘Baby Boy,’ my ‘Writing Assistant #1‘. A couple weeks back I published my Writing Assistant #2.

In my first Assistant post, I published about 2 feet of information about Maine Coon cats. In this post, I’ll spare you from the same information. If you like to read about it, go back to the first post.

Instead, I’m going to introduce you to my second ‘Baby Girl’, my ‘Writing Assistant #3’.

This girl, too, is a pure breed Maine Coon cat, including beautiful Lynx-tips. Indeed, this one is a former ‘Best of Show’ champion.

After I got Charlet, I saw, her breeder had a breathtaking Calico Torbie female. I told her: “I never wanted a third cat, but if you EVER retire that one, I’ll take her in. She laughed and informed me she had a waiting list.

Surprisingly, a few months later the breeder called me up and asked me if I would keep my word and take her in. She said, the beautiful kitty had a bad delivery with her last litter and she needs to be retired, but also she had arthritis and was barely three years old. That’s why the entire ‘waiting list’ didn’t want her anymore. Of course, I kept my word and picked her up. Only a short time later I realized the kitty had difficulties eating and I took her to the vet… long story short: Esme had cancer and after fighting for her life for eight months, I had to admit we lost the fight and I had to have her euthanized. She fell asleep in my arms, Jake was with us…

When we got back home, it took me a while to realize that Esme had taken over the pack lead from Charlet. I had not known that and was surprised that Jake and Charlet started fighting badly and Charlet scratched and bit Jake seriously a few times. They had to figure out again who was the boss and even after months they could not decide. I had two cats who couldn’t stand each other anymore.

Finally, I knew I had to give them something else to concentrate on. A kitty would have been a possibility. They would have to focus on the baby and would stop fighting. (or Charlet, as a former mother would have pulled the kitten to her side and they both could have sided against Jake).

I never had a kitten before and was considering getting one. I heard of a breeder having two litters with Maine Coon kittens. Of course, I had the chance to cuddle with the cutest kittens on Earth.

Picture courtesy of Google.com

But then, somehow, I did not have the right feeling. I sensed that I was about to make a really bad decision. I told that to the breeder. She seemed disappointed. And started to hand out treats to her adult cats… and there I saw her. An elegant, breathtaking pitch-black panther cat, with a beautiful bushy tail and green eyes…

I asked the breeder: “Erica, this black cat… you don’t consider giving her for adoption, right?” She started laughing. I was a bit disappointed and said “I understand… she’s far too beautiful.” But Erica shook her head. “No, that’s not why I’m laughing. But before you arrived I talked to a breeder friend of mine and told her, that I would soon retire Tjara from breeding, since she’s 4 1/2 years old, almost five. But I have two litters with kittens, who will want the five-year-old cat? You are now the first one checking out the two litters and you’re asking if you can have the adult cat.” We laughed together… and the cat I fell in love with, was mine.

Usually, when I take cats home, I’ll keep them separated for a few hours, in the room where the litter boxes are, prepare water and make sure they relax and start getting the smell of their new home.

This cat didn’t last even one hour. After twenty minutes she scratched the door and demanded to see the rest of her new home. I laughed, shrugged, and said: “Good Luck.”

Jake and Charlet were waiting outside. Tjara licked Jake’s nose and let Charlet hiss at her. Then she walked through the rest of her new home. After about half an hour, she sat on the carpet, looked around, looked at me, and seemed to say: “New home? New Mommy? New subordinates? Fits – MINE.”

She had taken over the pack within not even an hour and is the boss ever since. Not even two days later even the connection between Charlet and Jake had normalized, that’s how strong Tjara is as a pack-leader.

I’m very proud of my strong kitty-cat. She rules with an iron paw, but at the same time, she’s helpful and cuddly.

Here we go:

 

You READ – but do you leave REVIEWS? – Written By Chris Graham (aka The Story Reading Ape)

Thank you so much for this great, interesting and helpful blog post, Chris. It encourages readers to write reviews and help and support us authors.


PLEASE

A stack of books and words Read - Review - Repeat

If not, why not?

I don’t have time

The author probably spent a heck of a lot more time writing the story than you took to read it, no matter how slow you think you are, so why not take a few minutes to record your feelings about it.

I can’t write long fancy reviews like those I see on book review blogs

You don’t have to, Amazon, for example, only ask you to use a minimum of 25 non repeating words.

I can’t express myself very well

No-one is asking you to produce a literary masterpiece, start off with things you liked, didn’t like or a mix of both about the book, e.g.,

CONTINUE READING HERE

How to create an EPUB or MOBI file in seconds. Ebook publishing for beginner writers – Written By Louise Harnby

For those of us who do have difficulties with the conversion of our stories into EPUB or MOBI files. Thank you very much for your informative post, Louise!


Here’s how to convert a Word document into EPUB or MOBI file format. This option certainly won’t be for everyone, but if it suits you, you can master it in seconds … and for free.

Many authors create their books directly in Microsoft Word because of its excellent suite of onboard styling tools and its compatibility with a range of plug-ins and add-ins (including macros). Pro editors love it for the same reasons.

​Once the writing, drafting, editing, and final revisions are complete, it’s time to publish. Is a Word file good enough for epublication? How about a DIY conversion to EPUB or MOBI? It depends on several factors:

  • Your freebie plans
  • Your budget
  • Your sales and distribution platform
  • The complexity of your interior design

Continue reading HERE

Unforced Errors—5 Ways Writers Stand Between Themselves And Success – Written By Ruth Harris…

Ruth Harris published a guest post on Anne R. Allen’s blog about how writers stand between themselves and success. Thank you for your very educational blog post, Ruth.


on Anne R. Allen:

A term used in scoring tennis, “unforced errors” are not caused by the actions of the player’s opponent, but they’re the responsibility of the player him/herself. S/he is caught wrong-footed, out of balance, unable to return the serve, incapable of making the winning shot.

The concept of unforced errors can also be usefully applied to writers. Unforced errors are the self-inflicted harm we do to ourselves.

Continue reading HERE

A New Audio Book Release – kongo.com – Written By Don Massenzio

Don Massenzio has released his new audio book kongo.com. Congratulations, Don! This is amazing!


I’m happy to announce that my book, kongo.com, is available in audiobook format. The book is a collection of four related long-format short stories/novellas. The Audio Book is available HERE.

kongo.com cover designed by Don Massenzio

About kongo.com

In my book, kongo.com, I have pulled together four separate related stories. Three of them were published as serials on my blog over the past year. The fourth is a brand new story that weaves together the other three. This was an enjoyable exercise and I hope that those that choose to read it will enjoy it as well.

Here is a bit about each of the stories in kongo.com

CONTINUE READING HERE

The Truth – And How I Use My Characters To Say It

Picture courtesy of http://www.thepowerofoneness.com/blog/tag/live-your-truth/

Don’t we all wish sometimes we could just tell the truth instead of juggling tactfully around saying what the other one would like to hear? Let me give you a few examples.

Imagine, a hair salon, somewhere in a big city… the walls are covered with breathtaking hairstyles on equally breathtaking people, the hairstylist expects his next appointment.

A customer enters and points to one of the pictures on the wall, telling the hairdresser: “I want exactly that hairstyle here.”

Now, what does the hairstylist want to say? “Well, I’m afraid, that is a misunderstanding. See, this is a professional model, a really beautiful human being. Whereas you are a caprice of nature… barely to look at.”

What does the stylist say eventually? “Aaawww. What an excellent choice. That cut will frame your face wonderfully. I’m convinced it will look splendidly on you.”

Or, let’s have a look at another example:

Parents are invited to a parent’s conference day, and they’re meeting their kids’ teacher.

Imagine what the teacher would like to say: “Ah, yes. Your son Willy. A complete idiot. About as intelligent as six feet of dirt track… I’m surprised how this child finds the door in the morning to leave the house. My advice to you: set him free; start from scratch.”

What does he say? “Your son. He is intelligent but does have a few difficulties to focus and concentrate. There are practices and exercises to improve that. But I’m convinced the older he gets, the easier it will be for him…”

Or, how do you tell parents that their child is not the cutest on earth? Ask them for a picture. Then you study it for a few minutes and say: “Aha… hmm… you know…. are you sure that this is indeed the face?”

Of course, our society does not accept the naked truth. We all know words can hurt, and we don’t want to hurt people, nor do we want to be hurt. That’s when our ability to successfully veil our replies in conversations, create our answers in a way to compliment the other person, and hide what we really think.

At this point, I admit, it is a relief at times, to use my characters to speak what ‘they’ think, and of course, use them to write what I think. I rarely refer to a particular person or situation. But I permit my characters at times, to be as outspoken, open, bold, and sometimes rude, as I would never dare to be in public.

At times I wonder, if crime authors use their books to ‘kill people’ they don’t like in real life.

What would you permit your character to do what you cannot do or say in your real life? Let me know in the comments, I’m curious.