Turning the Tables on Bookstores

bookstore, bookshop, independant
iStock Photo - all rights reserved.

There was a time when avid readers were frequent customers of small, neighborhood bookstores – these were the places where books lived and could be bought.  Then the big chain bookstores: B Dalton, Crown, Borders, and Barnes & Noble shoved the small shops out of existence.  The book buyer’s expectations changed as the venue changed.

Barnes & Noble and Amazon have been duking it out for control of the print book market for some time.  Then, about three years ago, eReaders came on the scene and the venue changed again.  Continue reading Turning the Tables on Bookstores

Authors Learn to Embrace the “B” Word

budget, accounting, calculating, financeOne of the best business management tools you can learn to use is a budget. Oh, I know; “budget” ranks right up there with IRS, death benefit, hemorrhoids and goiter as words we want to avoid associating with.  But, this word does not have to be something vile and filthy.  You don’t need to wash your hands after writing it.  It can, in fact, be an excellent tool for helping you improve your peace of mind and your quality of life.

While it is an extremely valuable tool in getting your personal and family finances in order – thus getting the money problems monkey off your back, I’m not going to go into all of that.  This time we’ll look at it specifically as a means of helping you run your business more efficiently.  Continue reading Authors Learn to Embrace the “B” Word

Sneak Peek and Cover Art: xoxoxo

xoxoxo is Bethany Lopez’s second book in her Contemporary Young Adult series, Stories about Melissa. The first book was Ta Ta for Now!. xoxoxo will be released on March 2nd, 2012.

Synopsis

art, cover, book YA, romanceMelissa has learned a lot since her freshman year began, but it isn’t over yet! Her world is about to change again with the birth of her new sibling, and she has to figure out how she will adjust to being the eldest of five kids. She, Jess, and Jimmy are inseparable, and she is having a fantastic time although she can’t help but miss Brian as she tries to learn how to deal with his relationship with Layla. Everything seems to be happening at once and that is when she is introduced to Ben Campbell, a senior at Dearborn High, who becomes an interesting distraction as he helps her deal with the new developments in her life.

About Bethany Lopez

Author, Bethany Lopez, xoxoxox, Ta Ta For Now!Bethany Lopez was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in Michigan and San Antonio, Texas. She went to High School at Dearborn High, in Dearborn, Michigan, which is where she has set her Young Adult novel. She is married and has a blended family with five children. She is currently serving in the United States Air Force as a Recruiter in Los Angeles, California. She has always loved to read and write and has seen her dream realized by independently publishing her first novel through Amazon with CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing. Ta Ta for Now! is also now available through Smashwords at Barnes and Noble.com, on the Nook and the Sony eReader. Her second novella in the series, xoxoxo, will be release on March 2, 2012.
Contact/Purchase Info:

Boosting Your Blog’s SEO in WordPress

SEO, blog, spiders, I’ve never cared much for all the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) machinations that many of the top bloggers say everyone must do to become really popular.  So I’m not going to talk about those.  There are some basic things that we should all do to grab a reasonable amount of search engine spider attention.  And if you want a really quick way to learn to improve your blogs SEO – and if you have a self-hosted WordPress blog – snag the WordPress SEO by Yoast plug-in and install it.  If you have a WordPress.com blog, it appears you can not use plugins at all.

Plug It In

No, no… don’t panic, it’s really easy to do.  Continue reading Boosting Your Blog’s SEO in WordPress

The Mechanics of Creativity

Recently there has been a good deal of discussion going on about creativity: what it is, where it comes from, how it works, and how to get it to work better for you.  Many articles have been written on how to encourage your imagination, how to feed your muse.  As writers we depend on our imagination to craft our stories.  Novelists most of all, but even non-fiction is enlivened by creative writing.

In this article I’m not going to try to tell you how to build up your creative muscle, I’m going to do an analytical breakdown of the creative process I went through to write my last blog post.  I’ll preface it by saying that this is not the process I use all the time: sometimes an article just springs into my mind, fully written, my only task is to record it before the words fade from my mind.  Often these Inspired Writings occur at the most inopportune times: like 3:00 am.  If I am able to ignore the call and go back to sleep I’ll remember that I had a wonderful idea, but won’t remember anything more about it.  Opportunity lost!  Continue reading The Mechanics of Creativity

Getting Sirius About Creativity

My latest guest post is about Creativity and is on the Sirius Press Inc.’s Creative Flux  web site.  My contact there is Terre Britton.

Terre is co-author of The Four Orders, a four-book Sci-Fi/Thriller series that begins with life-altering discoveries and builds momentum towards our society’s self-actualization.  Terre is a Graphic Designer and Illustrator and has recently moved into the fields of Video and Motion Graphics. She holds a degree in History in Art with a minor in English and is a published Art Reviewer. We’ve been communication compadre’s for some time now as we help one another promote our books.

Please pop over and read Training Creativity; it’s a short post and I think you’ll find it entertaining and it has earned some accolades:

The Artist’s Road named it a Tweet of the Week
It was also listed as a Wisdom of the Writerdom tip of the week

 

 

Movie Review Round-up

movies, family, entertainment

I have been known to post movie reviews here: mostly Sci-Fi, particularly old Sci-Fi because that’s what I enjoy watching.  Through those reviews I met a few others who would pop in to see my comments and use them to plan their own movie watching.

Then a few movie eZines chose to throw money at me if I’d publish my reviews through them. Not lots of money, mind you, but some is better than none. So I started shipping my reviews off to Socyberty, Cinemaroll and Telewatcher.  A couple of folks have said that they miss my insights.  Not many, mind you, but a couple.  So I decided to post this post were I can offer a digest of these reviews with links to their published locations.  I’ll update the list as new ones go out.

(UPDATE Aug 2015: the eZines have been taking down these older posts, so I will again post them here.)

Continue reading Movie Review Round-up

Act of Kindness

can a bullet be kindnesssHe sat staring at the small semi-automatic pistol laying on the kitchen table.  He had been staring at it for a long time.  Thinking.  Deciding.  He knew what needed to be done.  The pain had to stop.  Her pain had to stop.  He hated what was happening to her, but he was powerless to prevent it.

He picked it up, a shiver ran up his arm and a small voice nagged at him in the back of his mind, “Wrong.” it said, “This is wrong.”  Normally, he would agree.  But life had taken a turn.  She was suffering.  He had to stop the suffering.  He loved her, he had to help her.

“I wonder if this will hurt her.”   He whispered as he fingered the gun, getting accustomed to the hard, coldness of it.  “Not for long, then she will be better.  No more pain. This is kindness.”

He pushed the tears and the uncertainty aside, stood up and walked out the front door.  He marched up the forest path to her favorite place.  She liked the serenity of the clearing in the deep woods and the tall, straight poplars, the birdsong.  His feet crunched in the dry leaves, doubt welled, he pushed it back and marched on.  It had to be done.

He rounded a bend and saw the lounge chair she liked to sit in and think.

A single shot rang through the woods.

It took them 3 days to find his body.

Sci-Fi Sample – Dalotek Base

moon, base, control room, SPace 1999
Image from Space 1999 TV Series

The doors slid aside and Doctor Forrester followed Colonel Stryker off the lift.

“I am truly impressed, Colonel, with your base. It is absolutely amazing what can be done with enough tax payer dollars!”

The stern faced Colonel just nodded.

“I understand now why you were so adamant that we keep our distance when we set up our own base here on the moon.   And I must say,” he smiled, “that I’m rather surprised that you not only took us in, but have been so open and forthcoming.  I have truly enjoyed this tour.”

Stryker, a head taller than Forrester, trim with a military crew cut and steel gray eyes said, without emotion, “Leaving you there to die when your base was damaged, didn’t seem to be the thing to do, Doctor Forrester.”

“No, I would hope not.  Although, frankly, I would not have been surprised if you had.  But I did expect the lot of us to be squirreled away in some storage room.  This tour was so unexpected!”

“Hmmm…” Nodded Styker.

“Especially since you are obviously not happy about having my team and I here.  But I assure you Colonel, your secrets are safe with me.  I shall never speak of them with anyone.”

“That is quite true, Doctor.”   Continue reading Sci-Fi Sample – Dalotek Base

Creativity? Me?

disapproval, thumbs downRecently I’ve been asked by several author/bloggers to submit a guest post about creativity.  At first I balked because when it come to creativity I feel like a gnu among gazelles.  I “hang out” with a lot of novelists but  I am a non-fiction writer.  I’ve tried writing novels – three of them – they all made the rounds of agents without a nibble.  I write well, so I assumed I’m just not creative enough.

But a few people have been kind enough to help me change my mind (a little) on that.  OK, I’m not a novelist, but I’ve always tried to keep my non-fiction from being dry and boring.  My latest book has received some great reviews, I was awarded the Versatile Blogger Award, the One Lovely Blog award and Mitchell Allen (one of the most creative bloggers I know) once told me, “You could make a trip to the Post Office entertaining”.  So I hot-glued some flashing Christmas tree lights to a colander, slipped it onto my head as a thinking cap and set to work.

First up was Stuart Nager, AKA The Born Storyteller.  I met Stuart on Twitter and we became friends and co-conspirators when we ended up huddled around the same bonfire on Triberr.  You can read my Guest Post, Creativity and Inspiration on his web site.  Also be sure to drop by his blog, Tale Spinning, to read his excellent short stories.  Stuart is, among other things, a Professional Storyteller; NYS Certified Drama Teacher, and Drama Coach.

Next was Sirius Press, Inc.’s Creative Flux blog.

Terre is co-author of The Four Orders, a four-book Sci-Fi/Thriller series that begins with life-altering discoveries and builds momentum towards our society’s self-actualization.  Terre is a Graphic Designer and Illustrator and has recently moved into the fields of Video and Motion Graphics. She holds a degree in History in Art with a minor in English and is a published Art Reviewer. We’ve been communication compadre’s for some time now as we help one another promote our books.

Please pop over and read Training Creativity; it’s a short post and I think you’ll find it entertaining.

I wrote the Mechanics of Creativity as a guest post for another blogger who invited me to guest, then dropped off the face of the Earth and hasn’t been heard from since. So I posted it here in order to keep it in the same timeline as the rest. This article is an analysis of how I came up with Training Creativity.