Thursday, October 30, 2014

A PUBLISHED Comic Book Writer In My Family!


All my life I wanted SOMEBODY in my family to be a writer – to share my passion for writing. While he was living with me, one of my grandsons showed promise as a writer, and with so many grandchildren not yet old enough to know whether or not they’ll develop a love for creative endeavors, who knows what will transpire in the next decade or two?

But, for reasons unknown, I wanted so badly for a family member to be a writer too. Attempts to get them (and close friends) to write blogs failed miserably. They wrote one or two posts and then forgot they even had a blog. I remember once asking my Aunt Glenda, a sensitive and emotional poetry writer, to write online with me. Sadly she died shortly after our exchange of emails. 

But then I discovered that her son, my cousin Phillip, cowrote a book about Pepsi memorabilia (Pepsi Memorabilia ...Then & Now), which was published many years ago, and I was happy to know I had at least one family member who was a writer. 

However, though we are cousins, Phillip and I never really got a chance to know each other at family gatherings. He is much younger than I am so we never really hung out. What does a 21-year-old woman have in common with a 10-year-old boy?

So I didn’t get to know his personality until recently, and I’m so glad I did, because I’ve discovered that I have one very funny and talented cousin. Because he is also the family genealogist, until recently, I had seen only the serious side of him. I read with fascination his posts about ancestors I never knew we had and I am especially captivated by photos he posts of great great great great grandfathers and grandmothers we share. 

At our Dillman family reunions, I meet new-to-me cousins and I get to learn a little more about the cousin who was too young for me to know when the whole family got together so long ago at our grandmother’s home in Chicago’s south suburbs – when all my aunts and uncles were still alive. Phillip’s father was my father’s brother, and out of the five siblings and their spouses, only my parents and one aunt survive.

When I discovered that Phillip had written another book, a collection of humorous cartoons, I introduced him (online) to a very funny woman I had “met” many years ago when we both wrote for a web site that recently died. While it was still alive, Donna Cavanagh set up her own website for comedy writers who were banned from the aforeUNmentioned web site and while she was putting together that amazing opportunity for comedy writers, which she appropriately called, Humor Outcasts, she also gave birth to two publishing venues – Humor Outcasts Press for comedy writers and Shorehouse Books for other types of books. 

So I put Phillip in touch with Donna, who reviewed his book and BAM! – not only did she accept his manuscript – she published it! But the best part is that Scripture Scribbles: Cartoons from the Choir Loft, even in its infancy, is already doing very well on Amazon!

I read the entire collection of cartoons at a recent family reunion when Phillip handed me his manuscript, and I have to say, I learned a little more about this very funny and gifted man and found his book not only surprisingly entertaining (after all, I’m still getting to know him), but also funny and insightful. I can only imagine that God has a twisted sense of humor sometimes and that he conks my cousin on the head while he sits in the choir loft scribbling his thoughts on Scripture. – Yes, he actually scribbles his drawings while he is sitting in the choir loft and his pastor and members of the congregation? Well, they love his work so much, they are disappointed when he doesn’t scribble his cartoons. 

Scripture Scribbles: Cartoons from the Choir Loft is getting some great reviews and I’m very happy for my cousin. I haven’t bought a copy yet, though. I’m holding out until I get a signed copy in my hand. 

Want to know a little more about the man behind the book? Read his Humor Outcasts interview by clicking the link. 

And if you’d like to purchase the book, please click on any of the Scripture Scribbles: Cartoons from the Choir Loft links in this blog. 


One last thing – you can also visit Phillip Dillman’s Humor Outcasts page by clicking the link. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Want to Participate in my Halloween Spooky Blog Mashup?

In my post, Halloween Spooky Blog Mashup, I post links to some of my spooky stories and I invite writers to join me by posting links to their Halloween-related stories. Please click the link to read more. Can you frighten me?

#HalloweenSpookyBlogMashup




Friday, October 10, 2014

PLEASE HELP SUPPORT INDIE PUBLISHERS!

Books! Books! Books! and MORE BOOKS!



I’m a writer. I like books. I like the feel of them, the smell of them – well, except for older ones – and even the sight of them. One of my favorite places to visit is a book store (Barnes & Noble, to be precise). But some of those big stores don't carry books by Independent Publishers, so my quest today is to promote Independent Publishers who provide a service to writers who might not find success with traditional publishers. 

While many traditional publishers appear to mold their writers into replicas of what they perceive their reading audience would like, Indie Publishers recognize the diversity of reading audiences and publish books more traditional publishers might bypass. 

So in my plea for support of Indie Publishers, I would like to introduce you today to several books, all from Indie Publisher, Humor Outcasts Press, with blurbs taken directly from Amazon and a link provided to each book’s Amazon page (by the way, I also enjoy my Kindle app):


“We all want our life to be one smooth road, but none of us gets that all the time. Between the calm stretches of highway, we are forced to deal with the potholes and the occasional speed bump that accompany the turmoil surrounding family, jobs and friendships. If we don't slow down to maneuver the bumps, we might find ourselves a bit battered and bruised. This book, gives us a look at some of those speed bumps and how love, patience and a good dose of humor help us maneuver life's complications. …”


“Love, Montana is a story of romance, commitment and eternal love. Set against the backdrop of the majestic scenery of Montana, this novel tells the story of western fiction novelist, Montana Joe and the love of his life, Rose. From their first tempestuous meeting, you will be drawn into this smart and funny story and will find yourself rooting for these two lovers as they realize that they are each other’s destiny.”


“When the author was born, his mother did the unthinkable. She gave him a girl’s name—Stacey. 

But Stacey’s name was just the first hurdle he’d face in his uphill climb from birth to manhood. He also had to deal with an entitled older brother, the hodgepodge of different men his mother was involved with, and the nomadic lifestyle he was forced to endure for five years. And to top it all off, his mother couldn’t cook a decent meal to save her life. …”


If you ever wondered what 50 would look like on a former alcoholic tattooed shoe addict who eats cake out of her garbage can and secretly prays to her vagina to die on a regular basis - well wonder no more and Welcome to Heidi. This collection of stories culled from over 300 blogs and rewritten for your pleasure will take readers on a journey they never expected and perhaps never knew they wanted to go on. …”


“Life is full of strange and awkward events seemingly designed to annoy us. To Thomas Sullivan, these trials and tribulations are actually meant to entertain us. Within these pages you ll encounter a guy who finds humor in: Searching for a cozy, old-school barber in a gentrifying neighborhood, but landing at a frantic corporate salon that smells like a meth lab. Running late for a flight, only to find himself on The Terrorist Watch List. Watching The Peoples Court with a stranger in the world s gloomiest bar. Surviving condemnation from the hard-working folks at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Fixing up a house when he knows nothing about home improvement. And much, much more wonderful absurdity.”

The Evil That Men Do [Kindle Edition] by Sherry Yanow and Deborah Fezelle 

“His brother was murdered, his ghost wants answers, and Nick McDeare ends up living in the beautiful widow's brownstone to get them. Before he nails the killer will Nick's own demons be exorcised … or will explosive secrets torpedo his last chance at love? …”

A Canine's Guide to the Good Life by Frankie (Author), LuLu (Author), Friends (Author), Donna Cavanagh (Contributor) 

You'll love this short tail-wagging tale from two pooches who've been around the block with and without a leash. Frankie and LuLu tell it like it is when it comes to reining in an owner and getting the upper paw. You'll smile, you'll cringe and you just might bark out loud as these two intuitive mutts demonstrate that you don't need a pedigree to be top dog.”


Meet Noah Vail, author, humorist ... and horse. In Never Say Neigh, Noah shares his wise and timely insights (with a little help from Mary Farr) with the humor and panache that only a clever horse can provide. …”


Lexa James discovered her sexual desires and the power of her sex appeal and layered it with confidence that makes her a vixen and desirable to many. Through sexual thrills, she gained empowerment. Through experience she triumphed. And through both failure, and success, she conquered. Lexa James brings to you the real accounts on what it means to be a sexually fueled and empowered woman while staying true to who she is.”


Elliston is an absurd novella based in the myth of song and the horror of reality. The fictional but all too true story about the formation and implosion of an audacious and critically acclaimed band. This is the cocaine riddled tale of one of the first bands of the pseudo famous Nashville indie rock scene, detailed in sex, drugs and lies re-branding the city of country through the bloodshot eyes of its elitist rockers.”


If you would like to read more from this author, please visit me at any of the following places. As always, thank you for reading! 


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Breast Cancer, Halloween, Justified Behavior, and Self Esteem

Today, I am introducing you to four of my most recent posts from some of my other blogs. Perhaps one or more of the titles will interest you enough to read the posts:

Do you know someone who has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. Wonder what she or he will experience? Do you know what a MUGA scan is? Do you really understand how chemotherapy and radiation will affect your loved one? This article follows my 2009 journey with breast cancer from the initial finding of my lump through all of the procedures. Unlike pamphlets that detail the physical aspects of breast cancer, this journey takes you through my emotions.


Some kids find masks and scary creatures walking to their doors interesting and amusing. Others are scared. This blog is for those kids.

You probably know parents who say, “Not my kids!” And then justify whatever inappropriate behavior the kids act out. But do YOU justify YOUR kids’ behaviors? How about your own?

This article offers 47 ways to help your children (and you) feel good about themselves (and yourself). With several quotes, both religious and nonreligious, this program provides enough building blocks to help everyone achieve healthy self esteem.

If you would like to read more from this author, please visit me at any of the following places. As always, thank you for reading! 


Friday, October 3, 2014

Inspiration - from Where Does it Come?

(from the Magical Mysteries Collection and later published on Associated Content / Yahoo! Voices August 5, 2008)

A beautiful sunset, a symphony, a great play, velvet, even chocolate - sometimes motivate us to create things extraordinary. In flashes of insight gleaned from people, events, and sensory stimuli, we create new recipes, design new games, or invent new machinery. Ignited by inspiration, perhaps after a remembered dream, perhaps after hearing an enchanting piece of music or seeing a beautiful work of art, we feel compelled to utilize our own talents to invent, to write, to draw - to manifest the object of our inspiration.

But inspirational moments are not always explosive moments that demand immediate attention. And we will not always be inspired to become musicians, poets, artists, and writers. Inspiration may hit us in small ways. We hear two children discussing their perceptions of life and we decide to communicate differently with our own children. We walk through groves of trees delighting in beautiful shapes and rich colors and, as light sifts through the leaves, we feel a sudden urgency to paint the passion we see in a simple beam of light.

Sometimes we know what or who inspires up, but we are unaware of the process of inspiration. To inspire - to breath in, using the etymology, or origin, of the word - is to feel suddenly aroused in such a way that we sometimes feel driven by some divine force to act upon the inspiration. Sleeping or awake, when the moment of inspiration strikes, we feel a certain knowing, a quickening of our pulse, and an immediate desire to implement strategies for bringing to fruition the results inspired by that moment. For some, the moment passes with only a cursory glimpse of possibility. For others the moment demands full attention and they catapult into creativity.

Some people feel inspiration is a gift from God. So is God the source of inspiration? Does the origin of the word "inspire," and its actual meaning, "in breathe," (as opposed to expire - not breathing) mean that we physically breathe in the information? And if we breathe it in, are we aware of its scent?

A dog's sense of smell is between 10,000 to 100,000 times better that a human's sense of smell. Researchers in the United Kingdom have given dogs the task of detecting cancer, which the dogs are doing with remarkable accuracy. If a dog can detect the smell of cancer, but a human can't, we have to wonder how much of our universe we are missing, not only by smell, but by our other senses as well.

What if inspiration arrives in waves of scent that we "breathe in" to our being? What if our brain is able to discern one scent from another, process, and interpret the various consciously undetectable scents, and transform them into thought patterns that spark creativity?

We may not always know the catalyst for inspiration, but for those of us who embrace it, for those of us who follow through, the reward is gratification and more inspiring moments. Inspiration without follow-through, however, is wasted. Remember Thomas Edison's words, "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration."

If you would like to read more from this author, please visit me at any of the following places. Thank you for reading! 


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

5 Reasons Why Nobody Reads Your Blog

"Why Isn't Anyone Interested in Reading My Blog?"

The following article was previously published on Associated Content / Yahoo! Voices on Jan 31, 2011


How to Get People to Read Your Blog

Like most of us just starting out, unless you already have a ready-made readership, you probably wonder why nobody reads your blog. I have asked myself that same question, and I've discovered some very revealing answers. Here's what I discovered about why people won't read your blog:

1) Blog readers are just not interested in your topic.
I remember a time when I developed, designed, wrote, published, and distributed a local newsletter. Various people in the community wanted to advertise with me.
After several issues, however, one woman, who had been advertising with me from the beginning, complained that she never received any phone calls from her ad. She asked me why nobody wanted the items she was selling. After all, they were cute.
After a quick look around the nearly eight hundred homes in the area, I detected that she was the only one interested in clothing made for geese yard ornaments.
If you want people to read your words, make sure you offer them something they want to read.
2) Blog readers don't care for the way you write.
People who use English incorrectly, even in a blog, repel some readers immediately. Readers' purpose in reading your blog is to be entertained or informed. If they have to stumble through a poorly written blog to get the information they need, they won't trust the information or the blog writer, and they will probably never again read your blog.
Consider your readers when you write your blog. Make your blog a comfortable place to visit.
3) You make too many mistakes.
Spelling, grammar, punctuation, and style are important. Yes, you don't have to be as guarded in a blog as you would have to be in an article, but you DO have to think about your readers. Readers can forgive mistakes once in a while, but when mistakes occur repeatedly, you will never garner a readership.
Think about it - if you read a blog filled with mistakes, can you trust the information related in the blog? If you want information about an iPad, for instance, and you read a blog that is so poorly written you have to wonder if it's been written by a child, wouldn't you move on to a different blog? Too many mistakes scream, AMATEUR!
4) Your blog is a clone of too many other blogs.
I joined a blogging site recently and was approached by several bloggers who asked me to "follow" them. I obliged. However, one day I decided to research some of the bloggers I followed, and what I discovered astounded me.
One blogger, who wrote very eloquently in his blog, impressed me with his phrasing choices. His personal information, however, looked as if it had been written by an illiterate child.
Upon further inspection, I discovered that what he had written in his blog had already been posted by numerous other bloggers. He gave no credit to the original source, and I couldn't help but wonder who wrote the original phrase. Plagiarized work is unethical and I don't appreciate reading work that has been stolen.
How did I know it was stolen?
When I placed quotation marks around the phrase that impressed me, I Googled it and discovered numerous other blogging sites that appeared with the exact phrasing.
Who wants to read regurgitated information? Most readers want to read blogs that provide a fresh perspective on the information they seek.
5) Nobody knows your blog exists.
Unless you use Twitter, your profile page on Facebook, blog exchange sites, like Networked Blogs on Facebook (you'll need a Facebook account), or blogging sites like Bloggers, to promote your blog, the only way anybody will find your blog is through emails you send to friends and relatives, by word of mouth, or by accident.
If you want people to notice your blog, advertise it. If you write more than one blog, add links at the end of each blog post directing readers to your other blogs, like I do (see below). If you really want exposure, ask other bloggers to backlink their blogs to yours.
Though I just mentioned backlinking, I have to admit that I don't beg people to backlink to me. I prefer being surprised when other bloggers think enough of my blog (or article) to post a link on their Twitter or Facebook account. And I genuinely appreciate people who backlink from one my blogs to their own.
In Closing
If you want more people to read your blog, choose topics that interest readers, learn how to write correctly and effectively, write coherently, try not to make mistakes, offer your readers your own perspective, and promote your blog.
For information on backlinking, I invite you to read Lyn Lomasi's excellent blog, How Can I Increase My Page Views (PVs) on Associated Content?, Although her post was directed toward Associated Content writers, the information she provides works well for blogs too.
If you would like to read more from this author, please visit me at any of the following places. Thank you for reading! 




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Secret and the Secret - More Than One: Listen, Do You Want to Know Two Secrets?


Originally published Dec 21, 2009

By now everybody has heard about The Secret and the Law of Attraction, and that what you think about manifests materially. But when I first heard about The Secret, I hadn't seen a copy of the book. The Secret I found bore no resemblance to The Secret being touted by Oprah and other celebrities. Here then are two different books with the same title:

The Secret by Michael Berg
The Secret I found, written by Michael Berg of the Kabbalah Center, promised to unlock "the source of joy and fulfillment." It also claimed to be "the most powerful teaching of the world's oldest spiritual wisdom." It appeared to me to be the correct secret.
The Secret I discovered spoke of sharing - heartfelt sharing - and that by sharing your resources you would multiply them. My perception of sharing, however, was that I didn't have even time to share, let alone material resources. Of the meager belongings I had, who would want anything I owned? Who would think anything I owned was worth sharing? I had nothing; therefore, I could give nothing.
Or so I thought - I was about to learn a valuable lesson from one of my daughters.
My oldest daughter had just given birth to her fifth child when, soon after his birth, she came home and was told by her two oldest daughters that her husband had brought his girlfriend home to meet the new baby. When her husband abandoned her and her children and left her to raise her five children alone, he paid no child support for over a year. The struggle to raise five children without any support was almost unbearable and extremely stressful for her.
I knew firsthand what it felt like to raise children without a partner. When I was a single parent, I had very little income and I had to stretch dinners to last for two meals. When other children came to my home while I cooked dinner, I asked them to leave when it was time for us to eat. Inviting even one other child to share our already limited food supply would result in one less meal for us. I bought only what was absolutely necessary because I couldn't afford to buy more.
I never would have thought about sharing the little I had, because I never considered that sharing would ultimately bless me with abundance.
My daughter, however, though she was in the same situation - with an additional child to support - frequently invited her children's friends to share meals and snacks with her family. I was profoundly touched by her generosity. Because of her generous spirit, The Secret written by Michael Berg resonated with me on a deep level.
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
Then I discovered the other secret, The Secret written by Rhonda Byrne, the more popular secret that promised to reveal how I could "have, be, or do anything" I wanted, simply by understanding the Law of Attraction. All I had to do was ask, believe, receive, and be grateful.
Both secrets require an intensity of desire, a profound depth of gratitude, and an emotional connection to the belief that once The Secret is revealed and understood, everything is attainable.
The Secret written by Rhonda Byrne discusses the Law of Attraction in terms the reader understands to mean that anything one thinks about is drawn to the individual, so we are required to think in positive terms.
In other words, rather than think about lack of money, which, just by thinking about it will draw lack to us, we are to think about abundance. Instead of thinking about bills arriving in the mail, we should be thinking about checks arriving in the mail.
Instead of thinking about all of our bad relationships, we should focus on what we would consider to be our ideal relationships.
We draw to us that which we think about, and the more energy and emotion we attach to the things that occupy our thoughts, the more we will attract the physical manifestations of those thoughts.
Understanding the Law of Attraction requires us to acknowledge what we have and to be grateful for everything.
The Secret Combined
So what might happen if we were to combine the teachings of The Secret from both books?
By applying the teachings of The Secret written by Michael Berg, we must consider what it is we have to share. If we have no money, we can share time. By devoting time to friends, family, and others, we give of ourselves in ways that make us feel better about ourselves.
Maybe we have talents we can utilize - we can create crafts and give them as gifts to people "just because," or we can start a business that will benefit others.
We might have to be creative in our thinking - do we have anything to offer that others might want or need? We could perform one simple act of kindness for one person day after day.
We can share our compassion, our empathy, our compliments, and our thoughts. It doesn't matter if recipients don't thank us for what we give them. It matters only that we give - and share - that part of ourselves that only we can share.
When we receive money, we can share it with some of our favorite charities. We all have different concerns and we all support different charities, so if one particular charity benefits even one person in some small way, hundreds of other people might contribute the same amount, and even if the offering is small, separate contributions pooled together can make a difference in somebody's life.
By applying the teachings of The Secret written by Rhonda Byrne, we challenge ourselves to know what it is we want. We may think we want that big house or a new automobile every year, but on a deeper spiritual level, knowing what we want means learning what it is that makes us truly happy.
Utilizing the Law of Attraction requires us to examine our desires. Once we discover what it is we want, we can visualize, conceptualize, and materialize them.
The Bottom Line

Once we learn The Secret, we can share ourselves and our resources. We can think positively about the things we want in our lives, and be grateful for what we already have, even when something appears to be negative. By living the concepts of both books, The Secret - both secrets - will change not only our lives, but also our perceptions of our lives. With heartfelt prayers of gratitude, not only can we live the secrets from each book, we can share them too.

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