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woman readingLike most writers, I am a voracious reader and have been most of my life. While I do tend to gravitate toward certain genres, I usually enjoy reading anything well written. And, like most readers, I have favorite authors. (more…)

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beach-writer

Lots of people think authors live a glamorous life; sitting in a beach chair, toes in the sand, large floppy hat, cool beverage with little umbrella in the glass with a laptop or tablet on their lap, just tap, tap, tapping away on the keys until – BAM – 90,000 words later, a best-selling masterpiece appears. The next day someone slaps a gorgeous glossy cover on it and plasters it all over the Barnes & Noble front window.

bookstore-window

Then, after several hours of tap, tap, tapping, said author dons oversized dark glasses and some sparkly flip flop sandals, gets into their luxury sports car and dashes off to some posh restaurant for lunch with their editor, agent, and some movie producer from Hollywood to discuss the details of turning your latest masterpiece into a Hollywood blockbuster.

power-lunch

Spoiler alert – that NEVER happens. Oh sure, JK Rowling probably does that NOW, but not when she first started. Steven King is a household name and James Patterson’s name gets tossed around a lot on movie sets and such, but seriously, that didn’t happen overnight.

So, how did it happen? I’ll tell you – I have no idea. Believe me, I wish I did. I wish I knew what secret, besides hard work and perseverance would shoot me straight up that ladder to the beach chair in the sun because God knows I would love love to dig my toesies into some white sand right about now. Not to mention that little umbrella drink.

Here’s what I do know, those people spent many, many long days and sleepless nights fussing over the right words, the parts they deleted and maybe shouldn’t have, the opening scenes that should work but for some reason don’t, a reviewers harsh comment, hours of endless re-writing.

working-woman

In other words, they worked hard and they didn’t quit. They didn’t let disappointment ruin their vision.

And, despite how it seems to authors most days, they didn’t reach a certain level of fame alone. What? You’re saying others helped along the way? Absolutely. A lot of people probably helped and didn’t even know they helped. Strangers can help strangers. Readers can help writers. Here’s how:

helping-hand

Buy books, read books, talk about awesome books.

A great way to take it up a notch, is to leave a review. It’s easy, it’s free, it doesn’t take that long, and it goes a long way in helping authors’ careers. Here’s a few places where you can leave a review: https://www.goodreads.com/https://www.amazon.com/; or http://allreaders.com/.

Go to book signings if you can and BUY THE BOOK, even if you gift it to someone else.

Spread the word on social media. A “like,” a “share,” a comment, helps boost that author’s visibility. It seems trivial, but like election time, every vote matters. (Please don’t make this political people. God knows we don’t want to go there again.)

book-with-bowGift a book. A great way to help authors is to buy books for someone else. Especially in this day and age of electronic gadgets, almost everyone has an e-reader of some fashion. If not, you can download a free app to most smart phones. Heck, you can read books on your home computer. What better gift for a person who has everything or no longer wishes to “collect things?” Again, it’s easy and relatively inexpensive. Some e-books are less than a dollar. Gifting an e-book is super easy through Amazon or other on-line e-book retailers. All you need is the recipient’s e-mail address. What a lovely surprise for the recipient to open their e-mail and discover a gift! And it won’t clutter up a closet or shelf.

 

comment-boxHere’s how I’m going to help some authors this week: Every person who posts a comment on this blog between now and Friday, February 24th, will be gifted an e-book of my choice. Simply leave a comment and mention your favorite genre so I can choose an appropriate book for you from one of my favorite starving authors. Some of you I can wager a pretty good guess about genre, but others not so much. If I don’t already have your e-mail address, send me an e-mail at jansen.schmidt@yahoo.com so I can make sure your e-book arrives. (Caveat: I will only be gifting from Amazon so you’ll have to have a Kindle in order to participate. Sorry to those who prefer other e-reader methods.)

You in turn can help the author of the book I gifted to you by posting a review and I strongly encourage you to do so. I’m acting on good faith here that you will leave a review. If you do not wish to write a review and post it on any or all of the sites I listed above, please let me know if the comments. (Caveat: If you absolutely hate the book I gift you, please do NOT leave a bad review. An honest review yes, but not a scathing one.) Remember, the purpose of this week’s blog is to help each other out. I’m helping readers, you’re helping writers.

trust-quote

That’s it. Easy peasy. You can pass the word to your friends if they want a free book all they have to do is leave a comment and their e-mail address. I’ll do the rest.

So, thanks in advance to all who post a comment and enjoy your books!

How do you help starving authors? Do you routinely leave reviews? Do you attend book signings? Do you have an e-reader?

Word of Day: Acroter

Fun fact about me: I have 3 e-readers but I prefer paper books.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, February 2017. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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It’s national poetry month, or so my calendar tells me. That means nothing to me, except for the fact that I’m neither a poet nor a fan of poetry.

poetry motto

However, I do appreciate some literary works that technically fall into the poetry category. For instance, I do like some of Walt Whitman’s works, especially his Leaves of Grass. While I don’t get all gushy and weep at the words and the way they are arranged on the page, I do feel “moved,” be reading certain passages.

Walt Whitman

So, in honor of national poetry month, and my simple-minded understanding of Walt Whitman’s compositions, here goes my tribute:

“Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body . . . .” (Leaves of Grass)

My favorite part of that: “re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book.” Love that. And now I’m off to stand up for the stupid and the crazies.

flowers in forest

Happy April followers and friends. In my opinion, the picture above is nature’s poetry. Wouldn’t you agree?

Do you enjoy poetry? Do you understand poetry? What’s your take on the excerpt above?

Word of the day: Gabelle

Fun fact about me: I once had a literary agent tell me my manuscript was too poetic. Ha! I scoff at her analysis.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, April 2016. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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This month I’m going to talk about me. But not the flower-crazy, stick shift driving, word challenged, female who likes all things sparkly. No, I’m going to talk about me, Jansen Schmidt the writer. Have I mentioned that I’m also a writer?

While this picture is not my actual desk, it accurately reflects my writing style when I’m really in the zone. You writers out there know what I’m talking about. It’s not a mess, it’s research and, I don’t care who you are, do NOT touch my desk, my notes, my piles of papers. There is a method to the madness. Those post-it notes contain key points that must not be forgotten in the plot at any cost. The empty cups are a sure sign that my husband the cabana boy has retired for the night and there will no longer be anyone to bring me beverage refills or any other form of sustenance. But I carry on. I persevere. Just a thousand more words, one more chapter, six more pages of edits, then I’ll be done for the day.

Why do we do this? Why do we put outselves through this agonizing process called writing? I’ll tell you why I do it.

In 2009 I was bestowed with an Honorable Mention is the Writing on the Walls contest sponsored by The Storyteller Magazine. As part of this recognition, my short story, Dancing In the Middle, was published in the Writing on the Walls III anthology. (http://www.thestorytellermagazine.com/past-wow-winners.html)

I was over the moon with my very first real publishing experience! This was it! It’s official! I’m a legitimate author and I have a book out there to prove it. I have a book cover to post on my website. I signed a contract and everything! Of course it’s not mine alone, but hey, I’ll take what I can get.

Dancing In the Middle is about a dance instructor with a secret who is unknowingly smuggling drugs into the United States from Mexico. It has strong romance elements and incorporates my love of all forms of dance. Dancing In the Middle was featured on a blog! How cool is that? You can experience that thrill here: http://sjdriscoll.com/?s=Jansen+Schmidt.

See how much more exciting my life is now that I’m a published author. I’m in demand. People can’t get enough of me. Okay, so maybe one guest blog feature has gone to my head, but it brightened my day immensely to be featured on Sally’s blog. I can’t wait for that first real book signing.

But I digress.

This Honorable Mention accolade boosted my enthusiam for writing and justified what I do as – REAL! I wasn’t just playing around any more. I was officially – an author. With that came added responsibilities, a reputation to uphold, expectations for future stories. Oh the pressure!

Fortunately, I carried on, putting more words on the page, drying up hundreds of highlighters and red pens, rubbing down countless erasers. Running the cabana boy ragged. My stubborness persistence paid off!

Writing on the Walls IV

In 2011 I entered the same contest with a different story. Finding Emily also received an Honorable Mention in the contest and will be available in the 2012 Writing on the Walls IV anthology, in either paper or e-book format in June 2012 at Amazon.com or Mockingbirdlanepress.com.

That’s right, now I have 2 book covers to post on my website. I entered the same story in the 2011 Silver Quill contest and came in second place. (http://www.thestorytellermagazine.com/silver-quill-winners.html) As a contest “winner” I received a cash prize. Oh the heart-stopping excitement! I have now received income from my writing. Before you get all gushy with kind words, I will confess that that prize money was almost enough to buy lunch for me and the cabana boy my husband. But hey, it was cold hard cash for a well written story. I’ll take it!

Finding Emily is about a tenacious private investigator’s inter-state search for a missing child presumed dead. With the help of a research librarian, he unravels the truth and sets out to find Emily.

For more information about the Writing on the Walls contest or The Storyteller Magazine visit: http://www.thestorytellermagazine.com/index.html

As a result of all of this craziness hard work, I now have the distinct pleasure of introducing myself as a multi-published, award winning author. That sounds more impressive than it really is, but I’m keeping it.

For more information about me, Jansen Schmidt the writer, visit my website at http://www.jansenschmidt.com. There you can find excerpts from my current works in progress as well as finished manuscripts waiting for some lucky editor to snatch up for publication. You can sign my guestbook while you’re there so I know you visited.

As this post publishes on the worldwide web, I will be at the start of my much needed vacation. But, please leave a comment and know that I will respond to each and every one when I return. I love seeing your comments. Oh, and don’t think that while I’m away you can borrow my cabana boy either; he goes where I go. After all what multi-published, award winning author goes anywhere without her cabana boy?

Word of the Day:  Gadroon

Fun fact about me:  I did not learn how to ride a bike until I was 13 years old. Sad – but true.

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On December 5, 2011 I was nominated as 1 of 15 versatile bloggers from my WANA1011 classmate and fellow blogger, Pat O’Dea (www.rwrambling.blogspot.com). Thank you Pat for honoring me with the award!

Versatile blogger award

In addition to Pat’s request that I pass along the blog love, fellow WANA1011 classmates, Karen McFarland (www.karenmcfarland.com), Ginger Calem (www.gingercalem.wordpress.com), Louise Behiel (www.louise.behiel.com), Fabio Bueno (www.fabiobuenoauthor.wordpress.com) and myself (www.jansenschmidt.com) have been working together for the past couple of weeks to put together a list of recipients from our on-line blogging class, headed up by awesome instructor, Kristen Lamb (www.warriorwriters.wordpress.com) (see special custom award below).

Here are the rules for my recipients:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you!

2. Add the award picture to your blog (if you want to).

3. Nominate other bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and let them know about it.

4. Share seven random things about yourself.

My nominees are:

* Barry Crowther (www.barrycrowther.com/category/blog) – This fun, friendly blog which often includes tales from across the pond, is sure to please with tidbits of Barry’s childhood and anecdotes on his writing journey.

* Chicki Brown (www.sisterscribbler.blogspot.com) – Chicki blogs about her own books, upcoming releases and features other authors, including copies of her beautiful book covers.

* Christine (CC) MacKenzie (www.ccmackenzie.wordpress.com) – CC shares blogs about writing and the publishing industry with candor and fun.

* Debra Eve (www.laterbloomer.com) – Debra’s blog emphasizes the importance of never giving up on your dreams and promotes the power of the late bloomers. She shares good common sense advice to the not-so-late, late, and later bloomers in life.

* Hayley Lavik (www.blog.hayleyelavik.com) – Hayley posts wonderful book excerpts for her readers’ enjoyment.

* Isis Rushdan (www.isisrushdan.blogspot.com) – Isis has a stunningly beautiful blog site and has awesome giveaways for her blog visitors. She resides in the United Kingdom and her site is as cool as her name.

I hope you’ll all take a few minutes to visit these awesome versatile bloggers and see why I nominated them.

In addition to the versatile bloggers nominated above, this special blog award, created by Fabio Bueno, is awarded to our WANA1011 class leader, Kristin Lamb as a token of our appreciation for her extraordinary patience and awesomeness in teaching our on-line WANA1011 class.

Awarded to Kristen Lamb

Kristen is the author of the We Are Not Alone books and offers a variety of workshops to build, strengthen and improve social media platforms. Anyone who has a blog or is interested in building a blog should sign up for one of Kristen’s classes. You won’t regret it.

Now, here are 7 random things about me: I’ve never had a broken bone; I love sour candy; I have Meniere’s disease; I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was thirteen years old; my mother had two middle names; I can tap dance and sing, but not at the same time; I once saw a UFO (I was not under the influence either).

A toast to the new year!

So that’s my new year’s bonus blog! Be safe and happy as you work toward your resolutions for 2012.

Happy New Year to all!

I look forward to sharing blog love with you in 2012.

Patricia

 

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So the big turkey feast is behind us. The pilgrims and the pumpkins have gone back into their hiding place in the attic or garage and a new season of holiday mayhem, I mean, magic, is upon us.

So much to do! So much to see! So little time! Even less money! Black Friday! Cyber Monday! Shopping and wrapping and snacking, oh my!

That’s right my friends, it’s December, that frenzied, fantastical time of the year known as Christmas! There’s so much to love about Christmas. Who doesn’t love the corny classic movies, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and The Charlie Brown Christmas.? Or the tear-jerkers that still manage to make us laugh, Miracle on 34th Street and my personal favorite, It’s A Wonderful Life!

It’s a time for egg nog, cranberries, and pumpkin flavored everything. It’s the only time of the year mistletoe is a welcome site and real trees are allowed into the house without the intent of using them in the fireplace. It’s time for traditions, silly hats, ugly sweaters and pajamas that are never to be worn any other time of the year. What’s not to love about Christmas?

My favorite part of the Christmas process, and it is a process that starts even before Halloween these days, is selecting just the right tree and then, putting all of my precious ornaments on it. Selecting the tree is always a team effort at my house. I plough through the glistening snow-covered forest pointing and analyzing while my husband trails along behind with the saw. What? I can’t properly analyze with a saw in my hand! Then I hold the perfect specimen while my husband hunkers down on the wet frozen ground to hack the thing off. When victory is ours, he hauls the tree to the truck while I carry the saw and cheerfully point out any potential pitfalls he might encounter along the way.

Once we get the awesome evergreen home, I hold the door while my husband finagles the twelve foot monster across the railing, around the porch swing and through the opening. You see, still a team effort. Now comes the fun part, he tilts and twists and spins the behemoth conifer whilst I stand back and say, “a little to the left,” “a little to the right.” This still requires a team effort because one person cannot do both things at the same time. Try it.

Once we are victorious with stabilizing the tree, the decorating begins. My husband insists on doing the lights and I happily oblige. After all, someone has to taste the wine to make sure it’s the appropriate vintage for the decorating ceremony. After the lights are aglow, I begin the painstaking process of choosing which spot on the tree is the perfect spot for each individual ornament. Heads up, this process can take hours so much wine is needed. It is also the only time my husband allows Christmas music to be played while he is home. (Oh my gosh, I’ve just realized that I may have married Scrooge.)

But, I digress. The actual point of this post is that I love Christmas and all of the craziness that goes along with it. I am so blessed to live in a country where I can freely enjoy such traditions and that I have a wonderfully accommodating husband who allows me to indulge in my crazy, anal-retentive holiday weirdness. For me, it’s not necessarily about what’s under the tree, but the whole process of finding the right tree and watching it sparkle every night for about thirty days. It’s an annual tradition that shall always be near and dear to my heart.

Tell me what makes Christmas special in your house.

Word of the day: Balisage

Fun fact about me: When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a truck driver when I grew up.

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Hello and welcome to my new adventures in blogging!

So blogging – what is that really? It’s words. And, I love words! I’m a writer and a scrabble player and a lover of cross word puzzles. Words like widget, trapezoid and extrapolate are fun. But others, like phlegm, not so much. And let’s face it, blog isn’t very attractive either.

And don’t you just hate it when you can’t quite find the right word? You can find something close, but not quite right. Sometimes I think there’s entirely too many words to choose from. But as exciting and frustrating as words are, I’m here to tell you to exercise extreme caution when using words. Words will mess you up my friends.

Some words may look right, but aren’t. Let me tell you, that can cause some really embarrassing situations. For instance, placing a new plaque on the auditorium wall is not the same as placing a new plague on the same building. They both look right, but while plaques are nice and relatively harmless, no one really wants a new plague hanging around. Just one tiny little letter changes everything.

And then there’s times when you use the correct letters, but get them in the wrong order. This too can lead to undue embarrassment. Case in point, I once sent a very professional business letter to a client asking her to come in and sing her Last Will and Testament. Now, granted, the singing of the Will might have been wonderously entertaining, but, I’m told it provides no authenticity to the document whatsoever. Apparently, it’s the actual signing of the document that makes it enforceable. Silly mistake, but somewhat awkward for me.

And then there’s those words that will trip you up because they have more than one meaning or they have similar sounds. They might sound right, but in reality, improper useage  changes the entire meaning of a sentence. A misconception is not the same as a preconception but when spoken out loud, they sound the same – sort of. And someone who sees words in reverse order has dyslexia not dyspepsia. Two very different things, and yet they kind of sound the same. Be careful.

And quite the opposite is also true. Some words are actually very much correct, but they just sound wrong. For instance if I were to ask you to remove your small lizard from the hole in my oak wine barrel, that sounds correct. But this is also correct: keep your little skink away from my bunghole. And yet that just sounds – well wrong somehow.

So, as you go forth in the world of poems and prose, business letters and weekly progress reports, use caution and choose carefully, and please remember to proof read before you hit that wonderful enter button, least you too fall victim to the wacky world of words.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you on a regular basis. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and WordPress.com and visit my website www.jansenschmidt.com.

So tell me, what improper word usage has caused you embarrassment? Don’t be bashful, it’s good to get these things off your chest once in a while.

Word of the day: Alacrity (Go look it up, but not right now. Post your comment first, then go.)

Fun fact about me: I have an extra vertebrae in my spine. (Unfortunately this does not give me superpowers, it just make me more susceptible to back problems.)

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