A Birthday Wish for My Country

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As a Birthday Gift, I wish for you:

BBQs, Fireworks and Cherry Pie

Laughter, Love and Blue Skies

Most of all, I wish for you:

Peace and memories of simpler times

Strength and endurance until we can see

What neighbors are meant to truly be

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Beware the Little Rain Clouds in Your Life

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A certain gloomy little donkey from a beloved children’s story (Can’t mention his name or use his image without getting in legal trouble) cannot be cheered. Despite the best efforts of the gang from the Hundred Acre Wood, he persists in being a downer. I love the little donkey. I really do…as a loveable animated character. The world, unfortunately, is full of not-so-cute little rain cloud donkeys. These are best avoided.

We’ve all had this morning: You wake up rested and on time. Your hair cooperates for a change and the clothes you’ve chosen are comfortable. Off you go to work with a positive attitude. Sitting down at your desk, you sip your coffee (perfectly prepared) and get ready for the day.

Then here comes the gloomy donkey. You steel yourself as the office’s little rain cloud moves closer. Maybe you get suckered in and try to exchange pleasantries. The foolish “How are you today?” slips out before you can stop yourself. The little donkey sighs and shrugs his shoulders. “Livin’ the dream. Ho Hum.”

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Let me tell you a secret:The little rain cloud cannot be cheered up, because it likes being the little rain cloud.

Tips for dealing with these gloomy donkeys in your life, before they drag you down in their negative swamp:

  • Walk the other way – Sounds mean right? Better to walk away then have your positive energy sucked into an empty emotional void
  • DO NOT Engage – If the donkey starts braying, just don’t play.
  • Protect Yourself – Negativity takes personal energy. Positive thoughts increase your energy and happiness.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

 

Will You Be There?

Denver Comic Con 2018 takes over LoDo next weekend! Here’s a sneak peek at my schedule:

Friday, June 15th

Join me at Author’s Alley (Booth 4) at 1:00 pm to 1:55 pm. I’ll be signing my Heart of the Warrior seriesbooks and chatting with fans. [Insert Book 2 cover]

Saturday, June 16th

Booking signing at 11:00 am to 11:55 am (Booth 2).

Panel 4:30 pm to 5:20 pm: Real Women. Real Strength. Writing Realistic Female Protagonists (Room 402/403)

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Sunday, June 17th

Panel 10:30 am to 11:10 am: Teen Writers: Overcoming Insecurity and How to Think Up Ideas! (8bit Stage @ Kids’ LAB)

Panel 12:00 pm to 12:50 pm: Writing From the Shadows (Room 406/407)

Panel 2:30 pm to 3:20 pm: Leave Your Party at Home – Political Intrigue in Fiction (Room 402/403)

Panel 4:30pm to 5:20 pm: The Many Faces of Fantasy (Room 402/403)

 

You’ve Come a Long Way Baby, but You Still Have a Ways to Go

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Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to observe the different behaviors between men and women when they are asked about their career goals. Most of the men were confident in their skill sets, made a point to herald their accomplishments and weren’t shy about asking for what they wanted. Many of the women, however, came off as hesitant to crow about their skills and accomplishments. They were unnecessarily polite in expressing their career desires.

 

Ladies:

  • STOP apologizing for going after your goals
  • BLAST your “I accomplished this” trumpet until ears are ringing
  • BE PROUD of your intelligence and skill sets

Gents:

  • COACH the women in your life on the art of showing confidence
  • LISTEN to the women in your life as they express their hopes and dreams
  • REMEMBER society has taught little girls to postpone their goals while fulfilling the needs of others. Help us change that by being an encourager!

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It’s not all doom and gloom. Times are changing. Our younger generations of little girls and little boys have grown up seeing confident and intelligent women accomplish great things. They consider this THEIR NORM. It gives me great hope for the future.

Are You Making Progress a Habit?

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I ran into a writer buddy of mine at a party this weekend. We discussed the hardships of working a demanding career job PLUS kicking out novels each year(ish) PLUS simply being a home owner. Nobody promised living the dream would be easy.

How do we and others like us do it? We CHOOSE to do it. Our creative projects become a priority. We schedule time to work the projects, because they’re important to us. Making progress becomes a priority.

CHOOSE TO:

  • Set aside time each day to work on your creative project. Even 15 minutes a day will help you make progress toward achieving your goals. Make progress a habit
  • Set a deadline for each short-term goal and the ultimate goal of completely finishing your project
  • Visualize what your creative project will look like when you’re done.

DON’T:

  • Beat yourself up if you miss a day or a week of working the creative project. Stuff happens
  • Try to swallow the whole enchilada at once. Bite size pieces of your project are easier to tackle
  • Quit

Stick with it! You can do it! Sending best wishes and encouragement your way!

DCC Fans Assemble!

Denver Comic-Con 2018 is just around the corner! I’m very honored and excited to join the legion of guests, artists and authors in this outstanding convention. If you’re in the Denver Metro area June 15 – 17th, put on your COSplay gear and head on over to Author’s Alley. I’ll be signing my Heart of The Warrior series books.

  

Catch one of the Author Panels to hear discussions by your favorite Colorado Authors. I’ll be participating on some of the panels as well. Schedules of panels and signings won’t be solidified until June(ish), so stay tuned to my website (www.crrichards.com) for updates.

See you there!

Three Things to Avoid When Submitting A Book or Freelance Proposal

Over the years, I’ve scanned through hundreds of document submissions. Some of them completely nailed it. They’re clear, concise and tell me exactly what the guidelines instructed. Others, not so much. These submissions are full of topic specific jargon or unrecognizable acronyms. The submitters have failed to take into consideration not everyone shares their knowledgebase or experience.

It occurred to me this situation is much the same as submitting a novel or a business plan or even a freelance proposal. Is the information you’re providing clear? Are you making the extra effort to briefly explain points or theories most people may not know? It could cost you a book deal or a freelance job.

Are You Showing Me What You Mean or Are You Assuming I Know?

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Avoid Undefined Acronyms – Unless the acronyms are common enough to be known and understood by everyone (Example – FYI or CNN), avoid them in your proposal. Best Practice is to spell out the words and put the acronym in parenthesis the first time they are used in a document. Example – Subject Matter Expert (SME)

Don’t List Unexplained Industry Methodologies or Theories – Say you’re submitting a proposal for technical writing to a small business. Will they understand the intricacies of the Systems/ Software Development Lifecycle? Maybe. Maybe not. Giving a very brief summary of the lifecycle not only helps them understand what you mean, but it also shows them you know what you mean.

Don’t Be Lazy – Try not to be vague about your experience or knowledge. It gives the impression you’re skimming over the information, because you have limited knowledge about the subject. I can’t speak for anyone else, but this is a red flag for me.

Be Clear. Be Brief. Be Considerate. Remember – the person reviewing your proposal may just be a gatekeeper. Only the best submissions move onto the next level.