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)

 

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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!

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.

You Attract What You Seek

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I woke up this morning to a lovely twitter post from the Dalai Lama. He wrote about the importance of compassion and opening our hearts in order to understand others. Then I ran across a blog post about Happy People who create their own internal Happiness. Both messages were a nice surprise from an encouraging Universe. I’ve been actively seeking positive change for my life.

I attracted what I am seeking.

There is a flip side to this, however. Like attracts like. If you are a miserable person seeking kindred spirits who will hold you down in the muck, then that is exactly what you’ll get. We’ve all been through tough times. Not everyone is super positive all the time (if they are, then they’re faking it or on happy pills). Consider how long you want to stay in the Pit of Misery. The more time spent in that dark hole, the harder it is to climb out. I know. I’ve been trapped there a time or two.

© Krasimira Nevenova – Stock.Adobe.Como.

Seek out those small moments of Joy. Spend time with the folks who encourage you. Our time on the planet is short. We have important and positive things to accomplish. Don’t waste time in the pit. Get out there and make a positive difference in your world.

Sending positive thoughts and encouragement your way!

Risky Business: Breaking Away from The Trends

Conventional wisdom tells us to “write for the market” or “chase the trends of films.” Sure. You can do that if you’d like. Everybody’s gotta eat, right? Market trends can be safer than making your own trail through the creative wilderness. But what about THE creative project? You know the one I mean. It churns and burns deep in your soul. The process of creation is the only way to silence its voice.

Beware! Resist the critical voices in your head. They want you to take that unique creative project and force it into a safe market trend.

@denisismagilov – Stock.Adobe.Com

DON’T:

Publish a forgettable book you hated writing.

Ignore your passion and make that shallow film about nothing.

Give Up!

DO:

Chase your passion and risk creating the unique.

Study unique art and learn. Think: the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowlings or The Producers by Mel Brooks. Both were huge risks that paid off.

Your unique art is special, but not everyone will see its potential. It’s at this point you must utilize an entrepreneurial mindset. Put on that creative hat and look for ways to introduce your art to a new audience. Find a good fit and make friends – Maybe you spent a year photographing ducks on the lake by your house. You created a coffee table photography book highlighting your best duck photos. Would you try to sell the book at a coin show? No. Find people with common interests who would love to buy your books. Introduce them to your work by displaying it at a show or join a social media site with people who love ducks.

Final Thought:

Someone is waiting to be inspired or entertained by your unique creative project. Have faith and don’t give up!

Looking Back While Springing Forward

Transitions are exciting. Wrapping up a successful creative project and moving forward with something new. Is there any better feeling? It even beats the “I’m finished” rush.

@Alisa – Stock.Adobe.Com

I’m at this stage in my “Heart of the Warrior” book series. The Obsidian Gates (Book Two) is out in the world. I’ve spent the last few months doing book signings, podcasts, guest blogs and radio shows to celebrate my latest book baby. Now I’m ready to focus on the next project – Book Three!  Look for it in 2019.

In this season of Shamrocks and Blarney Stones, I’m sending you Irish Blessings for your new creative projects. Keep Calm and Create On!

The Trials and Tribulations of a Change Agent

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Change happens. It’s the nature of all things. Sometimes change is quick and unexpected. Other times it is agonizingly long in coming. Drag your feet to resist the change, it will be stressful. You might even experience a bit of pain. Embrace the change with acceptance and perhaps a bit of excitement – things will go easier.

I’m a Change Agent. My job, or calling if you will, is helping others to adapt, plan and take steps toward positive change. It can be difficult for individuals to see a path out of their rut. They feel stuck. They know they need a change, but don’t know how to climb out of their situation. That’s where I come in. I, and other folks like me, can see a path to positive growth and happiness. Then we help you see it too.

What happens when a Change Agent gets stuck in a muddy rut? Yep. My clothes are covered in the stuff! Here are a few things I’m doing to climb out of the mud and advance to my next opportunity:

Read a Classic againWho Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, M.D.

Get Inspired – Read or watch pieces about innovators and other inspiring people who have achieved the goals you dream about

Dream – Listen to yourself. What do you want? What don’t you want?

Take Action – Make a plan and see it through

I’ve been a mentor for ten plus years. 98% of my mentees have gone on to be successful in their business goals. The other 2% refused to either work hard for their dream or couldn’t conquer their fear of change. Moving out of a negative, but comfortable situation can be scary. Find a good mentor or coach to help you on your path. I guarantee happiness is worth the hard work!