Are You Sharing Your Truth?

Writers are given a sacred trust to share the truths we are given. Do we decide what those truths are? Nope. And sometimes it gets very uncomfortable putting our sacred trust out there. Not everyone wants to hear the truth.

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I’ll share one of my ultimate truths with you now: Words have power. They are neither good nor evil. Words are tools in the hand of the person who chooses to use them.  Intent is everything. This is why writers must be careful about how they use their words. Are you sending out messages that inspire and encourage? Or are you spreading falsehoods and hatred?

Words are ideas. They have the power to change lives. Use them wisely.

In this special season, I want to share a quote (and modernize it a bit to fit our world today)

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Peace on Earth. Good will toward ALL men, women, children, animals and most especially – our home, Earth.

From me and mine to you and yours,

Best Wishes for Peace, Hope and Joy

C.R. Richards

 

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The Healing Powers of Peppermint and Other Holiday Treats

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If your life is anything like mine, everybody is hounding you to “get something done for me” before the holiday break. Then there is the unfinished gift shopping. Stress, stress, stress and more stress.

“Hold it! Enough. Celebrate the holidays rather than dread them.”

Peppermint – Elixir of the Gods

You think I’m kidding, don’t you? Peppermint has amazing healing properties. It’s an anti-inflammatory, invigorates and can help with digestion. I use peppermint oil along with lemon oil to refresh my house in winter.

While oils are well and good, nothing gives you that peppermint pep like actually digesting peppermint. For a mood boost, try:

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Candy Canes and other Hard Candies

Peppermint Brownies (I use peppermint extract. If you like using peppermint oil, please make sure it is the edible kind!)

 

 

 

Not everyone is into Mint. Here are some other options to help you kindle that holiday cheer:

Our old friend – Baileys

Sugar cookies

Fruit Cake (Not my thing)

Champagne

Pick your holiday cheer. Savor it and forget the stressful stuff. Focus instead on the good things in your life. These are the things you’ll carry into the new year.

Only A Few Days Left To Enter!

A Tale of Two Blogs

Ah, Social Media. That beast we love to hate. It sucks away our time with cat videos and political rants. Despite our misgivings, we post, share and blog. Why? If you’re an Indie author, you pray those posts lead to new readers and more sales. Do all those countless posts and shares really work? It depends.

Let’s take a closer look at blogging. Conventional wisdom suggests we blog in order to build our platform.  We set up our fancy blog sites on WordPress or some other provider we like. Publishing our first post gives us a little thrill. Then the readers start swarming the site, devouring each and every word. Yeah right. Reality: We post our first, second, third…tenth post to a trickle of views.

By the show of virtual hands – how many of us dropped from blogging once a day/week to maybe every four months or so? Inconsistent blogging is a waste of time. You’re better off deleting the site and focusing on a venue you enjoy.

I write two blogs. This one (Deep Thoughts and Junk or DTJ) and a corporate blog called, “Bright Spots.” One is very successful and one is doin’ okay.

Let’s look at DTJ first: I’ll be totally honest. I started this blog, because a marketing book told me I should. The first few months were focused on information about my books. While my friends and family may have tolerated boring introspections into my writing life, not many others did. Perplexed, I gave up on conventional wisdom and started blogging about everything under the sun. I came to enjoy blogging and have managed to post once a week for the past few years.

Now to the corporate blog: I manage a social collaboration platform for my organization. My team consists of marketers, communications folks, Techies and project/ community managers. These talented folks are experts in social media and collaboration. They know the ins and outs of pulling readers to sites. The success of my monthly blog, Bright Spots, came as a bit of a surprise to all of us. Each time I post this interview format blog, it gets an impressive amount of views, likes and engaging comments.

What’s the difference? I don’t have the magic answer to social media or blog success, but here is what I’ve observed:

Know your audience:

Bright Spots is a corporate blog. I share a common experience and interest with my readers. My topics are focused on our commonalities

DTJ’s most viewed posts focus on Indie Publishing stats and advice.  My “author’s wanderings about the world” don’t do as well.

Know the mission of your blog (in one sentence):

Bright Spots – “Highlighting new and creative innovations within the organization to promote collaboration and improve employee engagement.”

DTJ – “Provide encouragement and insight designed to help Indies become successful.”

How about you? Why do you blog? What is your blog’s mission?

Do You Know Your A-wimoweh?

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The Lion Ring, symbol of the god-like Jalora’s covenant with the King of Valdeon, is lost when its bearer mysteriously disappears. Valdeon grows closer to civil war as the Jalora’s protective power fades from the land.

Here is Week #1’s Quiz Question: We all know the first verse of The Tokens “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” song:

In the jungle

The mighty jungle

The Lion sleeps tonight

In the jungle

The quiet jungle

The lion sleeps tonight

A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh…

What are the first six words of the next verse (after all the A-wimowehs)?

Enter your answer in the blog comments. The first person to answer correctly wins a free ecopy of The Lords of Valdeon.

Reminder: You must answer the question in the DTJ Blog Comments Section (not on Twitter or FB). Winners will be provided with a coupon for the book. Downloading from Smashwords is easy: Select which format you want (MOBI for Kindle, pdf, etc.) enter the coupon when you check out and follow the instructions for downloading to your device.

Have You Chosen Your 2016 Mantra?

I released Pariah in September of 2014 to positive reviews. Following the current trends of “This is what the crowd is reading now,” and “You should market this way,” I put it out there. The book still didn’t stir as much interest as my little one off Horror short, Lost Man’s Parish.

What did I learn? Writing Lost Man’s Parish was organic. Nothing was forced or stressful. It was just fun to write. And art is supposed to be organic and fun!

Now don’t get me wrong. I love Pariah. It’s a great story. However, I had another organic book series waiting in the queue. Is it part of a popular trend? No. Am I expecting it to be a grand commercial success? I can honestly say it doesn’t matter. There are six books in the series. The first arrives next week and I’ve already started work on book two. I’m not going to stop until the final “The End” on the last book. Why? Love. I’m in a committed relationship with these characters. Which brings me to my 2016 Mantra:

My art my way.

No one can predict the future with 100% accuracy, so you may as well have fun doing what you love. Having chanted my mantra, I’m excited to announce the first book in that long simmering organic book series.

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Buy the print copy or pre-order the ebook.

Join me on The Lords of Valdeon Virtual Book Tour

You May Have Hidden Gems In The Old Recipe Box

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If you were in the public school system back in the 1970s (Dang. Let that sink in!), I’m fairly certain you feasted on tasty desserts during school lunch. Butterfingers were a particular favorite of mine. Cookie-like cake smothered with peanut butter and then topped with yummy milk chocolate frosting. Ring a bell?

My neighbor, Sandra, was a lunch lady at either my elementary school or my junior high school. I honestly can’t remember. I do remember the woman was one of the best cooks I’ve ever seen. And generous. She used to make Butterfingers at home and would share with the neighborhood kids that scratched at her front door (I was always first in line).

Sandra has passed and I’ve long since moved away from the old neighborhood. I hadn’t thought about her in years until I stumbled upon an old recipe box I had tucked away in my cupboard. Inside I found a piece of my childhood. It was the Butterfingers recipe she’d given me when I was in high school! They may not make this dessert anymore due to peanut allergies and improved nutritious menus (Yes – I support the change, but every now and then you need a little something bad for you!). In the spirit of the over indulgent holidays, I want to share this recipe with you.

Butterfingers

Note: [Due to food allergies and sensitivities, I’m on a Gluten Free and Dairy Free diet. I know some of you are as well, so I’m putting the GF ingredients in brackets next to the original ingredients.]

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup margarine [plant/ soy based butter]

2 eggs

1 teas vanilla [GF vanilla power]

2 teas baking soda

1 teas salt

2 cups flour [1 cup GF All Purpose Flour, 1 cup Brown Rice Flour]

2 cups rolled oats [GF rolled oats. The Red Mill is good]

1 cup peanut butter [GF peanut butter doesn’t spread as well, so I had to use 2 cups]

Chocolate Frosting

Mix all ingredients – except the peanut butter and chocolate frosting – together. Spread the mix onto a cookie sheet or a tin sheet cake pan. Press it down with your hands until it’s even. Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the cake should come away nearly clean. I like my Butterfingers gooey, so I cut back a few minutes. Spread the peanut butter on a completely cooled cake. Then top with your favorite chocolate frosting recipe or store bought brand.

Enjoy this little piece of childhood 🙂

Don’t forget! There’s still time to enter The Lords of Valdeon Goodreads Book Giveaway

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