Reading Challenge


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Reading Challenge

By Nandy Ekle

 

 

I found this challenge on line and got my attention. Let’s all give it a try.

During this year I am challenged to

  1. Read a book I read in school.
  2. Read a book from my childhood.
  3. Read a book published over a hundred years ago.
  4. Read a book published in the last year.
  5. Read a non-fiction book.
  6. Read a book written by a male author.
  7. Read a book written by a female author.
  8. Read a book by someone who isn’t a writer.
  9. Read a book that became a film.
  10. Read a book published in the 20th century.
  11. Read a book set in my hometown.
  12. Read a book with someone’s name in the title.
  13. Read a book with a character with my first name.
  14. Read a book with a number in the title.
  15. Read a book with over 500 pages.
  16. Read a book I can finish in a day.
  17. Read a previously banned book.
  18. Read a book with a one word title.
  19. Read a book translated from another language.
  20. Read a book that will improve a specific area of my life.
  21. Read a book written by someone younger than me.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

 

Freaky Friday


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Freaky Friday

By Nandy Ekle

 

 

I’m in a deep sleep, the first really good night sleep I’ve had in a while. I dreaming I’m sitting on the couch holding a kitten that purrs as I scratch it behind the ear. The kitten climbs up on my shoulder, then screeches in my ear. I jerk awake shaking from the shock of the alarm screeching next to my head. In my startled condition I reach for my cell phone to turn off the alarm before it wakes my husband. My hand brushes against something made of wire and it tumbles off the nightstand into the darkness of space. I hear it thump on the floor somewhere around my bed and realize it was my glasses, without which I am totally blind. Nothing else to do but turn on the light, as if that will help. Ever tried looking for glasses when you can’t see because you don’t have your glasses?

Very carefully I find my spectacles with my eyes moments before my I find them by stepping on them. I head into the bathroom sure that a hot bath and good book will improve the path my day seems to be on. Turning on the water I go to gather my clothes for the day. When I get back to the tub, I step in the water and discover I did not balance the hot and cold correctly and my lovely hot bath is actually a disappointing tepid bath, and my new book is not living up to the beautiful picture on the cover.

I suddenly realize what has happened to me. I have woken to another Freaky Friday.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

 

Reasons to Write


Reasons to Write

By Rory C. Keel

Why do I write? Is it because throngs of fans demand it anticipating every word of my next masterpiece? Is it because I honestly expect to make millions of dollars on a bestseller, or desire to be famous? No.

Over the next few weeks I will share with you a few of the reasons I write.

Reason #1

I write to tell a story. Everyone loves a good story. Children drift off to sleep with their heads cradled gently in downy pillows, and their minds full of colorful images from fairytales. Young adults turn the pages of books filled with adventure, loyalty, and sometimes tragedy. They experience a spectrum of emotions as they learn the meaning of dedication, true love, and even loss. Adults feel alive with the thrill of a great suspense novel. As we grow older, we can gain a sense of who we are, and where we came from by reading of our youthful yesterdays.

For a few brief moments in time, a story affords the reader the opportunity to escape reality. Traveling through time into other dimensions, we can explore the far reaches of the future, or a place in history. A story allows the reader to become someone else, able to triumph over evil, or transform into the bad guy. The words of a story can inspire us to overcome the odds stacked against us, and we can experience the exhilaration of victory.

Everyone has a story–write yours.

Rory C. Keel

           

THE PERFECT TRACTOR BOOK


THE PERFECT TRACTOR BOOK

By Natalie Bright

It started with a tractor book.  After an endless search I thought I had purchased the perfect one, but my five-year-old son informed me the book had flaws.

“A tractor would never park in a garage,” he said.  My description of a giant, garage-like-barn-like-shed did not fly.  I asked his opinion of what might be in the ideal tractor book.  He told me and then suggested, “You should just write it.”

The spark of desire to write something besides work related pieces was flamed by my son. Armed with a purple gel pen and a blue spiral notebook I found myself sitting in a creative writing class taught by university Writer-in-Residence and New York Times bestselling author, Jodi Thomas. Her comment on the first night of class shocked me to the core. “You are all writers, or you wouldn’t be here,” she said.

A writer!  Me? Personnel policies, ad copy, business correspondence and scrapbook journaling doesn’t make a person a writer, or maybe it does.

That six week, intensive course changed my life, as have all of the writer’s conferences I’ve attended since.  And Jodi’s one piece of advice on the last night of her class still remains; “Always write from the heart.”

Beginning with a search for the perfect book for my son and ending with a passion to learn everything I can about the craft of writing, I realized this journey has just begun.

All the best to you on your writing journey, and thanks for following us on WordsmithSix!

Natalie Bright

Homework


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Homework

By Nandy Ekle

The time has come to assign homework.

Here’s the scenario. You’re walking through a bookstore. The hunger for a new story, the smell of new ink, the need to feel new paper is burning in your eyes. You must have a new book.

Standing at the end of the aisle you see hundreds of colorful tomes on the shelves, but they aren’t just waiting to be chosen. They are waving and whistling, competing for your attention.

You saunter down that aisle and hear several books throwing out come-on lines, complimenting you, hawking their words, begging you to take them home.

So, your assignment:  What do they say? How do they seduce you? Leave a comment at the bottom of this blog and tell me what a book says that makes you spend your money and take them to your home. Are they romantic like a lover? Are they whiney like a small child? Or do they threaten you like a scary villain?

Feel free to research this assignment by actually going to a bookstore and walking through it. Just be sure and post your discoveries in the comment section below.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

MAKING RETAIL CONNECTIONS


Making Retail Connections

By Natalie Bright

If you’ve self-published a book, it’s up to you to establish retail connections.

An author once told me that he’d only intended to write the book, and never wanted to be a book salesman. Now he’s traveling around with a car full of books. Welcome to the reality of today’s publishing world.  How are people going to read your book, if they don’t know it exists?

As the CEO of YOU, guess who is in charge of book promotion?

Make the Connection

While the internet offers a multitude of book promotion opportunities, for this particular post, I want to talk specifically about working with retail outlets and how to approach owners or managers.

On cold calls, approach them in a friendly, cooperative manner, introduce yourself and ask if they’d like to see your book. Most bookstore owners are always interested in talking to authors. Ask them if it’s a subject their customers might like. Information flyers and postcards work as well. When I receive inquiries in regards to my middle grade book, OIL PEOPLE, I offer to leave the store manager a preview copy. If it’s an inquiry by phone or email, I always offer to mail a preview copy. Be sure to include promo copies in your budget.

Store Owners Rule

Retail stores have to realize at least a 50% to 60% markup in the items they sell. They have a store front to operate which includes payroll, building utilities, and inventory expense.

DO NOT tell the storeowner the retail price. It’s their store, they set the price. Business owners are independent and territorial. If you tell them how to run their business, you’ll be out the door in a flash. Quote them the price you need, and you can suggest a retail price but ultimately the cost to customers is the store owners decision.

Setting the Price

If you self-publish, you have to leave a little wiggle room when setting your price. I hear this complaint all of the time and it is confusing to self-published writers. Authors quote the price printed on their book or the over-inflated price they paid for printing, expecting that’s the price they are due. Shop around and find the best possible printing deal in order to keep your price per book as low as possible. Hopefully, you’ll have room to make a few bucks, and the store comes out ahead as well.

Retail owners are in business to make a profit. If business owners’ efforts aren’t going to generate dollars to pay for the cost of staying open, it’s not worth having your book take up valuable shelf space.

The key, I think, is being able to offer a low price to retail outlets and being able to negotiate a price without being too pushy.

Consider ALL Possibilities

Major chain bookstores may not be an option to self-published authors for many reasons which are beyond your control. Are there specialty shops in your area? What about possible connections through family and friends?

Think about cross-selling. If you have a book of poetry, why not approach a lingerie shop? If you have a children’s book about horses, drop by a saddle and tack store or the local feed store. Stop stressing over things you can’t control and consider all of the possibilities, and keep writing!

Natalie Bright

Birthday Feast


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Birthday Feast

By Nandy Ekle

At my age a birthday is really more dreaded than anticipated. Women my age tend to symbolically stop having birthdays and do what they can to keep any shred of youth they are able to keep. But most women my age don’t have the experience I had theis week.

Like a lot of women my age, dieting is a daily battle. I have recently been successful on a great plan, but in the past few months, my will power has melted. One thing that has not ben much help in this area is the wonderful, wacky and insanely fantastic group I work with. There are twelve of us, if you count the manager (and let me emphasize, she most definitely does count). So that’s an average of one birthday every month. The custom is that the person whose birthday was last orchestrates the celebration for the next person’s birthday. And the rule of thumb has always been a themed food spread, birthday honoree’s choice.

So a very unique and special feast took place this week. They al know about my struggles with The Diet, and they all know my love for stories. So the feast we had this week was a feast of words. Each and every person on our “team” chose a passage from their favorite book, and then took turns coming to my desk to read these jewels.

That evening I came home and started reading the new book my husband gave me.

When your appetite for words is low, plan a pot luck word spread.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.


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POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

 

Birthday Feast

By Nandy Ekle

 

 At my age a birthday is really more dreaded than anticipated. Women my age tend to symbolically stop having birthdays and do what they can to keep any shred of youth they are able to keep. But most women my age don’t have the experience I had theis week.

Like a lot of women my age, dieting is a daily battle. I have recently been successful on a great plan, but in the past few months, my will power has melted. One thing that has not ben much help in this area is the wonderful, wacky and insanely fantastic group I work with. There are twelve of us, if you count the manager (and let me emphasize, she most definitely does count). So that’s an average of one birthday every month. The custom is that the person whose birthday was last orchestrates the celebration for the next person’s birthday. And the rule of thumb has always been a themed food spread, birthday honoree’s choice.

So a very unique and special feast took place this week. They al know about my struggles with The Diet, and they all know my love for stories. So the feast we had this week was a feast of words. Each and every person on our “team” chose a passage from their favorite book, and then took turns coming to my desk to read these jewels.

That evening I came home and started reading the new book my husband gave me.

When your appetite for words is low, plan a pot luck word spread.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Birthday Feast


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

 

Birthday Feast

By Nandy Ekle

 

At my age a birthday is really more dreaded than anticipated. Women my age tend to symbolically stop having birthdays and do what they can to keep any shred of youth they are able to keep. But most women my age don’t have the experience I had theis week.

Like a lot of women my age, dieting is a daily battle. I have recently been successful on a great plan, but in the past few months, my will power has melted. One thing that has not ben much help in this area is the wonderful, wacky and insanely fantastic group I work with. There are twelve of us, if you count the manager (and let me emphasize, she most definitely does count). So that’s an average of one birthday every month. The custom is that the person whose birthday was last orchestrates the celebration for the next person’s birthday. And the rule of thumb has always been a themed food spread, birthday honoree’s choice.

So a very unique and special feast took place this week. They al know about my struggles with The Diet, and they all know my love for stories. So the feast we had this week was a feast of words. Each and every person on our “team” chose a passage from their favorite book, and then took turns coming to my desk to read these jewels.

That evening I came home and started reading the new book my husband gave me.

When your appetite for words is low, plan a pot luck word spread.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Filet Mignon


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Filet Mignon 

By Nandy Ekle

In the bible Jesus tells a story about a rich man who fares sumptuously every day.

Several years ago my husband and I bought a side of beef to feed our children and any visitors who happened to grace our home. Our beef came in the form of roasts, hamburger meat and steaks. We ate steak and ate steak and ate steak until I finally thought if I ate one more bite of steak I would be sick. That’s when I thought about the story from the bible about the rich man who fared sumptuously.

The thought of the bible story has come back to me recently because of my reading list. My favorite author has numerous books published, a lot of which I have read, some of which I have not. The ones I’ve read instantly become my some of my favorite stories of all time. Suddenly it seems that every book I have, audio, virtual or paper, is by him, and I love them all. In fact he has two new books coming out this year that make me feel like a starving person with a blank check walking into a restaurant.

But the other day I looked at my stack of books waiting to be read and thought, “I’m tired of steak. I need different flavor.” So I’ve been shopping for new authors. This is sometimes a difficult thing to do, but can turn up some surprising finds.

Once I discovered a book written by a British author. It was her first novel and was so amazing that it pole-vaulted to the top of my favorites list. To this day, I don’t think she has another book out, but if she did, I would be first in line for it.

Writers write, but writers also read. And sometimes what we read inspires what we write. Add some variety to your reading diet and new ideas and styles will pop up all around you.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.