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I wrote WHEN NIGHT COMES, A Christmas Carol Revisited while living in San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico. I was running my bookstore with my husband and had no thought to writing another novel. I had already written LION TAMER, my first sci-fi novel and was exhausted and just wanted to run the store and read! Nevertheless, one day, while breakfasting at my favorite restaurant, I got into a conversation with the owner who claimed that I should keep writing, and that my new book should be about all the dead authors of the best books in the bookstore. He grew very excited with his idea and went on to say that the authors' ghosts should gather at night and trade stories about writing and their books and their ideas about the world, past and present! I told him he was crazy and that was the end of it. Or so I thought.
Several nights later I woke up in the wee hours with a new book in my head, damn it! No rest, no blissful, relaxed reading lifestyle for me! Another novel. It appeared fully formed like Athena, and fully armed. I was not allowed to resist. I was captured, captivated and already writing the first lines in my head. It included my friend's dead authors but not in the way he thought. I would insert them into a sci-fi version of Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL; they would be the spirits of Christmas past, present and future. The authors would try to save the soul, not of an old miser, but an old bookstore owner who just wasn't making ends meet in a time when people were reading less and less. I would change Ebenezer to Esmeralda, but I would keep the social justice issues Dickens was so famous for. This time with the issues of the homeless and high tech addiction and isolation. Sooo...Tiny Tim became street children who love stories about...themselves! Orphans. And then...how to connect them to the main story...? They must, I finally figured out, like so many homeless, hang out in the warm bookstore...and read! And fall in love, not only with stories about orphans like themselves, but also the lovable bookstore owner herself. So, of course, they try to save her when she gets too depressed by the modern nonreading world and considers suicide, something with which they are all too familiar.
So I started going on my breaks to the nearest, quietest cafe I could find and pounded out the story in a few months. Edited it for more than a year. Searched for a publisher for another year. And, finding Breaking Rules Publishing, finally found this last orphan a home.
The link to Kit's book has been placed below.
A whistle far off. Shadows in your peripheral disturbing your concentration, making the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. The rush of adrenaline after a brutal five minute bout of fisticuffs. The metallic saline taste of your own blood; someone else’s—the smell. The cat and mouse game between a wily woman and a confident man. Primal desires mashing into the civility of one’s practiced sophistication erupts with intrigue at the sight of danger and observance of power. The cold black hole at the end of the barrel of the gun. A kiss from a familiar stranger. Taboo into acceptance. The transformation of dimwit to clever con.
For me writing is everything I’ve mentioned and the countless aspects I have yet to conceive. I’ve heard people say that writers often speak the way they write. If that’s the case I must be a blonde haired blue-eyed mafioso from Puerto Rico with sore lactating nipples a degree in psychology suffering from a recent stroke teaching history at Oxford running guns by night in Los Angeles before taking my kids to Catholic school in Chicago and sleeping with the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders after a private flight to St.Croix. In other words; I’m not Puerto Rican and I don’t have blue eyes. I enjoy a good story; thus, I enjoy writing one.
I have published a few short stories, a novella, and a novel. I like to think that I’m genre blind, but truth is I love a good caper. Writer’s like Elmore Leonard and Walter Mosley do it for me. Elmore Leonard brings a lot of comedy and real-life foolishness to many of his criminals and Mosley is a wordsmith from another planet. His sentences are put together like a symphony orchestra, bringing you up, and then down intensifying at the right moments. Koontz can do that with atmosphere.
Horror is a genre that I can really walk into my focus and dwell. When I went about writing, When Cranes Feast I tried to think of something that was authentically frightening to me. I’ve written about a succubus, demons, creatures, psychotic delusions, but I couldn’t think of anything more horrible than the inner darkness of man. Clarence Bodine is the average guy. He doesn’t draw attention to himself. He isn’t loud and obnoxious. He had a family, and he happened to be a rapist and kidnapper and murderer. In the story Bodine dresses up like a Jehova Witness with the white shirt and black neck tie passing out flyers in a parking lot and snatches Natalie Guzman, and the cruelty he bestows goes from there.
I always thought grown men on ten speeds with short sleeve white shirts and black slacks with a backpack, while trying to convince you about God’s word were creepy to me as a kid, and just a bit less as an adult. So, I ran with it. I find horror allows me to deal with tedium differently. The subtleties in horror or any genre really can seem tedious to a reader who isn’t used to reading suspense, or mysteries, and horror to me encapsulates those to aspects. The trick is trigger the readers curiosity without them realizing. The character, Andy Barber in William Landy’s Defending Jacob was blinded by the love of his son when it was obvious his son was a murderer, but the reader becomes blinded, because of the compassion we have for Andy Barber. A good book is like a literary Russian Dollhouse. The way a story is told will determine what activates the story we imagine. This is the majesty of horror. The illumination. We witness it every day and don’t realize until we are told what we are witnessing.
You can find Jovan's book on the BRP website as well as Amazon and Kindle - the link is below.
Alatishe is proactive about promoting the courses of a just society. The author represents the lives of the poor "those who live on less than a dollar a day" and he represents the woman who lost her child because she couldn't afford ten dollar medicine". He speaks for those whose stories do not make the news.
With Alatishe's, hands fall upon hands and our the center begins to wax even stronger and communities across the world begins to propel the values of human dignity.
"Its obvious he is set to change the world or try to change it, using the secret powers of poetry"
He is ready to join the architects and builders who are on a mission to improve the state of our world by building the roads and bridges that connects us all.
He 'Alatishe' wishes to embody integrity and he is aware of how delicate the balances of civilization are.
In the verses of Alatishe's, we rediscover the heritage of knowledge and progress. Alatishe's Road tells us to get out of the babel of selfishness, violence, discrimination, fear, it is necessary to be touched and brought together by the smile that Alatishe spreads across the face of his people.
Alatishe's love and compassion births the book of history 'We Need a Road on this Broken Heart'. The book touches the depth of all of us human beings in the form of poetry in its undiluted form, the best work written by the Poet.
Alatishe's work is an Oracle that strikes the weak foundations of our societies. It wakes us up to the unpleasant realities of our time and it presents the template on which it is possible to interpret the lines of the future.
Writing Your Book
Apart from the basics: grammar rules, punctuation, spelling and sentence construction, there are no rules for writing a book. If someone tells you there are, ignore them. Perhaps you’ve heard of the author voice. This is unique to each individual author. Don’t worry if you make mistakes, your editor (me, for example – cue best professional smile) will help you sort them out. The most important thing from your point of view as an author is that nothing stifles your voice. Allow your writing to flow.
The following list will give you a few hints, especially if you’re writing fiction, but I want to stress they are guidelines, not rules. Some are things I’ve learnt from writing my own novel, others come from my experiences as a copy-editor.
Your editor will point out and/or correct all of the above, but the tidier your manuscript is when you send it off for editing the quicker and cheaper the process will be. Hey, talking ourselves out of work here! Moving swiftly on… Good luck with your writing, and we wish you every success.
What are the most important marketing priorities for authors right now?
As an author living in the environment of COVID-19, there are plenty of marketing activities that are getting put on hold. But there are many things you can focus on to promote your books, yourself, and your author platform.
I mean this in the most inclusive use of the word “digital.” Authors need to take the time to learn and understand the world of new media. (Social Media) Yes, it’s going to take some time but you’ll be thankful later.
And to be blunt - eBooks are on the rise again. Any new manuscripts should always be converted to digital formats. Take a look at your backlist and make sure you turn all of your printed books into eBooks.
2021 Marketing Tasks –
Build or update your blog or website. These remain some of the most powerful tools for an author to anchor their platform and brand. The goal of building your author platform is to gain visibility and build relationships with your audience. Prioritize being as helpful as you possibly can while providing value to your readers and potential customers.
Learn and understand the different social media networks. Don’t just dabble in Twitter or Instagram. Learn how seasoned book professional are using these platforms to find new readers and follow their lead. There are loads of articles, tutorials, and videos around the Internet to get you started.
Explore alternative worlds. Have you ever visited Wattpad? How about Reddit? Both are breeding grounds for millions of would-be and already-published authors. These sites and others are great places to begin sharing in conversations and excerpting your book to gather more of this reader audience.
Expand your current content. It’s not a stretch to say that content is what makes the world go round today. Put another way, content is nothing more than an information product in our modern society. This product can achieve an untold number of goals, from providing consumers with the information they need and desire to solving problems and offering expert advice. Whether you have a book or a blog, you are the proud owner of a treasure trove of content. Now is the time for you to think of ways you can repurpose this valuable content.
Here are just a few examples:
• Home-study courses
• Special reports or videos
• Coaching and consulting services
Create new content. It might be next month or not until next year, but I’m sure of one thing: This crisis will end. Normalcy—or some facsimile—will return. People will again be looking for that new favorite author to read on their beach vacation.
While we wait for happier days, here’s what I encourage every author to do: use your down-time to be productive. The more books you have to sell, the more money you can make.
Consider how excited you’ll feel in 2021 if you have multiple books to offer readers. If you can’t sell books now, position yourself to sell books as soon as the crisis is over. That means getting to work on your next manuscript.
Build your email list. I’ve said it over and over again: The best marketing tool available to any author is a growing email list. A large email list enables you to control your book sales, generate more pre-orders, create wider word of mouth, and secure more Amazon reviews.
Is your email list more important than a social media following? Heck, yes! It’s been said that 25 “fans” or “favorites” aren’t worth as much as one bona fide email name. Use this downtime to make sure you have the fundamentals of a solid email program.
• Set up an account with a reliable email marketing service. I’ve heard authors recommend Constant Contact, MailChimp, MailerLite, and ConvertKit. Each one offers affordable programs for authors. They also have extensive tutorials and videos to teach you the basics of email marketing.
• Put prominent “sign up” links to join your list on anything and everything, from your author website or blog to your social media accounts, all the way down to your email signature.
• Create a dedicated landing page on your website with an opt-in form and compelling reasons to join your community. As interested readers sign up, your work is just beginning. Now, you’ll need to:
• Create “auto-response” emails that deploy to new sign-ups and “Welcome” emails to new clients.
• Mail often. Once a week is about right at the start.
• Consider how each of your weekly emails is going to add value to your recipients’ day. That means mixing a blend of promotional or launch information along with community-building content that can reveal mutual interests, build trust, grow your influence, and answer your readers’ questions. Growing your list is a never-ending exercise. One of the best ways to add names is to offer incentives on your author website that readers can’t resist. For example, if you’re a novelist, write a prequel, novella, or short story that you can give away as free content to entice more email subscribers. If you write nonfiction, offer an exclusive eBook, special report, video tutorial, or audio post.
Focus on your craft. Maybe this is a perfect time to put down the salesperson hat altogether and devote yourself to becoming a better writer. While book promotion and marketing is a critical task for all published authors, it’s not more important than writing great books.
And you thought that this was going to be easy. It's not - you have to work on it and continue to improve and grow. I wish you all the best.
Now – go – do your thing and make it work for you!
Mystical Knight of Light A collection of poems by T.M. Kolt
When Christopher first announced Breaking Rules was looking for guest bloggers, I thought what a great way to promote my brother’s book of poems. I was excited to share his words and thoughts and of course, his first published book, then reality quickly set in. What would I say? I didn’t write the poems. I have no idea what he was thinking or what gave him inspiration to write. How would I explain who Tony was without sounding biased or judgy? Am I really the right person to share his story? Afterall, Tony and I had very different writing styles. My writing is educational in nature and comes from research and compiling facts for articles about animals and nature, boring I know. His writing, be it his poems, philosophical works or his past lives stories were fueled by his emotions, his curiosity, and his desire to learn and to teach others.
I decided to do what he would, write from my heart, tell you a little bit of his story and share who I knew him to be and what I learned about him through this experience of compiling his poems and working with Breaking Rules.
So where do I start, how about from the end? Tony left this earthly realm on December 23, 2018. It was a shock, but it shouldn't have been. He became ill in late 2014. After being misdiagnosed by one doctor and the local emergency room and suffering for several months, he sought another opinion. He received a phone call from his new doctor In July of 2015 informing him that he had colorectal cancer and a tumor that would need to be removed. Yes, he was given this news over the phone while at work. He would later write that was the day his world changed. He said, "there was a peaceful calm that this was my fate, but also the tears of a child not wanting it to be his destiny!"
To be honest his troubles started years earlier. In 2010, while living in Kansas he was falsely accused of a crime that he did not commit. He sat in jail for two years awaiting a speedy trial before he was exonerated and found innocent. He lost everything except the clothes he had on. All of this led to a ton of stress that very well could have caused his illness. Fast forward a few years with a failed surgery, (the tumor was inoperable) a full round of chemo, a full round of radiation and a second attempt at chemo when he decided to stop all treatment. He was determined to heal his body or evolve.
Why share this with you? Because it was during these times that he wrote the most. While in jail he wrote for countless hours on yellow legal tablets. He wrote about how it felt to be there where he didn't belong, about how desperate he was to get on with his life and on some days, how he thought the truth would never be told and it was his fate to never be free again. He wrote about religion and philosophy. Tony had a passion for learning, reading everything on the subject that he could get his hands on. He studied meditation and started writing about his past life experiences and started to think of his time as a sabbatical. Every week he would send packets of his writing to myself and our mother. It wasn't until he was back home in Florida and diagnosed with the C word that he started writing his poetry.
He had an unusual method of saving his poems by sending them to himself in email. When he wanted to add or change something there would be a new email. Not only his poems but he also wrote of his feelings and frustrations and letters to others but never sent. You can only imagine what it was like for my sister, our cousin and myself combing through hundreds of emails to find the poems that were included in his book. During this time of dealing with side effects of the “poison” cure, when he had so much time on his hands, he took his handwritten pages and typed them out on word documents. To make matters worse, our mother was also battling her own fight with the same cancer. He told me once that he felt he got sick so he could help guide her through her struggles and hopefully make it easier for her. Unfortunately, she lost her battle only a couple months before Tony did. I like to think she was waiting for him on the other side.
My brother was never what you would call mainstream. He would describe himself as the lone wolf type and he seemed to enjoy that lifestyle. Besides learning and teaching, living a life full of adventure was important to him. It started when he left home at 17 to join a traveling carnival and continued through most of his life. This lifestyle though can be lonely when you leave family and friends behind. Sadly, we didn’t realize how alone he truly felt until reading through his writings.
When he finally decided enough was enough, no more treatments, he put his faith in his mind’s ability to help him heal along with natural homeopathic methods. He had us convinced he could do it. For a time, he did well but eventually his body started to betray him. At that time, he came to stay at our farm sanctuary. He had a natural connection to the animals and the outdoors. It was nice that he had that short time here with them.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for his body to break down further from the affects of the radiation treatments. A trip to the hospital resulted in him being told he had three days at most to live and was sent to a hospice house. Three weeks into his hospice stay they decided he was not going to die and would need daily care. Even though he had hospice care while on the farm they couldn’t come every day, he was unable to stand on his own and needed daily wound care. At 51 years old he would spend the last four months of his life living in a nursing home. Again, he had us convinced he wasn’t done yet. He worked daily with a therapist and was able to not only stand but to walk. He would push his wheelchair up and down the halls.
His determination was never more evident, he would heal or evolve to his next life. The time at the nursing home became a time for him to connect with family and the healing would be of old wounds not body. It was also a place where his loneliness and depression would evolve into forgiveness and being thankful. His poems too reflect these changes. His last writing a week before he passed talked of seeing himself standing beneath a tree, peaceful and healthy.
As a final gift to the animals or “puppies” as he called them, he donated his works to our sanctuary. Getting his poems into print not only would fulfill a dream for him, and keep the promise I made, it would also give people insight as to what he was feeling during his journey.
To purchase Mystical Knight Of Light please use the link below.
Turning the Page on Dyslexia by Jack Lench
I look back on my formative school years with unease and sadness.
I hated English lessons at school. The English teacher didn't like me either. He said that I never checked my work for spelling and grammar mistakes so he called me 'lazy' and a 'dullard' (Suffolk for 'dim-witted'). Strangely, whenever I reviewed my essays, I couldn't spot any errors. The spelling looked fine to my eyes. I was none of the things he called me and was, in fact dyslexic. I wanted to be the same as the other kids in my class but I wasn't. I could not recognise the right spelling of words and was classified as being an ‘underachiever’ at English.
Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty in reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words.
It is 130 years since the term ‘dyslexia’ was coined by Rudolf Berlin, a German ophthalmologist and professor in Stuttgart. Berlin observed the difficulties faced by some of his adult patients in reading the printed word. He couldn't find any problem with their vision so he speculated that their difficulties must be caused by some physical change in the brain. In the UK, British specialists were working on this issue and for the first time, broadened their accounts of the condition to include children.
P Morgan, (GP) wrote case notes for every child brought to him and the prognosis was always the same
A boy, aged 10 years, was brought to me by his father on Jan. 8th, 1900, to see the reason of his great difficulty in learning to read. The boy had been at school for three years and had got on well with every subject except reading. He was apparently a bright and in every respect an intelligent boy… It was soon evident, however, on careful examination that the difficulty in learning to read was due to a deficiency of his visual memory for words.
Between the wars, research on dyslexia drifted in the UK. From the 1950’s, there was a struggle to get recognition for sufferers because middle-class parents used the label of dyslexia to explain their children’s poor performance in reading.
I didn't dislike all subjects at school. I loved history and was really good at maths but the education system left me ill-equipped for any career where qualifications mattered. As a teenager, I read avidly and was inspired by classics like Moby Dick, The Old Man and the Sea and Dombey & Son. After a brief stint as a pizza chef followed by sprout picking on a farm, I headed off with a bunch of mates to Germany where we got jobs as labourers on a building site.
My skills as an engineer were later recognised and I had the opportunity to travel around the world. Not surprisingly, by the time I came back to the UK, in my 30’s, I had money on my hip and set up a business, selling expensive and quality Persian rugs at antique fairs up and down the country. I settled down to family life but alas, it was not meant to be. An acrimonious divorce left me dissatisfied with life and devoid of purpose. Then something wonderful happened! I met my soul mate and life was good again. Wendy and I ran away together to Italy to renovate an old farmhouse but got caught up in one of the worst earthquakes, Italy has ever experienced. Hundreds of people lost their lives and many from our beloved village, Bisenti. The house we had just literally purchased suffered severe earthquake damage and we had no funds to restore it. We counted ourselves just lucky to be alive. For the next few years, we lived in a caravan on site, in our olive grove, loving every minute of our Italian adventure. I wanted Wendy, the wordsmith, a teacher of English, to write about our adventures, for posterity. A story for the grandchildren but she never seemed to have the time. One night, I decided to write the story myself. It didn’t really matter about the spelling or the grammar! When Wendy read it, she was blown away with my descriptions about Italian life, my narrative and account of the earthquake. She was the one who encouraged me to continue one. That was my first book – ‘Olives and Earthquakes.’
Can someone with dyslexia really be a writer?
Yes! Surprisingly, there are at least 25 famous authors with learning difficulties.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby) had dyslexia. He was kicked out of school at the age of 12 for not focusing or finishing his work and he had a very hard time spelling.
Agatha Christie, the best-selling author of all time, had a learning disability, believed to be dysgraphia. She could not spell or remember numbers, but her learning disability did not hold her back.
The idea for my first book of fiction, ‘Illicit Deception’ has been inside my head for over thirty years, so long now that I don't even remember where the idea came from. For the last ten years, I have worked for myself as a van driver, crossing Europe between Italy and the UK. I spend much time alone, so I guess that's where I ponder over ideas, story lines and plots. I am proud to have self-published my first novel and show that, with imagination, anyone can do it.
It is so important to encourage writers of any age, whatever their challenges. Parents should read to children to inspire them to become interested in stories, while teachers should encourage children to believe in their imagination.
There are so many resources now available to support people with learning difficulties. Social media has proved invaluable for promoting the resources and events available while spreading the word that there is help out there for empowering people to reach their full potential. If something has affected your confidence to write, don’t let it stop you. Your imagination is your gift!
Millions of people love stories, thousands long to write them but probably never will. They may have the writing skills but not the imagination. For me, it is the reverse. My English teacher took away my confidence, the belief in myself to ever put pen to paper but he never took away my imagination.
“You cannot change what you are, only what you do!”
Have you ever dreamed of becoming a writer?
Or ever fancied seeing your name printed in golden letters on the cover of a bestselling book?
Well, if you just screamed a roaring ‘hell yes' at the top of your lungs, chances are you're meant to be a writer. You are meant to help change the world and inspire people’s lives through the power of your words.
“But how do I begin? I have no ideas.”
“I have ideas but I don't know how to put them on paper.”
Worry not, I have a plan for you.
Writing Tips for Beginners and Get Better at Writing
1. Read like a maniac
As a writer, words are your fuel; and what better way to master words than reading itself. If you want to write, you need to read — and read, and read, and read! Read everything you can get your hands on. Classic literature. Fiction. Non-Fiction. EBooks. Magazines. Even that trashy, old novella with giggling girls on the cover.
Examine writing style with a critical eye and observe how authors convey their thoughts and emotions. Every book has a lesson for you if you're willing to pay attention. Don't limit your reading to a particular genre. Read different books to gain fresh perspective. And remember that you cannot even dare to call yourself a writer unless you fall in love with the idea of reading.
2. Write catchy titles
This is one of the most important writing tips for beginners. It is often said (and truly said) that people immediately stop reading your content if you don't hook them right from the beginning.
No matter have excellent your content is, it won't matter unless you match it with a catchy title. A bold headline can be the very difference between a quality piece of writing, or a dud. Start with a bang! Embellish your writing with words that immediately grab reader's attention and tempt them to read on. That's the key to creating compelling art.
3. Write for yourself
Forget the fact that you're writing for an audience. First and foremost of all, write for yourself. Just direct your focus solely on your feelings, ideas and opinions and how to put them on paper. It fires your passion and creativity. It allows you to ink your inner thoughts lucidly on paper as you learn to write right from your heart. And above all, people seem to like it.
4. Understand your audience
‘Write for yourself; rewrite for others'…this is one of the greatest writing tips for beginners anyone could give you. Know your audience better than they know themselves. Act as if you are speaking to one person and write accordingly to create an emotional tie with your readers. One great way to do that is to connect with your readers to learn their perspective, their side of story.
5. Learn to become a great storyteller
Everyone loves a good, old tale. A craft as old as man himself, storytelling is a great way to woo and charm and audience. That’s because the need for stories is rooted deeply inside our brains. Try to blend in an engaging story in your writing. Good stories are easy to understand and the simplicity of language also aid readers in remembering them. It does not matter what genre you write in, everything can be turned into a story – if you tell it the right way.
6. Make your readers feel something
If you've made your readers feel something (and as long as it's not irritation or monotony), you as a writer have done your job. Readers can fear and feel motivated and be excited and feel grief. They can smile and sob, shiver and rage. All from reading your content. Just make your readers feel something. Humans crave drama – so feed it to them like chocolate.
7. Explore the Internet
The all-encompassing world of internet is chock full of guides, how-to's and writing tips for beginners. Not all of them are really useful, but there's still plenty of quality material out there that is definitely worth your time. Take an online writing course or join a writing forum to perk up your writing prowess. Connect with fellow writers and get an insight to how they get their work done. Think of internet as a massive goldmine ready to be exploited.
8. Be consistent
Writing consistently is one of the worst struggles writers face in their daily lives. Even the most skilled writers find it arduous to stay consistent and keep the words flowing regularly on paper. Notch up a few hundred words every day to keep your writing skills sharp. Like any other skill, your writing prowess slowly rusts if not put to practice consistently.
9. Believe in yourself
No list of writing tips for beginners can be complete without this point. Writing is a daunting process. There are many ups and downs. Every day is a new challenge. There are times when you find yourself judging your writing and questioning your abilities. There's nothing wrong with doubting yourself. You are human, therefore you doubt. The problem really arises when doubt overwhelms you and starts holding you back.
That's where self-belief comes into play. If you are going to go through, you have to trust your gut and keep believing in yourself. You have to plant this motto in the deepest chamber of your mind: I will never quit!
10. Enjoy writing
Writing is magic, quite literally. You create something out of nothing. Something you write today can be found and read in a thousand years and it can still be related to readers. This is magic. The best way to do justice to writing is to love it. Once you start enjoying the process of writing, words will come naturally to you and you'll look forward to writing every day.
Have fun! Happy Writing!
Happy Christmas and Christmas Traditions
When I was younger my family was all very close in distance as well as emotion. Our traditions for Christmas would always mean that we would venture out to my father’s parents on Christmas Eve to have dinner and Christmas with his family – there was always turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, creamed corn and gravy. My father’s parents were farmers so there was never an absence of vegetables, the smell of coffee or rock candy. We would all pull names from my grandfathers straw hat on Thanksgiving to know who we would all buy Christmas presents for, which meant that with 19 of us – the tree was pretty well packed. The earth’s climate hadn’t changed so much so having a white Christmas in Michigan was almost a given. I remember riding in the car and watching the scenery change from houses to trees and always with a cover of snow. We as kids still found it more fun to play in my grandfather’s barn and make tunnels and forks out of his bales of hay, than to stay inside with the grownups as the chatted or played cards. It all seemed so easy and I hate to say this – but down home. Rather rich with the simple pleasures of the holiday with little real fuss. Nothing over the top and filled with the real need to gather as a family.
Christmas Day was much of the same, just at my mother’s parent’s house. Which for some reason seemed to be a bit more on the commercial side. And of course as a kid – that was much more appealing. The Christmas packages that filled out to most of the room, leaving little space to sit on the floor. The Christmas Day celebration was much like Christmas Eve with dinner and treats through the day, minus of course the rock candy. My grandmother opted for hard store bought candy especially the raspberry filled jellies, which I continue to buy to this day. As an adult you can see now that each set of grandparents were just trying to show their way of bringing their families together and leave a memory in their children and grandchildren’s mind of who they were and how much they loved them.
This tradition lasted well into the time when my siblings started to have families of their own and our time for the holidays was stretched even more. Sometimes the day only was able to include a gift exchange or just dinner, but we always tried to make it if we could.
My family now is spread much further and much harder to get together. Most holidays we can only hope for a text message or phone call. Especially now with the virus hanging over all of our heads. The thought now looks to 2021 to turn this around and bring us back to some form of normal life. Even though that may be now gone forever.
At that moment that I was traveling from one grandparents house to the next I would have never considered being an author or for that matter what I seriously hoped to be when I grew up. But here we are. Me, at 58, almost 59, with 6 books under my belt, numbers 7 – 8 – 9 – 10 in separate files on my computer and a publishing company to run. Like the professor from Frosty the Snowman – I’m busy – busy – busy. Our Christmas Day plans, David and I, will be to spend the day with each other – possibly hit up the nearest movie theater to watch the latest Wonder Woman movie. I suspect we’ll be watching Christmas movies throughout the day and I’ll be sitting with my pen and paper to get something done on these books. The wish for going to grandma’s house is now over. My children are all well over three hours away and they now have their own families and Christmas traditions. A Zoom call I’m sure will be our seasonal communication this year.
My reasoning for telling you all of this and bringing it to the forefront is to say. Whatever memories you have, or whatever traditions you continue to keep alive. May you have a wonderful and joyful holiday season. David and I, as well as the staff at Breaking Rules Publishing wish you all a Happy Christmas.
Be safe and well,
And here we are.
So many good and positive things have happened, been conceived, and shown themselves in the last few days, weeks really. One of the more poignant things would be a conversation that I just had with a sales person from LinkedIn.
The conversation started with, what is your business, where do you want it to go, and what are you doing to build it? I went into the history of Breaking Rules Publishing, what we’re doing, what we’re trying to accomplish. The writing community that we’re building and the challenges that we’re facing with the virus. Said salesman went on to say that they have a process that will bring us over 400K a month with some simple steps. He went on to explain by charging authors 10-30k to publish and market their books that we would build a better business and become more successful.
It was clear that he hadn’t listened to my story about why I started to write. The challenges that I had with my first agent and publisher. How my first agent and publisher wanted to turn my book into something that I didn’t recognize. It was clear that he didn’t hear me say that the purpose of Breaking Rules Publishing is to be a place of security, promise and community for the writers under our umbrella. He only saw dollar signs. I can’t blame him, we all want money and we all want success. However, there is a moment when integrity has to step in and take the lead.
My response to Mr. Salesman was that by following his plan we would be turning a blind eye to the mission and goals of our company as well as turning our back on the authors that have not only come to us already but those that have yet to come. We are not a vanity press and we will never be one.
It is my hope that with the new programs and processes as well as authors that are coming in 2021 – that we will be fine. That we will all find the success that we write for. We don’t have to recreate our company, like my first book, into something that I /we don’t recognize. We can stand strong and find the ways that we need to turn 2020 around and make Breaking Rules Publishing the publishing house that it was meant to be.
Stay with us – we’re turning this machine around and making it a success and we’re bringing all of you with us.
I/we appreciate all of your support, dedication and loyalty. We will offer you the same.