Are You Moving Forward or Just Looking Forward? #inspiration #MondayBlogs #Monday


keep-moving-forward

Are you moving forward or just looking forward?

The future is unknown and yet there are many of us who pine for the future, look forward to the future and generally live in the future. The present doesn’t matter, only the future.

Is that really a way to live?

Listen, when I was younger, I lived in the future. I didn’t give a damn about the past or the present. I was miserable and wanted out of the life I was living. So, I propelled myself to the future with thoughts like these:

When I get older, I’ll be successful and show those bullies I’m somebody.

When I get older, I’ll show all those guys what a mistake they made dumping me.

When I become a successful author, I’ll show those agents what a mistake they made not choosing me as a client.

On and on these thoughts went and you know what? I wasn’t moving forward, just looking forward.

Life is meant to be lived in the present. Don’t make the same mistakes as me. Plan for the future but live in the now.

“You’ll never know for sure what tomorrow holds unless you keep moving forward.”

MRS N

If You Love A Toaster, I Promise I Won’t Judge #love #MondayBlogs #LoveisLove


Love

Love is the theme this week, as it’s Holy Week for both Christians and Jews. Love is on my mind and today I’m going to be truthful and honest. Some of you may not like what I have to say and I’m okay with that. I feel led to speak the truth in love, not hate.

I heard this song, Take Me to Church by Hozier, last week. Here’s the lyrics and the video (PG-13 rating):

My lover’s got humour
She’s the giggle at a funeral
Knows everybody’s disapproval
I should’ve worshipped her sooner
If the heavens ever did speak
She’s the last true mouthpiece
Every Sunday’s getting more bleak
A fresh poison each week
“We were born sick”
You heard them say it
My church offers no absolutes
She tells me “worship in the bedroom”
The only heaven I’ll be sent to
Is when I’m alone with you
I was born sick, but I love it
Command me to be well
Amen, Amen, Amen
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life
[x2]
If I’m a pagan of the good times
My lover’s the sunlight
To keep the goddess on my side
She demands
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life
[x2]
No masters or kings when the ritual begins
There is no sweeter innocence than our gentle sin
In the madness and soil of that sad earthly scene
Only then I am human
Only then I am clean
Amen, Amen, Amen
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life
[x2]
Songwriters: Andrew Hozier Byrne
Take Me to Church lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

Love is love. No matter who you are and who you love, what you beliefs and values are, you love. Every religion and spiritual practice speaks of love. As human beings, we have a desire to love and be loved.

It angers me when Christians, Jews, Muslim, New Age, Agnostics, etc. judge other people by who they love. Here’s a sampling of various holy texts quotes on love:

The Bible: Matthew 22:36 – 22:40 —

36 Master, which [is] the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Torah: Leviticus 19:17–18 —

You shall not hate your kinsman in your heart.
Reprove your neighbor, but incur no guilt because of him.
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk.
Love your neighbor as yourself: I am Adonai.

Ancient Philosopher, Socrates:

One word frees us
Of all the weight and pain in life,
That word is Love.

Love is universal. Love is within us all and nowhere in any of these texts does it say to judge another by who he/she loves. In every religion/spiritual belief, we’re not called upon to judge. It’s not our place and honestly, who wants that kind of responsibility?

Listen, I’m a Christian and I follow Jesus’ example. He loved everyone. Sure, He didn’t love the sin or what they did wrong. But He didn’t judge; He left that to His Father, the Lord. He walked among sinners, especially lepers, prostitutes and tax collectors. He preached turning the other cheek, loving everyone, spreading the good word, housing and feeding others in His name.

I follow His example of truth, kindness and being the embodiment of love. I don’t judge and in fact, it doesn’t matter to me if people’s soul mates are their toasters. Yup, you read that right. If someone is in love with his/her toaster, well, I’m happy for them! God bless because everyone should experience love.

So today, on the first day of Holy Week (even if you’re not religious), show love not hate to others. Let all that you do be in love.

MRS N

Can You Ever Really Go Home Again? It Depends on Where Home is #inspiration #MondayBlogs


coming home

Can you really go home again?

This question rattled around in my brain all weekend. On Friday, Google Maps did a fun thing for April Fools. You could play Ms. Pac-Man on actual streets using Google Maps. So, I did what every adult on the planet did: I called up a neighborhood and played. It was great amounts of fun.

What neighborhood did I choose?

The street I grew up on.

When MR N asked me what neighborhood I chose, I told him my childhood home. His face fell a smidgen and asked me, “Is that what you consider home?”

“No, of course not.” I replied. “Our neighborhood is my home.” But it made me pause. If what I said was the truth, then why did I go back home, to my childhood home?

We all want to go back home, to where we grew up, and show up successful, happy and content.

When I left my childhood home all those years ago, no one thought I would be anything. In fact, they all thought I was a head-in-the-cloud young woman with crazy dreams. My school bullies thought I was a nerd and a geek. Boy, did I prove them wrong. 😉

Today, I’m happy to call my neighborhood home and wherever my husband is, that is home. It’s a blissful state because no matter where we live, I’m home. So, no matter what I’m doing during the work day, it’s such a relief to come home every night with spend it with my beloved.

Home is where the heart is. Home should be wherever your heart is, not necessarily where you grew up. You can go home again and every night you do, take a moment and give thanks.

MRS N

Global Warming and the Power of YOU! Guest Post by @authorGaughan #MondayBlogs #GlobalWarming


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My mission, once I decided to accept it, was to incorporate an important environmental message in an action adventure story that included a little sci-fi, fantasy and time travel. The result was Aaden Bluestar – The Awakening, a story about an ordinary boy who, after being struck by lightning, develops extraordinary powers and discovers his connection with an other-worldly race who are trying to save our world from ourselves … and they need our help to do it.

Global Warming and the Power of YOU!

 

When reading the above title, I can imagine you wondering how you can possibly make a difference with such a major issue as global warming. The answer may surprise you, particularly when the solution is disguised in a fictional book written for young adult readers. All I ask is that you keep an open mind.

 

Some believe that global warming is just a hoax, but regardless of whether you believe in global warming or not, we seem to be constantly reminded of climate change in the form of daily or weekly news items about extreme or unusual weather events. Regardless of whether these killer storms, tornadoes, hurricanes or tropical cyclones are the result of global warming or not, the end result is the same – climate change weather patterns seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity.

 

So now we come back to the question of how you, or I, or anyone else can make a difference.

 

I received a birthday card from a friend some years back and it had a simple but profound message. The card had a child’s drawing on the cover with a big sun smiley face and a hand-written poem by Sally Huss.

 

It read:

 

A happy person makes a happy home.

 

A happy home promotes a happy neighborhood.

 

Such a neighborhood affects a city, which in turn inspires a nation.

 

A happy nation helps create a happy world.

 

This simple poem summed up the message I was trying to get across with my story Aaden Bluestar – The Awakening. Of course, Aaden’s story has a lot more going for it than that simple message. It emphasizes environmental issues that affects us all and how each of us, as individuals, can make a difference. The story is told from Aaden’s perspective … a seemingly ordinary boy leading an ordinary life until a freak accident opens his extraordinary powers.

 

As reviewer Mrs. N expressed, Aaden is “such a delightful character to read. His witty nature and honest inner thoughts make him come alive off the page. I enjoyed the way he dealt with his school rival (not quite a bully but close). (Aaden is) someone who anyone can relate to and a joy to read.”

 

Okay, you’re probably still wondering how this affects you and how you can possibly make a difference. My friend Paulette, who sent me the birthday card, also included a hand written note inside the card. It was a quote from Colin P. Sisson, “What we vividly imagine, ardently desire, enthusiastically act upon, must inevitably come to pass.”

 

There are many who believe that creative visualization is just wishful thinking and there are just as many who believe it is real. The old saying “mind over matter” comes to mind and this is the main message portrayed in Aaden Bluestar – The Awakening. It’s understandable that some may think that such an enormous influence as global warming, or climate change or extreme weather patterns is out of anyone’s control, but there are equal numbers who believe that each of us as individuals can make a difference. I guess it comes back to the glass half full or glass half empty attitude.

 

Definitely, there are powers at play that are beyond anyone’s control. However, our attitude to such events is completely within our control. Events will unfold as time goes by and the impact of such events will vary from person to person. The same event may seem like a sword thrust to one and a pin-prick to another. A lot will depend on the attitude of the individual. Regardless of our station in life, good and bad things happen to all of us. When the trials come, it is often our individual attitude that makes the difference. No matter what, there is always something to be grateful for and when we concentrate on gratitude for the good things in our lives, it makes it easier to handle the stormier parts when they arrive.

 

Some might be skeptical about how this can be of any help with such major events as global warming, extreme weather and climate change, particularly when such events seem to be the result of major political and policy making decisions. At this point, maybe we should take another look at that simple poem again:

 

A happy person makes a happy home.

 

A happy home promotes a happy neighborhood.

 

Such a neighborhood affects a city, which in turn inspires a nation.

 

A happy nation helps create a happy world.

 

Yes, it seems simplistic in its message, but it starts with the individual. We need to keep in mind that political parties and policy makers are representing the people. When enough people are demanding change, the policy makers start taking notice. And if it’s already too late for change, as some may think, then at least as individuals we have the power and choice to concentrate on the positive rather than the negative – that is one thing that is within everyone’s control. As Adam, a character in Aaden Bluestar – The Awakening says, “There’s power in numbers. The more people with the same positive thought, the more powerful the effect.” From that perspective, we are co-creators of everything we see and experience in this world.

 

The extraordinary powers that Aaden develops after his accident might seem beyond the reach of ordinary people, but there are many who believe that these same powers are within each and every one of us – the same powers that are within YOU!

 

If you’re still unsure about the power within you to change your world, check out Aaden Bluestar – The Awakening https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RIMSS6G… and enjoy the ride!

 

Aaden Cover_titled_sm

 

Title: Aaden BlueStar – The Awakening

Author: David Gaughan

Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy

Publisher: Astar Print

 

Book Blurb:

Never feeling quite at home in this world, an ordinary boy discovers his extraterrestrial heritage and superhuman powers when he is confronted by an alien foe. Discovering he is here on a time travel mission, his grip on reality is stretched when he realizes his father, who is running for President, is also not of this world. His best friend Fleur and his sister Tiffany are the only two he can confide in. Together with their extraterrestrial friends, they not only have to combat their alien foe, they also have to convince humanity to change their ways to prevent destroying their home through an environmental disaster. With climate change and extreme weather issues increasing in frequency and intensity, the clock is ticking!

 

Excerpt:

“Maybe it was a prophetic dream.”

“Prophetic?” said Jean. “Do you mean that all this is still to come … that it hasn’t happened yet … that it’s in the future?”

“Perhaps,” he replied with a shrug, implying ignorance.

“We both had the same dream,” Aaden repeated.

“Well, at least you’re accepting now that it was a dream,” he said, catching them both by surprise. “It’s not uncommon for people who are close to have same or similar dreams – that sort of thing has been documented.”

“I don’t believe you,” Aaden retorted. “Why would we have such a dream?”

“Perhaps the dream was showing you a possibility of what the future might hold. Perhaps it was showing you that it may not necessarily happen, that future events can be a direct result of the choices we make today?”

Aaden thought, “That’s the kind of statement a BlueStar would make. Besides, this is after the car accident, so he must be BlueStar, because it was after the accident that the change came over him.” He tried to tune into him, but his previous powers failed him. He decided to try and keep him talking to see if he’d say something that would make sense of their experiences.

“Are you talking about working towards world peace or doing one’s bit for the environment?” said Aaden.

“Both! Every one of us has the ability to help change our immediate environment and our world, to create the future we want.”

Jean and Aaden both stared at him. Even though he refused to acknowledge that he knew anything about the Astar Confederation, he was still talking like a Confederate BlueStar.

“Well that’s fine,” said Aaden. “But how do you get those ideas across to others, if we’re the only ones who had the dream?”

There was a noise from the staircase and they all turned to see Tiffany descending the stairs, looking rather bewildered. She glanced from one to the other, then, without saying a word, ran to the front door, flinging it open. She ran into Fleur coming the other way. They both stared at each other in amazement and then came into the house, looking confused.

“What’s going on?” said Fleur.

“Yeah,” said Tiffany. “This is how the world used to be. It’s almost as though we’ve gone back in time?”

Aaden looked quizzically at his father, who simply raised his eyebrows with feigned surprise and flashed an infuriating grin.

“It looks like you’re not the only ones who had the dream,” said Adam.

“Come on, Dad!” said Aaden. “Was it a dream or was it real?”

Adam sat back in his chair and took another sip of coffee, biding his time, infuriating them all with his relaxed attitude.

“What’s the difference?” he said. “When you’re dreaming, you’re convinced it’s real. It’s only when you awaken that you realize it was a dream. Who’s to say that what you think of as reality now is but a dream and you’ll only realize it when you finally wake up?”

“Seems pretty real to me,” said Tiffany.

Aaden got up and went to the fridge, determined to find something that would cast doubt on this so-called reality. He was curious to see if there’d be some of his favorite yoghurt – there was. Although he was surprised to find it, he was also a little disappointed to see that the container was nearly empty. He picked up a spoon and finished the contents, pleasantly surprised to find it even more delicious than he remembered it to be. Eyeing the trash can, he was tempted to throw the container into it, but then hesitated. Deliberately, he rinsed the container and threw it into the recycling bin.

He saw his Dad watching him, so he gave him a comical wink. “I suppose every little bit helps.”

“Yep!” said his Dad. “Even a small pebble tossed into a large pond will send ripples to the very edge of that pond.”

Aaden was initially taken aback by the strange comment, but decided to test him.

“How?” he said. “How can a single person make a difference?”

“Through thought,” his Dad replied simply. “Every action has a reaction … even with our thoughts. You can create harmony or disharmony in your life, with a single thought.”

“How can our thoughts affect the world?” said Fleur.

Adam gave her a wink. “Your thoughts affect others around you – and that in turn affects your world. It starts with the individual.”

Fleur stared at him, dumbfounded, as did Tiffany and Aaden.

“You’re saying that little ol’ me can make a difference in the world?” said Tiffany.

Aaden and Fleur both smiled at her comical tone.

“There’s power in numbers,” said Adam. “The more people with the same positive thought, the more powerful the effect.”

 

Buy Links:

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RIMSS6G

 

Createspace https://www.createspace.com/6550223

 

Author Biography:

Born on the same day and month as Mark Twain, this Sagittarius has always been the explorer, not only in world travel pursuits but also alternative fringe subjects.

Having climbed the Great Pyramid of Cheops (and getting arrested doing so), some of his other world experiences included riding camels in the Sahara Desert, white-water rafting at the top of the Ganges river, fire walking on a weekend retreat, hot air ballooning in the Cappadocia Region in Turkey and visiting ashrams in Northern India. Much of David’s overseas travel has been fueled by his keen interest in metaphysical subjects.

 

Social Media Links:

Twitter https://twitter.com/authorgaughan

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13428937.David_Gaughan

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KDZKOM

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/david.gaughan.967

When at a Crossroads, Choose to Take the Bolder Path #inspiration #MondayBlogs


choose bolder

 

Are you at a crossroads in life and don’t know which path to take?

We’ve all been conflicted by one of life’s intersections and we must choose between two seemingly equal choices. Which way to go? It’s natural to take the easy path but I challenge you to take the bolder, riskier path.

Why?

Taking the bolder path stretches your imagination and you learn just how amazing life can be.

When I decided it was time to publish Princess of the Light, the path I first took was the traditional one (get an agent and get published by the Big 5). For more than a year, I submitted to literary agents and after awhile, I started spinning my wheels. What was I doing? Was I making the right choice?

The bolder choice: self-publish. Could I do it myself? Could I hire a cover designer and editor in order to make my book the very best it could be?

I took the leap and have never looked back. Sure, it was scary and I made some costly mistakes. But I learned more about myself and my determination than anything else. I’ve never regretted my decision to go indie and I love the freedom that comes with it.

Life has a way of leading us onto the right path and more times than not, it’s the bolder road to success. Don’t let your fear dictate where you go; follow your heart and go bold!

MRS N

Today is #InternationalDayofHappiness and #Happiness is Within Your Grasp #MondayBlogs


true happiness

 

Happy International Day of Happiness! Today, we’re talking about one of my favorite topics: happiness.

Are you happy? Do you spread happiness and joy wherever you go?

I know, I know, most of us are tired of the whole “Pollyanna Syndrome”, especially when we’re going through a hard time. Trust me, I understand. What I’m talking about is true happiness, not fake happiness. Let me give you an example:

Back in February, I went from being happy to anxious in a matter of moments. Suddenly, my peace went out the window and I was spiraling downwards. I started having anxiety attacks and worrying about “stuff”. What were we going to do? How are we going to make it through?

MR N, meanwhile, had no worries and continued to be happy. He knew in his heart that everything was going to turn out better than we could imagine. “Have faith, my love,” he said. “Be happy and trust in the Lord.”

BOOM! I was in the midst of a spiritual crossroads. Did I have faith? Did I trust in God to provide for us and if so, then why wasn’t I happy?

True happiness, is a journey, not a destination.

Last week, our prayers were answered and everything is taken care of. I got on my knees and thanked God. I felt shame for not having faith and while I was wallowing in my pity, a realization hit: I chose not to stay on the path of happiness but to veer off-course to a thorny trail of misery and despair.

So, on this day and every day, embrace your path of happiness and have faith. Learn from my mistakes and be the embodiment of true happiness. Be grateful for what you have and who you are. Don’t be fake; be happy.

MRS N

Without Terrible Days, You’ll Never Cherish Great Days! #inspiration #MondayBlogs


bad day
Photo Credit: imgarcade.com

 

We’ve all had days when it feels like our lives are over.

Yesterday, I was relaxing with MR N and we saw a scene unfold in the parking lot across from our building. A woman in her early twenties paced, yelled and cried to her friends around her. Something was clearly wrong and at one point she screamed, “OMG, my life is over!”

I wanted to run over to her, give her a hug and tell her it was going to be okay. It may seem like life is over but this, too, shall pass.

I remember clearly a time when I thought my life wasn’t worth living anymore. I was in the pit of despair and the darkness had me in a choke hold. I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep; the pain, grief and suffering overwhelmed me. I wanted out of this life and I almost ran away. Almost.

What did I do?

I took it one day at a time. My best friend held me and told me life would get better. The pain eased and through my faith, my life improved. Now I’m living the most amazing life, something I never envisioned all those years ago.

Listen, we’re going to have bad days, days when when the darkness swells over our heads and we’re fighting to just stay afloat. This too shall pass. We can’t savor the good days without going through the bad ones.

Be grateful for everything and take it one moment at a time. Believe in the promise of tomorrow and you’ll get through this.

MRS N

Raise Your Hand if You Love #SocialMedia … #MondayBlogs #love #motivation


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Who here loves social media?

I do, too, but there comes a time when our love for social media takes over our lives. It becomes an obsession. You have to be online 24/7 to make sure you don’t miss an update and/or notification.

As a writer/blogger/marketer, I understand what you’re going through. It’s hard to shut off but trust me when I tell you that shutting off your device for a few hours or even a day is actually beneficial to your health.

The term is digital detox and it’s becoming more and more popular. Read all about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_detox

When I became a social media marketer six years ago, MR N and I made an agreement to take weekends off. If a client emailed me on the weekend, I wouldn’t read it or reply. The weekends were off-limits and reserved for family time.

Was it hard?

Sure, it was… and sometimes still is. But it’s necessary for my overall health and at the end of the day, I’m much happier.

Listen, social media is great and I’d be out of a job if it wasn’t for social media. I met MR N via social media and I’m forever grateful. But there comes a time when we all have to unplug and get away.

Love of social media is perfectly healthy and rather fun. But when you start to get anxious and stressed out by social media, maybe it’s time to take a break. Shut off your device for one hour and see what happens. Relax, take it easy, go for a walk, do something you enjoy. Social media’s like your faithful pet; it’ll be there when you get back.

Do you take a digital detox? Share your experience in the comments below.

MRS N

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Saying “I Love You” Means Loving All the Parts, Not Just the Pretty Ones #MondayBlogs


romatic love

Love, in its purest form, is loving the monster inside just as much as loving the angel.

Mr. N is reading a book right now and has come to a touchy subject: trust and love. The character (we’ll call him Jim) is a conflicted man. He’s had his share of betrayal and loss. He’s in a relationship with a loving, caring woman yet he doesn’t trust her. He goes so far as to hire a private detective to follow her around. He just knows she’s cheating on him. He feels guilty about it and when the report comes in the mail, he refuses to open it. Overcome with guilt, he tells her what he did. His defense: but I didn’t open it.

She’s angry, hurt and leaves him. As she’s walking out the door, she says in so many words:

“Love without trust isn’t love at all; you can’t have one without the other.”

Truer words haven’t been spoken. Trust and Love are interconnected. You can’t love without trust and you can’t trust without love.

When I was in my early twenties, I let my insecurities rule my heart. Jealousy waged war in every single relationship I was in. I needed constant affirmations and when push came to shove, my jealousy drove them away. I simply didn’t trust them.

Trust can be scary but then so is love. It means leaving yourself exposed to rejection, pain, anger and loneliness. But it also opens you up to love, peace, joy and happiness.

I opened myself up to MR N and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Sure, it’s scary but the love we share, the unadulterated joy we feel, is the best thing in the world. We walk hand-in-hand through life letting trust and love guide our path.

Let unconditional love rule your heart and follow this mantra:

I love you. That means I’m not just here for the pretty parts. I’m here no matter what.

MRS N

I Have Decided to Love. Have you? #MLKDay #inspiration #MondayBlogs


MLK love

“I have decided to love.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Today is Martin Luther King day in the United States. For those of you who may not know your history, Martin Luther King Jr. was the leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s. He believed the time had come for all men (and women) to have the same rights and freedoms, as dictated in the Constitution. He was a peaceful man and was assassinated April 4, 1968.

He’s one of my historical heroes, not because he fought for what was right and just but because he didn’t hold hate in his heart. He loved everyone, even those who hated him and ultimately killed him. His message still applies today:

“I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love.”

While it pains me to look around the world and see oppression, violence and hate, I know Martin Luther King’s dream is still possible. It’s possible to love your neighbor as yourself, to love your enemy and to spread love throughout the world.

How about you? Are you ready to be the embodiment of love?

Join with me and decide to love. Banish hate from your heart and let love rule in its place.

Thank you, Martin Luther King Jr., for being a guiding Light and for teaching us to love.

MRS N

White Hot and Passionate is the Only Way to Be! #inspiration #motivation #quote


life-passion

Are you white hot or just lukewarm?

There’s many ways to approach life. You can go through life like a robot, stone-cold and letting nothing bother you. You can go through life at room temperature, being super careful to not get hurt or hurt others. Or you can approach life like Roald Dahl.

Read the quote above and ask yourself if you agree. I certainly agree.

Life is too short. You’ve gotta grab life by the horns and ride it hard. Let out a scream and a few yelps.

Passionate living is about embracing what you love and going after what you want most. For me, what I love most is writing, helping others and books. I managed to incorporate all three of those things into my life and now I’m living a passion-filled life.

Take Roald Dahl’s advice (and mine too):

White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.

MRS N

#Authors: Get Real on #SocialMedia and Readers Will Respond #ASMSG #IARTG


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“Marketing is first and foremost about connecting.” – Wendy Paine Miller

Today’s publishing market requires authors to wear several hats, one of them being marketer. For many authors, they haven’t a clue what to do or how to get the word out about their book(s). I see it all the time on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn; authors posting about their books in an unending stream of impersonal tweets and posts.

“BUY MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK, PLEASE!”

I shake my head because these authors miss the whole point. Social media is at its core, social. It’s a powerful marketing tool, if you know how to use it. Let me give you an example:

Back in 2012, I wrote my debut novel, Princess of the Light. When the time came to edit and publish it, I started chatting with some of my Twitter followers about it. Nothing major, just musings and observations. People started asking me more about it and I shared the story behind POTL. They were intrigued and as a result bought it when it was released. I’m proud to say they were my first readers and have been loyal ever since.

How did I do it? I made a connection and readers responded.

When I’m on social media, I’m a real person, not some robot. I talk about more than my books. I talk about baking, sports, what I’m reading, writing, editing, cooking, interesting articles I’ve read, news, politics, supporting food banks, the weather… the topics are endless. I’m being social and in this day and age of automation and technology, the simple act of saying good morning makes a huge impact.

So, what about book marketing?

I’m a writer and as a writer, I take great pride in crafting attention-grabbing tweets. Words are my thing and especially on Twitter, it’s a challenge to grab the reader by the collar so that they’ll want to click-through to learn more. I love it, though, because it hones my writing skills. I encourage all authors to try it.

Here are ten quick tips to help you get real on social media:

  • Use this formula when posting on social media – 20% book marketing, 10% small talk (weather, exercising, cooking, etc.), 30% retweets, 20% personal (I use this to post baking/cooking pics), 20% other interests (sports, hobbies, news, politics, etc.)

 

  • Post consistently on social media. I know time is a rare commodity for all of us. So whether you’re on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook, post consistently. The so-called experts tell us that we should only be posting x number of times per day/week. Listen, do what works for you. For me, I post on my blog 5 days a week, tweet every 20 minutes or so (thanks to Triberr) and post to Pinterest at least once a week. It’s all I have time for but it works for me. Consistency is the key.

 

  • Use graphics/images in all of your posts. Humans are, as a rule, visual people. We eat with our eyes first, or so says my husband (Retired Chef MR N). People identify with an image and sometimes that image has a bigger impact than the wording below.

 

  • If a follower/reader asks you a question on social media, respond. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tweeted an author and get no response. Listen, you’re not as busy as Harlan Coben or Jamie Oliver. Yet, both of these authors have responded to my tweets. It takes a few moments and yet has a huge impact on the reader.

 

  • Retweet/Like/Reblog on social media. Not only is this a great way to meet new people, it’s a sneaky marketing move to gain new followers. The more followers you have, the bigger your social media reach, the more likely you’ll find new readers to buy your books. I employ the Golden Rule on social media (do unto others as you would like done to you) and it really pays off.

 

  • Be real on social media. I know this sounds obvious but I’ve encountered so many authors who tell me they can’t be themselves online. “I can’t be myself, I’m an author.” Why not? I’m sure if Ernest Hemingway were alive today, he’d be spouting honest tweets in the middle of the night for all of us to see. My point is, you have to be yourself or else no one is going to read your books. Readers are attracted to a story, sure, but they first want to know about the author. Be real and let your followers see a little piece of yourself. I do this with my pics of baking/cooking and chatting with others on Twitter.

 

  • Don’t spam complete strangers on social media. What would Miss Manners say? We all hate spam and spammers are all over social media. I see a lot of authors send tweets to complete strangers about their book, myself included. It grates on my nerves because I’m receiving book sale info about a perfect stranger. Instead, start following people you’re interested in connecting with and once a conversation has been initiated, then maybe mention your book.

 

  • Use hashtags. I can’t emphasize this enough. We’re all busy and lead jam-packed lives. We sometimes only have a few minutes while waiting to pick up the kids from school or on a lunch break so we scroll through our feeds. We subscribe to hashtags and see what’s new. Hashtags are a great way to connect with people of similar interests. Some of my favorite book-related hashtags include: #books, #amreading, #FridayReads, #TuesdayBookBlog, #bookboost, #goodreads, etc.

 

  • Don’t ever, ever respond to a blogger/reviewer negatively on social media. It’s bound to happen. A reader/reviewer/blogger will not like your book. In fact, they may even bash you personally for no reason whatsoever. You’ll feel tempted to correct them or defend yourself. STEP AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD/DEVICE! I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen authors taking to social media in response to a bad review/comment. I call this authors behaving badly. Listen, there’s going to be plenty of readers who won’t love/get/understand/relate to/respect your book(s). It’s part of the being a writer/storyteller. How? Vent to your inner circle via email/text/phone but never by social media. You’ll never convince them and it will make you look unprofessional. Instead, go read a few raving reviews.

 

  • Use the Tupperware marketing approach.

In 1942, Earl Tupper developed his first bell shaped container; the brand products were introduced to the public in 1948. Tupperware pioneered the direct marketing strategy made famous by the Tupperware party. The Tupperware Party allowed for women of the 1950s to work and enjoy the benefits of earning an income without completely taking away the independence granted to women during the Second World War when women first began entering the labor market, all the while keeping their focus in the domestic domain. (Wikipedia)

Word of Mouth marketing is one of the best marketing strategies, especially for authors, because it’s organic and driven by honest customers. Imagine you’re at a dinner party and the topic turns to books. What’s everyone been reading? You then begin to share with everyone at the party about that book you just finished. People pay attention because there’s nothing false about it, just your opinion. No hidden agenda, no secret business dealings, just one reader’s opinion. Authors need to tap into this marketing ploy and here’s how: Ask your readers to leave a review online and if they liked it, tell at least two friends about it. Now, there’s no way to track it but that’s the beauty of it. You’re asking the reader to help you in a very important way. Suddenly, they have an active role, not a passive one. Think organic, think natural, think honest. At the end of the day, that’s how books sell: word of mouth.

 

It’s time to take these easy marketing techniques and put them into practice. Get real on social media and watch your readership grow. It might take some time and planning but then anything worth doing takes time. It takes years of pressure and patience to create a diamond. Trust me, it’s worth it.

 

Do you have any questions and/comments about social media marketing? I’d love to hear from you. If you know someone who might enjoy this article, please share using the buttons below.

Let’s bring back the social in social media!

couple N N Light

N.N. Light is the best-selling husband-wife writing team, commonly known as Mr. N and Mrs. N.

Mrs. N. has been creating stories ever since she was little. Her grandfather remembers when she was two years old, she would stand at the top of the stairs and tell him a story filled with emotion (and in a language foreign to him) with her hands on her hips. Let’s just say she was a born storyteller.

They’re blissfully happy and loves all things chocolate, books, music, movies, art, sports, trains, history, cooking and baking. Their mantra is to spread the Light.

Most of the time you can find them on Twitter or getting new ideas on how to spread the Light on Pinterest. They’re a proud member of ASMSG and Independent Author Network.

In addition to being authors, they’re also book promoters/reviewers, social media marketers/influencers and the owners of N. N. Light Author Promotions. They both love books, have ever since they were young. Matching up books and readers is something that gives them great pleasure.

Looking Back on 2016: Top 5 Inspirational Thoughts #inspiration #MondayBlogs


generosity-inspire

It’s the last week of 2016 (at least for us) and today, I’m looking back at all the inspirational thoughts I’ve written this year.

To say 2016 was a difficult year, is an understatement. We’ve gone through a lot in the last twelve months but through it all, we’ve tried to stay positive and stress-free. Mind you, we’ve slipped up a time or two but you’ve helped us to stay upbeat, no matter what.

So, here are the top five Most-Viewed Inspirational Thoughts of 2016:

Describe Yourself in 3 Words

Create a Positive Chain of Events

Love Month: A Father’s Love

Positive Thoughts Change Your Life

Take Time to Do What Makes Your Soul Happy

Every morning, as I sit down to write my inspirational thought, I’m inspired by each of you. Thank you for taking the time to read my inspirational thought and for commenting. I’m so grateful and you’ve helped me more than I can say.

Do you have a favorite inspirational thought or one that really spoke to you? I’d love to hear so leave a comment below.

MRS N

Do Your Duty: Love the Unloved and Help the Helpless #inspiration #MondayBlogs


duty

Are you doing your duty?

‘Tis the season of giving and my mind immediately goes to helping those in need.

I saw this graphic and it touched me. I’m a firm believer in helping others. I call it spreading the Light. My heart goes out to people and my first instinct is to help others.

I want to hug the unloved and tell them everything is going to be okay.

I want to help the helpless by smiling and offering food and clothing.

I want to bring hope to those who have given up.

It’s my duty as a member of the human race to love, help and bring hope to everyone.

Are you doing your duty?

Just imagine how incredible the world would be if we helped our fellow neighbors and those in need. Love and Light would flow instead of hatred and evil.

MRS N

Advice from Winnie the Pooh on Patience #inspiration #MondayBlogs #patience


patience-rivers

I have a confession to make. My biggest weakness (besides chocolate and a good Cab Sav) is I’m not very patient. Patience is something I struggle with every day.

I’m concentrating so much on the act of waiting that many times, I’m missing out on the journey. 

I’ve started meditating/praying on what I wanted to accomplish in life every morning. At the end of my session, I whisper, “I release all my worrying and anxiety with this prayer. I will focus on the journey and those around me.”

And you know what? It really helps. Choosing every day to focus on the journey and not on the waiting allows me to experience things I would’ve otherwise missed.

Confession: I still struggle with patience but it’s getting easier.

Are you patient? Do you have any advice on being more patient?

Share in the comments below. I’d love to find new ways to be patient.

MRS N

Know Someone Who’s Struggling? Crank Up Your Light! #inspiration #MondayBlogs


kindness light

Do you know someone going through a hard time? Is the world around them crumbling?

Crank up the Light inside and bathe others in the glow. 

I have a friend of mine who’s going through a really hard time. She’s a fellow writer and blogger. She (and her family) are under attack and I immediately went into action.

I put on my superhero cape, clasped my hands tightly together and prayed/meditated. I focused on the Light inside me and covered my friend and her family in a blanket of Light. I asked for the Universe to protect her and for the darkness to flee.

I then sent her a message telling her how much I loved her and that she’s not dealing with this battle alone. I’m with her and nothing can defeat her.

When people are in the pits of despair and darkness is all around them, they feel hope slipping away. That’s where we come in. We’re the Light Bearers and our flame needs to burn bright for them to see their way through the darkness.

Call up your friend/family member and tell them you’re with them in the darkness. Hold their hand, hug them, kiss them, do whatever it takes to let them know you care.

Let your flame burn through the darkness. Share the Light.

MRS N

I am Thankful for All of Those Who Said No to Me #gratitude #grateful #MondayBlogs


thankful

What do you do when you encounter someone saying no?

I have met a lot of people who’ve said no to me.  As a writer, I encounter a lot of no.  It’s part of the business, so they say.  Do I let it get me down?  Do I quit this whole writing gig?  NO!  It teaches me patience to keep going.

4 Things I am Thankful for Today:

-I am thankful to my second grade teacher who said I couldn’t draw a dinosaur like I did.  He taught me to fall in love with art of all mediums and to not listen to critics.

-I am thankful for all the men who broke my heart and said no to me.  That led me straight into the arms of my beloved MR N and I am eternally happy! 😉

-I am thankful for all the managers/bosses who said I wasn’t good enough and would be stuck in the job for a lifetime.  They nudged me to living out my dream job of being a full-time writer.

-I am thankful to all the people who said I couldn’t do something because I was a girl/woman.  I have proven that anyone can do anything if they set their mind and heart to it!

When dealing with adversity, what are you thankful for?  Do you have a tough boss, teacher, co-worker, friend, family member or a stranger telling you no?

Don’t get mad at them for not being able to see the greatness in you.  Instead, use that as inspiration to be like Wayne Dyer and do it yourself!  Who knows what inventions you will create?

MRS N

What Are You Grateful For This #Thanksgiving? #grateful #MondayBlogs


thanksgiving-square

American Thanksgiving is ten days away and my thoughts turn grateful. I’m so blessed in so many ways and my heart overflows with gratitude.

What are you grateful for?

Two years ago, I did 26 days of gratitude and it was so good for me. It changed my perspective on life, love and those less fortunate than me. Here’s the link to all 26 posts:

https://princessofthelight.wordpress.com/tag/gratitude-a-to-z/

I’m so grateful to each of you. You’ve got a special place in my heart and you’re simply wonderful.

Again I ask, what are you grateful for? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please share in the comments below.

MRS N

Strength Does Not Come From Winning #inspiration #MondayBlogs #motivation


strength-as

Where does your strength comes from?

My strength to overcome all of life’s challenges comes from within. No matter what happens, I’m MRS N and no one can change that. I’m a Light-Bearer and am filled with love, peace and happiness.

What about you?

Are you chasing a dream, trying to figure out what you want to do and/or finding yourself at a crossroad? 

Dig deep within yourself and you will find the strength to accomplish anything you set your mind to. Nothing is impossible and when you’re exhausted beyond belief, your truth will give you the endurance to keep going.

MRS N

Life is One Big Adventure… Just Ask Nujeen! #inspiration #MondayBlogs #Motivation


Greece. Refugees arrive on the Island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean from Turkey

Imagine fleeing for your life: do you hang tight to your Light and see it as one big adventure?

This past weekend I read this article:

http://www.macleans.ca/culture/books/the-incredible-journey-of-nujeen-mustafa/http://www.macleans.ca/culture/books/the-incredible-journey-of-nujeen-mustafa/

Here is the full article:

Thirty-eight refugees in an inflatable dinghy; one of them, Nujeen Mustafa, in a wheelchair. Other passengers prayed and cried and bailed water with shoes, but Mustafa, despite getting bruised in her turbulent chair, imagined herself as Poseidon aboard his chariot. “I looked at it as a teenager would,” she says. “As an adventure. As something fun.”

Mustafa, 16, escaped Syria last year with her sister. She has now written a book, Nujeen, with BBC foreign correspondent Christina Lamb, who previously co-authored I Am Malala. Mustafa has cerebral palsy, making her muscles spasm and preventing her from walking. Yet, in her story, her disability is a remarkably minor subject—one more challenge in the journey of a refugee, who navigates nine countries and meets a cross-section of humanity, while largely subsisting on sugar cubes. “It didn’t give me much time to think of the wheelchair,” she says.

Her disability gets the most attention during her pre-war life in Aleppo. No elevator serviced her apartment building, so her family had to carry her up and down stairs. She didn’t attend school, for she endured ferocious asthma attacks. She spent her years memorizing facts from National Geographic documentaries and American soap operas, particularly Days of Our Lives. Her family of eight children lived off money from her eldest brothers. Her only friend, temporarily, was a pet tortoise. Doctors didn’t help; when Mustafa got casts to try to lengthen her Achilles tendons, she compared the treatment to “something from one of al-Assad’s torture chambers.”

Soon, the topic of Mustafa’s wheelchair faded beneath gunfire. Her family tried moving to a quieter city, where rebels offered cantaloupe-eating contests for kids. But they decided Mustafa and one of her sisters, Nasrine, should flee (other siblings took different routes), destination Germany, getting pushed along the way. The sisters flew to Turkey, took taxis and buses to Lesbos, at one point helped by Moroccan men who created a pulley system to haul Mustafa up a cliff. They sealed their “all-precious phone” in a party balloon, boarded a boat and crossed the ocean, arriving on the island of Kos just two hours after Alan Kurdi’s body washed up on that shore. Blissfully unaware, Mustafa laughed in delight of the boat ride. “You need a psychiatrist, laughing here,” another passenger spat.

Her spirit stayed buoyant. “She was the first that any of us covering the crisis had come across in a wheelchair,” says Christina Lamb, who encountered her later at the Hungarian border, on the day Hungary closed its doors. Mustafa considered her and her sisters as “five-star refugees,” even though they stayed at camps where staff wrote numbers on her wrist in Sharpie (she became 81 at a camp in Slovenia; 702 in Austria). “I’ve never met anyone whose positivity shines through as much as hers,” says Lamb, who tracked down Mustafa and learned her story. “She really played it down,” says Lamb, meaning her wheelchair. “Her focus was much more on the determination to get to Germany and what she got to see.”

Ironically, as a refugee, Mustafa started to fit in socially like never before. Her command of “soap opera English” qualified her to serve as a translator for other migrants, and although her brother planned to fly her from Croatia to Germany due to her wheelchair, she begged him to make the journey by land—“like everyone else.” She explains, “Going on a plane would’ve been boring. It’s just flying. Doing a journey across Europe seemed much more fun.”

Through Slovenia and Austria she came, finally, to Cologne, where she has settled with her siblings and their children. She adores “Mama Merkel”—“she’s proving to be just as good as the queen of Palmyra”—and she Skypes her own mother and father each day. Her parents are still in Syria but hope to reunite with the family in Germany. Wheelchair basketball offers exercise; otherwise, Mustafa drives an electronic, royal blue machine that she calls her car. She attends a school for students with disabilities and plans to become an astronaut. “I want to float,” she says. “I’ve always been intrigued with space—the quietness and silence of space.”

Beginning last November, Mustafa recounted her journey by emails, Skype calls and meetings with Lamb. “Even intimate details had to be included in the book,” says Mustafa. “I tried my best to be some kind of messenger.” As a minor with asylum, she cannot leave Germany for a book tour but finds adventure regardless. She recently crossed the Rhine River. “We got some water on the boat,” she says, “but just some drops.”

 

What an inspiring story! I was so moved by this and it made my problems seem trivial. I have a whole new perspective to obstacles and troubles.

What if, like Nujeen, we approach life like a teenager and see it for the great adventure it is?

No matter what, go through life with fresh eyes and a brand new perspective! Laugh, seek joy, spread your Light. Nothing can stop you!

MRS N

Discover the Three R’s That Combat Stress in Your Life #inspiration #MondayBlogs


rejuvenate refresh and recover

Are you taking care of yourself?

It’s a super busy time of the year for me. If I didn’t take care of myself, I’d be a mess. The stress alone would chew my insides to bits.

In order to combat stress, I make time throughout the day to relax, recharge and rejuvenate. Every hour or so, I get up from my desk and walk around. I go sit out on my solarium and watch the trees sway in the breeze. In the evening, I relax with MR N. I get a good night’s sleep (7.5 hours a night).

What do you do to take care of yourself? Share in the comments below.

Take a few minutes every day to relax and you, too, will be taking care of yourself. 🙂

MRS N

Are You Drenched in Life’s Storms? Break Out Your Umbrella and Smile #Inspiration #MondayBlogs


stormy life

Life is filled with storms. Most of us think of storms as a bad thing but in reality, it’s all part of the journey. Think about it this way: We wouldn’t have the Grand Canyon without the Ice Age. Glaciers covered the world and it was bitterly cold. When the ice finally receded, they left behind the breath-taking beauty we call the Grand Canyon.

Are you in the midst of a storm right now?

Take out your umbrella and stay dry. Brace yourself and remember this:

Don’t confuse your path with your destination. Just because it’s stormy now doesn’t mean that you aren’t headed for sunshine.

🙂 MRS N 🙂

Kindness is More Valuable Than Gold! #inspiration #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation


kindness-tips

Kindness is more valuable than gold.

It is!

Don’t believe me?

Think back on your life and all the times kindness was gifted to you. Every kind act, from a helping hand to a word of encouragement, is something to be treasured.

I value kindness more than money, cars and houses. I tend to be drawn to people who show kindness without hesitation. Their Light shines brighter than those that don’t.

Fill your heart with this treasure (kindness) and you will be richer than King Midas.

MRS N

Feel Your Heart Beating and Remember Your Purpose #inspiration #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation


love-heart-yellow-photography

Place your hand over your heart.

Feel that?

That’s called purpose.

You’re alive for a reason.

Don’t give up.

Ever!

MRS N

Confidence is Your Best Accessory #inspiration #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation


comfortable-skin

Are you comfortable in your own skin?

Confidence in who you are is the best accessory any person can have.

Be comfortable in your own skin is about seeing yourself as a person of beauty. We all have flaws but all I see is beauty. Your Light shines brightly and it’s one of the things I love best about you.

When you are truly comfortable in your own skin, not everyone will like you, but you won’t care about it one bit!

What’s your advice to others on being more comfortable in their own skin? Do you have any tricks that help you exude confidence without being cocky? Share in the comments below!

MRS N