Thursday, April 28, 2011

Aromatherapy for Work & Home

Today has been a crappy and stressful day. A now, former employee decided to make a run for it. He didn't want to sign the exit interview form and just took off. I'm just going to have to add this crazy exit to my list. One guy left a note stating that everything is "bullshit" and much much more. This guy is not my employee. He wasn't pissed off at me. I barely knew the guy. I just work here...leave me alone. I know nothing.

Anyway, it is time to destress. I found this article and I hope it helps me and others. :P

Aromatherapy for Work & Home

Whether you're a teacher, doctor, or stay-at-home mom, life moves pretty fast, and the daily stresses and anxieties that build up can sometimes become overwhelming. Choose a natural de-stressor by burning aromatherapy soy candles to create a warm and relaxing mood around your home or office.

Aromatherapy is an ancient practice that uses essential oils, meaning the purest essence of a plant, to produce physical and psychological effects. The particular plant combination that is used will depend on the desired effect. In addition to essential plant oils, aromatherapy employs other natural ingredients such as salts, cold pressed vegetable oils, sugars, milk powders, clays and mud.

If stress at work is making you tired and anxious, use aromatherapy soy candles that contain lavender or chamomile to create a relaxing nighttime environment. Alternately, peppermint, rosemary and ginger are good scents to consider for more energy. Grapefruit, lemon and orange scents are thought to bring happiness and peace, and countless other combinations can be used for many types of aromatherapy.

Some commonly used herbs are sage, rosemary and eucalyptus, while others prefer sweet scents like vanilla, cinnamon and coffee. You need only choose the combinations that are most pleasing to you and that create the desired mood effect.

All natural candles are the best kind to use for aromatherapy, and many kinds of soy candles are available that are kind to the environment. Aromatherapy soy candles are made from 100% vegetable wax, an energy source that is completely biodegradable and renewable. Soy candles are safer and cleaner than petroleum-based, paraffin candles, and burn just as long. Paraffin is a by-product of petroleum refining processes. Therefore, traditional paraffin candles may release harmful petroleum pollutants, some of which are known by the EPA to be carcinogens. This is what the black residue sometimes seen on walls and surfaces near to the candle is.

Because soy candles are made from all natural, minimally processed materials, they burn much cleaner and do not release harmful chemicals into the air. Usually, all natural candles use a lead-free, cotton or hemp wick and are free from chemical dyes. However, it is important to check with the particular manufacturer before choosing an aromatherapy soy candle.

When burning soy aromatherapy candles it's important to consider safety. Never leave a lit candle unattended or within reach of young ones. Always burn candles on a heat-resistant surface and away from any flammable objects. Do not burn near wind or draft. Before using, cut the wick of the candle to 1/4" in length and do not move candle while it is lit. Aromatherapy soy candles should be kept out of direct sunlight and stored at temperatures below 80 degrees.

All natural candles using essential oils for fragrance are an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to induce relaxation, improve vitality, and increase happiness on a daily basis. Choose the right scents for your home or office, or give the gift of aromatherapy to a friend or family member. Use aromatherapy soy candles daily to enhance your mood, because sometimes the most effective remedies are the simplest ones.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Listmania® Lists

Listmania® Lists
Listmania Lists include products you find interesting. Maybe there's a short stack of books you always keep at your bedside, albums you'd want to take to a desert island, or a "kit" of various things--manuals, computer peripherals, instructional videos--that helped you start a home business. You needn't have purchased these items from Each list can cover all kinds of categories, and can be as specific ("Dorm Room Essentials for Every Freshman") or as general ("The Best Novels I've Read This Year") as you like.

You can include any item on Go ahead and create a favorite item list now to help other customers discover products that you enjoy.

Please note that opinions expressed in the lists are the opinions of customers and not necessarily the opinions of

Are you an indie author with a book up on Amazon kindle? Do you have a listmania? If not, you really, really, really should make a list. Did you count how many reallys I had listed. I'm sorry, "really" is a bad word in the literary world. Listmania lists are a great way to gain some views to your book(s).

If you are making friends with other authors, you should consider collaborating on a few lists.

Check out the list below as an example for Amazon's Listmania.

The Best Psychological Thrillers for the Kindle

Adaptation (film)

Adaptation (film 2002)

I watched the film Adaptation last night and I thought it was very interesting. Interesting is not the right word. Bizarre, unusual, heavy, weird...those words don't even come close.

From Wikipedia (The source of all knowledge)
Adaptation. is a 2002 American comedy-drama film directed by Spike Jonze and written by Charlie Kaufman. The film is based on Susan Orlean's non-fiction book The Orchid Thief through self-referential events. The film stars Nicolas Cage as Charlie and Donald Kaufman, Meryl Streep as Susan, with Chris Cooper, Cara Seymour, Brian Cox, Tilda Swinton, Ron Livingston and Maggie Gyllenhaal. The film tells the story of Charlie Kaufman's difficult struggle to adapt The Orchid Thief into a film. In addition, Orlean romances with John Laroche while Charlie enlists the help of his twin brother Donald.

You don't normally see a screenwriter make himself a main character. Add a fictional twin brother to the mix and now things are really getting heavy. Whoa, this is heavy. There's that word again; "heavy". Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the earth's gravitational pull? Whoops, wrong movie.

This was a unique way to adapt a book into film. Anyway, the film is worth a viewing.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Republican Ron Paul to explore presidential run

Republican Ron Paul to explore presidential run

Ron Paul Revolution! :)

The Grumpy Gardener Blog

And now for something a little different. I got tired of looking at my previous post. I just want to go to Taco Bell and buy fifty bean burritos but G.W. Jefferies is poor. No money = no bean burritos.

Um, okay. That was sad. To cheer myself up I often visit The Grumpy Gardener.

I'm a fan of plants and gardening. I don't know a lot about it but I do appreciate the beauty of the outside world. Work sucks (the non writing job) and being outside feels good. I'm not locked away in my prison. Feeling the sun and working in the garden makes me feel...better. Anyway, The Grumpy Gardner is a blog filled with humor and information. Check it out.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Not only does Taco Bell have beef they also have balls

Note: Free advertisement for TACO BELL

Taco Bell demands an apology

Not only does Taco Bell have beef they also have balls. Taco Bell was sued because some people didn't think Taco Bell was using beef. I dunno what these people claimed the "meat" to be but they said it wasn't beef. So Taco Bell put in millions of dollars to counteract this claim. The lawsuit was dropped and now Taco Bell wants an apology.

I doubt that this is going to happen. Taco Bell...I love you. Those bean burritos are so yummy. Just don't get greedy. I understand that this was a mini PR nightmare but I think you have proved your point. Make more tacos and burritos and move forward.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Wind Changed As I Lay Dying revisited

In a few days, The Wind Changed As I Lay Dying will be available again to the world. A few changes have been made but most of the original content is still intact.


The Wind Changed as I Lay Dying is a collection of eighty-nine poems straight from the heart. Through good times and bad, the poetry of G.W. Jefferies describes personal experiences, dreams, hopes, and fears that strike a chord in all of us. His insights run the gamut from life and death, through hunger and starvation, to life's most precious moments. The Wind Changed as I Lay Dying mirrors the human spirit, highlighting our foibles from his unique perspective.

Hunter S. Thompson on Conan O'Brien

I'm a huge fan of Thompson and Conan so I'm sharing this youtube video. Conan and HST drink and shoot guns. Looks like a lot of fun. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Demon is in the Details

I highly recommend this book! Lots of fun to read! Details below.



Stella Campbell has returned to Silverton, Georgiato bury her wicked witch of an aunt. But is she strong enough to endure what's to come?

Zane Weathers has been around a long time, like, two thousand years. But he's never met anyone who touches his warrior soul, like Stella.

Together they face not only personal obstacles, but obstacles straight from hell!

Amazon Kindle

Barnes and Noble


Zane stood firm for a moment and looked at Stella. The soft yellow rays from the porch light cast her in an ethereal glow. Stella Campbell sure
was pretty with her wild dark auburn locks and gorgeous green eyes. Still, the sorrow that lurked in those jade orbs touched him. God, he hoped he could help her.

Still, when their gazes met, there was no denying the pop of electricity between them and despite the pleasant warmth that spread across his body and reminded him he was a man, he knew better than to make her more than just a client. He reined in his physical reaction and took a step back, ready to escape. "Seven a.m.too early?"

The question went unanswered at the sound of spinning gravel and the beams from a set of headlights cut through the canopy of darkness. He turned. A police car pulled to a stop beside his pick-up. Zane slid Stella a glance. Her face had gone white; even her soft, pouty mouth seemed to blanch. This time when he reached out and placed what he hoped was a reassuring hand on the small of her back, she didn't pull away from the contact. In fact, she leaned into him and damn it, he liked it.

His heart kicked up a notch and a protective heat encased him. Yep, there was no denying it. He was here for her and judging by the way she shook at the officer's approach, she was more of a wreck than he imagined.

A portly cop rounded the car. His large belly hung over his gun belt, hiding the buckle from all except those with supernatural, x-ray vision.
"Evenin'" the officer said, his pudgy face tinged red with the effort it took to climb the stairs. Silverton's finest certainly needed to lay off the Moon Pies and R.C. Colas.

"Evening," Zane said, sliding his arm around Stella's waist, savoring the feel of the trim arc beneath his hand.

"Officer Lankford," Stella said, her voice quaking. "What can I do for you?"

Lankford ran stubby fingers through his graying hair. "Sorry about Ms. Lou," he said eyeing the house.

"Thank you," she managed and looked away. Was that shame he sensed? Silence echoed through the still evening air.

"Is there a problem?" Zane asked, hoping to ease the tension that racked her soft, curvy body. Damn it, he needed to stop.

"Not really," Lankford remarked shifting his weight on stout legs. "There's just been a rash of-" He looked over his shoulder as if he feared the shadows in the nearby woods listened to his every word. "…a rash of animal sacrifices."

At Stella's sharp intake of breath, Zane glanced her way. If possible her face grew paler, her skin almost transparent. "A-Animal sacrifices?" Her voice was weak and her fear apparent by the trembling of her delicate jaw.

"Yes. I wanted to advise you that what with the solstice and all coming up, you know them silly kids pretending to be pagans and devil worshippers…well,

you might want to keep your eyes peeled."

She nodded. "Are they happening here? On Lou's property?"

"Nope, but real close." He pointed south. "Over by Paulson's farm."

"Oh, that is close," she whispered.

"What sort of sacrifice? Cat, dog?" Zane asked. He glanced at Stella and saw by her expression she thought he was a freakin' ghoul. The truth was you

could tell a lot about a devil worshipper by the animal he chose. God, he hoped Lankford didn't say goat.

"Some chickens, a cow, but mostly goats."

"Damn," Zane mumbled.

"Those poor animals," Stella said, her hand coming to rest on her chest.

Lankford nodded. "Well, just wanted to give you a heads up. Call dispatch if you see anything at all strange, all right? And Ms. Campbell, try not to get into any trouble."

"Oh, yeah. Okay," she replied but her words sounded weak, her breathing heavy. The warning apparently lost on her as she stared past the fat cop and toward the direction of Paulson's farm.

"Good." The officer tilted his head toward them and ambled off leaving Zane to wonder just what sort of evil had brought him to this place.


An Army brat, Harris Channing traveled around the Southern USand Europeas a child before settling in Tennesseeas an adult. Married with two children, she enjoys her family, reading, writing, and gardening.

Personal links:


Grab a copy today:
Amazon Kindle

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Apolo Drakuvich is on today!

I'm so happy! My book is on! Woooo hooooo!

Monday, April 18, 2011

WOW!!!! Nicole Richie Owns More Than 200 Pairs of Sunglasses!

Nicole Richie Owns More Than 200 Pairs of Sunglasses! WOW! Who cares? I don't care. I really don't. But for some odd and strange reason, Yahoo cares and thinks you should care too. Nicole Richie is rich. She owns lots and lots of sunglasses. Ok, I get it.

I just watched the remake of Arthur last Wednesday. It was good...entertaining. If I had a bunch of money I would buy the The Delorean Time Machine and the bat mobile...just like Arthur. I would buy lots and lots of useless things.

The point is...with can buy lots of stuff...for fun...and with no real purpose but to amuse yourself.

Thank you, Yahoo! and Nicole Richie.

Friday, April 15, 2011

PixYPHUS trailer

PixYPHUS on iTunes

In an earlier post I mentioned a cool game, PixYPHUS, but I forgot to include the trailer to it. Check it out!

Make Money With Writing Awards - Three Practical Strategies That Bring You Extra Income

By John Yeoman

To win writing awards for money, you firstly must enter a respected contest in which you have a fair opportunity of winning. Is this obvious? No. A huge number of optimistic competition entrants post their stories year after year to award schemes in which the odds of anyone winning whatsoever are distant.

In other words they're ripoffs. How do you spot a competition scam? Take a look at three tell-tale hints to a swindle:

1. Steer clear of the contest that tries to hard-sell you immediately on some other service or product.

For a mere few dollars to defray overheads your hard work will be incorporated into an anthology, they say. Then you're able to purchase copies in a hardbound format for the special price of several more dollars each (or, in gold-stamped buckskin, for just $199!).

But if your entry is part of a bigger work, the organizers will commend you excessively and offer to put out your whole work and promote it online where customers will flock to purchase it. Purportedly, agents frequently scan the website, they say, eager to discover new natural talent. (Ho!) Moreover, the promoters will distribute copies between literary scouts who may have an 'inside track' to the top publishers! (Ho! And ho again.)

Surely, all that is definitely worth your entire life savings, paid for up-front, they'll say. (I leave the reply to you.)

Obviously, this is vanity publishing. Each and every author realizes the folly of it and you can read about it in appalling detail via a Google investigation along the lines: 'vanity publishing scams'.

Unhappily, it's very common for vanity publishers to advertize award schemes solely to tempt naive writers. So beware of any competition promoter who asks cash from you to 'publish' your work.

2. Avoid any competition that would like to take the copyright of your story.

Why any contest organizer would want to thieve a writer's copyright, defeats me. However, many do.

(Amazingly, it may also be legal. The practice is widespread in university work. A number of academic journals not only refuse to pay for articles but additionally thieve their copyright. So a writer needs to plead the journal's authorisation to republish his or her own articles in other places. Unworldly lecturers might tolerate such chicanery, but we should not.)

3. Be wary of the competition that, in any respect, signifies that if you purchase the promoter's other products and services you will have an improved chance of succeeding in the contest.

There shouldn't be objection to organizers who also market, for instance, books, critiques or mentoring services at a small cost. Perhaps that's their main business. No one criticises a highly regarded creative writing magazine for promoting, in their own journals and web sites, items alongside their award schemes.

But they do not signify acquiring their services will give you a an advantage in the contests. Stories in a respected contest are judged solely on their own unique merits, needless to say.

Any time you apply these simple checks, and the contest nevertheless looks honest, go for it. Keep posting fine stories to competitions like that, every week, and you have a win-win contest method!

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Post #170 - Ignore the errors either in thought or language

Note: Ignore the errors either in thought or language.

Every morning I have to turn on to Cemetery Road to get to work and each and every morning I'm always a little depressed. Usually, I'm too tired or too late to really think about it but the thoughts of sadness pop into my head. When it comes to lunch time, I always ponder the name of the road and the little cemetery that rests next to it.

Every morning, a dumb driver or two passes me up at forty mph on the right hand side and on the shoulder. I have to wait for oncoming traffic to pass so I can turn on to that depressing road. They don't want to wait. These dumb asses don't care if it is dangerous. I always honk my horn and sometimes I flash my lights. Other mornings I flip them the bird. I think it just pisses them off if they are paying attention.

Dead possums and skunks are always squished and I swerve to try and avoid the remains. I used to see a bunch of dogs but now they are gone. I'm not sure what happened to them. They were ugly creatures.

It's a thirty mph zone on Cemetery road but most people go at least forty five or fifty. The road is narrow and dangerous for anything above thirty. Nobody seems to care.

So what is my point? Why am I sharing this? I don't know. It's probably a sign to change jobs. In the grand scheme of things this is a life message that should not be ignored. The signs are there. They are shown to me every work day.

Something is wrong with this picture.

What happened to common sense? I was driving home from work the other day and some teenager who was on his cell phone was crossing the street. Cars were very close to this moron. He did not look both ways. He did not seem to care. A car or two slowed down and the teen who should have known better lived another day.

Another incident happened with some teenage girl who was standing on the painted line getting ready to cross the street. She looked both ways but was standing in the middle of the road. I censored myself here. I meant to say...standing in the middle of the fucking road. Ah yes, that feels better.

Don't think I don't hold back while I'm in my car. The swear words start flying. The so-called "bad" words. Why are words bad? I don't get it. Why can't we say bad words when we are little but are perfectly fine when we are adults (or more or less fine)? I think if you get As in English classes you can say what words you want in English.

I was at the movies last night and a bunch of dumb asses got in to the movie and they started talking. Then later on some dude out of the same group was talking on his phone. I didn't say anything. I thought it though. I was afraid. Maybe they are in some sort of cartel and I didn't want to die because I wanted silence while I watched Arthur. It wasn't worth it, but I was pissed.

Oh well...At least life gives me stuff to write about.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Carolyn's Disease is Coming

G.W. Jefferies next book project is Carolyn's Disease. More details to come soon.

A Bestselling Writer & Acclaimed Writing Coach Shares Her #1 Tip For Getting Started And Avoiding Writer's Block

Google the phrase sloppy letter and diatribes against the practice of careless correspondence pop up. So it will probably come as a surprise to learn that bestselling writer Linden Gross advises all her writing coach clients to write her sloppy letters. "The sloppier, the better," she says.

"Most writers are so concerned about the quality of their work that the quality of their work suffers," says Gross, who draws on her background in editing, writing and teaching when working with others. "Ideas and creativity don't flow in the face of self-criticism. And how do you discover your own voice if you're constantly judging its flaws? All that spawns is doubt and eventually immobilization and writer's block. The Sloppy Letter to Linden diffuses all those self-imposed constraints."

The rules are simple. Clients can't worry about spelling, grammar, language, sentence structure, repetition, logic or anything else. They just write as fast and as long as they want, or until they've brought Linden up to speed about themselves and their project, including why it's important to them, what they're trying to say and/or accomplish, and any other background information that might be helpful.

Some people finish this brain dump in less than an hour. Others work on it for months. "Whether they wind up with whole chunks of prose that drop right into their manuscripts, find the voice they've spent months or years struggling to cultivate, or simply relax, without exception writers find the exercise liberating," says Gross. "After all, how can you sweat something that's supposed to be sloppy?

"Try the sloppy letter exercise the next time you need to jumpstart—or restart—your writing," she adds. "Or join the growing number of writers who are turning to writing coaches for help."

People often assume that hiring a writing coach implies that they're incapable of writing on their own and need hand-holding. That may be true, and there's nothing wrong with that. But a writing coach relationship extends way beyond encouraging aspiring or veteran writers, holding them accountable or even teaching them about the craft of writing. It's like having a partner on their creative team who has managed to retain the perspective that can so easily be lost when immersed in a big project. Writers are in the trees by definition. A writing coach still has a sense of the forest as a whole.

"To choose a writing coach who will work for you, first find one who shares your vision," says Gross. "Second, find a writing coach who fulfills your needs. Just as no two writers work the same way, writing coaches have different styles. Some writing coaches don't even read what their clients write, which puzzles me to no end. That's like writing about food you never taste."

Gross does more than read her clients' work. She offers a willing ear, feedback, encouragement and when absolutely necessary a reality check. And though each writer has his or her strengths and weaknesses that need to be addressed in a manner befitting the person and the situation, there's one piece of advice that she gives every writer: Quit judging yourself and your work so harshly.

She believes that a writing coach should:

Critique pages already written and provide ongoing feedback re: the growing pile of new ones;

Help writers organize their thoughts, enrich their work and find their voice—whether they're just beginning or have a full draft;

Facilitate a project's development, including brainstorming about ideas, story arc, plot, character development and more;

Help design a realistic schedule and hold clients accountable to target goals and dates;

Keep them motivated and focused;

Give perspective when they become derailed or discouraged;

Provide writing tips to help clients focus as they work on the next installment;

Direct rewrite(s)—a fact of life for every writer, no matter how experienced;

Guide writers through the publishing (or self-publishing) maze;

Encourage them every step of the way.

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (Trailer)

If you are interested in learning about the great Hunter S. Thompson you should watch Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. I believe it is streaming on Netflix. I really enjoyed it...kind of...different.

Editorial Reviews from :)

After Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Taxi to the Dark Side, Hunter S. Thompson seems like an odd subject for Alex Gibney to take on. Unlike the Enron executives or Baghram guards, the gonzo journalist didn't bilk old ladies out of their savings or torture Iraqi citizens. Nonetheless, the director's follow-up to the Oscar-winning Taxi shares an interest in the uses and abuses of power. Gibney recounts the major biographical details, from birth to suicide, but his film really comes alive when he gets to the late-1960s. Though Thompson remains best known for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Gonzo concentrates on his coverage of the 1968 and '72 presidential elections. The author was particularly excited about George McGovern, and chose advocacy over non-partisan reporting. McGovern, Pat Buchanan, Ralph Steadman, Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner, and others testify to Thompson's enthusiasm for the South Dakota senator--and hatred for Nixon. Gibney argues that the fire started to die after Hunter witnessed the brutal treatment of protesters at Chicago’s Democratic Convention. Disillusionment led to an erosion of his talent and an escalation of his self-destructive tendencies. As Johnny Depp, who played him in Fear and Loathing, reads passages from his work, the doctor's friends and family provide a glimpse of the insecure man behind the brash image. Gibney's evenhanded depiction may disappoint true believers hoping for a glorified puff piece, but Thompson's ability to speak truth to power with wit and passion comes through loud and clear. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Description

Oscar® winning director Alex Gibney presents a probing look into the uncanny life of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson inventor of gonzo journalism and author of the landmark Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Accompanied by an iconic soundtrack, this fast moving, wildly entertaining film addresses the major touchstones in Thompson s life from his intense and ill fated relationship with the Hell s Angels to his deep involvement in Senator George McGovern s 1972 presidential election.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

An Interview with Christina Katz

An Interview with Christina Katz

Christina Katz is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform and Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids for Writer’s Digest Books. She has written hundreds of articles for national, regional, and online publications, presents at literary and publishing events around the country, and is a monthly columnist for the Willamette Writer. Katz publishes a weekly e-zine, The Prosperous Writer, and hosts The Northwest Author Series. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia College Chicago and a BA from Dartmouth College. A “gentle taskmaster” to her hundred or so students each year, Katz channels over a decade of professional writing experience into success strategies that help writers get on track and get published.

Q: What is a platform?

CK: Long story short: Your platform communicates your expertise to others, and it works all the time so you don’t have to. Your platform includes your Web presence, any public speaking you do, the classes you teach, the media contacts you’ve established, the articles you’ve published, and any other means you currently have for making your name and your future books known to a viable readership. If others already recognize your expertise on a given topic or for a specific audience or both, then that is your platform.

A platform-strong writer is a writer with influence. Get Known explains in plain English, without buzzwords, how any writer can stand out from the crowd of other writers and get the book deal. The book clears an easy-to-follow path through a formerly confusing forest of ideas so that even the most inexperienced platform-builder can get started building a solid platform.

Q: Why is platform development important for writers today?

CK: Learning about and working on a solid platform plan gives writers an edge in selling books. Agents and editors have known this for years and have been looking for platform-strong writers and getting them deals. But from the writer’s point-of-view, there has not been enough information on platform development to help unprepared writers put their best platform forward.

Now suddenly, there is a flood of information on platform, not all necessarily comprehensive, useful or well organized for folks who don’t have a platform yet. Writers can promote themselves in a gradual, grounded manner without feeling like they are selling out. I do it, I teach other writers to do it, I write about it on an ongoing basis, and I encourage all writers to heed the trend. And hopefully, I communicate how in a practical, step-by-step manner that can serve any writer. Something we never hear enough is that platform development is an inside job requiring concentration, thoughtfulness and a consideration of personal values.

Q: Why was a book on platform development needed?

CK: At every conference I presented, I took polls and found that about 50 percent of attendees expressed a desire for a clearer understanding of platform. Some were completely in the dark about it, even though they were attending a conference in hopes of landing a book deal. Writers often underestimate how important platform is and they often don’t leverage the platform they already have as much as they could. Since book deals are granted largely based on the impressiveness of a writer’s platform, I wanted to address the communication gap.

My intention was that Get Known would be the book every writer would want to read before attending a writer’s conference, and that it would increase any writer’s chances of landing a book deal whether they pitched in-person or by query. As I wrote the book, I saw how this type of information was being offered online as “insider secrets” at outrageous prices. No one should have to pay thousands of dollars for the information they can find in my book for the price of a paperback! Seriously. You can even ask your library to order it and read it for free.

Q: What is the key idea behind Get Known Before the Book Deal?

CK: Getting known doesn’t take a lot of money, but it does take an understanding of platform, and the investment of time, skills and consistent effort to build one. Marketing experience and technological expertise are also not necessary. I show how to avoid the biggest time and money-waster, which is not understanding who your platform is for and why – and hopefully save writers from the confusion and inertia that can result from either information overload or not taking the big picture into account before they jump into writing for traditional publication.

Q: Why is there so much confusion about platform among writers?

Often writers with weak platforms are over-confident that they can impress agents and editors, while others with decent platforms are under-confident or aren’t stressing their platform-strength enough. Writers have to wear so many hats these days, we can use all the help we can get. Platform development is a muscle, and the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Anyone can do it, but most don’t or won’t because they either don’t understand what is being asked for, or they haven’t overcome their own resistance to the idea. Get Known offers a concrete plan that can help any writer make gains in the rapidly changing and increasingly competitive publishing landscape.

Q: What is the structure of the book and why did you choose it?

CK: Get Known has three sections: section one is mostly stories and cautionary tales, section two has a lot of to-do lists any writer should be able to use, and section three is how to articulate your platform clearly and concisely so you won’t waste a single minute wondering if you are on the right track.

Most of the platform books already out there were for authors, not writers or aspiring authors. To make platform evolution easy to comprehend, I dialed the concepts back to the beginning and talked about what it’s like to try and find your place in the world as an author way before you’ve signed a contract, even before you’ve written a book proposal. No one had done that before in a book for writers. I felt writers needed a context in which to chart a course towards platform development that would not be completely overwhelming.

Q: At the front of Get Known, you discuss four phases of the authoring process. What are they?

CK: First comes the platform development and building phase. In this phase you are developing authority and trust. Second comes the book proposal development phase (or if you are writing fiction, the book-writing phase). In this phase, you are leveraging your expertise and your persuasive writing skills. Third, comes the actual writing of the book (for fiction writers this is likely the re-writing of the book). In this phase, you demonstrate that you are a skilled writer, who understands how to craft polished prose. And finally, once the book is published, comes the book marketing and promoting phase. In this final phase, you leverage all your existing influence and connect with as many readers as you can.

Many first-time authors scramble once they get a book deal if they haven’t done a thorough job on the platform development phase. Writers who already have a platform have influence with a fan base, and they can leverage that influence no matter what kind of book they write. Writing a book is a lot easier if you are not struggling to find readers for the book at the same time. Again, agents and editors have known this for a long time.

Q: What are some common platform mistakes writers make?

CK: Here are a few:

• They don’t spend time clarifying who they are to others.
• They don’t zoom in specifically on what they offer.
• They confuse socializing with platform development.
• They think about themselves too much and their audience not enough.
• They don’t precisely articulate all they offer so others get it immediately.
• They don’t create a plan before they jump online.
• They undervalue the platform they already have.
• They are overconfident and think they have a solid platform when they have only made a beginning.
• They burn out from trying to figure out platform as they go.
• They imitate “insider secrets” instead of trusting their own instincts.
• They blog like crazy for six months and then look at their bank accounts and abandon the process as going nowhere.

Suffice it to say that many writers promise publishers they have the ability to make readers seek out and purchase their book. But when it comes time to demonstrate this ability, they can’t deliver.

Q: You write, teach, speak and blog. What motivates you?

My mission is to empower writers to be 100 percent responsible for their writing career success and stop looking to others to do their promotional work for them. Get Known shows writers of every stripe how to become the writer who can not only land a book deal, but also influence future readers to plunk down ten or twenty bucks to purchase their book. It all starts with a little preparation and planning. The rest unfolds from there. But you’ve got to start working on your platform today, if you want to become an author some day. Get Known can help anyone get off to a solid start.

Christina Katz is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform and Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids for Writer’s Digest Books. She has written hundreds of articles for national, regional, and online publications, presents at literary and publishing events around the country, and is a monthly columnist for the Willamette Writer. Katz publishes a weekly e-zine, The Prosperous Writer, and hosts The Northwest Author Series. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia College Chicago and a BA from Dartmouth College. A “gentle taskmaster” to her hundred or so students each year, Katz channels over a decade of professional writing experience into success strategies that help writers get on track and get published. Learn more at

Friday, April 1, 2011

A breathtaking game for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad - PixYPHUS

Check out this fun game. I had a blast with it.

PixYPHUS - By Simon Alexander

Beauty and futility.

Pixyphus has been doomed to push a boulder up a mountain for eternity.

PixYPHUS is based on the Greek myth surrounding Sisyphus, who was condemned by Zeus to an eternity of pushing a boulder up a mountain as punishment for tricking the gods.

PixYPHUS is played by touching the left side of the screen to move Pixyphus left and the right side of the screen to move him right. It is only possible to move left if Pixyphus is pushing the boulder. If the player lets go of the screen, even for just a moment, the boulder will fall.

I look at this game as a living thing, and you can expect it to grow and change according to where my creativity resides.