James Jones $10,000 Fellowship Contest for First-time Fiction Novelists: Entries Close 15 March

The James Jones Fellowship Contest is now in its 25th year. It awards $10,000 to an American writer with a first fiction novel in progress in 2016.

Source: James Jones $10,000 Fellowship Contest for First-time Fiction Novelists: Entries Close 15 March

Advertisements

How to Add a Mailchimp Newsletter to WordPress.Com Blog – with Style!

Great post. Thanks!

Aniko Carmean

The true gift of having a clearly defined definition of success is that you begin to find exactly what you need to achieve that success. I discovered  YOUR FIRST 1000 Copiesby Tim Grahl exactly when I needed a guide for book marketing. I want to get the word out about my books, and I want to do it without being subservient to a cumbersome system I neither understand nor enjoy. Grahl gives me a blueprint to achieve that, and having a newsletter is an integral element in his system. In this post, I share what I’ve learned about setting up a Mailchimp newsletter and integrating it into your (free) WordPress.com blog.

Here are the main points I will cover:

  • Getting started with Mailchimp
  • Customizing Your Mailchimp sign-up form to coordinate with your WordPress.com blog
    • Use Google’s built-in developer tools to find the hexidecimal code for colors on your site
    • Set the font or…

View original post 1,305 more words

How Do We Know if Our #Meditation Practice is “Working”?

How Do We Know if Our #Meditation Practice is “Working”?

man sunrise meditatiion

So many of us learn to meditate and then wonder: how we are supposed to be able to discern the effects of our practice?

More specifically, how can we tell if we are doing it correctly? Or, how do we know if we are meditating for enough time each day? How do we know whether we have the “right” practices and if these the ones we ought to continue doing?

Many of my Tibetan Buddhist meditation teachers have given talks in which these and similar questions arise. The teachers’ responses are usually to turn it around and ask us practitioners to consider these simple “measures” of our practice’s effectiveness:

  • Am I more patient?
  • Am I angry less often?
  • Does compassion arise in me more often and spontaneously?
  • Am I kinder more often and more easily?

Then, if we are studying with a meditation teacher, we are asked to contemplate these questions:

  • Do I have strong faith in my heart in my teacher and in the dharma?
  • Does my teacher come to my mind spontaneously while I am in a sleep state, while dreaming and/or in times of crisis?
  • Do I have less hope and less fear?
  • Do I experience clarity more of the time?

How are YOU doing, by these measures, with your meditation practice? If the answer to most of these questions is “no,” please find a qualified meditation teacher to discuss your practice with you and get you on the right track.

Maybe you need to meditate more time per day or keep your practice time and session length more consistent. Possibly, you need to “mix it up,” change what you’re doing. Get up and walk or go sit outside, change your shrine or altar around.

If you’re chanting or visualizing, maybe you need to return to calm abiding (shamatha). If you’re unfocused, maybe vipassana or mindfulness practices are better for you for a while.

There are over 80,000 methods of meditation and practice for “taming the mind.” One or more of them is right for everyone at some point, but many of us need to change our practices throughout our lifetimes and changing circumstances.

meditation better than nothing

We need a qualified meditation teacher, someone we can trust to guide our practice and help us keep it fresh and effective. Books and groups are great and support our practice, but nothing takes the place of having a spiritual guide.

It is said that the spiritual teacher that fits us best has the key to open our hearts. Merely to hear the teacher’s name or see his/her face, even in a photo, can have a profound effect. I hope you can find the right one for you.

Here is mine: Lama Padma Drimed Norbu (Lama Drimed).

Lama D laughing 2012
May all beings benefit. May he live long and flourish. May all practitioners be so fortunate as to find your living teachers and be able to study under their guidance.

How to choose a spiritual teacher, what kind to select, and how to know if your relationship is worthwhile and effective as well as healthy? Read my review, then get the excellent, comprehensive book by Alexander Berzin, Wise Teacher, Wise Student: Tibetan Approaches to a Healthy Relationship, on Buddhist Door, from last fall (2015): http://www.buddhistdoor.net/features/wise-teacher-wise-student-tibetan-approaches-h

My recommendations are on “SF SIGNAL” “MIND MELD” “This Is What We Want To Read In 2016”!

My recommendations are on “SF SIGNAL” “MIND MELD” “This Is What We Want To Read In 2016”!

Andrea Johnson was kind enough to invite and include me in this amazing roster of #speculative #fiction authors’ recommendations for upcoming spec fiction books we are looking forward to reading this year.

Mine are near the middle of the list, this time.

Visit, comment, subscribe!

http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2016/01/target-113mind-meld-want-read-2016/

What about other 2016 new releases in Speculative Fiction? There are so many lists/books!

Goodreads has a list:
https://www.goodreads.com/genres/new_releases/science-fiction

Here, via Barnes & Noble, some editors/publishers/bookstore owners are tooting their own horns, so to speak (hawking their own company’s books)? First:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/2016-books-sff-editors-want-you-to-read/

then, with lots of overlap, this one:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/42-sff-books-we-cant-wait-to-read-in-2016-in-2-sentences-or-less/

If you’re focused on #Fantasy and want to know when most upcoming releases (from predominantly/exclusively MALE authors, which I’m sure is some kind of weird accident… sure, it is) that are already scheduled are due to be available, use this new-releases calendar (most do not have covers, yet):
http://www.bestfantasybookshq.com/best-fantasy-books-2016/

A much better and more inclusive list, here, from Locus Online:
http://www.locusmag.com/Resources/ForthcomingBooks.html

My First Experiences with #CreateSpace and #Self-Publishing #Print-On-Demand (#POD) #Books

My First Experiences with #CreateSpace and #Self-Publishing #Print-On-Demand (#POD) #Books

Originally published 11/17/15 as a Guest Post for Krysten Lindsay Hager‘s site to honor the upcoming release of the first three Volumes of The Spanners Series in print and Volume III in ebook format November/December, 2015. Thanks, Krysten!

Curiousity. Hubris. Arrogance. Ignorance. Obstinance. Perseverance. Commitment. Obsessiveness. Attentiveness. Perspicaciousness. Collegial support. Desperation. Need. Willingness to fail repeatedly. Tears. Yelling. Tearing hair out. Back aches. Multiple attempts. Luck.

These are what it takes to become a self-publisher who does her own formatting for both ebooks and print-on-demand formats. Oh, yes: especially hubris and collegial support.

After many weeks of learning (a LOT of learning), practicing, attempting, failing, succeeding, failing, continuing, I can honestly say that not many things in my life have ever been so challenging AND so rewarding. Birthing a child comes to mind. Completing my research, writing and publishing for my dissertation fits this as well.

However, I must say that neither of those seems the same kind of satisfying as conquering CreateSpace to generate the three print format versions of The Spanners Series ebooks in the last several weeks. I spent a total of over 100 hours on this project (not kidding) and I’m not finished, yet.

To accomplish these goals, first I started my own imprint, Timult Books.

I created a logo for that via Logo Garden.

logo_1833057_print high rez  transparent

I bought my own ISBNs under that imprint (and got an AMAZING deal on them, thanks to my online community!).

I registered my publishing company with the state of Missouri.

I listed each of my first three novels with Bowkers in their print formats (I can’t list them under Timult Books in their ebook formats because Smashwords and Amazon already do that, apparently, since I didn’t buy my own ISBNs for those).

I solicited and received a template and much advice and lists of do’s and don’ts from many in my online community (whom I’ve already thanked in previous posts).

I worked with my cover artist, the patient and helpful WillowRaven, to create the print covers (“wraps”) for what would appear on the backs and spines (which I hadn’t had to consider, before).

I created new Front Matter (Copyright page, Dedication page, blank pages) and a Series page at the end of my ebooks and print books that list Timult Books as the imprint/publisher (which I am the sole proprietor/owner of, so it’s all still mine).

I chose the paperback format books’ size (5″ x 8″), covers’ finish (glossy) and papers’ color (cream) and notified her of those choices (these were her recommendations).

I reformatted each entire book, but I didn’t know that my over-300 “page” ebooks would come to over 500 pages each! I had to allow for pagination and facing page/Chapter start requirements, running headers, page breaks, specialized margins (for the size and number of pages) and more formatting alterations that ebooks do not require.

logoAuthorsDen

I redid the Table of Contents (SEVERAL TIMES!!!: don’t do this too soon, either!) to put in page numbers (no page numbers in ebooks!).

I notified my cover artist of the number of pages (THIS HAS TO BE EXACT! Don’t tell her/him too soon!).

I researched and chose the price points for Volume I ($2 less than the others two) and Volumes II and III ($19.99).

I put my books through the formatting “review” process and made all changes, then resubmitted.

I ordered the print proof of Volume I. At many’s direction, I read it aloud to check for errors. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!

I was ASTONISHED to discover that I had to make over 500 corrections/ changes (not kidding) to fix mistakes, typos and newly arisen formatting problems as well as to make other edits so that all three Volumes would be in harmony with the formatting (italics, capitalization, phrasing and other language choices) that have become standard for my series by the completion of Volume III but which were NOT “standard” for Volume I at its publication time two years ago or when I published Volume II almost 18 months ago.

I have to do the same read-aloud and resubmit for both Volumes II and III, which are winging their ways to my doorstep and probably are going to arrive by time you read this post.

Pleased to report: so far, great SUCCESS! Volume I Proof copy arrived 11/6/15 and it’s awesome!

TCE proof

—-Volume I, This Changes Everything, is available in print on CreateSpace for $17.99!
PLEASE PURCHASE PRINT FORMAT BOOKS DIRECTLY FROM CreateSpace: I get a larger royalty that way, and your price doesn’t change!
Volume I CreateSpace POD link: https://www.createspace.com/5837347

Volume II (after Thanksgiving):

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

As an ebook, it is PERMAFREE:
Volume I Amazon ebook link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8   
Volume I Smashwords ebook link:https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197

Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse. When Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are.

Clara is selected to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty. The Many Worlds Collective holos train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers, communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet, eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries, convene a new group of Global Leaders, and deal with family’s and friends’ reactions. 

In what multiple timelines of the ever-expanding multiverse do Clara and her long-time love, Epifanio Dang, get to be together and which leave Clara alone and lonely as the leader of Earth?

This Changes Everything spans the 30-year story of Clara’s term as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, continuing in nine more Volumes of The Spanners Series.

Are YOU ready for the changes?

—-Volumes II and III are in process (I have to check and fix anything via the print proofs, then resubmit and we’re on) and right behind that one, each at $19.99.

—-Volume II, This Changes My Family and My life Forever, becomes available during or right after Thanksgiving week.  
Volume II CreateSpace POD link: https://www.createspace.com/5844431

Volume III: (after Dec. 7):

final cover print

Available as an ebook for $3.99:
Volume II Amazon ebook link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KU5Q7KC
Volume II Smashwords ebook link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424969

Intrigued by multiple timelines, aliens, psi skills, romance and planetary change? Clara and the alien “Band” are back.

Now as Chief Communicator, Clara leads the way for interspecies communication on- and off-planet. Fighting these changes are the Psi-Defiers, led by one of the oldest friends of the Chief of the Psi-Warriors, its reluctant leader, Rabbi Moran Ackerman. Stories from younger Spanners about the first five years of The Transition fill Volume II.

How would YOU do with the changes?

—-Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, becomes available in both print and ebook formats the same day as its wide release, 12/8/15, right on schedule.

Volume III CreateSpace POD link: https://www.createspace.com/5844474

Spanners - volume 3 cover final

In pre-orders NOW through 12/7/15 in ebook format for half-price, $1.99. Releases 12/8/15 as an ebook for $3.99:
Volume III Amazon ebook link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0177Z1KRM
Volume III Smashwords ebook link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/588331

Clara, Moran, Espe, Epifanio and the alien Band of holos are back. Psi-Defiers launch increasingly violent protests during this five-year Transition, attempting to block Earth’s membership into the Many Worlds Collective. Earth’s nations and borders must dissolve and Psi-Warriors must strengthen in their battle against the rebels.

Clara, as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, also juggles family conflicts and danger while creating psi skills training Campuses to help Earth through the Psi Wars. Clara timults alternate versions of their futures as the leaders’ duties and consciences force them to make difficult choices across multiple timelines, continuing to train and fight.

Will the Psi-Warriors’ and other leaders’ increasing psi skills, interspecies collaborations and budding alien alliances be enough for Earth to make it through The Transition intact? If there is no clear path for Clara’s and Epifanio’s love, does she partner with Steve or go it alone?

What do YOU do with wanted/unwanted changes?

All buy links, book trailers, excerpts, author interviews and more: http://www.sallyember.com Look right; scroll down.

Or, go right to Amazon, my Sally Ember Author Central page, and find links to each book in each format here: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HEV2UEW 

If you don’t use a Kindle, go to Smashwords for all formats of ebooks, or go to iBooks, nook or Kobo directly for ebooks.

3 paperbacks

David Bowie’s Favorite Books, at your library.

Aw, #DavidBowie: I hardly knew you. I also only read about 8 of these books and remember even fewer.
Sigh.
Go well to your next incarnation.

Shelf Talk

david-bowie-books-460x420Music legend, movie star, icon, iconoclast, and yes – reader. As part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s 2013 exhibit “David Bowie Is,” Bowie shared an eclectic list of 100 favorite books. Here they are, in reverse chronological order, linked to the library catalog. Still looking for a reading challenge for the next year, or five? This could be your year of reading like Bowie. (Titles we don’t currently own are denoted with an *asterisk).

View original post 583 more words

Cruisin’ through books cause books make life worth living with Aly 1/7/2016 part 9

Thanks, Aly! #bookreview Volume I, #TheSpannersSeries

Riley Amos Westbook

This changes Everything by Sally Ember

 This book has a good storyline but for me it was a little hard to follow. I enjoyed the idea and I think I understood the book in some instances but others lost me. But I think Sci-fi sometimes will do this to me anyway. * I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*   3/5

View original post