The Hard Way receives an Honorable Mention in book contest

I am excited to announce that

 

The Hard Way

received an

Honorable Mention

in the Young Adult Fiction Category of the

2018 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards

 

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“The Royal Dragonfly Book Award contest honors excellence in all types of literature and book marketing, recognizing creativity and hard work for a comprehensive list of genres in 68 categories. Our judges are industry experts with specific knowledge about the categories over which they preside.” – From the dragonflybookawards.com website

Here is the list of all of the categories and winners for 2018.

2018 Royal Dragonfly Book Award Winners

Are you looking for a good coming of age novel for your teen or young adult reader? Pick up a copy of The Hard Way and see how my main character, Paul Jones, deals with making friends and hard choices influenced by by peer pressure. Follow the link below to get a copy through Amazon.com. Available in either e-book or paperback.

The Hard Way

How teens react to bullying

Good Morning! Here is the Monday Morning Blog!

I intended on publishing this in October as a part of National Bullying Prevention Month, but we had a death in the family that delayed me from making it happen.

So, here it is now.

Bullying

In my last blog post I talked about the differences between being rude to, mean to and actually bullying someone. Bullying is defined as repeatedly doing something intentionally hurtful and not stopping when asked to do so. Sometimes the bullying stops, and the victim is able to work through it. But, in some cases, this behavior has led to victims living not only with depression and self esteem issues but also hurting or even killing themselves because of it.

Teen Suicide

According to an article on the website, kidshealth.org, 60% of all teen suicides are committed by shooting themselves with a gun. Overdose, cutting and hanging are other options typically used by teens. How many kids have gotten to the point of wanting to kill themselves and changed their minds? According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) suicide is the third highest cause of death amongst teens ages 15 to 24 and there is one teen suicide for every 25 attempts. In my opinion, with the number of the teen suicides there are, the fact that there are 25 attempted ones just makes me sad.

Teens are at a transitional age. They want to be adults, but don’t have the life experience to handle everything that life throws their way. It may be one reason why some teens feel suicide is the only way to ultimately get away from a bully.

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Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash.com

There are many programs available to help victims of bullying, why don’t teens choose to use them more? Fear of retaliation from the bully and being seen as weak by their peers and others are two main reasons why teens don’t try and get help. They try to power through their feelings. If the bully ends up getting bored or move onto someone else, the powering through it worked. If the bullying continues, then the teen may reach out for help or may resort to drastic measures to escape.

What are parents and mentors trying to do to help teens deal with bullying? We may be sending mixed messages to teens through what we are saying and doing. We teach our kids not to tattle on others. Is this helping the bully get away with hurting others? I will talk about this in my next blog post.

On another note…

My books in The Way series focus on teen issues. I would like to get copies of them into the hands of teens. I hope these books will help teens relate to what my characters are going through and help them work through the issue they are facing. Reading a book about the issue is a great way to start a conversation about it.

My first book, The Hard Way was published in 2017 about peer pressure. My second book, The Bully’s Way, is due to be published summer of 2019 and is about bullying.

Be sure to check out my website for a link to get your copy of The Hard Way!

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The Hard Way

October is National Bullying Prevention Month

Good Morning! Here is the Monday Morning Blog!

Along with the coming of fall and Halloween, October is also National Bullying Prevention Month. Here are a couple of key dates.

Go Blue Day – the first Monday in October. World day of bullying prevention and kick off to National Bullying Prevention Month.

Unity Day – October 25, 2018 – a day to wear the color orange to stand against bullying

I found this really cool photo on a Facebook post. When someone says something hurtful to you, it is mean and shouldn’t happen. What they said may make you feel bad, but sometimes you have to ignore what people say and walk away. Easier said than done, I know. But, if it continues to happen, then you need to get somone to help you make them stop.

After reading many stories and obituaries written about teens who have tried or actually ended their lives through suicide, I am upset by how many of them are doing it because of how other teens or adults have treating them. How do they get to the point that they feel there is no other way out? Has our society not given the victim a viable avenue to pursue to get help? Or do we have a way, but the victim is afraid to pursue it because of potential repercussions that may come from it?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, one out of every five teens reports being bullied. That is a lot of teens being bullied. And if that is per the definition stated above, we have a lot of bullies too.

This is one of the reasons why I chose bullying for the focus of my second book, The Bully’s Way, to be published Summer of 2019. To bring the issue up in a readable format in hopes that a teen may find some help or reassurance they are not the only one going through it.

My next post is going to dig a little deeper into the subject of bullying with a few more statistics and some other thoughts. Be sure to watch for it!

Looking for a book about peer pressure, another big teen issue? Be sure to check out the books tab on my website.

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The Hard Way

The link on my page will take you to Amazon.com to purchase your copy. It is also available on the Barnes and Noble website.

Have a great week!

Book Review – Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts by Brian Paone

Good Morning! Here is the Friday Morning Blog!

It is fun to read a book by someone who you have gotten to know. Maybe not met face to face yet, but that is the way of social media these days. I met Brian Paone through a Facebook Group called Fiction Writing. Through this group, I learned a lot of valuable information that has helped me on my writing journey. This is Brian’s first published book, but he has been writing since he was a preteen like me.

Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

Dreams are Unfinished Thoughts

Author

Brian Paone

Type of Book

Rock Fiction

Background

He writes this memior as a tribute to his best friend, David Reilly, who was a vocalist and one of the founding members of the band God Lives Underwater, an Industrial Rock band which formed in the early 90s.

Summary of the story

Paone and Reilly become friends though his being a real fan of the band. Brian would get to their shows early enough to see the band arrive at the venue. Throughout the story, we see how their life paths grow together and apart through their teenage and early adult years.

Reactions to the book

I really liked the book. After reading it, I listened to a couple of their songs to get to know the band and add to my reading experience. There is a website dedicated to David Reilly where his songs and the songs from God Lives Underwater are posted on it. Here is a link David Reilly.

Not only was the book a passionate and personal story, but Paone also shows us how loyality to a band and a friend can influence your life.

Rock Fiction is the genre, but I feel this book would be a good read for young adult and adult audiences even if you aren’t into the rock band scene.

If you interested in learning more about the author, you can find out about him and the books he has written at Brian Paone.

If you are looking for a copy of the book, here is a link to it Dreams are Unfinished Thoughts

Celebrating my 200th blog post

This is my 200th blog post. What a milestone!

In those 200 posts there are:

Book reviews and fun facts posts

Writing House Updates

Episode stories

and Writing Prompts

But most of all, there is a lot of creativity, work and fun.

Be sure to take a look through them and like your favorites.

Thanks for following me,

Selma

 

On August 22nd, I will be participating in an author takeover. I will also be having a $.99 sale on the ebook version of The Hard Way from August 22-25, 2018. Be sure to pick up a copy if you haven’t already.

TheHardWay_eBook

Here is a link to Amazon for purchasing The Hard Way – on Amazon.com

Inspirational Children’s Books for me

Good Morning! Here is the Monday Morning Blog!

Last week I started a business building class called From Author to Authorpreneuer. I’m looking to revamp things with my business to get the name out there and sell more books. As part of the class, we are creating a morning routine to get into a writing groove for the day. It includes 15 minutes of journalling.

One morning while doing my journal, a couple of books came to mind which discribe my writing journey. One is Oh the Places You Will Go and Harold and the Purple Crayon.

Oh the places you wil go

According to Wikipedia, Oh the Places You will Go, was published in 1990 and was the last book Seuss ever published. It is a story where an unnamed character (could be you) leaves town and gets to the “waiting place”, where people go to wait for the next thing to happen. Dr. Seuss leaves us there to go on our own adventure to see all of the places we will go. This book is a favorite to give when someone in your life is embarking on a new adventure like graduation or a new job. I have been to many places, fictional and real, in my writing. Just never know where the next place I will go will be.

Harold and the Purple Crayon was published in 1955 by Crockett Johnson, a pen name for

Harold and the Purple Crayon

a popular cartoonist and children’s book illustrator David Johnson Leisk. Crockett was childhood nickname for Leisk.

Harold is a four year old who creates his world by drawing it, with his purple crayon. Who wouldn’t want to be able to do that? The book is about going on an amazing adventure of imagination which authors and artists do when they create their works.

We are all inspired by different things, whether it is an event, person speaking, or something we read. Whether it is achieving a goal or helping us get by a challenge, what inspires us ultimately helps us make things happen.

One of the reasons I write for the teen and young adult audience is I want to mentor them through my writing. I hope someday someone will read one of my books and be inspired to do something that may be hard for them to do without some support. Like saying no to peer pressure or reporting the bully to a teacher.

I have been inspired by many others in my life and on my writing journey. That inspiration has helped me work through some challenges get to where I am today. Have you been inspired by someone or something to meet a challenge or achieve a goal in your life? Let me know in the comments below.

Check out my first book – The Hard Way – a free preview

Good Morning! Welcome to Monday after a long holiday weekend. Hope you enjoyed some time with family and friends. I was able to enjoy some very valuable family time at our cabin and finish my first full read through of the manuscript of The Bully’s Way, book #2 in the Way Series. I am excited about how the story is coming together.

Have you been wondering what The Hard Way is about? Well, here is your chance to get a free preview of chapter one! All you have to do is subscribe to my email list and you will be emailed a link to the free preview.

Continue reading “Check out my first book – The Hard Way – a free preview”

Small Business Ideas – What is a fan club?

Good Morning! Here is the Monday Morning Blog!

In follow up to last week’s post, I have another interesting fact to share. Here is a link to last week’s post in case you missed it. A fun neighborhood theater experience

The Heights Theater gets involved with the community. From the movies they pick to hosting many local group events. The idea for the Laurel and Hardy Comedy Festival was brought to them by one of the local chapters of the Sons of the Desert, the International Laurel and Hardy appreciation society.

Sons-of-the-Desert-Poster

Members of this organization don’t refer to themselves as fan clubs, but as appreciation societies. It is unclear where the word fan originated, but if it comes from being a fanatic about something, maybe appreciating someone is more respectful. This organization was named for the lodge Laurel and Hardy belonged to in a full length film called Sons of the Desert released in 1933.

Each chapter of the organization is called a tent, keeping with the desert theme. The local tent who helped bring the comedy festival to The Heights is Block Heads Oasis #3, which is the third oldest tent in the entire organization.

There is probably a fan club or appreciation society for just about anything. I thought about it in the context of followers of my blog and fans of my book. Are you my fan club? In a way, I guess you are. Yeah!

How do fan clubs grow? How do they become more popular? How do more people learn about and grow to appreciate the object of the fan club? Maybe how they do it can help me find more fans.

Small Business Ideas

Love where the flow of writing can take you. I started talking abut Fan Clubs and ended up talking about how to increase blog and brand followers. This flow prompted me to add a Small Business Ideas section to my from the Writing House posts. Not only to give me a place to brainstorm ideas for my business, but maybe it can help you with yours.

I found an interesting article online. According to Eventbrite, there are five ways they suggest for increasing fan base. Here is a link to the article. Eventbrite – Using Data to Increase Fan Engagement

Here are their five ways. They based the article on promoting a sports team, so I added some notes on how I might be able to do it for my business.

1. Ask them what they want to see or receive from you. For me, this could be sending a survey to my email list and ask about what activities they would like to see on my blog or website. Maybe posing some questions on the blog too.

2. Listen to their social media activity. Find out where my fans are hanging out. Be sure to place my posts there. Interact with those platforms more.

3. Gather relevant data through interactions with fans. Open up a way for my fans to interact more with me. Is it a live post on Facebook? Is it a survey on my site? Maybe gathering with other YA book bloggers and interact with our similar fan bases?

4. Analyze the data and use the facts found right. Any comment is data gathered. Be sure to listen to what the facts are saying and implement changes if needed for the fans to stay true to my blog and brand.

5. Get fans involved and help them feel a part of the community. Have a contest. Let them have input on what they see on the site. Host a local event to meet the fans in person and do a reading. When we were at the Laurel and Hardy Comedy Festival, about 20 to 30 members of the local appreciation societies were at the showing. What a great event for group engagement and possibly finding new members.

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Since I decided to self publish my book last year, marketing is one of the many tasks I have to do on the business side of my writing. Since I am an author and not a promotional guru, I am doing a lot of learning as I go. Some days I need to do brainstorming sessions like this to come up with creative ideas to get my book out there. I hope you are able to find something in this post that may help you.

What things have helped you to promote your business or group you may be involved in? Please share those ideas in the comments below.

Be sure to check out the books tab on my site for information on how to get your very own copy of The Hard Way! A great teen read!

A fun neighborhood theater experience

Good Morning! Here is the Monday Morning blog!

It has been quite a busy month for me since I last posted. My day job continues to be busy in transition and the main project in the writing house these days is editing The Bully’s Way. I am about half way through the first in depth read through. There has been a lot of work done so far and I am excited about how the story is coming together.

Laurel and Hardy - Hog Wild

With all that has been happening in our world, Jim and I made the time to do something fun. Jim’s mom is a big Laurel and Hardy fan, so we took her to The Heights Theater in Columbia Heights, Minnesota to see the Laurel and Hardy Comedy Festival. They featured five short films from the 1930s. Hog Wild was one of the five we saw and I enjoyed the most.

According to their website, The Heights Theater is the Twin Cities classic theater experience. From the old fashioned decor to an organ player who plays before the show. We really had fun watching the movies in an old fashioned theater environment eating popcorn together. The way things were before dolby sound, 3D picture viewing and the plush recliner seating found in today’s theaters.

heights organ player
Photo by Jim Ham

A little history, it was constructed in 1926 by Gluek Brewery heir, Arthur Gluek as a prohibition real estate venture. It was originally just a neighborhood theater featuring local area actors and “high class vaudville acts” but became a place for upscale first run movies and old time favorites.

The Heights Theatre

Jim and I were introduced to the venue this year by close friends of ours who we went to see the movie Harold and Maude with in April. For those of you who don’t know, Harold and Maude is a cult classic released in 1971. It is a dark comedy where Harold, one of the main characters, is obsessed with death and falls in love with a much older woman who teaches him about living life to the fullest and that life and not death is the most precious gift of all. The current owner of The Heights Theater used to work at another local theater, the now closed Edina Westgate Theater. Harold and Maude had been shown there for quite a long time. From 1972 to 1974, it ran for 115 weeks and 1956 showings.

For more information about The Heights Theater and what their upcoming shows are, here is a link to their site The Heights Theater. I really recommend checking it out. And if you find a movie you would like to see, be sure to buy your tickets online ahead of time. When we arrived at the theater yesterday, both sessions of Laurel and Hardy had been sold out. Good thing we shopped early for our tickets.
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Have you been wondering what my young adult book, The Hard Way is about? Well, here is your chance to get a free preview of chapter one! All you have to do is subscribe to my email list and you will be emailed a link to the free preview.
What does subscribing to my email list get for you? A quarterly newsletter highlighting a few of my book reviews and other news from my writing house.
So, if you have been curious about what my book is about, why not check it out!
Please note, for all of you who have gmail, after you confirm your subscription to my email list, your email for the free preview link will probably wind up in your promotions inbox. That is what happened to me when I tested it.
Have a great week!