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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Happy Father’s Day

Today I want to acknowledge a very important person in my life.

The person who was and still is a source of inspiration to me.

The person who thought me that when you fall, because we all do, you get up, shake it off, and keep going.

The person who gave me the tools to create life the way I wanted and to pursue my dreams.

The person who taught me how to navigate through the roads of life with its unexpected turns and twists.

The person who taught me to dance in supermarkets and enjoy life.

The person who is the kind of parent I want to be to my own children one day.

The person whose love and support make me want to be a better person.

Happy Father’s Day, Mom!

Thank you for always being there.

Thank you for all you did and still do.

Thank you for being the kind of person I want to be when I grow up.

 

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Our childhood heroes

A few weeks ago was Mother’s day. And tomorrow is another day to celebrate a childhood hero: Father’s day. On this day we celebrate the person who was always there for us, lending a helping hand, protecting us, and giving us all the encouragement needed to reach our goals. We celebrate the person who was one of the first people to inspire us. We celebrate the person we love, respect, and admire.

But this is a subject for tomorrow’s post. Today I actually want to let you all know that to celebrate such a special day Face In The Rear View Mirror will be available for free download tomorrow, Father’s day, via Amazon. If you don’t already have a copy, here’s the perfect opportunity.

 

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Drifts, by Jennifer D. Scroggins

Photo courtesy of Jennifer D. Scroggins

Remember when I talked about that new Indie author, Jennifer D. Scroggins? I finally read the first one, Drifts, which is in fact a short story.

Drifts tells the story of two human beings, Sara and Cooper, who had been hurt so much and so deeply by others they had every reason not to trust another person again. But somehow they were able to find within themselves the force to help the other heal without expecting any kind of retribution for their actions. The story itself is so captivating I didn’t want to stop reading it; I just wanted to keep going to find out what would happen in the end.

There are a few grammatical errors that need fixing, but it’s such a nice story they didn’t even bother me, which says a lot, since errors do drive me crazy. But you know what? We all make mistakes. All of us. And when you’re writing a book, because you know the story so well in your head, it’s very hard to spot them at times. That’s why it’s so important to have someone from the outside to proofread your work for you. But the thing is: anyone can fix misspelled words or a misplaced comma, but it takes a good author to write a good story.

I recommend this book. It’s a great short story. I honestly can’t wait to read her next book.

P.S.: You should check out Jen’s new blog on WordPress as well. She even has a video of herself reading a chapter of Face In The Rear View Mirror.

 

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Focus

“We all need someone to look at us. We can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look we wish to live under. The first category longs for the look of an infinite number of anonymous eyes, in other words, for the look of the public. The second category is made up of people who have a vital need to be looked at by many known eyes. They are the tireless hosts of cocktail parties and dinners. They are happier than the people in the first category, who, when they lose their public, have the feeling that the lights have gone out in the room of their lives. This happens to nearly all of them sooner or later. People in the second category, on the other hand, can always come up with the eyes they need. Then there is the third category, the category of people who need to be constantly before the eyes of the person they love. Their situation is as dangerous as the situation of people in the first category. One day the eyes of their beloved will close, and the room will go dark. And finally there is the fourth category, the rarest, the category of people who live in the imaginary eyes of those who are not present. They are the dreamers.”

– Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)

 

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Old Story

Old Story
(Vinícius de Moraes)

 

After crossing many paths
A man came to a clear and long road
Full of calmness and light.
The man walked the road
Listening to the birds and receiving the strong sunlight
With his chest full of songs and his mouth full with smiles.
The man walked days and days on the long road
Which was lost in the uniform plain.
He walked days and days…
The few birds flew away
Only the sun stayed
The strong sun that burnt his pale face.
After a long time he remembered to look for a spring
But the sun had dried them all.
He observed the horizon
And saw that the road went beyond, way beyond all the things.
He observed the sky
And did not see any clouds.

And the man remembered other paths.
They were hard, but the water sang in all the springs
They were steep, but the flowers embalmed the pure air
His feet bled on rough soil, but the friendly tree guarded his sleep.
Over there, there was storm and there was abundance
There was shade and there was light.

The man looked at the clear and desert road for a moment
Looked into himself for a long time
And turned back.

Velha História
(Vinícius de Moraes)

Depois de atravessar muitos caminhos
Um homem chegou a uma estrada clara e extensa
Cheia de calma e luz.
O homem caminhou pela estrada afora
Ouvindo a voz dos pássaros e recebendo a luz forte do sol
Com o peito cheio de cantos e a boca farta de risos.
O homem caminhou dias e dias pela estrada longa
Que se perdia na planície uniforme.
Caminhou dias e dias…
Os únicos pássaros voaram
Só o sol ficava
O sol forte que lhe queimava a fronte pálida.
Depois de muito tempo ele se lembrou de procurar uma fonte
Mas o sol tinha secado todas as fontes.
Ele perscrutou o horizonte
E viu que a estrada ia além, muito além de todas as coisas.
Ele perscrutou o céu
E não viu nenhuma nuvem.

E o homem se lembrou dos outros caminhos.
Eram difíceis, mas a água cantava em todas as fontes
Eram íngremes, mas as flores embalsamavam o ar puro
Os pés sangravam na pedra, mas a árvore amiga velava o sono.
Lá havia tempestade e havia bonança
Havia sombra e havia luz.

O homem olhou por um momento a estrada clara e deserta
Olhou longamente para dentro de si
E voltou.

 

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Rejection letters

The most common thing when trying to publish a book is to receive a rejection letter. But what does that mean? Does that mean your work is not good enough? Not necessarily.

Many famous authors received cruel rejection letters. Here are some excerpts from some of those letters:

  • Sylvia PlathThere certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us to take notice.
  • Rudyard KiplingI’m sorry Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.
  • Emily Dickinson[Your poems] are quite as remarkable for defects as for beauties and are generally devoid of true poetical qualities.
  • Ernest Hemingway (on The Torrents of Spring): It would be extremely rotten taste, to say nothing of being horribly cruel, should we want to publish it.
  • Dr. SeussToo different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.
  • The Diary of Anne FrankThe girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.
  • Richard Bach (on Jonathan Livingston Seagull): will never make it as a paperback. (Over 7.25 million copies sold)
  • H.G. Wells (on The War of the Worlds): An endless nightmare. I do not believe it would “take”…I think the verdict would be ‘Oh don’t read that horrid book’. And (on The Time Machine): It is not interesting enough for the general reader and not thorough enough for the scientific reader.
  • Edgar Allan PoeReaders in this country have a decided and strong preference for works in which a single and connected story occupies the entire volume.
  • Herman Melville (on Moby Dick): We regret to say that our united opinion is entirely against the book as we do not think it would be at all suitable for the Juvenile Market in [England]. It is very long, rather old-fashioned…
  • Jack London[Your book is] forbidding and depressing.
  • William FaulknerIf the book had a plot and structure, we might suggest shortening and revisions, but it is so diffuse that I don’t think this would be of any use. My chief objection is that you don’t have any story to tell. And two years later: Good God, I can’t publish this!
  • Stephen King (on Carrie): We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.
  • Joseph Heller (on Catch–22): I haven’t really the foggiest idea about what the man is trying to say… Apparently the author intends it to be funny – possibly even satire – but it is really not funny on any intellectual level … From your long publishing experience you will know that it is less disastrous to turn down a work of genius than to turn down talented mediocrities.
  • George Orwell (on Animal Farm): It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.
  • Oscar Wilde (on Lady Windermere’s Fan): My dear sir, I have read your manuscript. Oh, my dear sir.
  • Vladimir Nabokov (on Lolita): … overwhelmingly nauseating, even to an enlightened Freudian … the whole thing is an unsure cross between hideous reality and improbable fantasy. It often becomes a wild neurotic daydream … I recommend that it be buried under a stone for a thousand years.

But that’s not all, that’s not all at all. Many famous authors were rejected many times before being able to publish their books:

  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit was turned down so many times, Beatrix Potter initially self-published it.
  • Lust for Life by Irving Stone was rejected 16 times, but found a publisher and went on to sell about 25 million copies.
  • John Grisham’s first novel was rejected 25 times.
  • Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) received 134 rejections.
  • Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) received 121 rejections.
  • Gertrude Stein spent 22 years submitting before getting a single poem accepted.
  • Judy Blume, beloved by children everywhere, received rejections for two straight years.
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle received 26 rejections.
  • Frank Herbert’s Dune was rejected 20 times.
  • Carrie by Stephen King received 30 rejections.
  • The Diary of Anne Frank received 16 rejections.
  • Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rolling was rejected 12 times.
  • Dr. Seuss received 27 rejection letters

So my opinion is: no matter what, keep going. Got a rejection letter? Great! Save it somewhere you can find it later and go send more manuscripts. Print this list and put it where you can see it, to inspire you, to remind you that you’re not alone. Do what you have to do. But don’t ever give up.

 

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Where are my [New Post] emails?

When I started using WordPress, which was not long, just four months ago, every time I started following a new blog I’d automatically start getting emails when that blog would post something. I could go on WordPress and change that if I wanted, but that was the standard thing: follow a blog = get emails.

I’ve been following a few new blogs and noticed they were not updating. Today one of them did post something and the author asked me if I saw the new post. No, I hadn’t seen it. That was odd, since I always got emails from all the blogs I followed.

Not anymore.

Now, when you start following a blog you do not get emails when they post. You have to go to your Reader, click on Blogs I follow, and then select if you wish to receive emails and if you want them immediately, daily, or weekly. It’s annoying, and I wish I knew WordPress had changed that.

Anyway, if you’re not getting emails from the new blogs you started following go check your reader.

Now, does anyone know how to set my account so I won’t have to go there to change the setting every time I follow a blog?

 

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