Today I’m Dancing For the Broken

Today I’m Dancing For the Broken – My Seventh Year With Shimmy Mob Memphis

Today, Saturday May 13th marks seven years since I founded Shimmy Mob Memphis. I’m proud of all my dance sisters and the work we’ve done to raise founds for our local domestic violence shelter over the years.

People have often asked me why I signed the city up and took on that job the first year even though I had retired from dancing and was focusing on my books and book signings with little extra time to spare. I usually have a four word answer.

Babies with broken bones.

I do not want to live in a world where babies have broken bones because a malicious adult injured them. That’s simply not acceptable to me. The work I’ve done with Shimmy Mob fights that problem and is just one small way I could help. Can you imagine what would happen if we each did one small thing to help? You can by making a donation when we dance.

There were lots of challenges that first year. In 2011 here in Memphis we had tornados and the river rising. No one wanted to let us dance because a Shimmy Mob/flash mob though organized and not mob like at all was brand new and flash mobs in the past had sometimes led to violence. I often thought of the irony of that as I searched for a place to dance. We ended up dancing downtown on the trolly line with the proper permissions in place as the City came through at the last minute, thanks to Dawn Vinson. Forty five dancers had signed up but because of tornados that day only a fraction of that number made it out to dance. We danced in between tornado sirens and watching for tornados but we got the job done and we raised a thousand dollars that first year even though we received no local news coverage for our event. The photographer for the Commercial Appeal called me as we were driving away. He had just missed us. I thought we had been a small voice that few heard, but even a small voice can help. Even a small voice can speak up. That too is an important part of fighting domestic violence and an important example to set. Later, we were honored by Shimmy Mob International for our efforts.

Honoring Shimmy Mob Memphis in 2011

Since then we have gone on to dance each year to raise funds. Our first year the funds went directly to the YWCA shelter and I took toiletries and diapers which we’d collected to the shelter. At the time I was told it was the only shelter in the tri-state area – which is not enough for a metropolitan area this size. Now here we are in our seventh year and we now collect for The Family Safety Center which is the first place domestic violence victims can go. It is a wonderful place and offers many services.

Things often come full circle, at least they do in my life. Last year I wasn’t able to dance because I’d fractured my talus bone (ankle) in half. (Not domestic violence. Before you jump to any conclusions here. In fact my husband was out of town at the time.) I’d stepped off two steps as if it were one, rolled my ankle and landed on the ankle bone on concrete. I was in a boot for several months. So dancing of course was out. This year I am dancing, though I’m wearing an orthopedic ankle brace and have to put a medicated cream on my foot. It’s nothing anyone would pay to see, I’m slow on the turns and have to modify many things and if the dance were about me or about that I’d sit it out. But it’s not. It’s about dancing with my dance sisters all over the world on the one day a year we come together to raise funds for our local domestic abuse shelters. It’s about dancing for the broken women and children (and yes men too) who cannot dance.

How can you help? Today we are dancing from 5:30 to 7:30 at Overton Square in midtown Memphis, TN and will be taking donations there for the Family Safety Center. We have two Facebook event pages:

Shimmy Mob Dances Today!

Shimmy Mob Dances at Overton Square Tonight!

There will be other appearances throughout the year as our team leader schedules them and you can keep up with us at Shimmy Mob Memphis on Facebook

Calculating Pages and Word Counts

How long is your book? My first book had to meet a 100,000 words goal to be submitted back in 2007. (Picture of me with my first book A Desperate Journey by Monica Parks Photography.) Much has changed since then but figuring your word count has not.

For the length of your book here is a guide to page counts and word counts.

How many pages have you written today? Keep writing!

How close to finishing your book are you? Keep writing!
The industry average is 250 words per page (pages of course vary with more dialog or more narrative)

Pages              Words
50                   12,500
100                 25,000
150                 37,500
200                 50,000
250                 67,500
300                 75,000
320                 80,000
350                 87,500

If you wrote 7 pages a day in 50 days you’d have 50,000 words. You can do it!
How fast do you write? How many pages a day can you get in? This chart may help you to estimate how soon you can be done with your book and reach the goal of your page count for the book.
Now get going! How many pages can you write today?

 

 

Goodreads and Why I Love It

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Goodreads. Authors often either love it or hate it. Some won’t be on it at all. Others are on often and enjoy it. Today I’m going to talk about why I love it.

First, I came to Goodreads as a reader, before I ever had an author page. So I learned to love the site as a reader and that has not changed.

I like being able to keep track of books I have read, so I don’t order the same book twice. In this way it saves me from wasting money. I like being able to “shelve” the books by category and have started doing more of that recently. I can even keep track of which books my grandson has on his shelf so I don’t buy duplicates. So as a reader, shopper and gift giver it is useful to me. I also like the way Goodreads will suggest books to me and the fact I can adjust that by simply saying not interested. Just because I gave one book a 4 or a 5 does not mean I want to read a bunch more books like it.

So now we come to the ratings system. one star to five star with three being I liked the book. Anything above a three and the system is likely to suggest another book just like it. When I am rating a book I tend to rate high. I’d give everyone five’s if I could. But then if I do that, the system will keep suggesting more and more of the same. So I need to fight that inclination to make it easier to find the books I most want to read.

So that’s me as an reader on Goodreads. Just another reader who likes Goodreads.

Then there’s me as an author. Of course I have a Goodreads author page and I think every author should have one. I hear authors say they won’t be on there because things can get ugly. You know, with trolls and all. Well, that’s kind of like saying I won’t go play on the playground because there might be a bully. Or there has been a bully. I think it’s too bad when that happens. I’m not going to let any bully keep me away from enjoying books and talking about them. As a reader or as an author. So I have a Goodreads author page.

I like Goodreads so much I had it on my iphone long before I had Facebook. It’s only in the last year that I added Facebook and only because I felt I had to in order to keep up with people who have events and messages and such and won’t use texts or emails. I was missing out on things by not being on there. Kind of like authors who are missing out on Goodreads by not being on there. Each author makes their own decisions about these things.

The thing is, readers are on Goodreads. So if you are an author and you want to meet readers or for readers to see your books, if makes sense to be there.

I love Goodreads and will be doing more on the site in the future. In fact, we just opened a branch new group for my readers on Goodreads and you are welcome to join! Look for Debra Parmley Lamplighters. Here is the link. See you there!

Debra Parmley Lamplighters

5 Minutes a Day -Threading the Web -on banishing the fear of writing too much

When I coach, or teach a class, my writing students will hear me say “everyone can write for for minutes a day” and so often if we are not writing it is not because we do not have time. Everyone has five minutes a day. But we let things get in the way. Often this is driven by fear. Let’s dig in and root out one of those and look for a moment at the fear of writing too much.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Oscar Wilde

I collect quotes and often return to the ones which speak to me. Expect to see more quotes here as I will be sharing them for my students.

Why does this one speak to me?

Because once upon a time, when I was a beginning writer, I thought there was only so much writing juice in me. I had a fear that if I wrote too much I would run dry. Like many fears, this was simply not true.

Fears are things that can get in the way of our writing.

To often we get in our own way, with many things, but especially with writing. When we don’t write, it becomes harder to write. When we do write, even for 5 minutes a day, it becomes easier to write. I have experienced this on both ends, the writing and the not writing, and know it to be true for me.

Everyone has five minutes for the things that are important to them. Often I ask my students if they got their five minutes in today.

Have you written today? What is holding you back today? Pick up that pen, fire up that computer or typewriter and begin. Even if you only have five minutes. Set the egg timer. Or the timer on your phone. Get going. It could be the best five minutes of your day.

New Class for 2017 – The Book That Wants to be Born

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The Book That Wants to Be Born

……taking your book from idea to print by multi-published, best selling author Debra Parmley

Saturday, January 21st, 2017 11 am – 4 pm 
(includes an hour for lunch on your own)

Ervin Hypnosis Center – 2865 Summer Oaks, suite 100 Bartlett, TN 38134 (just outside Memphis)
$65 per person Energy Exchange

Debra will provide practical exercises and helpful information about the process and content of writing, as she shares from her personal experience to inspire those on the writing path. Come with your book ideas and leave with a valuable set of tools you can use daily to tackle common writing challenges and enrich the quality of words on the page to make your book a marketable success.

Do you have a book idea but no idea how to start?
Have you started but bogged down in the middle?
Are you having trouble finishing your book?
Do you have a finished first draft and no idea what to do with it?
Is your book finished but you’re unsure whether to self publish or to try to get in with a traditional publisher?
Are you full of questions and wish you could talk to an author trained in fiction, nonfiction and poetry who has experience writing and publishing? If so, this class is for you.

Bring your questions, a pen and notebook for note taking and writing exercises, and most of all – your idea, your book, which is ready to be born.

Best selling author Debra Parmley began her career in traditional publishing in 2008 and went on to publish with five publishing houses before opening her own Indie press in 2015. An award winning hybrid author with training in fiction, poetry and nonfiction, Debra brings a unique approach to her writing classes and seminars.

RSVP for this special experience to Madra Little at 901-827-0023 (call or text)
If you are on Facebook, here is the link to the event page. https://www.facebook.com/events/1762910250697759/

Jenna’s Christmas Wish by Debra Parmley Book Trailer

Santa, if there’s one thing I want for Christmas more than anything, it’s someone to spend Christmas with, not as an afterthought invitation because they feel sorry for me, but someone who really wants me to be there.

Romance author Jenna Heart is headed to the mountains of East Tennessee for a December writer’s workshop. Since her mother passed after a long illness, Jenna has had one wish: she doesn’t want to spend Christmas alone. Meeting Nicolo Maldini, cover model and actor, could make more than Jenna’s Christmas wish come true. If Ember Morten, Nicolo’s ex girlfriend doesn’t do something crazy to stop Jenna and Nicolo from being together.

Find our more at http://debraparmley.com/