The five-minute book review and why you should write one. Why should you write a five-minute review? Why am I asking you to write one? Because you liked the story. Because it helps the author. Beca…
Check out my Path to Publication story today!
Today I’m thrilled to have Debra Parmley on here, sharing her Path to Publication story. We’re both Historical Western Romance authors (she also writes in additional genres), so I’m happy she’s willing to share her story. Without further ado, here’s Debra…
First, thank you Christi for inviting me to share my path to publication and my stories here today.
My path to publication has been one roller coaster of a ride.
I’ve always wanted to be an author from the time I was in elementary school and reading books as fast as I could get my hands on them. I had written poetry in high school and short stories in college. But a novel seemed so large. I’d had one short story published in a horror anthology, More Monsters From Memphis and my story Vampire from Memphis had romance in it. I was already leaning toward romance.
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I have a new job working for Circle of Seven: Readers Entertainment and a new radio show!
Book Lights – Shining a Light on Good Books!
Every Tuesday night at 8:30 eastern, 7:30 central, 5:30 Pacific I am live on the air interviewing authors and chatting about their books. The interviews are taped and turned into a podcast later that evening after the live show winds down.
Here are the interviews I have done so far! Enjoy!
Interview with Sheila English:
Interview with Lydia Michaels:
Interview with Sharon Sayla:
Interview with Ariel Burns:
Perhaps you have noted it’s been a while since I posted to this blog. To say I have been busy would be an understatement. 2015 saw me with five publishers and multiple deadlines to meet. Much has changed since then. I am now a hybrid author with my own small boutique press and I am still with two other publishers.
The name of my new press is Belo Dia Publishing. Belo Dia is Beautiful Day in Portuguese.
If you hang out with me long enough eventually you will hear me say this, “Every day we are alive is a beautiful day.” This belief permeates every cell of my being.
At Belo Dia, we aim to publish books which uplift and celebrate each beautiful day we are here on this earth together. Currently we are publishing romance and poetry.
I love the new logo. It expresses everything I wanted in a logo. The sun rising up above the green hills, rising out of the pages of the books we publish, with the solid core of the publishing house beneath.
The first part of 2016 I spent re-publishing all the back list books I had reversion of rights for. They are out now in both print and in ebook with new covers. Moving on to publish new works, I have two new works out and am working on a third. One goal I have for 2016 is to publish my back list books in audio, an option I did not have before when they were with other publishers. The future is bright here at Belo Dia where every day is a beautiful day.
I have drive. When it come to my books, my writing career, I have drive.
My husband calls it tunnel vision and perhaps it could be called that too, because when I am that focused on the goal, it is an extreme focus which fades things in the periphery of my vision. But whatever one chooses to call it, it have it and when I am that focused I will not be redirected elsewhere, by anyone, even in the most extreme circumstances. I call it drive.
I have drive. This has allowed me to achieve what I have achieved in my writing career so far to this date. No matter what has happened to me and to my books I keep pushing forward. Set backs happen. I have to get up, dust myself off and start again. I have to adapt and adjust. This is not to say I have not had those nights when it seemed impossible to get up and do it again and to start over. This is not to say I have not had nights when I cried bitter tears of frustration and sadness and loss and felt like giving up. I have had such dark nights and gotten through them, sometimes alone, sometimes with the help of a friend. But I have gotten through them. I get up, dust myself off and I begin again. Because I have drive.
When students who are serious about their writing ask me what it takes to get published (usually they mean with a publisher not self publishing which nearly anyone can do these days if they apply themselves) I tell them the things they must know to get published and I teach them the skills and pass along the information they will need to achieve that. But that drive, that is the one thing I cannot give them or teach them. Drive comes from within. I can motivate. I can ask them how bad do they want it. I can ask them any number of questions which will motivate them, but it still has to come from within. They need that inner fire. That drive.
Drive accepts no excuses. It does not care what is going in in your life. It does not care if you are tired. It does not care about anything other than achieving that goal. Drive is unstoppable, unrelenting, ruthless. If you have ever once tasted drive within yourself you will know this will be true. You will understand what I am speaking of.
I have drive. Sometimes this means I drive myself too hard, too fast and for too long. I am often too hard on myself. Often this means I will crash and crash hard. Just last night I had such a crash. I had been driving myself too hard, living on fours hours of sleep, pushing hard to get books out with rights reversions back from three publishers and many books to get out under my new publishing company/private label and an all day book event yesterday where I needed to have books ready to sign. I had been pushing myself hard for about a month, and pushing the month before, not as hard but pushing. So when I came home from the book event last night I crashed and crashed hard. I slept for twelve hours straight. Then I got up and four hours later napped for an hour. I had reached a point of exhaustion and my body said, enough.
This is what drive can do. So when you have it to the degree that I have, it is important to learn to manage it, to control it. To find some sort of balance between allowing that drive to fill you to the point where you push on through to your goals and between reigning it in so you can rest and recharge and be ready to push on through the next day. Often when I have a set back in my writing career, after the dark night of drying those tears, I get back up with a fierce sort of drive which pushes me hard. It is my way of fighting back against the twists of fate the publishing life throws at me. It is that fierce determination which doesn’t listen. It is the dark side of drive or tunnel vision because it does not listen.
What follows a crash and burn with me is a quiet, a silence. A time of evaluation. Of assessment and of looking all around and listening. The drive is sated then, quiet. Not gone, just quiet and still enough that it waits until I need it again.
Drive is something that allows us to achieve our goals and sometimes achieve things we had never dreamed of. I believe it is a necessary part of achieving a successful writing career and of achieving any sort of dream. I am thankful to have it and would not want to be any other way than I am. Writing is not a hobby for me. Never has been and never will be. I have the drive which will take me there. The part I must learn is to balance that drive and to live a more healthy lifestyle. That is the challenge that I see. Typing these words my next thought is, challenge, now you have set the challenge. And this… this is the beginning of setting any sort of goal for which you will need drive.
Oh yes. I have this drive. It just needs some direction, a goal to point it to.
I have drive.
Shimmy Mob Memphis – How Threads Tie Us Together All Around The World
Shimmy Mob. This year marks our 5th year.
What is Shimmy Mob?
Shimmy Mob is an event created 5 years ago by Sabeya, also known as Francesca Sabeya Anastasi, an international dance instructor, choreographer and performer based in Canada. In her words, “Shimmy Mob is a choreographed and planned “Flash Mob” type event, aimed to be the largest event of its kind by having a huge geographical territory covered in one day to raise funds for local shelters protecting women and children.”
We dance in cities all around the world on world belly dance day to the same music and choreography wearing Shimmy Mob t-shirts. Proceeds go to our local domestic abuse shelters.
This year marks our 5th year with 181 cities and 2,3870 dancers around the world. I am the founder of Shimmy Mob Memphis and I am proud of the work our local group has done to help the victims of domestic violence in our city as well as the work of my dance sisters all across our beautiful earth.
Let me tell you a little about domestic violence here where I live.
Domestic violence rates for Memphis and Tennessee are high. Rates of domestic violence are higher in Tennessee than in many other states. Georgia reports 602 incidents per 100,000 and Tennessee’s rate 1,323 per 100,000 is 120% greater. In Memphis the rate of domestic violence is higher than that of many other TN cities. 2,949 per 100,000 compared to 2,015 for Nashville. Compared to statewide trends Memphians involved in domestic violence then to be younger. Across TN victims as well as offenders tend to be between 24 and 44; in Memphis both are more likely to be between 18 and 34 years of age.
The Memphis YWCA shelter is a 27-bed shelter that provides the only 24 hr 7 day a week emergency shelter to abused women and their children. 901- 725-4277.
When I formed Shimmy Mob Memphis, the shelter was the only one in the area. Only the worst cases could get in and there was great need.
As founder of Shimmy Mob Memphis I worked with the director of the shelter. I have been to its location many times delivering donations. Few people know the location for safety reasons. The building has tight security; you must call ahead and be buzzed in. There is an enclosed porch, the only place to be in the fresh air while they are in hiding. The children play on that porch. Often the shelter was full. For the first few years our fundraising efforts went directly to support the shelter.
When I signed up to be team leader for Shimmy Mob Memphis that first year, I was motivated by the desire to help and to give. I had no idea how much the experience would give back to me. It was one of the greatest learning experiences of my life and one of my greatest challenges.
In 2011 I signed our city up and we had little time to get ready. No one had heard of Shimmy Mob. Within a short period of time I had 35 dancers signed up and two assistant team leaders, Brenda Canady and Cymbeline Rois. We had 25 days to learn the choreography and find a location. We had to learn the dance from a video. A dance that merged three styles, which meant new moves for many of the dancers. It wasn’t an easy choreography. I thought finding a location was the largest challenge. Our first venue fell through. There had been a destructive flash mob at the Wolfchase Mall and no one was willing take a chance on an unknown group despite our purpose. Then Center City Commission came through and allowed us to dance downtown on the trolley line.
I did not know when I signed up for this job that adapt and adjust would become my mantra. None could have predicted Memphis would battle flooding with the Mississippi River rising, or the many tornados, which ran through our city. That month was one challenge after another. Many of my dancers were having difficulties with flooding, trees from tornados falling on ones house and another’s car. We pressed on through. The big day came. So did the tornadoes.
On May 1st, we gathered on the Mid America Mall on the corner of Main Street and Peabody to perform the dance and heighten awareness of issues while raising funds.
Today if you go to ShimmyMob.com you will see our Memphis team was the honored city for persevering and pushing on through. You can also find video from our event Here on the acknowledgements page.
What you won’t see or hear are the multiple starts and stops, the tornado sirens and the many times we moved back beneath shelter to get out of the rain. It took several attempts to get all the way through a dance, which was less than five minutes. We didn’t give up. We were tenacious. We kept on until we got the job done.
As I drove away, my phone rang. It was the photographer from the Memphis Commercial Appeal, wanting to know if he’d missed us. He had because of the tornados and other extreme stories the news media was following. Not one reporter was there to take notice of what we’d done and report it to our fellow Memphians. They did not run a story. We were a small blip which didn’t even show on the news radar that day, as they passed us by for bigger stories.
There were over a dozen lightning rods dancing in downtown Memphis that day dancing in between tornados though few were there to see us and I am proud to call them my Shimmy Mob sisters.
Our efforts did not go unnoticed. Sabeya of international shimmy mob, acknowledged Shimmy Mob Memphis by awarding us honorable mention for enduring perseverance in the face of danger and potential harm. None of what we did was reported by local news and only a handful of people showed up to see us dance. Sabeya gave us special recognition but locally things remained silent. Still we raised $1,00.00 and this helped the shelter have the air conditioning fixed in the heat of summer. Imagine staying in a building where you can’t go outside and open windows because that wouldn’t be safe for you or your children. Often there has been great need for one thing or another and Shimmy Mob Memphis has helped with our donations.
What I learned from my experiences leading this event in 2011 goes beyond what I can put fully into words. I learned about being tenacious, how to adapt and adjust sometimes quickly and somewhat frequently. I learned how people will rise to a challenge if you ask the best of them, if you encourage them. I learned it is not our difficulties that define our experiences but how we respond to those difficulties. I learned how deep people can reach into their hearts and their wallets to help people who aren’t currently able to help themselves. These are lessons to carry for a lifetime.
When I think of all the woman and children that benefit and how this event unites us with our sisters all around the world, it makes my heart glad. We are in our fifth year now and I m proud of my Shimmy Mob Sisters and the work they do to continue this program. After last year I stepped down officially retiring from organizing to focus on my books, but I will return each year to dance with my sisters and support the cause in other smaller ways.
What has this to do with threads? Why did I start this article talking about threads that connect us? It is because each year when I dance, I feel those invisible threads and that connection. Knowing that my dance sisters who do not speak the same language as I do are dancing in their neighborhoods to the same music, the same choreographies and for the same reasons and cause connects us in a way I cannot put into words. Each year when I dance, I feel these threads and goose bumps spread. It is a feeling beyond words. We share these threads without words, through the music, through the dance, through the hearts united in a cause. Through our loving and our giving. These are the threads that connect us.
Often when there are issues and problems there are discussions of how to combat or to correct the problems. Sometimes a discussion of domestic abuse focuses on the woman (or man) being abused and why she should leave and why she doesn’t. Judgments place blame and find fault but do nothing toward solutions. To that discussion I have one response.
Babies with broken bones.
I do not wish to live in a world where babies have broken bones because we as a society have failed to protect them.
One in ten children in the U.S. are exposed to domestic violence and the majority are under 6 yrs old. Often the women feel they have nowhere to go, nowhere safe.
So what can we do about that? What can you do about that? You can help.
100% of the proceeds go directly to The Family Safety Center and are tax deductable.
Together we can make a difference.
If you have trouble with the link and finding how to donate, go to YouCaring.com then in the box in the top right type in shimmy mob Memphis.
My infinite love and gratitude to all those who have donated time and money, heart and soul to supporting this cause.
Here is one of the videos from this year and you can find many others from the past five years on my Youtube page. Enjoy!
The five-minute book review and why you should write one.
Why should you write a five-minute review? Why am I asking you to write one?
Because you liked the story. Because it helps the author. Because it might lead to the author having another story out which you might like as well or better. Because if you don’t you may not find another book by this author. Or a book similar to this one, in the same genre or writing style. Authors sometimes switch to other types of stories and low reviews and low sales are one reason why.
Reviews are getting harder and harder to get. I am hearing this from traditionally published authors as well as Indies and hybrid authors like myself.
Have you ever had a favorite food, brand, or store? Maybe it was one of your favorite things but suddenly the store no longer carries the food or brand or the store is no longer in business. I’ve had this happen to me. It left me wondering what happened when I liked it so much.
This can happen to books and their authors as well. Books need reviews. Fewer reviews mean fewer sales. That hurts authors. It hurts their books. And it hurts you, the reader, because that author you like, that book you like, and they may not stay around long if you don’t support them.
Can you speak up for the things you like? And I do not mean clicking like on your face book feed. I mean taking five minutes out of your day to write a short review, which basically says hey I liked this book. A few sentences. One paragraph.
So you’re not a “book reviewer”. Well neither am I. But each of us can say in simple language hey, I liked this book. Or hey I liked it but I wish it had more of this thing. Or I am not sure what to think of this book. Or even this was not my cup of tea but it was well written. Or even I didn’t care for this book and this is why. Just the honest truth of what you think of the book. That’s all. One simple review. A few sentences. Five minutes.
One sentence. I liked this book.
Two sentences. I enjoyed this book. I hope to read more by this author.
See how easy that is? Simple. Might take you less than five minutes.
Five minutes. You can do it. I bet you can even write a better review than one of my examples.
And if you do write a short review, I thank you for it. On behalf of every author and every book you review I thank you for it. We need you. We love you. We appreciate you.
If you would honor me with a review here are two sites for where it’s easy to do that.
Last night the deer were in my yard again.
Seven of them, pausing to look up
as I moved out onto the deck
with a quiet step, a slow smile.
They watched, still, before leaning down to eat again –
And this is what I know of trust –
It comes ever so slow, nearer
until what lies behind our eyes
may meet in the dusky air of evening
as cars race down the road behind us
and sirens ring in the distance.
These moments shared, noted
by no other souls than our own
linger in the air like the chime
which rings once, before
it is silent.
And though we turn back
to what we were doing
the connection holds
like an invisible thread
strong as a spider’s web
and just as easily missed by others.
But oh, how it may catch the light
To shimmer beneath the silvered moon
in the dark of night.
– by Debra Parmley
published in Twilight Dips http://www.amazon.com/Twilight-Dips-Debra-Parmley-ebook/dp/B00DQAG2AS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407361475&sr=8-1&keywords=twilight+dips
Last nights word at my Toastmasters group was conversant.
Merriam Webster’s definition is:
adjective \kən-ˈvər-sənt also ˈkän-vər-sənt\
: able to talk in a foreign language
Full Definition of CONVERSANT
archaic : having frequent or familiar association
archaic : concerned, occupied
: having knowledge or experience —used with with
Tonight as I was listening to the others work the word into their speeches, I thought about how little this word is used and how rarely I’ve heard it.
You’ve probably heard this one. “Write what you know.”
We tend to talk about and write about subjects we are conversant with. It is more comfortable for us and we have more confidence when writing about or speaking about subjects we know.
This falls into the category of what I call the “comfortable familiar”
It can feel very good to be within whatever is our “comfortable familiar” and we can stay there a long time. Sometimes that’s what we need. But there is little or less growth if we stay there.
It can be a good place for a beginning writer to start. It can be a place to return to when you feel the need.
But to grow, as writers, we have to step outside our “comfortable familiar” sometimes and try new things. Or try old things, but in a different way.
What are your “comfortable familiar” things to write about? Try writing about them in a new way and see what happens.