Songs From Our Hearts

We all have that special song that means a little more to us than other songs. This issue of Seven we want to share a little bit of or hearts with you and reveal one of those special songs to you.

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“Frail” by Jars of Clay

Convinced of my deception
I’ve always been a fool I fear this love reaction Just like you said I would

A rose could never lie
About the love it brings
And I could never promise
To be any of those things

[Chorus:]

If I was not so weak
If I was not so cold
If I was not so scared of being broken
Growing old
I would be…
I would be…
I would be…

Blessed are the shallow
Depth they’ll never find
Seemed to be some comfort
In rooms I try to hide

Exposed beyond the shadows
You take the cup from me
Your dirt removes my blindness
Your pain becomes my peace

[Chorus]

…frail

————-

Frail by Jars of Clay is one of my biggest go to songs when I’m in a slump. When I’m feeling depressed or morose this song calms me and helps me get out of my mood. There’s something about the rhythm that is so soothing. The slow beat, the melodic and entrancing singing… it just does something for me. It brings home the point that I’m my own worst enemy and that I tend to stand in my own way. I absolutely love this song and have since I first heard it in my teens.

CotyPoynterartist: Volcano Choir
song: Alaskan

last time I saw you
you has me housed up on your red red rum
stranded in the housing
of our moving house and…

we were gonna hit every port
and every Cape Town
we were gonna give a full report, of sorts
to your mother up in Kano and her new cohort

damn!
can’t believe your father left his land
the creed
to cry;
rely, rely, rely, rely
behave, behave, behave, behave…
spend all of that time not wanting to

climbed up your carpet
there’s a car pit in our minds were in
shameless and humming
like a violent strumming

we were gonna hit every mark, in stark
but the sutra didn’t suit ya that long day in the park
I’m talking about it
talking real love
I wanna re-up
on that love

damn
can’t believe you left me on the lam
to be seen
to be scribed
I’ll tell you now tha’you
rely, rely, rely, rely
behave, behave, behave, behave
spend all of that time not wanting to

rely, rely, rely, rely
behave, behave, behave, behave
decide, decide, decide, decide

repave, repave, repave, repave

(can’t believe you hardly understand)

inside, inside, inside,
the lathe, the lathe, the lathe

lover won’t you talk to me about the long red war

——

This song hits me for it’s flow and poetics. It’s idea of love an how we all want it in some form. How we can be abandoned by those who aren’t family, how love expires. It touches on many aspects of love, in opinion, which is why I’m fond of it lyrically. Listening to the song, it’s almost sickeningly beautiful. The end is very appropriate for the context of the song, which is a portion from an interview with Bukowski, when he read a poem about his first wife who died of cancer then weeps over her.

KimmyJaheim- Everywhere I Am

I hear you voice inside my head, everywhere Oh, yeah, clear  as day inside my head everywhere

It’s killing me softly with every heartbeat Thinking you  can’t see How your son’s living (Hey, Mama)

Is there an address up in heaven? I feel like dropping you  this letter But it will be ‘Return to sender’

How I wish I could bring you home Flowers on tombstones Lets me know it’s been too long Since I’ve been in those arms (Yours  Mama)

It’s getting colder every winter I can’t take the heat in  summer Can’t hardly deal with all this drama but

(Just when) I’m inches away from losing my mind (That’s  when) I swear sometimes

(I hear your voice inside my head) And it feels like  you’re (Everywhere) Everywhere (Everywhere I am)

Just when (Just when) The walls are closing in on my  world (That’s when) I see my favorite girl

(Clear as day inside my head) And it’s obvious you’re (Everywhere) Everywhere (Everywhere I am)

Was that you saying, just keep on praying You’ll see the  day when it’ll be worth the waiting (Hey, mama)

I think I’ve received your message Think how I’m receiving  blessings Finally got the platinum record

Did you see me on Soul Train? Dedicated the whole thing To your memory just hoping You’re out there and knowing (Yeah,  mama)

You were floating on stage with me Someone said they saw me  glistening Gotta let you know I’m listening to you

Just when (Just when) It’s the most important time of  my life (That’s when) That’s when I swear sometimes

(I hear your voice inside my head) And it feels like  you’re (Everywhere) You’re everywhere (Everywhere I am) Everywhere I am

(Just when) Just when the heavens open up on the world (That’s when) I see my favorite girl, Julie

(Clear as day inside my head) It’s so obvious you’re  everywhere You’re everywhere (Everywhere I am) Everywhere I am

If God is in the spirit world talking to my heart Then for  an angel I know it can’t be hard You are my guardian and I know You’re  still playing your part (I know you are)

Just on the other side but always in my life No need to  just believe, smile, I know you’re here with me And I’m reaching out my hand  and to the promise land To feel your presence when I need strength

Everywhere I am, everywhere I am (I know that you’re  watching) Everywhere I am, everywhere I am (I know that you’re watching  over us, yeah)

Everywhere I am, everywhere I am Everywhere I am (Mama,  I know, yeah, yeah)

Everywhere I am, everywhere I am (Where I am) (You’re  watching me) Everywhere I am, everywhere I am (Where I am) (I can  feel it in my soul)

Everywhere (Where I am) (Everywhere) Everywhere (Where I am) (Everywhere, yeah)

Everywhere that I am (Where I am) (I know you’re there,  yeah, yeah)

Just when (Just when I’m inches away from losing my  mind) That’s when (I hear your)

I hear a voice inside my head (I hear your voice) Everywhere, everywhere I am (Julie, Julie, Julie, Julie, Julie I love you,  Julie we miss you)

Just when (Julie we still got love for you, baby) That’s when (Just, just, just when I hear your voice)

Clear as day inside my head (I really don’t know what to  do) Everywhere (Sometimes I just put)

Everywhere I am (Oh, I put my hands up)

I’ll give it all up for ya mama Just when I go back to  church All your friends are talkin’ ’bout ya’ Talkin’ about how much I  look just like you

——–

When my mother passed many years ago, the hardest part for me was accepting that she wouldn’t be present to celebrate the many milestones I would accomplish throughout my adult life. For anyone who has lost a loved one, the challenge in dealing with the loss is constructively processing the emotions associated with it. Listening to music happens to be a form of therapy for me; it helps to relieve the symptoms associated with the aches and pangs of life. During those melancholy moments of sadness when I feel the need to be close to my mother, I’ll turn on my cd player and tune in to Jaheim’s Everywhere I Am. It’s a beautiful song that reminds me that no matter where I am in the world, I know my guardian angel is always with me.

What songs mean the absolute world to you and reach you in a way that no other song does?

© Seven Magazine

Power to the People

Rick-RossMusic has always been used as a means of expression. It inspires and motivates. Yet with lists such as this one named 20 Most Controversial Songs of All Time we see that music can also be crude and offensive.

Recently in the rap music world there was an uproar on lyrics that were said to be offensive. This song happened to be Rick Ross’ verse in Rocko’s U.O.E.N.O. The verse in question is “Put Molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it. I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.” Lyrics like this clearly depicting rape sparked raged a huge back lash for one of today’s most popular rappers. That being said, music has always been a source of controversy. I do not at all condone Ross’ lyrics but when music is constantly used to criticize culture, demean women, glorify crime- among other things, when is the line drawn and how far is too far?

The thing is that I don’t know that there is a right or wrong answer to this question. While for some a song may be entirely offensive, it could be poetic or relatable to another. Sort of in the way that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There are songs like Killing In the Name by Rage Against The Machine and Fuck The Police by N.W.A. that take a look at our government, our flaws and expose them to the world. Songs that are the cause of controversy and despite how crude some songs can be, they tend to be effective in their execution. These songs are songs that are infamous for their meaning- Killing In the Name was written in retaliation to the Rodney King beating and Fuck the Police an expression of racial profiling and racism. Messages, that as controversial as they may be have been, have captured the voice of the times.

PowerToThePeople-Logo

We do not share the same beliefs or cultures or opinions. Therefore we won’t all agree on when music takes things too far. In truth I believe that we need to protest the things that we don’t agree with. Continuing my example of Rick Ross, the line highlighted above was the cause of so much backlash that Ross was forced to apologize for the line. Not all artists have the same motivations for creating controversial songs. Some do it because they believe in their message and others for the sake of publicity. After all, in such industries it is said that no publicity is bad publicity. However, regardless of any notions or messages we, the public and the fans, can make or break a musicians career. We are the ones who buy the albums, request them on the radio and attend the concerts. We are their bread and butter and if we choose to stand against them because of the message they are portraying in their music, as do our friends and family, it is the ultimate backlash. One lost fan in the scope of things is pretty insignificant but a lost fan who has something to say about an artist and makes their message be heard can be a devastating blow.

Music is a means of expression- It inspires and motivates. Yet music can also be crude and offensive. Ultimately we as individuals must decide when music goes too far. We must decide what are boundaries are and ensure that we do not condone or promote those artists/songs that we consider disrespectful. We must take a stand as a society and draw our own lines because we have the power to stand up for what we believe in and the power to make a difference.

Please. . . Come In Peace!

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Photo Credit: http://www.hark.com

Hello there! This is a message to all beings beyond Earth’s hemisphere. Yes, you extraterrestrial beings that seem to be such a part of our culture. On behalf of the staff of Seven, I would like to extend an invitation to you to visit the United States. Earth is large and beautiful with many locations appeasing the eye. However, none has the diversity and intensity as the United States. You already knew that though. Because, the United States is “the only country UFO’s ever seem to land in.” (Reference Monsters vs. Aliens movie). We have a rich history and an even richer landscape. We are sure you will find something to your liking. Unless you are carnivores and Humans are to your liking or like the prospect of world domination, then please stop reading, this message is NOT for you. Other friendly and non-threatening beings, please read on.

Our government does look kindly on foreigners. We are a country full of immigrants. Don’t be turned off by a weird glance or a multitude of people all wearing black and pointing a gun in your direction. I’ll be honest, we humans tend to fear the unknown. However, I would like to share with you some of our history as history has the tendency to repeat itself. This may serve to help you on your initial visit.

On the initial discovery of America, the Europeans came to explore and check out this new land. They were amazed by all that America had to offer. The Native’s were a bit hostile at first because they had no clue who these visitors were. The Europeans were smart though. They won over the Natives by bearing gifts. What did they bring? They gave gifts that were novelties to them, trinkets and other little marvels. Things the Natives had never seen before. The point of this first example is: bring gifts. Everyone enjoys presents. Don’t be rude!

Have I mentioned how amazingly diverse our nation is? It is easy to find people of all races and cultures here. But the awesomeness that I’m getting to is food! A diverse nation means there are restaurants to cater to these people. In big cities like New York you can find Italian, Spanish, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, French, Indian and food from just about every country in the matter of miles. What this means is that we are sure we can find something that can persuade your palate. If you’re in the mood for some good ole American food not only will you find an excess of fast food restaurants, but also the delicious BBQ in Texas and Tennessee to the unique squirrels in West Virginia, there is something out there for you. Eat our food! Not our people.

American history is something that is very rich and unique to us and you can travel to so many places within our borders to experience it. Museums for example do an excellent job of preserving bits and pieces of our history and tend to be very educational experiences. Then there are places like Virginia that host Battle Reenactments mostly centered around the Civil War. These are experiences you are not likey to forget. Not only are they filled with the actions of war, but you can safely experience it by getting front row seats! Do me a favor though, don’t take notes while you watch and explore. Humans might think your taking notes and pictures to plot against us.

Furthermore, our landscapes are truly a beauty to behold. From the sandy beaches in Miami, to the breathtaking skyline of New York, to the expansive deserts in the Southwest, to the awe inspiring mountains in Colorado, to the beautiful islands of Hawaii. You see, our land is just as diverse as our people and our food. There is so much beauty to see.

Begin with a plan. By plan, I don’t mean itinerary. Although arriving with a general idea of the landmarks you would like to visit is a good idea. Be sure that list is flexible. Pick one place and let it lead you to the next. However, let’s be honest. Although all humans tend to fear the unknown, Americans tend to be a bit more territorial. And when it comes from the government, while they might say one thing to you, what they most likely mean this:
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Photo Credit: mod db

OK, I have to be honest. Our government does an excellent job on alien cover ups. You see, we’re pretty sure your brethren have visited at one point or another. I know this because there have been thousands of eyewitnesses to some form of UFO experience and even government and military personnel have spoken out on the matter. While our government usually doesn’t confirm or deny this, they do a great job of continuing to denying it. Believers sure take that as a confirmation. If eye witnesses weren’t enough to convince people, there is also Area 51. An Air Force base that is located on the southern portion of Nevada which is surrounded by a shroud of mystery, conspiracy and CIA involvement. Many Americans believe that UFOs are in some part the cause of that mystery. To read more up on that click here. The point I hope to arrive to, with all of this. is that you must be careful. Coming here with an unknown fate might be exciting but should also be cause for fear. If you come, be sure to have fun, but be wary of all humans. They have guns.

For the none English speaking beings, this part is for you:
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Phot Credit: NASA

Okay… I actually have no clue what that says. So um… Sick to the English text written above. Consider visiting our beautiful country. Stay safe and please come in peace!

Ymelda Ramirez contributed to this article. =)

© 2013 Seven Magazine

An Alien to Publishing With David Estes

Publishing, regardless of whether you are self-publishing or going the traditional route, is a lot of hard work. While nothing is ever perfect readers tend to expect novels to be as close to it as possible. We expect the novel to have a good story line, no typos, well rounded characters, eye catching cover art is a big plus, and an attention grabbing blurb. The standards readers set for the books they read are pretty high and writers need to work hard to make their novel a masterpiece. I regress, publishing is a crucial part of getting your book into the reader’s hands and one made all the more difficult when self-publishing.

This month Seven has welcomed established indie author David Estes to break down what it means to self-publish. He was very generous in his advice and we have that all here for you. David Estes has self-published since 2011 and has four series (The Dwellers, The Country Saga, The Evolution Trilogy and Nikki Powergloves) a total of 13 books which include Young Adult and Children’s novels under his belt. He is an amazing writer who has made a lifelong fan out of me. 🙂

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I think of indie authors or self-publishing, the first platform that comes to mind is Amazon. It is a leader as a publishing platform and one of the biggest online retailers. However, for someone looking into selling their books on Amazon, knowing the facts is a must. I think that if I were to look into every reason that this selling giant has been dubbed a monopoly I would be here for weeks. Yet when sticking strictly to the publishing world, it can be spelled out in two words: KDP Select. Kindle Direct Publishing Select is a program where Amazon targets authors looking to publish their novel. In essence it asks for a three month exclusivity contract in exchange for higher royalties and ensures your novel will reach a new audience with the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library. When Estes was asked, ‘In your opinion what is the best and worst thing about publishing on Amazon?’ This is what he had to say:

Now that’s a loaded question! But it’s also an easy one. There are a few things that are awesome about Amazon:

First, their reach can’t be beat. They are still in a dominant position in the online (ebook) book-selling market. The vast majority of authors will undoubtedly get the bulk of their sales from Amazon.

Second, if your books are selling and getting good reviews, Amazon will help you. They will recommend your books to readers who enjoy similar ones and they will actually generate sales FOR YOU. This is an amazing thing once it really gets going. It can make or break your book.
Third, it’s really, really easy to publish on Amazon and the royalty rates are awesome if you price your book at $2.99 or above.

However, there are always two sides to every coin. There are some really frustrating things about publishing with Amazon that I’ve recently made very clear to them in a customer satisfaction survey:

First, their KDP Select program is a blatant attempt to monopolize the market, which is totally uncool. They promise nice perks like making your books available in a lending library (which you get paid royalties for) and give you the opportunity to make your book available for free every so often. However, in exchange, you have to SELL YOUR SOUL. OK, I’m being dramatic, but for me, it’s almost that bad. You have to agree to EXCLUSIVELY publish your book on Amazon. Like I said, not cool. It alienates readers who don’t buy their books from Amazon which I’m not down with.

Second, they have very strict pricing compliance rules that have been a royal pain in the butt a few times. They insist that your book must be priced as low or lower than every other retailer out there. I’m all for having my book priced the same everywhere, but it prevents you from doing, say, a Barnes & Noble promotion where you make your book $.99 on B&N for a few days. Uh uh, Amazon won’t allow it. They cry and shake their fists and say you have to include them at the party and make your book $.99 for them too. Of course, they have NO problem with you pricing your book at $.99 for a few days on Amazon but NOT on B&N. Yeah, double standards.

Third, Amazon has really annoying royalty rates for books priced lower than $2.99. It’s all part of their attempt to force Indie authors to price their books at $2.99 or above. The way it works is that if you price at $2.99 or above, you get an incredible 70% royalty rate, but if you price below that, you get a pathetic 30%. That’s frustrating because if I want to do a promotion and drop the price on one of my $2.99 books to say $1.49, although my price has only changed by $1.50, my royalty has gone from $2.09 to a measly $.46. For the most part, I price all my books at $2.99 or above, even if I don’t really want to. Otherwise it’s just not worth my while.

The bottom line, however, is that I can complain about my three big negatives until I’m old and gray and red-faced, but Amazon is still the key to my success. I own a Kindle, I buy tons of books from them, and I will continue to use them as my primary publishing platform.

Estes does an amazing job at breaking down what Amazon is to a publishing author. Now that the truth has been put out there, which is that through their good and bad Amazon is still a boss and a force to be reckoned with, you decide to still publish with them. Again, they are too big in the publishing world to look over. Just be wary of KDP Select. As in STAY AWAY!!! 🙂 But what’s next? When publishing you definitely shouldn’t stop there. That being said, Estes definitely has a criteria for selecting platforms to sell his novels, “My main goal in picking the platforms to publish on is to make my books available to as many potential readers as possible. I don’t like the idea of being exclusive to one platform as it completely ignores the thousands of readers who don’t use that platform and promotes the monopolization of the industry.” His goal is one I think all authors can relate to. He continues on to share with us his publishing strategy:

As a self-published author, I can’t possibly publish on every platform that offers ebooks, it’s just not feasible. Every day there are more and more ebook-selling platforms popping up, each with its own business model. At the end of the day, I’m a writer and I don’t want to spend my every waking moment on the publishing process. Plus, because I publish a book every 2-3 months, I need the process to be as streamlined and efficient as possible.

All that being said, my approach to publishing also needs to ensure I get the highest possible royalties for all my hard work. At the end of the day, this is my career, how I make a living, and choosing the right platforms can have a major impact on my success. There are distribution platforms out there, like Smashwords, that can help a self-published author distribute to a number of other ebook distributors. Through Smashwords “premium distribution” it can distribute to B&N, iBooks, Sony, and Kobo, to name just a few. However, as a fee for their service, they’ll take an extra 15% of your royalty. So not only will B&N take a percentage of each book’s sale price, but Smashwords will too. This can really cut into your royalties in a hurry.

Thus, I highly recommend publishing direct to as many major platforms as you can within your time constraints. Because I sell most of my books on Kindle and Nook, I publish directly to each of those two platforms. Then I use Smashwords’ service to publish almost everywhere else, like iBooks, Kobo, and Sony. However, if you choose to use Smashwords to publish some places, but not others, be sure to “Opt-Out” of distribution to the platforms you’re publishing to directly. Otherwise your book may be listed twice. So I lose a little bit of my royalty by not publishing directly to iBooks or Kobo, but it’s a minimal loss as my sales from those distributors isn’t a significant portion of my overall revenue. For me the trade-off between minor loss of revenue and the time it would take me to publish to iBooks and Kobo myself, is worth what Smashwords takes as the middle man. But if I had more time, I’d definitely consider publishing to a few other platforms directly. Finally, I publish to up and coming Google Books on my own through their Partner Program. It’s incredibly easy and already I’m seeing my sales from Google increasing each and every month.

That covers ebooks, but I also recommend publishing a paperback version in at least one place. That way your readers who don’t have ereaders can still access your books. Personally, I publish my paperbacks through Createspace, which is an Amazon company. That makes all my books available through Amazon as print-on-demand with no upfront cost to me.

The last question I asked of Estes was, “To a writer who doesn’t know their way around the selling platforms what advice would you give?”

There are a few key pieces of advice I would give to writers who are new to navigating the many selling platforms that are out there:

1. Focus on ebooks! That is the place to be, especially for Indie authors. You can offer your books at a better price than big published books and reach a growing market. You’ll also receive MUCH higher royalty rates than by publishing through print.

2. Focus on the biggest platforms because that’s where you’ll get most of your revenue. Amazon and B&N still have a stranglehold on the ebook industry. Although they will both inevitably lose some market share over time, the market is growing rapidly, so the overall pie will be getting bigger too.

3. Be aware of trends in the market. Do your research. For example, Apple and Google have both been pushing resources into their book-selling platforms, which will likely mean growth from them.

4. Take advantage of a worldwide market! Amazon and Barnes & Noble are only available in some countries. Use platforms like Smashwords.com to reach almost EVERY country. I’m selling more and more books in places like Asia, Africa, and Europe through Smashwords.

5. Use the templates provided by the platforms you choose. You absolutely need your book to be formatted nicely for each of your platforms. Otherwise readers will get frustrated with how hard it is to read your books and they won’t come back for the next one or recommend it to others.

When you are new to the publishing world and it is alien to you, there is always someone out there who has done what you are trying to do and is honest, open and giving with their advice. So ask questions. Also, be sure to let us know what part of the publishing process has you stomped and we will tackle it to the best of our and an experienced professional’s ability.

David once again, thank you so much for allowing me the pleasure of working with you and giving aspiring authors all this great advice. As per his words from the guest post listed below, “Read, read, read! Be a reader and a lover of books first.” So readers and writers out there, be sure to check out his novels which can be found on Goodreads and Amazon (and all the selling platforms listed above). To hear more on what Estes has to say about writing, publishing and promoting be sure to click on these sites: Advice For Writers That Are Just Starting by David Estes
Indie Author Advice Series #2 by David Estes

© 2013 Seven Magazine

Your Book Sitting on a Book Shelf

I’ve had the pleasure of getting of working with Cindy C. Bennett a few times throughout this year. She’s pretty amazing, friendly and very knowledgeable about publishing. Cindy is an amazing author who has 15 published titles under her name. Two of these are traditionally published and she has found success there and in self publishing. She agreed to allow me to pick her brain about the publishing industry… I’m not so sure she knew what she was getting into 😉 but she very graciously and sincerely answered all of my questions. Thank you very much Cindy!

About Cindy
20130509-054805.jpg Cindy C Bennett was born and raised in beautiful Salt Lake City, growing up in the shadows of the majestic Rocky Mountains. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs. She also has two sons. She volunteers her time working with teen girls between the ages of 12-18, all of whom she finds to be beautiful, fascinating creatures. When she’s not writing, reading or answering emails she can often times be found riding her Harley through the beautiful canyons near her home (yes, I ride a Harley and no, you’d never know it to look at me!).

Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Web Site

Q: Besides a good novel, what do you believe is the biggest necessary attribute to be successful in the self publishing world?
A: A willingness to work hard and learn everything you can about marketing, without over marketing.

Q: Besides a good novel and persistence, what do you believe is the biggest attribute needed to have your novel picked up by a publisher?
A: A willingness to take a lot of rejections before you find the one that’s a good fit for you, and also to not be afraid to say no to an offer if it doesn’t feel right.

Q: When it comes to writing and publishing do you have a philosophy or advice that you live by?
A: My advice is to make sure that you have learned the mechanics of writing such as spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. Without those, no matter how good your book is, nobody will read it because it will be too distracting to read or come across as bad writing.

Q: When writing a novel, how do you personally make the distinction of self publishing that novel or seeking a publisher?
A: With my first traditionally published book, I found them during a time when I did not know what I know now about publishing. With my second published book, my publisher asked me specifically for that book which is why I have two novels with Sweetwater books.

Q: What is the biggest piece of advice you can give to aspiring writers about publishing?
A: Understand that you’re going to get rejection in the publication process, and even if you do succeed, whether you are traditional or self published you will get rejections from readers that are harsh. You just have to learn to let it roll off your back and not take it personally.

Q: Looking back on your writing career, what would you have done differently?
A: I would have started much younger. I would have not been afraid of thinking I was going to get rejected. I would have published sooner, one way or another.

Q: What do you consider to be the best aspect of each publishing method?
A: The best of traditional is seeing your book sitting on a book store shelf. There is something inherently validating in that. The best aspect of self publishing is being able to retain complete creative control over every part of your book.

Q: What do you consider to be the worst?
A: The worst aspect of traditional publishing is the very small amount of money you make for all of the hard work that you do for your book. The worst aspect of self publishing is that it requires a lot of time to get your book ready, including editing, formatting, etc. that you might end up having to pay someone to do.

Q: What advice would you give writers who are interested in publishing and are unsure of which route to take?
A: I would suggest, with the way to marketplace is today, to look into self publishing before traditional because the publishing world is changing. There’s almost more reasons, at this point, to self publish than to traditionally publish. But in the end, it has to be what you feel will work best for you and your lifestyle, as well as the amount of time, money, and work you want to put into your book.

Q: With deadlines being a big deal in the publishing world, how do they differ on each side of the spectrum? How do you go about dealing with each?
A: With traditional publishing, you’re more tightly bound by deadlines than you are with self publishing. With traditional, you have many people who are working on your book and need to have it by a certain time to get their job done. A traditional publisher schedules releases and so you have to have it done by a certain time. With self published its more relaxed because you’re the only one requiring to have it done by a certain time so if you’re not done it’s not the end of the world.

Q: Are there any problems that are unique to women in the publishing world?
A: I actually think it is easy for a woman because many time a woman has more freedom with time to work on her book and work on marketing than a man who might be supporting a family. I don’t think there is a prejudice from a man vs. a woman on who is going to sell more books.

Q: Because we are celebrating Mother’s Day this month, how do you manage your time with writing and motherhood?
A: I have extremely understanding kids who are very supportive of my career and encourage me to write and they even read as I’m writing, so I’m probably luckier in that area than many areas. I don’t have little kids at home, my kids are a bit older. For me, I always prioritize my family first. If there is a family thing, or something they want to do, I do that first before doing my writing. So for me, I don’t generally find that there is a conflict between writing time and family time.

Thank you Cindy for this insightful interview. Be sure to stop by one of her links, follow and thank her for this amazing interview. If anyone has any questions or topics you would like covered in Anyone Can Write be sure to comment below. We will be trying hard to cover topics that will help writers better navigate the publishing world.

A Procrastinator’s Improvement Guide

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As the self proclaimed ‘accomplished’ procrastinator, I know a thing or two about the art of procrastination. Here’s what I have to say: it is amazing. I love wasting all of my valuable time on video games, soap operas and books instead of being productive. There is just a peace that envelopes me when I leave everything for the last minute. Can you blame me? I mean you guys know what I’m talking about right? No? No? Really? Any takers?

Oh, OK. Let me try a new angle. Procrastination is simply something I excel in. I’m great at leaving everything for last minute and then pulling out my hair in frustration for having done it again. You know- the P word. So it’s really not as amazing as I tend to euphamise. But as they say, those that can’t do teach. Yep, we will be trying that saying out for size.

So you there, established procrastinator that is reading this and while you don’t really care to give up this amazing skill I’m here to give you some advice. For the record- yes, I did say skill. It is no easy feat to go against all of your instincts and nagging conscience to be lazy. Well lazy in my case. But I regress. Back to the P word. Procrastination isn’t always great- usually in the last minutes while you’re trying to meet a deadline that you had weeks to fulfill and you only give yourself an hour to complete. So what can you do?

First, it is important to develop precedent. Warn everyone people. ‘I am a procrastinator.’ Well not like that. It’s important to use positive adjectives like amazing, artful, impressive, dedicated… You know words that tend to describe a positive trait. So when you know that this person expects you to meet a deadline or has some form of expectation in time- like, let’s say a date- set precedent. ‘Hey Billy, I feel very strongly about procrastination. I think it’s pretty impressive how people can just leave everything for last minute.’ Yes, you can say that in your most sarcastic voice, but hey you warned him. When your 20 minutes late to your date and he wants an explanation, be sure to tell him that you excel in procrastination. People will come to not expect punctuality from you and you will deal with less guilt and less pressure from expectations.

Next, make a list. Everyday take out five minutes to write down everything that is absolutely important that you get done that day. This is honestly the best and most effective way to deal with procrastination. Keep your list near you all day. Even when you’re too busy lounging on the couch scrolling through iFunny on your phone or on your computer checking out Youtube for nigahiga‘s newest videos, be sure to have your list nearby. A pen or pencil is also a good idea. It will make it easier to revise and add things to your list you forgot in the first go round. Don’t waste your time writing things you know you have no intention of doing. That night when you have exhausted your usual list of time exhausting distractions, your P list will ensure that you don’t forget to go half assed on everything important enough to write down.

What did I say this article was meant to do? Oh, I really don’t think it matters. However, I do hope that this has made you a better procrastinator and that you will soon achieve a master level of it.

Abortion or Adoption?

She’s in the hospital, the doctor is between her legs telling her to push one last time. With increasing pain she obeys and pushes with the last of her waning strength. The doctor holds up the newborn for her to see her child for the first time and the thing looking back at her is a demon. She screams and wakes up at her friends house. She’s careless to have fallen asleep here. It’s already dark and her parents must be worried. Shaken, she grabs her things and rushes home. She takes the quickest route she knows and when she’s a block from home she feels someone roughly grab her and throw her on the alley floor. Disoriented and feeling nothing but fear she screams. Her attacker holds his hand over her mouth, nearly suffocating her. It’s bad. Really bad. She’s scared. She doesn’t know what to do. She can’t fight him off. He’s too strong. She tried it already and was backhanded for it. So hard that she blacked out. When she woke from it. Her worst fears were realized. He had pulled her pants off and was now between her legs. ‘Oh, please dear God. God, Please, please, please! Make this stop! I can’t take this. I won’t survive this a second time.’ As if in answer to her prayer, it stops. She wakes up in her bed. Crying and sobbing she wonders, ‘when will this stop’? She just wants to forget it all happened. But even in her dreams she can’t escape her reality. As she remembers the beginning, the demon child, she cries even harder. How can her parents ask this of her? How could they ask her to keep this thing growing inside her?

She once again considers abortion. It would be so easy to rid herself of this demon child if she got an abortion. She would never get her life completely back after what that monster did to her. She wants to forget about it and this demon spawn growing inside her won’t let forget for even a second. She wants to rid herself of this reminder. She thinks about moving on with her life. Accomplishing things she’s always dreamt of and letting this all be a bad dream. Then guilt dismantles her body. The idea of murder, even of the evil growing in her, fills her with guilt and shame. Wouldn’t killing this thing make her a monster too? Everyone would judge her including her parents. They’ve already made it clear that they don’t wont support that decision. She can’t keep this child. What other options are available to her?

Adoption! The idea suddenly springs to her mind. If she were able to bear this torture for the next nine months this option would be a possibility. She wouldn’t be forced to face the spawn everyday of her life and would be a way to assuage her parents and possibly maintain her sanity. She briefly fantasizes about moving on with her life with adoption solving her dilemma. In her fantasy she starts to believe that any family will do. Any, as long as they take it off of her hands. This fantasy ends abruptly when she remembers that not every child given up for adoption is actually adopted.

Foster care seems to be where these children go. In remembering all the horror stories she’s heard of foster children suffering through, she once again feels guilt. How often has she heard that these children suffer abuse and become physically and/or emotionally scared? Stories of children suffering physical, emotional and sexual abuse in the foster care system? These stories are pretty common as far as she’s concerned. She doesn’t want that demon to control her life with what he did to her. She doesn’t want him to turn her into a monster too. But she sees he’s winning the battle. How can he not? When every solution available fills her with guilt and shame?

If the evil spawn is going to spend his life suffering because by her actions, in the end what does that make her? If the child is molested, raped, neglected, beaten or any other action that spells out abuse she might just be better off killing it. Abortion seems to be the most sensible choice. Either way she’ll have guilt to deal with. But if she puts it up for adoption, she’ll always wonder if its suffering because of her choice. She’ll fear that one day it’ll track her down and want answers she couldn’t possibly know how to answer. Abortion would eliminate those possibilities. It will ensure that the spawn will not suffer pain all it’s life because of her.

At the end of the day who are we to decide what route is best for others? Yet, in our laws and our government our opinions are meant to matter. How do you feel about the argument of abortion vs adoption? In a terrible dilemma such as this one, what would you advise? What would you do? Is there a grey area for such a sensitive topic? A happy ending solution? Please comment below and let us hear your opinions.