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Saturday, January 9, 2016

The easiest lesson for success for you, your relatives and your family: Tell stories

Every now and then you come across a simple article that manages to pack in it some really extraordinary advice. The one below is worth your time to read. If you want to give a New Year’s present to your friends, family and colleagues, copy this post to them. And make sure that you apply the simple life lesson to your own life!

Leah Eichler in the Globe & Mail has just such a succinct, powerful summary. Here’s the part that I find so compelling:

Selling really is everything. Whether you are selling a product or an idea, to stay ahead at work you need to be convincing. Telling a good story – one that moves hearts and minds – is the key to winning people over, explained Carmine Gallo, author of The Storyteller’s Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch on and Others Don’t, to be published in February.

Drawing from interviews with top business leaders, including Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and Starbucks chief executive officer Howard Schultz, Mr. Gallo found that storytelling played a strong part in their success.

The human brain, he argued, citing research from Dan McAdams, a professor of human development at Northwestern University in Illinois, is hard-wired to process information in the form of a narrative.

Storytelling, Mr. Gallo said, applies to everything from job interviews to sending e-mails, and it need not be complicated.

So how do you tell a story? Mr. Gallo suggested that good stories have a “villain” and a “hero,” but in the business world, the villain is the problem and the hero is your solution. Don’t forget to include a personal story to add a human element to any data and stick to “the rule of three.”  
Simply put, people can’t store more than three messages in their short-term memory, so don’t inundate them with too much information.

“There’s a reason why Goldilocks saw three bears and why there were three musketeers or three ghosts who appeared to Mr. Scrooge. Three is most important number in narrative,” he said.

If you can get your children or friends (or you yourself) to practice story telling in every facet of their lives, they will notice an immediate change in their fortunes. Their interactions with others will be far more positive, and this will boost their ability to carry out things, and their happiness quotient.

So don’t forget: share this with everyone you know!

And, thanks Leah: great article!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Are you ready for the yet-to-be-born ‘Earths’?

Future Earths
Seems we’re only just started the Earth-making process in the universe:

Based on Peeples and Behroozi's calculations, only about 8 percent of the planets of this type that the universe has the potential to create had been created when our own planet was born. That leaves a whopping 92 percent that are trailing behind us.

Considering the fact that it took hundreds of millions of years for the very simplest forms of life on Earth to show up, and another few billion years for us and our animal friends to evolve intelligence, there's a good chance that the brunt of potentially habitable worlds won't have their day until ours is long over.

Then again, there are already an estimated 1 billion rocky, Earth-sized planets in our galaxy alone, many of which may be in the habitable zones of their host stars. So even if the odds are bound to be better in a few trillion years, they're not so horrible today.

So there’s plenty of hope for Earthlings of the future to travel through space to new worlds (if we don’t kill our own earth first through GHG).

Monday, August 17, 2015

Why you should sit at the feet of Guru James Patterson

James Patterson, WunderWriter
Read this and then go to this website for more information from the phenomenally successful author James Patterson about his method of writing.

Patterson has 21 lectures you can take; on these topics:

Your instructor, James Patterson—currently the best-selling author in the world—lets you know what he has planned for your class and what you'll need to learn to start writing your own best-sellers.

Getting into the proper mindset is an essential first step to writing a best-seller. This lesson explores James's secrets for staying focused, productive, and motivated.

How do you recognize a great idea? How do you figure out if it's worthy of your effort? James spells out the techniques he uses to generate his ideas and then separate the good ones from the less compelling ones.

With the right plot, your reader won't be able to stop turning the pages. In this lesson, James measures out his unique approach to developing plot lines that keep readers wanting more.

For James, conducting in-depth research not only makes his writing better, it also boosts his credibility with his readers. Find out when and how James conducts his research and how he incorporates it into his writing in a thoughtful way.

James's secret weapon is a comprehensive outline. Learn how he sets himself up for a fast and successful first draft. No matter what, don't skip this lesson!

James has never shown the outline for his best-seller Honeymoon to anyone (not even his publisher) until now. Follow along with the outline provided in your Class Workbook as James further explains his process.

Even when you've written as many books as James has (76 best sellers and counting), there's still nothing scarier than staring at the blank page. Here's how to conquer those fears.

From Alex Cross to Michael Bennett, James has mastered the art of creating complex and memorable characters. Hero to villain, learn how to make your character stay with your reader well beyond the last page.

First Lines
Grab your readers attention quickly, and make them hold on for dear life. James shares his tips for getting your reader hooked from the very first line.

Writing Dialogue
Dialogue should always push the story forward. Listen to James explain a few common dialogue pitfalls and easy ways to avoid them.

Building A Chapter
James is well known for his numerous short and snappy chapters. Learn how he propels the reader through the book with an outline as his roadmap.

Writing Suspense
The secret to suspense is...

Ending The Book
We've all read great books with terrible endings. Of the infinite possible endings, learn how James chooses the right one.

James is liberal with a red pen; his editing is key to keeping the reader engaged. Learn how to trim the fat with our interactive editing assignment.

Working With A Co-Author
When does James decide to use a co-author and is it a true collaboration? In this lesson, we meet two of his most trusted co-authors who share their process for making a collaboration truly successful.

Getting Published
Author of 76 best-sellers and holder of the Guinness World Record for the first person to sell over 1 million eBooks, James knows a thing or two about getting published. In this lesson he shares what he's learned.

Book Titles And Covers
Readers do judge books by their covers. What should they think about yours?

Marketing The Patterson Way
Before publishing his first book, James was an executive at a top ad agency in New York. Find out what James learned from his time in advertising, and how he used it to change the book marketing game.

What happens when Hollywood takes an interest in your story? Sit back and listen as James shares the best and worst moments from his time on the set.

Every master begins as a student. James shares his long, winding path to becoming the world's best-selling author.

You've been given the tools to help write your next book. Now what?

And my final word to you?
James Patterson mastered the craft of hooking people, and making them come back time and again to read his novels.

Think carefully about this question: If you are serious about writing your own novels, can you afford not to sit at the feet of this master?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Authors: Survey of marketing methods used by more than 500 authors

Author M.K. (Mary) Tod
Ever wondered whether your marketing efforts are the same as, better than or worse than those of other authors? Then this survey of over 2,000 readers and writers might give you some hints. 

Conducted by author Mary Tod, this survey is hot off the press (you find the link to the full survey in this article). 

Here are some results:


Caveat: there was no button for Not Applicable and some authors wrote in that they
scored a marketing tool 0 to reflect this; results likely skew low as a consequence


NO MARKETING TOOL DOMINATES – authors use a wide range of marketing

BEING ONLINE HAS BECOME MAINSTREAM – author blogs as well as
Facebook, Twitter and other social media are more helpful than other tools; 72%
of authors rated this category 3 or more

are considered the most effective traditional activities

A later question (see section 4) asks those in the publishing industry to rate these
same marketing tools.

The rest of the survey has a surprisingly large number of hints for writers addicted to their craft, and seeking answers to the eternal writer’s lament: Where are my very own Target Readers?

Please share the link and survey with your own circles.

Friday, May 1, 2015

LINCOLN’S assassination: Of Pokers, and What-might-have-beens

Thomas Eckert, The Man who Broke Pokers
On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, President Lincoln went to see Laura Keene in Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre. A lone assassin, the actor John Wilkes Booth was in the theater when Lincoln arrived. The day before he had attended a rehearsal in the theater to make sure he knew what to do on his chosen night.

Just before ten that night Booth presented his calling card to the White House footman before the President’s box, and gained entry; he drew his pistol and shot Lincoln in the back of his head.

Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote Team of Rivals, describing the strong men that Lincoln surrounded himself with in his cabinet during the years of the just-ended Civil War. She describes how four men might have changed the course of history that day.

Lincoln’s bodyguard, William H. Crook, had the night off.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Published your own books? Then you must read this ….

Not that much information out there in the market place about who earns what in the world of publishing, once you move away from the traditional publishers and their stables of “safe” already-published authors.

But now there is a site that gives us real facts, in real time, about who sells and earns what in the big wide world of publishing.

This website should be bookmarked by every author and each author should complete the surveys to help the Indie community have a body of good information.

The site is AuthorEarnings and is found here. The describe themselves this way:

Welcome to AuthorEarnings, where our purpose is to gather and share information so that writers can make informed decisions. Our secondary mission is to call for change within the publishing community for better pay and fairer terms in all contracts. This is a website by authors and for authors.

Dive through their published surveys from past years, and put your name down on their email list to get future surveys (after completing the author survey as well!).

Here are a few snippets to pique your curiosity:

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Amazon 5-Star Review of The Euros: Notre Dame Point Zero

Amazon 5-Star Review of The Euros: Notre Dame Point Zero
Here is the review:

By BOBA on March 1 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Like many of Glenn Ashton's other books, this one grabs you right away and doesn't let up until the very end.
The "Euros" will satisfy anyone who is a fan of the Rainbow Six and Private para-military groups fighting off the bad guys. However, they are a bit classier and less super-human, therefore much more believable. In this case the bad guys are taken from the current headlines and set in both Notre Dame Cathedral and the sewers in Paris. The location is finely crafted and shows an obvious flair for detailed research.
This is a highly enjoyable read but don't expect to just read a bit and then put it down. That won't happen!

You can find more at my Amazon author site at:

What is my latest book - The Euros: Notre Dame Point Zero – about?

How would you rescue women and children held hostage in Notre Dame cathedral in Paris by a band of faceless, nameless and ruthless men, who have attached bombs to each hostage, and threaten to blow up the cathedral if their demands are not met?

That is the problem that The Euros face in this, the first book of the series about them.

The Euros is the name for the Euro Protection Bureau, the highly skilled, well trained super cops unit formed to protect the European Union from threats to its integrity.

With five headquarters – the Puzzle House in London, the Grooming House in Paris, the Toy House in Berlin, the Garage in Rome and the Story House in Prague - the PuzzleMaker and Headmaster, directors of the London and Paris HQs, have a limited time to find a way to make themselves invisible so that they may enter the cathedral, rescue the hostages, save the cathedral, and capture the Bad Guys.

As little children are marched to Point Zero in front of the cathedral, with flickering lights on their explosive vests, and the Headmaster is forced to go into the cathedral as a hostage, the PuzzleMaker turns to Knuckles, the leader of the Onsite Prediction Unit, to cast her knucklebones and help him anticipate the actions of the Bad Guys.

He also asks a young gypsy girl to help him, and the Gypsy takes him on a hair-raising trip through the catacombs and sewers of Paris.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Authors, what Your Readers need from You to buy Your books

There are lessons to be learned from opinions of readers in various surveys, and the 2012 survey gives some good ones for self-published authors.

In the 2012 survey of readers of historical fiction, the finding was this:
In the 2012 historical fiction survey, 562 people listed favourite reading oriented websites, blogs and social media sites. The winners in connecting readers with books share three attributes:
  • thoughtful, trustworthy information about books,
  • opportunities for dialogue and an exchange of ideas, and
  • a community of like-minded readers.
If you write historical fiction, this finding from the 2012 survey should give you some hope, if you are a beginning self-published author:

Elsewhere in the survey, participants said that they choose books based on time period (27.2%) and on genre (30.3%). Only 18.3% choose based on author while the remaining 24.2% choose at random. Based on these percentages, it’s not surprising that historical fiction readers seek help to find stories from the time periods and genres they favour.

Some more of my random posts for you: