Archive | December 2017

Resizing Your Blog Images

Nicholas C. Rossis

Image resize | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Image: Chris Graham

One of the most common mistakes I see when browsing friends’ blogs, is that they upload their images and photos unoptimized–i.e. full-sized. This matters for a number of reasons, top among which are the following:

  1. Large images mean you may run out of storage space. Your blog host may then ask you to upgrade to a more expensive hosting plan.
  2. Large images take longer to display.
  3. Large images can eat up a reader’s monthly bandwidth when they’re visiting on a mobile phone.

Optimizing Your Images

Chris Graham, aka everyone’s favorite simian, recently posted a series of posts on the subject on his excellent blog, Chris the story-reading ape. These include detailed instructions on how to resize your photos and images on both the old WP-admin environment and the new one. Depending on your blog’s theme, you may want to resize them to as little as…

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This entry was posted on December 17, 2017. 2 Comments

Missing Home by Stephany Tullis

Missing Home

A Story of Love, Trust & Honor, Book 2

__________

About the Book

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GENRE (S)
Literature & Fiction – Religious & Inspirational Fiction – Inspirational
Contemporary Fiction – Religious – Christian – Clean Romance

PUBLISHER

Diamond TK Publishing

Purchase Missing Home Here   eBook price: $2.99
December 14, 2017

A 21st century battle between good and evil.

 

Fire and brimstone, it is when an unknown epidemic threatens Chandlerville, Kentucky and its citizens. Despite his divinity training, newly appointed Chandler County pastor, Dr. Jared Johnson never intended to pastor a church despite his divinity training —not when his specialty is psychological profiling. Fate seems to have some other thoughts about the matter.

Blurb

When Dr. Jared Johnson’s research project collapses, so does he. He tosses the funding rejection letter in his office wastebasket and his plans to marry the love of his life out the window.


The last thing he wants to do is return to his home town, Chandlerville, Kentucky. An unexpected call from his grandmother, a lifelong resident of the small town, convinces him that all things indeed happen for a reason and perhaps this is the right time to reestablish his roots and start anew.

When he arrives–single, with no intent to marry, he’s shocked to learn that the town has unanimously approved his pastoral appointment to the newly refurbished 100-year-old Baptist church. Despite his divinity training, Jared never intended to pastor a church—not when his specialty is psychological profiling.  


As fate would have it, the evil spirits that begin to permeate the town and its good-hearted citizens shortly after his arrival challenge his technical skills, experience and community relationships. To complicate matters, a local angel finds herself in the eye of the storm causing Jared to re-evaluate his past and question his future.

Missing Home, A Chandler County Novel

Chapter One

What the hell was I thinking? Everything I wanted and much more than I expected or deserved. How did I walk away–no run away is more like it. She was the best thing that ever happened to me. Have I lost it or what? Jared continued mumbling to himself fighting the images of Marissa Leonard’s mocha colored, flavor enhanced, plump, kissable lips. Marissa was Dr. Jared J. Johnson’s fiancée or, so he assumed. He hadn’t spoken with her in a week, ignored her calls, responding to them with his pre-programmed, Busy right now. Will call you back.

For the first time in his life, Jared questioned his decision-making abilities. He was smart, educated and had thought he had a good head on his shoulders. But his recent decision to walk out on the woman of his dreams made him re-assess the wisdom of his ways. As his ‘Great Uncle Chuck’ used to say, ‘for an educated man, you can do some stupid things’. Jared was very close to agreeing with his long-gone uncle.

Normally a man who thought in great depth before he made any decision regardless of how small, Jared cancelled his wedding like it was an appointment with his barber. He texted Mari, his almost betrothed, supposed everlasting love, ‘Can’t talk now, need to reschedule dinner, will be in touch soon. Soon had yet to arrive.

Since he was driving, he made a mental note to check his cell to confirm the date and time of the text; his official melt down. He wondered if he had ‘flipped’ out…he only remembered episodic flashbacks. His psychology training allowed for the possibility of PSTD—post traumatic stress disorder but he had never served in the military so while he hadn’t fully dismissed that PSTD could be a possibility–it certainly wasn’t driven by military service.

He distinctly remembered his excitement when Sydney, his executive assistant, tapped on the glass window to his office door with a grin as wide as a circus clown waving a certified letter, mouthing ‘Yes’ and doing her happy dance. He beckoned her to come in, excited himself that the continuation award letter had finally arrived. It was late but that was nothing unusual with the Feds. They were always late with the grant award announcements.

The smile dropped, his heart skipped several beats as he read and re-read the life changing termination letter from the Department of Health and Human Services.  From his perspective, there was nothing further to think about. His stellar career was finished. Dunzo. He packed up his laptop, grabbed his jacket from the back of his desk chair and tossed the letter to Sydney without a word. After slamming the door, he re-opened it not surprised at all to find a startled Sidney jump back to avoid a broken nose.

“Sorry, Syd. I’ll give you a call. I’ve got to go now. Got something to do.” He mumbled and exited quicker than he had re-entered.

A confused Sidney reopened the door that had just been slammed in her face, and yelled to her boss’ back.

“Hey Jay, is everything alright?”

Without looking back, he yelled, “No.”

As the elevator doors opened, he added. “By the way, tell your sister I’ll be in touch.”

Professional planner by training and nature, he violated project planning rule number one. He acted without a plan when he swung by his apartment, changed into his jeans and threw a few things into his duffel bag. He locked up his condo, remotely set his alarm from the car and pulled out of one of his two assigned parking spaces. Jared drove aimlessly for days.

Now as neared his hometown, Chandlerville, Kentucky, he wondered how he would explain his early arrival. He and Mari had confirmed with his grandmother via a three way call no more than two weeks ago that they would visit her and spend some time with her before returning to finish up his Atlanta-based CDC project. Jared knew his grandmother wanted him to move back home. They’d made no promises, but he and Mari had discussed the pros and cons of relocating to a small town.

He had mixed feelings about it because he’d spent all his adult life in big cities and wasn’t sure he could re-adapt to small town living. Mari was born and raised in a small town, too but in upstate New York. Except for a few cousins, she had no close family in the North and rarely visited. She and a friend from her college days remained in contact–not regularly but enough to meet up and see a show in the City every two or three years.

So, the North and snow were out of the question. They had also agreed that Hot-lanta was not their preferred choice for raising a family. After talking it through and thinking about how close Chandlerville was to Nashville, one of their favorite places to visit, and to Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby, they had tentatively decided they might give Chandlerville further thought.

Grams would be happy but shocked to see him so close to the wedding and without Mari. There was no way to explain away her absence and his unexpected presence especially since Gram had planned to attend the wedding in a few weeks. She’d been excited and hoped to get some sightseeing in while she was in the big A-T-L. She’d only been there once and wanted to go to one of those fancy ‘upscale’ restaurants as she said, the new Civil Rights museum and she was hoping ‘her nephew or his new wife’ could find someone to take her to a Hawks game.  

Jay and Mari had laughed at his grandmother’s sarcasm and promised her they would see what they could do. Without telling her, they had already purchased the Hawks and Museum tickets and made reservations for dinner at one of Atlanta’s renown restaurants.

He slowed as he turned off the highway feeling like a kid who had not only crashed the family car, but left it alongside the road and stolen someone’s vehicle to make it home. Unlike the kid, however, he was less worried at this point, about the situation than the fact that he had to look his grandmother in the eyes and explain what would appear from her perspective to be the unexplainable. Eyes that despite her age, were more than just lucid. They were bright and would widen when she saw her ‘boy’ as she called him. The crinkles around her soft brown eyes would fill with warm welcoming tears of joy like they did each time she saw him.  Nothing would be different except her disappointment when she looked around for an absent Marissa and listened to his sob story of betrayal.

The trucks and steep winding roads on I-65 challenged the best of drivers and Jay breathed a sigh of relief–thankful to exit from the highway and onto the bypass. Jay murmured, “I made it Grams.”

If nothing else, as had been true all his life, his grandma, Ms. Isabel Johnson knew the way. And she might have some answers for him. The unexpected revelation, warming sunlight and rolling green hills made for a brighter day. With a chest expanding breath, he rolled back the deep burgundy convertible top on his black metallic Mercedes and made a U turn. “Chandlerville, for better or worse, I’m back. Gotta make a stop by Cassies’. Gram would never forgive me if I didn’t bring her a pecan pie.”

About the Author

In my world, there is no life without writing, traveling, family, music and my love of politics. My loves and interests are central to my writing. With this backdrop, regardless of the date or time of your visit, you will find family.

My world (my back-story) is guided by my faith and the inspiration I receive from God. Without exaggeration, family and relationships are the core of every book I write.

I love to travel and like me, my characters are always off and running and in so doing require me to research (and often visit) so many fascinating places.

I also love music—all kinds and I’m never surprised by what track finds its way to my personal playlists and a character’s ring tone, door chime, or car radio station.

People frown sometimes and don’t understand my love of politics, but I have a political administration background and thrived on and in my past government career. For me, it’s the people, the process and what democracy offers. As with life, my fictional towns and cities include mayors, governors, school board members, etc.

If you haven’t guessed, I love my world that allows me to not only live the life I love but to also share it with others.


Website ǁ Twitter ǁ Facebook ǁ Pinterest ǁ Amazon Author Page ǁ Book Bub ǁ Readers Group

 

 

This entry was posted on December 15, 2017. 4 Comments

Literary Titan Book Awards December 2017

LITERARY TITAN

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

Gold Award Winners

Mademoiselle Alice: A Novel (The Life and Work of Alice Guy Blaché Book 1) by [Dietrick, Janelle]Shadow of the Moon: A Fantasy of Love, Murder and Werewolves by [Griffeth, Kwen]The Glass Demon by [Veit, Jerry J.C. ]

Walking Over Eggshells: Surviving Mental Abuse by [CLARKE, LUCINDA E]The LGBTQ Meditation Journal by [Stone, Christopher , Sheldon, Mary]The Enigma Dragon: A CATS Tale (The Enigma Series Book 9) by [Breakfield, Charles V, Burkey, Roxanne E]

The Raid on Troy (The Orfeo Saga Book 7) by [Eiland Jr., Murray Lee]Just Another Girl's Story: An Inspirational Teen Autobiography about Abortion, Addiction Recovery and Finding Redemption by [Eckert, Laura]

Executive Hoodlum: Negotiating on the Corner of Main and Mean by [Costello, John, Elder, Larry]The Consort Conspiracy (Covington Family Mystery Book 1) by [Schmitz, Kaye D.]Into the Night by [Veit, Jerry J.C.]Because It Was Raining by [Worley, Skyler]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

Liars by [Gillis, Steven]Shadows, Shells, and Spain by [Meyer, John]Out of the Shadows (Shadowlands Book 1) by [Bye, Ashlee Nicole]

A-C-T Like A Kid And T-H-I-N-K Like A Parent: What All Good Parents Need For Their Kids To Know, Learn And Understand by [Shears, Katherine , Whitehurst, C. S.]DEAD AIR: A Glenn Beckert Mystery by [Protzman, Cliff]Vatican Protocol by [Gallagher, Brian]

Panther Across the Stars by [Brett Coon, Lon]Invasion by [Bland, Roxanne]Suzy Has A Secret

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information and see all award winners.

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This entry was posted on December 4, 2017. 4 Comments

Easy Blogging for Authors: 10 Tips for a Successful Author Blog, Anne R Allen

The PBS Blog

Anne is at it again with a most excellent article on Blogging for Authors. If you’re an author and you’re looking to learn more about how your blog differs from a business blog, check out this post. She talks being true to your brand, not defining your blog success by numbers, networking and not sacrificing your WIP (work in progress).

My biggest mistake was that I didn’t see that an author blog has a different purpose and goal from a business blog. Author blogs aren’t about making money directly with ads or sales.

Instead, they provide a platform for your writing and a way to communicate with readers and fellow writers. An excellent one. In fact, a blog is still the best platform-building tool for authors, according to agent Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary, (Laurie will be visiting us in January.)

Good writers don’t need gimmicks. We only need to…

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Different Types of Closure

Legends of Windemere

Yahoo Image Search

I’ve said in previous posts that one of the most important parts of concluding a series is creating closure. You need to bring things to an end, which isn’t as easy as some people think.  In fact, one of the reasons it can be so tough is because you have a variety of closure types to choose from.  It depends a lot on what you’re going for, but even planning doesn’t alleviate all the pressure.  So, what are the types?

  1. Classic Good Ending– All of the good guys get what they wanted and all of the bad guys got what they deserved.  It’s the oldest type of closure in the book.  Nothing messy and no risk of people feeling it’s a downer.  Though, you might get called out for being weak and unoriginal.
  2. Classic Bad Ending– I’m not sure how long it took for someone…

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Increase Engagement in Your Marketing with Visuals…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

By Frances Caballo  On The Book Designer site:

You know the saying that a picture is worth 1,000 words? It may be true but what’s proven is that a photo is better than text when it comes to social media engagement.

As much as you may think that you prefer text over visuals, perhaps because you’re a writer, your brain can process images 60,000 times faster than text.

Yeah, your brain prefers visuals.

This helps to explain why images are so important in our marketing, whether we put them on Twitter or add them to our blog posts. And it accounts for the rapid growth of social media platforms such as Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram.

Think about Tumblr. It began as a blogging platform. Go to Tumblr these days, and you’ll be amazed by the images there.

Do you include images with your blog posts? It’s now known that blog…

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Editing Hacks: How To Read Your Work With Fresh Eyes

K.M. Allan

While being able to pick up typos and Google the answer to any grammatical question is a modern godsend for writers, the one technological advance I’d like to have is the ability to see my work with fresh eyes.

Short of a future app that makes it possible, or a clichéd amnesic related accident, I’ll never be able to unread something that I’ve read (what feels like) a million times. This greatly limits my ability to edit without mercy. But where there is a will, there is a way, and here are some hacks that at least try to fake fresh eyes.

Change The Font

Simple yet effective, changing the font for your manuscript mixes it up in your brain. Different colors can’t hurt either, just don’t spend all day switching between Helvetica and Comic Sans and forget to actually do some editing. A totally different font to the one…

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This entry was posted on December 2, 2017. 2 Comments