Archive | March 2019

Ten simple rules to avoid negative effects of social media

Educated Unemployed Indian

“Distracted from distraction by distraction.”
~ T. S. Eliot

Social media has become the link, the link that links us all in an ever expanding virtual community. A community much wider, bigger and beyond anyone’s control.

It will make you feel popular one moment and deserted the next. It can leave you feeling quite lost if you don’t bring along your only defense-a sense of humour.

“Yet the best determining factor of how comfortable we are with ourselves, is our ability to laugh at ourselves.”
~Wes Adamson

A lot of people are of the opinion that social media tends to make people feel low and depressed. That makes sense; looking at the selective best moments of friends, seemingly living better lives will do that to anyone.

Social media has some serious issues and it’s negative effects can’t be ignored. But we can’t avoid it’s use completely.


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$1.99 Sale Sammy: Hero


Amazon has it right today! Sale price for this new release is only $1.99! Early reviews below: 

New from Mary L Schmidt, ‘Sammy Hero At Age Five‘ tells her son’s story of his fight with cancer, as in Mary’s ‘When Angels Fly’, but this time from Sammy’s point of view. Available to order now!! 

“Kids can get hungry sometimes while on chemo,” says five-year-old Sammy, having a good day despite the malignant tumor invading his brain. Based on true events from the 1980s, Sammy’s story is imagined by his mother and brother as if the young boy might tell it himself. The result is gripping. Told in two parts, Sammy’s account first invites us into the everyday middle-American lives of a mom and her two boys. Sammy is a sweet, goodhearted kid, even as he faces the most difficult challenges in Part 2: “Cancer Arrived.” Here Sammy talks us through hospital trips and procedures, the hardest parts as well as moments of simple joy. It is not always possible to survive such a grim diagnosis, so Sammy and his family must embrace the smaller victories from one day to the next. Finally, our young hero is given one last opportunity to find his own unique path toward triumph. Listen closely as Sammy tells us all what matters most.


Reviewed By Lucinda E Clarke for Readers’ Favorite

“The story of Sammy: Hero at Age Five told by his mother, M Schmidt, and his brother, Gene D Donley, recounts the first years of his life from his earliest days until his sad death from cancer before he reached his sixth birthday. We learn of the early days, filled with love and happiness, his close friendship with his older brother, and the family friends who supported them. They had recently moved to a new town and his mother had met and was dating a nice man. Everyday life was normal, until Sammy began to get sick – again and again. The doctors did not diagnose his condition in the early stages and some tragic mistakes were made. Through all this, Sammy describes the toys, outings and events he enjoyed, the dressing up for Thanksgiving, his new bicycle, his favourite movies, followed by yet more visits to the hospital. Sammy shows us his world from the perspective of a small, five-year-old boy who shows so much courage through all the treatments he endured for long, painful months. There are moments of pure joy when he was released from hospital to spend a few days at home, before returning for more sessions of chemotherapy and radiation. It is no spoiler to say that sadly he passed away to go, as he tells us, to live with Jesus – the cover depicts him as an angel.

The true story of Sammy is a heart-breaking tale of courage, acceptance and an unshakable belief in a better life, free from pain, after death. While the facts of Sammy’s cruel illness are taken from journals and notes recorded during his treatments and hospital stays, what grips the reader is the roller-coaster feelings and the awe experienced by the reader of this child’s short life. There are both funny and sad moments, his understanding of how hard his mother fought to get him the best – sometimes at odds with the diagnosis and medicines prescribed by the doctors. His love-able personality shines through on every page and he has left a legacy of a life well lived that is an example to us all. The last few lines in the book are a complete shock. But I’m not giving anything away in this review. I am proud to award it 5 stars.”

“Written from the point of view of a five year old little boy… both funny and sad are moments that all children fighting cancer, their siblings, and their parents should read. The antics of Sam and his big brother, Gene, are funny and scary at times, but they are real—real-life events and situations. A must read!”

“All children who suffer from cancer and their families could benefit from, and relate to, this short story. Highly recommended and five stars all the way.”

“His love-able personality shines through on every page and he has left a legacy of a life well lived that is an example to us all.” 

“…a story of Sam’s incredible bravery and faith in the face of a devastating situation.”

“..point of view of a five-year-old boy …main focus …is to relay the love he has for his family and how grateful he was to spend every minute he could with them.”

“…I couldn’t stop reading.”

“This story was written in such a way that it really feels like there is a five-year-old boy telling it to you, which makes it all the more heartbreaking.”

“…will keep you captivated right along with Sammy as he unfolds his story about a 
horrific battle with cancer.”

“Sammy was a feisty little thing with a huge heart and desire to achieve his goals, and his relationship with Jesus was incredible for someone so little.”

“I highly recommend this book to families facing such trials. I know they would gather courage and inspiration along with an appreciation of life on earth and what awaits them in heaven with Jesus by reading Sammy’s story.”

“Sammy: Hero at Age Five is definitely an emotional roller coaster!”

“The photographs included throughout complete this five star read.”

“He was a hero since his conception.”

“Sammy: Hero at Age Five had me hooked from page one, and I found myself trying 
to put my own person into the shoes of a five year old boy who became a hero.”


2019 Readers Favorite Five Star Book Award

Sammy: Hero At Age Five Book Trailer

Amazon Order Link

#memoir #mglit #Christian #childhoodcancer #ian1 #ASMSG #IARTG #CoPromos #hairloss  #childloss


Audible VS. Google Play Books – by Anastasia…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

on Read and Survive Blog:

I’ve become a huge fan of audiobooks and decided to compare two audiobook providers: Audible and Google Play Books and in particular, audiobooks (as they also offer ebooks).

I have been using Audible for over a year now and have loved it a lot. However, I was listening to Night by Elie Wiesel and could not find Dawn or Day on Audible which made me check for it on other sites.

I found it on Google Play Books and decided to compare there two.

Here’s what I’ve liked and not liked:

Continue reading HERE

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Formatting your paragraphs #amwriting

Life in the Realm of Fantasy

When we finish writing a short story, we feel the urge to immediately submit it to an anthology, a magazine, or contest. This urge can be overwhelming, but don’t do that just yet.

Set your manuscript aside for a week or so then come back to it and revise it.

Have the “Read Aloud” function of your word processing program read it to you as you go over it and look for editable flaws.

Check for words that spell check won’t find because they are spelled correctly but are wrong, little things such as “They went their for breakfast.”

Next, we want to format it for submission, which is a process with several steps, all of which are important. It is a bit too long for one post, so I am dividing it into digestible chunks and will finish this series next week.

First, you must look for extra…

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This entry was posted on March 28, 2019. 2 Comments

Using the KISS Method in Your Writing

Author Don Massenzio

I remember 9th grade English. This was the year where my high school began to concentrate on expanding the vocabulary of students. I remember the vocabulary workbooks where we had to focus on the spelling, definitions and usage of words.

We were encouraged to use these newly learned words in our daily conversation and, especially, in our writings.

I learned words like:

Dotard – A person, especially an old person, exhibiting a decline in mental faculties; a weak-minded or foolish old person. (I’m sensitive to this one these days).

Lugubrious – mournful, dismal, or gloomy, especially in an affected, exaggerated, or unrelieved manner.

Prestidigitation – sleight of hand; legerdemain. (Don’t you love it when two other rarely used words are part of the definition of a rarely used word?)

So, why am I going down memory lane to my high school studies? I learned and retained a lot of these…

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Launch Day!!











It’s launch day  for Sammy: Hero at Age Five!! 

Some review snippets below: 

“Sammy was a feisty little thing with a huge heart and desire to achieve his goals, and his relationship with Jesus was incredible for someone so little.”

Sammy: Hero at Age Five had me hooked from page one, and I found myself trying to put my own person into the shoes of a five year old boy who became a hero.”

“He was a hero since his conception.”

“I highly recommend this book to families facing such trials. I know they would gather
courage and inspiration along with an appreciation of life on earth and what awaits them in heaven with Jesus by reading Sammy’s story.”

Grab your copy via one of the links below. 


Using Instagram to Promote Your Book [Long Post]

Author Steve Boseley - Half a Loaf of Fiction


Please forgive me for being late to the party, but I have recently joined Instagram. What took me so long you ask? Well, it’s just not something I had ever considered as being helpful in my goal of promoting my work. It’s mostly photo sharing, so it won’t be useful in that goal. Right?

I was wrong.

What is it?

Instagram is a relatively new social media platform that focuses on photo and video sharing. Users can browse post by tags (the good old #hashtag) and by location.

It’s fairly new in comparison with some other social media you may use (see my post on Twitter), but it is the fastest growing of all social media platforms and as such, should not be overlooked. As I did for so long [smacks forehead].

Why should I use it for promotion?

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Audiobooks: 5 Tips For Better Narration And Performance – by Jules Horne…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

on The Creative Penn:

Are you interested in publishing your books in audio form?

With audiobooks now one of the fastest-growing markets, many writers are looking at publishing their books on audio platforms such as Audible.

But some writers are going a step further, and writing with audio performance first in mind. In other words, writing first of all to engage the ear, rather than the eye.

Continue reading HERE

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Christmas Love Year Round


Please welcome Elaine Stock to my blog. Good morning Elaine, it is my pleasure to have on here today. Have a seat and make yourself comfortable.

Please introduce yourself to those reading this blog post.

First, let me say a big thank you, Mary, for the opportunity to be hosted by you on your lovely blog. I had the pleasure of meeting you and your husband at the Readers’ Favorite Awards this past November in Miami (what a treat it was to leave the chilling Northeast and enjoy the warmth and sunshine in Florida!). My only regret about that whole experience was not having time for a sit-down chat with you two. (I wish we had a chance to chat as well). 

Okay, you want to know about me: I’ve practically been raised on books by a mother who loved to read. An aunt, whom I saw often, was also a big influence in the joy of stories because she was an awesome oral storyteller.

Writing wise, I’m a hybrid author. A small Christian publisher published my debut novel, Always With You. My other novels, so far, have been Indie published. I’m open to both venues for future works.

My husband and I live in upstate New York, close to the Massachusetts border, making visits to New England quite doable and fun. We’ve been married long enough that we treasure each other as best friends who “get” each other. We’re also owned by a cat, who is beside me as I type this reply, snoring.

Has writing always been part of your life and when did you “know” that it was time to start writing your first book? 

As far back as I can remember, I always had a runaway imagination. It helped that I had a few grade school teachers spark my creativity: I’d won a third-grade writing competition (just don’t ask me what the essay was about—LOL). In my junior high years I dabbled in writing stories rather than whatever else more “typical” teenagers were doing at the time. This continued right through high school and into college, though I didn’t take any writing classes. But, I emphasize the scribbling part. I didn’t start taking my writing serious enough to complete a book until I was 26 and my mother (a very talented woman who loved the arts but never pursued it due to her mental illness) had passed away from ovarian cancer. That was a wake-up call for me. Time slips by and doesn’t wait for anyone. However, it was many years later that my first novel was published. I used to wonder why I didn’t have the “breaks” back then, but have since learned that it’s never too late to bloom…God has us grow, take root, and then blossom when He knows it’s the right time.

How difficult was it writing your first book?

Like many authors, my first published novel was not the very first one I wrote. It took me many years to learn how to hone the craft of writing and learn how to fall in love with editing (I really do love editing—it’s where the story breathes in air and comes alive), as well as learn how fall out of love with every word written and how to say bye-bye to them.

Each book is different, as well as the experiences attached to them in trying to get them published. Always With You flew fast as anything from my fingertips…but I did learn the hard way that the story wasn’t completed at that point, not without more go-rounds, polishing, editing and more editing. Each and every book, without exaggeration, is a learning experience for me.

Have you ever wanted to give up and what stopped you?

Actually, I dream of the opposite: of quitting the day-job and writing from home full-time. The closest I come to giving up writing is at the end of the work week (usually a Saturday night) when I am exhausted and all I want to do is to lock my doors from the outside world, take my shoes off, put on a DVD (usually a movie musical) and escape from work of any nature. The funny thing is, the next day I always want to write. I cannot not write!

Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?

These days, my #1 supporter is my husband. I admit it took him a while to stop thinking of me as someone who writes as a hobby, that my writing doesn’t count because it doesn’t bring in X income. Now that I have a few books out, and 3 awards, plus a building readership, he’s come to realize and accept that I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t write. I also want to add that I have a very supportive Street Team and core of fans who enjoy my stories and that’s a great encouragement, which I’m grateful for.

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

This is a big world we live in and there’s not one person I know who is impervious to daily challenges. We all need encouragement. That is why I write Women’s and Inspirational Fiction that will inspire and uplift the reader of hope of better tomorrows.

What is the best advice given to you (book or otherwise), and by whom?

The general “Don’t Give Up.” That’s said for great reasons. You can’t get anywhere if you don’t finish the book.

What is your target audience and what aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?

My average reader has been in the age range of mid-thirties on up, and mostly female. However, I’m pleased to say that I’ve had a few men enjoy my stories and interestingly, a few of them have contacted me to share their reading experience of my novels. From what I gather from reading the reviews, I manage to successfully plop the reader into the story well enough that she or he experiences what the character does. One reader of Her Good Girl said she shook with several emotions pummeling through her as she read the story.

What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt?

I’m finishing up Book 2, When Love Blossoms, of the Kindred Lake Romance Series and hope to have it launched by mid May. While I’m not prepared, yet, to share an excerpt, I’ll share one from Book 1 of the series, Christmas Love Year Round (this scene is the first chapter, a little after the beginning of the novel):

She glanced at the mantel over the fireplace at the framed eight by ten photograph of her, Todd, and Danny taken at Cape Cod the summer before Todd died. Danny looked just like his dad with his sandy blond hair, blue eyes, and a matching dimple to the right of his mouth. Her precious reminder of Todd. She swallowed hard, pushing aside her own discomfort.

“He must be pretty awesome to want to be a Friend. And you know, buddy. The director only allows nice people to volunteer. It’s like me at work. I choose only the best teachers for Little Bears.”


“Absolutely. I take good care of my preschoolers, like the director at Friends looks out for all the girls and boys.”

“Gavin. That’s his name.”

Her neck pinched. “Gavin?”

“Mom? You just made a weird face.”


Definitely a strong, kind of enchanting name, but not common. She’d known one Gavin. Gavin Kinkaid. Funny how that name still propelled her down the old guilt trip road. This man couldn’t have been the same person she’d graduated high school with fourteen years ago. Back then she was beyond thrilled they’d gone their separate ways. The relief he experienced must have transformed his whole world. She couldn’t blame him.

She licked her lips. “Well, Gavin is certainly a nice name.”

“No it’s not, Mom. It’s a dorky name. Not like Owen or Cooper or—”

Danny was beginning to recite the other adult Friends. She signaled for him to stop. “Gavin’s a fine name too. Besides, it’s not nice to judge a person.” The contradiction between her just spoken words and her past actions twisted her heart. But she wanted to set a better example than the ones she had followed years ago. “Let’s be nice to Gavin.”

“Don’t want to. I just want Owen back.” Danny squirmed loose of her hold and slid off the sofa. “I’ll be right back. Got to get something from my room.” He trotted upstairs.

With her curiosity getting the best of her, she couldn’t help but glance out the window. The for-sale house across the street now had its front light on. A man stood beside the realtor van. His back was turned toward her. He stood tall, an easy six-feet or a couple of inches more. His knee-length black wool coat revealed a trim build, let alone a sharp dresser. His raven-dark hair barely brushed his coat collar. She blinked. Really? She had to notice those handsome features. Wait a second. Didn’t the boy she’d joined the neighborhood children in mocking also have a similar shade of hair? Back then he wore it a bit long and shaggy. The man her eyes were riveted to had the shorter style she considered attractive on a mature man.

What silliness. She hadn’t seen this long-ago classmate in years. Certain he’d go to extremes to avoid her, the chances their paths would never again cross were great in her favor.

She willed away the butterflies flapping in her belly. This was a perfect time for a chocolate intervention. Hmm. Hot chocolate. And she’d also make a mug for Danny. Halfway toward the kitchen, the doorbell rang.

As soon as she opened the door cold air rushed in and the oxygen in her lungs gushed out. Before her stood the realtor, Helen McCracken, and the last man she expected to see again. Gavin Kinkaid. No doubt.

Possibly her soon-to-be new neighbor, he greeted her with a vanishing smile. His grayish-blue eyes, the color that had always reminded her of a calm lake, darkened to a metallic steel shade often seen in iron fencing. And fences separated two entities…or people. She pressed her trembling hands tight against her legs.

Play it cool. We’re both adults now.

His brows arched. “Camille?”

With feet rooted in place as if her fuzzy penguin slippers were cemented to the floor—the ones he now studied with a funny twinkle in his eyes—she couldn’t budge an inch. She didn’t want to. Her heart pounded. Heat slashed at her cheeks.

She wrapped her arms around her white sweatshirt of a reindeer and its huge red nose. “Hi, Gavin.” She cringed at her choppy voice. “I’m surprised you recognize me.”

His lips rose in a little, awkward smile. Definitely not a self-satisfied smirk. To be fair, despite the tension between them years ago, she didn’t think he was capable of having an attitude. A memory washed over her from when she was sixteen. In full teenage angst she had stormed out of her parents’ home and hightailed it to Kindred Lake, which the town was named after. The two-mile-long body of water separated the downtown section from the residential areas. She wanted to be by herself and ducked behind a tree when she heard someone approaching. That someone was Gavin, and she couldn’t stop watching him. No, more like checking him out from head to toe. She’d die if anyone saw her crushing on him…despite the more cool classmates she hung around with ordering her to keep away from him. Her only interaction with Gavin and his family boiled down to hurling insults.


Her name flowing too easily from his lips seized her drifting attention. “Yes?”

“You’re someone I could never forget.”


Any last words before we wrap things up?

I look forward to meeting new readers. If you enjoy sweet romances, please help yourself to a Free novella, And You Came Along, that I’m offering for those who sign up for my author newsletter:

While you’re there on my website to check out the novella, take a second to get to know me a little better by reading my bio. I’d love to hear from you!!

And, Mary, again, my sincere thanks and appreciation for all you’ve done for me. May He bless you and your husband richly.



Elaine Stock is dedicated to uplifting and encouraging all readers through the power of story to see hope during both the bright and dark times of life. She is the author of several award winning novels, notably Her Good Girl, which was graced with the Outstanding Christian/Religious Fiction in the 2018 IAN Book of the Year Awards, 2018 Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal in Christian Fiction and the 2018 American Fiction Awards in the Christian Inspirational category.

Elaine is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association. For fun and occasional eyebrow lifts of amazement, she hangs out on Twitter and Facebook, and of course, Goodreads.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Elaine has now been living in upstate, rural New York with her husband for more years than her stint as a NYC gal. She enjoys long walks down country roads, visiting New England towns, and of course, a good book.


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This entry was posted on March 23, 2019. 2 Comments