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This article addresses my,uhm,disfluencies when speaking in public.

Authors & Speakers Network Blog with Larry James

Lisa B. Marshall, Guest Author

Recently I attended a training course in New York City and at the start of the course each of us introduced ourselves.

The senior executive sitting next to me said, and I quote, “I, like, work for a big bank, like, Citibank. I work, um, in technology, and head-up a group of like, 500 people, right. I do, like, technology risk assessment, right, and create, um, processes, to, like, reduce risk, right.”

A&S-VocabularyI was shocked.

“Like,” “Um,” and “Ah” are credibility killers ~ He was a business professional, a senior director at a major organization, and yet he sounded more like a valley girl. His speech was so infected with “like,” “right,” and “um” that the message was muddled and he significantly diminished his credibility.

These “credibility killers” – fluency disruptions – communicate doubt, especially at the end of a phrase. When he was talking…

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What better topic for my first post in my renewed determination to blog regularly. I tend to be a private person, sometimes acting more as an information-gatherer than a conversationalist, so when in the company of friends I blurt out an unknown fact from my past, I get looks that say, “Really? I never knew that about you.” What things have you already figured out and which ones surprise you?

  1. I was a dietary cook in a retirement center in Cincinnati for a couple of years. I grew up learning to cook from the time I was old enough to stand on a kitchen chair to reach the counter to watch one or both of my parents doing everything from rolling dough to shelling beans, preparing everything from scratch. When I had the opportunity to take the dietary classes required to pursue a career as a cook, I jumped at the chance. This was not a glamorous job as one imagines from watching television cooking shows, mostly strenuous and exhausting work rushing around a large commercial kitchen eight hours a day, beginning at 6 a.m. But I enjoyed the interaction with the residents aged anywhere from sixty-five to ninety-five. Little did I know that some of those colorful characters would provide future book fodder for me.
  2. Later, I worked as a Personal Care Attendant with the elderly and handicapped. I interrupted my work as a bookkeeper to start my own business providing the assistance for elderly people. A new movement had started in Arizona, and around the country, to enable people to stay in their homes and avoid nursing homes by having someone come in to help them with everything from grocery shopping to shower assistance. These services were more for the unfortunate ones who did not have local family or were on their own. I took training at Arizona Bridge to Independent Living (ABIL) where I met a woman who continues to be my oldest friend in Arizona. Yes, that’s you, Sulon. Having grown up with grandparents living in our home, I had developed an empathetic attitude, or maybe a keener realization that all of us will find ourselves in this stage of life eventually—it’s the condition of our bodies that will vary. Caring for others is not only satisfying, but provided the opportunity to form several close relationships with some of the most interesting characters I have ever meet. When you meet a person who has lived close to a century, stop, and listen to their stories. Even non-writers benefit from their broad perspectives.
  3. I sang in my high school Glee Club. As a young girl, I had the idea I would be a singer (didn’t everyone?). Unfortunately, I had terrible stage fright that I still cannot overcome. Singing in a group rather than alone made public appearances easier. At the time I belonged to the Glee Club, there was a geek stigma attached to it and I ended up leaving to share more self-destructive pastimes with my peers. Funny how much street cred  Glee Clubs have acquired since then. And a television show! I never followed that path, but at least I know I’m an alto. I know how to sing from the gut rather than the throat. And I know when to take a breath during a song.  Great for my car performances.
  4. I’m a fool for a man who can play Chopin on the piano for me. As a tween and into my late teen years, I used to listen to the classical radio station while I fell asleep. There is something bordering on the spiritual about a classical composition. The purity of the sounds of each instrument both isolated and blended at the same time. Years later, I developed a greater appreciation for a well-played solo piano piece for its resonance and tonal quality, and its ability to send me into a meditative state. Contemplative, recuperative, inspirational, and non-intrusive. Back in the days of private duty work, I worked for a piano teacher recovering from a long illness who said she needed to play every day to keep in practice. I sat next to her and her grand piano, listening while she played her favorite composer, Chopin and his mazurkas. I can’t recall our conversations, but I retain the sensory memory of her performances and their impact on me. Piano isn’t the only instrument I enjoy, but it’s the most powerful. Sadly, seeing a piano in someone’s home does not mean they play, or have played in years, dashing my hopes of getting another private concert. So someone who plays the piano, and plays it often and exquisitely—well there’s nothing hotter.
  5. I think I’m hilarious and cannot understand why no one else does. I think I know how this idea got started. It stemmed from a couple of incidents with a high school friend. She and I had known each other from grade school, and while we both had brown hair, she has hazel eyes and I have brown eyes. She was athletic and short with a square face; I was a tall and skinny bookworm with an oval face. Regardless, we ran into people who asked us if we were twins. We found this so ridiculous that we started saying yes to serve them right. Foolishly, they seemed more satisfied with a lie over the truth. Could it have been our mannerisms and speech patterns? We never knew, but I found spinning outrageousness tales to be amusing, more to myself than to others, I guess. It’s the private joke you laugh at that no one else understands. The humor of that foot-in-the-mouth frivolity that stuns, waiting to see if the other person knows you’re putting them on. Or saying something outrageously ignorant, and expecting the other person to give me that knowing look. The down side is that some people never get that I’m having them on. I’m sure I’ve insulted more people than I can imagine. That in itself is funny when you think of how many times we look back at a situation and wish we had something witty or cutting to say. In the end, I just tell them that only children know how to make their own fun.

To be continued…

Bublish is a great way to show excerpts of your book with the author’s commentary. Enjoy this latest bubble for Here Lies Buried:  #BookBubble http://bit.ly/1r6zJiF via @BublishMe

This week, I am participating in a “blog hop.” The idea is much like a chain letter. Sally Smith and Jean Steffens tagged me and two other writers last week. Donis Casey tagged them the previous week. You can find their past posts at http://www.doniscasey.com and http://blog.smithandsteffens.com.
Before my tags, the interview questions. In turn, I am tagging two talented writers I know, Marsha Sandoval and Leslie Kohler.

1. What am I working on now? In addition to promoting my first book, Here Lies Buried, I am also compiling a short story collection, Heavy Mascara. By far, this has been an interesting year. Not only keeping up with my writing, but learning what does and does not work in the book promotion world. Everything you’ve heard about “writing the book was the easy part” is true. Fine-tuning your book marketing plan is as important as bringing your book to print. I started blogging, participating on Facebook and Twitter, update my website regularly, and look for publicity opportunities. I have book signings in the next few weeks, as well as working with Dana King-Esquez in two writing workshops. In addition to writing and promoting, I continue to work full time at my accounting and tax business. It’s a busy life.

2. How does my work differ from other books in its genre? I cannot say that my book is very different from other mystery novels in that other authors use the history and genealogy in their stories. Having said that, I try to provide a sampling of historical events. I hope to intrigue my readers on the subject to want to learn more. One of my childhood joys was discovery, whether it was that the English start numbering their floors on our second floor, or that hotels don’t have a thirteenth floor. The mystery is central, but the peripheral events with subsequent true facts, are important for going beyond the who-dun-it.

3. Why do I write what I do? That’s a funny thing. I plain enjoy creating characters around the imaginary worlds I see in my head. Sometimes I want to burn off steam over an incident that happened to me or to someone I know. Other times, I explore a current or political issue within my fictional world. In Here Lies Buried, I consolidated dysfunctional individuals I’ve known over the years into a tightly knit group of characters, and then mapped my way through to find out how they would react to an outside agent, such as Pilar.

4. How does my writing process work? Once I get an idea, I start writing at the first opportunity. Other times, I make an outline to write later. The outline is not to self-discipline, but to help me remember what might be lost over time if I went strictly from memory. The outline keeps me from indulging tangents that I used to do often. While all that meandering through the story might be interesting, it detracts from the plot, and ends up sounding like a memoir instead of a mystery. To keep on track if I get a new idea, I make a note to use in a different story. I don’t need to squeeze everything I know into one book.

Now for the tags:

 

Tag, you’re it!

Marsha Sandoval

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About the Author
MK Sandoval has held a real estate license 36 years. The Great Recession of 2008 prompted her to begin work on her first comedy fiction novel about a real estate broker who starts a call girl business for other struggling agents in order to survive the implosion of the industry. Her first book in the Niki Brooks mystery series was published in 2013. Sandoval wanted to reach others who are struggling through hard economic hard times hoping to inspire them in some way. Humor can help anyone get through the day! Sandoval lives in Chandler, Ariz., with her husband of 30 years. They share three children, one-daughter-in-law, three grandchildren, and two Yorkies. She is now at work on her second Niki Brooks adventure. More information can be found at http://www.mksandoval.com

Cat House
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“Niki Brooks’ life is crumbling beneath her Manolo-clad feet.
As a Luxury Home Real Estate Broker trying to survive one of the worst bubble bursts in thirty years, she is barely hanging on. With her own house under threat of foreclosure and her retirement holdings worthless, Niki thinks “outside the house” for a way to survive and decides selling fornication instead of foreclosures will be more steady—and more lucrative—income. But her new clandestine life as The Real Estate Madam is not just bordellos and bundles of cash. Almost immediately, Niki discovers that life on the seedy side of the sex-for-sale trade can be very challenging—and dangerous.

Is the jealous wife of one of her clients going to succeed in sending her to The Big House? Could one of her girls be out to sabotage her business? Will her evil competitor follow through on her threat to run Niki out of town? What about the psycho-stalker ex-husband of one of her escorts? Will he actually pull the trigger the next time he shoves a gun in her face? Or could the mystery man following her around town—the one she calls Tall, Dark and Has Some, for obvious reasons—be interested in more than her charms?

Niki’s journey will take her to a place she never expected and to where she never wanted to be—but it will also lead her on a path of forgiveness and love, which is where everyone wants to be.”
7/07 – Check out Marsha’s Post at: http://www.mksandoval.com

Also, tag you’re it!

Leslie Kohler
Leslie photo

About the Author

Leslie Kohler, author of “Sins of the Border” and the recently released, “Disposable Lives,” is a professional writer whose work has been published in magazines and newspapers, such as Highlights for Children, Skipping Stones, Listen, Positive Teens, the Arizona Republic, and her short story, Shadow of Darkness, appeared in Sisters In Crime Desert Sleuths 2011 Anthology, SoWest, So Wild. Leslie lives in Phoenix, Arizona where she is at work on her next installment for the Disposable Lives series.

Disposable Lives
Disposable Lives
COCKTAILS, CON MEN, CONSPIRACY!

Maggie Leman leads a fairytale life in California’s Newport Beach. When she finds an $899 environmental Miu Mo satchel stuffed into her husband’s golfing bag, with a sexalacious note to My Bridget, Maggie’s so mad she wants to kill her husband. Instead, she scrawls I AM NOT A PLASTIC BAG onto the over-priced tote.

When cheating golfer husbands are getting knocked off in sleazy motels with Miu Mo’s next to their bodies, Maggie’s childish scrawl makes her murder suspect Number One.
Fearing slapped onto a jailhouse slab, Maggie mounts her own investigation. Seems Newport blue blood is tinged with red. And this crimson tide may bleed from the Travellers–modern day gypsies who will stop at nothing to win their deadly con games.

Can Maggie stop this poisonous flow? Or will she become the next victim?

Please visit her website at http://www.lesliekohler.com and on her blog http://lesliekohler.blogspot.com

 

Indie Hero

At least once a month, Indie Hero will feature an Indie Author. If interested, please submit the following:

– Author name / book title

– a brief bio

– book purchase links

– social media links: twitter, facebook, etc.

– Responses to the following questions:

  1. Why did you decide to go indie and self-publish? What was the process like for you?
  2. How do you market/promote/advertise? What’s been successful and what hasn’t?
  3. What advice would you give to an author who’s trying to decide between traditional publishing and independent?
  4. When/how did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?
  5. Most indie authors have day jobs. How has your current or previous employment informed your writing?
  6. Do you have any favorite authors and do they influence your writing?
  7. Anything else readers should know about you?

Please send (just the info listed above) to indieheroblog at gmail dot com

subject: Indie…

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NavasolaNature

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The peony poem in one of my previous posts inspired me to try out a poetry workshop at Keats’ House during the Keats’ festival. I was also interested to find out that the poet Daljit Nagra was to take over as poet in residence there and was leading this workshop on how to write an ode. I have followed from a distance Daljit Nagra’s progress from an aspiring English teacher in a school I worked at to an inspiring poet and much quoted now from many GCSE anthologies. He is a truly modern British poet and very innovative not just with ideas but also language.

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We attempted a Sapphic ode and this meant we had to be concise and focus on a tight structure. This was to be the slightly longer length of 11 syllables to 3 lines and the fourth line with five. Instead of a more traditional 10…

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Indie Hero

agent

A few years ago, Samuel Moffie submitted The Perfect Martini to 100 literary agents. Actually, he submitted 90% of the first twenty pages of Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions disguised as The Perfect Martini. Any guesses on his success rate? 100 out of 100, right? No. Only one agent responded positively, but that’s because the agent recognized the original author. 99 agents declined. Just to be clear, yes, the critically acclaimed, award-winning, nationally revered Kurt Vonnegut. Rejected.

Agents are concerned with commercial viability, that’s first and foremost. Period. Literary quality is a secondary bonus, if present. Now, if Vonnegut wrote a novel where a dominant vampire becomes master to a naive, submissive, shape-shifting werewolf, I’m sure he would have fared better.

Here’s the point. Why spend months, or even years, writing and submitting queries to agents who are clearly looking the other way? If they passed on Kurt Vonnegut, what chance…

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For those authors looking for a new way to promote (that would be almost all of us), I started publishing excerpts of Here Lies Buried with author insight on Bublish.com. While this is not a new idea, it’s a new presentation that goes beyond simply copying excerpts. This format allows for your commentary as well as your photo, bio, book cover with a link to purchase your book. This is great for me. If there’s one thing I can do is talk about different aspects of my book.

See the look for yourself. You can find my first “Bubble” at http://bit.ly/SYYWMV.

On June 21st at 2:00 pm, I will be signing my book, Here Lies Buried, at the Dog Eared Pages Used Book Store in Phoenix, Arizona.

Along with Robert Serocki, Jr, I will be joined by Tara Majuta, Auburn McCanta, and Steven Allen Fleischmann.

Dog-Eared Pages Used Books 

16428 N. 32nd Street 

Phoenix, Arizona 85032 

Store Phone 602-283-5423 

Forwarded to me by Linda Bird, December 17, 2009

One Christmas Carol has always baffled me.  What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won’t come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

 
 

This week, I found out.

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics.

It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality that the children could remember.

  • The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
  • Two turtledoves were the Old and New Testaments.
  • Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
  • The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
  • The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
  • The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
  • Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit–Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
  • The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
  • Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness,  Faithfulness,
  • Gentleness and Self Control.
  • The ten lords a-leaping were the Ten Commandments.
  • The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
  • The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.

So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol…so pass it on if you wish.’

Merry (Twelve Days of) Christmas Everyone!

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