Saturday, December 7, 2013

May I Offer You a Cup of Coffee and a Chat?

I’m reading Danielle Steel.

 I found that I could purchase a ton of her books for 49 cents each, but that’s not the reason I began reading them.

The reason was, any writer who has written 129 books, turns out three books a year, she writes the books  simultaneously  switching from one to another, has sold 800 million copies and has seven kids has my attention.

And as it turns out, I love reading them. Love, sex, family issues, and gritty issues too, she isn’t just fluff. When I read that Steel was afraid of flying and took a Fear of Flying course, I thought of her book Wings that I loved, and how impressed I was of her description of flying, and how gutsy her heroine was, a fiery redhead who sneaked flying lessons behind her father’s back. He was adamant that, “Flying was not for girls.”

Wings was set in 1939, and her plane of choice was a Jenny. Well, I’d never heard of a Jenny, but you know how it is shortly after something comes into your awareness, you see it cropping up all over the place. I saw a stamp in the Post Office the other day called an “Inverted Jenny.” An upside down plane? Now that makes sense.  Apparently, the first stamp of the Jenny was to honor it because it carried the mail, but there was a printing mistake. Since it was a two-color stamp, someone ran the second printing through upside down. As you can imagine that one sheet of stamps became about as valuable as Fort Knox.  Now releasing an Inverted Jenny stamp seems to be a rotten thing to do to the one person who holds the original. (I think most of the others of the sheet were inadvertently destroyed.) Why are they releasing a new inverted Jenny? To devalue the original, or to honor it? I don’t know which.

Gee, I digress.

What I wanted to say about Steel’s writing is that she has an uncanny way of mixing third person and first person until I feel  I am inside the character’s head, but then I realize the writing isn’t in first person. The narrator, Steel,  is telling the story. I am trying to get the gist of how to do it. Except for me it is like trying to see a flying lead change. A flying lead change is when a horse will, while galloping, lead with one leg either a left or a right, using the two legs on one side in unison, then they will switch to the other.  A good rider can signal this. I have heard a trainer say, “See they changed,” I will look and not see anything different.
I must have a blind spot.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The New York Times Best Sellers


This post is from  Marie’s Books 10/14/2013


"Do we really understand what the New York Times Best Seller means?  It is a list composed by The News Surveys department, not by the New York Times Book Review department and it is based on weekly sales reports obtained from selected samples of chain bookstores, independent book stores and wholesalers throughout the United States. The lists are divided between fiction & non-fiction, paper back, hard cover & E-books.

"What does this mean for writers? Well a Stanford Business School analysis found that the most of book buyers use the New York Times to guide them. This study helps us unknown writers get the biggest benefit from being on this list with the benefit of sales and exposure, while known authors like Nicholas Sparks will not see any benefit.  

"There was one set of authors who manipulated their books into the bestselling charts. They ordered over 10,000 copies of their books in small orders at different book stores. Their book climbed to #4 and sat there for 15 weeks before slowly making it #1 on The New York Times Best Sellers List. This is not illegal but considered unethical to publishers. Amazon also displays the best sellers list starting with the most popular book.

"So why am I writing this?  If you have an author friend/ relative and want to help them out, buy their book, tell a friend and ask them to buy and read their book. The more exposure you can help them with, just maybe they can be lucky enough to get on The New York Times Best Sellers List. Every writers DREAM."

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ten Rules of Writing

Stephen King wrote: "Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn't carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life."

This picture is of a writing studio of my dreams...

To see more go to jewelld747/Writing-studios-of-my-dreams/

Regarding the 10 rules of writing, Elmore Leonard author of Get Shorty had this to say:
1. Never open a book with weather.

2. Avoid prologues.

3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.

4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”…he admonished gravely.

5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.

6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”

7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.

8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.

9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.

10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

And his most important rule, to sum up all the others: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”

What do you think of those rules? Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments section below.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Let's Get Motivated--quotes by successful, powerful women

Quick open a book. Turn to page 23, line 17. What does it say?

I tried it.

Far North by Will Hobbs: "Explode, I guess.'"


I tried it with my book Mother's Letters...and mine

Jan is fine. She also has gained 5 pounds. It’s really amazing. Everyone just raves at the

All right I guess--what comes next?

Here's your morning coffee, prop your feet up, but don't rest too long, let the women below motivate you.

Inspirational Quotes By Powerful & Successful Women

Mae West Quote

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” – Mae West (Actress/Singer)

Sheryl Sandberg quote

  “We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.” – Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook)

Anne Sweeney quote

 “Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.” – Anne Sweeney (President of Walt Disney)

Helen Keller quote

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” – Helen Keller (Author/Political Activist)

Ellen DeGeneres quote

“I work really hard at trying to see the big picture and not getting stuck in ego. I believe we’re all put on this planet for a purpose, and we all have a different purpose… When you connect with that love and that compassion, that’s when everything unfolds.” – Ellen DeGeneres (Comedian/Personality/Philanthropist)

Maya Angelou quote

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou (Author/Poet)

Angelina Jolie quote

“I don’t believe in guilt, I believe in living on impulse as long as you never intentionally hurt another person, and don’t judge people in your life. I think you should live completely free.” – Angelina Jolie (Actress/Philanthropist)

Eleanor Roosevelt quote

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt (First Lady of The US , 1933 – 1945)

Audrey Hepburn quote

“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.” – Audrey Hepburn (Actress)

The following quote is often attributed to Nelson Mandela, but Marianne Anderson who wrote The Course in Miracles is the author.
Marianne Williamson quote

  “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson (Author)

Ayn Rand quote

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand (Novelist/Philosopher)

Lady Gaga quote

 “I used to walk down the street like I was a super star… I want people to walk around delusional about how great they can be – and then to fight so hard for it every day that the lie becomes the truth.” – Lady Gaga (Singer/Songwriter)

Marilyn Monroe quote
“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” - Marilyn Monroe (Model/Actress)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

5 Steps to Writing a Synopsis

  1. Start with a Hook, a paragraph or two similar to the blurb on the back of a book.
  2.  Introduce the characters, tell of MOTIVATION, CONFLICT and GOALS. At this point stay away from physical descriptions unless this information is pertinent to your story.
  3. Body of Synopsis: Here using paragraphs, write the high points of your story in chronological order. Include ACTION, REACTION and a DECISION.
  4.  Use three or four paragraphs to write the CRISIS and RESOLUTION of your story.  Keep it simple, do not keep your editor or agent guessing.
  5.  Rewrite. Write in present tense using verbs and adjectives. Make every word count.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Stop Waiting

Good Morning, whoops, it's afternoon. No matter, have a cup on me.

I will just create, and if it works, it works, and if it doesn't,
I'll create something else.
I don't have any limitations on what I think I could do or be.
    --Oprah Winfrey

Stop Waiting to Be Picked

by Jeff Goins | 138 Comments | Twitter, Facebook, Google+

The reason publishers are signing authors who have built their own platforms is the same reason YouTube sensations are appearing on car commercials. It’s because they’re not waiting to be picked.*

These people are choosing to start in spite of the fact that no one’s given them permission. And this is what makes them so attractive. These are the trail-blazers, the trendsetters, and true difference-makers of our day. They’re the ones “crazy enough to change the world.”

And you could be one of them, too. If you would just stop waiting.

We all want to be picked…

This post is from Jeff Goins’ blog http://jeff goings

From Joyce:

I am plunging ahead preparing my book for publication as an e-book. It will be released in a couple of weeks, although already I am getting fall-out about the cover--some like it, some have concerns. What do you think?


To read more about this book go to

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Anne Bancroft, Mel Brooks And Me – Manifesting A Dream

The year was January 2005.  My marriage of twenty years was over.  My parents who I had been a caregiver to in their later years were dead.  My son was grown and no longer needed me like he did when he was young.  Suddenly, I was at a crossroads in my life.

It was at this time that I read an interview by the actress Anne Bancroft.

Anne talked about there being few roles for older actresses.

At first I was surprised by what I was reading.  To me it was simply inconceivable that an actress such as Anne Bancroft, who had garnered five Oscar nominations during her illustrious career, and had won one Oscar, two Tonys, two Golden Globes and an Emmy, was no longer being offered leading roles.  That smacked completely of ageism in Hollywood against older actresses.

Right then I decided that I would take my writing talents and I would write strong character-driven screenplays for older actresses.

In January of 2005 I sat down determined to write an incredible screenplay for Anne Bancroft.  I even thought that if this age bias against older actresses was as prevalent as I was beginning to suspect it was, that my screenplay could very well be Anne Bancroft’s swan song — and if it was I wanted to send a powerful message to Hollywood that older actresses could, indeed, open a film!

I was so irate by the injustice that older actresses, who had worked a lifetime at perfecting their acting skills and honing their craft — and were now at the top of their game, were being blackballed by Hollywood just because they had reached a certain age.  It angered me so much, that never once did it dawn upon me to think, “Hey, wait a second!  Who the heck are you to think that you can write a screenplay for Anne Bancroft?”

I was, after all, a completely unknown writer who had only two published articles to my credit, and they did not even appear under the byline of my maiden name, Joan Oshatz.  Instead they appeared in The Los Angeles Times under the byline of my married name, Joan Peters, since I was married at the time — It Pays to Have Women in Films and It’s High Time a Channel Targets Women of the ‘90s.

Nevertheless, I kept fantasizing just how excited Anne Bancroft was going to be when her agent called and informed Anne that she had read the most brilliant screenplay written just for her.

And then I fantasized Anne Bancroft’s reaction upon hearing the news.  “Really?  You mean somebody remembered that I was once a star?”

But my fantasy did not end there.  Instead, I would go on to fantasize that Anne Bancroft’s agent would pdf my screenplay to Anne to read, but somehow by mistake she ended up e-mailing it to Mel Brooks.

Then Mel Brooks would read my screenplay and he would be totally captivated by it.

The next thing that would happen in my fantasy was that my telephone rang and it was Mel Brooks calling me.

“Hello, this is Mel Brooks.  I’d like to speak to Joan Oshatz.”

My God!  Could it be true?  Was Mel Brooks really calling me?  My inner voice screamed, “Say something!  Do you want him to think that you’re dumb?”  I struggled to remember my name.

“This is Joan Oshatz.”

“Joan, I have just read your screenplay.”

I felt like fainting!  Mel Brooks had read my screenplay!  But I didn’t faint, because I needed to know what he thought of it!  If he hated it, I was going to give up writing.

“This is the most brilliant screenplay I have ever read, outside of my screenplays, of course.  My screenplays are the most brilliant screenplays ever written!” Mel Brooks said.

Phew, I didn’t have to give up writing after all!

“I only have one criticism,” Mel Brooks said.

I was ready to burst into tears.  Mel Brooks didn’t like my screenplay after all.  He was just being polite when he called it brilliant.  He hated it!  What made me think I was a writer and that I could write a screenplay for Anne Bancroft?  I was being totally delusional.

“Your screenplay needs to be funnier.  It is missing that one element that would make it really funny,” Mel Brooks said.

“What is that element?”

“Me!  You need to have me in your screenplay,” Mel Brooks said.

“But, Mr. Brooks, I wrote it for your wife.  I didn’t write it for you,” I tried to say tactfully.

“Precisely, and that’s why it’s not as funny as it can be.  Can you imagine having me, Mel Brooks, in your screenplay?  Now that would be funny!”

I tried to imagine having Mel Brooks in my screenplay, but not even my imagination could stretch that far.

“Mr. Brooks, am I understanding you correctly?  You want me to rewrite my screenplay and add a role in it for you?”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying — and preferably a leading role so that I can co-star in it with my wife — and then maybe I’ll even consider producing it and throwing in my directing talents too!”

Holy Toledo!  Mel Brooks was offering to co-star, produce and direct my screenplay!  Golly, this would really be phenomenal if it happened!  The only thing that had me a little nervous was I was hoping Mel Brooks didn’t suggest that he would rewrite my screenplay too.   

“I’ll tell you what, Joan — you don’t mind if I call you Joan?”

“No.  Not at all.”

“Or do you like Joanie better?’

“My family and friends call me Joanie.”

“So this is the thing, Joanie.  I think you may have something here.  In fact, I know you have something here — especially if I’m in it!  This can turn out to be a very funny screenplay!”

“Oh, it definitely will be funny if you’re in it, Mr. Brooks!”

“So this is the thing — can you write funny?”

“Well, when I was in film school my writing professor said that I was the female version of Woody Allen, Mel Brooks and Neil Simon all rolled into one.”

“Your writing professor said that?”


“So if your writing professor said that, who do you think is the funniest — Woody Allen, Neil Simon or me?”

I decided it was time to hang up on my imaginary conversation with Mel Brooks.

Four months went by.  I had incorporated Mel Brooks into my screenplay and I was working on perfecting my script.  It was now April of 2005.  My imaginary telephone rang.

“Hello. . .”

“Hello, Joanie — it’s Mel Brooks.”

“Hello, Mr. Brooks!” I said excitedly.

“Joanie, I think you know me well enough that you can start calling me Mel.”

“Okay, Mel.”

“So, how’s my role coming along?”

“Oh, it’s coming along just fine.”

“Are you making me funny?”

“I’m making you laugh out loud funny.”

“Are you making me funnier than Woody Allen and Neil Simon?”

Since this was an imaginary conversation, I decided it was time, once again, to hang up on Mel Brooks, which is something that I would never do in real life.

I continued working on my screenplay and I received no more imaginary phone calls from Mel Brooks, which kind of disappointed me, because I actually enjoyed talking to him.

And then my phone rang on June 8th, 2005.  By now I had been working six months on the screenplay and it was just about finished.  However, this time it was not an imaginary phone call.  It was my sister-in-law calling to tell me that she had just heard on the news that Anne Bancroft had died of uterine cancer.

I took Anne Bancroft’s death very hard.  It was inconceivable for me to think that this consummate actress had been silenced forever.  Yet, I knew that her legacy would continue to live on in all the wonderful films that she left behind.

I had so wanted to surprise Anne Bancroft with a screenplay that had been written just for her.  Now she would never know that there was somebody out there who had been writing a screenplay for her.

What does this story have to do with manifesting?  Well, as it turns out it has a lot to do with manifesting.  I had a dream and I went for it.  I did not let my fear of being an unknown writer stop me from writing a screenplay for a world renowned actress.

In my last post, The Money Tree – Or Quieting The Negative Voice Inside Of Me, I talked about how important it was to use your imagination when wanting to manifest your heart’s desire.


Friday, July 5, 2013


Remember in the movie October Sky when the kids set off an early rocket? Instead of going straight up it hit the launch control shack.  BLOOEY! That happened a lot in the early days of rocketry.

Good thing I’m not a rocket scientist, I would have no shacks left.  Good thing too I went over my manuscript another time. Some of the formatting was screwy and where those bold words came from is as much a mystery to me as getting a long cylinder to go up instead of flipping over.

Perhaps only writers would be interested in the following. It is information I’ve have learned  about formatting for Kindle publishing. If you’re interested read below. If not stop reading.

  • DO NOT indent the first paragraph of each chapter.

  • DO NOT use the space bar for indents beyond the first paragraph. Set first line indents in your paragraph settings at .5

  • Right and left justify.

  • Do not space for chapter breaks. Insert, “Page break,” at the end of each chapter.

  • Next page, that is next chapter, space down 2 or 3 returns. Begin chapter with title centered.

  • Use 1.5 spacing.

(Most of this is not true for manuscript submissions.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I once read about a lady psychologist who was assigned to counsel "Boat people."
What can I possibly offer? she thought.  I have never been a refugee. I have never escaped a country. I have never endured the hardships these people have endured.
She found, though, in talking with them that they had the same concerns her other clients had. "I met him on the boat, but he hasn't called. Do you think he will?

"I don't believe that people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive."--Joseph Campbell

 On June 26 13  Blog Writer Jeff Goins wrote:

Yesterday, I spoke with a group of authors, and one of them asked me, “What should I be blogging about?”

I replied with a question: “If we were to get together for coffee, what would we talk about?”

She then proceeded to tell me her life’s story — a harrowing journey through fear and shame to self-actualization. It was beautiful.

As we considered her experiences, we concluded that what made her story interesting wasn’t any particular incident. Rather, it was the universality of emotions: worry, shame, guilt, fear, passion.

She wasn’t describing the challenges of becoming an author. She was describing what it was like to be human.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013


You know about twitter don’t you? I have recently joined up and have found it to be a plethora of good stuff—so so stuff too.

Oh heck, because I’m a poor speller and wanted to know how to spell a word, I looked it up on my reference guide and was hit with a photo so abhorrent it knocked the good thoughts right out of my head.

People who focus on gore: Cut it out!

Okay, back to life in the positive lane.

Shake it out.

I was talking about twitter.

For you who are new to tweeting, here is a definition:

A tweet is a micro-blogging service that enables users to send and read text-based posts up to 140 characters. These mini-posts are known as “tweets.”

Yesterday, while sitting here about to format my own book for Kindle, lo and behold I was followed on twitter by somebody who is expert at formatting. Yay! Thank you  Let’s talk.
Another find on twitter was Tom Ewer
How important is twitter to bloggers? Ewer asks.

"Very," he says.

Your Twitter presence is only as useful as your tweets.

If you have an established a brand elsewhere but tweet rubbish, you might attract users simply because of your brand, but that’s all.
Consider every tweet you publish as a brick in the building of your brand.
Promote yourself, yes, but engage with others. Do not think of it simply as a platform to promote your own content.

Ask questions.
As I pointed out at the beginning of this post, Twitter is extremely useful for using the talents of others.

No one is obliged to answer your questions. If they do it is because they want to do it.
Answer them too.

That is the key to success with twitter and with most endeavors.

Focus on quality
 “ Establishing valuable relationships with a select few people is far better than having one-off exchanges with everyone and their mother.”--Ewen

I love that people thank people for following them, but to say so on their tweets seems a waste of space, and boring for the rest of us to read. I believe the best way to thank someone is to re-tweet them.

So, my advice would be to have tweets with substance, something people want to re-tweet.

Another thing, and tell me if I’m wrong here, but I just do not understand automatic or a paid service to get followers--although I know it is a numbers game. I prefer to be selective. I do, however, like to honor the person who follows me by following back.

Thank you.
If you have any tips and tricks for getting things done on Twitter I would love to read them.

Think of it this way if you produce quality content consistently and over an extended period