Thursday, July 22, 2021

Your Next Level Life by Karen Arrington


Book Summary
If you’re a Black woman in business and feeling stuck or trapped by other people’s expectations of what you can achieve, it’s time to stop playing small and start redefining what success means for you. It’s time to get that upgrade.
Channel your black girl magic. Karen Arrington―author of Your Next Level Life, founder of the Miss Black USA Pageant, creator of the Next Level Women’s Summit, and mentor to thousands of confident, successful young black women―is your guide to getting to your next level life. Build a legacy of black excellence.
How big do you want to live? With the seven simple rules in Your Next Level Life, you’ll learn how to bring your career, income, and lifestyle to that next level. Don’t settle for a life of invisibility and mediocrity. Set ambitious goals, reach for bigger opportunities, and know that you are brave enough to get what you deserve.
Give the gift of confidence. Looking for inspirational gifts for aspiring black women in business? Your Next Level Life is unlike other self-help books for women. It’s a guide to opportunity that recognizes and celebrates the true magic of ambitious black women.

Adopt the 7 rules of power, confidence, and opportunity and you can find success:
  • Create all the money you need
  • Position yourself like a star
  • Connect with other powerful women 
Print Length: 73 Pages
Genre: Self-Help
Publisher: Mango 
The Checklist Book is available to purchase online at and Barnes and Noble. Be sure to add this to your GoodReads reading list.
About the Author, Karen Arrington
Karen Arrington is an award-winning author, women’s empowerment expert + global philanthropist + winner of an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work.

Karen’s coaching, mentoring + philanthropic work spans over 100,000 hours of service — including her position as a Goodwill Ambassador to Sierra Leone, her work as the co-founder of the first Diabetes Awareness Day in West Africa, and her role as the founder of The Miss Black USA Pageant.

She won a 2020 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for her book, Your Next Level Life: 7 Rules of Power, Confidence and Opportunity for Black Women In America. She has also been honored by The Lifetime Network, Jones New York + other major media outlets for her tireless advocacy for women’s health, success + empowerment -- including a Red Dress Award from Woman’s Day Magazine for her efforts in the fight against heart disease, the #1 killer of women.
Over the past 20 years, Karen has helped over 1,000 women step into powerful careers in media, business, medicine + law — transcending hardship, abuse + financial limitations, and transforming their lives + communities. Today, Karen offers private coaching + global service retreats around the world for ambitious women who want to live their best lives -- only better.
Find out more about Karen by visiting her website, follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Monday, June 21, 2021

Illustrations in Fantasy Novels by Hugh Fritz

 Illustrations in Fantasy Novels

I’m always considering ways to make the characters in my story more realistic. Illustrations seemed like an effective way of doing that, but I never practiced drawing or painting. My sister-in-law is an artist and I asked her if she’d be willing to try making some images for the novel. She gave it a shot and completed images of Flarence and Claire, but they’re not in the book because she didn’t want them to be public. That’s why she gave me the contact information of Lothar Speer, who is an old friend of hers.

There were a lot of aspects of illustration production that I wasn’t aware of when I requested it to be done. My sister-in-law didn’t want her work in my book because she prefers still-life and the kinds of images I asked for required the characters to appear as if they were in motion. I realized that she excelled at still-life, but I’ve seen her use human figures in her paintings before, so I didn’t expect it to be a big deal. It turns out transitioning from stationary to movement is difficult because the techniques require completely different uses of shading since portraying movement is done by having some sections lighter and making them gradually darker (that’s probably a simplified summary, but that was my takeaway when it was explained to me).

Another lesson I learned is that when working with illustrators there isn’t any room for partial ideas. You need a clear image in your mind and be prepared to stick with it. This wasn’t an issue when developing the inside pages. As expected, Lothar asked a ton of questions about where the scene took place and how the characters should be positioned. It became an issue when finalizing the cover. Lothar spent a lot of time on the image, but he didn’t include the text. The deal was that once the cover image was complete I would email it to the publisher who would add the title and author information. Based on the cover of the first book, I speculated that the title would be on the top and my name would be on the bottom. The problem was, I didn’t tell Lothar that was just speculation and I didn’t confirm with the publisher that it would be the case. The first version of the cover was reversed, with the words “Public Display of Aggression” on the bottom and my name on the top. I didn’t expect it to be a big deal because the characters were still visible. Once again, I didn’t grasp the difficulties that accompanied this change. Lothar was under the impression that the top of the cover would be filled with the long title, so he dedicated more time to the details of the bottom portion. When he saw the title on the bottom of the cover blocking the parts that he’d spent days perfecting, he took it as an insult. It took a few panicked conversations with both Lothar and the publisher to change the cover but thankfully we were able to come up with an image that was agreeable to everyone.

I realize that my experience isn’t representative of everyone who has worked with illustrators, but if anyone is considering hiring an artist I hope this post provides some advice. Decide if you want the image to be stationary or portray movement and ask the artist if they are adept in one or both. If the artist is not going to be putting in the title themselves, make sure you’re able to tell them exactly where it will be placed, how big the font will be, and, if you can, what color it will be. These are things I didn’t dwell on because (pardon the cliché) I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Since I’m not an artist I didn’t realize that it isn’t enough for an image to be visible; some portions of images are given more attention than others and are intended to jump out at the audience. I also can’t appreciate how much a single picture can mean for an artist’s career. As a writer, I’m accustomed to taking a step back. There may be a chapter that a reader doesn’t like, or somebody may notice a plot hole, but I’m not bothered by those kinds of specified issues. It’s unlikely that someone will pick up a book and read only one chapter, and people can find plot holes in any work of fiction if they look hard enough. I’m concerned with my book as a whole, not individual paragraphs, and I’m interested in the overall audience response instead of a few isolated nitpicks. For artists, I’ve learned, it’s different. Somebody may only ever see one of their works, which means they may only be known by that single project. That’s why it’s important to be crystal clear with artists about what you want when hiring them, and to be patient when they take a long time to complete it. For all they know that project may be the only thing a patron will ever associate with their name.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Only My Horses Know and Read Aloud Stories with Fred


In this full collection of Read-Aloud Stories with Fred, we have included all six stories from volumes 1 and 2, a bonus story "Looking Inside" by Margo L. Dill (only available in this collection), and a foreword by Margo also. Each story has an illustration to start the story along with a question for children to consider while the story is being read aloud to them (or older children can read to themselves). These stories are perfect for parents and grandparents to read to the children in their lives.

The stories are:

"Looking Inside" Join a kindergarten class as they learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and how he believed all people were the same on the inside.

"Ben and the Terrible Red Card" Ben is always getting in trouble at school, but he feels his teacher just misunderstands him. He's trying!

"The Hobbling Hermit" The hermit's feet hurt, and he takes out his grumpiness on his new housemate, a small, smart mouse.

"Sammy and the Cross-eyed Crow" Sammy lives in the jungle and talks to animals! What happens when he meets a crow who can't fly straight?

"Ben and the Bully, Billy Bob" Here's another Ben story, and this time, Ben's in front of the principal's office for a run-in with Billy Bob the Bully!

"The Cheerless Chairmaker" Fred Olds has written a new fairy tale with a poor, sweet chairmaker and a smart, savvy princess!

"Sammy and the Royal Rabbit" Sammy is back in the jungle with Jonathan the crow, and this time, he is visited by a rabbit who thinks he's a king!

This is a very special collection of short stories by two experienced children's authors. Don't miss out on getting this collection today! 


Purchase Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Collection on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Be sure to also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

About the Author, Fred Olds


Fred Olds has crafted dozens of stories over the years and has been involved with various writing and critique groups. At the age of 92, he is a devoted husband and proud father and grandfather living in Central Illinois. After retirement from the Postal Service as an electronic technician, he finally has time to concentrate on writing. A true storyteller at heart, his first love is writing children’s books with an occasional murder mystery thrown in for a change of pace. Check out his kids’ short story books, Read-Aloud Stories with Fred, Vol. 1 and then Vol. 2, and his first book for adults, The Hobo Who Wasn’t, an exciting detective story. He's also the author of The Dog and the Flea: A Tale of Two Opposites and The Cat, the Mouse, and the Neighbors' Dog, two books of the Perky Pet Problems picture book series.

Book Summary of Only My Horses Know

Life on a Montana horse ranch has always been the best for twelve-year-old Kylie Hannigan. She bonds with the horses, rides them with her friend Joey, and helps her mom train them. Plus she barrel races her favorite horse, Kiwi, and with plenty of practice and grit, they will definitely beat her rival Olivia this year.

But then, something starts happening with Kylie’s mom. She sleeps all the time, and Kylie has to do the chores, the training, and all the care for the horses--and it’s too much! At least it’s summer, so she doesn’t have to worry about school, and she can spend time talking to her favorite animals. One day, a strange-behaving horse with an even stranger name shows up for

training but is only ignored by Kylie’s mom. Training a difficult horse used to be a fun challenge Kylie could share with her mom, but that’s not even happening now.

Then her mom changes again, and she’s up doing everything—including cooking and cleaning in the middle of the night. Kylie still gets no rest because Mom thinks Kylie should be able to do it all, too. So when school starts and Mom’s behavior goes back and forth and back and forth, and then embarrasses Kylie in front of Joey more times than she can count, Kylie decides the only thing she can do is hide everything from everyone—accept her horses.

Kylie’s life spins out of control along with her mom’s. She can’t train for the barrel races with Kiwi or keep up with homework or talk to her best friend. What will it take to get her life back to the way it used to be? Or is that even possible?

Purchase Only My Horses Know on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Be sure to add this to your reading list on GoodReads.

About the Author, Cinda Jo Bauman

Cinda Jo Bauman lives in Central Illinois with her husband and dogs. During her high school years, she took every art class offered along with every child development class. After a class where she spent part of the day at a daycare, child development won out over art. Years of story time led to a love of children’s picture-books, which made her wish she had stuck with art. 

Flash forward to today, and she still loves children’s books! After researching and much study; learning about writing and illustrating children’s books, she joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and found her passion. Besides writing children’s picture books and middle-grade novels, Cinda also creates with cut paper sculptures and paints in oil and acrylic. She loves iris flowers and the color purple.

Only My Horses Know is her debut middle-grade novel.

Find out more about Cinda:

Cinda's website is:

Cinda's YouTube Channel is:


About the Author & Publisher, Margo L. Dill


Margo L. Dill is the CEO and owner of Editor-911 Books in St. Louis, MO. She is also the author of the American Civil War Adventure Series with two books, Anna and the Baking Championship and Finding My Place: One Girl's Strength at Vicksburg, for middle-grade readers. Her other books are That's the Way It Always Happened and Maggie Mae, Detective Extraordinaire: The Case of the Missing Cookies, which are illustrated picture books, and she has a short story about kids learning about Martin Luther King Jr.'s teachings in Fred Olds's collection of short stories, Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Vols. 1 and 2. Her next book is for teachers and parents and is out in June 2021, It's Not Just Academics: A Guide To Teach Kids' Health, Communication, and Social Emotional Skills. She lives in St. Louis with her tween daughter and lively rescue dog, Sudsi. 


Find out more at:

Her website:

Editor-911 Facebook Page:

Editor-911 website:

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Hugh Fritz with Book #2 in the Mystic Rampage Series: Public Display of Aggression!


 Public Display of Aggression

 By Hugh Fritz

Book Summary:

 Soleil and Flarence are immortal Genies who can bend the fundamental forces of the universe through willpower alone. For centuries, they have considered themselves the most formidable beings in the world, but some newcomers just might give them a run for their money.

Magic has always been limited to living things. Throughout his life, Soleil has never come across an object with supernatural capabilities. Now, a human has somehow constructed guns with the ability to fire spells. Genies are normally resistant to offensive magic, but Soleil knows from experience that the enchanted revolvers harm all creatures equally.

Resurrection is one of the few limitations to a Genie’s abilities. Not even magic should be able to bring a person back from death. Recently, though, Flarence saw a corpse not only rise but also fight. Endowed with incredible speed and strength, the revived man seeks revenge on his murderers.

To make matters worse, Darren (the third member of the Genie “family”) is still missing. He's been lying low, biding his time, but hasn’t forgotten about Officer Tymbir, and has every intention of settling their score.

Darren, the revived corpse, and the man with the magic guns have a list of people to kill, and are eager to spill blood. With the help of Mohinaux and Claire, Soleil and Flarence rush to locate them, uncover the sources of their powers, and find a way to stop them.


This book is perfect for adults who want to get in touch with their inner child!


Purchase Public Display of Aggression on Amazon, Organic Books, Page One Books and Barnes and Noble. Be sure to also add this to your GoodReads reading list.


About the Author Hugh Fritz: 

Hugh Fritz is a fan of monsters, mad scientists, sorcerers, and anything that involves beings with incredible powers beating each other senseless. After years of writing research papers, he decided it was time to give reality a rest and let his imagination run wild.


 Find out more at:


Facebook Page:


Saturday, May 22, 2021

Time Management - Creative Energy


Find it on Amazon:



The modern world works on billable hours, clocks watched, and the mantra, “Produce, produce, produce.” Even among other creatives there is a massive emphasis on getting more done, not to mention the competition. The pressure can kill creativity, damper the joy in your work, and knock you off balance.


You might find yourself somewhere between totally overwhelmed at the prospect of managing your time or you’ve tried and failed so often you are ready to give up.


It’s because you are a creator! You see the world in terms of expression and potential. You dream the impossible. You have exactly what it takes to make life functional, balanced, and beautiful all at the same time.


Having a creative spirit requires discipline. Creators like to let their ingenuity run wild and free. A dog can be a friend, a protector, and companion. But just like creativity, if not disciplined, the dog can go feral and then turn on its master. Once creativity is tamed, this energy can be harnessed, focused, controlled, commanded, and become a powerful ability for the creator who can masterfully control their artistic energy.



What kind of creative energy method (or combination of) are you?




Zig-Zagging energy is great for brainstorming, seeing the applications of available resources, recognizing opportunities, and fueling enthusiasm for new projects. However, the struggle comes with actually completing tasks.


Obsessive Focus Energy gets things done! It is the arrow shot from the archer’s bow: one target, one path, one destination. No distraction! No deviation! 

When Obsessive energy ebbs, as all energetic cycles will, the creator is left in befuddlement, wondering where everyone has gone. They may realize that they have broken promises, missed opportunities, or simply strained their own capacities too far.



The Evading creator would like to write a book. They have lots of notebooks at home, but they need a fresh notebook. They may redesign their entire office, and then say, “I can put my mind to my work, but only when the dishes are done”.

Evading Focus Energy is about preparation. The wonderful thing about Evasive creators is that they generally control their flow of creative output and balance. They are great team members because they will never let the group run off half-cocked in excitement about the latest endeavor. They have prepared for every contingency and once the ball gets rolling, it can roll much farther.


We cannot change the outcomes of our lives if we don’t change our understanding of creation, time, and ourselves. You can channel your desire to create into the powerful motivating force it is meant to be. 





Deirdra is a social and behavioral scientist and the author of Time Management for Creative People, in which she explores the seasons, cycles, and how to be in the right mind for right-brain creators.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Healthy Meal Ideas


Stir Fry

Dessert:  Dark hot chocolate and rice pudding with cinnamon. 

Green curry

Saturday, May 15, 2021

There Is No Such Thing as Time, There Are Only Cycles and Seasons


There Is No Such Thing as Time,

There Are Only Cycles and Seasons

By Deirdra Eden

Based on her book Time Management for Creative People


The first step to controlling time is to realize that the concept of time, as we have been taught, is only a mortal construct. It is the attempt by humans to exert a measure of control over the natural world and calculate the intangible flow of cycles and seasons.

However, this method painfully disconnects creators from natural energy cycles in order to conform to the eight-hour work shifts and deadlines of corporate and industrial productivity. Creative people don’t always work within finite mathematical boundaries.

Just like the earth, creativity also goes through seasons. Spring has fertile newness with exciting potential. Summer is the height of growth. Autumn is harvest time. And winter allows you to rest and gain strength again.


Creative cycles can be born through weeks of preparation or instantly when an idea strikes or you wake up from an inspiring dream.

This young creative idea is fresh, new, and exciting. Even though the creative project is in the fragile beginning stages, the creator feels a drive to enhance it and help it blossom into a full-grown creation that will produce beauty and/or bounty.


During this peak time, creators do their best work. You do not feel the panic or doubt of developing a newborn idea. You are often absorbed in the work and can experience adrenaline rushes and extra energy that will drive you to stay up late, get up early, skip meals, and take time off from other activities to work on the project. Sometimes you will have euphoric thoughts about the project and its success.


A creator in the autumn phase of their cycle will often refine work and take time to critique it while at the same time admiring it. This is the best time to refine the work because creators can step back from the work and look at it with a critical eye without interrupting the creative flow. Then creators reap their own harvest and rewards by publishing the creation, displaying it, sharing it, selling it, or gifting it.


A natural end to a creative period is normal, yet sometimes creators will feel guilty for not working on a project or they may miss the excitement of a new project. Sometimes creativity is dormant, especially during times of stress, depression, fatigue, or illness. Sometimes creativity evolves.

Some people call this writer’s block or artist’s slum, but it is part of the natural cycle of creativity and should be embraced.

For creative people this is the time to prepare for the next project. Generally, the better the preparation, the longer the next creative life cycle will last.


The Natural Cycle

We enter these same seasons and cycles in different phases and contexts throughout our lives and our creative journeys. Asking the question, “What season am I/is this in?” can bring a reassuring clarity to a convoluted situation.

In every phase it is important to remember that this is just a season of your life, and not your whole entire life. Give yourself grace and permission to slow down or pick up the pace depending on what is happening in your world right now and the season of your personal and creative life.

For more information, please see Time Management for Creative People by Deirdra Eden. This is a workbook with an in-depth perspective about seasons and cycles as well as creative personality types and energy flow. Amazon Link:


About Deirdra Eden:

Deirdra Eden loves studying people and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social and Behavioral Studies and is currently working on her Behavioral Science Master’s Degree in Counseling.

Deirdra spends time writing books including her Amazon Best-selling series The Watchers. She enjoys illustrating children’s books, painting in all mediums, exploring the woods, searching for shells on the beach, going on adventures with her family, spending time with animals, reading, exercising, martial arts, weapons training, aiding in rescue missions, making organic soap, baking, yoga, hanging out with friends, taming feral cats, playing in the water, hunting for bigfoot, teaching, public speaking, archery, sewing, designing clothing, testing out survival gear, studying history and mythology, working on soundscapes, recording her online vlog, writing music and lyrics, making music videos, collecting higher education and getting more degrees and certifications, traveling, getting to know people from many cultures, cookie decorating, working with power tools to remodel homes and businesses, gardening, meditating, running, designing coloring pages, sculpting, volunteering with community services to help crime victims, writing grants, decorating with things made from nature, naps in the sunshine with the kitties, and completing to do lists.






























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