Yoga and Breathing, Basic Guide

Standard

By Guest Blogger Marcela De Vivo, from Los Angeles

* * * * *

Yoga has been around for centuries, allowing people an outlet to calm their minds and release stress through meditation. Although the exact date that yoga started is unclear, the common understanding is that it began in the East, most likely in India. The earliest known signs of yoga can be found in ancient Shamanism. Artifacts from as early as 3000 B.C. show yoga postures, giving somewhat of a background for when it actually began.

While the earliest forms of yoga were not very focused on poses, it was more of a way to view and understand the world. Through meditation, it then shifted to have a more self-focused goal. People used yoga as a means of self-enlightenment.

Yoga as we know it today has evolved and changed dozens of ways over the years. Today, some still see it as a means of self-enlightenment, while others use yoga as a way to stretch and strengthen their body. Whether the focus is on meditation, poses, or a mixture of the two, yoga is popular around the world as a way to release stress and promote calmness. The health benefits of yoga cannot be ignored, including benefiting from lower blood pressure and better bone density. From ancient yoga to the modern yoga of today, it has been used to transform your body, inside and out. Take a look at this meditation infographic, provided by Skin Energizer, to begin improving your overall well-being today. This gives you a basic guide on how to breathe properly as well as how to achieve the ideal meditative pose. Get happy!

yoga

* * *

Guest Blogger Bio:

marcela

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer, hard-working business owner and yoga enthusiast in Southern California. With such a busy schedule, it is important that she maintains some kind of balance in her life. In addition to yoga, she has also built a sauna in her own bathroom for extreme relaxation. Follow her on Pinterest and Twitter to find other tips like these.

* * *

Interview, Marina E Partridge

Standard

* Interview #79, with Darkstar astrologer Marina E Partridge!

* Note from Jess: Marina is the fabulous UK astrologer at Darkstar Astrology. I am a big fan of her website, readings and blog posts — so I decided to send her a quick Q&A on career and life vision!

* * * * *

Hi Marina! Describe yourself in 5 words:

marina-e-partridge

Hermit, Studious, Outside-the-box, Fascinated, Paradoxical.

How did you get into studying astrology?

I have been fascinated by astrology all my life but only became a full time Astrologer in 2009. Before that I was an illustrator. I loved surrealism and reading symbols and always had a set of tarot cards on my kitchen table. In 2009 the triple conduction of Jupiter, Neptune & Chiron (The astrologer) on my natal Mars/Lilith conjunction turned me into an Astrologer full time. My approach is very eclectic, just like the Illustration I used to do, which was digital collage. I found astrology was a way of blending of the old and the new.

I am a huge fan of your very unique (and precise) Dark Moon Reading—I can only imagine the research involved for your future book on the Lilith archetype and Eris! Was there something about the asteroids that you were initially drawn towards?

Black-Moon-Goddess-Lilith

“Black Moon Lilith” | Darkstar

That they show us how we are part of such great cycles. Our souls are infinite. Just when you think there is a limit, it is broken and we are into another dimension. The discovery of Eris has allowed archetypes that are relevant to our modern life to be added to the pantheon of gods. The TNO’s are a symptom of our expanding consciousness. The exiled, divine female has been yearned for, for such a long time. Eris is the missing archetype Persephone. In our charts we had no female outer planet until 2005. Transpersonal energy is enlightening and alchemic. The fact that the transpersonal has been in the hands of the male Gods until now is simply a reflection of humanity in the last 3000 or so years. Then Pluto was demoted and Ceres promoted. The rebalancing has started and in turn that has called for an planetary body to describe that process working in our everyday lives, hence Lilith.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

My technique for reading charts uses the tropical zodiac divided into decans. The fixed stars within those decans determine how the archetype of the zodiac sign is filtered out through the persona while the aspect patterns in one’s birth chart represent the geometry of the soul. I like to blend the ancient with the ultra – modern, like Chiron, the bridge between Saturn and Uranus. My stellium in Aquarius is futuristic like Uranus, but its ancient ruler is Saturn. I have Chiron opposite Uranus exact and it squares my AC by a degree.  The name of the site Darkstar itself an oxymoron. It describes my approach to astrology and life in general.

Share a few of your favorite quotes (10-100 words):

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.” ~ Og Mandino

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”
~ Carl Jung
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” ~ Isaac Newton
“Those who appear the most sanctified are the worst.” ~ Elizabeth I 

How would you describe the essential purpose of astrology?

Vedic_Astrology

[Image from Vedic Astrology]

Know thyself, Accept yourself, love yourself. Astrology gives you all the tools you need to be the sovereign of your own life.

Please share your #1 tip for aspiring students of astrology:

Stand on the shoulders of giants. Then test out the techniques out for yourself.

Please share your #1 tip for aspiring astrologers:

Same as the above. Empirical research is essential. Don’t be afraid to break the rules. You must have a clear reason why you have done so however, and be able to prove your alternative system works through rigorous testing and examples.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

www.darkstarastrology.com
https://www.facebook.com/DarkstarAstrology

* * *

Much thanks to the insightful and elegant/sassy Marina E Partridge for taking the time to share her thoughts and advice.

Be sure to check out her full bio and audio readings on Darkstar Astrology!

* * *

You Can Recover from Bullying

Standard

YOU CAN RECOVER FROM BULLYING

By Guest Blogger, Katherine Mayfield (author of BULLIED)

P.S. Be sure to check out Katherine’s interview! In this guest post, Katherine relates the experience of being BULLIED and how she recovered from it.

* * *

bully

// Picture from Akorra.com

When I was in fourth grade, a girl from another class bullied me.  I was in the bathroom during class when I heard the door creak open and whoosh shut.  There was silence for a moment, then the girl’s hands appeared on the top of the stall door, followed by her face.

“Whaddaya doin’ in there?” she asked.

I quickly covered myself, and replied as nicely as I could, “I’m using the bathroom.”

“Well, hurry up,” she said.  “Because I want to go.” There were three other stalls, so I knew I was in trouble.

I had no idea who this girl was. I’d seen her on the playground, but I didn’t know her name, and to this day I still have no idea why she wanted to antagonize me.

I finished my business, and thought about just waiting to go out until someone else came in, but she was banging things around, and I didn’t want to be trapped in the stall if she decided to crawl under the door. So I walked out.

The first thing she did was to grab my glasses off my face and throw them against the wall.  I ran over to them, afraid they were broken.  I knew I’d get in trouble at home if they were.

I picked them up, and as I turned around, she slapped me hard.  I fell back against the wall, not even knowing how to defend myself in a fight, but I was lucky.  She turned, and with her nose in the air, flounced out of the bathroom.

I carried the fear from that experience, and other experiences of being bullied, for many years. After growing up in a very dysfunctional family, I had no idea how to express my fear and all the other feelings that tumbled around inside and threatened to engulf me.  Over time, as I tried to ignore and repress my fear, it grew and grew until it turned into a fear of life itself, and I stopped exploring, learning, and growing.

bullied

// Book Cover for BULLIED, by Katherine Mayfield

Being bullied made me feel like I was helpless, incompetent, and insignificant, because I couldn’t figure out a way to stop others from bullying me. I felt that way for many years, and eventually I started believing that that’s who I really was. Believing that I was helpless and incompetent made me feel miserable, as if I wasn’t as good as anyone else. I felt inferior to almost everyone.

But things began to change when I was in my thirties. I began reading books like The Drama of the Gifted Child and For Your Own Good, and I finally began letting go of my unexpressed emotions.  I learned that it’s possible to recover from bullying and abuse.

Then I could see that those things I had believed about myself were not true. It was the experience of being bullied that caused me to feel incompetent and insignificant. That’s not who I really am inside.

If you’ve been bullied and you feel that way, too, it’s not who you really are, either. Being bullied just makes you feel like you are. And even bullies can have these same kinds of feelings.

When we shut down and repress our feelings, they tend to keep showing up when we least expect and want them to, running our lives without our consent. But when we allow ourselves to focus on and let go of our feelings, we can recover from traumatic experiences and discover the treasure that lies inside of us.  Every person has an important gift to offer the world, and it’s up to each of us dig down underneath the pain and anger, and find out what that gift is.  The more we let go of painful feelings, nourish that gift, and nourish ourselves, the more able we are to live a life largely free from the pain of old trauma.  These days, I enjoy my own company very much, and I’m usually pretty happy.

If I had known in fourth grade that bullying doesn’t go on forever — that I would grow up and go to college, meet new people, and move away from home — the experience would probably not have affected me so deeply.  It can be hard to look at the big picture, the possibilities that life offers, when we’re in the midst of pain, but by focusing on hope and knowing that life always changes, we can make it through.  All it takes is a willingness to look at those old feelings and express them, whether it means crying at a sad movie, trembling in fear until the fear is gone, or throwing stones into a pond.  Once we can let the bad feelings go, we can move on into creating better lives and reaching our potential.

* * *

Guest Blogger Bio:

Katherine Mayfield

Katherine Mayfield is the award-winning author of Bullied:  Why You Feel Bad Inside and What to Do About It, The Box of Daughter;  Healing the Authentic Self, and Dysfunctional Families:  The Truth Behind the Happy Family Façade.  She blogs on dysfunctional families on her website, www.TheBoxofDaughter.com.

* * *

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on the subject, Katherine :)!

P.S. Here’s Katherine’s Q&A with JCS (2012) and her Q&A on BULLIED (2013).

You can also preorder a copy of BULLIED on Katherine’s website.

– Jess C Scott / jessINK

* * *

Katherine Mayfield, Interview

Standard

Interview #78, with author of BULLIED: Katherine Mayfield!

Katherine was first interviewed on this blog in 2012. She has written a new, very important and socially-minded book titled BULLIED — so read on for more details on the project!

* * *

Hi Katherine! Describe your latest book in 5 words:

bullied

Guide to recovery from bullying.

What inspired the book?

Two things: one is that I feel very sad when I hear about another teen who has committed suicide in response to bullying, and the other is that I was bullied as a child, and when I was in my thirties, I thought seriously about committing suicide because I was still so full of pain. It took me a long time to recover from the bad experiences I had as a kid.

With this book, I wanted to reach out to young people who are in distress and pain, and show them that there is a way out of the darkness, that bullying does end, and that by letting go of their bad feelings and focusing on what they enjoy and do well, they can move forward and create a much better life. I wish there had been a book like this when I was growing up.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

“If someone is bullying you based on what you look like—if you’re taller or shorter than other people, or if you have braces or glasses, or anything else—they are using one single characteristic about your physical appearance to judge the entirety of who you are. One trait does not define your real self. You are not a nose, or a pair of glasses, or the clothes you wear. Everyone has talents and gifts, and no matter what you look like, when you focus on your gifts, you can live up to your potential and ultimately become a much happier person.”

BULLIED: A guide to recovery from bullying, by Katherine Mayfield

Share some of your favorite quotations (10-100 words):

These are some quotes included in Bullied:

“Imagine the choices you’d make if you had no fear—of falling, of losing, of being alone, of disapproval.”
~ Martha Beck

“One must still have chaos in oneself in order to give birth to a dancing star.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.””
~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
~ Albert Einstein

“Fear is static that prevents me from hearing myself.”
~ Samuel Butler

“Instinct is the nose of the mind.”
~ Madame De Girardin (French author)

In the introduction, you mention that you were bullied during school days. Did you ever want to retaliate against the people who bullied you at the time?

Great question, Jess! Yes, I did, but I was way too afraid. The feeling of violence was in my nerves and wanted to get out, and so one day I started petting the cat a little too hard, and my mother said, “Gently! Gently!” I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it, but I spanked my dolls when I was a kid to try to get rid of some of those bad feelings.

I think that a lot of bullies have been bullied themselves, or violated in some way, so they take their anger out on people who seem quiet or weaker or less able to defend themselves. Sometimes the smartest, most creative and innovative people are the ones who are bullied, because others are jealous and want to cut them down to “normal” size. But I believe that people are meant to grow and explore and invent and create, and become the very best and biggest that they possibly can. I wish our society encouraged that more than it does.

Well-said! What were some of the challenges involved with writing BULLIED?

Another great question! There’s a part of me that really does not want to look at these issues, at the pain in my past, and at the continuing stories about young people who end their lives because they can’t stand the bullying anymore. So I had some resistance to finishing the project, even though I believe it will be helpful to others.

In my family, a huge value was placed on helping others and relieving pain, and that’s what keeps me writing books on these subjects even though sometimes it’s difficult for me. If I can help people heal the way I have healed, then the work is absolutely worth it.

What are some of your plans for the rest of the year?

Resting! Relaxing! Having fun! And I have two other memoirs in process, along with a workbook for people who have been emotionally abused that my muse is encouraging me to work on. And then there’s the novel I’ve been writing for about ten years…

I’m also going to be teaching a couple of writing workshops, and several workshops on writing and publishing memoir. I always think, “When winter gets here, I really want to hibernate for awhile,” but so far it hasn’t happened.

It’s good to be busy ;) Please share with us your websites/blogs/etc:

www.theboxofdaughter.com/dysfunctional-families-blog.html

www.katherine-mayfield.com

www.katherine-mayfield.com/bullied.html

* * * * *

Much thanks to Katherine for stopping by — be sure to check out the above links for more info on BULLIED!

Katherine Mayfield

KATHERINE’S BIO: Katherine Mayfield is the award-winning author of Bullied:  Why You Feel Bad Inside and What to Do About It, The Box of Daughter;  Healing the Authentic Self, and Dysfunctional Families:  The Truth Behind the Happy Family Façade.  She blogs on dysfunctional families on her website, www.TheBoxofDaughter.com.

P.S. Here’s Katherine’s Q&A with JCS (2012) and her guest post on Recovering From Being Bullied.

You can also preorder a copy of BULLIED on Katherine’s website.

* * *

Author Interview, Marie-Jo Fortis

Standard

Interview #77, with satirical thriller French writer, Marie-Jo Fortis!

Hi Marie-Jo! Describe yourself in 5 words:

Hi Jess! Okay, here goes: Determined, with sense of humor.

Cool! Share a short blurb of your work (10-100 words):

chainsaw_jane

“Fortis has a marvelous character in Chainsaw Jane…”
~ Kirkus Reviews

Now, for the excerpt, just a little sentence that describes Chainsaw Jane: “With her staccato gestures, mud-covered baggy jeans and clodhoppers, she looked like a barrel drunk with its own wine.”

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

From Balzac’s Le Père Goriot: “Holding this book in your hand, sinking back in your soft armchair, you will say to yourself: perhaps it will amuse me. And after you have read this story of great misfortunes, you will no doubt dine well, blaming the author for your own insensitivity, accusing him of wild exaggeration and flights of fancy. But rest assured: this tragedy is not a fiction. All is true.”

I chose this because I do think that great fiction, the one that gets to the core of things, is truer than what we call reality.

I agree! Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

The writing is just plain fun while the publication process is woooork! Kidding! It’s all fun and sooo easy! Okay, kidding again. Non-writers believe that writing is a simple, amusing activity, an entertaining choice. To these people I want to say, don’t choose writing if writing does not choose you. Writing is as much an addiction, a dependence, as it is a passion. Of course, you can argue that passion is a dependence. You write because you cannot imagine life without it. There are moments when you want to free yourself from it, but as soon as you take some distance from it, it calls you back. It is a love made of pain and pleasure, a mental sadomasochistic adventure. It is also work, work, work. Hitting your head against the wall every time you get a rejection slip. That’s why so many take matters into their own hands and self-publish. But that alone belongs to another discussion. This said, nothing compares to the heights of creativity, when you have found that beautiful sentence, that expression that just clicks, this “mot juste.” Nothing compares to that.

As for publishing, you have to wear a different hat, don’t you? I was the publisher of a litmag years ago, so I have a little experience, even if the publishing world has changed tremendously since. The publication process is about image and marketing. This means that today’s writer needs to double as a business person. Produce a brand. You have to act as a humble peacock. If this sounds like an oxymoron, it probably is. Let me explain to the best of my abilities. You have to show off as much as possible (that’s the peacock part) while thinking of yourself as simply a product. I don’t know many fiction writers who like to see themselves as products, so that’s the humbling part. But to market a book in today’s world, one must market oneself. The left side of my brain gets it; the right one is still pissed off. So there is still training to do on that side.

Very eloquently expressed. I’m a fan of Tarot cards, so the mention of them in the product description for Chainsaw Jane certainly caught my attention. How did you develop an interest in Tarot?:

During one of the trips my husband and I took to Lily Dale, the famous mediums village in New York State, the psychic who gave us a reading recommended Tarot as a way to develop psychic abilities. Since I am a native of France and raised to rely on rational thinking, I thought…mm…okay…whatever. But I am also very curious. Not to mention a Basque; and the Basque Country still has a number of operating “witches.” So I ordered a Tarot set and started studying it. It became a habit to the point where I started reading Tarot to family and friends. Now they come to me and ask for readings. It has basically become a reflex these days. When I am confused about a problem, I use both Tarot and reasoning. I don’t feel the right and left side of the brain are, nor should be, mutually exclusive.

You list some very interesting and eclectic influences on your Goodreads bio (Balzac when it comes to psychology; Voltaire for the bite and satire; Agatha Christie for the structure of the novel). Which of their works would you recommend to readers who would like to try reading them for the first time, and why?

For Balzac, it’s difficult to recommend just one novel from the Human Comedy, as he created one masterpiece after another. I fell in love with him when I fell in love with reading, when I was twelve and when my older sister handed me Le Père Goriot. It’s a poignant story about a man victimized by his daughters. It’s a novel about cruelty, rapacity, as many of his novels are. Balzac depicts his predators like dehumanized machines or marionettes; his victims are poetry. Cousin Pons’ main character is one example of this poetry, and the novel has powerful moments about art collecting, the love of art, the love of beauty. And then there is The Magic Skin, one of his philosophical novels and a dramatic reflection on the meaning (or lack thereof) and brevity of life. In general, the way Balzac portrays, say, the greed of bankers and 19th Century nascent capitalism, pretty much shows that society in its core has not changed.

I love most of Voltaire’ satiric tales, but Micromegas is my favorite. It announces sci-fi, as it is an interplanetary story. There, Voltaire makes fun of human arrogance. A very good lesson told with the philosopher’s customary bite and wit.

For Agatha Christie, I have grown to prefer her Hercule Poirot novels over her Miss Marple ones. To the point that one of the main characters in Chainsaw Jane is actually a parody of Hercule Poirot. Poirot is both an absurd and brilliant character, and I believe the simultaneously absurd, vain and brilliant side of him translates a little better into our world than Miss Marple, although she can be a comforting grandmother. Okay, grandma a bit on the sly side. But still, only when she’s detecting. This said, once I started with one Agatha Christie novel, I had to get another one—Miss Marple or no Miss Marple. She became an addiction. But if you only want to read just one Agatha Christie novel, read what I consider her masterpiece, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

I have a short story collection by Ms. Christie that I like a lot ;) Please share your #1 tip for writers:

I’ll repeat what Gwendolyn Brooks once told me: “Revise, revise, revise.” At the time, I was very young and thought this was the end of the day, the poet was tired or had fallen on her head somewhere, and therefore she didn’t know what the hell she was talking about. But years went by and I know now that “revise, revise, revise” is one of the best pieces of advice any kind of writer can receive.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

www.mariejofortis.com

www.mariejosvoice.blogspot.com

and of course, you can find me at Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook; Book Country on occasion. There are others, but I won’t mention them until I start visiting them more often myself.

* * * * *

Much thanks to Marie-Jo for stopping by — do visit Marie-Jo’s Website for more info on her projects!

MARIE-JO’S SHORT BIO (in his own words):

mj

Marie-Jo Fortis had to fight many odds, make many sacrifices, in order to leave France and cross the Atlantic with the man she loved. She could hardly speak English when she reached the US, but that did not stop her. She attained a Master’s in English literature after studying at l’Ecole du Louvre and La Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris. Her work has been published nationally and internationally in Freedom International, Poésie Première, Talus & Scree, and other periodicals. She also founded Collages & Bricolages, a literary magazine she edited for fifteen years, which received accolades from the US and abroad.

Website | Chainsaw Jane on Amazon

* * * * *

Grammar Tips

Standard

grammarly

* I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because I wanted to see if a subscription to the service would make a good gift for my Grammar Nazi friends.

NOTE: I’ve added deliberate spelling and grammatical errors throughout this post to show readers the effect of Grammarly ;) Screenshots included after the post.

* * *

The editing for Bedmates (Wilde Trilogy, Book #2) is going OK. Its my first psychological thriller series and a new genre I’ve been wanting to try since a while.

I thot I’d share an excerpt from the book. This is from Chapter 4 which features the evil girl twin ripping out some Barbie doll heads.

But wait! I made a mistake up there. The chapter with the Barbie doll heads being ripped off is from the first book in the trilogy, titled Playmates.

Here’s a short synopsis of Playmates, along with the excerpt:

SYNOPSIS:

playmates

PLAYMATES (Wilde Trilogy, Book #1)

As kids, Tania and Trevor’s unsupervised play time offers a lifeline to sanity amidst the chaos of family dysfunction. When danger threatens Tania, Trevor isn’t willing to stand by and watch his sister get hurt. The instinct for survival is only rivaled by the killer instincts the Wilde siblings encourage in each other. Instincts that turn into a deadly game igniting their first taste for blood.

EXCERPT:

CHAPTER 4: Tania

The thing I noticed with my collection was that all the Kens and Barbies looked exactly the same.

The “Miss World” one reminded me of Kimi, because they both had long, very shiny hair that I couldn’t get my hair to look like even after two hundred slow, gentle strokes with the hairbrush.

There was a black Sharpie pen lying around on the floor. I remembered that show from the other day where the surgeon was drawing arrows on a porn star’s nose, face, and body.

I took off the “Miss World” Barbie’s clothes and drew arrows in similar spots. Little, little arrows. What I didn’t have was a surgeon’s knife like the one on the TV.

Was it painful, cutting a person’s skin with that cold, sharp blade?

I looked at the doll for a moment. Her face looked really ugly now with the black arrows. I tried to wipe the marks away, but couldn’t, because the ink was permanent.

So I colored two ‘X’ marks over the Barbie’s “boobies,” as Momma called them. I had seen a 19 year-old rapper from Jamaica at the VMA Awards on TV wearing that with a pair of gold pants which were very tight. So tight until her huge ass was almost splitting the seams.

Then I colored the Barbie in between the legs, because I had seen another popstar in one of Momma’s magazines with a blue sticker on that area. I don’t know why the sticker was blue. Maybe because it matched the popstar’s new hair color. Yes, that must be it.

“Now you look even uglier,” I remarked to Miss “World-Now-Undressed-And-Like-All-The-Other-Barbies” Barbie.

I placed the black pen on the floor, before flicking it with my fingernail hard across the floor, so that it spun away across the wooden floor from me. It hit the wall with a sharp thud.

I was suddenly filled with hate at the ugly doll—that was where I was going to end up, lying on a hospital bed unconscious with tubes down my mouth, if I wanted to be “pretty” like Kimi and the Jamaican rapper with the big butt, and everybody else who was on TV getting arrows drawn on their faces and bodies at a doctor’s office.

I grabbed the doll’s head. I ripped it right off. It took a bit of effort with getting the twisting angle right.

But I felt good when the head actually came off. Because it made me feel like I had “won.”

I might not have been the prettiest girl on or off TV. But I knew then that I wasn’t as ugly as the hideous doll.

I reached for a pair of scissors from the tabletop. The edge of the tip of the blade was perfect for slowly cutting along the jagged, arrowed lines on the beheaded plastic body.

Playmates (Wilde Trilogy, Book #1), by Jess C Scott / jessINK

Now I will let some screenshots do the talking re: my experience with using Grammarly.

SCREENSHOTS:

grammarly

#1: Screenshot of Grammarly platform processing the first two paragraphs. The program caught one spelling error (“thot” instead of “thought”); missed out “its” in the second line (“it is” is different from “its” as in “belonging to something”). Refer to Screenshot #5 below.

grammarly

#2: Screenshot of Grammarly platform detecting a “plagiarized” paragraph. The program correctly identified where the paragraph was originally from, and suggested some references, including — [APA: Wilde Trilogy: Psychological Thriller Series. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.jessink.com/wilde.htm]

Grammarly

#3: Screenshot of the available “paper type” options on Grammarly (nice!). I selected “Creative” to proofread the excerpt from my psych thiller, since the book was written in a more creative than academic vein.

Grammarly

Screenshot #4: According to Grammarly, my excerpt contained 7 writing issues and 4 enhancement suggestions (I clicked through the suggestions, all of which were sensible and/or helpful recommendations). The score was 83 of 100 (adequate, can benefit from revision).

Grammarly Grammarly

Screenshots #5 and #6: I had faith in the Grammarly platform, so I pasted my blog post again to see if Grammarly would catch the “its” error this time. And it did! As you can see in the right screenshot, the score is 67 of 100 (weak; needs revision). I might have clicked something wrong the first time, since I was still familiarizing myself with Grammarly’s editor interface.

* * *

VERDICT: YES — a subscription would make a great gift for my Grammar Nazi friends!!

I write *a lot*, so programs like Grammarly do make the proofreading process a little less painful and tedious (and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t loathe editing).

If you’d like to try out Grammarly, you can sign up for a free 7-day trial on their website at www.grammarly.com. Let me know how you find it :)

* * *

Author Interview, Jason Pendergrass

Standard

Interview #76, with “serial entrepreneur,” Jason Pendergrass!

Hi Jason! Describe yourself in 5 words:

I am a serial entrepreneur.

Share a short blurb of your work (10-100 words):

business_lessons

This book is a roadmap for business success teaching entrepreneurs how to start and run their own business while not being “Nickel & Dimed” to death. This book teaches such skills as product development, performing effective market research, driving sales using social media, protecting your intellectual property, developing and implementing an effective business strategy, and developing a sales strategy, among many other skills and lessons. This book teaches from my personal experiences with my own businesses. Some lessons came easy and some came the hard way, but this book breaks it down in an easy to understand, simple format.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

One of my favorite books, besides my own, is Managing written by Harold Geneen, former CEO of ITT from 1959 to 1977. One of the key quotes form this book is “Performance is reality. Forget everything else.” I completely agree. Performance is the only measure that matters. It will define success and it will define failure. To be successful, you must produce positive results. At the bottom line, that is what matters.

Well-said! Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

In my experience, writing a book is extremely time-consuming. Just when you think it is perfect, you proofread again and find a chapter you want to expand upon, a grammatical mistake, etc. You also get tunnel vision and that hinders you as well. You’re then forced to clear your head and take a break before continuing on with the quest of writing the book.

As for publishing a book, the only hassle I found was that it was costly. Luckily, my book has been selling successfully, but if the book was not in demand, I could have been stuck with a huge inventory of books I could not sell. There was risk involved. On the other hand, I also sell my book on Screwpulp.com as an e-book, and that eliminates the capital investment needed to publish an actual physical book.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

My definition of good writing is exceeding the readers’ expectations. My book is a business self-help book, so I want to ensure my book helps these entrepreneurs become successful and learn from my experiences while providing an easy to read format. Basically, since my readers are successful because of the lessons taught in this book, Business Lessons of a Rookie Entrepreneur is well written.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

My number one lesson is to not rush the process. Writing a book is a long journey and everyone wants to finish before their book is perfect. Be patient and remember, quality over speed. You have got to stay focused and keep this lesson in mind. Quality over speed!!

Your websites/blogs/etc:

www.pendergrassbooks.com or message me on Facebook. My book can also be found as an E-book on www.screwpulp.com by searching my name (Jason Pendergrass) or the book title (Business Lessons of a Rookie Entrepreneur).

* * * * *

Much thanks to Jason for stopping by — do visit Jason’s Website for more info on his projects!

JASON’S SHORT BIO (in his own words):

Started three small businesses, learned a lot, had a mixture of successes and failures. I am here to help you become successful in business.

Website: www.pendergrassbooks.com

* * * * *