May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

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Since 1949, the month of May has been designated throughout the nation as mental health month. Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During May, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health) joins the national movement to raise awareness. Their site provides support for those who deal with this everyday, along with their families.

I found a blog on LULU Books called Mental Health for Writers that applies not only to writers like myself, but has some great links for mental health in general.

After the last two years of pandemic living, many people are realizing that stress, isolation, job loss, and uncertainty have taken a toll on their well-being. To help slow the spread of coronavirus, many schools and childcare centers across the U.S. closed and transitioned to virtual instruction for at least some time. With these closures, children and their parents were experiencing ongoing disruption and changes to their daily routines. Throughout the pandemic, anxiety, depression, sleep disruptions, and thoughts of suicide have increased for many young adults. It has hit just about everyone in some form or fashion.

Personality may also influence how we manage in difficult times. How we endure uncertainty and our ability to tolerate distress are related behaviors that appear to make a difference. Some people are less comfortable with struggle or the unknown than others.  Feeling afraid, depressed, or anxiety ridden has seemed to hit an all time high in our world right now.

We can’t always self-improve our way out of pain and difficulty. Facing it is the only answer, and there are ways that we can get help and help ourselves. This is one of those times when life really is harder by a little bit or a lot, depending on your situation. We need to work to feel better, stay connected, and help others however we can.

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

Have You Watched These 10 Movies About Time Travel?  

Image by Solitaire on Emporeum

Time travel is described as the concept in which people are able to move backwards into the past or forwards into the future. This subject is one of my favorites, and I have written a few science fiction/fantasy books which focus on time travel in my Dragomeir Series.  You can check them out at my website – www.solitaireparke.com

What is it about time travel that keeps us coming back for more? First of all, is it even possible? Yes, and you’re doing it right now – moving forward into the future at the rate of one second per second. But this isn’t the kind of time travel that has made science fiction writers so prolific, or movie makers so fascinated that Wikipedia lists over 400 titles in the category “Movies about Time Travel.” Traveling by way of a time machine or by using some other means into the past or future is what is really intriguing.  If you are one of the many who find time travel to be incredible, you might want to check out the following ten movies.

  1. The Adam Project – “After accidentally crash-landing in 2022, time-traveling fighter pilot Adam Reed teams up with his 12-year-old self for a mission to save the future.
  2. The Tomorrow War – A family man is drafted to fight in a future war where the fate of humanity relies on his ability to confront the past.
  3. Tenet – Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.
  4. Palm Springs – Stuck in a time loop, two wedding guests develop a budding romance while living the same day over and over again.
  5. Boss Level – Trapped in a time loop that constantly repeats the day of his murder, a former special forces agent must unlock the mystery behind his untimely demise.
  6. 12 Monkeys – In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.
  7. Looper – In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits – someone like Joe – who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by sending back Joe’s future self for assassination.
  8. Avengers: Endgame – After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to reverse Thanos’ actions and restore balance to the universe.
  9. Time Machine – Hoping to alter the events of the past, a 19th century inventor instead travels 800,000 years into the future, where he finds humankind divided into two warring races.
  10. Donnie Darko – After narrowly escaping a bizarre accident, a troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes.

To all the Travelers out there – Be Safe!

Solitaire

Annual Smashwords Read an Ebook Week Sale!

March 6 – March 12, 2022

Smashwords – Ebook Week Sale!

Hello Readers!  This is the 13th annual Smashwords read an Ebook week sale and you are invited to check it out on the Smashwords Ebook site at this location – 

Thousands of Smashwords authors and publishers will offer readers exclusive discounts on their ebooks. It’s a great opportunity to fill your cart with the books from favorite authors and future favorites. Ebooks will be offered at 25% off, 50% off, 75% off, or for FREE.

If you love stories about dragons, otherworldly creatures, lots of adventure, and other sci-fi/fantasy topics then check out my site at Smashwords here –

SOLITAIRE PARKE – AUTHOR.

You can also learn more about me and my books at my website –

http://www.solitaireparke.com

If you love to read, here is your chance to stock up for the Spring and Summer with ebooks of every genre. You won’t want to miss it!

Solitaire

Life & Death – Pivotal Moments

Writing a book is hard work and writing on a regular basis is occasionally a struggle. It may not happen with every book you write, but depending on the subject matter, your story can get somewhat complicated and leave you in a quandary as to where to proceed next – and did I mention the unending distractions that intrude on your concentration whenever you sit down at the keyboard? Well, life happens, and you just have to find a work-around.  Sometimes your best ideas come when you’re not in front of the computer. Talk to a friend or go outside and take a walk. A change of scenery might be what puts an end to the brain fog or confusion or sparks that next idea. 

I’m in the process of writing a book called “The Atrium” which I am striving to finish in the next few months. It hasn’t been a straightforward narrative and somewhat complicated, as it deals with the struggle between life and death.  It is a candid exploration of how one man deals with not knowing if he will live or die and how he reacts to past events. If he dies, can he make peace with his life? Will he have a future, and if he does, how will it change his life going forward?

The subject of this book is not a simple one, but it will hopefully make you stop and reevaluate your life, if only to perceive a new understanding of experiences and people. The connections made and compassion that we show can bring about a new clarity to our lives and those around us that can make a difference. Writing this book has been an eye-opener for me and it is my wish that it will do the same for those who read it.

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

All the hustle and bustle of Christmas is well underway and a lot of us are still out there getting our last minute gifts for family and friends. I’m very close to being ready for the big day. The next few days will be very busy ones for most of us. I’m still occupying my time writing while all the festivities are going on around me and hope to finish my current book in the Spring of 2022. It’s called The Atrium, and you can find a a short summary of it’s contents on my website at www.solitaireparke.com.

In the meantime, listen to all the beautiful Christmas music, watch all the great Christmas movies and check out all the books to read as well. Here’s wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and hoping that in spite of everything crazy that’s happening in the world right now, that you and your family have a wonderful and blessed holiday time together!

Holiday Cheer to everyone!

Solitaire

Change your life – Have an Attitude of Gratitude

GRATEFUL, THANKFUL, BLESSED

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein

Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks, to the abundance that is already present. In addition, behavioral and psychological research has shown the surprising life improvements that can stem from the practice of gratitude. Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress.

 It Heightens Your Quality of Life

A practice of gratitude raises your “happiness set-point” so you can remain at a higher level of happiness regardless of outside circumstances.  Research shows that those who practice gratitude tend to be more creative, bounce back more quickly from adversity, have a stronger immune system, and have stronger social relationships than those who don’t practice gratitude.  To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.

Notice and Appreciate Each Day’s Gifts

We tend to take for granted the good things in our lives.  Imagine losing some of the things that you take for granted, such as your home, your ability to see or hear, your ability to walk, or anything that currently gives you comfort. Then imagine getting each of these things back, one by one, and consider how grateful you would be for each and every one. Start finding joy in the small things instead of the bigger things, like getting the promotion, having a comfortable savings, getting married, or having children, and so on – before allowing yourself to feel gratitude and joy.  In the face of hard times ask yourself: “What’s good about this?”, “What can I learn from this?”, and “How can I benefit from this?”

Incorporate Gratitude into your life every day

If we increase our conscious awareness of gratitude it may require that we train ourselves to think differently. This can be done by incorporating some simple exercises into our lives. For example, you might begin to keep a gratitude journal. Gratitude journals can take many forms, but one way of doing this is to simply write down one thing that you are grateful for each day.It can be something that happened that day, something you felt, or someone in your life who has made a positive impact on you.

You can also speak your expressions of gratitude. You can engage someone in a daily discussion about what you are grateful for. This might take the form of questions like, “What was the best part of your day today?”, or “What is one thing that made you feel really happy today?” This kind of discussion not only helps to increase your own awareness of all that you have to be grateful for, but can also promote positive connection and experiences in your relationship with whomever you choose to have these exchanges. Focus on the positive things, which in turn help the stressors feel less significant, and help you feel happier. Basically, gratitude promotes gratitude.

You can train yourself to notice things that you are thankful for. They can be small things: maybe you notice that your bed is very comfortable, that your lunch is tasty, that a good friend said something nice to you, etc. It is easy to take these kinds of experiences for granted and not direct our conscious awareness to them. But training yourself to notice these kinds of things and really feel grateful for them can help increase your own experience of happiness.

Be Thankful –

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.

GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

Science Fiction/Fantasy & Thrillers for your Fall Reading List.

Explore stories where you can lose yourself in imaginative worlds, engage in battles of good versus evil, and become part of gripping tales of people struggling to overcome pasts that continue to haunt them. DISCOVER YOUR NEW FAVORITE STORY –

 

Tinker Smith & the Conspiracy of OZ

tinkersmith_book

Ten genetically altered children while simply trying to survive seek to stop a mad man from releasing a technological mammoth that could take over the world.

http://www.solitaireparke.com/tinker.html

 

 

 

 

Vengeance of the Wolf

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In this dark and gripping world of dreams and nightmares anything can happen in this chilling thriller beyond your wildest imagination.  

http://www.solitaireparke.com/vengeance.html

 

 

 

 

Daughter of the Dark Lord Series

A Prequel to the Dragomeir Series 

burning sky_med

     Can a young girl and her dragon, the daughter of a ruthless Dark Lord, change the lives of those around her to reflect a new world free of the tyranny they have always known, and thus change her destiny as well?

http://www.solitaireparke.com/burning_sky.html

 

The Emerald Dragon – Dragomeir Series

This is the first novel of an all-new fantasy series

emerald_med

Tanis Theatra, an ancient warrior is called by an emerald dragon – Demios, and learns to become a dragon rider.  He has to interact with the other riders and people of Mt. Drago, a mountain that lies in the middle of a desert but has access to other worlds that are inhabited by both unusual and evil creatures. The riders are led by the Ariella, Queen of the Dragons, and they must band together to fight evil forces that hold the crystal keys that will protect their world and peaceful existence. 

http://www.solitaireparke.com/emerald_dragon.html

When fall comes and the days are shorter, nothing can be more comforting than your favorite  blanket and a good book to read.  Fall reads can be spooky/scary, lighthearted, serious, or imaginative. So, curl up in your favorite spot and get lost in the world of your choice.

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Writer’s Secret Ingredient?

Photo by Paige Cody on Unsplash

Perusing the web this week I discovered a guest post that I found to be particularly outstanding and possibly very helpful to other writers. It was a recent post from author and guru of all things writing and publishing, Jane Friedman.  I regularly get her newsletter, Electric Speed, which contains a myriad of information for writers. (I highly recommend subscribing to it, by the way.) https://janefriedman.com/.

The post is about a secret ingredient that can keep readers riveted to your book down to the very last line, rather than lose interest and have it fall to the floor.  The guest was C. S. Lakin, a writing coach, workshop instructor, blogger and award-winning author of 30+ books.

So, check out this post at the following link –

https://www.janefriedman.com/the-secret-ingredient-of-a-commercially-successful-novel/

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

Forthcoming book The Atrium

3rd Annual Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale!

July 1, 2021 – July 31, 2021

Why is it called “Summer/Winter”?   Here in the Northern hemisphere, it’s mid-summer. Readers are loading their e-reading devices for summer beach reading and long-awaited vacations. South of the equator they are now in the middle of winter. They’re ready to curl up in front of the fireplace and enjoy a great read too!

Hello to all the readers and authors out there!  All my eBooks will be on sale for 50% off, so take advantage and stock up on plenty of books to read over the summer/winter.  You will find every type of genre with books from terrific authors all over the world. It’s an opportunity to find exclusive discounts from your favorite indie authors and discover new future favorites. So, check it out at SMASHWORDS.COM.

I’m currently working on a new book called The Atrium and a possible cover reveal will be up on my website soon.  In the meantime, I am continuing to do some Spring Cleaning on my digital content to make improvements and move forward into 2021.  Can you believe it’s half over already?  This year seems to be flying by.  Enjoy your Summer!

See you soon!

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

10 Ways to Find “Comps” For Your Book

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“Comps” are other book titles that might be comparable to your book.  The main purpose for comps is to show who your readers are likely to be and to show where your book might be shelved in a bookstore.   Often agents, publishing sales people or booksellers need this information to understand more about your book.  It gives them a better idea for categorizing your title. If you are self-publishing, comps are a guide to the readers you want to reach. So how do you find comps for your book?  Here are a few ideas –

  • Look up the Best Sellers in the last few years for your genre
  •  Check out  more recent books with similar themes or point of view
  • Utilize your local library to locate books you can read or listen to without having to purchase them.  See if your library uses Novelist Plus which allows you to search for books by theme, genre and appeal.  You can also ask your librarian.
  • Use social media sites to find out what is popular in that genre
  •  If you are in any writing groups, ask other writers or readers what they would recommend 
  • Film and TV can be used as comps as well as books. If it gives a reliable comparison of what you are writing, then use it. Sometimes a visual is the best explanation. (If you use media, be sure to clarify your source)
  • Describe what part of a plot or characterization might be like your book.
  • Try not to compare your book to one that is too far out of date unless it is very well known and liked. Let people know that you are keeping up with the marketplace.
  • Barnes & Noble and Amazon show a lot of sales data that can be beneficial for comps. People often buy items that are similar. Especially when it comes to books, you can enter a title on their sites and then look for books that are recommended that appear under these headers:

     “Customers who bought this also bought . . .” (Amazon and Barnes & Noble) “Frequently bought together” (Amazon)

    “What customers bought after viewing this” (Amazon)

  • You can also ask people who have read your book for some suggestions.

TIP – Avoid saying that your book is better than someone’s title or classic.  It might be better, but you don’t want to be the one to say it.  Attacking another author only puts a negative spotlight on you. Reading is subjective, and what you hated, others might love.  So, compare your book to others that you admire or respect.

Are you influenced by other comparable titles?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

SOLITAIRE

www.solitaireparke.com

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