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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!
“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.
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!
“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.
It’s the time of year that often focuses on Spring cleaning just about everywhere. So, it’s not a bad idea for authors and writers to do the same thing with their websites, blogs and various digital content. Here’s a few ideas that you might want to concentrate on for your Spring cleaning efforts.
Update your Website and/or Blog:
Check for broken links
Does your site need a new overall look?
Update your Bio and Contact information and photo
Make sure your site looks good on mobile and all browsers
Check your page load speed
Think about adding or deleting content in your sidebars
Redo your Header or Footer
Add or delete Social Media sites & the information on these sites
Backup your site
Go through your emails and unsubscribe to unneeded ones
Archive material you want to keep
Delete old emails
Social Media Sites:
Do passwords need to be changed?
Update your Bio and Contact information and photo
Do you need a new Header or Background?
Check privacy settings and info
Check all Book Sites:
Are all your books listed?
Check and update book descriptions if needed
Update Bios, contacts and photos
Are my sites linked to the proper places?
Important files of data and images (possibly an external hard-drive)
Take stock of what has happened in the past and get ready to reset things and move forward to a great year. Things will get better and you need to be ready for a wonderful new year ahead! Get ready to accomplish your goals!!!
Wishing everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day!
The fourth annual Smashwords End of Year Sale kicks off December 18th and runs through January 1, 2021. The sale is beginning a week earlier this year so you can take advantage of the Smashwords Store’s ebook gifting feature. You can find books at 25%-off, 50%-off, 75%-off and 100%-off (free). What a great time to stock up on the books you would love to read or give the gift of reading to someone you love or a friend. Visitors to the Smashwords Store will find the sale prominently featured at the top of the Smashwords home page starting December 18th. So, encourage your friends to visit the website and check out this amazing sale!
Have a wonderful Holiday – Merry Christmas to everyone!
Tags: author spotlight, books, Christmas, Daughter of the Dark Lord, Dragomeir Series, ebooks, free ebooks, Holiday ebook sale, indie author, merry christmas, self publishing, smashwords, smashwords end of year sale, smashwords.com, solitaire parke, solitaire parke.com, urban fantasy
I have been working feverishly to finish this final work of the series so that my readers can get a complete picture of the intricacies of the Larger World. I am excited that it is in the final stages of editing and will hopefully be available very soon.
- This is the third volume of the series called “The Larger World.” There is also a companion book filled with colorful images called, “The Altar Shields.”
- The first book in the set, entitled “Beyond the Astral Planes,” is this subject’s version of how to become a traveler, and deals with the beginnings of the knowledge.
- Book two is a much more in depth look at the information stated in book one, and becomes the intermediate level of the learning entitled, “Threshold of Perception.”
- It is followed by this new volume, “Patterns of Existence,” which deals with all of the above and more, but at the advanced level of comprehension.
Each of these works is capable of being read individually with little or no loss of cohesiveness or clarity, but when cross referenced together, they form a detailed picture of the expanse from which the series found its name; “The Larger World.”
If you have not read the previous books, they can be found at my website and many other locations in various formats (e-book, paperback, hardcover). So, check them out. The latest book will be here soon!
Happy Fall reading to everyone!
It’s a line spoken by actor, Tim Allen, from a movie – “Galaxy Quest.” It’s one of the funniest sci-fi spoofs ever made. It’s just one of those feel-good movies that you watch again and again, and it has a great message. It’s so easy to get lost amidst the responsibilities and difficulties of life. We struggle to find the time to write or create, and sometimes it can be all too confusing and disheartening to keep up the drive. Many of us are working day jobs and trying to fit in our writing or whatever our passion is, around everything else. What we need is creative clarity about what we’re creating and why we’re doing it in the first place. Go back to the ”well” so to speak, and dig deep for your source of inspiration. Do you have a great story that needs to be expressed, whether it’s as an author or in a painting? Someone out there needs to hear or see what you have to say and it will profoundly connect with them in a meaningful way, and that is important. It means continuing to be an artist even when there are setbacks, and a lack of validation. That clarity will help you to prioritize amidst your busy life, and your amazing creation will materialize and give the world something to think about besides its everyday routine. To be elevated above the mundane into a place that is intriguing, magical, whimsical or exquisite is what teaches us how to thrive and experience truly being alive!
Never give up – Never Surrender!
Check out my website for upcoming books and fun features.
Tags: author motivation, books, books about dragons, creative motivation, creativity, Galaxy Quest, helpful writing tips, indie authors, movies, sci-fi/fantasy, solitaire parke, Tim Allen, writing, writing inspiration
I am excited to tell you that the third prequel to the Daughter of the Dark Lord – INTO FUTURES PAST has been released!
It is available on my website www.solitaireparke.com under Books. Check out the first two prequels and the other books there as well as some fun extras.
Daughter of the Dark Lord, Katherine, is determined to protect the downtrodden. She’s in a race against time and space to fulfill the prophecy and become a leader unlike any other before her. Follow her failures, triumphs, and unending journeys to claim her destiny as the Queen of the Dragons in this exciting, action-filled fantasy adventure as she struggles with self-acceptance and the acceptance of the dragons and people in her world.
In Book number three, Katherine travels through time to find herself transformed into the body of a woman named Elizabeth. She struggles to make sense of this unfamiliar new reality while being pursued by forces of good and evil. Using her special abilities, will she be able to claim her calling and as Queen of the Dragons, save them all? This is her story, one of thrilling adventure and at times heart-wrenching sorrow as she seeks to fulfill her destiny.
I hope you all enjoy the journey of Katherine Pendragon as she travels – INTO FUTURES PAST!
Posted in author blog, Daughter of the Dark Lord - part one - The Burning Sky, Daughter of the Dark Lord - part two - The Alberra Project, dragon books, dragon lovers, Katherine Pendragon, sci-fi/fantasy, Uncategorized