FREE KINDLE FOR PC

FREE KINDLE FOR PC
So you can read my books

Saturday, March 31, 2018

APRIL FOOLS! IT'S EASTER



Is it symbolic of the times that Easter 
falls on April Fool's Day?

The annual celebration of hoaxes is the same day 
that Christians worldwide 
celebrate Jesus’s resurrection.


But Christians have a long history 
of being called fools.


From the Pharisees to 
sophisticated modern thinkers,
 the thought of there being 
an actual resurrection is mocked.


From Cadbury to Store windows, 
Easter Bunnies are all the rage.

Jesus is tastefully left out of sight.


More people believe in the paranormal 
 than they do in a personal God.


Many feel it is foolishness to believe in God.

I can understand that --

On the surface it seems foolish 
to meet hate with love

to think life can spring from death.

But isn't that what happens
when crushed wheat 
is buried in the earth?

 The true spirit of Christ's teachings
is bruised but not gone.


Still, Easter holds a message for us all, 
religious or not.

It is a message of 
hope and reconciliation.


Even when met with 
mocking and hostility,
Love offers us 
Life after Death,

More than that:
a possibility of forgiveness 
and
a fresh start.

HAPPY EASTER
MY FRIENDS

After my home burned,
this song kept me going: 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

HOW YOU DO ANYTHING ...


IS HOW YOU DO EVERYTHING


Long before he dueled anyone who looked at him sideways or became president ...


Andrew Jackson would speak of his first job as a tailor and say,

"My garments would never rip or give way."


Whatever you just got through doing, odds are that you would rather not have been doing it.


Even if you have achieved your dream job, 

there are irritating things you still have to do:

conference calls, office politics, dealing with delays.


It's tempting to just go through the motions with things that seem mundane or unimportant.

On the road to where we want to go, 

we all must do things we would rather not.





 In 1851, future president, James A. Garfield, paid his tuition for college by being the school's janitor.

Always smiling, he did his duties with diligence and pride.

By the time he rang the tower's bell, he had already put in a long day's work.

Within one year, he was teaching classes as well as taking them.

By his 26th birthday, he was the dean of the school.



{A placard I have on my desk}

Everything ...


from sweeping up the workplace to ringing the cash register and smiling to unsmiling customers ...

is a chance to do and be our best.

 No job is degrading ...

unless we do not give it our all.


In life, we may ask ourselves, "What am I supposed to do now?"

The answer is simple:

OUR BEST


Viktor Frankl thought the question, "What is the meaning of life?" to be presumptuous.

He said,

"It is not someone else's responsibility to tell you.  

It is your job to answer that question with your actions."


WHAT HAVE YOUR ACTIONS 
OF LATE SAID 
OF WHERE YOU ARE HEADED?

Friday, March 23, 2018

LIVE LIFE


DO NOT LET IT LIVE YOU

Between stimulus and response there is a space.
 In that space is our power to choose our response.”
- Victor Frankel

 In Man's Search For Meaning

Victor Frankel lent us a hard-won kernel of truth he learned in the Nazi Concentration Camps.

Daily he faced death, cruelty, deprivation, and the burning urge to hate.

But he realized that stimulus and response were not joined at the hip.  

They was a small space between the two.

The space in which to choose.

He could choose hate, a wild scramble for survival at any cost ...

or he could choose to focus on learning what he could in that crucible 

and to help his fellow prisoners.



You cannot do everything.  

But you can do something.

A small course correction can take you miles closer to peace if you steer wisely 

or wreck you on the reefs if you choose unwisely.



Problems are just roadblocks ...


and detours exist for each one you will meet.

The trip may be longer, 

but the journey may be more interesting, exciting because of them.



Setbacks may shake us 
but they do not have to define us.

Your adversity is not your identity.

Your identity is 
how you respond to it.

But then again
adventure is just
reading about 
the other guy having
a terrible time, right? 

HOW DO YOU APPROACH LIFE?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

MAKE YOUR BOOK A PAGE TURNER

A book is a journey we do not have to take.  
We must be persuaded to do it.

Usually it is the set-up that does that for us: a unique or intriguing situation.

But once the book is picked up, 

it will be the characters who will tug us along to find out what they will do and say next. 

Do they make us laugh?  Do they make us root for them?

As humans, we are driven to seek an understanding of others,

for in understanding them, we come close to understanding ourselves ... 

and perhaps we will not feel quite so isolated, alone.

HOW TO ENGAGE THE READER

1.) EACH STEP MUST TAKE YOU SOMEWHERE 

As I've said: each book is a journey.  Characters, descriptions, or dialogue ... must move that journey along ...

or you are making the reader simply jog in place!


2.) TONY STARK ON A ROAD TRIP

Wouldn't he be a hoot on a road trip to anywhere?  
Your characters must entertain in some form or fashion

or your reader will opt for more enjoyable companions.


3.)  WHERE IS THE DARTH VADER OF YOUR TRIP?

Success conceals; adversity reveals.

Is he looming like a storm cloud on the horizon?

Or is she sitting, smiling like the false friend she is, right beside your hero?

Does his motivation make sense to the reader or does he exist merely to be the Big Bad of your story?

Your reader should see that he/she is just one bad day away from becoming that person.


4.) WHERE IS THE TICKING BOMB?

Imagine a tense company board meeting: 

the founder is being betrayed by his best friend in a hostile take-over.

He is bravely, intelligently fighting for his dream while the Judas is smugly smiling.

Unknown to them both, but known to the reader, a terrorist bomb is ticking beneath the table ...

right in plain sight should someone just bend down to pick up a fallen pen.

Tick ... Tick ... Tick.

Can you see all the various ways that could play out?

Your hero staggers out of the board room, having lost it all as his wife rushes into his arms ...

just as the bomb goes off, killing all those within the office.

The Judas in betraying his best friend ends up saving his life.


5.) WHERE IS THE WONDER, THE MAGIC?


It does not have to be literal magic but the wonder has to be there to draw your readers in and keep them.

SAME OLD, SAME OLD plots can become riveting if you spin them.

Robin Hood is the villain; 

the sheriff is the valiant, misunderstood man of honor 

trying to keep peace in order to prevent the King from ordering mass executions of the peasants.

A simple view out of a stagecoach window can become magical if your protagonist describes it so that the reader views it with new eyes.

My tagline to the front page of 
THE NOT-SO-INNOCENTS AT LARGE is


“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in acquiring new eyes.”

– Samuel McCord

Hope this has helped in some small way, Roland

Friday, March 16, 2018

LET LEONARDO da VINCI TEACH YOU TO WRITE



No, not mirror writing ... unless you're left handed.

Why did Leonardo Da Vinci write in backward or mirror image style?

I never believed that Leonardo's writing had anything to do with secrets or mystery writing.

He was such a creative, innovative person, he wrote the way he did because it was easier and possibly less "messy".

Leonardo was left handed.

If you have ever watched a left handed person write you will see that in order to be able to read what they have written,

as they write it, they "curl" their hand around what they have written. This allows them to see what they are writing.

So I believe Leonardo simply devised the Backward Writing because it worked for him.


Truly a practical and ingenious way to write his thoughts quickly and without mess. 

And obviously, he had no problem reading what he had written.

That's it. No big secret and deep dark mystery.

Just a good example of how Leonardo was someone who could "think outside the box". 


As you must think outside the box if you are to write something original.


You see, even if the original novel you write does not sell, you have not sold out the most valuable thing you have ... yourself.

What made this illegitimate son of a peasant girl and a notary become one of the most famous artists, inventors and scientists who ever lived?

His energy was limitless when it came to asking questions and searching for answers, and

he was the master of observation which led to more questions and discoveries.

He had an insatiable desire to learn as much as he could about everything he observed, and he took meticulous notes.

He even described himself as a "disciple of experience" which meant he learned from experiencing, experimenting and observing everything he came in contact with.

So must you be a disciple of experience if you would write "true" fiction even if it is a tale of utter fantasy. 

If the reader believes your protagonist, then she/he will flow seamlessly into the adventure no matter how fantastic ... if the logic of the heart rings true.

THE DA VINCI METHOD OF WRITING AWESOMELY:

1.) Curiosità.

Curiosità is an "insatiably curious approach to life and unrelenting quest for continuous learning". Great minds have one characteristic in common: they continuously ask questions throughout their lives.

Leonardo's endless quest for truth and beauty clearly demonstrates this.

What makes great minds different is the quality of their questions. You can increase your ability to solve problems by increasing your ability to ask good questions.

Like da Vinci, you should cultivate an open mind that allows you to broaden your universe and increase your ability to explore it.

2.) STEPS TO BECOMING A DA VINCI

 KEEP A JOURNAL -


Bring a journal wherever you go and use it often. Write your ideas and thoughts there. Try to write several statements a day that start with "I wonder why/how..."

   KEEP FOCUSED -


Observe according to a theme. Choose a theme and observe things according to the theme for a day.

 For example, let's say you choose "communication". For the entire day, observe every type and instance of communication you come across. You can then record your observations in your journal.

  OPEN THE WINDOW OF YOUR MIND -
Stream of consciousness exercise. Pick a question and write the thoughts and associations that occur to you as they are. Don't edit them. The important thing is to keep writing. This is also referred to as freewriting.

3.) Dimostrazione.
Dimostrazione is "a commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence, and a willingness to learn from mistakes".
Wisdom comes from experience and the principle of Dimostrazione helps you get the most out of your experience. Here are some ways to apply Dimostrazione:
   THREE POINTS FOR YOUR INNER COMPASS -
Next, take a distant view of your belief (for example, as if you live in a different culture) and review it.
Finally, find friends who can give you different perspectives.
   ANALYZE YOUR SIREN -



Analyze the advertisements that affect you.

Look at the advertisements in your favorite magazine and analyze the strategy and tactics they use. Find the advertisements that affect you most and find out why.

  FIND YOUR AUNTIE OR ANTI-MODEL -

List the names of some people whose mistakes you want to avoid.
Learn from them so that you won't encounter the same pitfalls.


4.) Sensazione.

Sensazione is "the continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to enliven experience".

According to da Vinci, we can best practice Dimostrazione through our senses, particularly sight.

That's why one of Leonardo's mottoes is saper vedere (knowing how to see) upon which he built his work in arts and science.
Here are some ways to apply Sensazione:







  • Write detailed description of an experience. For instance, describe your experience of watching a sunrise in your journal.









  • Learn how to describe a smell.









  • Learn to draw.  Even if it is badly.









  • Listen to different sounds around you.

  • Learn to listen to different intensity of sounds from the softest (e.g. your breathing) to the loudest (e.g. traffic).









  • Live in the moment. Practice mindfulness.

  • 5.) Cryptic.


    Cryptic is "a willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty".

    An essential characteristic of da Vinci's genius is his ability to handle a sense of mystery. Here are two ways to apply Cryptic:







  • Befriend ambiguity.

  • Not knowing something does not make it ambiguous! It is when you DO know something but its meaning is indeterminate.








  • Ask yourself questions that relate two opposites.

  • For example, ask yourself how your happiest and saddest moments are related.  You will be surprised at your findings.








  • Practice the Socratic method.

  • The goal with the Socratic method is to examine possibilities, and that is done by asking questions, not by giving answers.


    Socrates was known (and criticized) for asking questions to which he didn't have answers.


    The key to using the Socratic method is to be humble.

    Don't assume that you or anyone knows anything for sure. Question every premise.

    6.) SO YOU QUESTION ALL OF THE ABOVE -

    How will this improve your writing?

    Imagine your heroine can't remember when she hasn't been able to ...

    A.) Taste colors
    B.) Not laugh when exposed to lies.

    Harmless right?

    No, she begins to have indigestion and hysterical laughter in front of forgeries in the art museum.

    She begins to earn a living until ...

    the intelligence agencies the world over hunt her for her skill at detecting lies and

    the terrorist organizations the world over want her dead.

    Then, an old crone said she once traded the heroine those deadly gifts in return for her earliest memory.

    Does the heroine want to un-do the trade?

    Learn more about
    Leonardo