Write An Author Career Plan

Every career calls for a plan. If you want to be an author, you too need a Career Plan.

Create an Author Career Plan in 9 Steps

1. Decide what kind of books you want to write.

Don't pick a genre because it's "hot." Choose one that you love.

2. What about your books will brand them, or make them uniquely yours?

Give a lot of thought to this because you'll need to be able to talk about your books clearly and enthusiastically. Also, authors who are most successful usually achieve success because they're writing books they love.

3. Calculate how long it will take you to write a good book.

You can't know this until you have written one. Have you done that? If not, set this aside and write a book—any book. You'll never know what you can do until you've done it. You must produce a finished draft from beginning to end. That's the first leg of the journey to produce a book.

The second part of that journey is turning it into something publishable. Depending on how rough the draft is, add days, weeks, or months to your time. That's how long a good book will take.

4. List everything you want in a writing career.

What is it? Money? Fame? Recognition? Awards? Also list what you want to do in the future.

Do you want to write in other genres? Do you want to travel to see settings first hand? What are your hopes and dreams for your career?

5. Decide what you're willing to give up to achieve your career as an author.

Nothing worthwhile in life is ever achieved without blood, sweat, and tears. You may not shed blood unless you get a paper cut, but, trust me, you will work hard enough to sweat, and you will shed tears because it's a tough business.

If you have a day job, you'll have to carve out time before or after that job to write. The same is true if you're a full-time mom. When will you write?

6. What skills do you bring to your career?

Will you be able to transition some of your day job skills into your writing career?

7. What do you need to learn to begin your writing career?

Assess yourself honestly.

8. Are you willing to set goals as waypoints in your journey?

Set goals that are reasonable and achievable. Remember, a goal must be something within your power to achieve.

9. When will you get started?

Set a start timeet reasonable, achievable goals for every step of the way.

Takeaway Truth

Good luck! If you believe you can do it, you can achieve it.

Saturday Share: Pancakes

If you haven't done much cooking before, now is your chance to see how quick and easy it can be. In fact, get the kids and spouse involved too.

Absolutely support your favorite restaurants during this self-quarantine period by ordering out once in a while, but prepare most of your meals in your kitchen. Less risk of exposure to COVID and less money spent.

Pancakes Please

When our kids were little, I'd make little 2-inch pancakes that I called silver dollar pancakes. The kids loved them.

Pancakes are the kind of Saturday morning breakfast most people love. Guess what? They're easy to make, and, made from scratch, they're delicious.

Many people think fast and easy means ordering take-out or getting fast food, but think about the time involved in driving to pick up food and getting it home to eat.

Compare that to walking into your kitchen and having a meal ready to eat in 15-20 minutes depending on what you cook.

Pancakes take less than 10 minutes to mix up and about 10 minutes to cook the whole batch. You can serve pancakes with butter and maple syrup or upgrade them with fresh fruits, fruit syrups, or jams.

Dust with powdered sugar and add whipped cream if you really want to doll them up. Of course, that adds a lot of calories.

Pancakes with a little syrup aren't that high in calories. The best thing about pancakes is you can serve them sweet or savory—for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

If you happen to have flour, or can score some at the grocery store, you can make these within minutes.

I'll give directions for using self-rising flour and for all-purpose flour depending on what you may have.

Plain, or all-purpose, flour is coarser than self-rising flour, which has been milled finger.

(Self-rising flour, invented by Henry Jones and patented in 1845, could be said to be the first convenience food.)

I'll also give directions for making them with regular milk and with buttermilk which produces the absolute lightest, best pancakes ever.

(I keep buttermilk in the fridge just to make pancakes.)

This recipe makes about 9 four-inch pancakes.

Regular Milk / All-Purpose Flour Version

I use organic flour that I buy at Costco. I sift the flour then measure the 1 cup. It gives a lighter pancake, but you don't have to sift if you don't want to.

Ingredients:
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup of regular milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (sometimes called plain flour)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
Directions
  1. Crack the egg into a bowl and whisk briskly until it's fluffy and lighter in color.
  2. Add oil, sugar, and salt, and mix well.
  3. Add milk and mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, blend the flour and baking powder together.
  5. Incorporate the flour mixture into the liquid, mixing well. There should be no lumps.
  6. Heat a griddle to 255-265 degrees F. If you don't have a griddle, use a large flat-bottomed skillet or frying pan. If what you use is not a non-stick pan, use a pastry brush dipped in a little vegetable oil to grease it.
  7. Pour batter into 3-4 inch rounds. The batter will expand to a slightly larger pancake so don't pour them too close together.
  8. The trick to perfect pancakes is to turn them only once. The way to achieve this is to make sure the griddle is hot before pouring the first one.
  9. Then watch them cook. You'll see steam rising from them and bubbles appear on the top surface.
  10. After about 2-3 minutes, gently lift the edge with a spatula to see if they're browned. If they are, flip them over and cook for the same amount of time as it took for the first side.
Regular Milk / Self-Rising Flour Version

This is easy because self-rising flour is nothing but all-purpose flour with salt and baking powder already added.

As previously mentioned, Henry Jones, a baker in Bristol, England, invented self-raising flour, but British self-rising flour differs from American self-rising. The British version has a lot more baking powder in it, and many people can taste the baking powder which is off-putting. American baking powder has just a small amount that can't be distinguished by taste.

Use the same amount of flour, but eliminate the salt and baking powder.

Buttermilk Pancakes / All-Purpose Flour Version

Ingredients:
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (sometimes called plain flour)
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Directions:

Follow the same directions as given the first time. You'll add the baking powder and baking soda to the flour and mix well. Cook as directed. The reason these are lighter and fluffier is that buttermilk and baking soda together create a chemical reaction to produce gas that makes these pancakes rise more than the plain milk version.

Buttermilk Pancakes  / Self-Rising Flour Version

This is also easy. Use the same amount of flour, but eliminate the salt and baking powder, but you'll add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.

Serve pancakes with your favorite fruit or pure maple syrup. Heat the syrup in the microwave for 15 seconds, and it makes the pancakes even more scrumptious.

Takeaway Truth

Cooking at home is a way of spending time with the family and educating your children about nutrition and teaching them to cook.

When you cook, you control the ingredients instead of serving something that has a ton of unpronounceable food additives. The food tastes better too!

Always Tired? You Should Read This

If you're like me, you're always looking for a way to feel more energetic.

I confess that I start must days tired and end them exhausted.

Being tired is generally a topic of conversation with most women I know.

Recently, I heard about the FODMAP diet. It's a way of eating to treat people who have SIBO, a condition that afflicts mostly women over 40. After hearing about this, I looked up all those acronyms and did a little research. This is what I found.

SIBO

Image by Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay
SIBO is a condition in which unhealthy bacteria create a low-acid envioronment in the small intestine.

This prevents food from being broken down. Symptoms include lack of energy, bloating, and generally feeling bad all the time.

SIBO is treated with supplements: an antimicrobial to reduce bacteria in the gut, a digestive enzyme to aid digestion, and compounds that promote healing of the gut lining.

This can be medically diagnosed, but many doctors aren't familiar with it. You'd want to talk to a gastroenterologist about it.

SIBO is diagnosed with a SIBO Home Breath Test. There is a home test kit, but it's expensive at $175.00.

Learn more about SIBO.

I previewed several books on SIBO. I currently am reading The Gut Health Protocol because it had so many stellar reviews, and it's on Kindle Unlimited. I'll review the book when I'm finished. If it's really good on the subject of SIBO, I'll probably buy a print version.

FODMAP

The final part of the treatment is the FODMAP diet. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols.

These are all short-chain carbohydrates, that is, poorly digested sugars that ferment and set in your gut, feeding the bacteria that cause SIBO.

This diet eliminates foods high in the carbohydrate fructan as well as highly fermantable foods such as sugar, grains, legumes, and dairy. All of those feed bad bacteria.

What To Eat?

Chicken, fish, and eggs for protein. Low fructan fruit like strawberries and low fructan vegetables such as zucchini and broccoli.

Image by Denise Husted from Pixabay
Go to FODMAP 101 to learn more.

Takeaway Truth

If you feel lousy and tired, find out more about this condition. You deserve to feel healthy and energetic every single day.

Let me know if you try this FODMAP diet, and if it improves your health.

Security Tip: Your Vehicle Keyfob

Key Fob Size Faraday Bag on Amazon $9.99

Recently, I learned a stunning fact. A vehicle's keyfob constantly emits signals. This can make it vulnerable to car thieves.

If a bad guy has the right kind of scanner, the signal can be detected and your vehicle can be stolen.

Yes, the keyless fob that allows you to unlock your car and start it with a push button can make car theft super easy for the bad guys.

If you park in a large lot/garage at work or when shopping, or in front of an apartment complex or in your own driveway, your vehicle could be at risk.

Relay Attack

This is what you call keyless car theft. It works like this.

It usually takes place when your vehicle is parked in front of your own house and is worked by 2 people. One stands as close as possible to your house as possible and holds the scanner. The other thief waits by the car.

The relay box, or scanner, picks up the signal from the key fob inside the house and relays it to the car, making the car "think" the key is closer than it actually is. The signal unlocks the car door, and the car is ready to start. One thief jumps in and drives away.

This can be done if you have your car parked outside of a store, your office, or anywhere that the signal can be picked up and relayed.
Another example of a Faraday Bag, $17.00 on Amazon

How To Secure Vehicle Keyless Fob

Fortunately, there is a solution, and it's not horribly expensive.

The best way to secure a keyless fob is it is to store it in a container that blocks the signal, i.e., a steel box or a Faraday Bag.


A steel box isn't practical to carry around, but a Faraday Bag is since they come in sizes small enough for a key fob,credit cards, or cell phone.

They also come in large to very large sizes if you have tablets, laptops, and even larger things you want to secure. They also come in colors.

Takeaway Truth

Even if you have insurance, it's a hassle you probably don't want. Secure your vehicle by securing the keyless fob.

Pranks @ Wedding on April Fool's Day

AFB_04I’ve always thought April Fool’s Day was made for fun-lovers. I was in awe of April Fool’s Pranksters. I always spent the week leading up to April Fool’s Day trying to think of a stunning prank.

What I dreamed up was rather innocuous like short-sheeting my brother’s bed or yelling, “There’s a tiger in the yard.” (Hey! I was only a child!)

If Only the Internet Had Been Invented

If I’d had Internet and search engines, my pranks would have been awesome. However, it’s never too late to create an epic prank that will live in the memories of family and friends. If you’re like me and need some inspiration, here are some of my personal favorites.

To share with your kids, try Family-Friendly April Fools’ Day Pranks or 31 Awesome April Fools’ Day Pranks Your Kids Will Totally Fall For. You can pull these pranks on your kids or help your kids prank their siblings.

So I guess you see how much I still like the first of April. In fact, I liked it so much I wrote a book and called it April Fool Bride.

About April Fool Bride

Oil heiress Madeline Quinn needs a husband in order to claim her full inheritance. Mad Maddie, as the tabloids christened her, has learned the hard way that men only see dollar signs when they look at her.

She decides a marriage of convenience is the only answer and turns to the one man she can trust, her housekeeper’s son who always treated her like a little sister when they were kids.

Jake Becker hasn’t seen Maddie since the night she tried to seduce him. Why should he help the woman who changed the course of his life? Simple. Revenge.

Is it a marriage of convenience or something more? Something that sizzles like steam heat between Maddie and Jake that neither can resist!

Takeaway Truth

Wouldn't it be great if this whole COVID thing was a joke or a bad dream, and we'd wake up on April 2 to find the world normal again?

Fun App: BS Generator for Corporate Slogans

I'm staying at home. Hope you are too. If you're missing your away-from home job, you might want a little fun?

Try this free BS Generator to create corporate slogans.

The comic strip on the webpage illustrates the kind of BS you can generate.

Just click the Generate button and you get marvelous corporate slogans like:

"energistically reconceptualize one-to-one convergence"

"holisticly supply enabled experiences"

"assertively benchmark distributed catalysts for change"

In other words, create corporate slogans that say, the most words, absolutely nothing! My corporate slogan? "I put the K in Kwality."

As the website says, repeat ad nauseam until you've found the perfect one to describe your corporate employer.

Takeaway Truth

Be safe. Be cool. Follow the CDC rule. Have a great Monday!

Sew a Medical Face Mask

Construction fairly simple. Actually easy to sew one.
Image by Juraj Varga from Pixabay
Any sewers out there?

In the Houston area, several people are working with TxRx to sew medical face masks out of tightly woven 100% cotton.

If you're in the Houston area, you can sign up with this Google Docs form.

Supplies will be delivered to you, and the finished cotton masks will be picked up.

If you'd like to volunteer, do a Google search for your local community to see if anyone has organized this.

Be sure and check Nextdoor if you're a member of that online community. That's another source for finding where to volunteer and also to find patterns.

Even if your sewing skills are barely basic, you can make these because it's just straight stitching. All you really need is a sewing machine. If you have that, chances are you have some fabric and thread. You can even clean out your closet and cut up a couple of cotton shirts for fabric.

Find Patterns Online
Image by Willfried Wende from Pixabay


Patterns and directions abound on Pinterest, websites, and YouTube. The supplies are simple.

Fabric, tightly-woven cotton, thread, and thin elastic. If you have no elastic, look for videos that show face masks with ties.

Some masks are composed of only 2 layers of fabric—a nine-inch strip that's wide enough to fold in half lengthwise. Some have an inner layer. All are easy to make.

You can volunteer to sew dozens of these or simply make some for your family and friends. Best of all, they can be laundered in hot water and bleach. So yoy might want to use color-fast, bleach-safe fabrics.

Videos I Liked

Watch how a cotton mask is made here. This video I found was the most helpful. It's by Erica Arndt on YouTube.

As a nurse commented on Erica's video: "...we were thinking if need be we could wear these over our N95 mask and take them off after patient contact and don a new fabric mask over the top again. This would prolong the use of the N95 masks. We would deposit the fabric masks throughout the day in a bio-hazard bag for laundering. We'd go through a lot, but they would be re-usable!"

Other good videos: Tutorial on How to BATCH sew masks for hospitals! by Thoughtful Creativity.

How to Sew a Face Mask with Filter Pocket and wire to shape top by Leah Day.

Takeaway Truth

Making something like these is a great way to feel you're doing something proactive during this Stay At Home time.