Writing Corner: Characters Larger Than Life

Memorable People
When I set out to write my first novel, I studied every book on writing I could find. I remember most of them said that a protagonist in a book should be larger than life.

Larger than life? I understood the concept. I mean, think about characters like Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind or Kunta Kinte in Roots or Celie in The Color Purple or Jack Reacher in the Lee Child novels.

Those characters are all larger than life. I could readily see how creating a larger than life character in drama would be much easier than creating one in romantic comedy which I wanted to write.

Larger Than Life = Memorable

After much thought, I decided that larger than life simply meant memorable--even unforgettable. After that mental breakthrough, I asked myself, "What makes a person memorable or unforgettable?"

I thought about some of the real people I had met in life like ninety-two-year-old Roy Barton who told me of leaving New York and heading west. He drove a limo, or a stagecoach as he called it, from Los Angeles to San Francisco for film stars as one of his jobs. Then he went to New Mexico territory with a friend and began writing up oil leases and built an empire on oil royalty leases.

I thought of my own maternal grandparents who grew up together, fell in love, but could not marry because my grandfather supported his widowed mother and his spinster sister, and my grandmother supported her widowed mother. The leap year before they married, my grandmother wrote a poem to my grandfather and proposed to him. This was in the day when family obligations meant everything. They didn't marry until their mid-forties, and they had only 1 child--my mom.

100 Years of Unforgettable

Ah, my grandfather was truly unforgettable. He was born in the latter part of the 19th century, and he lived to be 100. I was the eager audience for his stories of seeing Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show with Annie Oakley and of his career of working on one of the many regional railroads that crisscrossed the country back then. He talked of getting his first car, a Ford Model T--no licenses required back then--and so many other adventures.

I thought of my dad who was a simple farm boy from Mississippi who joined the Army after Pearl Harbor and ended up in the D-Day invasion.

Who are the memorable people in your life? What makes them stand out in your memory? Identify those characteristics, and you have an idea of how to create a memorable character.

Takeaway Truth

In developing your characters think about the attributes of real people and movie people. Then focus that kind of attention on your romance leading man.


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Great Quote: Why Choose Optimism

Don't worry. Be happy.
I love this quote, and I've added it to my huge collection of quotations.

I think it is the perfect one to share with you for the week ahead.

Canadian Jack Layton is remembered for his wise words.

"My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world."

Takeaway Truth

Be a warrior. Clad yourself in the armor of optimism and go forth to conquer fear, anger, and pessimism this week.

Report Extortion Emails

Danger in today's world is more than a creepy stranger.
Recently, several friends have received threatening extortion emails.

This apparently is a result of the many recent hacks where personal information has been stolen.

Some of these emails say to pay $7,000.00 to them or they will subscribe you to porn sites and then expose that on the internet.

Others say they have webcam footage of you of an embarrassing nature and will post it publicly. The threats vary. The important point is these are threats and should be reported.

This is not an isolated event. This is happening to a lot of people.

For More Information

Internet Crime Complaint Center

Fraud Aid

From Hoax-Slayer: Bogus Blackmail Scam Email Demands Payment in Bitcoin

From Newsweek: Scammers Are Pretending to Have Webcam Footage of Victims

What To Do If This Happens To You

1. Do not delete the email. If you have the kind of malware/anti-virus software that allows you to quarantine an email, do that instead.

2. If you have clicked on it, do not click anything else in the email. Close it but do not delete.

The government and internet agencies you will forward the email to need it to be as you received it so they can view the headers in it.

3. Immediately change your email password.

4. Report the threatening email to your local police agency. In some states, they refer you to the State Attorney General's office. All states are aware of these.

5. Report the threatening email to the Federal Trade Commission by forwarding it to:

Don't Get Sad; Take Action
6. Report the threatening email to the Internet Crime Complaint Center:
https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx and https://www.ic3.gov/crimeschemes.aspx

Their form is long, but it's important to do this.

7. When you finish doing these things, immediately change the rest of your passwords and make them complex. Write them down in an address book if you're afraid you won't remember. Come up with a password system that you can alter for each place you use a password.

Here's a great article about how to create a personalized password system.

By the way, in the UK, report these events to: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

Takeaway Truth

Being targeted is scary, but, according to a friend who talked to her State Attorney General’s office, you have a lot of company. This thing is rampant. Be sure and file complaints at all of the places I listed and change your passwords regularly.

Hang On To Your Stetson For 99 Cent Sale

Looking for a fun, sexy book for the weekend?

I'm running a sale on The Trouble With Love from now through August 1, next Wednesday.

I've dropped the $3.99 price to only 99 Cents so grab this sexy romantic comedy today before you forget about it. *g*

Blurbing The Trouble With Love

Hang on to your Stetson as the fun and games begin in a sexy romantic comedy hotter than a bowl of Texas chili!

By-the-book Deputy Susannah Quinn has all she can do to resist rule-breaking FBI Special Agent D. E. Hogan.

To catch a thief, Susannah and Hogan pose as husband and wife and go undercover. Unfortunately, Susannah and Hogan have already been undercover—in a bed in a Houston hotel where they first met.

For her part, Susannah wishes her lapse in judgment would take a flying leap and land on a barrel cactus in West Texas. Hogan, on the other hand, wants to get the contrary deputy into his bed, but the complications caused by family—his and hers—pretty much guarantee that's never going to happen.

Can these two mismatched lovers avoid falling in love, catch a thief, and recover stolen jewels? The clock is ticking. They have only seven days—and nights—to complete their assignment and resist the sweet siren call of desire.

But Wait, There's More

The Trouble With Love gives you not 1, not 2, but 3 love affairs! Plus you get the charm of a small Texas town and a story with heart, soul, and passion. Lots of passion!

You'll find The Trouble With Love for only 99 Cents at Amazon Kindle and at B&N Nook.

Takeaway Truth

Grab your copy today before the sale price goes away.

Oh, by the way, if you had been a Subscriber to my Mailing List, you'd have received a free copy of another of my popular romantic comedies Still The One.

Every month when I send my newsletter to my Mailing List Subscribers, I give away something free or offer a contest with a prize. Plus my friends usually offer free ebooks or sale books. Why not sign up today so you can get next month's freebies or enter my giveaway?


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Review: The Signal

The Signal. Hmmm. What to say without saying what it's really about and thus spoiling it?

Let me say up front that I like movies that make you think. I especially like a good science fiction movie because I like to figure out what's really going on before the ending slaps you in the face.

Theatrically released in June 2014, The Signal is a low-budget indie film that was included in the Sundance Film Festival.

Now a recent edition to Netflix, the film stars Laurence Fishburne (as Dr. Wallace Damon), Brenton Thwaites (as Nic Eastman), Olivia Cooke (as Haley Peterson), Beau Knapp (as Jonah Breck), and Lin Shaye (as Mirabelle).

I don't know whether to admire the movie or feel disgruntled about it. At times, it was like watching paint dry as it establishes the relationship between the 3 young protagonists: Thwaites, Cooke, and Knapp.

You may be tempted to fast forward through those parts. Don't. Because you'll end up going back to see if you missed anything that might explain WTF is happening.

The Signal Blurb

Three college students on a road trip across the Southwest decide to detour and track the computer genius who hacked into MIT servers including the server they used.

Just as you're thinking it's a coming of age road trip flick, they end up at night in a creepy area with what seems to be an abandoned building.

As the 2 guys are exploring the building, you're already thinking something akin to, "Don't go into the basement" since that's where all the bad stuff happens in horror films.

Then you hear the girl scream outside. They run out and that's when everything gets really weird and creepy. The film goes to black. When the main character, Nic (Brenton Thwaites) wakes, things get a lot more complicated and weird.

You'll spot anachronistic items that make no sense until you've watched the entire movie and start thinking about them.

That's all I can tell you without giving away all the creepy surprises.You can watch The Signal on Netflix or Amazon Prime where it's available for rent or sale.

Takeaway Truth

Let's call The Signal a mashup of science fiction, thriller, and horror wrapped in a thick layer of creepy weirdness. Worth watching if only to figure out what's happening before the denouement at the end which will cause a lot of discussion with anyone watching it with you.


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All I've Got Today

Today has been a long hard day of editing.

I'm exhausted. Physically and mentally.

Why is writing so hard? I often ask myself that.

George Orwell--he wrote 1984 among other works--said: "Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”

Yep. George was right. That's true for me today. At least I finished the edit.You see, formatting has changed so much since I published my first book online, I set a goal this year of checking each book to see if it was up to date with the changes.

Of course, I can't seem to do that without making small edits along the way. At this rate, it'll take me to the end of the year to finish this project--maybe longer since I'm also writing new books along the way.

Tomorrow, I start my first Christmas project. Yes, first. I have plans to finish a novella and 3 holiday short stories. Oh, and I also have 2 novels to finish before the end of the year.

Nothing like big ambitious plans, is there? *g* Wish me luck.

Takeaway Truth

I think I need some brain candy, otherwise known as television. Maybe a glass of wine too. Talk to y'all tomorrow.

Summer Nights Romance Giveaway

July 24 – August 13

Imagine lazing in a hammock under the stars this summer with your favorite new book boyfriend.

That could be you if you’re the lucky winner of a Kindle Fire 7 or one of 3 ebook prize packs!

Perhaps you’ll nab an Amazon Gift Card or a big ole box of chocolate--either Lindor or Godiva. The possibilities are delicious!

Enter for your chance to win.

Summer Nights All Romance Giveaway is sponsored by the 55 authors listed below.

Allyson R. Abbott • Amy Sumida • Ann Everett • Anne Stone • April Fire • Ashlee Price • Avery Rae • Bethany-Kris • Brenda Whiteside • Caia Daniels • Carrie Pulkinen • Cate Tayler • CB Samet • Chiquita Dennie • Christa Bedwin • Delphine Dryden • Donna R. Mercer • Elizabeth Rose • Gayle Parness • Holly Cortelyou • J. L. Lora • Ja'Nese Dixon • Jacquie Biggar • Jami Denise • Jennifer Vester • Joan Reeves • Karen Michelle Nutt • Kat Drennan • Kathryn Knight • Kim Petersen • Lilith Darville • Lisa Chalmers • Lisa Swallow • Liz Durano • M.R. Leahy • Mari Carr • Melissa Belle • Mia McKimmy • Michelle Jo Quinn • Nancy C. Weeks • Nina Crespo • Priscilla Oliveras • Quinn • Renee Ann Miller • S. R. Mallery • S.L. Sterling • Selena Kitt • Sherrie Morgan • Suzanne Jenkins • Sydney Aaliyah Michelle • Tara Sheets • Tara Wyatt • Tena Stetler • Traci Hall

If you Follow each author's Book Bub Author Page, that will give you 55 entries! Woo hoo! Be sure and look for that option on Rafflecopter on the Giveaway Page.

I'm participating in Summer Nights. My romantic comedy The Trouble With Love will be reduced from $3.99 to $2.99 for this all romance giveaway.

NOTE: From July 26 thru July 31, it will be on a special sale for only 99¢.

From August 1 until Summer Nights ends, the price is $2.99. After that, The Trouble With Love returns to its regular price of $3.99.

Book Fair Too!

Besides the Giveaway, there's a Book Fair too. You’ll find the latest book bargains from our sponsoring authors when you shop our book fair, including some FREE exclusive downloads. Be sure to play the bonus scavenger hunt for a chance at a $32 gold ballotin of Godiva chocolate!

Visit the Book Fair today!

Takeaway Truth

Follow all the authors on their BookBub Author Pages and complete the other options too for the max number of entries. Good luck! I hope you win some of the fabulous prizes.


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Clean Up Your Cell Phone

If you're trying to hang onto your existing phone and don't want to pay humongous bucks for a new one, here are a few tips to help you extend the life of your phone.

I have an iPhone, but most of what I say is applicable to other phones as well.

You may find the function I reference in a different part of your phone though.

7 Ways To Clean Up Your Phone

1. The first thing is the same advice for changing anything on your computer. Back it up before you do anything else. So backup your phone either to your computer or to the cloud. Just follow the prompts that will guide you through the process.

2. Delete apps you don't use. If you haven't used an app in several months, chances are you really don't need it so delete it.

3. Pictures are what usually eats up the phone's memory. Offload your photos to iCloud or another website.

There are several that help you accomplish this like Amazon Photo, which, if you're a Prime member, is free I believe.

Google Photo and Dropbox are other storage sites. Usually, you're offered a free amount of storage. If you want more than that, fees apply.

You can also store them on your computer or a backup drive.

4. Saved texts eat up storage too especially if there are photos sent with the text. Save the photo first then go to Settings. You should have an auto-delete function for texts older than a year or another specified time period. Delete them.

5. If you often use your phone to go online, go to your web browser settings and clear the cookies and history.

6. In Settings, you can turn off location services for apps you don't use often. Just turn that app's location service back on if you want to use it.

7. Also in Settings, you can disable auto-updates. That way it's not constantly sucking battery power on a daily basis and eating up memory. Update the apps when you need to do it.

Takeaway Truth

Sometimes a few common sense tips can save you money.

Inspired By Rejections

I've been organizing the bookshelves in my office. I came across several small books I haven't looked at in years. Of course, I had to flip through them and see if I wanted to keep them.

One of these was Rotten Rejections, Edited by Andre Bernard and published by Penguin. I found that it's still sold on Amazon.

Rejection comes in many forms--sometimes from an agent, an editor, or from the reading public who just aren't buying your fabulous book!

If your ambition is guttering low and you wonder whether you should just quit, you might want to snag a copy of this little book. It's well worth the price.

Here are a few quotes from the book that should lift your spirits. Even the greatest authors were rejected too.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen was rejected by her publisher in 1818. Here's what the rejection letter said: "We are willing to return the manuscript for the same (advance) as we paid for it." (Huh?!!)

The Bridge Over The River Kwai by Pierre Boulle was rejected with this note: "A very bad book." (This book went on to be published in French and in English and to sell screen rights for a movie of the same name that won 7 Oscars plus all the other major awards that year.)

Journey Back To Love by Mary Higgins Clark, rejected in 1962 with these words: "We found the heroine as boring as her husband had." Ms. Clark practically invented the woman in jeopardy genre.

The Diary of Anne Frank, rejected in 1952: "The girl doesn't, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the curiosity level." (Bet that editor kicked himself every day of his life after that.)

The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman, rejected in 1970 by this sentence: "If you insist on rewriting this, get rid of all that Indian stuff." (Mr. Hillerman went on to a fabulous career with his many novels of the Navaho--not to mention movies and television based on his novels.)

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John Le Carre, rejected in 1963 with this scathing remark: "You're welcome to le Carre--he hasn't got any future." (Unbelievable, isn't it?)

Fortunately for us readers, the authors didn't listen to the editorial words of doom. They had enough
belief in their work that they persisted.

In case you're wondering, I kept the book. It's a treasury of inspiration so I won't get rid of it.

Takeaway Truth

Next time you feel rotten after a rejection or not enough sales, think of these authors and so many others that were deemed unpublishable.

Saturday Share:Standby Mushroom Sauce

I'm a little late posting today. It's been a busy day since I'm still playing catchup.

I have a recipe to share today that you'll really like because it goes with chicken, pork, fish, seafood, and pasta.

That's right. You can use it as a sauce with your entree or serve it over pasta as a meatless entree.

Just as country singer Tammy Wynette once sang about standing by her man, this sauce stands by plain ingredients to make an entree special.

Standby Mushroom Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 can drained and chopped mushrooms or 1/2 - 1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream or half and half
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (either the more expensive grated or the "powdery stuff" from Kraft

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  2. Add the drained, chopped mushrooms and saute for a few minutes. If using fresh mushrooms, cook about 5-7 minutes until they're completely soft.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the mushroom mixture and stir for a couple of minutes over medium heat.
  4. Stir in the broth. Whisk well. Then stir in the cream. Whisk well.
  5. Lower the heat and simmer until the sauce is thickened. This takes about 5-7 minutes.
  6. Stir in the cheese. Mix well. Simmer for another 2-4 minutes until the cheese is melted.
  7. Pour into a gravy boat or bowl and serve with your entree or pour over pasta, mix well, and serve for a meatless dish.
  8. If you have some of the more expensive grated Parmesan, sprinkle a little of that on top so it looks more elegant.
  9. Refrigerate any leftover sauce.

Takeaway Truth

Try this sauce with your Sunday chicken. It makes even rubber chicken taste better. Have a lovely Sunday.

Review: The Last Movie Star

The Last Movie Star...I didn't know quite what to expect when I queued this up on Amazon Prime last weekend.

Burt Reynolds hit it big in the movies with his role in Deliverance. Although he got his start in the late 1950s with roles on dramatic TV series, he didn't follow up his critically acclaimed performance in Deliverance with more dramatic roles.

He picked crowd-pleasing, commercially successful films like Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run.

When he did choose a dramatic role, his humor was in evidence too even though sometimes, it was a darker kind of humor. I'm thinking of The Longest Yard which was far superior to the remake. (Apologies to Adam Sandler.) For years, Reynolds in The Longest Yard was shown on Super Bowl Sunday.

Late in his career, he tried making different choices in films such as Boogie Nights for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. However, the film business had passed him by. The late 1990s found him with another failed relationship and bankruptcy.

I tell you all this because the movie more or less follows his personal and professional life rather closely.

The Last Movie Star

Burt Reynolds is like Vic Edwards, the title character in the movie. He's an aging former movie star forced to face the reality that his glory days are behind him. He's running out of money and running out of time.

At first glance, the movie is about fading glory, but beneath the "once I was famous but now life sucks" surface, it's what all of us must face about aging.

Growing old in this country is becoming invisible...irrelevant. For a movie star, growing old is career ending--unless you want to endorse pharmaceuticals or do infomercials or take on roles that are cringe-worthy.

Reynolds, like the Edwards character in the movie, was a college football star who parlayed that into film roles. He made it big but lost the love of his life along the way.

My 2¢

The film is poignant, funny, dramatic, and painful. Vic Edwards learns some much needed home truths.

Despite what he thinks, there are people who fondly remember his contributions in college and the delight they found in his films even though he thinks they were mostly crap.

He learns one must reach out to others in order to have more life in his life.

Lil, the social media obsessed young woman (superbly played by Ariel Winter) who is his driver learns a lot too with the actor  impressing upon her the way a man should treat a woman--something he learned the hard way.

All in all, this is definitely a star-turn of a role and seems to have opened doors for Reynolds. I understand he's to be in Tarentino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Takeaway Truth

If you have Amazon Prime, by all means watch this. You can also rent it from Amazon. His role was critically acclaimed, and this movie is something you'll want to discuss with other movie geeks.

Thursday3Some: Between The Shadows by Casi McLean

Grab your morning cup of java or tea and settle in for a sweet treat with no calories--another edition of Thursday3Some.

Today, the Thursday3Some spotlight is shining on Casi McLean, and her new release, Between The Shadows, a time travel romance.

I was glad to see this new book by Casi McLean because good time travel romances seem to be few and far between.

If time travel is your cup of romance tea, be sure and add this to your To Be Read shelf. If you've not read time travel romance before, by all means try this captivating genre. Casi's book is a good place to begin.

About Casi McLean

Award winning author, Casi McLean, pens novels to stir the soul with romance, suspense, and a sprinkle of magic.

With strong, believable heroines and delicious, hot heroes to tempt the deepest desires, she fans the flames, sweeping readers into their innermost romantic fantasies.

Her fans devour her exceptional romantic suspense and lovable characters. Try one story, and see why.

You’ll see, hear, and feel the magical eeriness of a fateful night, believe in time travel, be mystified by supernatural, or feel romantic suspense––but most of all you'll want more!

Find Casi Online

Casi’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/casimclean.author/
Casi’s Website: http://casimclean.com/
Casi’s Amazon Author page: https://amzn.to/2ua8cUq
Casi’s Twitter page: https://twitter.com/CasiMcLean
Casi’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/casimclean/

Between The Shadows

She never expected to confront deadly villains…let alone fall in love with one…

After her friend, York, encounters the ghostly image of a young woman, Mackenzie Reynolds seizes the opportunity to initiate a time jump, thrusting them back to 1865 Georgia. Resolved to thwart the girl’s untimely fate, Kenzi stumbles into a deadly conflict over a stockpile of stolen Confederate gold.

An injured Civil War survivor, James Adams departs for home with a war-fatigued companion he’s determined to help. After pilfering a horse and kidnaping a woman, he never dreamed his hostage would steal his heart.

Kenzi and James must unravel a deadly plot, while helping York save his ghost woman from a brutal death. But can she leave York in a violent past to save James’s life?

Thursday3Some With Casi McLean

1. What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

Legend says Lake Lanier has a ghost who haunts the entire lake area. Swimmers get trapped among the deadfall of sheared-off trees and town remains until they join the ghost in her watery grave. Even expert divers get tangled beneath the murky surface, hence the lake's unnerving label: Lanier never gives up its dead.

These stories are the basis for what inspired my Lake Lanier Mysteries: Beneath The Lake, Beyond The Mist, and Between The Shadows. The inspiration beckoned me, begging for a story to be told. What a perfect setting for my romantic time-slip suspense series!

2. Where is the book set and why?

A ghost town time forgot––the eerie lore attached to a rural area sleeping beneath Atlanta's famous man-made lake, Sidney Lanier, fascinated me. Homes, churches, businesses and untold stories still linger hidden within it's 38,000 acres of water, and fed by the Chestatee and Chattahooche Rivers. What inspired my series? The strange phenomenon, vanishings, eerie lore, and ghost sitings sparked my muse.

3. Why do readers buy Between The Shadows?

When I get reviews like the one below for the first book in my Lake Lanier Mysteries Series, how can I not write more? Not only an inspiration, these reviews give meaning to the quote: “If you build it they will come."

Beneath the Lake by Casi McLean is a fantasy of romance, of true love knowing no bounds and she has captured the spirit of love in its purest form, even as her characters must face the bizarre circumstances they met under.

From pain to joy, to disbelief to believing in miracles, Ms. McLean has created a finely woven tale that flows like a satiny sheet across the mind and heart. Her writing will make a believer out of even the most skeptical of non-believers in love. Let go of reality and take a stroll back in time.

Readers, now is your chance to grab Between The Shadows, Book 3 of Casi's time travel romance series, to your Library. You'll find it and the other books in her Lake Lanier Mysteries series at the Amazon Kindle Shop.

Takeaway Truth

The weekend is almost here. Why not grab a copy of Casi's new book, Between The Shadows, so you'll have an exciting new book for your weekend reading entertainment?

2 Philosophies To Adopt

Want to succeed in writing or in anything else to which you aspire? You'd do well to adopt these 2 philosphies.

Fight Discouragement

When you feel discouraged, tell yourself that every career is a venture in which you must build to success. In writing, as an author, you build your skills, your confidence, your inventory, your backlist, and your fan base.

I'm a big believer in the power of a strong, positive statement. Make a sign that says: I am in this for the long haul because writing -- or insert the name of your dream -- is a career in which I must build to success.

Fight Pessimism

It's never too late to succeed. In fact, as long as you draw breath and are motivated, it's never too late for just about anything.

I have a framed picture that I bought at Ross's several years ago. It says: "It's never too late to live happily ever after." I adopted that as my motto, and it has become the premise of all my books.

Until you draw your last breath, it's never too late. So as long as you wake up tomorrow, you have another chance to make all your dreams come true.

Make a sign that says: It's never too late to succeed. Or, It's never too late to make my dream come true. Or, whatever speaks to you.

Post your signs where you'll see them every day. Even better, make your desktop wallpaper your sign so you see it every time you sit at the computer.

Takeaway Truth

I urge you to adopt these philosophies. Internalize them until it's second nature to think the strong positive statements each time you feel you're not making enough progress.

Christmas In July Giveaway by Authors Billboard

Here's another fabulous Christmas In July Giveaway. Don't you love these July specials? I do.

 This one is from the NY Times, USA Today, and national bestselling authors of the Authors’ Billboard.

Lots of Prizes

There are some great prizes up for grabs. Check these out.

* Two $10 Amazon Gift Cards

* Two (2) Paperback Novels

* One (1) custom Christmas Charm Bracelet

* Three (3) Box Collections, winners choose

How To Win

1. Visit Authors Billboard Home Page.

2. Click on the covers shown, one by one

3. Find and count the book records that have a Santa.

4. Scroll down the page until you find the entry form.

5. On the entry form, enter the number you find along with your name and email address.

That's it! You're entered in the Authors Billboard Christmas in July Giveaway Contest.

Takeaway Truth

Enter today, and tell your friends too.

Prime Day Is Here!

At last, Amazon Prime Day is here. It starts at noon PT today (3pm here, Central Time) and runs through tomorrow July 17.

What is Prime Day?

It's an epic day and a half of Amazon's best deals. I do most of my Christmas shopping on Prime Day in July and Black Friday in November.

I have my Christmas list, and I'm about to begin shopping. This year we're focusing on gifts of safety for our kids and their families.

Prime Day is for those who are Prime Members. Not a member? No problem. Here's a link to the Prime Day Page  so you can see some of the deals available.

Get A Free Trial Now

Even better, get a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime. Just click the banner on the right sidebar, and you'll have access to all the Prime benefits for 30 days.

Prime Video has some of the best television series and movies like Bosch, Longmire, Jean Claude Van Johnson, Absentia, Goliath, Sneaky Pete, The Man in the High Castle, Travelers, and so many more.

Only Prime had the latest Will Smith movie, Bright. We just watched the critically-acclaimed The Last Movie Star, a new release, starring Burt Reynolds that's getting a lot of buzz.

Prime Music has over a million songs for you to listen to.

You can sign up separately for Prime Music Unlimited if a million plus isn't enough. *g*

Prime also offers photo services and free shipping on anything bearing the Prime logo on the product page. Best of all, as a Prime Member, you can take advantage of all the bargains on Prime Day!

Books By the Thousands

Have you wanted to try Kindle Unlimited , the subscription ebook program that allows you to read "free" from a huge selection?

There's a special offer for Prime Day. Click here and get 3 months for only 99 cents!

HBO Offer

I love the fact that now you can get the channels you want without having to take dozens of channels--like all those home shopping networks--you have no interest in.

You can get HBO, Starz, Showtime, and Cinemax through your Amazon Prime Membership.

Want your HBO? Amazon is offering a free trial of that too. Just click here. I think most of the premium channels are offering free trials including BritBox too.

I love bargains, especially when they're on things I plan to buy anyway. Have fun shopping today and tomorrow.

Give The Gift of Prime

Can't think of anything to give friends and family? Try giving the Gift of Prime. It's a gift that will give benefits every day of the year. What better way to treat someone to a great present?

Takeaway Truth

Try Prime. You'll love it! We do.

Sunday Inspiration: To Succeed, Work With Affirmations

Change your life by changing your thoughts.

Sure, it takes hard work to change your thoughts. One way to effect change is to pick one thing and focus on that. Work on changing that one thing.

A lot of people work with affirmations. They don't just read it once and get on with their day.

They work with that affirmation to change themselves from the inside out. Here's a way to make the kind of changes you need to be happy and successful.

Working With Affirmations

1. Create a strong, positive affirmation.

Wrong: I want to have confidence in my own power.

An affirmation must be a strong positive statement, written as if you've already achieved that condition. Fake it until you make it, baby!

Right: I have full confidence in my own power to achieve and succeed.

2. Inundate your consciousness with your carefully-designed affirmation.
  • Write your carefully-designed affirmation on several 3x5 index cards or pieces of paper.
  • Tape those cards up where you see them throughout the day. One on your bathroom mirror, one on the window or cabinet above the kitchen sink, one on your computer monitor. If you work away from home, tape one to the inside of your desk drawer, put one on your computer monitor unless it's not allowed, frame one and put it on your desk, place one in your purse. messenger bag, or briefcase so you see it when you open your bag,put one in the cupholder of your vehicle so you can read it before you start the engine and after you arrive and cut the engine.
  • Get a journal--nothing fancy--because you'll use it to write your affirmation 10 times every morning and 10 times before you go to sleep at night.
  • Silently say your affirmation as you fall asleep--your own NeuroLinguistic Programming.
  • Do this every day for 1 month.
  • During the month you work with your affirmation, take note of the times you are challenged to do something scary or overwhelming. Become aware of your mental reaction to those events. After a couple of weeks, you may find yourself silently saying, "I have full confidence in my own power to achieve and succeed."

  • When the week is up, give yourself a mental checkup. Do you feel more optimistic? Did you accomplish something you didn't think you could do? Do you think it changed you for the better?
  • Use the information you glean from your mental checkup to proceed with a new affirmation in the next month. If you still need to work on the same area of your attitude, create a different affirmation. If you feel that you experienced positive change in that area and have a new way of thinking, then choose another area to work on.
Takeaway Truth

Change takes consistent, persistent work, but becoming self-confident is worth the time and effort. Get started today.

Saturday Share: Recipe, Potato Salad Dressing

Summertime calls for summer food like BBQ, fresh sliced tomatoes, grilled vegetables, and potato salad.

In the South, no summer gathering is complete without potato salad.

Many, many years ago, I found this recipe for Potato Salad Dressing that makes an ordinary potato salad extraordinary.

You'll get rave reviews for your potato salad when you use this dressing so give it a try. It doesn't take but a few minutes to whip it up from ingredients you probably already have.

Potato Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup Pet evaporated milk (regular milk can be used)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar (Experiment with different vinegars for different flavors.)
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon black pepper (freshly-ground is superb)
  • Pour vinegar into milk and mix well.
  • Add other ingredients and blend well.
  • Pour over hot cooked diced potatoes and mix well. (Most potato salads have chopped eggs and  pickles too.)
  • Serve hot for German potato salad or chill for a cold potato salad. Be sure and keep potato salad at the proper temperature at all times--especially if you're serving on the deck or at a picnic.
  • Refrigerate any leftover dressing.
Takeaway Truth

Have a great weekend.