Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Proposal Tips

In today's world of publishing and the internet, it is way different from when I was writing to sell. With e-zines, blogs and submission these days - our work flies into cyberspace, but many are still wanting to try the old-fashioned way of publishing; traditional style.

You may have the one-of-a-kind book idea of the year, but you'll need a well-written proposal to get an agent or editor to even look at your work: unless they ask for it - your work will be thrown into the trash pile. 

A book proposal is a selling and marketing tool to help sell your work to editors and agents. Many years ago, my husband and I signed up for the Enlightened One Minute Millionaire (today it seems to be way different from when we signed up back in 2004) and we had choices of businesses, careers and genres to choose from: I chose Writing and Publishing and one of the courses to choose from was *How To Write a Million Dollar Book Proposal.*

There are many ways to write a book proposal and lots of information out there, but doing this myself for many years, I embraced reading lots of writing books, taking writing courses and reaching out to others - I have received much feedback from editors and publishing houses as well as from writing coaches and the like.

Here are some tips:

Overview (1 - 3 pages)

•Why is this book important? 
•What benefits does the book offer readers? 
•The length of the book. 
•Markets for the book (your audience). 
•The title and subtitle. 
•Anecdotes, pictures, exercises, journal section etc. 
•Special introduction if someone else is writing it for you. 
•Resources to finish the book.

Competitive Analysis (1 - 2 pages)

List 4 - 5 books that are similar to yours. Write one short paragraph each supplying the full title, subtitle, author, publishing year, publisher, price of book, and how many pages. List the difference between their book and yours. What are their shortcomings? What are they missing? At the bottom of the page write a short paragraph explaining how different your book is and what your book offers that they don't offer. This is where you are "selling" your idea up against others who are already published.

About The Author (1 page)

In a nutshell, what qualifies you to write this book. This page is a bio of your writing and subject expertise. This is where you have the opportunity to sell yourself as a writer and author. List your achievements, writing experience, and your experience within the subject you are writing about. Mention if you are currently researching for another book.

Marketing Strategy ( 1 - 8 pages)

Let the truth be told, publishing houses don't have the time to sell the book for you. The author is the one who has to go out there and sell his or her work. Without a good marketing plan, you can kiss your book idea good-bye. Simply design a 22-point marketing strategy plan that will help sell your book. Sit down and freewrite ways to market your book. Who is your audience? How are you going to reach them? Make sure that your marketing plan coincides with your audience. You don't want to sell "How To Care For Farm Animals" to those who live in Manhattan. Be realistic that will allow you to reach your marketing goals. Examples of realistic goals: invest in a website, blog, and reach out to the media.

Chapter-by-Chapter Outline (1 - 8 pages)

This area allows you to break down each chapter and write about it. You're not to write about the subject or book, but briefly explain what each chapter is about in a nutshell.

Sample Chapter (30 - 50 pages or 2 chapters)

This doesn't have to be the first chapter, but make sure it's your best chapter! This is where the editors will see the full writing of your manuscript. Choose the best chapters you find most thrilling and include them in your book proposal. 

*This takes a lot of time to complete. Patience and good writing is the utmost importance and always find someone to critique your work before sending it out.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Automatic Writing

"And it is you spirit-with will and energy, and virtue and purity-that I want, not alone with your brittle frame."  Charlotte Bronte', Jane Eyre

Automatic writing is an amazing way to channel your higher self, spirit guides and passed loved ones. It's when you allow spirit to communicate through you and allow your unconscious mind to take over your writing. This form of writing is a great way to tap into your higher wisdom and a wonderful way to allow your true essence to surface.

Believe it or not, many of us have experienced automatic writing without even realizing it. Have you ever wrote in a journal, an article, on a blog and found yourself just pouring out words as if something took over? Do you find yourself writing a piece and then unable to write it again? Have you ever created a piece of art but unable to create the same work again?

Here are some tidbits on how to get started:

Setting The Tone

  • Light a candle
  • Start with a mini-meditation
  • Try visualization and breathing techniques
  • Call forth your angel guides and spirit guides. Ask for their guidance
Chakra Connection:

The crown chakra (Sanskrit: Sahasrara) is located at the top of the head. It is known as the *open door* where spiritual awareness is received. Connecting to our energy fields/chakras is an easy task. Close your eyes and focus on the area above your head. Visualize a white light surrounding the area similar to a Halo. Release any thoughts and simply allow yourself to envision a beaming white light. 

Ask and you shall receive:

Ask your angel guides to surround you in a white bubble for protection and keep a Black Tourmaline or Black Onyx near your area. With any type of meditation and spiritual work, share your intentions with the universe and spirit guides. Release your ego and allow the answers to come through.

The Writing Process:

On a piece of paper or computer, write a question (I prefer handwritten myself). Allow the information to download and flow with ease without taking pen off the paper. Try not to think too hard and write down what comes to mind: even if it's one word, write it down.

There are several ways to do automatic writing. One is allowing spirit to communicate through you or it can be used as a meditative state (I prefer the meditative state) where you write down what you feel and hear intuitively: your higher self. Similar to meditation, you simply let go of idle chatter and thoughts as you allow your inner self-awareness to take over.

Automatic writing in a nutshell is simply writing without thinking. Everyone has their own way of doing this kind of work; find a system that works best for you. If you fear or don't have any desire to allow spirit to communicate through you, the meditative state writing is a great alternative. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Book Reviews-Intuition

Through my journey, a friend handed me The Return of Intuition by Kathryn Harwig. At first, I thought it was about how to *tap* into one's intuition, not a chance. This book is an amazing book about women who hit the second half of their lives; fifty and over who have awakened.

 Harwig states, "It seems there are two factors in developing intuition in midlife. One is a crisis or ocurrence that triggers a type of awakening. The other is taking the time (either because of depression or illness or awareness) to allow yourself to cultivate it."

A little book of wisdom is filled with anecdotes of women who have been awaken in their later years of life. Harwig has a gentle way of comforting her readers when she talks about intuition and seeing, hearing, or feeling Spirits. She shares stories about how other women felt when they first experienced these gifts.

The truth is, I needed this book! Things happen for a reason and it was put in my hands as I am one of those women (not fifty yet as I am an old soul who is always about ten years ahead of herself).

If you are someone who is a *sensitive* or someone who's experiencing depression, an awakening, a stronger sense of intuition and the spirit world - then this book is for you!

For more information check out Kathryn Harwig at her website.

Ignite Your Psychic Intuition by Teresa Brady is an amazing book that takes you through the alphabet from A to Z on how to tap into your sixth sense. She offers fun exercises that allows the reader to strengthen their intuition, further their psychic abilities and explains in full detail the differences between the *Claires.*

As she takes us through the alphabet, she shares true stories about how others used their intuition to help themselves in their everyday lives. Brady is a practicing lawyer who uses her psychic abilities in her work. She uses her intuition/gut feelings to make the *right decisions.*

This amazing little pocketbook size book will take you on a journey and challenge you as you tap into your intuition through dreaming, keeping a journal, listening to music, eating right, meditating amongst other areas that ignites the third eye, peace and positive energy.

Visit Teresa Brady at her website.

If you are ready to tap into your intuition and learn to know and trust your Inner Guidance thenIntuition for Starters by J. Donald Walters is for you. Walters breaks down the differences between Subconscious, Consciousness, and Superconsciousness level.

He offers amazing meditative exercises to help reach your Superconscious level and how to tune into intuitive guidance. This small book is filled with valuable information such as The Trap of Superstition, How to Recognize False Guidance and The Art of Following Your Intuition.

If you are interested in furthering your intuitive abilities, this is a great place to start! Walters also offers amazing music that include Music To Awaken Superconsciousness.

If you are ready to look deep inside your soul and get in touch with your true intuition then you must read Intuitive Healing: 5 Steps to Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Wellness by Dr. Judith Orloff.

This book is a powerful tool that offers a step-by step guide to help you tap into your intuition that you already have. Many of us ignore our intuition, we are afraid to face what we truly know therefore ignore it. We all have an inner voice and it comes to a point in our lives when we need to start listening to it.

She offers steps to take within every healing challenge:

*Notice your beliefs.
*Be in your body.
*Sense your body's subtle energy.
*Ask for inner guidance.
*Listen to your dreams.

Capture the power within, grab your insights, take hold of your intution. One area I agree with Orloff is about how we, as humans tend to look outside ourselves as she states, "When something goes wrong frequently our first impulse is to look outside ourselves for someone to "fix" us. We get sick; we rush to the doctor. We become depressed; we call a therapist. We're in pain; we take a pill. It's fine to seek expertise-but we have it backwards. We need to look inside first. Really, it's not a big blank in there. Then act on what our wisdom tells us."

Orloff brings intuition into the healing arts as she talks about energy healing and spirituality. She is a firm believer in bringing spirituality into the healing process both naturally and traditionally with medical doctors.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Shadow Work

"The meeting of two personalities is like the  contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed." C.G. Jung

Shadow work is the most deep rooted, root canal work a person can dive into emotionally and spiritually. It is when someone is brutally honest with themselves with who they are, where their personal issues and emotions stem from, parts of themselves that they try to hide and deny, and how they can step outside their shadow and be free.

According to C.G. Jung, "The Shadow is that hidden, repressed, for the most part inferior and guilt-laden personality whose ultimate ramifications reach back into the realm of our animal ancestors and so comprise the whole historical aspect of the unconscious." He also defines the The Shadow as parts of the personality rejected by the ego.

Diving into shadow work is not an easy task. I know for myself when I do shadow work, panic attacks, anxiety, loss of breath takes over my whole body. I experience chills, sweat, and my hands tremble as if I am being attacked: attacked by my own shadow.

How does shadow work begin?

It begins by removing each layer of the shadow into the light. Embracing all of our selves like a peeled onion that leaves us filled with tears. Our shadow, for the most part, is filled with many faces including fear, anger, control, criticism, a feeling of weakness, shame, and guilt. It's the shadow self that keeps beating us up, knocking us down and keeping us from moving forward.

What to know before and during shadow work:

  • We're all human
  • No one is perfect
  • Everyone has their own shadow
  • Everyone faces fear and life challenges
  • People hide their true emotions
  • Each and everyone of us are looking for the same thing: true happiness
  • Everyone is on their own spiritual path
  • We are all one

Shadow work doesn't come easy, but the first step is to ask your shadow burning questions. These questions is where the dark steps into the light. If you are ready to start your own Shadow work and dive into awakening your soul - check out my FREE E-Course called, Awaken Your Soul.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Book Review: Positive Energy by Judith Orloff

Positive Energy - 10 Extraordinary Prescriptions for Transforming Fatigue, Stress & Fear Into Vibrance, Strength & Love by Judith Orloff should be the Bible for all Empaths and HSP. If I had this book at my fingertips early on, I would have saved myself a lot of grief and despair. At the young age of 40-something, this book has helped me to confirm that I am an empath and highly sensitive person.

Dr. Judith Orloff, an Energy Psychiatrist shares 10 Prescriptions on how to recognize and shield yourself from energy vampires. From the very beginning she states, "What good does it do to tell someone to get more sleep if you haven't shown them how to relax? This is why traditional advice about energy doesn't work. It's not your fault if you follow doctor's orders and still feel drained. You just need a more complete prescription."

Has your mother or father ever said that you were too sensitive? Do family and friends tell you to get thick skin and have some back bone? If so, you may want to read this book. Orloff states in the book, "Instead of seeing you as an intuitively gifted person who needs proper coping skills, you were labeled 'hysterical,' a 'hypochondriac,' or a 'complainer,' because no one knew what to make of your low energy, you suffered."

Orloff offers a choc-ful of exercises to help you work on your empath sensitivity. She incorporates breathing and meditation techniques as a way to ground and center yourself. She is a big believer in utilizing both traditional and alternative medicine. She states, "You can choose an Energy Medicine Practitioner who'll work along with your traditional health care team."

In Positive Energy, the Prescription include Awaken Intuition, Find a Nurturing Spiritual Path, Inspiration and Creativity, as well as Attracting Positive People and Situations. If you are someone who gets sucked into Energy Vampires and their drama, then this book is for you.

You don't have to be an Empath to be a victim of these energy sucking creatures. This book is for anyone who believes that they are truly dealing with Drama Queens, Victims, Blamers, and Narcissistic Personality Disorders. We all want peace of mind and peace within ourselves, but we need to start learning how to keep our circle small and it is OK to put our own needs and sanity first.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Whispers From An Angel

Back in 2011, I went to Books A Million to purchase some spiritual books. At first, I was planning on getting one book that being a Reiki book, but ended up buying three: a vintage chakra book, psychic book and Reiki For Life by Penelope Quest.

I am standing there with three books in my hand as a woman approaches me and mentioned how she is having these dreams about numbers and is looking for answers. She noticed my books and asked politely if she can ask me something. She asked about Reiki and who I was. I shared with her that I was working towards becoming a Reiki Master and on this spiritual journey wanting to incorporate my passion and spiritual journey towards a business.

We spoke, had a nice conversation and we wished each other well. As I continue to look around the *New Age* section, a man walks over and was looking at some crystal healing books. As he was looking at the books, he kept looking up at me smiling. He asked me about the quartz crystal I was wearing. He asked if I minded if he touched it and he cupped the crystal in his hands, took deep breaths and closed his eyes.

He shared that he collects crystals through his travels and received them as gifts from family and friends. He looked at my books and asked me, "What is your plan? What are you wanting to do?" I was kinda set back as I, at the time, was exploring and truly didn't know the answers to his questions. I asked, *Do you mean personally or professionally." He said, "Either one."

We went on having a conversation about the New Age world as I explained that I am working towards becoming a Life Coach with an emphasis in Reiki, Chakra Balancing, Coaching, Angel Therapy, Healing amongst other areas. He looked at all the books on the shelves, that being Angel Therapy, Sylvia Brown books, Reiki, Tarot Cards, Crystal Healing amongst other New Age books and took his hand palm up and slightly waved his hand across all the books and said, "Many people believe in all this, but the one thing holding them back is fear." He went on saying, "There will come a time when everyone will finally open up to what it is they truly believe in and be free of their fear."

I was in awe and took a deep breath and said, "You're right." He told me how to do proper Chakra Balancing and said to me, "With all that you are planning to do, take your time, do it slow, don't rush this." He said, "When you are born, you first crawl, then walk, then run." He went on saying, "Take this and learn, do it right and I promise everything will fall into place."

I smiled and said thank you and he mentioned that he was from Memphis. He smiled and walked away. As I was ready to leave the New Age section only minutes later, he was no where to be found. I call him *Memphis Man.*

I had chills and still do.

*Published in 2011 at Willow Creek Studio*

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Healing Power of Art

Dealing with chronic pain, I promised myself that I wouldn't fall into a pattern of always being bed ridden. As much as it sounds comforting and relaxing, my bedroom wasn't going to be my cemetery of pain. I didn't want to find myself on the couch all day watching TV and most of all I didn't want to stop the things that I love to do the most.

When I am in pain, many will advise me to lie down, put my feet up, go to bed and get lots of rest. Although, this form of healing is important and necessary, this kind of relaxation only keeps your mind on the pain and nothing is distracting you from it.

As an Empath, I absorb so much energy and when you add chronic pain to the mix, I am one hot mess. Managing our pain isn't always easy. Whether you are suffering physically, emotionally, mentally, battling with depression, abuse and hurt, sitting around and lying down isn't always the best medicine.

What I have realized over the years is that when we are at a stand still, the pain worsens. Our minds are focused on the pain no matter what kind of pain we're in. I will be the first to admit the need to cry over a song or movie, indulge in a bowl of ice cream and scream to our heart's content, but I have also come to realize the best healing of all is through creativity.

When working creatively, it enhances our awareness. We become expressive and more communicative: creative energy becomes a healing force for body, mind and spirit. Our minds are indulged in the creation, we express our thoughts and pain onto a canvas and our dreams become reality.

When I am in pain, I will paint, sketch and write. The creative process truly helps the pain subside: my mind is so focused on the creation that I truly don't feel the pain anymore. Depending on my "pain," I will throw my emotions onto a canvas and simply let go; this is when I create my best work.

Release Pain Through:
  • Finger Painting
  • Intuitive Painting
  • Favorite Craft
  • Photography
  • Cooking
  • Gardening
  • Coloring
  • Drawing/Sketching
  • Doodling
  • Music
  • Dancing
  • Automatic Writing
  • Pottery
  • Knitting
  • Writing
Connecting To Dreams Through:
  • Treasure Mapping
  • Dreamcatcher Mapping
  • Mind Mapping
  • Creative Journaling
  • Word Association
  • Freewriting
  • Journaling
Whatever art form one chooses, the creative process will unleash longstanding issues, help to release chronic pain and bring dreams to life.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer Lovin' Affair

Growing up in the seventies and eighties, the summers were fun, creative and innocent. My friends and I played hopscotch, chinese jump rope, jax and kickball. During the summer evenings, we would sit on the porch and talk about everything under the sun. We would catch lightning bugs and take long walks through the woods.

On hot, humid afternoons we would run under the sprinkler and have water fights. On rainy days, we would play outside, jump in puddles and collect salamanders. We built forts, rode bikes, danced in the streets, chased the ice cream man and played basketball.

A child's play was created through imagination. As a child, there was no analyzing, over-thinking or worrying; we simply let our imagination run wild and was on a constant adventure. There were no rules or time limits when it came to playing; we just dove in full throttle and explored.

This summer, I am on an adventure through a child's eye: my inner child. I am joining my own circus of fun as I let go of fear, worry, perfection and the disease to please. I will continue to enjoy Magickal Mondays and have my own Silent Retreat. Morning pages will come to life and I will be tackling old projects and bringing them to fruition; with no time limit destination.

This is a time for reflection, pondering and simply letting go. It's a time to truly embrace the gifts that life has to offer; the sun, the moon, nature and my own intuitive gifts. You, too can have a Summer Lovin' Affair with your self.

Summer Lovin' Tips:

  • Don't plan anything. Let your imagination run free.
  • Allow yourself to wake up and enjoy lazy days. 
  • Grab an ice cream cone and simply enjoy! 
  • Watch Disney Movies.
  • Read Eat, Pray and Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. This chic knows how to eat Pizza. I am a Gilbert Poser and relish in pizza!
  • Tackle an unfinished project and have fun. Let go of perfection. Don't put a time line on it.
  • Play dress up. Yes! Dress your best and venture out into the world. You never know who you might meet.
  • Read 50 Shades of Creativity and tackle some artsy projects.
  • Meditate naked outside (I do!).
  • Sit outside at midnight with a candle.
  • Have a relationship with your camera (I do!).
  • Embrace your five senses (and sixth, too).
  • Talk to a stranger every day.
  • Journal 'till your heart's content.
  • Go visit a toy store. 
  • Have some Midnight Margaritas (non-alcoholic, too!)
  • Make a tent in your bedroom office or house.
  • Plant a Fairy Garden with The Magic Onions (my all-time favorite place to visit!).
Go on a personal adventure and create your own school of learning. Have a Hot, Steamy, Love Affair with your self. Treat yourself like the beautiful soul you are! What does your inner child crave today?

Monday, June 16, 2014

How To Flip Articles

Photo Credit: Pinterest
The joys of writing is the ability to write about anything. At times, we tend to get stumped on what to write and we find ourselves throwing anything out there just to be heard. However, there are many ways to get inspired, and the best way is to search within our own articles that we've written.

The truth is, what we have to say is just as important as anyone else and through our journey within our own lives, spiritual path, and business, we grow and evolve. Life throws us many curve balls, we meet new people, we are inspired everyday, new lessons are learned, each year brings happiness, joy and even pain. 

What we felt or believed in yesterday may have expanded or changed. We look back at old articles and think I don't feel that way anymore or we feel that we've learned more things: our wisdom becomes deeper. There comes a time when we want to write, but we are blocked: we feel that we've written it all before. There is always a solution: research your own website or blog.

When the words cannot come out, when your thoughts are boggled up inside, search your past articles. You'd be surprised what you can find within your own writings; one paragraph can be flipped into its own article. I have yet to finish writing this article and see lots of flipping going on just from the words evolve, life throws us many curve balls, new lessons are learned and wisdom becomes deeper.

Tips on flipping articles:
  • Print out your original article.
  • Reread it and highlight areas that you feel would make good topics.
  • Simple words or an entire paragraph can be flipped into an article.
  • Where in the article have you changed? Your thoughts? Beliefs? Ideas? Direction? Business tips? Spiritual path? 
  • What have you learned from the last time you wrote the article you are looking to flip? Expand on your knowledge and expertise.
  • If you can, link your new article with the one you flipped to show personal and business growth.
We are always searching others for inspiration, which is wonderful, I do it all the time, but searching within ourselves brings forth originality and truth. It shows who we are, what we offer, what we know and believe it or not many are reading your words for inspiration, too.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer Readings

"Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book." Unknown

The sound of the ocean waves, the soft sand stuck between your toes, the sun beaming on your face, a comfortable chair and a good book held between your hands: this is heaven. Summer seems to be the time when we get lost in a steamy romance, a roller coaster adventure and a mind-boggling mystery.

Many people save a certain kind of genre to read in the summer. One may like to read romance novels, fantasy and books that they may have read when they were young. Many want to capture their childhood and read young adult fiction when in fact they are adults themselves. Whatever type of reading you enjoy, the summer is the time to jump into a pool filled with imagination and adventure.

It takes talent and expertise to write in such a way that the author sucks the reader in and makes the reader feel like they are a part of the story. Have you ever read a book where you felt like you were there? Have you ever read a book where you thought about the story hours after putting the book down?

Finding Your Story:

  • Visit your local library and scope out the books that are waiting to be read and dusted off. Find a book that you have always wanted to read. Maybe you have always wanted to read To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, but have never read it before. Or, maybe, you want to recapture your youth and dive into Judy Blume's books and read the ever-so-popular Are You There God, It's Me Margaret?
  • Keep a look out for used bookstores as these stores sell books dirt cheap and some offer an even trade. Libraries have fairs and, at times, well-known bookstores will have good sales.
  • What type of stories do you like? Romance, fantasy, adventure, mystery, autobiography, science fiction, fiction, non-fiction, novella, novels, anthologies, drama and young adult.
Setting The Tone:
  • When you find your book, pick a location where you want to read it. The beach, park, your backyard, porch, poolside or lounging on your hammock.
  • Grab a glass of iced tea or lemonade. Ice water works well with slices of lemon or cucumber. Don't forget some cookies or a small garden salad. Have everything you need available before you read so that way you don't have to stop reading and keep getting up for things.
  • If you are in the sun, wear a nice rimmed hat and sunglasses. Don't forget to wear some sunscreen. Make sure that you have a comfortable chair. Lay a beach towel down or a comfy blanket if you choose to read under a tree.
  • Listen to the sound of nature and enjoy the silence. If you are someone who likes to read in bed, light some candles and turn the TV off.
Write in Your Journal:

Write about the book. What emotions did the book capture? Did you feel like you were in it? Where did your imagination take you? Can you see yourself? Can you taste it, feel it, see it, hear it and smell it? Did the story remind you of something or somewhere? Journal your thoughts and record your imagination.

Sit back this summer and enjoy your journey through the written word.