My Brother Richard

I wrote a mystery that my writing group disliked. My writing group only accepts and critiques literary works, and the mystery I wrote isn’t literary. So they rejected it.

But there are people to whom I value their opinions. And they liked it. So I decided to self-publish the mystery. But when I went to self-publish my book, it wanted me to embed my fonts. I have no idea what that means, so my brother took over. My brother is an environmental engineer and quite brilliant (he got a 100% in math on his GRE plus he now has a PH.D.) So I let him take over, fully confident he would do the right thing.

Now I’m waiting, as there were changes to be made. His wife is reading my mystery and the changes I made. We’ll see what she thinks. Meanwhile, I’m writing another mystery. This one involves a murder where the first one involved a missing person. It requires a lot of reading.

So I’m reading Tripwire, by Lee Child. I’ve gotten ideas from this book, and now I’m just curious how it ends. There are other authors I could read, but I want to finish this book first.

Here’s hoping I finish my second mystery and it is good enough to be self-published!
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Sue Powers is an accomplished short story writer. She has a book of short stories entitled A Surprising Measure of Subliminal Sadness that is seeking a publisher.

Why I’m Reading Tripwire

Tripwire is a book by Lee Child, a book in which someone gets killed. Now, why am I reading this mystery?

The reason is because I’m writing a mystery about a murder and I need information to write it. Reading is the best thing to do if you’re a writer. If a writer doesn’t read, how will the writer learn to write? Of course reading for pleasure is very enjoyable. I often just read just for pleasure.

But back to Tripwire. So far in this book, Jack Reacher has flown from Key West to New York because a private investigator was asking about him and then the P.I. got killed. In NY, Jack’s met an old friend, Julia, with whom he knew since she was fifteen. At that time, he restrained himself from kissing her. But now that they are both in their thirties, and she’s a lawyer, he is still restraining himself, mainly because he believes she thinks of him an uncle or brother.

But he’s wrong, though he doesn’t know it, at least not yet. I’m only on page 129 and there are 400 pages to this book. I hope he finds out.

In my mystery, we find out pretty quickly, just like Tripwire. But I have a tons of character interaction, while Reacher basically is running around and getting into car accidents.

I’m also trying to add humor to my mystery, but it’s difficult to include humor inside a mystery. I know that at least one writer does it easily, but for me, it’s hard.

In my first mystery, She’s Not There, it seemed easy to add humor. But for this mystery, I simply can’t see how to do it. It’s like all the humor inside of me is not coming out in this mystery. I’m writing it anyway, humor or not.

She’s Not There I’m self-publishing with the help of my brother. He’s embedded the fonts so I can self-publish this mystery.

Anyway, watch for She’s Not There. It should be self-published by the end of April 2019.
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Sue Powers is an accomplished short story writer. One of her stories was published by Saturday Evening Post. Those who live on the east coast know that magazine and think of it as a prestigious magazine. She’s also published many other short stories. She’s now written one mystery and writing another.

My Mystery

I wrote a mystery that my literary writing group told me wasn’t very good. But when my friends who are mystery readers liked it, I began to think maybe it wasn’t so bad. Then one friend told me she was infatuated with my characters and another said it was going to be great. Well that really put me to thinking about self-publishing this mystery.

Self-publishing isn’t easy. Did I want to put my mystery in Kindle? Have it be a paperback? Hardcover? There’s Ingram Spark and Create Space (Amazon) – both offer self-publishing.

To gain more information, I joined Ingram Spark’s blog. Their first blog was about ‘metadata,’ which they said I need it for my strategic marketing plan. (As if I have one.) Metadata is about the title, subtitle, price, publication date, ISBN and any other information so readers can find your book.

Your metadata should be as descriptive as possible, including elements such as what genre the book fits into, who is telling the story, and keywords or information that will appeal to the intended audience.

Specific descriptive information that includes terms like “beach read,” “Italian cookbook,” or “authoritative biography” will help put the book title on the radar of readers who are looking for a certain kind of book.

Now I have to join Ingram and create a name that is NOT Indie. So I’ve been thinking about names. SJP Words; SJP Bookworm; SJP Woodworks; SJP Press (sounds like I’m a publisher). The reason I need a name is because people might have questions or God forbid complaints. That way they can contact me.

I also need some ISBN numbers. One for Kindle, Nook and other readers. Another for softcover. And the last for hardcover.

Plus I need a good book description so readers will know what the book is about. In my case, it’s just about a woman who disappears. It just so happens that the woman is the ex-wife of a mobster and someone is following one of the people who are investigating.

All this just because I wrote a mystery.

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Sue Powers is essentially a short story writer. She often asks herself what business does she have writing and publishing a mystery? Yet she has – it’s called She’s Not There ( see photo above.) And she’s writing another mystery!

How to Spot a Scam

Want to know how you can smell a scam from a mile away? And I don’t mean by heading over to the Google to punch in “Is (such and such) a scam?”

Because like attracts like, indeed you’ll find some people calling (such and such) a scam.

More than that, they’ll trash the heck out of it, then try to sell you on joining their down line on some pyramid scheme.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to cut through the B.S. and tell if it’s a scam or not.

1. How long has that business been up and running?
2. Do they have a money-back guarantee?
3. Do you have PROOF that it works before you buy?

Keep these in your back pocket. They will help you expose a scam.
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Sue Powers has had many short stories published. She’s also written a mystery, She’s Not There, that will published soon. She’s also writing another mystery.

Three Ways To Cultivate Discipline In Your Writing Life

Finding the time and discipline to write is a challenge for many authors. There are three easy ways to make the most of your writing time each day.

Does creativity strike when you’re messing around and having fun? Does being laid-back and disorganized spark the most creative masterpieces? Many people believe that creativity is a product of the scattered brain. Some experts even argue that there’s research to support this theory.

While the archetype of the mad genius is a common one, the truth is that the most successful creatives are actually extremely disciplined when it comes to their work.

Unlocking creativity isn’t about sitting back, goofing off and waiting for inspiration to strike. It’s about meticulously curating the right conditions to foster creativity.

Even if you aren’t familiar with his theory of relativity, you’ve probably heard of Einstein. Albert Einstein was one of the most innovative thinkers in history. The disheveled scientist is the poster boy of the messy genius archetype.

Einstein’s desk was famously photographed on the day he died. The picture reveals a chaotic landscape of papers and books.

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign of?”

But behind Einstein’s messy desk was a regimented mind. In Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, author Mason Currey records the daily schedules of the world’s most creative people. In his book, Currey refutes the belief that Einstein had a hectic or disorganized life.

Einstein’s schedule was actually regimented around his work. As a rule, Einstein worked at home after dinner to finish up anything he didn’t complete at his office. And his shaggy bed head served a practical purpose: he kept his hair long to avoid barber visits.

Einstein was disciplined, and he’s not the only one. People like Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos didn’t succeed by fooling around until they struck gold; they each worked within the confines of a routine that helped them to be creative.

Creatives, freelancers, and entrepreneurs all share a unique problem: lack of order. Most creatives don’t have a traditional job with scheduled work hours. They don’t have bosses or coworkers to hold them accountable. They don’t need to be anywhere at any specific time. Some don’t even have concrete deadlines for their work. Though I have a part-time job, I make sure I have time to write.

Creatives need to foster self-discipline. This is much easier said than done, especially for absent-minded types. Without discipline, you might find yourself doing nothing all day.

The hardest part of any task is getting started. Steven Pressfield writes in his acclaimed book The War of Art, “It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.”

Here’s how you can find inspiration, be more innovative and unleash the power of your creativity.

1. Make a schedule and stick to it.

If you’re a struggling creative, chances are you don’t have a schedule. Or maybe you do have one, but you don’t follow it. In order to maximize your creativity, you need to have a schedule. More importantly, you need to stick to it.

Many creatives make the mistake of over-correcting here. They create a minute-to-minute blueprint for their day. This can result in fatigue and emotional exhaustion. Instead of taking this unrealistic approach, simply map out the flow you’d like your day to have.

Maybe you want to exercise, work, eat lunch, do some more work, and call it a day. Once you understand what your ideal day looks like, nail down your schedule by attaching times to each activity and follow that plan the best you can. And absolutely do not forget to sleep.

Planning is easy, but executing a plan (especially a daily plan) requires a good bit of willpower. If you want to work from 9AM to 1PM, you need to work for those four hours. Plan in some breaks if you feel that you need them, but remember to work consistently.

2. Separate your workspace from your living space.

Another problem that gets in the way of creatives is their environment. Where do you work right now?
Many creatives lack designated workspaces and that’s a big reason why so many of them struggle. It’s hard to shift gears between work and play when you work from home.

3. Set a dress code for yourself.
It’s not only where you work, but what you work in.

It’s a cliché that freelancers work in their pajamas. If you want to be creative and productive, you might want to toss that advice in the trash. What you wear has a direct effect on how you perform.
Donning a hoodie and sweats every day encourages you to be a little lazier.

Create a dress code for yourself during your work hours. You don’t need to wear a penguin suit or ball gown, but you should choose clothes that encourage professionalism. That may mean a crisp button-up shirt and slacks or jeans and a blouse.

Find what works for you. Just don’t get too comfortable. Remember: you’re at work.

3. Cultivate A Habit of Discipline Today

For most creatives, developing discipline is the largest obstacle in their way. Using a work checklist can also help to stay on the right track.

Sure, you can search high and low for a new source of inspiration—but why not tap into the potential that’s already inside you?

If you’ve exhausted sitting in front of a blank screen or canvas, give these techniques a try. You might be surprised at what you can achieve with a little order.

How disciplined are you about getting your writing done?
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Sue Powers has had many short stories published. She’s written a mystery called, She’s Not There, and is writing another mystery.