"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Pen & Prosper's 5th Annual Holiday Gift Guide!

Happy Holiday Season!
Today I'm unveiling my picks to add to this year's shopping list, just in time for Christmas. As part of my popular, annual holiday gift series for writers. Yay! Move over, Oprah.
Some of these "faves" have been recommended before. And with good reason: they are consistently recognized and requested from writers around the world as things they value.

Whether you are looking for an item for yourself, or one to bestow to a fellow writer or mate, I've got you covered.

So, let's begin with what Jen recommends...


You can't go wrong with journals and stationery for writerly folks. Journals help to capture future story ideas; chronicle important events and timelines; pen personal feelings for discovery and growth; and even to make simple "to do" lists. You can order them online at Amazon.com or pick up some pretty and affordable choices at your local Dollar Tree store.


For most writers, tea or coffee helps to get off to a good start and fuel the day.
May I recommend Teeccino's Chicory Herbal Tea here? It's a great french roast blend that is 100% caffeine free and has a nice robust flavor. To order, visit their lovely site here:


If you like to be "creative," you can express yourself in the kitchen, through thoughtful homemade baked goods.
Trust me; they'll make a lasting impression.


For the special person on your list who enjoys an array of goodies and trinkets, this gift rocks!
I like to make them with various themes. You can too.


Recently purchased this item from my local Meijer's store and I love, love, love it! Kudos to Sunbeam for this very well-crafted, comfortable, functional item. It has 3 heat settings and a built in pocket to place your feet. How cool!  I have numerous throws; as I find they are great to decorate and accessorize the home. This one is definitely among my favorites.


Spirits are one of the quickest ways to get in the holiday spirit! They make great gift items. And you don't have to break the bank to impress. According to Martha Stewart on the DABL network, "You can purchase a nice bottle of wine for about 7 bucks." Don't forget a pretty decanter for that special added touch. I've typically scored some good brands at Aldi's.
Take a look at what they offer at their site:



Good writers are avid readers. For this reason, books are always an obvious choice. Here's how to get more bang for your buck. If you enjoy (and benefit from) my blog, you'll dig my ebooks. They teach today's writers how to work "smarter, not harder" and make more money.
To learn more or order, visit Payhip.com here:




Plants for me, are the equivalent of pets for others. Though I didn't really cultivate my "green thumb" until later in life, so glad I did! I have plants "residing" in many rooms of my house. Aside from the aesthetic appeal they provide, they have many health properties as well. Read about them in this informative article:



There's no doubt about it. Calendars help to keep us on track and mindful of those important client deadlines. Everybody uses them. Consider ordering a photo calendar from Vistaprint with a relevant theme for the recipient.



As mentioned before, I am a big music lover. And I'm betting I'm in good company here.
Good music is timeless. Wouldn't you agree? Whether it's classical, spiritual or hip-hop, I tune in weekly. Here is a selection from "Feels like home" that is worth listening to and purchasing.

Well, there you have it: Jen's "what to get list" for 2019.
Happy shopping!

Your turn.

What would you choose among suggestions listed?
What would you add?

Monday, November 25, 2019

What Chicago's Teacher Strike Can Teach Writers

There’s no doubt about it. Teaching is one of the oldest and most honorable professions around. And for the most part, unless educators experience burnout and quit, or have serious health challenges, they often enjoy a good deal of job “stability” and tenure, compared to other industries.
Factors that more than likely contribute to why many career seekers opt to pursue this field.

According to the Bureau of labor, “A career in teaching is also projected to have many job opportunities in the coming years. Between 2014 and 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects nearly 1.9 million job openings for teachers of preschool through postsecondary school.”

But here’s the downside: NO job today affords TOTAL job security. Particularly in today’s uncertain economic climate (not to mention, education reform).
As a matter of fact, I gave this very “caveat” to a client of mine who just happens to be a high school teacher. “Jane” loves writing, and for many years, has freelanced on the side for various publications under my coaching and guidance. Since teaching is perceived as her “bread and butter” money, she really doesn’t give writing the serious consideration or time that she should. It’s a recreational hobby, more or less.
This is unfortunate; she is a tremendously talented scribe, who could really go very far if her priorities were different.

Earlier this school year, Chicago teachers decided to go on strike unexpectedly, to fight for what they considered important issues: smaller class sizes, more resources and more equitable pay.
Nothing unreasonable, most would agree.

But, something that should have been settled promptly wasn’t.
As it happens, one day turned into one week. One week turned into 10 days, additional delays and time away from the classroom. After 11 days, an agreement was finally reached by both sides.
Teachers won the battle, but not without detriment.
Of the 11 strike days, Chicago teachers would only be compensated for 5 of those days, per the city’s mayor. That’s 6 days without pay for many who were already struggling.

So what can we as writers learn from the teachers’ strike and how it unfolded?


No matter what your career, it’s wise to have various income streams or side hustles.
As a writer, I find that it’s smart to diversify my creative offerings. And you should too.
As a point of reference here, not only do I professionally blog; I actually set up and design blogs for other writers; teach creative classes; and consult on the side.

I kid you not; I know of people who lost their jobs shortly before they were scheduled to retire. Which can be scary. With more companies now putting profits before people, anything can happen at any time.

Take online classes. Read, research and study. “Knowledge is power.“
Whether it’s in the job market, or with your creative clients: the more you learn, the more you’ll earn.

It's here, folks!  According to Careerbuilder.com 78% of Americans live from paycheck to paycheck.
Poor finances can make us vulnerable to emergencies, diminish our quality of life, and contribute to poor decision making. If your computer needed to be repaired or replaced tomorrow, could you afford it? If your furnace in your home broke down during the winter, would it leave you in the cold? These are a few things to consider.

Don’t be fooled. Many folks who are unenlightened believe that “politics” only exist in Corporate America or with the government.  Think again. Being a writer or teacher won’t exempt you from politics. It exists in publishing and even the church, too.

Learn to be flexible. Keep a level head.
Don’t let the loss of a client, a computer virus, a strike, or editors’ rejection keep you from making a difference and moving forward in your creative career.
There is nothing more “liberating” and empowering than being able to write when, where and how you choose.

Master these six timely lessons for a truly “smart” freelancing experience.

A penny for your thoughts here. 
Agree or disagree? 
Any teachers out there?

Image crdits: Pixabay.com

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Strategies to Become Your Own "Efficiency Expert"

With the new year fast approaching and resolutions already being planned, now is the perfect time to change some of your behaviors and mindset, in order to become more prolific and move closer to your goals more quickly.
Read on to learn how to "work smarter, not harder" and take your writing to the next level!

Life Is a Series of Choices
Success is correlated to the choices we have made, and continue to make, regarding how we spend the time of our life. Quite simply, if you choose to continue doing things that waste time, you are willingly relegating to the trash bin of life some moments that you will never recapture--unproductive moments, idle moments, moments that add little or nothing to the quality of your life and your work.
Be inspired by the words of management guru Peter Drucker: "Everything requires time. It is the only truly universal condition. All work takes place in time and uses up time. “Vow to care for time the way time-meisters do: Identify your time-wasters and commit to finding cures for these causes of lost minutes, hours, years, lives.
Time-Wasting: Causes & Cures
It was also Peter Drucker who stated that efficiency means "doing things right," while effectiveness means "doing the right things right." Doing too much research, for example, may not be the “right thing” if it means missing deadlines. If the things you choose to do all day long are not advancing your writing goals, they are probably things that fall into one of these less-than-effective categories:
1. Fire-Fighting
It’s easy to go down metaphorical rabbit holes, scattering your energies and delaying your best intentions. Think seriously about your plan for getting that book or article written. How many words will you need to write each day. Then, plan a schedule for your next day of work, making your target number a priority.
2. Interruptions
Although you may choose not to be as assertive as Napoleon, who promised, "You can ask me for anything you like.....except time," you will have to find the words that allow you to continue working when others try to interrupt. Your first assignment in this category is to create (and promise to use) five phrases to subvert interruptions.
3. Perfectionism
It's as true on the macrocosmic level (Franklin Delano Roosevelt noting that perfectionism may obstruct the paths to international peace) as it is on the microcosmic level (an obsessive need to have everything exactly right): the need to be perfect can make you a poor time-manager.
Ideally, you'll refer to the answers to the following questions whenever you're tempted to exert all your time and energies on a single effort:
To illustrate: every book or blog or article needs a good title. You can play with titles for a full two hours and then spend two more calling friends a fellow writers to learn which they prefer. Or, you can meet your writing goal for the day and just add possible titles as the thoughts occur to you. Upon completion of your writing assignment, you can show the list of possible titles to 20 people whose literary inclinations you respect and ask them to tell you their favorite.
4. Inability To Say "No"
Writers have to be assertive at times.
5. Procrastination
It seems that those individuals who use time inefficiently are the same individuals who complain about a lack of time. Whenever you find the procrastination monster breathing down your neck, use the 4-T Technique. Ask yourself:
Can I complete my writing goal Today?
What should be done Tomorrow?
Which aspects of my writing project are Time-independent (no actual deadline)?
Is what I’m doing right now a True requirement of project completion?
These questions should remind you that we're all given the same gift of time--24 hours a day--and that some people use it to great advantage while others complain about the inadequacy of the gift.
Think about the writing you've been putting off. Apply the 4-T test to it.
6. Socializing
If time-wasting is a serious problem for you, you may want to keep a log like the
Following for a week or two. Just indicate with a simple checkmark your ten-minute expenditures of time on this weekly log of activities. (Every three checkmarks will represent one-half hour's worth of time.) If possible, make a copy before you begin so you can keep the log for two or three weeks.

If you have to swallow a frog
Let’s face it—there are some parts of the writing cycle that are less pleasant than others. You may not enjoy writing query letters, or trying to convince bookstores to carry your book, or emailing an editor that you are the perfect person to write an article. The best advice to help you face and complete those less-desirable tasks may actually be what Mark Twain told procrastinators: “If you have to swallow a frog, don’t stare at it too long!”

Thoughts here?

- - - - - - - - - - -
Dr. Marlene Caroselli is an author, keynoter, and corporate trainer whose clients include Lockheed Martin, Allied Signal, Department of the Interior, and Navy SEALS. She writes extensively about education, business, self-improvement, and careers and has adjuncted at UCLA and National University. Her first book, The Language of Leadership, was named a main selection by the Executive Book Club. Principled Persuasion, a more recent title, was designated a Director's Choice by the Doubleday Book Club. Applying Mr. Albert: 365+ Einstein-Inspired Brain Boosts, her 62nd book, will be released by HRD Press in 2019.
Image credits: Pixabay.com

Saturday, November 9, 2019

9 Tips to End 2019 on a High Note! Reclaim Your Joy

Welcome back, readers!
With the end of the year being at our proverbial doorstep, today's post is about wrapping things up on a high note and making way for a positive, peaceful, prosperous 2020.


How many times has your sanity taken a temporary “sabbatical” due to a stressful gig, drama with your mate, feuding relatives, demanding clients, or the day-to-day demands of trying to be all things to all people?
Or perhaps you’ve been “imprisoned” by feelings of guilt or unworthiness, due to subliminal media messages, or callous comments of others, targeted to convince you that you don‘t quite measure up.

Whatever the source, it’s time to get on course.
It’s time for your emancipation!

Why? Because all around us, more and more, there are everyday signs that tomorrow is not promised, and each day should be lived to the fullest: the untimely death of big celebrities (young and old); the dismantling and disappearance of big businesses and industry giants; the massive, senseless shootings everywhere across the country.
All the more reason why you should stop waiting for permission to be happy, or the ideal circumstances. Or even the “right mate” to complete you.

Let's face it. So many times we put “qualifiers” on our happiness. Qualifiers, that more often than not, put other folks in control of our peace and well-being.
Time for a reality check here. Happiness is a choice. It’s all about perspective and good decisions. Even the Bible states, “I have learned to be content in whatever state I am in.” Phillipians 4:11.

In keeping, here are nine awesome ways to reclaim your joy and live with passion and purpose to end 2019 on a high note.

1). Learn to say “NO”.

It’s a small word with big impact. Stop being overextended and underappreciated. There’s no honor in it. Set boundaries. It’s nice to be kind, but just don’t be a doormat. There’s great truth to Dr. Phil’s motto, “We teach people how to treat us by the things we accept.”

2). Learn to let go.
Say goodbye to relationships that deplete your peace, are toxic in nature, or dishonor who you are and your core values. Remember that some folks are meant for a reason, and some for a season. Even your creative clients.

I have learned to abandon the guilt I once felt when ending long-term friendships that I have outgrown. Last year, I severed a friendship with a woman I had been friends with for over a decade, because even though we had common interests, our “core values” were unfortunately different. Time brought about wisdom. “Connie” thought nothing of promising to do a favor, or agreeing to a “girl’s night out” and then backing out later if her boyfriend called, or she had a bad day at work. And it seemed that while I enjoyed talking about literature and the arts, she was more prone to gossip and celebrity worship. Ultimately we saw eye to eye on very little. I’m convinced that just because you share history with someone doesn‘t mean you should share a future.

3). Pray.
A strong spiritual foundation can provide “grounding” during uncertain times and dark days. Prayer changes things. A case in point-- Pastor Joel Osteen recently shared, during one of his TV sermons, how when his mom was diagnosed with Cancer and a dim prognosis, the power of prayer from family members and friends, (along with deep, abiding faith), restored her and brought her back to health. She has now been living Cancer free for more than a decade.

4). Manage your stress.
Don’t let others’ issues and irrational behavior contribute to high blood pressure, ulcers, and other ailments brought on by unhealthy interaction and dysfunctional mindsets. Understand that most wouldn’t do it for you.

Consider this: according to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than twice as many American women as men are affected by depression.

5). Learn to say “YES”!
To the things that give your heart delight and renew your spirit. Whether it’s Latin dancing, going back to college, Karaoke night, journaling or simply having that decadent dessert at the holiday dinner. As long as your choices do not cause detriment to yourself or others, there’s no reason for remorse or restriction.

6). Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses (or Kardashians) .
Acquiring things in order to compete with family and friends, or to project an “image” you can’t afford can be exhausting, empty, and expensive. Influence is more important than affluence. Never be held hostage by others’ standards of success. In 2019, I still don’t have Cable.

7). Forgive mistakes of the past.
Are you holding a grudge? Bitter with your ex-boyfriend? Unresolved issues with a sibling? A beef with your boss? Anger puts other people in power over you. The sooner you learn the lesson from the experience and decide to get on with your life, the more empowered you’ll feel.

Remember that emotional baggage can weigh you down and prevent you from connecting with quality people in the future.

8). Don’t just survive, thrive!
Sadly, some people go from day to day on autopilot. Don’t be one of them. No matter what your age or circumstance, each day represents unlimited opportunities for growth, renewal and new discoveries. Stay open to this.
Pursue work that you enjoy. Surround yourself with positive people. Appreciate life’s simple pleasures. Recognize that each day is a blessing and embrace it.

9). Strive for excellence, not perfection.
Though I often try to maintain meticulous standards, sometimes I will revisit a previous post or pitch to an editor that has a minor error; it drives me nuts. But the truth is, nobody is perfect 100% of the time. And we shouldn't demand that of ourselves.


Get your financial house in order!
Doing so will allow you more freedom, flexibility, stability and fun! Here’s a helpful site I found via Inkwell Editorial to put you on the right track:


Follow these sage tips in 2019 and discover the difference they’ll make. Live the life you deserve and desire! Step into your season. The Good life awaits!

Speaking of year end, just a friendly reminder here that Pen & Prosper will have a reduced posting schedule moving forward...

Your turn.
Any of the above tips resonate with you? Anything you'd like to add?

Image credits: Pixabay.com 

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Here's What's Hot! Sexy Celebrity Chefs and the Writing Lessons They Impart...

“People eat with their eyes first,” according to a popular quote in the culinary industry. If this sentiment is true, you’ll experience a very satisfying “visual feast” provided by the hot hunks on today’s cooking scene!
These kitchen experts come in all sizes, shapes, colors and specialties.
No matter what your individual preference, there’s something suited for every taste.

And I should know. I am an avid food fan and amateur home chef!

Every week, I’m glued to the tube checking out recipes, reviews and industry tips to expand my horizons. The sex appeal of these cooking show hosts definitely adds a little proverbial “icing on the cake” in terms of my loyal viewing.
Not only are these fellas skilled in preparing delicious meals, many of them impart important lessons on discipline, entrepreneurship, and overcoming obstacles, through their cooking shows, tutorials, interviews and books.
Click on each chef's name for additional info and related sites.

Let’s take a look at the most popular foodie cuties and just why they sizzle!


Besides doing some serious justice to a pair of jeans, Ramsey is authoritative, worldly, sexy and has a wicked tongue. The ultimate “bad boy,” he gives cooking contestants real hell in “Hell’s Kitchen!”

Ramsey has a Black Belt in Karate.

Ramsey is synonymous with service excellence. He’s won numerous awards for his creativity and uncompromising standards. I seek to do the same.


Adorned with an array of tattoos and a rugged physique, this Mexican, award-winning chef is as hot as Jalapeno peppers. Additionally, he comes across as very caring and helpful as a mentor to those aspiring to follow in his footsteps.

Sanchez has a twin brother who is an attorney. Aaron also writes poetry.

From his slew of tattoos to his style of cooking, he’s unique in his branding and his image. He’s a non-conformist. When I started my blog many years ago, people predicted failure because I opted to blog on a free platform (as opposed to following everyone else). I’ve outlasted many of my former critics.


Though for me his arrogance can be a bit off putting, there’s no denying that Joe B. has animal magnetism, as a member of the bald and beautiful club.

He’s the son of famous Chef, author and TV personality, Lidia Bastianich.

His family has created a cooking empire with many restaurants, books and products.
This mirrors my belief that collaborations can often make us stronger creatively and enhance our offerings (and bottom line).

Nick is easy on the eyes and very engaging to watch. He’s like a gentle giant. And you gotta’ love that macho mustache.

He was formerly a Wall Street stock broker.

Stellino used his humble background as a stepping stone, as opposed to viewing it as an obstacle.


Hugh hails originally from Jamaica. This brother man can take me back to the motherland! Suave, charismatic, dashing, with a sexy accent and million dollar smile. Chef Irie’s as spicy as his recipes.

He originally studied architecture and has a B.A. degree in this discipline.

Chef Irie exudes passion in the kitchen. For me, passion is an integral ingredient to a successful writing career. Without it, you cheat your readers and yourself.


He’s a lean, mean cooking machine who has the features of a male model. His stylish glasses also make him look like a sexy nerd. What chick doesn‘t love a smart guy?

His guilty pleasure is doughnuts.

Though Rick is versed in many types of cooking, his specialty is Mexican cuisine. Quite often, having a “specialty” or niche area saves time; helps branding and marketing efforts; and enables bloggers to “work smarter, not harder.”


Ming Tsai is quite a dish! With those dreamy eyes, thick hair, warm smile and gorgeous hands.

He was a squash player at Yale.

Ming is a teacher at heart. His cooking instructions and helpful tips are typically simple, clever and easy to follow. I believe that good writing should be too.


Even if you’re not seeking to improve your food aptitude, you’ll want to tune into the weekly shows of these gorgeous guys, who give new meaning to the expression, “turning up the heat!” While providing great (unexpected) lessons and take-aways on writing and branding.


Your turn.
Agree or disagree? Who's your favorite celebrity chef (male or female)?

Image credits: Pixabay.com

Saturday, October 26, 2019

8Qs With Author & Trainer Dr. Marlene Caroselli

Thank you for joining us today, Marlene. We appreciate your time, creative input and expertise here at Pen and Prosper.

Q Can you tell readers a little about your background and how you began your career as a writer?

 I began my career as an English teacher; so, the love of words was a given. When one of my students asked—in all seriousness—“Was General Electric an American?” I knew I had an article to write. An educational journal accepted it, my first published piece. When I left high school teaching and began adjuncting at UCLA and National University (which led to teaching in corporate America), I began submitting curricula I’d written to publishers. My first query, to HRD Press, was based on a course I was teaching. It examined the language used by prominent individuals in various walks of life. The Language of Leadership was my first book and was actually chosen a main selection by a major book club.

Q What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

I love the creativity of it all, the ability to string ideas together into a cohesive whole. Picasso once asked, “Why do two colors, placed side by side, sing?” I like exploring the corollary, “Why do two words (or phrases or sentences), placed side by side, sing?” The songs fascinate me on a daily basis.
Everyone has a story and I love uncovering, via words, the wonderful anecdotes and experiences they may never have shared before. For example, in the pool yesterday,

A young man and I began chatting. I asked him if it was a job that had brought him to my home town.“No,” he explained, “I run for a living.” “I run for a living”! Are you not intrigued by the story behind those words? His parents had apparently invested a quarter of a million dollars in his education, planning to see him become an electrical engineer.
But, he gave it all up because…..he only wants to run.

His story is not unlike Kris Kristofferson’s. (I’ve been watching Ken Burns’ documentary on country music.) His background is peppered with words like “summa cum laude,” “Phi Beta Kappa,”Rhodes scholar,” “Oxford University,” “Army captain,” “helicopter pilot,” “West Point instructor.” But, like the runner above, another force was moving him away from what he was “supposed” to be and moving him toward an unlikely choice. In Kristofferson’s case, music was his singular love. He gave up a promising military career and became a janitor in Nashville. His parents disowned him.
Events conspire for writers. And the intersection of the swimmer and the janitor is an article atop my pile of others waiting to be written.

Q. What challenges you the most about it?

For me, the challenge is finding time. I’m semi-retired and don’t get things done as quickly as I once did.

Q. What would it surprise others to know about you?

I’ve discovered my artwork sells, mostly at charity fundraisers. I’m really not that talented, but I include quotations with my drawings and I think the combination attracts buyers.

Q. If you could have one literary “super power”what would it be?

I wish I could write fiction as easily as I write non-fiction—specifically, the “soft side” of business. For 20 years, while working six days a week as a corporate trainer, I averaged three books a year. When I tried writing a fictionalized memoir to honor my father, I found I struggled with single every word. I was pleased with the end result, but what a struggle it turned out to be.

Q. What are your thoughts on blogging and social media---do you feel it’s a necessity these days?

It may not be a necessity for all, but it is a necessity for all writers, I believe. The publishing protocol has changed radically since I wrote my first book. Then, publishers marketed. Now, publishers expect writers to share a large part of the marketing burden. Many care more about your following than your manuscript…at least initially. To illustrate, I recently sent a query to a publisher, in which I described a book I wanted to write. Instead of asking for further details, they asked how large was my social media following. My following? I don’t even have a cell phone! I’ve never tweeted or twittered. “Hashtag” sounds like a note I might make to shop for breakfast food. I don’t do Facebook or Linked In. Needless to say, I have no following, but would encourage younger writers to build theirs. The age of electronics has passed me by.

Q. I see you’ve written several books on leadership and business. What one piece of advice can you share with us on managing our freelance businesses more profitably?

Nearly every city has a SCORE group…Service Corps of Retired Executives. They can provide excellent (and free) advice for growing one’s business. If your city doesn’t have such a group, read about other entrepreneurs and the methods they have used to expand their client list. Or, how other writers have managed to develop a cadre of devoted readers.
Q. Any suggestions on how today’s writer can build a “platform” solid enough to garner publication by a traditional publisher, given such fierce competition?

Making your presence known is the best thing you can do. As mentioned before, you need to build your social media following. You can also make appearances at bookstores or writers groups. When I spoke at a large secretarial conference years ago, I subsequently sold hundreds of my book The Quality Secretary. Call local radio and television stations and tell them you’d like to be interviewed. (Be sure to prepare a really good hook.) Contact your local newspaper, especially if your book coincides with local or national events. Blog everywhere you can. Write articles in national publications. Include a business card that promotes your book in every bill you pay, every letter that leaves your house and heads to the post office. Build a network, attend networking events, and hand out your book/business card. Have an elevator speech ready for chance encounters.



After earning her doctorate in education at the University of Rochester, Marlene Caroselli left the public classroom and her native New York State in 1980 and headed to the West Coast. She soon began working as a manager for Trizec Properties, Inc. and as an adjunct professor for UCLA and National University. (She has also conducted programs for Clemson University, University of Rochester, Michigan State University, and Southwest Missouri State University.) Her university work led to training contracts with the Department of Defense and with such Fortune 100 firms as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, TRW, Hughes Aircraft, and Allied-Signal.

In 1984, she founded the Center for Professional Development and began adding books to her list of professional achievements. Her first book, The Language of Leadership, was chosen a main selection by Newbridge's Executive Development book club. Since that publication, she has written fifty-four additional books. (See Amazon.com.) A recent book, Principled Persuasion: Influence with Integrity, Sell with Standards, was named a Director's Choice by Doubleday Book Club. Her latest book, One-to-One for Managers, has been selected by Barnes and Noble for an on-line course.

In addition to books, Dr. Caroselli writes frequently for Stephen Covey's Executive Excellence, for Lakewood’s many LPR publications, and for the National Business Employment Weekly, as well as for numerous other print and electronic publications.

Image credits: Pixabay.com

Monday, October 21, 2019

10 Commandments to Keeping the Holidays Holy!

It's that time again. The time of year that strikes both joy and terror in the hearts of many. Already, retailers have elaborate displays of both turkey dinners and decorated reindeers in stores galore.
They're positioning themselves for this busy, festive season. You should too.

In fact, for writers the "plot thickens" in the upcoming months. The reason?
Most of us are constantly juggling and struggling as a way of life; in order to handle daily demands and pursue our creative dreams. True?
While adding to the equation during the holiday season is entertaining guests; cooking fancy feasts; shopping; church activities; etc.

Which is why, if not handled properly, for some, the holidays can become more hellish than holy.
Lucky for you, I've got you covered with tips and hacks to manage the madness with greater joy and less stress.



Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years should be a time of reflection; a time to honor God and family; a time of gratitude; a time of peace. Keep this in mind when you receive a Xmas gift from the Dollar Tree Store or someone criticizes your Pumpkin Pie. "Don't sweat the small stuff."

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference."

Have you ever had a friend or family member doubt your intentions? Accuse you of something of which you were not guilty?  Misunderstand an innocent comment or request?  Hold ill will without good reason?  I have. Many times we judge people or situations too quickly or without all the facts.
A friend did this with me recently, and I was totally shocked. Instead of this person looking at our long relationship from a historical perspective, and viewing my total character, past interaction and personality, she took one statement I made out of context and thought I was purposely being demanding. But, I don't hold it against her. This is a common tendency, unfortunately.
Ironically, some of the most generous people I know fail to give benefit of the doubt; which is totally free. Go figure. Don't let it be you.

I'm a "do-gooder" by nature. As a result, I often take on more than I reasonably should. But, as I get older, I'm learning the importance of self-preservation. Not a bad idea for you as well.
Assign tasks to the kids; have relatives bring their favorite dish; have some of the activities catered.
Learn to "work smarter, not harder."

This is an Achilles Heel for me in particular. So often, folks try to force suggestions, reviews, dictates, on the person hosting, with no offers of real help or monetary contributions. Please don't. Unless of course, the person requests input.

It can be challenging at times, but if we frame our thoughts properly and keep an open mind, we can keep our sense of humor amid these trying times. Humor can help diffuse potentially volatile situations, and it's therapeutic. According to Helpguide.org: "Shared laughter is one of the most effective tools for keeping relationships fresh and exciting. All emotional sharing builds strong and lasting relationship bonds, but sharing laughter also adds joy, vitality, and resilience. And humor is a powerful and effective way to heal resentments, disagreements, and hurts. Laughter unites people during difficult times."

There's great validity to the expression, "Those who fail to plan, plan to fail."

No judgment here. If spiking that Eggnog helps to improve your attitude and stay in the groove, go for it.

As much as we may love them, we all have them. You know: guests that drink too much and have too little discretion. Or those that overstay their welcome. Or those with so many dietary restrictions that they are one step away from living in a bubble. Or those that always need to borrow. Or those that don't tidy up after themselves. Or those that like to bring up hurts and old wounds from the past. Or folks who are perpetually pessimistic. Or those who eat up the last bowl of your Captain Crunch.
Or those who routinely fail to replace the toilet paper and ice trays.
Did I miss anybody here? Consider this a public service message: Please stop the madness. I repeat, please stop the madness!


Writing is therapeutic. Journaling during the holidays can help decrease stress; keep your writing skills sharp; and help to chronicle ideas, memories, recipes and events for future publication.

There you have it, readers.

"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."

Have a great week ahead.

Thoughts? How do you avoid holiday stress?
Any special plans this year?

Image credits: Pixabay.com