"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

Monday, September 26, 2022

Motivation Monday! Quotes to Live & Evolve By...


 Good Morning and Happy Monday!

Whether you're dealing with writer's block, are challenged in your finances, lack  inspiration, or are simply having a "manic Monday", today's quotes will help to broaden your horizons and your perspective.

Read, heed and enjoy! And as always...thanks for spending your time at Pen @ Prosper.

Have a great week ahead. Feel free to leave your own comments or favorite quotes.  

MOTIVATIONAL QUOTES TO MOVE YOU FORWARD...



"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." ---Walt Disney
" One person can make a difference, and everyone should try." ---John F. Kennedy
"It's not what critics say. It's what God says that counts." ---Steven Furtick
"To get what you want, STOP doing what isn't working." ---Earl Warren
"Failure is not final."---Steve Harvey

"Step with care and great tact, and remember that Life's a great balancing act." 
---Dr. Seuss
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." ---Alan Kay


" The best way to get on your feet is to stand up." ---Jennifer Brown Banks
" When a person shows you who they are...believe them." Maya Angelou

" Poor companions are like the buttons on an elevator. They will either take you up or take you down."

"Handle them carefully, for words have more power than an atom bomb."

"When things go wrong, don't go wrong with them."

"People who gossip with you will gossip about you."

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."--Eleanor Roosevelt 

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."--Dr. Seuss

"Why fit in, when you were born to stand out."--Dr. Seuss



Your turn.

Comments? Thoughts here? What quote do you live by?








Image credits: Pixabay.com

Thursday, September 15, 2022

5 Compelling Reasons to Continue Blogging in 2022!

 


Are you conflicted about whether or not to continue to blog in 2022? Concerned that there might be a better use of your creative time? Wondering if blogging is still relevant these days? 

Perhaps you've been on a hiatus and are contemplating a blog relaunch?

Whatever your status or mindset, today's post will help to provide greater clarity and better inform your decision moving forward.  

Read on...

Since blogging first surfaced on the Internet scene in the 1990’s, it has experienced a considerable transformation. Gone are the days when these “online diaries” were solely used for personal venting about bad bosses or sharing good gossip with friends.

Blogs have evolved into an important medium that serves a multitude of purposes; depending upon the needs of the user.

Still, with an array of social media platforms emerging with great frequency, some writers question whether blogging remains relevant and worth the effort these days. With all the time, energy and creativity that goes into blogging, getting a good R.O.I. (return on investment) becomes a valid concern. 

According to blogging expert and content strategist Konrad Sanders: “Blogging will always be worth it especially if you find a niche you are passionate about. Whether it be for a brand, business, or for personal reasons, blogging will always give you results. Blogging is a great outlet for bloggers who want to educate, give advice, share personal experiences and thought, and advertise their brand/business.” 

CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING STATISTICS ON BLOGS AND BLOGGING 

  • Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trustworthy source for gathering online information.
  • 77% of internet users read blogs.
  • Each month, approximately 409 million people view more than 20 billion pages.

If you’re on the fence as to whether to start a blog or to continue one that you previously launched, here are a few things to factor in.

1. Maintaining a Blog helps writers to hone their craft.

Writing on a regular basis helps writers to improve their communication skills, develop confidence, and learn more about the needs of an audience. In fact, just about anything that is done routinely helps to build skill through repetition and practice. "Practice makes perfect."   

2. In 2022 Bloggers have an array of timely topics and political issues to address. The sky’s the limit. 

We are living in interesting times. To quote Charles Dickens: “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”

Today’s headlines and trending topics are vast and historical in nature: from  immigration issues; to the breaking news surrounding the pandemic; to mass shootings around the country; to legislation on gender equality and gay rights. Real life events are starting to rival science fiction and romance novels. Through blogging, writers can inform readers, share their views, support a cause, or initiate dialogue around important issues. Your input matters.

3. Blogging can help writers to earn additional income.

To increase their income and to help build a nest egg for emergencies, writers can monetize their blogs. This can be achieved through various means: allowing ad placements on their site, affiliate programs, or selling their own products.

Bonus tip: Make sure that ads placed on your site are quality oriented and related to your niche and readership.

4. Blogging builds relationships.

Unlike other platforms, the very regular and interactive nature of blogging helps to form friendships and supportive alliances over time. Blogging done right builds  global bonds. In my many years of blogging, my followers and loyal readers have often supported me professionally and personally. 

5. Blogging can be used to build your brand.

Having a blog is useful in establishing your online identity, communicating what you stand for as a writer or entrepreneur, and creating a central body of work that displays your talents and versatility. Think of it as your calling card.

Final Thought

Blogs, much like relationships require periodic re-evaluating and a renewal of your commitment. There will likely be pros and cons.
Consider the words of this timely quote: "When you think about quitting, remember why you started." 


PERSONAL NOTE:

If you are a business, busy author, or the owner of a website in need of quality content, please get in touch. As an award-winning, veteran blogger I know first-hand how challenging it can be to keep a blog frequently updated and to keep readers engaged and entertained. 
I can save you time, money and energy.
Would love the opportunity to work with you.
Contact me @ Gemsjen@yahoo.com.

Thanks for reading.





Image credits: Pixabay.com
 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Author Carolyn DiPasquale Discusses Reckless Grace


Welcome back, readers!

It's good to have you here. Today I'm excited to share with you an interview that I trust you'll find inspiring and enlightening. Please join me in welcoming author Carolyn DiPasquale.

Thank you for joining us today, Carolyn. We appreciate your time, input and sharing of your story here at Pen and Prosper.

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

I grew up in Wisconsin where I attended mediocre public schools; still, I acquired a love for words, excelling in reading and writing. That my mom was forever bent over a newspaper or book probably played a part. In any case, I loved the power of words, their ability to paint vivid scenes, persuade and move people. Whereas my science and math grades singed my cheeks, the A’s I received on papers in high school and college lifted my head. I should have started my writing career sooner, but I couldn’t manage it as a single mother. So, I’m a late bloomer—a debut author at 64.  

What challenges you the most about the creative process?

Generating text, that is coming up with something unique or worthwhile to say, is the hardest part of the process. This is especially difficult when I don’t have a clear idea of what I’m writing about or there are multiple options. 

What inspired you to write Reckless Grace? Is it your first book? 

My daughter’s extraordinary journals—twenty volumes penned over ten years. When I discovered them, I felt like I’d struck gold. Rachel was guarded, and her death was abrupt. These diaries would finally let me in and answer my gnawing questions. However, once Rachel’s secrets started to surface through my reading, I knew this was not the kind of information I could sit on. It had to be shared. Other people, especially parents of teenage girls, would want to know how Rachel had fallen through the medical cracks and why she’d kept quiet for fourteen years.

This is not the first book I wrote—years ago, I penned a memoir about my late father, and, recently, two children’s books--but it’s the first I published.

What do you hope readers will take away from it?

I want readers to close Reckless Grace with a clearer understanding of mental illness. I want them to know how painful it is for people—especially adolescents and young adults—to live with serious disorders. I want them to know how often and how long victims live without treatment as their symptoms get more and more unbearable. I want readers to feel the voltage of that suffering so they’ll show those people kindness and/or get earlier and more effective mental health care for themselves or their loved ones. Finally, I hope Reckless Grace makes it to the nightstands of influential individuals, such as doctors and nurses and CEOs of health insurance companies, hospitals, and eating disorder (ED) facilities, inspiring them to review and improve practices and policies that would give young people with co-existing mental illnesses a fighting chance to improve their health and live quality lives. 

Was there ever a time in writing this very personal account of your daughter’s bouts with bulimia and mental illness, that you felt it might be considered a family betrayal or invasion of Rachel’s privacy (particularly the diary inclusions)?


I agonized over how this book would affect Rachel’s father, my ex-husband (“Perry”), who is obviously a flawed character in the book. Rachel revealed how much he disappointed her in some brutally candid entries. Readers can trace many of her heartaches, as well as her attraction to dysfunctional men, who further hurt her, to her father. Worrying that this content would distress my ex, I cut quite a bit. Still, it was important to retain some facts. Fathers need to know how deeply their words and deeds—or lack of them—affect their daughters.  

I did not feel like I was betraying Rachel’s privacy by publishing her journals; on the contrary, I believed I was helping her achieve one of her life goals: to pen her memoir. If I divulged some dark secrets, it was for the greater good, to alert people to the frightening fact that children can be battling severe mental illness without their parents’ awareness; and unless those kids get immediate help, they will suffer and decline. Still, I did not tell all Rachel’s secrets. I withheld some that would have mortified her and others that would have crushed her father and brothers. 

A popular adage states that “for every loss there is a gain.” What would you identify as the greatest gain from penning this compelling memoir?


This project was therapeutic for me. Healing came not just from venting my emotions but also from understanding what had happened. Learning about Rachel’s disorders helped me grasp some of her baffling thought patterns and risky behaviors. Even her grip on substances and downward spiral started to make sense. My comprehension even of this tragic path somehow brought me peace. 

In hindsight, is there anything that you would have done differently?

I would have kept better track of my sources. In college, I was taught to write my sources of information (quotes, paraphrases, and summaries) and source facts (author name, publisher, date, etc.) on three-by-five-inch cards and file them in a little index card box. I thought it was silly and never did it. When starting this project, I nixed the notion again, reasoning that my sources were within reach; my books on mental illness and addiction in one bookcase, and my hardcopies of scholarly studies in another bookcase in three-ring binders, all borrowed material carefully bookmarked with hot pink sticky notes. However, as the project progressed and my sources multiplied, my (slipshod) system began to break down. My proliferating sticky notes began to peel off. Or I forgot to bookmark new sources or remove sticky notes when I cut certain quotes. It became harder and harder to retrieve my original borrowed material when my editor cut sources that I later had to restore. Had these sources been recorded on those silly little cards and alphabetized in that silly little box, I would have saved myself a lot of time and aggravation. 

What has been the most gratifying aspect of publishing the book?

Hearing feedback from readers who have been helped by this book. Last week, on Messenger a woman wrote: “Hi Carolyn. I am almost finished reading Reckless Grace. It took me awhile to be able to read without constantly weeping, broken-hearted over what you, Rachel, and your family all went through. Carolyn, it’s a masterpiece. This is a book that is an essential read. You have given a gift to the world.” 


This week, another woman wrote “I just finished your book. I had a hard time reading it at first since it hit so close to home, but once I got halfway, I just devoured it. Your story resonates SO MUCH with me! Rachel’s journals are incredible. She was such a beautiful writer and expressed her feelings so amazingly. I can’t even tell you the emotions I went through because she articulated so much of what I know Lexi [her daughter] was feeling. Your story really made me realize how much the borderline personality disorder played into Lexi’s inability to handle life situations, and how it drove her to unhealthy coping mechanisms. It has really opened my mind to what caused her struggles. And I can relate so much to your side as a mother - the constant search for help, desperately seeking financing, hope soaring, then the disappointing blow of relapse time and again. I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing honestly and openly.” 

What would it surprise others to know about you?

I suppose because I project this cultured, feminine persona, people are always surprised to find that I like to shoot. Their brows really rise when Phil brags that I hit the bull’s eye more often than he does.

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

I wish I were more imaginative. I envy fiction writers who dream up palpable characters and plausible plots. I think it would be great fun to breathe life into a set of characters, place them in a unique situation, and let them run. I forget which famous author said his characters take on such a life of their own, that he can barely keep up with them. My mind doesn’t work that way. When given a fiction writing prompt, I draw a blank. I’m much more comfortable writing about things I know.

Do you have any other projects in the works that readers can look forward to?

I’m writing a sequel to Reckless Grace, a fantasy that takes place in heaven. 

I know this contradicts what I just said above. I’d need an imagination to write any fantasy. And heaven tops them all: “Eye has not seen, nor has ear heard” how awesome it is (1 Cor. 2:9)." Even as the topic draws me, I quiver a little, wondering if I’ll be able to pull it off.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Carolyn DiPasquale grew up in Franksville, Wisconsin, graduating from UW-Milwaukee with a double major in English and French. In 1983, she moved to Rhode Island where she raised three children while pursuing her Master’s in English at the University of Rhode Island. Over her career, she taught literature and composition at various New England colleges; worked as a technical writer at the Naval Underseas Warfare Center in Newport; and wrote winning grants as a volunteer for Turning Around Ministries, a Newport aftercare program for ex-offenders. She has been an active member of the Newport Round Table, a professional writing group (founded in 1995), since 2013. 

DiPasquale currently lives in Richmond, Rhode Island where she has started working on a sequel to Reckless Grace. She has also ventured into writing children’s books. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and baking with healthy ingredients, hiking and trapshooting with her husband Phil, and volunteering at the New Hope Chapel food pantry in Carolina, Rhode Island.  

Learn more at her site: 

https://www.recklessgracestory.com/


Readers,

Please share your thoughts or questions regarding this interview in the comments section.

 




Friday, June 17, 2022

Announcements and Updates of Interest for June



Greetings, readers!

Well, it's official: summer is finally here in my neck of the woods. Don't know what happened to spring exactly, but we have had several days punctuated by heat advisory warnings. And I'm not loving it. But on a positive note...my rose bushes are so beautiful from all the sun now that they make me blush.

How about you? How are you handling the weather in your corner of the globe?

Today's post will be rather brief, as I prepare for a much needed vacation. Expect to see me again around August 17, 2022 (God willing).

ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR JUNE


JUNE IS BLACK MUSIC MONTH

There's no better time to tap into the soulful sounds of Motown music or classics by Nat King Cole. Or to even explore and discover some new artists on the scene. My personal recommendations are songs by H.E.R. and Muni Long. YouTube is a great place to start.

MY NEW BOOK IS SLATED TO BE RELEASED THIS SUMMER
It's entitled: How to turn your poetry into profit! Published by Cyberwit.net. 
Stay tuned for details.



LOOKING TO STAY BUSY THIS SUMMER AND PERHAPS CASH IN ON YOUR CREATIVITY?

Check out these 270 Best Writing Contests provided by Queryletter.com

https://www.queryletter.com/post/writing-contests-and-competitions

Well, that's a wrap, folks!

Wishing you a safe and super summer.

See you soon.




Image credits: Pixabay.com




 

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Writing With a Pet*Guest Post From Rebecca A. Corio


Blogger's note:

According to Writingandwellness.com: "In a 2017 study of about 250 people at risk for depression, scientists found that those who didn’t own a dog were three times more at risk for depression than those who did own dogs."

"A later study also found that dog ownership reduced loneliness and improved mental well-being."

Now, on to today's post...

Let’s assume that if you are reading this article, you know someone who’s a writer. If you do, you know the pet is as necessary to the process as coffee, wine, or the computer. Maybe even more so. Why is that? 

By nature, writers are solitary creatures who avoid their own kind during a large part of the writing process. Elbows deep in a world the author is creating, with people springing forth from the vast array of rooms in their mind, an author often simply doesn’t have time to devote to other humans. Not when they are busy attending to the wants and needs of the characters they are building from the outside in, or sole to soul. And let’s not forget, we are intent on putting these characters through enough turmoil so they can complete the character growth necessary to claim the prize by that last page. Be it love, world peace, catching the bad guy, finding the relic, winning the race; these things all require our protagonists to go through the wringer, and come out the other side. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for other real time life interruptions.

ENTER THE PET

Usually, multiples of them. While felines and canines may be the most popular, I do not mean to discount the others. They are all worth their weight in antimatter, which runs a cool $80 trillion dollars a gram. (Yes, I looked that up for this article and no, gold didn’t even make the top ten.) Talk to a pet owner and they will explain their furry friend is family. But the relationship is really so much deeper than that. 

You see, the pet is the ultimate listener. They are always ready for your attention and for you to talk to them. For hours. They don’t get tired or bored. Cleo or Fido loves the sound of your voice. Even more, the pet loves that you are talking to them! This allows an author to take any problems or questions with the current work in progress, outside their head and utilize the problem-solving features that engage when the brain is required to put thoughts into vocalized sentences. 

But wait, “pets don’t understand words. You could talk gibberish and they’d wag their tail just the same.” Well, yes, their tail would still wag, and they would still purr. But I have never met a pet owner that didn’t talk to their pet as if it understood every single word. Somehow, they know. They just know.

I should also add that our buddies don’t talk back. They give us their undivided attention. (Well, unless it is a feline, or a canine with a toy.) An author can ramble through their thoughts, shuffling them repeatedly until eureka, the solution is discovered and back to the keyboard they go. Of course, there are a good number of treats and pets to our loyal companion for having helped us. 

The faithful companion fills several other roles for the wild-eyed recluse, hunched over the desk in their writing cave. One, they act as a medical barometer. Instinctively the pet realizes when its human needs food, hydration, to stretch their cramped legs, or even catch a glimpse of the fading last ray of sunshine. Willing to sacrifice itself, the animal will invade the personal space of its owner and by pretending to need these things itself. While caring for the animal, the human will do for itself as well, thus the pet has done its job yet again.

Perhaps the most important role is being able to read the heart and soul of its writer human. The furry writing companion keeps a close eye on what is happening with us. As we dive headlong into the angst and danger of the words flying onto the screen, it is our pet who realizes the exact moment we need rescuing. Often, we don’t even realize this ourselves. Not until a head settles against our leg, or the cat stretches across the keyboard, do we realize there are tears streaming down our face. But our pet does. They are so closely bound to us that every emotion goes through their delicate filtering system, to better enable them to offer comfort, joy, security, whatever it is we need. 

Often you will find our furry friends showing up in our novels. They are too much an integral part of our lives to leave them behind. 

Writing with a pet. . . I can’t imagine writing without one.

About the Author



Rebecca A. Corio

A former farm girl from the Midwest, Rebecca now runs a family restaurant in Hawaii and serves as founder/president of the Bryan Fujikawa Foundation, a non-profit that works with other community organizations to provide meals to underserved families in the community. She hosts a biweekly reader discussion and author chat called Wino Writer Wednesday on Instagram Live. A believer in “love at first sight” and “happily ever after,” Rebecca shares laughter, tears, and passion with readers through the stories she creates. She loves being the sunshine and light for those around her, and the advice she gives most often: When the Universe stops to sprinkle its pixie dust upon you, make sure your arms are open to receive it.

In her debut romance Storm of Passion (TouchPoint Press 11/23/21), Corio devises for readers a tempestuous story of island love and learning to trust in the middle of a storm. Heavily influenced by a connection with nature and drawing from her experience working in security, she creates a setting worthy of an escape, as well as realistic characters and relationship dynamics that everyone will love. 

Connect with Rebecca on Instagram @rebeccaacorio, or learn more at her website: https://rebeccaacorio.com 



Thoughts, readers? Any of you writing with a pet these days? Do tell.



Cat image credit: Randy Richardson
Dog image: Pixabay.com

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Pen & Prosper Celebrates 13 Years in the Blogosphere!

 


Greetings, readers!

Glad to have you here. Glad to have you here particularly for this important anniversary celebration! Not to boast, but anyone who has been a blogger for any length of time can appreciate how much hard work and dedication goes into producing a successful blog---week after week, month after month, year after year. 

Choosing topics, writing posts, scheduling guest posts, scouting for images, responding to comments from readers; it's a tall order, my friends. 

In fact, many start and quit. Over the years I have sadly said goodbye to many of my blogging buddies along the way.

A New York Times article shares the following: " According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web." 

Here are some common reasons many abandon their blogs:

  • Low readership and engagements levels
  • Not enough return on investment (R.O.I.) in other words--too much work for too little return
  • Competing personal demands
  • Compensation/monetization is low
In fact, if you're still blogging (as I am) despite these obstacles, give yourself a pat on the back; you deserve it!

Here are some fun facts regarding my blogging journey (and my creative life) since 2009:


  • Pen & Prosper has received over 740,000 page views to date.
  • There have been 878 posts, with over 8000 comments collectively.
  • Pen & Prosper has been honored as a "Top Writing Blog" for almost 10 of its 13 years.
  • My efforts have been enhanced by many great guest post bloggers; including the famous author of War of the Roses, Warren Adler.
  • When I'm not blogging here, I love writing for other sites, cooking, reading and music.
As I close out this post and prepare for my summer break, I just want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your readership, support, comments, friendship, business relationships and energy!

In the words of famous rapper Tupac Shakur, "You are appreciated!"
Have a great week ahead.

Warmly,

Jen  


Feel free to sign my "Virtual Guest Book" by leaving a comment. :-)




Image credits: Pixabay.com