"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

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).



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.

It's entitled: How to turn your poetry into profit! Published by Cyberwit.net. 
Stay tuned for details.


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


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.


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.



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

Image credits: Pixabay.com

Sunday, May 22, 2022

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month


Perhaps now more than ever before, mental health has become a major health issue and social concern.

If you're not convinced, you need look no further than local and national news headlines that underscore just how unhinged some members of our society have become.

Rampant violence; mass shootings; crimes against children; road rage; senseless suicides; and unspeakable acts from every corner of the globe.
People are on edge. Folks have short fuses. Some are ticking time bombs. Factors that make us all potentially vulnerable to an array of scenarios.
Adding insult to injury is living in the age of a Pandemic. Stress, uncertainty, social isolation, job loss, the increased cost of living, depression, death---has taken its toll.
Not to mention, the stigma associated with mental illness that prevents many from seeking help and better functioning. 


  • Covid-19 pandemic triggers 25% increase in prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide.
  • WHO's most recent mental health atlas revealed that in 2020, governments worldwide spent on average just over 2% of their health budgets on mental health. 
  • Additionally, the KFF.org reports that "During the pandemic, about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder."
In an effort to maintain a healthier mental state, peace and clarity during these challenging times, I offer the following tips.
Please note: I am not a psychologist or doctor. And I don't play one on T.V.
Consult a professional, qualified practitioner to address your personal situation and individual needs for optimal results. 


1. Find simple things that give you pleasure and peace on a daily basis. 
There's great validity to the expression, "simple pleasures are the best."  This can be something as small as taking a brief walk outdoors or escaping through a good book. For me? I love the therapy of music; watching comedies; cooking; and writing poetry.

2. Have and maintain a supportive network of friends. 
Chat over the phone, Zoom, host a small, intimate brunch even.

3. Tap into your creativity.
Did you know that journaling and adult coloring books have therapeutic benefits?  
According to an article at Huffpost.com, "In simplest terms, coloring has a de-stressing effect because when we focus on a particular activity, we focus on it and not on our worries. But it also "brings out our imagination and takes us back to our childhood, a period in which we most certainly had a lot less stress." 

4. Don't be ashamed of asking for help.
If you feel overly stressed or stretched, reach out. Talk to a trusted friend. Seek counseling. Be more concerned about your well being than other people's potential judgment.

5. Pray.
There is power in it. It can also provide hope and serve as a needed coping mechanism.

Be well. Be strong. And thanks for reading.

Readers, thoughts here?

Image credits: Pixabay.com

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Create a Buzz About Your Book, Product or Contest!


If you're an author, service provider or contest promoter, you'll definitely want to focus in on today's post, folks.

In my ongoing efforts to advance and enhance my readers and provide greater value to the blogosphere, Pen & Prosper is offering promotional opportunities to boost your visibility and your bottom line. 

  • Would you like to create a buzz about your new book? 
  • Do you have a product, contest or project that would be of interest to bloggers, writers, or people in the creative community?
  • Would you like to share it with an engaged, active community of readers and bloggers?

If so, here are a few promotional activities I currently offer at Pen & Prosper:






* Cover Reveals, Author Interviews, Book Spotlights are available for just $29.00.

Add Pen & Prosper to your next Virtual Book Tour Stop!

* Side-Bar Banners--Rates vary depending upon the size and frequency of the ad campaign. 



1. A very active, engaged, broadly-based readership with more than 
700,000 page views to date
2. A long, consistent, respected standing in the blogging community (12 years and counting with numerous awards)
3. Affordable rates with great R.O.I. (return on investment)
4. Increased traffic to your site


1. Get in touch and request a date and desired type of promotion:

Email me at Gemsjen@yahoo.com.

2. Purchase a service by choosing the Paypal yellow "buy now" button in the right side bar margin.

3. Submit author's bio, book details, book cover, Amazon link and headshot (where applicable).


Feel free to reach me @ Gemsjen@yahoo.com today or via the comments section!

Thanks for your readership. I look forward to partnering for your success.

Image credits: Pixabay.com

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Motivational Quotes For May to Move You Forward

 Happy May!

Though the calendar signifies spring, it's hard to recognize in my neck of the woods. Here in my region we've had recent snow, rain of biblical proportions, and periodic frost warnings. Not to mention, rose bushes in my yard are yet to fully bloom. Drats!

I'm not sure if Mother Nature is on vacation or whether she needs a nudge to usher in the warm weather most of us have been waiting for, but until spring officially arrives, here are some motivational quotes to warm your spirit, inspire better living and keep you moving. 

Feel free to add your favorites in the comments section.

Motivational Quotes For May, 2022:

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." ---Walt Disney

"One person can make a difference, and everyone should." ---John F. Kennedy

"Be like the birds--Sing after every storm."

"To get what you want, STOP doing what isn't working."---Earl Warren

"Don't be frustrated by your inexperience--all green things inevitably grow." 

"Step with great care and great tact, and remember that life's a Great Balancing Act."---Dr. Seuss

"The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do."---Kobe Bryant

"Live today fully and you create a lifetime of meaningful memories."

"The time is always right to do what is right."---Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."---Alan Kay

"Be still and know that I am God."---Psalms
"Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will." ---Zig Ziglar

Thoughts, readers?
Any quote you'd like to add here?
Have a great week ahead.

Image credits: Pixabay.com


Wednesday, April 6, 2022

4 Reasons to Practice Poetry Even if You're Not a Poet


If you’re looking for more actionable ways to improve your writing for a  competitive edge, appeal to broader readerships, and boost your bottom line, here’s the secret sauce: get better acquainted with poetry.

That’s right. Even if you’re not a poetry practitioner, there is value in verse.

And I should know. 

HERE’S THE 4-1-1...

Long before I became a features writer for national magazines, a monthly columnist and an award-winning content creator, I fell in love with language initially through poetry.

Though my work has matured and evolved from those original poems penned about puppy love in my teens, many of the techniques and applications associated with this genre have served me well.

And they can do the same for you too. 

According to Iuniverse.com: “Poetry can help writers of all breeds, be they novelists or nonfiction writers, to improve their craft. The ability to play music to the reader through words or conjure some unforgettable images is something all writers aspire to achieve.”

Since this is National Poetry Month, let’s explore a few practical reasons to practice poetry to enhance your writing career and your bottom line.



Poetry in its very nature is intended to be brief but substantive. A good example is the Haiku (a Japanese poem that uses only 3 lines and 17 syllables). Writing poetry has helped me to consistently adhere to strict word limits established for creative projects via writer’s guidelines. Shorter pieces also can save time and increase productivity. The practice of poetry has taught me to be intentional in how I share my messages and how I connect with an audience. Remember, “less is sometimes more.” 


Devices such as the use of metaphors, imagery, hyperbole and rhythm. Poetry is to writing what spices and herbs are to cooking.


The increased popularity (and awareness) of poetry has now created an abundance of markets that actually pay for work. (Thanks, Amanda Gorman!)  Some publications in fact compensate us very nicely. For example, THREE PENNY REVIEW pays $200.00 for accepted pieces published at their site.

Check out their guidelines here:



Consider poets such as e.e. cummings, Ogden Nash, Maya Angelou, Amanda Gorman--even Dr. Seuss! 

Study poetry to break away from cookie-cutter content.


If you’re on board with learning more about poetry to hone your craft in 2022, here are a few resources:





Thoughts, readers? Do you pen poetry? 

Do tell.

Image credits: Pixabay.com