Dear Novel-in-Progress

24 Feb

The Uptight Hippie

Dear Novel-in-Progress,

I was thinking about you last night while I did the laundry, ate a snack cake, and watched a M*A*S*H marathon.  I was thinking about how I should be working on you, but that I didn’t want to.  I was thinking about how the last several times I sat down to work on you, I was so darn tired that I fell asleep over my keyboard.  I hadn’t slept much, but part of me was worried that it was you, not me.

I was thinking about how hypocritical you are.  Just when I start to get really worried that you’re super boring and could never be a good sequel, I tell a trusted friend about your plot and they tell me how exciting you are.  I should be happy about this, but I feel betrayed.  I mean, why do you have to wait until there’s someone else in…

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Dear Novel-in-Progress

24 Feb

Dear Novel-in-Progress.

Operation Mermaid is done!

1 Dec

I finished Operation Mermaid: The Project Kraken Incident today.

Actually, I just finished the first draft. There’s a lot of editing and polishing that needs to be done. Now, though, I have something I can work with, instead of a lot of unformed ideas. It feels good.

For more information, check out this link:

https://www.facebook.com/operationmermaidprojectkraken?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Unlocking Potential

1 Dec

Unlocking Potential: 7 Coaching Skills That Transform Individuals, Teams, and OrganizationsUnlocking Potential: 7 Coaching Skills That Transform Individuals, Teams, and Organizations by Michael Simpson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from 12 Books Group in exchange for this revies.

This book is about coaching. When most people think of coaching, they think of sports. This can be a useful analogy to what business coaching does. In sports, the coach draws up the plays, analyzes strengths and weaknesses of the other teams, and calls the plays from the sideline or bench. The coach also supervises workout drills, and helps players improve their strengths and fix their weaknesses. The coach can’t actually do the workout, or run the plays; the coach has to rely on the players to do that.

The business coach does many of the same things. The coach can provide guidance, analyze strengths and weaknesses, and draw up a general plan for improvement. The business coach can’t actually do what’s on the plan, that’s up to the individual or business being coached. The author says that the current generation of workers doesn’t want to be micromanaged; I know I don’t. They want to be given a project, given a deadline, and left alone to finish the job. This is similar to their experience in college. The professor gives the assignment, or schedules the exam, and leaves it to the student to figure out how to get it done. They can either plan it out over several weeks, or cram and finish it the night before. As long as the work is done on time, the professor doesn’t care.

The author provides what he sees as the 4 principles of coaching: Trust, Potential, Commitment, and Execution. His 7 Coaching Skills, as mentioned in the subtitle, are these: Build Trust, Challenge Paradigms, Seek Strategic Clarity, Execute Flawlessly, Give Effective Feedback, Tap Into Talent, and Move the Middle. He goes into detail about what questions to ask, and uses examples from his own experience to illustrate them.

I’ve read other books like this, and they tend to devolve into what I call “corporatespeak”, with all kinds of buzzwords that don’t mean anything. Sometimes they’re accompanied by diagrams, many of which don’t make any sense. They also give a lot of ideals that are supposed to turn things around, but the procedures are almost impossible to implement. The author avoids this for the most part. He keeps the diagrams to a minimum, and explains things in real world terms. He makes it clear that it’s up to the employees to make the change.

The one thing I would have appreciated is a website. He gives examples of various forms in the book. Many of these books have a website to download the forms for use in the organization. I didn’t see that here.

All in all, a good book on coaching. In sports, if the team doesn’t perform well, the coach is fired. The same can happen in business coaching.

View all my reviews

Braving Fate

30 Nov

Braving Fate (The Mythean Arcana, #1)Braving Fate by Linsey Hall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for this review.

Note: This book is recommended only for readers 18 and older.

This is the first book by author Linsey Hall. She writes of a world where supernatural beings, called Mytheans, keep the peace between this world and the supernatural. As the book opens, Cadan, one of the guardians, is informed that the spirit of Boudica is being reincarnated. Boudica was a 1st-century Celtic warrior. She led an army that fought the Roman invasion, and nearly won. In the book, Cadan was her husband back in the 1st century. In the US, Diana is a professor of history. She is attacked by a demon, and easily defeats it, much easier than she should have been able to. She then sees a tattoo on her arm of Edinburgh, in Scotland. When she gets there, she meets Cadan, who has been assigned to be her guardian, and who also knows that Diana is the reincarnation of Boudica. Cadan takes her to Immortal University, where guardians work to keep the peace. Diana has to train to fight the mission that brought her back, even though it could lead to her death. I won’t say any more, because I don’t want to give

This was an entertaining book. Immortal University is based on Hogwarts from Harry Potter. There are even a few references to this in the novel. The relationship between Cadan and Diana is described in very graphic detail. (that’s why I put the 18 and older recommendation at the top of the review.) The novel didn’t say anything, but the choice of Diana for the reincarnation of Boudica was very appropriate. Diana was the Roman goddess of the hunt, which the book’s Diana had to do to complete the mission. Diana was also the name of Wonder Woman, and the book’s Diana had to do a lot of physical stunts, although she didn’t have a magic lasso or bulletproof bracelets. The action kept me involved. The plot twists were good, and kept me guessing about most things right up to the very end. Like most romantic novels, though, I could figure out the relationship between Cadan and Diana early on. All in all, a good book. She has 3 more in the series coming out. I look forward to reading them.

View all my reviews

"Fishy" Business; My Life as a Mermaid

28 Nov

“Fishy” Business: My Life as a Mermaid by Raina Mermaid
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Raina’s second book. This one focuses on her personal story since the publication of her first book. She starts with a party she she was working. Things were going somewhat well, when she noticed some kids hanging on her sister, Mermaid Ama. No parents were watching. It threatened to be a bad situation. Fortunately, there were no major injuries, but she did get the idea for a booking agreement, to prevent this from happening again. She is quite candid about her struggles, both business and personal. She started the year with a mountain of debt from college, and some severe physical problems. She has previously stated that she was born prematurely, which may have contributed to her health issues. She also says that being in the water is one thing that consistently helps her pain. She discusses all of the friends she made (although she uses initials instead of names for some of them, I assume for privacy reasons). She also discusses her presentation at NCMerfest in January 2014. She’s quite candid about everything. She talks about her decision to quit her day job and be a full-time mermaid. It was a very risky decision. She also talks about getting serious with her business.

This book shows that the business is not always smooth sailing. There will be challenges, and times when things go wrong. It’s not just slipping on a mermaid tail and showing up. It also, though, shows that anyone can be a professional mermaid. If someone like Raina can make it, so can you. All in all, a good book.

Update since publication: Since this book was published, Raina has had some changes in her life. In the book, she talks about adopting a cat, Chicklet. She now has a second cat, Charlie. She is now an After School Age Educator at Needham Rec Centre in Halifax.

Purchase link for the book: http://www.lulu.com/shop/raina-mermai…

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WINNER!

26 Nov

WINNER!

I just finished 50,000 words of my novel today! I still have to polish it before it’s ready for publication, but this is just a great accomplishment.

For more information, like this page on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/operationmermaidprojectkraken?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Photo: Mockup cover. Not final yet. I'm open to suggestions.