A Short Lettin’-Ya-Know Post

Hey, it’s Rey!  I thought I’d post for our Boss today.  It’s super short and sweet.  😊

We’re all pumped . . . Forever Poi, our third official case as P.I.s from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency, is being made into an audio book. Kathy Handrock, who narrated Coco’s Nuts, the last one, is doing it again. 

To give you a quick rundown, Poi has us—me Rey, my cousin JJ, and my BFF Linda—out to solve a double-arson and murder. 

111pexels-pixabay-270815Just who torched two Chinatown art galleries and left two charcoal-broiled bodies in the ashes?  Are the arsonist and killer the same person?  We tend to think so—but the list of possible culprits gets pretty long pretty quickly. 

The day before the fire, Carlos, one of the arson victims, had a nasty break-up with his partner, James-Henri.  There were financial issues, too.  Maybe James-Henri wanted to collect on the insurance and/or be rid of his lover?  What about the second victim, Mary-Louise Crabtree?  She was a former queenpin so, given her sketchy past, maybe an old rival decided to finally do her in?  If that’s the case, was Carlos simply collateral damage?

We’re hired by a new friend, insurance adjuster Xavier Shillingford, to help in the investigation. 

Yup, we have our work cut out for us but we love every minute of the challenge(s) and danger(s) . . . just as we’d love it if you checked out how we go about solving this crazy case.  😊

Pat on the Back . . . #2

Still feeling pretty darn good . . . so much so, I felt compelled to once again post about the great news from Next Chapter.   😊

They recently informed me that The Connecticut Corpse Caper has reached a high sales rank in several marketplaces—including Amazon, Kobo, B&N, Google Play and Apple.  Thank you, Next Chapter!

A cozy with grit (and a bit of wit), Caper is the first book in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series.  It takes place in a haunted mansion, replete with hidden passageways, a singing ghost, nasty storms, and curious characters.

Along with a handful of potential inheritance recipients, Jill Jocasta (later known as JJ), Rey, and Linda are to stay at wacky Aunt Mat’s creepy abode for a week.  If anyone leaves before the end of the stipulated timeframe, their share of the inheritance will be split by those remaining.

1awhiteboxStrange noises start to sound.  Odd events transpire.  Bodies begin to drop.  Pulling on amateur sleuth caps, JJ, Rey, and Linda investigate the bizarre goings-on.  Others join in.  And the mayhem commences.

Perhaps you’d like to learn how JJ, Rey, and Linda were “inspired” to become professional private eyes . . . founders of their own agency . . . on the beautiful island of Oahu, no less?  They and I would love it if you did.  😊

Saying No

I wish I could, oh my yes, say no.

Saying no is next to impossible for me.  As such, I end up committing to things that take me away from my own plans and desires.  Nothing wrong with that now and again—and it’s a rather unselfish thing to do, which is good—but at the cost of losing one’s own identity or life or dreams is probably not the way to go.

The intention was to write this from a writer’s/blogger’s perspective (to remain organized and on schedule). It became apparent, however, that no matter what our profession, we need to remain focused and motivated as much as possible, despite the various events and trials in our lives.  Easier said than done . . . but not done if not said.

Why is it difficult for me/us to say no—unequivocally and firmly (and without hesitation or a quivering lip or twitching eye)?  For me, it’s probably because I don’t want to disappoint someone and/or feel bad (guilty) for declining to do something.  For others, it may be that they don’t want to be perceived as self-centered or indifferent.

Occasionally, I will say no, but then add something to “soften the blow”.

♦ “No, I can’t help you right now, I’m working on an important project.”  ♦  “No, I can’t, sorry.  I’ve got an appointment.”  ♦  “No, my mom’s expecting me at three.”

The problem with these?  The asker can request I assist at a later time, when I am free/ready (I’ve fallen into this trap a few times, which serves me right for fudging and waffling).

My cousin has no qualms about saying no—affirmatively <he-he> and regularly.  If she doesn’t want to do something, she won’t.  Period.  And she won’t blink an eye.  (Gotta love that resolve.)

As she states, just say it.  It will be difficult at first, of course, but practice makes perfect.  And don’t allow yourself to be manipulated (I do, so easily).  Stand firm.  Stand strong.  No means no.  You won’t do it now and you won’t do it later.

My mother was great at manipulating me.  I’d bend over backwards to do something for her (and many times I didn’t want to or see the logic of doing what was asked).  Family members may be the hardest people to say no to, and this I can attest to.  Of course, there are certain emotional/mental factors that can play a part, given relationship dynamics and all that, but that’s another can of worms, uh, kettle of fish.

It’s said if an honest comment (not a disparaging or criticizing one) isn’t accepted with the good intention it’s delivered, then the recipient likely isn’t a true friend / caring individual.  If that’s the case, is it so wrong to say no if that’s truly how you wish to reply?

Recognize someone for who he/she is.  Don’t soften your response/stance to avoid him/her, or you, feeling uncomfortable.  Do the right thing.

Give thought to what saying yes entails.  Do you really want to do it?  Will it take away from your time (work, schedule, needs)?  How will you feel after you’ve done it?  Happy you accomplished something [for another person]?  Resentful that you gave away your much-needed time/energy?  Angry [at yourself] because—once again—you couldn’t say no?  Exhausted . . . ?

no-nodding. . . Don’t be afraid to say yes to saying no.

Professional” Review$ . . . ?

As eager [excited] writers, we’re always hoping someone will post a positive review of our work.  Unfortunately, for someone like me, who doesn’t do any promotion or marketing or networking—long story not short but hoping to change the ending soon—I can only do that (hope).

I’ve reached out the odd time to virtual friends for advice—and they’ve been amazing with their support and recommendations—but, alas, time has never been an ally.  But hoping to change that, too.  The plan?  Reach out to various review sites/blogs to see if I might garner a review or two.

I hear, though, reviews are about as difficult to get these days as winning the lottery—unless you pay for them, of course.  . . . Pay for them?  How much?  How often?  Will I/we get the [right] bank for our buck?  I personally can’t shell out $200+ to a single review service, never mind several (maybe when I win that lottery, but certainly not now).

They say a five-star review from a well-know site—a qualified reviewer—would carry more weight than one from a fellow struggling writer or blogger with limited reach.  Maybe.  I’m not so sure, personally, but maybe those who state that are those searching [yearning] to make $ome $.

Why am I on the fence?  Because I don’t read reviews.  I base a “will read” decision on the book itself.  Firstly (usually), the title and/or cover have to grab my attention—enough that I am curious to check out the first few pages.  If I like what I read, Bob’s your uncle.  That’s how I make my decision whether I’ll commit time and energy to a book.  Maybe others do, too.

One thing to remember: if you do pay a “qualified reviewer” and he/she doesn’t like your book, ouch, you’re out some serious bucks, as well as that review (because you sure as {bleep} aren’t going to want it published).

It’s a tough call, and a personal one.  If you have the money to pay for reviews from reputable sites/reviewers—and do your due diligence because you don’t want to get taken—then go for it.  It may prove a worthwhile investment.  If you don’t have the money?  Why not simply ask?

I’ve seen many fellow writers request reviews.  Where?  In their books, for starters!  On their blogs/websites.  On social media.  In posts on authors/publishers site.  Yu-up, that’s what I’ll be doing . . . when t-i-m-e [finally] allows.  😉

Commenting or Criticizing?

You’d think we could make [a little bit of] an effort to be kinder, less harsh and critical.  You’d think we could endeavor [just a tad] to be more encouraging—not just of friends and families, but those unfamiliar to us.

I belong to various writing/publishing groups and enjoy most posts I read: they offer advice, support, accomplishments, projects, struggles, challenges, updates, input, or greetings.  I learn a few things and “meet” new people, fellow writers and/or editors.  It’s all good, as the saying goes.

For the most part, people who follow or visit those groups are pleasant, happy to share stories and/or pat one another on the back.  It’s three-bears-porridge heartwarming.  Then, the odd time, you come across someone who believes they are gifted and talented, so much so they have no qualms about blasting others for how they write or scoffing about viewpoints they hold.  I came across one of those quite recently and, I suppose, it prompted me to post this.

Criticism—slating—isn’t productive.  I believe we all know that.  Yet some people have no compunction about disparaging others.  They don’t seem to recognize the negative impact (or maybe they do, which would make it all the sadder) their “opinion” creates; they don’t realize (or wish to acknowledge perhaps) that they’re being critical.  They’re merely expressing a view, providing a comment.

Any posts that censure or belittle someone are far from views or comments; they’re outright criticisms.

No one’s perfect, save maybe the critic who believes he/she is multi-talented/skilled; he/she is as close to excellent as anyone can get (and how blessed are you?).  Accepting one another for who and what we are—faults and flaws and all—seems too utopian to be doable.  But wouldn’t it be nice . . . ?

The point of this post?  Not a lot, to be honest.  I’ve no mind to detail the psychological and related reasons behind criticism (can you spell y-a-w-n?).  There’s no desire to provide steps to becoming less critical.  You can always research it on-line if you’re so inclined.  I’m only . . . humbly . . . expressing a view.  😉

11111111clipartkeyMaybe I’ll just end with a well-known, often-used phrase: if you’ve got nothing good to say, don’t say it.

Finding . . . Me-Mo

. . . as in ma, mi, mu, me, mo . . .

Couldn’t resist . . . do enjoy playing with titles now and again.  😊

Ma, mi, mu, me, mo, by the by, are Japanese characters.  They belong to the hiragana alphabet . . .

12047_01

Today is a bit of an aside—i.e., not related to books or editing/proofing, and the like.  It’s about my new adventure on the journey down the road called Life.

It’s been challenging settling into a new way of life, finally being on my own.  Yes, there’s still lots of mom-care, but she’s being taken care of by some very fine folks.  Now that I have a little more “me” time (when I’m not working 12-hour days for the “9-5”, ha-ha), I’m pursuing one of my long-wanted desires: to learn Japanese.  I had my first class this past Monday.

Is it difficult?  You betcha (as Rey may say)!  And who knew there were three alphabets?!  Hiragana, as displayed above, katakana and kanji.  One is daunting enough to learn, but three?  Well, I say, bring it on . . . one challenge at a time.  😉

So far, I’m finding that repetition works.  I “recite” during daily walks.  Mnemonics work too (for me); the visualization component helps immensely.  My intention is to give this introductory class everything I’ve got; maybe maybe maybe, I might just aim for certification.  But, for now, one day—er, class—at a time.

Wish me luck (because I will need it).  Arigatou.

The Eagle has Landed

Not really, but it makes for a great dramatic heading/title.  😉

Actually, what’s landed is the landing page for . . . me.  (Thanks once more, Next Chapter.)

https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/tyler-colins

Per Next Chapter, this landing page receives considerable traffic via their marketing platform’s Facebook and Google Ads advertising campaigns, as well as book back links.  The goal is to have appealing, easily navigated page(s).

Amazon, Apple, B&N, Kobo and Google Books and all major marketplaces can be found on the Buy Button.

Perhaps you might take a second and check out my landing page . . . and help out a fellow writer/blogger . . . and very hopeful gal?   I’d truly welcome any and all feedback.  😊

The Piece de Resistance . . . or, at least, A Post Piece

As promised the trio last week, I’m providing a post piece of a creative/fictional nature.  Well, not really, it’s just a speedily penned piece containing a flurry of thoughts.

Cliffhanging

Do you hang on the words of someone’s promise?  Dangle at the edge of a precarious decision?  Clasp the present moment as if there’s no future?  Refuse to peer below for fear of what may lie waiting?  A suspenseful situation, hanging from a cliff . . . but not entirely scary.

Life hands you lemons; you make lemonade (I’ve made many a pitcher).  There’s validity in that familiar phrase, like the one about the light at the end of the tunnel or miracles do happen or [fill in with expression of preference].

Some of us may be pessimists or, at the very least, sceptics . . . as opposed to septics, of course, which may not actually be all that different in the great scheme of things: cynical versus toxic.  Then, positivity proves limited.

There’s something to be said for maintaining a positive outlook, embracing faith.  If you don’t believe, how could something good come your way?  How could encouraging, optimistic feelings and forces enfold you if negative ones encase you like a huge glass bubble? 

Cliffhanging is electrifying and testing . . . daunting to be sure . . . but it could also prove thrilling [enjoyable].  Confront negativity, face fear.  Hang on, hold on.  Refuse to let go.  Gaze below.  What will you see?  A never-ending expanse of jagged concrete?  Or a vast field of downy daisies? 

Will fear stop you cold?  Or will faith empower you to embrace the unknown?

cliffOnce cliffhanging’s been mastered, what’s to prevent cliffdiving

Just a flurry of frivolous, fragmented thoughts.  Far from a pièce de résistance . . . but a postable piece . . . kind of, sort of, maybe. 😉

A Good Day for Shameless Self-Promotion(s)

Despite the trio’s prodding (nagging) re my providing a creative/fictional post piece as they did recently, I felt compelled to push them . . . as in promoting the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.  JJ, Rey, and Linda have solved some challenging cases in the last while and it seemed a great time to share them again—thanks to Next Chapter!   😊

We have a few more landing pages, which help in the traffic to various marketplaces; given the gals so enjoy telling their tales, the more places, the better.  😉  If you have a minute or three, perhaps you might check them out?  We’d welcome your feedback.

The Connecticut Corpse Caper, which had been posted about not long ago, details some sinister goings-on at a haunted mansion.  Hidden rooms and secret passageways are dark and dank . . . and deadly.  Donning amateur sleuth caps, the women soon determine that solving mysteries might make for an interesting career.  Professional P.I.s anyone . . .?

https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/the-connecticut-corpse-caper

Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie, Coco’s Nuts, and Forever Poi showcase three official P.I. jobs JJ, Rey and Linda readily [enthusiastically] accept.  They have their work cut out for them.  Every one provides trails and tribulations (and we won’t mention nutcases) not yet encountered.  But learning is part of the process.  And dealing with murderers that seem quite skilled at what they do, is tricky if not tough.  Yes, they err a few times but, eventually, they figure things out . . . and rather successfully, too.

https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/can-you-hula-like-hilo-hattie

https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/cocos-nuts

https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/forever-poi

1whitebox1On a final note, Coco’s Nuts is being made into an audio book (narrated by Kathy Handrock)!  Can you spell e-x-c-i-t-i-n-g?  😊

Another Post Piece . . . Paradise Defined

As shared previously, the gals at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency—JJ, Rey, and Linda—have started a creative writing course.  Linda and Rey have provided their pieces; now, JJ’s up to bat.  She did a lot of head-scratching, but finally penned something she’s relatively pleased to post (based upon the homeless folks she’s befriended in and around the agency).

One Person’s Paradise, Another’s . . .

They live amid the banyans, in parks and along shorelines, in man-made tents of cardboard, broken surfboards, and/or plastic fastened with frayed ropes.  Men, women, children, aged a few months, aged countless years.  Poverty and hardship never discriminate.

They saunter along crisp sun-dried grass, scorching white sand, and searing-hot sidewalks under a magnificent blue sky.  A brilliant rainbow arcs across a cove under a delicious lemon-tart-yellow sun.  It whispers of a promise—a better tomorrow—and prompts a smile or two.

Mike believes in those rainbows.  He’ll return to his home state in a little while.  Just as soon as he collects enough cash.  As soon as he stops spending it all on booze.  He likes his drink.  Many do.  But Mike doesn’t drink to toast friends, celebrate, or rejoice in good fortune; he does so to forget, to ease the pain and loneliness.

Mike’s been labeled “undesirable”.  He’s fine with that.  Always has been.  As he says with a weary smile, “It is what it is.”  A few persons he meets on his journey seem to care; they offer a sympathetic smile and a small handout, say hello and buy him a bite.  Others ignore him as if he’s transparent, a street fixture, or dog poo left on a curb by a careless, unthinking owner.

Being homeless isn’t a choice.  It’s misfortune, a disastrous event.  Sometimes such an event can be remedied; sometimes not.  Life is not always predictable and unforeseen/unpreventable circumstances can push people like Mike onto the streets.  As some might claim, “shit happens”.  Like dog poo alongside a curb.

Mike would welcome another chance.  If only he could lay off the booze.  It consumes him as he does it.  Liberally.  He’s a nice guy, with soul and heart.  Sadly, not everyone bothers to find that out, save for those who live with him amid the banyans . . . in man-made tents . . . of fragmented dreams . . . .

Perhaps I’ll provide a “piece” next time (and, in the interim, I suspect I’ll be doing some serious head-scratching myself, LOL).

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