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Aliens by Neetu

November 26, 2021 by in category Poet's Day by Neetu Malik tagged as , , , ,


Wind-blown seeds
land in unknown soil

in hopes that they will grow
into trees
strong and dense with leaves
heavy with fruit
in fertile ground
where rivers do not
run dry

they do not yet know
what winds and snows
await them
in seasons to come

how frost might freeze
tender sprouts.

© Neetu Malik

Some of Neetu’s Books



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To Tell the Truth by Veronica Jorge

November 22, 2021 by in category Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , , , ,

I often enjoyed watching the 1960s game show, To Tell the Truth. It still airs today with the current host Anthony Anderson. The premise of the show consisted of the following. The host read a description of an individual’s particular accomplishment, experience, or unusual occupation. Three contestants claimed to be the person described. Panelists posed a series of questions in order to discover which of the three was the true individual introduced by the host. The show ended with the line, ‘Will the real___please stand up,’ to the surprise, applause and/or dismay of the panelists and audience.

Which brings me to the Thanksgiving Holiday and the various controversies and disputes about who started the first Thanksgiving. So, I engaged in my own version of To Tell the Truth to discover the real inventor of Thanksgiving.

1565 The Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez de Aviles celebrated a thanksgiving dinner in St. Augustine Florida with the local Timucua tribe to thank God for his crew’s safe arrival.

1619 Thirty-eight British settlers who arrived on the banks of the Virginia and James River designated December 4th as “a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

1789 George Washington proclaimed a day of thanksgiving at the conclusion of the War for Independence.

1863 Abe Lincoln officially set the last Thursday of November to mark the day for “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

So, who is the real inventor? 

The truth is that the concept of giving thanks and celebrating harvests is an ancient and global tradition.

Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Native Americans feasted and paid tribute to their gods after the harvest. Jews celebrate the harvest festival of Sukkot, Ghana and Nigeria the Yam Festival, Erntedankkfest in Germany, and the Moon Festival in China, to name a few.

Thanksgiving feasts are celebrated worldwide to commemorate a safe journey, welcome a newborn, move into a new home, land a lob, overcome an illness, and maybe even after writing and selling your first book.

I am persuaded that thanksgiving is ingrained within each of us and spontaneously emanates from our hearts in response to circumstances, people, and events. Regardless of our culture or nationality, we inherently give thanks and rejoice with one another.

When I gather with my loved ones this Thanksgiving, I will be grateful for those who are still here, and for those who have passed on but still live in our hearts. I will give thanks for this country that has made life possible for us, and pray that others may find help and safety here too.

So, who then is the real first inventor of thanksgiving?  The one who instilled it in our hearts.

Or as Lincoln said, “the beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”

Wishing you all much joy and many reasons for a Happy Thanksgiving.

See you next time on December 22nd.

Veronica Jorge

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Give Writers a Gift They’ll Love by Kitty Bucholtz

November 16, 2021 by in category It's Worth It by Kitty Bucholtz, Writing tagged as , , , , ,

If there’s one thing I love to hear, it’s someone telling me that they’re a writer. I immediately go into instant-friend mode and ask them about what they’re writing. It may not be something I’m interested in, but nonetheless we have a connection.

 And if there’s one thing I love even more, it’s someone telling me that they just published their book. Traditional or indie publishing, I’m thrilled for them. I know the feeling of accomplishment and nerves coming together to form a potent cocktail!

That’s why I became a writing coach. To help people get through the valleys of self-doubt and procrastination, over the mountains of rewriting and learning new things, into the bright land of accomplishment – now they have finished their book.

While I like the idea of a Black Friday sale, and have done my share of shopping that day over the years, I don’t like the feeling of the pressure to BUY NOW. So I’m offering a special from now through the end of 2021 – a full seven weeks to decide and act. If you or a friend has a book they’re stuck on, or someone you know has always wanted to write a book but only has false starts so far, how about the gift of a book coach this year?

My rates will go up in January, but for the rest of this year I’m actually going to discount my rate. My most popular six-month Finish Your Book 1:1 Coaching package includes a live-on-Zoom recorded 60-minute call twice a month, helping the writer through the plotting or the writers block or the brainstorming – whatever the writer needs that week, plus feedback on 20 manuscript pages of work each month, and membership in our twice weekly writing sprint group. Normally $2750, and increasing to $3000 in January, this package is $2500 when paid in full by December 31 (or six monthly payments of $500).

I know that the cost is only half of the question we ask ourselves when deciding whether to do something – the other half of the “should I” question is time. To help you feel more comfortable that your friend will actually use this gift, I’m giving the recipient a full year to begin their six-month coaching program. We can book our first session together anytime between now and December 31, 2022.

There are only two things that I have to limit – I have a limited number of spots open since this is one-on-one time together, not group coaching, and it’s best that I meet with people first to make sure we have a connection and they’re writing something I can help them with.

If you’d like to talk to me about a friend you’d like to gift this to, or if you’d like to send your friend to me directly, you can book a 30-minute call with me here on my scheduler. (If the times look a little weird to you, I live in Sweden now, so I’m 6 hours ahead of Eastern time, 9 hours ahead of Pacific time.)

Remember, if you or your friends don’t need a writing coach, there are plenty of other things you might want to ask for or give to the writers in your life this year! There’s the MasterClass group of courses, wonderful for inspiration and tips from the writers there, but also fantastic for research for your next protagonist. They also have a 2-for-1 membership special as of the day this posts.

Bryan Cohen has a Kickstarter for his new book Self-Publishing with Amazon Ads through December 3, which includes lots of rewards at higher levels.

Mark Dawson has lots of video-based courses on his Self Publishing Formula website on writing craft, production, and marketing.

And then there’s the gift of time. Give your writer friend an hour of time every month to encourage or help them. Get a group of friends together for weekly writing sprints, or join my Finish Your Book Membership Group and join us twice a week (email me for details — kitty at kittybucholtz dot com).

Ask for a two-hour monthly or weekly block from your family and keep it like a doctor’s appointment, no rescheduling, no interruptions. Maybe even give that two-hour block back to them to do something they’ve been wanting to do more of (golfing, hiking, playing a video game together). You can even send the link to this post to people who are wondering what they can give you this year. 😉

Do you have other favorite gift ideas for writers? Share them in the comments!

Whatever you decide to do, for yourself or for a friend, I hope it leads to the joy of creation and, eventually, the even greater joy of having a(nother) published book. Happy Writing!

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ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE: TY’s to Readers and Writers

November 15, 2021 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster tagged as , , ,

I received my first fan letter 36 years ago from a lady named Bev. I wrote back a thank you note. She wrote back. I wrote back. Bev was the first, but she wasn’t the last to write to me. I have met the most wonderful, interesting, smart, and kind people all because we share a love for a good story. Some of these fan-friends even show up in my books (with their permission of course). New friendships are the priceless benefits of writing and the bottom line is that those friendships start because one person reached out to say thank you. This seems the perfect time to offer a few suggestions for readers who want to thank their favorite author for the hours of entertainment, and authors who want to send the love back.


A follow on Twitter or Facebook is great, but interacting with your favorite author on those platforms is truly special. One of my favorite followers is a truck driver who posts pictures from the road. I love getting a shout out while she is on her travels.

Every author has a contact form on their website. Send your favorite storyteller an email or, better yet, snail-mail. A quick note about how much you enjoyed a specific book and ‘keep writing’ encouragement is priceless.

Reviews on Amazon, Goodreads or any other review platform is the best way to show your gratitude for the months – sometimes years – an author has spent writing a book.

Finally, if the spirit moves you, share your art or passion. I have been honored to receive a crocheted blanket from a reader, another sent needles from her mother’s sewing kit because she knew I sewed and her mother had enjoyed my books. One reader – a woman in the U.S. Army – sent me a pair of combat boots!


When you get a fan letter, write back. Auto responses or an assistant written messages are no-nos. It’s so easy to discover the person behind the letter, so take a little time to look at Twitter and Facebook profiles. Maybe you’ve been to her* hometown. Perhaps she just got married or has sent her kids back to school. Do her posts show pets or hobbies that you share? Personalize your letter if you can. Always let her know you are thankful that she wrote, and for the time she spent reading your work. Remember your readers are a family of fans, so showing genuine gratitude should be second nature.

Every once in a while, when the situation calls for it, I send a gift to someone special like a homebound reader, or a young writer who has asked for advice. This is usually a book, but I’ve also sent a little glass jar filled with sand from Hermosa Beach where Josie Bates plays volleyball. Of course, we can’t do this for everyone, but sometimes a special situation calls for it.

Finally, if a reader asks you to speak to a local (and I stress local)group or book club, do it. In person interaction is energizing and your fan will love you for it.

So, Happy Thanksgiving all. I appreciate everyone who has spent the time reading this post, who has ever read one of my books, the person who is thinking about reading one of my books, and all those wonderful readers who follow me on my social platforms. And now, since I’m a reader too, I think I’m going to go write a note to my favorite author…just to say thanks.

*PS Men write fan letters too, and being contacted by a fiction-reading guy is really a great feeling! And yes, click Hostile Witness. It’s free. My way of saying thank you.


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LOST WITNESS: A Josie Bates Thriller
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Happy Hallothanksgivingmas by D. T. Krippene

November 13, 2021 by in category From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group tagged as , , , , ,

In case you missed it, Halloween was the starting gun for blubber season. Nothing like ingesting bags of candy to get things rolling. If you were diet-conscious, bars of hyperactive-inducing sugar were available in “mini” sizes – an oxymoron if ever there was.  Local stores stocked shelves in August, but those who waited until the first of October to purchase might have been disappointed. Space was needed to make room for Christmas decorations. 

What happened to Thanksgiving?  People already have their Christmas trees up before the turkey is bought. When did it become the norm to play holiday music before we’ve had a chance to scrape egg off the front door because we left the lights off on Halloween? I feel as if all three holidays have been smooshed together, with Thanksgiving wedged between the others as a wannabe. 

Thanksgiving is the day we’re expected to watch a New York City parade with inane commentary and vintage cartoon characters nobody remembers. We see relatives that hadn’t graced our door for a year, then remember later why. It’s a sacred celebration where the arrangement of food on an individual plate becomes a science, and we gorge like our prehistoric forbearers when they felled a mammoth.  Would you like leg meat or trunk?  

Food offerings are as varied and quirky as our relatives. What is left on the plate when finished, like Aunt Mildred’s cranberry-scrapple gelatin mold, returns every year so everyone can hate it all over again.  The meal is often mid-day, to allow for slumbering digestion to the spa-like sounds of slamming athletic helmets on TV, followed by an encore visit to the kitchen.  Always lots of cranberry-scrapple gelatin left. 

I put some of the blame on conscientious health fanatics who chagrin our tendency for culinary excess. We live in a time of Paleo diets and CrossFit training.  Paleo is defined as what our prehistoric ancestors foraged before animal husbandry and agriculture, which to me, suggests anything that moved was fair game.  CrossFit is defined as a conditioning program that employs “constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad modal and time domains.” I’ve always thought of the annual gorge as a high-intensity workout, but since it doesn’t occur across broad time and modal domains, I’m guessing it doesn’t count. 

Maybe what we need is a different kind of Thanksgiving event that appeals to people like me whose exercise regimen consists of rolling out of bed. Let’s call it the Blubber Trot. Participants hop about with flabs of steel barely contained by Kevlar reinforced spandex. The first hundred finishers get to be first in line at the communal Horn-of-Plenty table. Those who don’t finish have to watch Hunger Games without popcorn. Paying spectators will be allowed to wander the leftover carnage and ask, “Are you going to eat that?”

As always, I’ll be flexing my Thanksgiving consumption with extreme prejudice. Once I’m done filling my gastrointestinal cistern with enough calories to heat a small city, I’ll need a solid concrete cap on that toxic well.  I’m going for the pumpkin cheesecake. 

Hats off to the intrepid writers immersed in NaNoWriMo. I hope your hard-working efforts don’t result in a take-out Thanksgiving meal or relegated to turkey sandwiches with a side order of cranberry sauce that retains the shape of the can it came in. 

Happy Hallothanksgivingmas to one and all. 

Anthologies with D. T. Krippene’s Stories

Other books from Bethlehem Writers Group

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