I knew Sally Paradysz for a brief time, yet I will miss the sweet wedge that she was on, A Slice Of Orange.
I admired her thankful nature; always attune to the many things to be grateful for, and ever aware that brambles and branches are not obstacles, but opportunities for creating new pathways and making marvelous discoveries.
Therefore, I thought it fitting, at this Thanksgiving season, to devote my post to Sally.
Gentle, kind and sincere, her writings and comments hinted at something more and offered a glimpse toward something greater. I have to believe that it was her faith in God that inspired her words and her actions.
So, giving thanks is how I will always remember Sally. And I will ever see her and think of her like the image I selected for this post; her words spreading kindness and her open heart and hand sprinkling light and hope on all she knew and touched.
Sally Paradysz, may you rejoice in Paradise.
See you next time on December 22nd.
Manager, Educator, and former High School Social Studies teacher, Veronica credits her love of history to the potpourri of cultures that make up her own life and to her upbringing in diverse Brooklyn, New York. Her genres of choice are Historical Fiction where she always makes new discoveries and Children’s Picture Books because there are so many wonderful worlds yet to be imagined and visited. She currently resides in Macungie, PA.
My favorite part is the research; learning more about magic, spells, historical witches and current practices. Healing crystals and common rituals intrigue me and I love visiting stores, books and websites that focus on the use of crystals and gemstones to improve life for us mere mortals. I’ve met some of the most interesting people while scouring through New Age shops from Carlsbad to Solvang and often model my characters after those I’ve met. I fill my stories with light-hearted spells, mystical facts and quirky characters intended to make each book not only engaging and believable but also colored with unique, factual details.
But lately I’ve received some rather interesting e-mails, Facebook, Twitter and website contacts from readers—that have me wondering. I’ve paraphrased a couple and cleaned up one in particular.
I just finished your book – Have you cast a spell on me? I think I’m in love. (So, okay, that one was actually kind of cute.)
Can you cast a spell on me? My life sucks!
Can you cast a spell for me? I want to be rid of him…or her…or them…for good! (Heavy!)
Are you bewitched…are you sure? How can you be certain?
I’ve even been asked if I use frogs when creating my home-grown spells, prefer to wear the color black or know any single, available witches. (I cleaned up that last request!) My favorite comment dealt with the fact that the witches in all of my stories live at the beach—New Moon Beach. “I understand you live in Southern California and I have visited many of the beaches there. Unfortunately, I am very disappointed to tell you that I have not had even one witch sighting yet. Can you please direct me to the correct beach?” Hmm…
Sure, I write about the supernatural and I always try to include interesting magically accurate tidbits – not only in my books but also in my monthly newsletters. (If you’d like to receive my newsletter just sign up at my website www.meriamwilhelm.com – You can also find all of my books there!
However, although I’m tempted to say otherwise, and I hope I don’t disappoint you too badly – I am not a practicing witch. Yes, I love to dress in black – who doesn’t? I wear healing crystals all of the time and really do believe in their powers. I’ve met several attractive witches over the last couple of years – but I have no idea if any of them are single or available. And no frog has ever been injured during the conjuring of any of my literary spells.
I will continue to quench my curiosity by searching out new and entertaining bits of info about the supernatural world of magic. And I hope that you’ll consider jumping into one or more of my stories. Oh, if you have anything magically interesting that you’d like to share with me just send me an email at email@example.com It just might end up in one of my books!
If you share my passion for the mystical world and you’re looking for a few good books to learn more about witches, magic spells or crystals – here are a couple of my favorites.
WICCA A GUIDE FOR THE SOLITARY PRACTIONER by Scott Cunningham
Crystal Muse Everyday Rituals To Tune In To The Real You by Heather Askinosie & Timmi Jandro
Healing Crystals by Cassandra Eason
Everyday Witchcraft Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World by Deborah Blake
OH, AND PLEASE CHECK OUT MY LATEST BOOK MURDER BY MAGIC
The one thing I know, after all my years as an elementary school principal, is that there is magic everywhere and in everyone. While I miss those enchanting moments with kids, I have always wanted to let my imagination run wild as I seek out my own magic and write about it. When I retired, I started to write my first books, a series called The Witches of New Moon Beach and inspiration wasn’t hard to find.
I have lived in Redondo Beach all my life, and New Moon might have more than a passing resemblance to my hometown. Every day I walk on the path that runs along the beach, sometimes with my sisters, but most often with my thoughts as I plot my next book.
I am long married and mom to three great grown kids. When I’m not writing or walking on the beach, you’ll find me sewing, reading or traveling and taking pictures.
Every author faces this last crucial challenge. You’ve already spent untold hours researching, writing and editing your book. Your title hits just the right poetic note. You’ve gone several tense rounds to find the perfect cover. All that remains is the book blurb, the opening salvo in the promotional war. This is the first (and sometimes only) chance to grab a reader and compel them to buy the book. And so, like click bait, you need to lure your reader with an honest but irresistible snap shot.
It’s an art, this writing of a synopsis that isn’t a synopsis, this sell copy that isn’t an ad. And for something that isn’t a science there are strict rules: you have to be honest – no misleading the reader. No spoilers or why bother to read it – which can be tough since the spoiler is often the most exciting part of the story. Keep it at 200 words or less and don’t make it one run-on paragraph. Use the proper keywords for your genre. Reveal something about the antagonist – readers like to know if they can root for the hero. This isn’t the place to relate the entire plot but you have to provide the zeitgeist, the feel of the tale. No easy task.
A lot of the writers I work with find this daunting and ask for help, which I am happy to provide. I think it’s difficult for the writer to step far enough away from their work to pick out the enticing, salient points and present them with the tension and intrigue that make for a successful blurb. To the author, all story points are important. I get that, but as an avid reader I know what works for me in a blurb. It’s not how much is said, but how compellingly it’s said.
I start with a deconstruction approach. It’s possible to distill any story down to bare bones. In his book Hit Lit – Cracking the Code of the Twentieth Century’s Biggest Bestsellers James W. Hall provided the most distilled example I’ve ever seen. This is a beloved tale that we all know intimately: “A young girl wakes in a surreal landscape and murders the first woman she sees. She teams with three strangers and does it again.” It’s short, accurate and intriguing but would it sell the book?
I wouldn’t distill it down that far but it makes a great beginning. What if we knew something about the young girl – an orphan, a princess, a refugee? And what about the surreal landscape – gaping desert, oozing swamp, forbidding mountains? Then the three strangers – female, male, older, menacing, kindly? Is all this murdering spurred by necessity, thrills, defense, the three strangers or is it unintended manslaughter? And finally, what is the young girl up to – revenge, enlightenment, finding a way out of the surreal landscape? Flesh out those points, add some genre keywords, reference any kudos and you could turn those original 24 spartan words into a 160 – 200 word blurb that would peak curiosity and entice the shopper to buy.
If you can step away from the totality of your story and deconstruct the plot to the primary elements, then present those elements in a provocative way you can create an effective selling tool with your book blurb. BTW, that book Hall described? The Wizard of Oz.
With a BA in Anthropology and English I pursued a career in advertising and writing and segued into developmental editing. It was a great choice for me. I love the process of creating and am privileged to be part of that process for so many great voices — voices both seasoned and new.
I’ve worked on nearly 400 books over 20 years, books by noted authors published by New York houses including Penguin, Kensington, Pentacle and Zebra as well as with Indie bestsellers and Amazon dynamos. From Air Force manuals and marketing materials to memoirs, thrillers, sci fi and romance, my services range from copyediting to developmental coaching.
Having worked in advertising and marketing, I am always cognizant of the marketplace in which the author’s work will be seen. I coach for content and style with that knowledge in mind in order to maximize sales and/or educational potential. My objective is to help the author’s material stand out from an ever more crowded and competitive field.