Smile

Sexy Woman Smiling

 

For two years now She had been His joy.

He was working through a difficult time. Walking through mud. Business was picking up, His long hours were beginning to bear fruit, emotionally He was tired.

They were seeing each other less to give Him time to right His ship. She had come to His last weekend and it was delightful. Monday at 6am they waved goodbye and He was back to work.

When He knew they would be apart He would take down His pictures of Her. The wallpaper on His phone and computers changed from Her smile to something that didn’t immediately remind Him of Her. Pictures that didn’t create the longing to feel Her pressed against Him, tightly encircled by His arms.

Today he put them back up again, maybe only for a day. He needed the energy, the peace, the touchless embrace of Her smile.

And for the first time this weekend, He felt joy.

 


Seeing

Seeing You

I try to understand the words you’re not saying,
the soul buried deep beneath the veneer of smiles and laughter,
avoiding my gaze that sees you in spite of yourself.

Hiding is an art for you, a skill from a lifetime of practice.
You only reveal to others what you want them to see.
The confident, the wise, the controlled.

Somehow I read the tea leaves. Seeing glimpses of real.
The distance of text messages and phone calls made it easier.
No eyes on you.

Gradually you let me in. Testing the waters. Scared yet hoping.
Someone who might see you, love you as you are.
Yet waiting for the second shoe to drop.

You surrendered your body, but it was just a body.
You had surrendered it once before without being seen.
An anonymous placeholder.

We navigated together the revelations.
The hurt. The misunderstandings.
Mishearing words never spoken.

“You only pursue me because I run” you said.
Not realizing the truth:
I pursue you because I see you.

 

 


Bedtime

Couple Holding Each Other in Bed Spooing

It was past his bedtime, an hour past. He couldn’t sleep. His chest ached for want of Her.

They had made a considered decision: His business was flagging and needed Him to make it a priority. He would spend less time with Her and more focusing on His business. They knew it meant the weeks of living together would be put on pause, but in the long run it would mean He could move to Her city.

They had now been apart for most of a month.

Tonight He longed for Her. He longed for Her in a way that transcended sex. For the last couple weeks porn had lost any appeal. He didn’t want sex, He wanted Her. All of Her. The intimacy. Making love. The holding after. Waking up together the next day. The Knowing.

Tonight the emptiness of His arms screamed loud.

He pulled a pillow into His chest and willed it to become Her.

 


Three Wishes

Three Wishes - A Lamp and a Genie

Saw this a couple places recently and wanted to post it here. It’s deep. I don’t know who created it, so if you know put it in the comments so I can credit the author. – Kevin

An elderly man was sitting alone on a dark path. He wasn’t sure of which direction to go, and he’d forgotten both where he was traveling to…and who he was. He remembered absolutely nothing. He suddenly looked up to see an elderly woman before him. She grinned toothlessly and with a cackle, spoke: “Now your third wish. What will it be?”

“Third wish?” The man was baffled. “How can it be a third wish if I haven’t had a first and second wish?”

“You’ve had two wishes already,” the hag said, “but your second wish was for you to forget everything you know.” She cackled at the poor man. “So it is that you have one wish left.”

“All right,” he said hesitantly, “I don’t believe this, but there’s no harm in trying. I wish to know who I truly am.”

“Funny,” said the old woman as she granted his wish and disappeared forever. “That was your first wish…”


Meg Sorick or Margaret: On Author Names

Meg Sorick called me with a problem. Primarily I am writing this for her. However, the advice I give to her will work for you as well. Give it a read and you’ll likely see better traffic and sales.

Dr. Meg called me today. She is trying to update her blog and wanted some input on how to better show up in the search engines. I did a bit of research and found out a couple things:

  • When one searches for “Dr. Meg” her blog comes up on page 5 of the results.
  • When one searches for “Dr. Meg Sorick” her blog comes up first. Her author page at Amazon doesn’t appear until page 6.
  • When someone searches for “Margaret Sorick” her first book comes up #1 on Google. Her Amazon UK author page comes up on page 3. Her US author page is not in the top 7 pages or results.
  • When someone types in “Meg Sorick” her blog and her Facebook author page are on page 1. Her Amazon author page comes up on page 5 of the results.

Meg wants to sell books and Google paired with Amazon is a great way to do it.

If someone is looking for one of her books and types in “Meg Sorick,” she wants her author page to come up in the first 3-5 results. That directs people to a place (Amazon) where they can buy any of her books – and she’ll have 5 soon.

Knowing how to optimize Google results is important to her. Here is how she can get Google to see she is both “Meg Sorick” and “Margaret Sorick.”

Use “Meg Sorick” in incoming links to her author page – and ask others to do the same.

Google looks at 2 primary items when choosing how to rank a particular page in their results: On Page Factors and Off Page Factors.

First, let’s look at On Page Factors…

“Meg Sorick” needs to appear in her Amazon Bio.

On Page Factors are what is on the actual page you want to score highly on the search engine. Amazon does a good job of putting the right keywords in the right places, but it can be better.

Right now her bio reads:

My name is Margaret but everybody calls me Meg. I am a writer. Why? Because I love…

Nowhere on the page does “Meg Sorick” appear. There are a few references to “Meg,” but not the exact phrase “Meg Sorick” she wants to score highly for.

The first step for her is to rewrite her bio slightly so she can get that keyword phrase onto her author page. Here is one example:

My name is Meg Sorick – well, my name is Margaret, but everyone calls me Meg. I am…

She also lists her blog posts along with opening sentences on the page. An important thing for her to do – since they appear on her author page – is to make sure on a regular basis she includes “Meg Sorick” in the first paragraph of her blog posts. Not every one necessarily, but often enough that one or two consistently show up on her author page at Amazon.

In this case, that’s about all she can do for the On Page Factors.

“Meg Sorick” on incoming links.

Google is smart. They don’t trust you to say honest, helpful things about yourself on your page. You may embellish. Google figured out years ago the best indication of the VALUE and TOPIC of a page was what incoming links said about the page.

What are incoming links and how does Google view them?

Incoming links are links from other web pages pointing to your own web page. In the case of text links, Google looks at the blue underlined part to see what the link says about the “target” page.

For example, if I create a link to Meg Sorick’s author page (there, I just did) Google looks at it and says “Hey, this guy, who is an amazing guy, thinks this page is about Meg Sorick. Which it is.

If I were Meg, I would want to get links pointing to my author page with some or all of the following in the blue underlined part:

  • Meg Sorick
  • Meg Sorick, author
  • Author Meg Sorick
  • Meg Sorick’s books
  • Dr. Meg Sorick
  • Dr. Meg Sorick, author
  • Author Dr. Meg Sorick
  • Dr. Meg Sorick’s books

But Google, again, is pretty smart. They want to serve up tasty, relevant results for their users, so they look at something else on the page with the incoming link – they look at the content on the page.

What do they look at? They look at the title of the page, they look at the sub-headers on the page. Since I am writing this blog post to help out Meg, I made sure to include her name first in the title, then put related terms in the sub-headings. That tells Google this page is about Meg Sorick.

Google will like that.

To do that in WordPress you simply choose Heading 2 or Heading 3 from the dropdown menu at the upper left in the toolbar when you are creating a post. Easy peasy.

How you can use this information

  • Decide a page you want to score highly in Google search results.
  • Create incoming links on your own blog using a relevant “blue text”.
  • Ask your friends with blogs to also link to you from relevant pages – maybe an interview or something.
  • Syndicate articles with the relevant blue text links.

And that’s it! I hope you break Google.


Writing Partner: Writing with a Friend

Creative Writing with a Partner

Have you ever wondered how it all began?

Fictional Kevin and Dr. Meg

FK: Several months ago I had been bantering about with several new WordPress friends: Dr. Meg, Dr. Shell and Jason. In my typical snarky fashion, I touted my superiority, made fun of their posts and was generally a nuisance.

They all loved me (of course.)

Jason made a serious post about how he was NOT accepting guest posts on his blog. I, of course, took that as a challenge. I decided to write a short story featuring him and my new blogger friends. It was compelling, so he decided to repost it on his blog. Win for the Fictional Boy.

If you read The Post it is, like most of my fiction, concerned with death and gore. Dr. Meg read it and made some comments. The online love was obvious…

M: I had a new follower… Fictional Kevin. His first comments had been on my post about Elmore Leonard’s ten rules of writing. “Seems like a pretty funny guy,” I thought. Ok, I’ll follow back.

I visited and commented on his blog a couple of times and then this happened…

On a post about sending himself text messages to remember ideas while he’s out and about, here is our exchange:

Meg: Funny!!!! I use notes on my phone too. How is that harder than sending yourself a text, Kevin? Are YOU sober?

Kevin: Don’t mess with my mojo this morning, Meg. I will cut a bitch. And I am mostly sober. Well, sort of. Remember: Hemingway said “write drunk, edit sober.” So I’m just like Hemingway.
He was an American writer.

Meg: Fine, ‘Ernest’ I will leave you to your scribbling! *Stomping out the virtual door in a huff* “Bitch indeed,” she muttered.

Kevin: Shouts after her: “and put on something nice for once, geez!”

Meg: Sniff

The came The Post. Seriously, go read it and ask me why the hell I stuck around. I can’t explain it myself. I barely knew this guy and he slaughtered me (in the story) in a most gruesome way after insulting me, my blog and my writing. For some reason I didn’t run screaming, I responded:

There he was, on the park bench, waiting for her. It was strange that he’d suggested they meet in the park on such a dreary day. She hadn’t given it much thought. She was too excited to see him. After all Kevin was one of her few writer friends. He of all people would be happy that her book had made the best seller list. As she approached, he looked up at her smiling.

“Hey,” she said, returning the smile.

He rose and offered her the spot where he’d been sitting since it was dry. Instead of sitting beside her, he picked something up from the ground and stood to face her.

“You smug bitch,” he muttered, before landing the first blow.

The first one didn’t kill her, neither did the second. Through the physical pain, her heart was breaking. She thought he’d understand. She thought he’d be happy for her. She thought he was her friend.

Kevin’s response? “This is perfect.

It apparently was the beginning of a beautiful relationship…

FK: Dr. Meg responded almost positively to her untimely demise in “The Post”. I didn’t find out until later even her hubby, Harry, was concerned.

We continued to banter back and forth on our blogs and eventually she was able to see past my rugged good looks and charm to the real me.

For some years I had considered writing fiction. I make my living writing non-fiction, but I wanted to expand my horizons. Writing fiction is far different than writing non.

Reading Meg’s blog, I realized she is far more competent at fiction than I, so I paid close attention to the things she was writing, trying to learn. It helped. I wrote a couple short stories and also wrote more on a couple longer-term pieces I was working on.

After we got to know one another we exchanged emails.

I began to realize I needed help to be able to write fiction well. I struggled to write dialog and deadlines were an issue – with fiction, I had none. After getting comfortable with Meg and with her writing style, I proposed a limited collaboration. A mid-length story, 14 chapters around 1,000 words each, written alternately as a serial with each chapter appearing on our blogs weekly.

Foolishly, she fell into my trap.

M: Kevin thinks he’s so smart, doesn’t he? Well, he is, actually. And I immediately recognized what a great opportunity and challenge this would be for me. It would push me to write out of my comfort zone. Even though it was not without some misgivings, I left the basic idea for the story up to him, since he had suggested this whole escapade. I even let him write the first chapter, knowing that would give me the final word. And thus, more control over the story.*evil laugh*

You see, originally we thought we’d keep our alternating chapters secret from one another so that we’d have to “respond” to one another’s writing. But as the story progressed we realized that a true collaboration was going to have to happen if this tale was going to be any good. And THAT’S when I foolishly fell into his trap!

FK: Writing the first chapter was easy for me, but it lacked “something.” I am good at identifying the psychological makeup and backstory for characters. I had that down cold. I can even write a compelling bit of narrative if I work hard and hold my mouth just right.

When I got done, there was something missing. That first chapter was all “tell” and no “show.”

I sent it to Meg for her input. She agreed. She helped me craft some dialog that showed David “being” David, rather than simply me telling the reader about him. It improved the chapter dramatically (pun intended.)

This is one of the best reasons to get a writing partner: He/she can fill in the gaps in your own ability.

M: I have the same habits as Kevin in creating backstory for my characters. Write a little biography on them, things that won’t necessarily be included in the narrative, but information that helps you shape their behavior. Up to this point though, I hadn’t written a character into a situation as dangerous and psychologically manipulative as the one Dr. Melody Rivers was in with David Twichell. The difficult part was that I had largely based Melody on myself. I now had to really imagine how I would react in those circumstances. I had a mini freak out at one point. It was unnerving to put oneself in the crosshairs of a potential killer. Thus, being able to talk it through with my writing partner was invaluable. The experience of collaboration has made both of us better writers.

FK: After 14 weeks, we finished our story at 17,000 words or so. Our readers enjoyed it and we enjoyed creating it. We’ll be putting it up at Amazon and will do a free weekend if you want to pick it up. You can join our announcement list here.

Some things we learned from the process:

  • A writing partner can help you have deadlines for your writing
  • A writing partner who has strengths you do not have can make you a better writer
  • A writing partner can help you see your characters and their thoughts and actions in a different light
  • A writing partner can brainstorm plot and character ideas with you and help you both create a more compelling story
  • A writing partner can act out dialog with you to give it a more “real” feeling for the reader
  • A writing partner can become a good friend – this was the best part for me.

Once we got the story completed, Meg and I along with our significants met in Gatlinburg for a meal and beers. It was fun and I think Meg and I will be friends for many years to come.

If I don’t murder her.

M: Or I murder him first… See? I always get the final word!


Book Synopsis: Write One that Sells

Book Synopsis How to Sell More Books

Selling Your Book Once Your Mom and Friends all Bought

OK, you got your book done. Edited. Up at KDP and CreateSpace. Your mom bought it. A few of your Facebook friends picked it up as well. (What’s with Doris? She is such a cheapskate! Couldn’t part with $2.99 and asked for a “complementary” version. Just unfriend her, she’s kinda a bitch anyway.)

To sell your book effectively, you want to do many things: Get people to help you promote, get “noticed” on Amazon as a best seller in your category, get placed in bookstores like a “real” book. One of the first things, however, is to create a synopsis or “blurb” for the back cover and for Amazon’s description.

Your Synopsis Should Be Carefully Thought Out

For many self-published authors, the “blurb” is an afterthought, a necessary evil in putting up their book online. But you’re smarter than that, right? Yeah, I thought so.

Dr. Meg is in the process of publishing her fourth book. Over the last few days she has been writing and refining her synopsis. She even wrote a funny blog post about creating a book synopsis here.

Here is the blurb she settled on for her new book, Tainted Inheritance:

Why would anyone want to kill Olivia Sutton? Her life was finally coming together after her divorce. She's come into an unexpected inheritance, found new love with contractor Leo Donovan and made a fresh start in a new home. When she becomes the victim of one too many random accidents, she realizes a killer is stalking her. Has something in her past come back to haunt her? And can she and Leo discover the killer’s secret before it’s too late?

(If you click here, you can get a copy of the first few chapters of her book, pre-release…)

Let’s break this down to show you how to create a compelling synopsis for your own book.

Your synopsis or “blurb” should create a mystery in the mind of the prospective buyer that can only be answered by reading the book

Meg’s blurb does a good job of framing the main conflict in the story: Someone is trying to kill her and she has no clue why. She has to find out before it’s too late – before the killer succeeds.

When you write your own synopsis, you should look for what some people refer to as “open loops.” Humans’ brains are “programmed” to look for answers to mysteries. That’s why you keep seeing those headlines like:

“This Indiana man found one weird trick to curing hemorrhoids –
proctologists hate him!”

You think: “Hey, I have hemorrhoids, and I hate going to the proctologist! What could this simple trick be?” and you click the link.

If your book is about hemorrhoids, that might work for you. On the other hand, your book is probably a story about sparkling vampires who are also professional soccer (football) players or a sorcerer with an elf fetish (I don’t judge.) Your synopsis should summarize the major conflict of your book without giving the reader resolution.

In Meg’s case it would have been a mistake to end her blurb by saying “but she eventually figured it out and lived happily ever after.”

Your synopsis should appeal to the prospective reader’s interests

Know your intended audience. Think about things they are looking for in your story. (You already figured that out before you started writing, right? RIGHT?)

Meg’s readers are looking for a little romance along with a compelling mystery/thriller. Her synopsis has an extremely important single word: “Contractor.”

Olivia’s love interest is a contractor. When I think of a contractor, I think of a smelly, pot-bellied man who bends over and shows your his hairy butt crack. But that’s me. When it comes to romance novels written for women, they picture a guy with tan skin, tall, heavily muscled with a strong jaw – and maybe a beard.

That one word gives the prospective reader a picture of this hunky guy. Who, surprisingly, looks much like I do in real life (I know you were wondering.)

Your synopsis might want to define the genre

It’s clear from Meg’s blurb, her book is a thriller/mystery as well as has some romance. It doesn’t mention it’s present day. If your book is present day, you don’t have to say that in the blurb. But what if you are doing a different era or setting?

For example: If Meg were writing historical fiction and this was set in the Civil War, a reader interested in such would probably pass it over unless she mentions that. Likewise, if it were set in the “boom-boom” 80s, she might want to mention that as well. John Grisham writes about lawyers and mentions that in his blurbs.

If you are writing for a specific genre, make sure to mention it…

“In the times of swords and sorcery…”
“At the close of World War I…”
“Caught up in the world of BDSM…”

You get the idea.

What’s Your Synopsis? Write one or paste one you already have done below – you can even link to your book in the comments

So write your own synopsis (or pull one you’ve already written) and share it below along with a link to your book or blog…

Plus…Meg is giving you a sneak peek of her book – click here now to get it send to your email.

 

 


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