Category Archives: Writing

Back to the Drawing Board

75a70d23ed80b9cf96b27ee5e9edbd5cIt has been a long time coming, but thanks to the support of my Facebook family, I am going to dust off the files in my “Works in progress” directory and see what I have. For those of you who don’t know, I used to be an author–before I was a .publisher. As hard as I tried (15 years worth) publishing did not work for me. Not a day goes by that I don’t feel like I let so many people down when I published their books. Someone asked me the other day if I ever thought about going back to publishing. I didn’t even have to think about it. No. The roller coaster of a ride was too much for me. I worked with some incredible writers–talented and supportive–, and then I had some who seemed to take pleasure in making my life miserable–spiteful and mean. But that is in the past. Publishing allowed me to make some incredible friends and I learned so much about the industry. Which leads me to now.

After looking at my directories, I have three projects worth considering as my jumping back in point. This is what I have. Which one do you think I should work on first?

  1. Tender Betrayer: A historical romance involving two people who were raised together by an overly zealous man of faith. The young boy and girl vow to be together always, but circumstances send the boy off. The young girl is left behind. A decade later, she has finally moved on and her life is showing potential…until he comes back! She is determined she does not need to be rescued, especially by the one who had abandoned her. (This is book one of a trilogy.)
  2. Petticoat Junction: A Liberation of Fools: A steampunk novel that introduces a young girl determined to find her brother who disappeared during the war. The young adventurer finds herself up against foes she can barely imagine, but finds help from several other displaced girls. These girls make their home on a renovated train car (reminiscent of The Wild, Wild West). The book has been potentially set as the opening of a 4-book series, with character personalities based on the elements. Adventure.
  3. Gumshue Inc: Dressed to Kill: Gloria Gumshue is a detective in retro-futuristic Chicago. 2020 rolls in, but the world seems to have fallen back in time, to flappers and prohibition. When Gloria gets her new assignment she discovers she is to protect the most well-known fashion designer in the world, who happens to be an old school chum of her mothers. When the client is murdered in front of the entire world, Gloria and her sidekick, must find the murderer. The job is incredibly difficult because everyone and their brother hated the victim. Then there is all the sexual tension between Gloria and her FBI nemesis. This is potentially the beginning of an ongoing series. Mystery,

 

These would look so cute on you…

Click Image to BUY NOW!

Click Image to BUY NOW!

It’s never too early to start picking up your holiday accessories.

Traditional red and green with silver filigree accents, these darling earrings will get you into a festive mood and have you humming carols in no time.

A portion of this items proceeds will be donated to “Donate Life.” This does not suggest any endorsement from the organization, only my desire to support the awareness of Organ Donation after receiving my heart transplant in May 2015.

All items in this shop are handmade by me and I apologize for any “quirks” as I am on numerous prescriptions that cause tremors. My only desire is to support awareness.

**To DONATE an items, please use the following coupon code at checkout. The item will NOT be shipped to you, but will be given to someone who needs the support. (Coupon Code: Donate1)

Supersize your Attitude

Execellence-is-not-a-skill-its-an-attitudeIn a society focused on the misguided principle of immediate gratification, we, as a whole, have put ourselves into a very precarious position with regard to success and ultimately, survival. Every day millions of people wake up with what they think are plans, or even strategies for how they will make it big within the next twenty-four hours. Whether by day trading in the stock market or winning the lottery, and a variety of endeavors in between, they set out to accomplish the nearly impossible. This attitude has becoming frighteningly commonplace. Where exactly did pride in our actions fall to the wayside? When did striking it rich become more important than ensuring not only the productivity, but the very survival of the human race?

There are any number of organizations, companies, etc that spend millions, if not billions of dollars studying the habits of all living things. For now, let’s focus on the humans. There are surveys and statistics analyzing everything from the sexual habits of pre-adolescents to the scent preferences of the stay-at-home mom (tell me why this one is important) with who knows what else. The bigger the survey the better. For who? It has occurred to me that the problem with our society is that everyone wants to know why we do the things we do. Is it really that important?

Studies on obesity  are an excellent example of what is lacking in our society. A Missouri news article recently reported that 32% of its students in grades 6 -8 are overweight or at risk and 27% of high school students are overweight or at risk. In a world where fast food restaurants are more frequent than churches or schools, we see the problem but do little to find a successful resolution.

When did we stop encouraging our children to exercise and eat carefully? When did it become more important to get a quick meal than a nutritionally sound one? With the rise in single parent families struggling to maintain financial security, I believe the media has played a crucial role in advocating the convenience of a “fast meal,” thereby saving one parent time and energy in preparation of a balanced meal. How does this affect our society? Unfortunately, it teaches children that convenience trumps health and well-being. It also eliminates, or at best, dramatically decreases, the time families spend together sharing and bonding. It is unfair to blame the fast food industry for the decline in healthy and well-adjusted families, but it is easy to see how convenience can sway the average person into a trap that cannot only be counterproductive to success, but also potentially and literally deadly.

The same can be said about financial success. The average person in Pennsylvania will spend $7.00 on lottery tickets 3 times per week. At $84.00 per month, this is $1008.00 per year. Statistics show that a majority of lottery players are from lower income classes who struggle with decreasing financial security. It is my personal thought that if efforts were made on the part of educators and employers to increase the benefits and opportunities for students and employees, we could actually refocus the attention of people to strive for personal success, as opposed to a quick fix. Am I saying there is anything wrong with the lottery? Absolutely not. What I am saying is that the attitude of our society has dramatically digressed from personal or professional success.

happyWhat can we do to improve the overall stability and potential for success? This is literally a life or death question. Organizations and individuals can work together to shift the focus of the average person away from immediate success and strive to rebuild the confidence levels and self-esteem of each member of the human race. By focusing our attention as people on the positive aspects of life, instead of demoralizing the efforts of those who do find success, by whatever means, we can develop a productively more sound future for our race in general.

Take as many moments as you can to recognize those people who need guidance and offer them the encouragement to find pride and value in themselves. Make constant efforts to direct our children down smarter, healthier, and more positive paths. This alone can ensure the peaceful and productive success of the future.

Carefully consider each action you take in your life and determine if it is in the best interest of your life, or just the moment. Financial success is crucial to the survival of each of us, and in order to achieve this success, each person must be willing to carefully gauge the cost of their efforts and ensure that those actions are not at the expense of others.

Attitude is the key to the potential success of every individual’s efforts. Without a positive attitude, we run the risk of constant conflict and the destruction of our way of life. Attitude is the element that determines success, health, productivity, and destruction. Without positive personal nurturing the crime rates will continue to rise, the levels of intelligence will continue to decline, and the number of unnecessary deaths will remain the main topic of water cooler conversation.

Take a moment today, and every day, to nurture those around you. Don’t be afraid to help someone who truly needs it. More than anything take pride in everything you do that is in the best interest spreading a positive attitude.

Originally published 2007
© Karen L. Syed

name-badgeThat’s it. I admit it, I am a total slacker. It has been too long since I posted anything here, but I have a good reason. Well, for a while I was at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. I went to have an ablation to stop those pesky v-tach episoded. Well, that was not as successful as I’d like, but the meds I am taking seem to be working.

I also got a new ticker box–they upgraded my old pacemaker/defibrillator to a new bi-v device. I have three wires now in my chest instead of two…wooohooo! And if being in Boston for surgery wasn’t enough, I had surgery on the day of the bombing. My husband was actually in that block only an hour or so before the explosions. God sure is looking out for us.

So with all that going on, I fell behind in EVERYTHING. I have been working very hard to get caught up and that is my reason for not posting. I have, however, come up with five new story ideas that I will probaly never get written.

I sure do miss writing…

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A Thrilling Addition to your Holiday Reads!

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Bad review, bad person?

There is a discussion going on in one of the groups I belong to and my opinion on the subject seems quite different than that of many others participating. I have responded there several times, but I felt that it would be best if I moved my opinion off the group, so I wouldn’t just be keeping the argument going. The topic of discussion is whether or not 1 or 2 star reviews should be posted publicly, especially by other authors.

3-Star review

Many say no, because it is mean and humiliating. Okay, but my question is, if an author doesn’t want people to review their books honestly, should we really be worried about their feelings getting hurt? Of course we should, but there is the whole point that when you put yourself and your work out in the public and ask people what they think, you had better have thick enough skin to accept all the answers. It is unrealistic to think everyone will like your book.

I have been criticized repeatedly over the years for a 1-star review I posted of THE LOVELY BONES. Okay, I posted the review publicly so everyone has a right to point out their agreement or disagreement. So be it. Does it make me a bad person because I did not like this book and said so publicly? I didn’t rag on the author, I was not malicious or hurtful. I was honest in my opinion.

My review of The Lovely Bones

I have to admit to reading this book because of all the fuss. Everyone raved about how wonderful it was and so beautifully written, etc. I was very disappointed.

I found the voice of the main character to be contrived and out of character. I hated hearing the story being told by a child in an adult voice. It took away a lot of the emotional impact for me.

I think this could have been much better.

I think it is quite to the point and professional. No one has to like it, it is my opinion.

2-Star Review

Why would you bother to post a review of a book you read and then not be honest? The point of reviews is to help other readers have a better knowledge of what that book is about and what other readers think of it. What happens to the industry if everyone who reads a book either posts a positive review or no review at all, even if they did not like the book and had solid reasons for the dislike? The industry would become a shallow popularity contest…oh wait, it already has. I am furious when I buy a book that has gotten 25 5-star reviews claiming it to be the best book ever and then when I read it I discover that it is poorly edited, poorly constructed, dipping with multitudes of plotholes, and just plain bad. I feel cheated and mislead by each and every person who failed to point out even one of the problems. Now, I am the first to agree that even a poorly written book can be exciting and engaging, I have read many.  I simply tell fellow readers how much I loved the story, but to be prepared for lots of editorial issues. Honest, not cruel. But I certainly would not give it a 5-star review, even if I knew the author.

Bottom line is, a review is intended to serve a specific purpose, if the reviewers cannot be honest, then why bother, it just makes things icky for the rest of us.

One last note. This is for all you authors out there. If you are not willing to give an honest review and STAND BEHIND IT (this means posting it, whether good or bad) then do us all a favor and don’t review books by friends and other authors you know. This is just my personal request/opinion.

I would love to know what you all think of this, whether you agree with me or not. Please don’t hesitate to share your comments, this is a no judgment zone.