Heaven is a place….

 

I love coffee shops…the background humming of interaction and communication….the smell of great coffee and the interwoven sound of soothing music.

A little gem is The Daily Coffee Café in Vredenburg.  An oasis  of unique flavours, smells, tastes and smiles sitting in the middle of the local mall.

Try one of their coffees, or tea if so inclined, they are delicious.  For me, the favourite part of the eclectic menu is the “Egg Benedict”.  An absolute delight and only surpassed by the Egg Benedict prepared by a friend.

The perfect spot to fill your soul and senses.  Notebook on the side, writing little snippets that spring to mind, sipping your coffee, returning a warm smile, savouring the taste of your food, letting the murmur of words and conversation flow like water over the pebbles of your mind, soothing and relaxing.  Leaving will all your senses invigorated.

Enjoy!

The Daily

 

 

The Door Keeper

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About The Door Keeper:

 Adventure. Love. Destiny.

Single mom Eden Saunders has learned that tragedy is simply a part of life. Her mother died during childbirth, and her husband was killed just three years after they married. On a journey to discover where she comes from, Eden inherits the key to unlocking new worlds from her deceased mother—including the world that should have been her home. The only thing stopping her from exploring them is the fear of leaving her daughter behind. Caught up in the circle of legacy, Eden discovers the mother-daughter bond that even death cannot break.

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My review:

Enter a world within a world within a world.  Eden is thrown into an unknown alternate world on her quest to find her roots and family.  A chance encounter with a friend of her mother leaves her in possession of an old key and she ends up as Door Keeper, explaining not only her origins but her knowledge of many things never seen by normal mortal eyes. 

Caught between her life, art and devotion to her young daughter and the ever expanding involvement in exploring the alternate realities through the door, Eden is forced to embrace who she is and who she wants to be moving forward. 

An entertaining read that will pull you right into the different worlds and peoples.  Eden, different from a young age without realizing why, James, who is pulling doors closed after the death of her husband open and Gabby, her precious daughter and bright soul carrying the remnants of Eden’s heritage.

Pre-order information:

Click here to pre-order your copy on Amazon today!

OR

Click here to pre-order your copy on Smashwords!

Also, don’t forget to check it out on Goodreads. Paperback available February 20, 2017.

Release date: February 20, 2017.

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 About the Author: Steen Jones

WEBSITE/FACEBOOK/TWITTER/INSTAGRAM

Steen was born and raised in Woodstock, Georgia. While she has only recently discovered her passion for writing, she has always been an artist and a storyteller. A couple of years ago, a story idea gripped her and wouldn’t let go until she wrote it all down. The Door Keeper is her debut novel and she can’t wait to pursue all of the other stories that have built up in her over the last three and a half decades.

When she isn’t writing, reading, painting, or baking, Steen enjoys spending time Netflixing with her husband and playing in the pool with her two children at their North Georgia home. To read more about Steen, you can visit her on her website.

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Giveaway:

We are going to have two giveaways in celebration of the release of,  The Door Keeper by Steen Jones. One hosted by Royal James Publishing and one by the author Steen Jones.

The first giveaway, hosted by Royal James Publishing, will run from now until the release of the novel.

Click here  or visit Royal James Publishing’s Facebook page to enter to win a signed copy of, The Door Keeper by Steen Jones and a $20 Amazon gift card.

The second giveaway will start on the release date, more details about this giveaway to be released soon.

 

To be a bully…

We are bombarded with articles on bullying: from “How to spot a bully” to “How to treat a Bully”.  The subject is age old and the bullying as damaging today as it was 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago.  Many of us bear the scars of bullying in our homes, school and workplace.  The power that bullying generates will always produces the next line of bullies.  That is life…or is it?

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What is a bully or more correctly, who is a bully?  Is it the angry boy or girl at school that takes their powerlessness out on smaller, younger and more vulnerable kids?  Is it the overly ambitious or desperate to please co-worker that puts you on the spot or in a bad light each and every time management is around?  Is it the drunkard father that finds himself unable to cope, not only with life, but especially the daily responsibilities of raising a family, of being aware every day of his failings as the anchor, the protector and the provider for those that he is supposed to love and protect?

I’ll tell you what a bully really looks like.  A bully is a father that molested his child in his care and shrugs it off.  A bully is that same father that ignores his child because his wife had the guts to leave him and get away.  A bully is that same father that breaks into his child’s house where she sits unprotected with a crying 8 year old, busy breastfeeding a 5 day old baby.  A bully is that same father that serves an eviction notice on his child and her children because she dared expose him for the bully he is.  A bully is that same father that sues her for sullying his good name because she grew tired of being bullied.

A bully is that same father that was given a second chance to be a father and who is busy creating a bully to get away from the bullying at home.  A bully is that same father who bullies his grandchildren because he can.

This is a bully.  No reason for being a bully, no sad childhood to fall back on and blame for being a bully.  Just a mean man who was supposed to love and protect and decided bullying is much more fun. No rewiring to be done, no therapy needed, his choice, his way of life, he is the bully because that is his power.

 

Online Research: Confusion in a World Full of Studies and Experiments

Great article on Niume…..by Lovelli Ariesti…

https://niume.com/post/214755

The relationship between writers and online research is one that requires maintaining a delicate balance between good time management skills, the will to keep moving forward, and grit. Of the last one, I won’t say much right now. We go the World Wide Web for many apparent and not so apparent reasons. To make friends, to check out a job posting, to respond to a job invite, to read an interesting article, to post comments, to write an email, to browse for seminars and schedule a trip… to conduct online research. Those not so apparent reasons, other than planning our travels, include maintaining our social media presence and building our personal brand. Of course, not only writers do online research. And online research (blog post) is not the only thing that writers do. Nothing comes between a writer and her researchWords could not express the confusion I felt about staying connected prior to taking up online learning. Online research? Is that a new type of research or is that just another fancy word for “Googling”? Wait, Googling is not research? What about all these bugs/features I have found incidentally? Did I not just research them?  [The Wold and the Crane]When people say “do your homework” or “do your research”, and people they do say that, they’re not suggesting that you come up with a publish-ready academic essay, although it would be so awesome if you did. All the Googling, checking out online publications based on keywords related to the topics, and then reading them closely to determine whether they are a) interesting, or b) far from interesting, are merely efforts to study a subject or a situation. The aim of this is usually to prepare for something. For example, a job interview or a movie date. Or a photo shoot and a movie date, Zombie Apocalypse, Food Street upcoming event, the possibilities are endless! [Un po’ Ghezzi (la prima volta al cinema era 3D) by @flaviab is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0]For people in the academic sector—students, librarians, teachers, mentors, provost—searching the World Wide Web for sources is just one part of the research project. Remember, the web is only 27 years old this year, while research comes from a very, very old Middle French word “recherche” that was already in use in 1577. It’s ancient!Instead of questioning what the World Wide Web is (hint: it is not the Internet*) and what it means to us, understanding online research is what we should be doing. I’ve come up with some of the best places to start:Lifewire Student Guidehttps://www.lifewire.comIf you’re looking for a guide to doing online research, this is a good place to start. Lifewire has a section called Internet & Network, in which you can read all about the Internet, including how to use it for research. In “How *Real* Online Research Works” and “What is ‘Hard’ Versus ‘Soft’ Internet Research?” we are introduced to the legitimate practices in researching online, with suggestions on how to set our priorities right. The articles are light and warm, fairly easy for everyone to understand. Even if you’re not a student, the articles are going to provide you with enough details to warm you up. The Internet: Ideas, Activities, and Resourceshttp://fcit.usf.edu/internetA comprehensive but not overwhelming chapter to learn more about doing research on the Internet, broken down into activities. Originally written for students, this online publication is a product of the Florida Department of Education and the Office of Instructional Technology. It has 6 chapters dedicated to the topic, with chapters 4 and 5 dedicat

Source: Online Research: Confusion in a World Full of Studies and Experiments

Authors & Social Media Conduct

True words spoken about social media conduct…taken from a Niume post by J.M. Sullivan.

https://niume.com/post/213874

Call me old fashioned, but with all of the things that get posted on Social Media these days, there are times when all I can do is quirk my head and ask, “Seriously?” Don’t get me wrong. I think Social Media is great. In fact, it has helped me so much in my writing, I honestly don’t know where I would be without it. But sometimes I wonder if maybe we weren’t better off when not everyone had easy access to share every single thought that they have with the rest of the world. Because honestly, there’s a lot of crap out there that the world just doesn’t need.Celebrity Wars, Twitter Wars, Hate Mail, Cyberbullying and so many other things are all over Social Media and it can be really hard to keep away from it.But as an up and coming author, YOU HAVE TO. Unfortunately, we are not in the position where we can say whatever we feel and people will still love us. Your conduct is a direct representation of who you are and what you stand for. And I hate to break it to you, but if you are posting mean things on your Social Media, that’s who they will see you as. And nobody wants to support someone they think talks a bunch of garbage (ESPECIALLY A WRITER).So how can you handle your presence on Social Media? How do you react in a situation where you feel you have been unfairly treated?Well, as hard as it can be, sometimes the best thing that you can do in a tough situation is to keep your mouth shut (and your fingers away from the keyboard.)If you can’t, that’s your decision. There’s not much I can do for you except tell you to grow some thicker skin or find a support system to listen when you are upset. (I have found that my cat is a great option. She quickly reminds me that my world is supposed to revolve around her and I need to get over it).The fact of the matter is this: there are millions of people on the interwebs, and I do not have the time, energy, nor desire to try and control what they deem worthy to share with the rest of the world. True Story.But since you are here, (and still reading) I’m guessing you have at least some interest in my opinion so here it is:If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Mind blowing, I know. But bear with me.I know that it seems simple. I also know that I might be biased because a a teacher and a mother my days are INFINITELY better when my kids are nice to each other. But from a professional standpoint, IT WORKS TOO.Whether you’re dealing with staff members in a meeting, parent conferences, telephone customer service representatives, husbands who have YET to take out the trash after you’ve asked 3 times… (ok, I’m rambling, but you get the idea.) I can almost GUARANTEE you will have more success being polite, understanding and kind than if you come off as an inconsiderate jerk.The writing world is no different.Now, I will say that sometimes people have bad days. There are days when I am cranky, and tired, and, and, and. I get it.Writing is tough. Trying to get your writing published is even tougher. Querying is absolutely terrifying. Putting your writing out there for others to judge is scary. Especially when it boils down to a single Query Letter and maybe a Synopsis (I’m getting flashbacks to college scholarship applications just thinking about it).But if there is one thing I’ve learned it’s that querying is totally subjective. It depends on what the agent is looking for, what they are currently repping, what industry trends are, your writing style, whether they think your personalities will mesh, etc.9 times out of 10 I have found that the rejection I received wasn’t because the agent thought my writing was garbage, it was because it just wasn’t a good fit. Other times, it was their opinion of my work (which stung a bit) but, sometimes you just have to take it with a grain of salt and figure out your coping mechanisms.I recommend chocolate.But please, for the love of everything good and right in the world, if you absolutely totally, 100% CANNOT LIVE unless you vocalize your hurt feelings, then please,Please.PLEASE.PPPPPLLLLLEEEEEEAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEE. PLEASE.DON’T PUT IT ON THE INTERNET WHERE EVERYONE CAN SEE IT.Why?Here are a few reasons:1. Not everyone wants to hear your ______ (angry, pathetic, mean, vindictive, rude, whiney, jaded, vulgar, inappropriate, ridiculous, unfounded -choose which words apply) opinion.2. Not everyone NEEDS to hear your ______ (again, insert appropriate word choice) opinion.3. Once it’s out there, ANYONE can read it. Anyone. A-NY-ONE. And with technology nowadays, they can screen shot, keep, and SHARE it with hundreds of their closest friends in SECONDS. Literally. Seconds. Then what you’ve just said can NEVER be taken back.4. Riding the tail of my previous point is this: after you calm down, get the emotions out of your system, and become a rational human being again, you might REGRET it. But faced with the internet savvy folks of today, you might not ever be able to FORGET it.What it comes to is this:You are entitled to

Source: Authors & Social Media Conduct

Photography…where did the reality go?

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Been wondering for a while about the reality of photography.  To me a photograph is a moment frozen in time to treasure and remind.  Our world is beautiful and cruel and alive with wondrous moments for photographs of all kinds.

I’ve always found two legs in the photography brotherhood (no disrespect ladies):

  1. The reality photographers whose eye and soul see a moment, place, object, animal, person, scene that speak to them and the moment is frozen using whatever equipment is available. Lenses, filters, the eye of the photographer and the skill are  the only added accessories needed.  The only manipulation would be adjustment of light or shadow etc.  The image was a real shot of a reality seen and frozen.  The skill of the photographer is what is important and admired.
  2. The artist photographers whose eyes and soul creates art from frozen moments using their technical skill and programs available to adjust, touch, colour, enhance etc photos.  Here the skill of the technical abilities to create a moment is admired.

The last few years the line between these two legs started blurring.  The need to push photos have brought a dishonesty level into reality photography.  Great photographs are enhanced, coloured, touched up and adjusted to look absolutely amazing but with no reflection to the real colours captured. Hues and shades of sunrises and sunsets, water and flowers have come about that is just unbelievable.  This is all good and well and the photograph is stunning but where is the reality in this photograph?

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What does the every day person expect when he looks at a photograph like this?  Many people plan outings based on places advertised with awesome photographs but the true real beauty of the spot is missed in the disappointment of expecting that WOW spot as per the enhanced unreal photograph seen.  It is almost as if real nature is losing its magnificence and has been replaced by enhanced, touched up unreal scenes of nature.

Equipment does not play that big a role in whether a photograph is great or not.  I’ve seen some photographs taken with very expensive cameras that does not compare to some photographs I’ve seen taken with a very basic line good cameras.  The eye, the soul and the skill of the photographer is what makes a photograph.  Being there to see and capture that WOW moment, that is the talent and skill.  Not being able to go home and re-do the moment to get a WOW moment.  That is a different set of skills.

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Unfortunately many online photography competitions are pushing the enhanced unreal photographs leaving the real beauty of nature and people in the dimmed light of reality.  It is almost impossible to compete with so much technical assistance used on photographs when you are an honest reality photographer.

All photographs used are my own and they are real.