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Monthly Archives: June 2016


It is fun to garden by using methods used by the pioneers. Not long ago, I read about how settlers in the forests in Western Pennsylvania first cleared the forests. They didn’t have chainsaws and heavy equipment to excavate. Because they often lived as much as a hundred miles from the nearest large settlement they had to depend on their own self-sufficiency so planting a crop as soon as possible was always top priority. In order to get crops planted as early as possible, the men would arrive at their holdings in the autumn months. They would live in makeshift huts that they could build in a few hours and then set to girding the trees where they would plant their crops in the spring. Girding is done by cutting a swath of bark completely around the circumference of the tree so that when spring came the tree’s sap would run out and the tree would die. During the rest of the winter the men would clear brush around the trees and cut down some of the trees to build their homes and out buildings as well as to cut for fuel. In addition, they would go trapping.

In late winter after trapping season, they would return to civilization. There they traded back what they had trapped during the winter at the settlement where their wives and children remained while they were preparing their holdings. They would buy corn for planting and took their families to their new land. There they planted the corn often in the three sister’s tradition of the Native Americans in the moist soil around the now dead trees. Plowing was not necessary. They simply pushed aside the leaf litter on the ground and buried the seeds in the rich dark loam. During those first early years, hoeing and cultivating was not necessary which was good because there was more than enough work to keep the settlers busy.

The Three Sisters Gardening Use by the Early Settlers was an adaptation of Native American techniques.

The settlers learned how to garden from the Native Americans. Many Native American tribes grew Indian corn. This is the history of the Iroquois and their way of growing corn. http://hubpages.com/education/Iroquois-Corn

 

Three sisters gardening is an age old technique that utilizes the synergy between corn, beans, and pumpkins or winter squash.Click here to read my article about this technique http://hubpages.com/living/A-Three-Sisters-Garden-Bed

Friday’s Video- Not Quite early pioneers, but here is video of how the farmers farmed in the 1920s and 1930s.

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has  published a nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Teddy Roosevelt.

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Avoid Blasting the Reader to Buy on Social Media

As I mentioned in my previous post, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care and this is important to keep this in mind every time we use social media. When presenting your books to the world, don’t blast them with “buy my book”. At first you might get a few takers, but soon the call to buy will become annoying. After a little while longer, people will start blocking your posts, finally even your friends will ignore you. So what do you do instead?

As I discussed in my last post, our customer service has to begin by getting to know the people that we meet on social media. This is especially true for those of us who are fiction writers. Nonfiction writers have the advantage of being able to join groups and forums based on the subject matter. Because I am a gardening nonfiction writer, I can go on gardening, sustainability and even prepper sites and offer advice. In addition, I write online content. In August I will have some of this online content included in a print magazine called Garden and Greenhouse.

Front End Customer Service

Fiction writers have to take a different tactic. Most groups or forums that cater to novel writers tend to be populated by other writers. Not the audience we should be catering to, so what do we do? Primarily, we begin by getting to know people when they ask me what I do, I let them know that I write novels as well as gardening books. I have a link to my website on my social media sites as well. If they want to know more about my books, the information is available on my website.

Many people don’t see this as customer service, but it is actually a customer service that you can do on the front end. I Offer free e-books for subscriptions to my newsletter. Another, I have been thinking about doing is to offer my first book in my Locket Saga series as an introduction to the series. Others used this tactic with great success. The idea is that if the first book in a series is free and readers like what they are reading, they will buy the next book to find out what happens. The important thing is, These have been very successful ways of offering customer service on the front end to potential customers. The idea is to keep in contact with readers of previous books so that they can enjoy more of your work as you produce it.

Customer Service of a Doomed Company

About a year ago I needed to get a home phone because my cell service wouldn’t work where I lived. I had called the only phone company that serviced the area—Century Link. I spent two hours, most of them on hold trying to get service. When the day came that the service be turned on, I waited an entire afternoon. I had to drive twelve miles into town so that I could call on my cell phone and again I burned up over an hour on hold because the company did not have enough human beings available to take my calls. Even then all they offered were excuses on why no one showed up to help me. Rather than making me a priority because of their error, they put me at the bottom of the list again. I had to wait several more days and until the last couple hours of that day to get my phone.  I wouldn’t be surprised if that company’s poor customer service will be their demise, although I am certain that they will use more advanced technology as their excuse.

Give Personal Service

Because I am a small business owner, I can do things that huge companies cannot do, especially huge publishing companies. One of them is in offering people who want to read my books get my books when they have difficulty making that possible. One older woman who I talked to online had read all my books on kindle but wanted to get the my Locket Saga books for her daughter. At first I just gave her a link so that she could send for the books herself, however, it didn’t work out that way. I think agreed to help her get the books for her daughter by doing whatever I needed to do.

In another case, a book was lost in the mail. Rather than throwing up my hands and saying that I didn’t know what to do, I shouldered the cost of replacing the book for the person who bought it.

Having control over customer service is one of the things that I like about being an Indie author. I am not dependent on the publishing company to make things right with my readers. To quote Harry S. Truman, “the buck stops here.”

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has  published a nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


blue skies

Things are going really well for me. This afternoon, I will have a book signing at the Corry Public Library in Corry Pennsylvania from 3-6pm. If you are in the area, I would love to see you there.

The other day I was at a Bible study and we read this verse. In the King James Bible, Proverbs 22:9 says He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed for he giveth bread to the poor.

We also looked at a couple other versions for instance, the New International Version says, “The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.”

New American Standard Bible (NASB) says, “He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.”

I like the King James Version here because of the use of the term “bountiful eye”. It relates to the way that the person relates to the world around him. The generous person sees God’s bountiful supply so he gives generously. In contrast, a person who sees lack in the world is going to see everything with an eye for lack rather than bounty this type of person will give willingly to the poor because he fears that he will not have enough.

A person with a bountiful eye has an eye toward the future. He sees hope in future events. He takes this verse in Luke 6:38 (KJV)to heart, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him,” Hebrews 11:6.

This bountiful eye is the eye of faith that God is and that he rewards those who seek him. The word seek here means to investigate, crave search out, to discover his essence.

Be Generous for Jesus Sake

Galatians 6:7 and 8 says, 7)“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. 8) For he that sow to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sow to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

I would be extremely negligent if I didn’t bring up the fact that this bountiful eye should not be limited to our present life. This bountiful eye must focus on our eternal spiritual life. However, this is not to say that God will not allow us to have bounty here in lifetime. He did not call  probably has not called us a vow of poverty. What he does want us to realize however, is that our life in this world is only temporary and will one day pass away. Our focus should be on sowing for our future in eternity..

We need to remember that we give generously, not because we are going to get something for our generosity, but in recognizing the gift that Jesus Christ gave us. He gave us his life.

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has  published a nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


The Distraction of the Every Day

Branson Landing

It took me twenty years to write my first book, primarily because life got in the way. At one time I was a single mother with two boys, and working three jobs. I eventually got remarried, had another child, went to nursing school, and went into nursing. It wasn’t until I failed at nursing that I knew that what I really wanted to spend my time writing. I went to therapy, started journaling and finished writing When God Turned his head. That launch occurred on August 28, 2010.

The Distraction of Major Events

There are days when you will get out of your writing routine. There are days when we are too sick to spend time at the computer. Major events like family graduations, weddings, and births may also remove us from our desks. Doctor’s appointments, auto repair appointments, dentist appointments, major housing projects, daily activities and all kinds of interruptions can keep us from our writing task. All of us have them so it makes no sense to feel guilty when we miss a day or two of writing. The goal, however, is to not allow that day to turn into weeks, months, or even years. If you want to write a book, you must make writing a priority.

When I finally committed to writing on a regular basis, no matter what else I was doing, I made serious progress. After I wrote When God Turned His Head, I started college full time and lived on student loans so that I could devote my time writing and attending college. While in college I published Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues and Simply Vegetable Gardening. I graduated in July 2014 magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts. In 2015 I wrote three books. Book III of the Locket Saga, A Coward’s Solace and two nonfiction books—Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard and Help from Kelp. In addition, I have written countless online articles in numerous places as well as consistently writing posts for this blog.

The Distraction of Writing Related Activities

Now that I have several books under my belt, I could easily be distracted from writing by using activities related to writing as an excuse for not writing. One of my goals is to develop a publishing company with other writers. I have been learning the process of publishing through trial and error with my own books and am almost at the point where I can start presenting this idea to others. However, I don’t want a publishing business or marketing my books to get in the way of actually doing the writing.

Tactics to Keeping on Track

Planning productive writing into every day is extremely important. Even if I only write for fifteen minutes every day, I know that I am at least maintaining a writing routine.

This week I am on a working vacation. I am going home to Corry Pennsylvania where I will be attending several events. One is a library book signing tomorrow, the second is addressing a writer’s club (also at the library) on Thursday, and the last is an in the park event where I will meet a lot of people coming through town for the alumni weekend. My own class reunion won’t be held until next year, so I won’t be distracted by those activities.  In addition, I am going to be having coffee with a number of local individuals to reconnect on a deeper level. Though I doubt I will get a lot of writing done, I am going to attempt to write at least something every day. One thing that I have discovered is that when I have a change of scenery like this, my creativity goes through the roof. I know that by the end of these next two weeks in Pennsylvania, I should have done some major recharging of my creativity batteries. This will be especially true since I am also researching for a couple of my upcoming books which will be based in this part of Pennsylvania.

Another tactic I use to prevent writing related distractions from getting in the way of writing copy is that I have deadlines for my numerous projects. This blog has built in deadlines because I have four blog posts that I need to have written every week. The two writing blogs I write every week will eventually become the fodder for two writing books, one on marketing and one on how to reach your book writing goals.

Yet another tactic is that I dedicate NaNoWriMo to writing the first draft of one of my upcoming novels in the Locket Saga. The fact that I have several first draft manuscripts waiting for attention on my computer is definitely a motivational tool to continue working on them. They are there. They need to be finished. I need to take the time to finish them.

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has  published a nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


The Legend of Johnny Appleseed

johnny Appleseed colored

I remember back when I was a kid, my mother told me that the apple tree in our back yard was a descendant of one of the seeds that Johnny Appleseed had brought into the area. I could see where that could be a possibility because there were thousands of wild apple trees growing in the area. Here is an article that I published online about Johnny Appleseed. http://hubpages.com/education/The-Legend-of-Johnny-Appleseed

The Apple Tree and Personal Sustainability

Having an apple tree back in the early 1800s meant sustainability to homesteaders and it still can mean the same today. Uses for apples are more numerous than we realize. if I were to suggest to someone what one fruit tree that person should grow for a sustainable crop year after year, I would have to suggest the apple tree. Apples can be used in so many ways. Check out The Apple Tree and Personal Sustainability http://hubpages.com/living/The-Sustainability-of-an-Apple-Tree. 

Make your own Pectin Using Your Own Apples

Did you know that you can make your own pectin for jelly making? All you need are some sour apples and a little trial and error. Directions are here in my article Make Your Own Pectin for Jame and Jelly Making. http://hubpages.com/food/Make-Your-own-Pectin-for-Jam-and-Jelly-Making

Of course, no Friday Gardening Tips Segment would be complete without a video, however, rather than giving a bunch of tips today, how about video about the story of Johnny Appleseed.

 

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has  published a nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


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Last time we looked at having the right product, the audience, and advertising. We looked at the fact that the product has to be something that a person needs, but having a great product or service and advertising isn’t enough.  A connection with integrity from you is also important.

A Lesson in Integrity

I will never forget my Navy Recruiter’s integrity and how it affected his ability to sign up recruits. When I went into the Navy Recruiter’s office, the US Navy recruiter’s name was Petty Officer Angel. He was not one of those recruiters that you hear about who will tell you anything you want to hear just to get you to sign on the dotted line. PO Angel told me exactly what I could expect. He told me that nothing was guaranteed unless it was in writing. He told me about what I could expect from boot camp. He told me that if I wanted a guaranteed school, I would have to wait for a few months to get that school. I chose instead to go into the Seaman Apprenticeship program which gave no guarantees of schools. It just guaranteed that I would be able to get into the Navy more quickly.

PO Angel treated all of the people that he recruited the same way. He treated each individual with integrity. He told them exactly what to expect and how to avoid pitfalls along the way. He was honest. He had a certain quota that he had to bring in every month. Do you think that being honest kept him from meeting his quota? If anything it was the opposite. While other recruiters had difficulty meeting their quotas, PO Angel not only met his quota for that month but had met his quotas for several months in advance. He benefitted by giving accurate facts because the recruits that he brought in told their friends and they went to him rather than to other Navy recruiters or other military services.

Petty Officer Angel knew the first rule of customer service. You’re not dealing with numbers, you’re meeting with people. You’re not just selling, if you’re smart, you are developing a relationship.

Integrity and Appreciation in Social Media

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”  Francois-Marie de Voltaire 1694-1773

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. This is one of the reasons that social media is a powerful tool in book marketing. When I say using social media for a tool for marketing, I don’t mean that I blast my friends on Facebook with the fact that I am promoting a book every hour. What it does mean is that I get to know each person individually. I learn about their children and pets, kind of like a politician shaking hands and kissing babies. However, unlike politicians, the interactions have to be genuine. This is, after all, a post about integrity. I treat people with respect. I don’t rant. I post things that reflect who I am as a person.

I friend people I know and get to know their friends.  I let people get to know me as a person and that I am more than just a historical fiction writer.  I share memes that are humorous or inspiring.  I let them know I am an author who knows a lot about gardening, canning and writing. I have three adult children. I love raising chickens and goats (even though I currently don’t have any, I thinking about getting more). I share free online articles. I have an interest in environmental issues.  I have a free digital book that I give to people who want to limit toxic chemicals in their homes. I am a pastor and encourage spiritual growth.

I care about their lives as well. If my friend has a birthday, I don’t just say “Happy Birthday”. I give them a birthday blessing. If someone is getting married or has an anniversary, I send my congratulations. I love their baby and pet pictures. I am enthusiastic about their special events.  If someone is sick, I tell them I am praying for them and then do. I do my best to care about people and to let them know that I do.

I avoid online drama. If an issue comes up online, but it should remain private, I make it private by taking it to PM on Facebook, sending an email, or phoning them. Because I am a pastor, it is my job to do religion. My online message, however, is the message of love.  I avoid politics altogether.

I give credit where credit is due. I treat people with respect. I avoid arguments especially where others are looking for a fight.

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has  published a nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

 


My Vision

Hands_of_God_and_AdamA number of years ago, back when my son Jonathan was a baby, I was lying in bed when I had what I guess you could call a vision. I was sitting in the branches of a tree overlooking Alton, Missouri. At first it looked peaceful, but then I started noticing that there were these paisley looking things swirling around the buildings. I was suddenly afraid because I realized that they were demons. I thought, “I can’t do anything against them.”

The next thing I knew, I felt a hand on my shoulder and I saw Jesus. (Don’t ask me how I knew him, I just knew him.) He said, “Dealing with them is my job. Your job is to bring my people together.”

Over the years I have thought about this “vision” a number of times. How was it going to happen? I had no idea. I simply knew that if it was meant to be, God would make it happen.

A few days ago I thought about it again and realized that this calling was beginning to become a reality. Last year, the Lord started having me participate with two different congregations. I didn’t take them over, mind you.  I just participated in their worship and Bible studies. I had developed relationships with both congregations and shared their love for Christ.

Then a few months later, I became pastor of this church and joined the ministerial alliance in one of the local towns. Recently, I have started developing a friendship with some of the younger pastors of the area. I also participated with a radio prayer program with this same group.

What is the Church?

The other day a pastor friend of mine tried to make some sort of doctrine concerning the verses in Revelation 2 and 3 where it talks about the churches. I decided to look up the word churches in the original Greek and discovered that the word “churches” is the same word (ekklisia) used for the word church. That word means “the called out”.

I received quite a revelation. The church is not a building. The church is people. God doesn’t see different churches. He views the church as a single entity. In John 17:21, Jesus prayed that “they (the disciples, the foundational members of the church) would be one that the world would believe”. The goal of the first century church was unified in their beliefs of Jesus. The only division noted in that first century was the division because of location. For example, the church in Ephesus was separated from the church in Thyatira because of distance rather than based on doctrine.

In I Corinthians 12, we learn that another term for the church is “the body of Christ”. Again we see that there is only one church, but there are many members and that there are differences with in that body and that God planned the church that way. Just as he created each one of us uniquely, he created the church with many members performing different functions. In addition, as the second and third chapters of the Revelation demonstrates, there are differences of focus presented to each part of the church, however, never once did Jesus say to John that none of these congregations were not a part of the church.

A Personal Calling

The church is people and God does not want division between us. He wants us to realize that he has each of us placed in this world for a specific calling. I believe that bad mouthing the church down the street goes against what God himself wants. We, the body of Christ, are to love one another as he first loved us. This is my calling. To show others that as believers in Jesus Christ, we belong together.

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has  published a nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her books, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

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