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For the entire month of June, I am sharing my books in the first annual Cygnet Brown Book Club Month! All throughout the month, I will be featuring not one, but all of the books that I have written to date. I am beginning the book club with my first published book: When God Turned His Head.

The First Book in the Locket Saga

The Story Behind the Book

When God Turned His Head is the first book of the Locket Saga, but it was not the first book of the series that I started writing. I started with the second book Soldiers Don’t Cry, The Locket Saga Continues and rather than making When God Turned His Head a prequel to Soldiers Don’t Cry, I made it the premiere book.

The idea for this book started when I was writing about when Rachel and Elizabeth are entertaining their uninvited guests when the question came up about their parentage and the girls told them that they had the same mother, but not the same father. They also said that their parents had been indentured servants.

That was when I wondered what happened to them. About that same time, I read the story about the murder of John Codman in the middle of the 1700s and thought the details would be fantastic to fashion into a historical murder mystery. Many of the facts were exactly how they happened. I just added Drusilla as his wife and Rachel as his daughter.

I wrote this book at a very difficult time in my life. I had been working as a nurse and hated it. Every day I had been afraid that I would kill someone by some mistake that I made. I won’t go into the details, but the fear of making a mistake and harming a patient caused me to sabotage my nursing career. Then I was afraid to tell my husband that I had lost my job. It didn’t do much for my marriage, I’ll tell you that.

After I lost my job, my husband also lost his because of something that was not his fault, but because he quit that trucking company, they reported him to DAK for an accident that was an equipment error that he had no way of knowing would happen. He had no recourse in the issue. He was shunned from truck-driving for the next three years.

Before losing our jobs, we had been doing everything right. We put sweat equity into the house we were building. In 2007, just before all this went down, we had fifty percent equity in our home. We had two vehicles. One was completely paid for. Regarding our other car, we had easily been making the payments. We had been paying extra on our mortgage and making extra payments on our credit cards. Life was good. However, in a short time, everything fell apart.

At about the same time, we lost our jobs, the housing bubble burst and the recession hit. The equity in our home disappeared overnight. We couldn’t make our payments because we didn’t have a job. A boy stole our truck that we had paid off and he wrecked it. The other car was repossessed while I was selling muffins in the town 9 miles from our house. I had to call my husband to get the neighbor to come pick me up.

Because my husband lost his job, he also couldn’t pay the child support that he owed to his ex-wife, and he ended up in jail for nonpayment.

If it weren’t for our pastor providing us with a car to drive and paying enough to get him out of jail, I don’t know what we would have done. He got a job driving a school bus for a local school which was enough to pay the child support, but not enough to save our house. He was talking about the possibility of having to live under a bridge.  

I was depressed. I was depressed enough to seek professional help, but I refused to take medications to mask what I was feeling. The psychologist who I was seeing suggested that I try journaling, and journaling led me to get back to writing which I had done since I was twelve years old. I wrote When God Turned His Head while all this was going on. Journaling and writing the book took me out of my state of depression.

While writing the book, we did lose our house, but we didn’t have to live under a bridge because my brother let us move into his house with him. During this time, I incorporated my emotional state into Drusilla’s situation. It was highly therapeutic.

Bad things happen to good people and sometimes it seems as though God does turn his head and the winters of life blow their snows of life, but eventually, the flowers of life do return. Like me and like Drusilla, you must push through the hard times, and eventually, you’ll pass through. As it says in Psalm 23:

“Yea, though I pass through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.”

Psalm 23:4 KJV

Let me know in the comments below if you have already read the book, and any thoughts you have regarding it. I love hearing from my readers!

Did you know that you can read a free sample of When God Turned His Head right on Amazon? LOOK INSIDE


If you’re any kind of writer, you probably noticed that I failed to capitalize the key words in the title of this post. I actually did this on purpose. The titles of books, songs, newspapers, and works of art should all be capitalized. In fact, titles, no matter what the content, should always have their keywords capitalized.  In additional to capitalizing titles of content, what other ways should you capitalize?  

The First Word of a Sentence

This should be a no brainer, but you should always capitalize the first letter of the first word in a sentence, no matter what the word is. Take, for example, the following sentences: “The weather was beautiful. It was sunny all day.” Even though the and it aren’t proper nouns, they’re capitalized here because they’re the first words in their sentences.

The I Pronoun

Whereas “you” and “me” are usually lowercase, the pronoun I should always be capitalized, regardless of where it appears in a sentence.

Proper Nouns

A proper noun is the special noun or name used for a specific person, place, company, or other thing. Proper nouns should always be capitalized.

People’s names are proper nouns, and therefore should be capitalized. The first letter of someone’s first, middle, and last name is always capitalized, as in John William Smith.

Other proper nouns include countries, cities, and sometimes regions.

Landmarks and monuments also start their proper names with capital letters.

The names of companies and organizations should also be capitalized, such as Nike and Stanford University. There are some exceptions: Sometimes a company may choose not to use a capital letter at the beginning of its name or product as a stylistic choice. Examples include eBay and the iPhone.

You should not however capitalize words that indicate a specific place, but it is not the official title. For instance, if you’re referring to a specific department, like “the department” “the company” “the chamber”.

Titles

Titles, like Mr., Mrs., and Dr., should be capitalized. When addressing someone with their professional title, you should use a capital letter at the beginning. Similarly, you should capitalize job titles when they come before a person’s name, as in “General Manager Sheila Davis will be at the meeting.” Also use a capital letter when you’re directly addressing a person by their title.

Words that indicate family relationships should also be capitalized when used as titles in front of a person’s name. However, if you’re just talking about relationships with no names involved, the titles shouldn’t be capitalized. For example, you’d capitalize “Uncle Marvin and Grandpa James will be at the picnic,” but you wouldn’t capitalize them in a sentence like “My aunt and my sister will be at the picnic.” You should capitalize the names of family titles when they’re used in place of proper names.

However, when you are referring to words other than the family and are not talking directly to the person, don’t capitalize like when you are talking to “the boss” or “the president”.  

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About three months ago I started something new that has been going well for me. What I am doing is promoting the concept of Write a Review Sunday. I started doing this on twitter and every Sunday I encourage others to write reviews of the most recent book they read.

Here’s what I’m doing on Twitter-getting it out there that there is a movement to get people to write reviews of books that they have recently read. I write several tweets every day promoting the idea.

Next, I follow my own advice and write a review of a book that I recently read and put it either Amazon or Goodreads. I then promote on twitter and include the hashtag #WriteaReviewSunday. It is as simple as that.

Next I go to #WriteaReviewSunday and retweet other reviews of other author books and go and check out the reviews of those books. I also check out the authors of those books and let them know that I am willing to read their books (pdf or free on kindle or on Kindle Unlimited) and then I write reviews for them.

Every Sunday, is review day for me and I haven’t missed one since the middle of June.
Promoting reviews of my own books.

If anyone has written a review of one of my books, I will do several things. First I will retweet the review and thank the author of the review for taking the time to do the review.

Second, if someone doesn’t do a #WriteaReviewSunday tweet of their review, I will include a link to their review on Amazon or Goodreads and thank them in a tweet.

Easier than Guest Blogging

In many ways, this way of connecting with reviewers and other authors is easier than doing it through guest blogging. The biggest way that it is easier to connect is that it is focused on just one day per week. I get on twitter and go down a list of things that I want to do and when it’s done it’s done.

The tweets that I am doing are live. I don’t preschedule these tweets. When I tweet live, I can respond to any live tweets that come back to me. I can respond to tweets with my phone.

It is easier than blogging because I get instant results. I know the responses that I am getting and how valuable they are to the people who are viewing them.

Follow-up later in the Week

Though the tweets are instant, and I only do it one day per week, that doesn’t mean that is all I do for the review process. I schedule time later in the week where I go back and click through the reviews to discover books that I would like to review myself. When I find one that I like, I contact the author and tell that person that I enjoyed the preview of their book, the review, and wanted to know if there was anyway that I could get a free copy of that book to review myself. I would also let the author know that I have KindleUnlimited and that I would not mind getting the book that way. (or since I had looked at the reviews anyway, I could just say whether I can use KindleUnlimited).
I would use my reading time to read the book and then put a review not only on Amazon or Goodreads, but also on my blog. (I try to go the extra mile.) I would also ask the author if he or she would like to read one of my books as well.

In addition, I would go through and contact the reviewer by private message and thank him or her for taking the time to write the review, posting it online and ask that person if he or she would like to read and review one of my books as well. I might even suggest which book I would like him or her to read.

I would follow on twitter and list those reviewers and authors that I have contacted and from whom I have received positive results and work into my schedule ways to connect with each of them on an even deeper level and perhaps share guest blogging with them.

How about you? How are you going the extra mile to help other authors?

 


To Do List FormulaI personally have been working on a book about how to change habits. Recently I read a book that I believe would be a great companion book to this book. The book is called The To Do List Formula, A Stress-Free Guide to Creating To-Do Lists That Work by Damon Zahariades. It is a how-to book that does exactly what it says it does.
When I first saw the title, I thought that it was one of those books that just goes through a system of making a to-do list and it was some sort of system that gives a complex system that I would never be able to do.
I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading and the book, instead of what I expected, this book explained the pros and cons of other systems and then showed a to-do system that incorporated the best of the other systems.
The To Do Formula explained how to incorporate a to-do list into an overall system that gets it done. Zahariades shows how to use a to-do list to accomplish lifelong goals. He also tells us how to use a calendar along with the to do list to make the best use of the time.
The to do list formula is simple and as the author says many times during the course of the book, it is easily adaptable to your personal needs. I highly recommend this book and I would give it five stars out of five. This is one book that I will go back to again and again. I plan to utilize many of the techniques recommended in this book including using the app todolist.com.

If you want to get more done every day, add this book to your reading list and make Zahariades recommendations your own.

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