“Consistent Emotional Labor”

Defining authenticity

 Today Seth Godin was in my email box and that’s a normal good thing…it’s my wake-up words for the day. Sometimes his commentary rings clear and at others it comes just clever. But today it came spot on.

Seth Godin’s comments on defining authenticity as doing what you must with panache. Since writing every day is what I must and is my pleasure. A smug smile hung on my lips while digesting his words.

If hanging out at the beach I am either writing or jotting down thoughts for composition later.

Before writing for a living I searched for reasons to compose in previous employments where writing wasn’t the mandated task. So, I know of days when composing relevancy has its moments of challenge.

In our drive as business writers we stifle our egos into whatever business or client we’re writing for. I wondered just how does a writer truly brand themselves.

The reveal for me, in this Seth moment was this,

“We call a brand or a person authentic when they’re consistent, when they act the same way whether or not someone is looking. Someone is authentic when their actions are in alignment with what they promise.”

Composing copy each day with words that titillate, captivate, make a reader salivate is not always easy. But if you enjoy writing, if you’re compelling incentive is to create prose, if every fiber of your being looks forward to putting pen to paper…then self-branding should come easy.

If thing one is writing as your raison d’etre, then thing two is where branding should become inevitable.

How, for me, does the term “consistent emotional labor” apply to the everyday job of composing content.

A writer’s choice of terminology and style reveals their brand. It becomes a brand by way of consistency. Whether selling compelling innovative copy, that motivates, or drive quant data solutions.

We must scrub our thoughts each day for words that compose thought filled and rewarding content.

Showing up with great copy every time makes your style of writing shine through. That to me is branding wrapped in “consistent emotional labor”.

 

God A Human Story By Reza Aslan

Book Review

Impressions

A monotheism experiment – “the climax of the fairly recent belief in a single, singular, nonhuman, and indivisible creator God as defined by postexilic Judaism, as renounced by Zoroastrian Dualism and Christian Trinitarianism, and as revived in the Sufi interpretation of tawhid; God is not the creator of everything that exists. God is everything that exists.” ~ God A Human Story

Nothing prepared me for this uplifting treatise on the intelligence of our evolution. We may be nature’s experiment, but humanity has always initiated its own exploration of the neural pathways that explain not only who we are but also how we are to each other.

 

The author Reza Aslan offers an explanation on how religions are constant constructs in evolution and is the creation of our civilizations.  So I ask have we engineered religions as guideposts to our evolution. Or is religion an organic living thing that progresses with civilizations.

This essay is not a read for those who understand or live religious dogma as an unchanging thing written on stone tablets. Rather this author explains concepts of the many religions we’ve embraced in clear and unambiguous terms. And his book is the brilliant product of much work. It comprises mountains of organized, substantive research and a discourse on the evolution and sometimes devolution of humanity’s faiths.

Divine humanization

From Lord of the Beasts to a redefined god stripped of carnal form to become a dehumanized god…”without shape or form – utterly transcendent and apersonal.” From God A Human Story

It is reasonable to surmise that the growth of religions becomes part of a learned pattern of thought that manifest by way of cellular memories. The disparate events in discoveries of cave art depicting similar objects of deity in other times and spaces begs the question, is there cellular memories embedded in our DNA.  And, do these objects contain a formula for organized religions necessary for humanity’s socialization?

Although bioresearch has evolved to a place that aggressively challenges what we don’t know about the cell and the intelligence fueling its organelles, it is safe to say that they may harbor information about the origin of the phenomenon we call organized religion.

For me the most compelling argument made by Mr. Aslan on how we struggle to awareness is in the advent of Marduk.  He was central to one of  the longest lasting religions that arrived during Babylonian times when humanity was grasping for an inclusiveness. In a society led by Cyrus the Great and when Judaism was still new and Yeshua ben Joseph (Jesus) wasn’t born yet, the kernels of a culturally changeable society came to be.

The preponderance of evidence reasons that Cyrus the Great constructed an inclusive nation that respected values of a culturally fluid civilization.   While slowly dehumanizing its center of worship, a god name Marduk.

Our imagination driven by what we understand dictates our need to make gods in images and traits we know best…ourselves.

It requires a brave heart

One must enter into the labor of religious research with an open mind and heart.  Reza Aslan owns both with a healthy dash of skepticism and bravery.

In my opinion, to argue the relevance of the constructs of our belief systems requires extreme courage. The evolution of religion is the tender under belly of all human cultures.  They compose the most personal self-identification of societies and sovereignty. It composes what we understand as the collective reasoning.

I wouldn’t, shouldn’t and couldn’t comment on this read as an essay on opposing religions. Rather it’s a talk on how our ‘systems of faith” evolved to reflect our relative truths.

This author delves very little into the nature of the societies that constructed these religions. In my opinion because Mr. Aslan’s course of study and this book is centered on the far more important stuff of explaining how religions work and its mind numbing effects on human progress.

Survival

Our objects of worship served to explain the unexplainable while aiding our survival as a specie.  Are we in the midst of embracing and expanding the precepts of a dehumanized religion?

This is genius writing on comparative religions and the processes of its creators and inheritors.

Story/Plot/Conflict

An extremely ambitious book becomes an easy read on the roots of religions and thoroughly researched story of comparative ideologies.

The cultural timelines and borders appear almost a blur.  The author clarifies those lines that seem to disappear in the miasma of disparate teachings of scholars separated or compromised by secular belief systems.

The book explains in simple terms how the conflict lies in man’s reasoning for living and the need to look elsewhere for guidance and comfort.

The human story preaches how the varied forms of deification and religious fables have endured and colored how we see experience our religions. This author makes this 12,000 to 14,000 years tale seem like mere steps in discoveries of whom we are and how beliefs have inform our lives.

Main Character

God

My Critique: Even for the most august of theologians can experience epiphanies in this read. This writing has the rare flavor of pure objectivity.

Genre: General audiences and an enlightening read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Many ways to say love for Writers and Publishers’ Holidays

Christmas in Chagrin Falls

Red cardinals paired on snow-laden branches. Winter blows making dancing snow swirls. Red noses are filled with scents of cinnamon and mulled wine, filling cold air with warmed recollections of love. We hear favorite Yuletide carols and long for the romance of fireside light. And beyond windowpanes, winds howl while delivering its thick coat of white.

When the weather outside grows cold writers become like kittens. Our favorite places to create become the warmest safest spaces to be, to read and to write. Add hot coca and warm comfort foods and the spell of holiday enliven our imaginations. North Pole residents return with a hint of presents waiting for discovery. No matter the language, at holiday time authors find nuggets of life to write about. And in any native speak writers as children make wish lists too. Here is a few you may want to whisper into Santa baby’s ear.

MS Surface Studio and its smooth clean lines makes cuddling up in a comfy nook that much easier. But don’t stop in just creating clever and artful prose. This powerful tool is also a place to create masterworks. Beware. Using this marvelous machine can become addictive.

Interaction Technology has become a very important part of our daily lives. We wear it and use it to track our every function. We converse with it. The coming of Siri and Alexa has placed us on a path of obtaining important assistants in our endeavors at composing eloquent content. They have an infinitely expanding skill base with future enhancements that will mimic conversation, what better gift to discover under the Christmas tree.

Adobe Premier Pro CC 2017
From Adobe support, comes introductions of their newest and cleverest software innovates for 2017. What could be finer than a Christmas gift that can bring your work to new levels of enjoyment and proficiency?

Collaborating using Team Projects is a hosted service for CC enterprise. This software offers users collaborative features designed for content professionals. You can share editing features and enhance scalability while scheduling workflows with shared projects. It keeps us agile and supports mobility.

New VR Support satisfies your yearnings to see your prose and characterizations come to life. Meet VR workflow also in Premiere Pro for 2017. The technology of stitched equirectangular video to overlay imaging and enables you to edit content while viewing the results. Yeah…too cool I know. This is a very powerful virtual reality tool.

Expanded Destination Publishing enables publishing of your newest masterpiece directly to your business portfolio…seamlessly. You will want Adobe Media Encoder CC. Target all of your favorite social media with video or digital content like Behance, YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. Destination publishing offers a quick delivery of content to fans, publishers, or employers.

The holidays are also a time for contemplating how to share your creatives.

Independent publishers and authors are becoming game changers. Perhaps the most thoughtful and useful gift an author can received is airfare to join the annual mass migration to New York for the 2017 Book Expo. This is a wonderful opportunity to reveal your craft to the appreciative.

Growing power in independents who are creating and self-publishing is a major force in literary communities. Maintaining the most current in tools will meet the growing demand for sparkling content. No one should be caught off guard by the eruption of success being seen in the small and independent publishers and producers of craft.

There are many ways to say love for the holidays. Whatever amazing pledge of devotion you find in your festive stocking. It is always wonderful to remember the love.

Share your holiday season stories and questions with ChapterSee.

When Writers’ Broken Hearts become Good Marketers.

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A week passed and the booze and seclusion did little to stop the pain that stole my sleep and kept the tears flowing. The sudden loss of my friend, lover, and partner seemed more than I could handle. I thought all was good and right with my world. A great job with a global media marketer, a boyfriend I thought loved and wanted to marry me. Then the door to my dreams suddenly slammed shut leaving me staring into a black abyss. Stark fear and hurt took hold of my senses. There was a desperate need for solace.

Interrupting her busy workday my best friend Aisha responded immediately. I knew she heard all reason abandoned in my shaky voice. Friends since grammar she rearranged her schedule to meet me the next afternoon for lunch. Staring that morning into the bathroom mirror, I tried to calm my nerves enough to apply makeup to hide the dark circles and swollen eyes. The face staring back at me affirmed a struggling recovery from a week of constant booze and too little food. Dulled senses, a stomach churning, and I was throwing up twice a day.

We met on Pearce and Michigan Avenue. My mass of highlighted coils hung over red-rimmed eyes. I knew I looked awful as she suddenly appeared with a hug. I smiled into her beautiful face and hoped it made sense to share my hell with her.

Grabbing my arm, we sprinted across the crowded lunchtime sidewalk to the Chicago Museum of Modern Art. Dodging the usual pedestrian crowded sidewalk, we ran up the hot white stone stairs to the glass covered entrance. Entering the cooled lobby with summer tourists milling everywhere, we settled into the dining room and I whispered almost out of breath, “Rashid has left me.”

Settling into the seat opposite, she leaned forward in silent rage. The reply arrived short and angry, “I knew that little creep would do this. I’m damn glad. Good riddance” She began arranging the linen in her lap before the infamous glare, “Don’t tell me you’ve been on a binge and calling off work”.

Aisha knew me well. She also knew my dark handsome ex-lover. We three attended Chicago Colombia University and it was love at first sight for me. I moved into his apartment just a few weeks after we met. Five years after graduation, his family business took him away from me most of the year. Busy with my own career my illusions persisted about “that wonderful someday” when we would marry and have children. That was not to be.

Over lunch with Aisha, I began relating my sad tale about Rashid’s midnight call. He was not returning to Chicago as planned. A childhood friend had stolen his heart and they had married. I timidly shared with Aisha the worst part of my story. I told him that I was pregnant and he ended the call.

My meeting with Aisha reassured me of her support. But my drinking continued and days later, I looked into the mirror again. The alcohol induced swelling changed my features. The guilt took charge reminding me that I had a little life growing in my belly.

Weeks later, I told Aisha over dinner my decision to keep the baby. Struggling to bring something good and positive into my life I decided to journal about my passage to healing. I wrote about my pain, the loneliness, the hate, anger, and sense of deep betrayal. I took a leave of absence for eight months. Four months later the abyss gave way to sunny days again. My journaling became a novel and by the time my young one arrived so did a best seller.

I named that book after her and dedicated it to Aisha. Each time I look at my little girl’s face that mirrors the dark handsome features of Rashid I smile. Because that brief painful time gifted me with a glorious new life and a new friend and daughter, a new career as a marketer and a bestseller.

When new authors ask me how to survive those awful searing moments of pain that threaten to destroy their muse. I always tell them that when creating prose it empties the soul of its pain and frees you to live the joy that always follows. And sharing is also a good marketer for your work.

We at ChapterSee would love you to share with us those moments of truth when your gift of creativity helped heal a painful time.

It is Back to School

The Chattahoochee in the Fall

Cooler days and carnal autumnal colors announce the awaited freedom for author moms to return to the business of composition. New school clothes and the scent of just bought supplies bring to mind comforting images from the art of Charles M. Schulz and Norman Rockwell. Lonely playgrounds come alive with youthful exuberance welcoming resumption of school, friendships, and the sharing of another waning summer’s events.

For many authors who happen to be mothers, the passing summer filled with family fun was also a time to curate memories for new stories. They are precious memoirs for new creatives saved for quiet moments. The inviting empty rooms filled with still afternoons invite the author to compose again. However, many authoresses spend their days working outside the home. They discover their muse within a few stolen precious moments on trains, planes, and buses or in the quiet of evening hours after a long day.

When we think of today’s busy mommy writers, our recollections go immediately to the most famous, JK Rowling and Anne Rice. They are part of different generations of mothers possessing the genius of creating captivating stories. Some profess that their children fueled their writing genius. The interesting dynamic of whether one or numerous progeny contributes to a better writer is up for closer examination. Some hold the view that there must be a limit to one offspring to achieve success as an author, says an article published in The Atlantic.

Of course, the ponderous of successful women writers with greater numbers of progenies refutes that premise immediately.

American Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Jane Smiley has three children and two stepchildren. Her response to that question is that children help in the creative process. JK Rowling and Pulitzer Award winning author Maya Angelo were single moms. They struggled while producing award-winning creatives in poetry, bestselling books, scripts, 12 Academy Award nominations, a Tony Award, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom. The great love of their children and their contribution to the quality of their work serves as testament, there is a unique quality in authors who happen to be mothers.

Consider this. Some mothers will express ambivalence. Ideologies on what composes a great mom vary greatly. Add our own self-assessments the list grows. Motherhood is never easy no matter the number of offspring. Authoring is a fulltime job. An author logs in countless hours to produce their great works of wonder.

Let me share the following tips that may help:

1. Create a dedicated space that is a no man’s land for everyone except mom. Keep it sanctified and free from intrusion. Make it clear that the family interrupts your work for emergencies only and clearly define the worthy crisis.

2. Keep the door closed during important calls while keeping it slightly ajar at other times indicating mom is at work. Redefine often what interruptions constitute an emergency. That should be easy…you are a writer.

3. It is very hard to broker publishing deals or communicate with your editor when you are bouncing a fussy babe in your lap. If possible, hire or procure a babysitter when these calls are scheduled.

4. When dinner is done remind family members that you are entering your sanctuary and are not available during your prescribed hours.

5. Your sanctuary should be inviting and personal.

Motherhood is an amazing gift and in every generation, new writer moms come to be. The creative outcomes from this love and needful collaboration are priceless. The exciting miracles of authoresses, who seem to blend the winning formula of being a mother and writer, always seem to happen.

We want to know what you think at ChapterSee.

Is a writer’s’ raison d’etre inherent or created?

Call it a penchant, talent, gift, or raison d’etre the difference between a good writer and a person that creates a compelling read doesn’t always come with a formal education. But can a formal education be that something that can awaken the hidden promise? Or simply be the supplier of the tools in making a chosen craft more employable. The percentage of award winning writers hailing from schools with good or excellent communication curriculum varies across genres. We would be hard pressed to prove that a Pulitzer Prize winning story was the result of an expensive education – although it may help. Could a professor educate passion into an ardent student and give birth to a Pulitzer epiphany?

“I felt that I had to write. Even if I had never been published, I knew that I would go on writing, enjoying it and experiencing the challenge.” – Poet Gwendolyn Brooks

She wrote 75 poetries and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her poem Annie Allen. Gwendolyn Brooks attended Wilson Junior College in Chicago where her family moved during the great migration from the south. She like many writers of that time was unable to attend top tier schools yet gifted to the world some of the greatest literary works. Her poems moved the hearts of a nation and earned her many literary awards. Gwendolyn Brooks did not learn writing skills from a top tier school. But her body of works opened the door to becoming a celebrated professor within the halls of leading universities.

I met her a few years before she left us. The encounter found me only able to repeat utterances of gratitude while she offered a brilliant smile and warm words of encouragement. Later she sent a small autographed book that I still treasure.

“I cannot and will not cut my conscious to fit this year’s fashion…” Lillian Hellman, May 19, 1952

Lillian Florence Hellman was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, she studied only two years at New York University and attended a few classes at Columbia. Yet celebrated for generations as a supremely gifted and best known playwright and writer. She was most impactful as a playwright. A few of the most notable were the Broadway hits The Children’s Hour, later brought to movie screen and The Little Foxes that also became an award winning screenplay. My favorite was Julia. Her prose was compelling and still stands as a beacon to what can be achieved in creative writing.

Anne Rice, born Howard Allen Frances O’Brien became the most read author of all time with over 100 million copies of her works sold worldwide. Known as an American gothic writer she received her education from San Francisco State University. She expresses her craft in several pen names. To name just a few, Ann Rampling in Exit to Eden, A. N. Roquelaure in the erotica series Release of Beauty and Anne Rice for the populace Vampire Chronicles. Her works have been adapted for big screen and television. From tales of the supernatural to Christian literature. Her large body of candid and imaginative literature have crossed cultures and generations. We can’t say that her education resulted in her lifetime of award winning works.

Yet many stellar authors can also proudly wear the school colors of top tier universities.

George Raymond Richard Martin (born George Raymond Martin) and better known as George R.R. Martin or GRRM is currently best known for his literary work A Song of Ice and Fire. The novel was adapted for television in the popular HBO series Game of Thrones. I became a fan in the 1980’s with his writing contributions in the television hit series Beauty and the Beast.

He attended the prestigious Northwestern Illinois University in Evanston. Graduating summa cum laude, one year later he earned a master’s degree. His long lists of awards and work include scriptwriting, editing, comic books, screenplays and a creator of mystical works that rival Tolkien.

There is a thread common to award winning writers of all genres. It presents itself as a brilliant translucent notion that is weaved into compelling whimsy and contemplative literature. Not all writers choose to create. Some find their genii in becoming a supreme editor. They rework storylines and help bring to life compelling narratives or political satire. Another writer may feel better suited as a brave journalist dedicated to bringing light to the world. The one common theme is that they possess the overwhelming need to express and create in letters. They make whimsy that breaks through the common morass of life.

The one compelling message that our most celebrated writers give us, is that a formal education does not guarantee a successful author. The incredible genius of storytelling, imagination, communication and the conveyance of the reader to another realm is inherent.

Whether a top tier school like Evanston’s Northwestern University or a more common place of teaching like Chicago’s Wilson Junior College, formal educations supplies the writer with needed time to explore their craft. It offers important feedback in how to grow while furnishing a rich laboratory. These institutions teach authors how to package their work while making important collaborations.

A good education gives a writing god the time to discover while tailoring their own unique style. There are many wonderful tellers of stories waiting to be explored within ChapterSee.

Free and Inexpensive Book Marketing really can Shift Your Sales Paradigms. by Barbara Cerda for ChapterSee

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You’ve spent an enormous amount of time and thought into getting your book published.  One of the biggest obstacles to success is getting your work front and center to readers and that requires marketing.  This is perhaps the biggest hurdle in achieving author stardom. But shifting the paradigms in achieving over the top book sales is more than possible.  Start your own marketing campaign. Begin treating your work like an undiscovered gem.  Free or inexpensive book promotions requires truly aggressive marketing.

Even successful authors face the same conundrum.  Most publishers have budgets of many thousands of dollars dedicated to fomenting enthusiasm….for a single book. Those pre-allocated funds are normally exhausted within a month.  Publishers take their return on investment and the author is stuck with continuing his own marketing efforts from that point on.  It’s a little like being queen for day. Unless he/she is one of those authors that generates top of the charts status every month.  That is hard and costly to maintain.

If you are a student or postgraduate where do get the money for marketing? There is crowdfunding.  After all crowdfunding is among the newest ways in finding small investors by way of social media.  But let us be real.  Even free marketing has opportunity costs.   Let’s explore a few.

YouTube videos

The world is hungry for great content. We enter a time when the globe wants its info and entertainment in ways that appeal to all our sense.  Quick…you have 60 to 90 seconds to capture an imagination, a need, curiosity, or diversion. This requires time to create and talent to deliver a compelling synopsis. But videos are rapidly becoming one of the best marketing tools.  Quality sound and visuals can do a lot toward getting your book known cheaply.    The happy parts is once you get the hang of it – productions get easier and cheaper. I love How to Make a Difference.  It is a how to website that also offers an excellent YouTube how to video.

Book Consortiums

Author consortiums are cheap or free and the more the merrier.  The caveat is finding websites with the greatest amount of traffic. You want your book cover advanced in markets where it will become a best seller.  Joining the general book marketing blogs is good.  But if you are writing about the economics of global terrorism….you probably wouldn’t expect a lot of interest with a group whose audience is clamoring for children or how to books.  Time and energy required to do proper research on these sites draws from daily itineraries.  But in the end your book cover will get buzzed on all the major internet highways.

The cost of posting your cover on book marketing sites vary from free and/or $19.00 onetime memberships to hundreds of dollars.    Essentially aggressive book marketing can be expensive – you are paying for expertise.

Writers’ Resources

There is a very important differences between a simple book marketing site and an author site that is a valuable resource. Resource sites actually offer important updates of the latest publishing listings where authors can market their books. These sites often conduct author to author book reviews. They are a treasure trove of wisdom and valuable feedback. But they often require active participation. You read my book and I’ll read yours. In addition many keep an active database of publisher submission guidelines and contests.

Technology junkie

I love well done videos linked to websites that can sell anything.  Learn how to get creative. WordPress and Word have plugins and themes dedicated to marketing books. The caveat in using YouTube and creating a winning website does not require that you become a tech nerd or junkie – although it helps. But it does require the time to learn and do and create.  Learn how to use visualization tools like Vimeo or Visul.ly.

There is a term that economist use called “opportunity costs”.  When making a decision on how much of your resources is required to successfully complete a tasks – you must take in consideration what is your time worth, how much will the goods or services cost in relation to successfully completing the task of selling your book(s). Most important at the end of the day will all those costs add up in the win column. Will you come away with over the top book sales – or close to it?

Word of Mouth

If you aren’t doing this already began creating posters of your cover art.  Every university, college and school has a student union hall or cafeteria.  Get permission to post your work. If you can, begin during prepublication to create buzz about your work in art and creative networks like My Journal, About me or See Me.  Start a conversation about your book before it is published. This will give you an idea of where to find your market niche. Start a Twitter and/or Facebook page using your book title to generate interest. Build buzz.

Trust your own instincts when it comes to marketing your book. Whatever mode or hopefully combinations of marketing tools you decide to invest in….success comes from the old tried and true concepts.  It is ALWAYS about working your market to gain real readership.  But before your start working that market…know it.  Know who is reading the subject of your books.

ChapterSee is an important tool in getting your book cover seen and your content read. Join us.

 

 

A Writer’s Holiday Retrospect with Lillian – by Barbara Cerda for ChapterSee

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Blended family tables hold the greatest wealth of prose rich in storylines and tales that mirror the diverse human condition.

The holidays have passed leaving us with new memories of the common familial conversations that center on a mixture of personal politics and daily living while visiting our dinner table. These festive times always leaves in its wake a cornucopia of tales to be told. To me it conjures up images of the authors that ignore the dogmas of the season, preferring to forego the festivities while the world endures its celebratory throes. It is within these times that the genius of Lillian Hellman comes to mind.

Images of a half smoked cigarette dangling from purposeful lips and a bottle of bourbon with a half filled tumbler standing close on a table holding an old typewriter.  It is all about the story.  Lillian Hellman’s characterizations came alive.  The clacking of the typewriter dictated the scenes of plays, dramas, love stories that became a clarion for adoring fans to renew memories that became the staff of life. The tools of the writing trade have changed but not the imagery of word smiths fashioning a story.

The atmosphere of holidays brings out the best and the worst in human nature.  The buffet of emotions serves up an abundance of writing material.  We enjoy the old habits of reminiscing of what was and of the hopes tucked away in mind drawers of what could have been. These images spring to life as if just the proximity of shared bloodlines provokes their emergence. The common nuances that compile ordinary life were fodder for Lillian Hellmann novels and plays.  They are Norman Rockwell mages brought to life in words. Hellmann’s iconic works are recollections and emotional impressions painted in relief with prose. Perhaps the most beloved scenes and characterizations were of her own memories of friend Julia.

From a scene in her screenplay Julia, Lillian’s description of seeing her childhood friend after a long absence describes perfectly a breathless emotion that made an observer a participant. In just a few words she made us understand the complexities of the relationship that cloaked the bond.

Lillian Hellman was a master at creating stories subscribing to the human peculiarities that were fed by popularized dogmas, making them our memories.

Scenes in smoke filled crowded cafés and posh late night dining rooms with mirrored walls flaunted views of the gay after theater crowds. It was those “putting on show” that produced the cacophony of laughter and cheers. Dressed in ball gowns and bespoke tux.  Cigarettes hung from full red lips and bejeweled fingers caressed martinis. Lillian Hellman belonged to this magical time when writers lived the adventure and were the main characters in their accounts. Celebrity writers were bigger than life, grander than the characters in their novels.

To me Lillian Hellman is the epitome of a writing culture where the abilities to relate human emotions in the most undeniable terms was supreme.  Minus the modernity of technology there existed the raw talent to tell a captivating story.

 

Now it is your turn to recollect the conversations and activities that filled the days of your holiday season. These are the moments that offer writers the greatest gifts of burgeoning content and immensely rich storylines. The tales of two cities came to dinner, hung bells on holiday boughs, and met up to catch up on what had passed in your absences.

Join us at ChapterSee to share your post holiday thoughts.

 

Look who is cooking with Books

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Celebrity does not guarantee a bestselling cookbook.

 

The making of cookbooks is expensive. Rich imagery, quality products, professional consultancies and food photographers have large price tags. Hardcover cookbooks – although they experienced a short cycle of slow sales in 2014 is enjoying a renaissance.  Amazon’s recent debut of its own brick and mortar books stores is a clear indication that this is a lasting trend.  The wetting of public taste buds, while producing successful cookbook sales require the expertise of its creator. The writer is required to own name recognition in the culinary industry.

These are a few of the authors that continue to appear in the top ten bestsellers’ list; Ree Drummond’s “The Pioneer Woman Cooks”, Lyn Alley’s, “Gourmet Slow Cooker, Kristin Miglore’s, “Food52 Genius Recipes”, America’s Test Kitchen’s, “Cooking for Two Cookbook”, Rachel Ray’s, “Everyone is Italian on Sunday” and of course Ina Garten. It is noteworthy that best selling connoisseurs are individuals whose early careers began in the food industry. Their culinary artistry found its niche before the release of the first cookbook. They began a vogue of kitchen cooks that has slowly finding a place alongside the complex sophistication of the Michelin chef.

On the road to becoming an established product, amazing recipe authors acquire important promotional skills and collection of industry resources. Rachel Ray was a kitchen cook who became famous for creating the 30 Minute Meals. She began her love of cooking while working in a restaurant her mother managed. Lynn Alley was a food editor for a prestigious gourmet food magazine, Ree Drummond began as a food writer, editor and lifestyle blogger and America’s Test Kitchen has been front and center in the cookbook world for generations.  Their name says it all.

We crave culinary formulas intended for simpler kitchens and basic larders.

Most noteworthy is that they are writing and developing mouth-watering books that speak to the growing trends in readership. They have the resources to research and develop expensive complicated cooking. Then translate them into delectable formulations easily recreated in common kitchens.  Basic recipes that address our yearnings for healthy eating and home entertainment have become the cookbook “go to”. This kind of marketing shrewdness does not own a price tag it creates it. Many pop culture celebs are discovering that having name recognition and a penchant for cooking does not make you a cookbook superstar. The nominal expenditure of $100.000 to $150, 000 to get your cookbook to market has little return without a culinary name. Established cooking writers make publishers lots of money.

Traditionally a publisher will pay an advance to the author; the cost of production that entails the basics of photography, foodstuffs, props and incidentals soon eats through that initial pay out.  Then marketing consumes additional expenses in at least 100 copies mailed to publicists and postcards for mass mailing.  For best sellers there is the expense of signage shows (at least 100 venues), ads and appearances on local TV and radio. Then the occasional bookstore drop by and purchases of “significant media mentions”. For non-bestsellers, the advance is quickly spent leaving many bills.

Established cookbook superstars also develop lines of merchandise to absorb the costs of publishing and research and development. Yet even they face stiff incoming headwinds. EBooks and culinary websites have altered the cookbook landscape making the capture of gastronomic readership harder.  Allrecipes and The Food Network’s viewership has risen to a staggering over 20 million unique views in 2014.

When I want to cook something unfamiliar, I turn to the web.  A recent article in the Guardian speaks about hardcover cookbooks’ waning popularity amongst 50% of women 55 years of age and over.  Baby Boomers or Empty Nesters turn more and more to website food networks. It is the younger cooks that are now gathering pantry libraries.

Just as exercise wear and fitness technology are making Wall Street richer…so are cookbooks that lean to the meme of fitness. It is baked within the pricey glossy covers.

Butler pantries of mid century brides’ stand idle stacked with aging cookbooks.  It was common practice in those days to contribute to a new bride’s lauder of pricey glossy pictorials with time-consuming food formulations. Today’s older cook lacks the time to spend long hours in the kitchen or shopping for obscure ingredients. Yet the newest generation is developing a penchant for the hard covered kitchen cook’s book that contain well tested foods meant for good eating and healthy lifestyles.  This demographic is feeding the rising popularity in general for hard or trade covered books. Hard copy cookbooks contributed $233 million in sales for 2014.

The skill for creating elegant delectable foods at home using common ingredients is growing. Making cook books that deliver this requires seasoned knowledge of the culinary craft. The once complicated and time-consuming recipes meant to impress are being redesigned to fit the culinary skills of busy kitchen cooks.

Having movie star wealth may open the door and wallets of a few but cookbook consumers are smart.  Enjoy many new cookbook artists at ChapterSee.

 

 

A Writer’s Mandate to Terror

writers eyeA writer’s promissory note is to desert the superfluous while revealing a truth.

It is a mandate born as soon as humanity felt the need to record current events.  Chronicling became the Pharaohs’ command as they took their scribes into battle. Boasting of defeat and victories on stone meant to last for an “eternity”.  That tradition continues.

The current tragedy being acting out on the seas and fields of Europe is not a new story.  Today it is tales of individuals and writers committed to marching to freedom across Europe.  Let us be clear that this migration of humanity is not voluntary.  Writers and photojournalists help us to understand that this is “a forced march”.   Death and misery are the protagonists and sojourners that make the task of storytelling this event more remarkable.

Today’s writers convey by way of a host of media the pending holocausts resulting from economic and political misery.  Risking life and limb these writers forego the comfort of home to endure the inhuman events that shape the travels of those fleeing Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, Turkey and or the overcrowded refugee camps of Jordan…Azraq and Zaatari. We depend on these writers to deliver a sense of the truest of harsh realities.

To communities of observers, writers act as disrupters. They remind us of our commonality with those fleeing in terror, seeking a place of solace and safety.

Etched with emotion they bring these events into stark imagery. Without the gifts of authors, there could be no history no means of recollection. Even the worst of times, cannot be forgotten…in the hope that we will not repeat.  The utility of digital media has made it all become forever.

Whether through well-crafted 60-second videos, hour’s long movie journals or full-page articles…we are reminded of their gift to convey. Compelling short sentences add the reality while defining the imagery. I think few of us really appreciate the talent needed to convey so much with a single sentence.   Writers help the reader to understand the back-stories of each individual of the millions streaming over borders. They are detailing the moments that will release our emotions. We understand the need.  We understand the evil that has driven this forced march from ordinary living to those begging the world for sanctuary. They have become the fleeing who merely seeks to return to ordinary lives and not be the subject of a sixty-second YouTube video.

Will history remind us that ISIS or other governing states were the progenitors of torment?  Of course, because their victims have sanctified the pain and writers have lain bare the spectacle of it.

As stewards of humanity writers, journalists, news columnists, are the pastors of human history. ChapterSee is proud to be a haven to authors and writers.