SOME QUOTES

Helen Keller: So much has been given me that I have no time to ponder that which has been denied.

Unknown: Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery.

Unknown, and popular for a while, but I forgot it until now, and think you may enjoy it, too: Work as if you don’t need the money, love as if you’ve never been hurt, and dance as if nobody’s watching.

dance toon by aungkarns

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ARE THESE FIRST LINES GOOD STORY HOOKS?

Artie is either on a bus or robbing a business when each story begins. There are buses, limos, alleys, and always, beautiful women involved in the first paragraphs. I didn’t plan on the busses, limos, and alleys when I started writing the series. But I think they worked in each story and worked with a series. Here’s the first line from each story. Do they draw you in, or do I need to work on my first lines?

Artie and the Long-Legged Woman: Artie watched with horror as first one beautiful leg emerged from the white limousine and then an equally gorgeous leg followed.

Artie and the Brown-Eyed Woman: The scream brought Artie to the window.

Artie and the Red-Headed Woman: The bus bucked and came to a stop in the middle of the street.

Artie and the Green-Eyed Woman: Artie Applegate stepped into the dark alley and closed the jewelry store door behind him, his hands still gloved.

Artie and the Big-Footed Woman: Artie tightened the grip on his athletic bag as the bus jounced over another manhole cover.

The good news is that all stories now available in a “bundle.” It includes the first four previously published stoies and the bonus last one, “Artie and the Big-Footed Woman.” If you buy it through Untreed Reads, the publisher, you get a free bonus short story, “Going Where the Wind Blows.”

http://store.untreedreads.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6_224&products_id=1932

or:

http://bit.ly/2cKl9i5

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble now, and other places soon, like Kobo.

artie-bundle

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GETTING CONTROL OF EMAIL AND USING IT TO STAY ORGANIZED

I’ve come up with a couple of tips I hope will help you get a handle on some time-management problems when dealing with email.

First I use folders to sort my mail into very small areas. I have a business one where I place sub-folders to throw in payments, orders, and so on for each business. I have folders for people I do a lot of correspondence with. I have them for family members. And so on.

But I had a brainstorm the other day, and started one for personal emails to answer, and one for marketing ideas. Now I see at a glance how many I need to answer that are personal, and how many I should go through for marketing. I even send myself marketing ideas (usually links) when I find them.

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The system has helped with my usual overwhelmed feeling when I look at my inbox. And the marketing idea is great because when I sit down and decide to work on marketing, I can go to that folder and find ideas to carry out. Examples include using Notes in Facebook to put up my most current blog post, update my bios at Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter, etc. I try to work on one a day. (Think about it—that would be 365 marketing attempts a year!)

Let me know in the comments if you have any special email tricks

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BOOKS READ, AUGUST, 2016

I’ve decided to list the books I’ve read in the last month on the first Wednesday of every month with some thoughts about each one. My favorite of the month will be listed first in case you don’t have time to read the whole thing. The rest are in no particular order. I will only list those that I consider to be at least worth four stars on Amazon. The vast majority of books I read rate at least that many stars because I look for authors I like already, and/or for plot lines given in descriptions and reviews that interest me. I’ve noted when I’ve done full reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

If Morning Ever Comes by Anne Tyler

Okay, I’m prejudiced. Anne Tyler is one of my top five favorite authors. This is the first book she had published at the age of twenty-two! When I found this out, I was, of course, very jealous. It’s the story, told in the male viewpoint, of Ben Joe and his strange, dysfunctional but funny family. Mostly, it’s about love—all kinds of love. What’s not to love about that?

A Time of Torment, by John Connolly

Five star review up on Amazon and Goodreads. This is a Carlie Parker series thriller, the first in the series I’ve read. It involved a cult which I admit always fascinates me, and some very interesting characters. Very hard to put down.

So Many Steps to Death by Agatha Christi

I enjoyed this because it was an attempt by Ms. Christi to do a spy novel. Most reviews I’ve read put it down somewhat for that. I guess their expectations weren’t met. But if you like something different and love good plotting, good characters, and good writing, this is a very enjoyable book to read.

Dying in Style by Elaine Viets (a Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper #1)

This is the first in the Dead-End Jobs series by Elaine Viets. You can always count on some humor with stories by Ms. Viets. Josie Marcus is a mystery shopper. I knew this when I ordered the book, and I bought it because I wondered about how the whole mystery shopping thing worked. Although the plot is pretty improbable, this was a quick, fun read.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

This is one of those books that I’ll never forget. It’s the story of two sisters during WWII in France. One cautious; one impetuous, filled with heartbreak and suspense. I love stories where I learn something new, especially when there is excellent writing, as is the case here. Highly recommended.

The Limping Dog by J.R. Lindermuth

Another five-star review up on Amazon and Goodreads for this one. See my review on my blog: http://www.janchristensen.com/review-the-limping-dog-by-john-lindermuth/

New England (good start!). A sailboat washes ashore. Gavin Cutter, a local artist, rushes aboard to help. But the only living thing he finds is a limping dog. Isn’t that a great opening? I thought so.

The Last Mile by David Baldacci (Amos Decker, #2)

Another suspense novel where I learned something new, this time about a condition of total recall called hyperthymesia. Amos Decker has it, and it can be both helpful and annoying. Melvin Mars, awaiting execution in Texas for killing his parents, is saved by a man confessing to the murders. But did the confessor really do it? Many twists and turns in typical Baldacci fashion and hard to put down.

My Sister, My Love, by Joyce Carol Oates

And here’s an author I sometimes like okay, sometimes don’t appreciate at all. But I am very glad I read My Sister, My Love. It was just fascinating in so many ways. Very long, detailed, but the story pulls you in. It’s based on the JonBennet Ramsey case, but the little girl is an ice skater, not a model. Another book told in the male point of view by a female author, it’s of course exceedingly well-done. Highly recommended for people who love long, intricate novels.

Broken Harbor by Tana French (Dublin Murder Squad #4)

Although I figured out what happened early on, this story pulled me in, and I had to finish it to see if I got it right. I did, but there was one more twist. You actually get two stories for one, and the writing is so good, nothing is confusing. Briefly, there’s a wonderful setting where a great detective is trying to figure out who killed two children, ages four and six, their father, and stabbed their mother who lived but remains unconscious for several days. I need to read the others in this series soon.

And that’s it for last month. See you next time. What’s the favorite book you read in August, 2016?