Inform

When Understanding People Goes Too Far: A Relationship Survival Guide

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by Carrie De Simas Article Categories: ,

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In our information obsessed society we are all hunters of information. We scour social media looking for the next great tip. We read books to lend insights into our business ventures and we look for cues to better understand the other people around us.    The smartest of us will strive to find clues and insights into how to better interpret people’s behaviors and words so we can more safely and successfully maneuver our personal and business relationships.   The expression is to not judge people until we have walked in their shoes. The word judgment means coming to a conclusion after evaluating the available information. So judgment, like understanding, is a form of belief in our insights into another person’s actions, words or motives.   My father is a well-known therapist. He has often said that if you really understand a person you can never truly hate them. If his words are […]

Makeup and Confidence. What Does Your Mascara Say About You?

Stuart Miles

by Carrie De SimasArticle Categories: ,

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I recently entered a debate with a woman who wears a bucket-load of makeup. Her son had once told me that she wears makeup because it makes her pretty. I have always felt badly for her, for having to use artificial substances in that manner. Artificial substances create artificial feelings. Thus, when you are a woman like this, you only feel beautiful when you are caked-up. As entrepreneurs and marketers, we need to be aware of what our image says to other people about us. For women, makeup can be an enhancement, but it can also be to your detriment as well. You cannot proclaim to the world that you are a strong and confident woman when you hide your true self beneath layers of artificiality. Make up—like a mask— conceals the truth of what lies beneath. If you are confident, you don’t need to literally hide your face from […]

Intergalactic Discrimination, It Is. Or Is It?

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by Jessica Slade Article Categories: ,

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Most people would say that discrimination isn’t acceptable. We don’t want racial slurs in our supermarkets, religion slander in our schools or be the person to put up Merry Christmas in our government offices for fear of offending someone somewhere. But what if we want to rant our frustrations about cultures we find absurd, or that infringe on our own rights…such as being able to wish someone a Happy Christmas without being verbally slapped with accusations of discrimination. In a fiction world where fantasy rules, these rules of political correctness can be open to interpretation. But surely such fiction would be banned? Such writers targets of hate mail! No one could make a living off this! Uh, well, yes. They can. And a good living too. Inspirational fiction (otherwise known as Christian fiction) often is based on the assumption that all the answers needed to be happy and successful in […]

When Fiction Inspires Change: How To Face Your Dragon

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by Rudy DeesArticle Categories: ,

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Recently I read Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and as a result faced my own metaphorical dragon. Until this moment I never owned a kite thus I was colorless and stuck on the ground. Stuck with a past I had yet to face. However, that all changed when I took on the dragon. Thirty-eight year old Amir, the main character in the novel, takes on his dragon by returning to his native Afghanistan to face his past. The story uses the kite as a metaphor to describe Amir’s journey; the kite at the beginning of the novel illustrates Amir’s cowardice and his reluctance to confront his fear: The bully Assef. Amir’s past catches up with him as he is reminded that there is “A way to be good again…” and that is to take on Assef—his dragon—and find his redemption, his courage, and his self-worth. Hosseini ends the novel with […]

Fact versus Truth – Do You Know the Difference?

Stuart Miles

by Carrie De SimasArticle Categories: ,

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Fifty Shades of Grey made headlines all over the fiction-reading world as a book, then trilogy, then as a movie. But what’s interesting from a marketing perspective is that depending on who promoted the books, the series was either a sensual fantasy, an erotic romance, or erotica. Same book, different genres and tags.  What many people don’t inherently understand is that there is a difference between fact and truth. Watch what I mean: Sugar is fat free.  Total fact. I swear. Look at the nutrition label on any sugar bag whether white, yellow or brown sugar. Fat free. But wait, don’t go to town on it quite yet. Because the truth is that sugar is also highly caloric and calories turn into fat. So yes, the fact of the matter is that sugar is fat free (yay!) but it is made up of empty calories that very quickly turn into […]

Advice on Writing Fiction Without the “God Crutch”

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by Rudy DeesArticle Categories: ,

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How did your social psychology training and your work as an advice columnist affect your novel about a woman forced to endure life’s harshest loss? SKP: As Kylie’s Heel was being written and revised many times over nearly a decade, and as my own non-theistic views became firmer, the focus of the novel evolved a bit. My social psychology training taught me to take account of facts, credible studies, science, and so on, and I wanted to include that focus. Somehow I got the idea of incorporating a Q&A column into the novel, where Kylie could be absolutely direct about her beliefs. I certainly expected that there were enough readers who think like I do, or who would be interested in an unusual novel like this, that a focus on an atheist woman’s struggles would be a positive marketing point. Throughout Kylie’s Heel, you have shown that people can survive great […]

Inside Job – Success Tips for Entrepreneurs by Mark Sephton

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by Fred E. WhyteArticle Categories: ,

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How does your book, Inside Job, help entrepreneurs who feel “stuck” in their pursuit of success? MS: If we ever want to change our outward experiences, we must change the inside of us. Our beliefs determine our behaviour. It’s from knowing who we are and finding our purpose in our passion which will help launch us forward.  How do you respond to the entrepreneurs who say that they are too busy to mentor or help others? MS:You have to think long term. Life is a marathon not a sprint. Your biggest asset in business is your reputation. Your bottom line will not grow if you have a poor reputation and you are so focused on your bottom line that you forget the very heart beat and lifeblood of your business: people. What are some signs that others might be trying to take advantage of your generosity in terms of helping […]

The Difference Between Voice and Tone

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by Carrie De SimasArticle Categories: ,

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What’s the difference between voice and tone? And how do you implement it consistently in your business? Those are common questions I am asked in my marketing workshops. The answer is that voice should remain consistent regardless of the circumstances. For example, Classic Disney has a family-friendly voice no matter the situation. They will not use profanity, nor words like superfluous or highfalutin. It doesn’t fit their brand or their voice. They use words suitable for a young and wholesome audience. That’s voice. Tone is different. We have all heard (or used!) the expression “It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it.” That’s tone. Tone is the way you say something. In person, it’s easier to define tone. It’s a combination of word choice, syntax and intonation. In writing though? Tone becomes harder to manage. The written word is entirely subjective to the reader. So if the reader […]

Can Too Much Learning Hurt Your Creativity and Writing?

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by Carrie De Simas Article Categories: ,

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Years ago, I submitted my first attempt at a trilogy in proposal form to Harlequin. Within a few weeks, I received a request for a partial back and quickly sent in the first six chapters of the first book. In my mind, I saw my books on the bookshelves, my name in print and my bank account with more than the current twenty dollars in it. But what came back to me was a lengthy rejection. Later, I learned that this lengthy letter was a good sign because the editor saw in my writing something to encourage. So I joined a writers group and began the task of learning the tools of writing creativity. Sounds like an oxy moron. Learning tools and creativity. For the next few years I learned about world building and deep point of view. I learned about the publishing industry and marketing. I learned and learned […]

Squish Negative Thinking With a Simple Child’s Tool

Karyn Connor

by Karyn Connors Article Categories: ,

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We all know that sound. The little voice in our heads that questions a word choice, whispers that perhaps the scene isn’t going well, suggests that perhaps this manuscript we’re working on is never going to capture the vision in our heads.Whether it’s a tiny whisper, or a full out scream, every writer I have ever met has encountered these negative thoughts from time to time.But what to do about it?Then I discovered something so simple and so effective, I could almost hear that negative little voice whimpering in neglect. Now, whenever I hear that nagging little voice in my head, questioning or criticizing, I resort to a parenting trick my husband and I use for our toddler.The time out.When done well, a time out for children is not supposed to be a punishment, especially at the young age of two and a half. What it is supposed to be, […]