Friday, October 28, 2011

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

Many of us have a number of interests going on at once. It is understandable since there are so many things to learn and enjoy in life. We continually add to our "to do" list: learn a new language, to play a musical instrument, to paint, etc. We may even actually accomplish a number of them to some degree, but mostly what we come to find is that we only really have enough time to devote to a few of them.

 I noticed my son was starting to get involved in a new hobby every 3 months, spending a few hundred dollars to finish a couple of projects and then moving on to the next hobby. As parents we should encourage our children and support them in their interests. I would think well he is young and still trying to figure out what he really wants to do, but then I  thought, well actually I am 40 and I still have changing interests. There are a few that always stay with me (weightlifting, chess, and writing) but I too will find something new almost every few months that I would like to try my hand at.

I had a boss once pull me aside and tell me, "You try to do too many things at once, you should find one thing and concentrate on being very good at that." Likewise, I have had chess masters suggest that I study just a couple of main openings and understand them as best I could. I can see the wisdom in these philosophies, but I just can't get myself to stay with only a few things. I will read about something or see an interesting documentary and I am off again, learning as much as I can until the next topic or hobby grabs my attention. I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing to be a Jack of all trades master of none, but I do wonder from time to time how good could I really be in one thing if I just devoted all my time to it....

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Unchosen Ones

     I wonder how many other writers will be able to relate to this...You're sitting at your laptop working on your story and ideas are flowing; you almost can't type as fast as the words are coming to you. But then it happens ....It is something that is so maddeningly simple, yet it is enough to bring your flow to a screeching halt.  You have two different phrases or sentences in mind that will both work perfectly in a line of your story and you just can't decide which one to use. I have spent many hours deciding over this, knowing that the reader would more than likely skim right over the sentence and would not be affected any differently had I chose the other sentence instead. Yet you are so proud of both of these well-phrased sentences that you don't want to let one of them go, but you have to because you can only choose one. I almost mourn for the sentence that will not be chosen, and I will even go so far as to keep it at the bottom of my working manuscript in hopes that I will be able to find a place for it somewhere else in the story.

     Assuming that other writers in the past have dealt with this same situation, imagine if we could read some of the great works of literature with all the sentences that weren't chosen put in place of those that were. It is very likely that they would be equally great works, but just told with different words. Almost like if someone were to ask you which of your children do you love the most, and you respond that you love them all the same but for their own unique reasons.

     It has been said that, "God dwells in the details," and so if there is a creator of the universe, he/she undoubtedly has run into this problem too. "Do I make a flamingo pink or yellow? "Should a mouse be this big or a little bigger? What if I put the colors in the rainbow in a different order? It would still be beautiful, just in a different way." As writers, we create new worlds and beings with our words, and it is understandable that we may labor over which words to use to best describe and convey our creations to our readers. And so I write this blog in honor of those words, phrases and sentences that were not chosen, but are worthy and may someday be called upon in another story at another time.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Searching every "Nook" and cranny to find "Kindle" for a "Fire"

If you haven't already purchased an e-reader you are probably just trying to decide between the ever increasing  models available. Should you get the Nook Color or the Kindle Fire? There are pros and cons to each, and you're more than likely to be happy with either one, so just get one already and start enjoying all the features you're missing! Some of the obvious useful features available to both are the ability to touch a word you are not familiar with and see it defined instantly, and the ability to access the internet as a wireless device. Throw away your reading light as they are back-lit and you can adjust the screen for reading at anytime of the day. Plug in headphones and enjoy your music to block out the noisy TV that others around you waste their brain on while you enlighten yourself reading. Books are cheaper to purchase with e-readers and you literally have hundreds available to you for free! And if you travel you don't have to decide between which books you'll take, you can take them all with you in the palm of your hand!

But perhaps the most exciting thing to talk about e-readers is what is to come. Think of the possibilities, the many different ways that technology can make the reading experience both more efficient and more enjoyable. If you didn't know already, Kindle has recently introduced Kindlegraph in which you can request an author to digitally sign your book and have it appear instantly on your e-reader! (I can sign a copy of my book for you here

Let's take this a step further, as we consider how e-readers have the potential to connect authors with their readers. It's ironic that digital electronic communication, a medium most feel is impersonal, will actual allow us to interact with our favorite authors in a way that wasn't possible before. With more efficient communication available, authors will be better able to understand what their readers enjoy about their books, and readers will feel a stronger connection to their favorite authors. For example, authors could insert interactive links in their books that take them to websites that have bios on characters, or side-stories, if they are interested in learning more about the world and characters the author has created. You obviously can't do that with paper books. This mutual beneficial scenario may lead to authors writing books that speak even stronger to the minds of their readers, and this may in turn influence more people to be interested in reading. Ultimately e-readers may be the beginning of a more enlightened world!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Guest Post--Dawn Torrens on Amelia's Story

I am honored to be able to feature Dawn Torrens, the author of one of the most captivating true stories of a traumatic childhood I have ever read. After reading her story you will gain a new respect for the strength of the human will to overcome adversity. And now I introduce to you Dawn:

Firstly I would like to thank Dax Tucker for inviting me to guest post for him today, this is such an honor for me as I am such a fan of his book, "The Leaf Catcher".


I am from Birmingham in England, where I live with my husband and beautiful daughter. Birmingham is the central city for the UK! This is a very multicultural city, vibrant and full of optimism for the people which live
there! I am a very proud mother who believes in the motto, "The child first and foremost." My daughter always comes first in my life, she is my heart, my soul and my world. I could not imagine a life without her in it. I am a passionate writer, and this has been so since the age of 9 years old when I started writing poems, this was my way of expressing myself during my times of despair as a child.

Amelia's Story (my first book)

Amelia's Story is a true story (my story) I have written this book for my daughter, so when she is much older she can read this in her own time, and better understand the long hard road I had to travel before I got to where I am today. This is a harrowing account of a young girl's struggle to survive each and everyday in the state care system during the 70's and 80's. These were hard and lonely times. Amelia (me) was so determined not to become a statistic that she made a promise to herself that she will one day amount to something, having heard the opposite all of her life only fueled her determination. The obstacles placed in Amelia's way proved so hard at times that she almost gives up and wonders about the peace and finality of her own death.

Amelia's story has taken me on a very emotional journey, and an extremely hard one too. I had to revisit places I never thought I could again, I had to come face to face with some very hard truths which I discovered during my research. Before I started writing my book I had to gain permission from the state social services records department, there was so many gaps I needed to fill, so many case reviews about myself that I was not privy to at the time. I wanted to know how they determined the choices they made for me, what was discussed about me in those case reviews before I was shipped from one place to another. I was given access to all my records for the duration of my time spent under the care system. I traveled to a town called Shrewsbury to the head office of the records department, I spent a whole day wading through boxes and boxes of reports, case review records, NSPCC reports and so on. I discovered so much more. I asked if I was able to take a copy of everything and I was granted this important request. I set about photocopying everything so I could write my story fully informed.

My story is not for the faint hearted, however, this is a story of personal strength, of determination, and the will to survive. My story is already inspiring people from all walks of life. My ultimate dream is to set up my own children's charity eventually and make as much of a difference as I possibly can. In the meantime Amelia's story is making a small difference as a percentage of all my sales each and every month goes to:

I have two more books coming out in 2012, Amelia's Story part 2, and a thriller based novel, which I started writing a couple of years ago and I am third of the way in.

My hopes and dreams for the future, well this is easy, I want my daughter to look back on her own childhood when she is a woman with fond memories. I want her to grow up a happy and well balanced person, with a kind heart full of love and respect for life. I hope to write many more books, and make a huge difference to many children across the world. I hope to inspire those children who are currently living through a hard and emotional childhood as I once did, giving them hope for the future, that they can go on to be anything they want to be with will and determination.

Thank you all so much for taking the time out of your day to join us today.

Authors links:

My website -
My charity -
Buy book -
Buy book
My charity -
Authors making a difference -

Thank you Dawn, I know many will be touched after reading your story, and your goals and dreams are truly an indication of a person that wants to make a positive difference in the world. I wish you, your book, and your family much success!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Surgeon General's Warning: Negative Perception is Hazardous to Your Health

Have you ever seen a one year old toddler dragging a chair bigger than they are across the floor? Pound for pound they are stronger than the average adult. If we were to keep this relative strength into our adulthood it would be very impressive to say the least. Now what does this have to do with perception you might ask? In my book, The Leaf Catcher, the father brings up this analogy to his son and explains that as that child grows up and hears everyone around them talk about their limitations they grow to believe them as well. Our perception as a toddler is that everything is new and everything is possible, we just need to keep trying until we get what we want. But over time our perception becomes adulterated with negativity and accepted beliefs of limitations that we hear and see around us, and this can keep us from reaching our full potential.

Let's take another look at an example of perception and then we will return to tie it in with the above example. We have all experienced the very real sensation that time can seem to move unnaturally slow when we are bored or in pain, and unbelievably fast when we are having a good time and don't wan't something to end. The fact is that time never changes it properties, a minute is the same length of time no matter what you are doing, but sometimes it can feel like 10 minutes or 10 seconds depending on how we perceive it.

So we see that perception is so strong it can change both our physical capabilities and our mental experience of time. Perception then is the most powerful performance enhancing drug available to us that is both free and without unwanted side effects. A positive perception will have you high on life. However, a negative perception has been associated with the following: depression, insomnia, nausea, blindness to potential, stroke of seemingly bad luck, heart and life failure.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Building an Arsenal of Influential Power One Word at a Time

Words are powerful, whether they are written or spoken. In this sentence I can write just one word that would offend you and cause you to stop reading and never look at my blog again, or I could choose a word or phrase that would set of a chain of mental events that cause you to experience a sense of curiosity, nostalgia, or pleasure that will have you eager to read more. That is the power of words, and we all recognize when we hear a good speaker or read a skillful writer because we feel that anticipation, "Oh, this is gonna be good ...."

Conversely, we also recognize right away when we are in for a cringing session of empathy: The comedian on stage who is bombing, a story your friend wrote that is fraught with spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, and asks you for your "honest" opinion. These experiences are dramatically different and we look forward to hearing that inspirational speaker who's words are enunciated and articulated with confidence, and to being whisked away by the writer whose power of words creates entire worlds that we can escape to.

So, what is my point? you ask, as I have merely pointed out the obvious. My point is precisely this, there are many ways in which one can obtain and exercise power, however, while there are only a few who can achieve power through means of wealth, most of us have the ability to speak or write, and as words cost virtually nothing we can call upon them at anytime and anyplace to do our bidding. All that is required to fully realize their power and make it ours is to take the time learn and appreciate them. Try and learn a new word each day and add to your arsenal of influential power.