Tag Archives: writing

Thanks! Over 1.5 million hits so far this year…

I want to thank everyone.  Earlier in October my humble blog site reached over 1.5 million hits and is close to 1.6 million now.  Thank you all for looking at my blog this year and for enjoying my quirky blend of dogs, cosplay, quantum physics, history, and writing.  It reflects my own warped personality and interests, so it is reassuring to know that over 1.5 million times this year others were interested in the same things.  🙂



Filed under Humor and Observations

A New Writing Editor I’m Trying Out

I saw this program on StumbleUpon and it only costs $9.99 so I decided to give it a try.  I will let you know as I use it, but so far it looks like it will improve my edits.  It automatically color highlights your work a lot like my beta readers do.  Here is a sample from the StumbleUpon post for the Hemingway Editor 2.0, found at hemingwayapp.com.

Hemingway App makes your writing bold and clear.

The app highlights long, complex sentences and common errors; if you see a yellow sentence, shorten or split it. If you see a red highlight, your sentence is so dense and complicated that your readers will get lost trying to follow its meandering, splitting logic — try editing this sentence to remove the red.

You can utilize a shorter word in place of a purple one. Mouse over it for hints.

Adverbs are helpfully shown in blue. Get rid of them and pick verbs with force instead.

Phrases in green have been marked to show passive voice.

You can format your text with the toolbar.

Paste in something you’re working on and edit away. Or, click the Write button to compose something new.

Go here to see it in color:  http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/4GI0Uh/:1lV1rhLUC:aKqT93OA/www.hemingwayapp.com

You drop your Word file into plain text, then open.  When you are done, you can reverse the process.  I dropped one of my upcoming books into it and I have already found some very helpful edits as a result.



Filed under Writing

Forbes – Best 100 Inspirational Quotes

I have taken the liberty to BOLD the ones I agree with completely. – Michael Bradley


Kevin Kruse


I write about wholehearted leadership and employee engagement.

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

100 Best Quotes On Leadership

Kevin Kruse

LEADERSHIP 5/28/2013
Top 100 Inspirational Quotes

Inspirational quotes and motivational quotes have the power to get us through a bad week, and can even give us the courage to pursue our life’s dreams. In my book, 4 Keys to Happiness and Fulfillment at Work, I share surprising research into the true triggers of workplace motivation. So in the spirit of self motivation, here are 100 inspirational quotes.

ForbesQuotes: Thoughts On The Business Of Life
1. Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being. –Kevin Kruse

2. Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. –Napoleon Hill

3. Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. –Albert Einstein

4. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. –Robert Frost

5. I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse. –Florence Nightingale

6. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. –Wayne Gretzky

7. I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. –Michael Jordan

8. The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. –Amelia Earhart

9. Every strike brings me closer to the next home run. –Babe Ruth

10. Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement. –W. Clement Stone

11. We must balance conspicuous consumption with conscious capitalism. –Kevin Kruse

12. Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. –John Lennon

13. We become what we think about. –Earl Nightingale

14.Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover. –Mark Twain

15.Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. –Charles Swindoll

16. The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. –Alice Walker

17. The mind is everything. What you think you become. –Buddha

18. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. –Chinese Proverb

19. An unexamined life is not worth living. –Socrates

20. Eighty percent of success is showing up. –Woody Allen

21. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. –Steve Jobs

22. Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is. –Vince Lombardi

23. I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. –Stephen Covey

24. Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. –Pablo Picasso

25. You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. –Christopher Columbus

The Forbes eBook Of Motivational Quotes
Discover the timeless advice that the world’s great thinkers, billionaires, writers and businesspeople have to offer.

26. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. –Maya Angelou

27. Either you run the day, or the day runs you. –Jim Rohn

28. Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. –Henry Ford

29. The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain

30. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

31. The best revenge is massive success. –Frank Sinatra

32. People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily. –Zig Ziglar

33. Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. –Anais Nin

34. If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced. –Vincent Van Gogh

35. There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing. –Aristotle

36. Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. –Jesus

37. The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

38. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. –Henry David Thoreau

39. When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me. –Erma Bombeck

40. Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him. –Booker T. Washington

41. Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture the heart. – Ancient Indian Proverb

42. Believe you can and you’re halfway there. –Theodore Roosevelt

43. Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. –George Addair

44. We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. –Plato

45. Teach thy tongue to say, “I do not know,” and thous shalt progress. –Maimonides

46. Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. –Arthur Ashe

47. When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life. –John Lennon

48. Fall seven times and stand up eight. –Japanese Proverb

49. When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us. –Helen Keller

50. Everything has beauty, but not everyone can see. –Confucius

51. How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. –Anne Frank

52. When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. –Lao Tzu

53. Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. –Maya Angelou

54. Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions. –Dalai Lama

55. If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on. –Sheryl Sandberg

56. First, have a definite, clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end. –Aristotle

57. If the wind will not serve, take to the oars. –Latin Proverb

58. You can’t fall if you don’t climb. But there’s no joy in living your whole life on the ground. –Unknown

59. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained. –Marie Curie

60. Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears. –Les Brown

61. Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. –Joshua J. Marine

62. If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else. –Booker T. Washington

63. I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do. –Leonardo da Vinci

64. Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless. –Jamie Paolinetti

65. You take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing, no one to blame. –Erica Jong

66. What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do. –Bob Dylan

67. I didn’t fail the test. I just found 100 ways to do it wrong. –Benjamin Franklin

68. In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. –Bill Cosby

69. A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. – Albert Einstein

70. The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it. –Chinese Proverb

71. There are no traffic jams along the extra mile. –Roger Staubach

72. It is never too late to be what you might have been. –George Eliot

73. You become what you believe. –Oprah Winfrey

74. I would rather die of passion than of boredom. –Vincent van Gogh

75. A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty. –Unknown

76. It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings. –Ann Landers

77. If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money. –Abigail Van Buren

78. Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs. –Farrah Gray

79. The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself–the invisible battles inside all of us–that’s where it’s at. –Jesse Owens

80. Education costs money. But then so does ignorance. –Sir Claus Moser

81. I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear. –Rosa Parks

82. It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. –Confucius

83. If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough. –Oprah Winfrey

84. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. –Dalai Lama

85. You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. –Maya Angelou

86. Dream big and dare to fail. –Norman Vaughan

87. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. –Martin Luther King Jr.

88. Do what you can, where you are, with what you have. –Teddy Roosevelt

89. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. –Tony Robbins

90. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. –Gloria Steinem

91. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live. –Mae Jemison

92. You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try. –Beverly Sills

93. Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. –Eleanor Roosevelt

94. Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be. –Grandma Moses

95. The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. –Ayn Rand

96. When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. –Henry Ford

97. It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. –Abraham Lincoln

98. Change your thoughts and you change your world. –Norman Vincent Peale

99. Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. –Benjamin Franklin

100. Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn

101. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. –Steve Jobs

102. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. –Zig Ziglar

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Punny Literary Sentences

For those who love a punny turn of phrase…

42 phrases a lexophile would love


1. I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

2. Police were called to a day care, where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

3. Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He’s all right now.

4. The roundest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference.

5. To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

6. When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.

7. The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

8. A thief who stole a calendar… got twelve months.

9. A thief fell and broke his leg in wet cement. He became a hardened criminal.

10. Thieves who steal corn from a garden could be charged with stalking.

11. When the smog lifts in Los Angeles , U. C. L. A.

12. The math professor went crazy with the blackboard. He did a number on it.

13. The professor discovered that his theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground.

14. The dead batteries were given out free of charge.

15. If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.

16. A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail.

17. A bicycle can’t stand alone; it is two tired.

18. A will is a dead giveaway.

19. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

20. A backward poet writes inverse.

21. In a democracy it’s your vote that counts; in feudalism, it’s your Count that votes.

22. A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.

23. If you don’t pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.

24. With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.

25. Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I’ll show you A-flat miner.

26. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

27. The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.

28. A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France and resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.

29. You are stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it.

30. Local Area Network in Australia : The LAN down under.

31. He broke into song because he couldn’t find the key.

32. A calendar’s days are numbered.

33. A boiled egg is hard to beat.

34. He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

35. A plateau is a high form of flattery.

36. Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

37. When you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall.

38. If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.

39. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.

40. Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.

41. Acupuncture: a jab well done.

42. A lot of money is tainted: ‘Taint yours, and ‘taint mine.


Filed under Humor and Observations, Writing

Bad Writing – Head Injuries

Neck breaking – If I had a dollar for every time I see a movie or read a book or watch TV and someone with their arms or legs snaps the neck of a bad guy and kills them…  Sometimes they just put a hand on either side of their head and jerk and you hear a chiropractic snapping sound and the person falls limp and dead.  We would all be dropping dead regularly if it were so easy to break our necks.

In reality, a broken neck is much harder to achieve as the neck can flex easily.  Even crushed vertebrae would not be an instant kill.  If you lift and rotate the Atlas joint you can damage the spinal cord through spiral tear or at worst sever it, very difficult the latter.  Still, the victim would most likely be paralyzed but not die immediately.  Even severing an artery will cause death only after a few minutes.

It is unlikely even the strongest man can snap the neck of a bad guy and kill them instantly.

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Knocking Someone Out – Even people with a “glass jaw” can rarely be knocked unconscious with a single punch or blow to the head.  Look at boxers.  After a long fight, they often succumb to a rain of blows.  A kick to the head on the other hand, may do the trick.  However, the heroes punching a guy in the jaw, not likely to do the trick.

Recovery from Being Knocked Out – If you are knocked unconscious from a blow to the head, most likely you have suffered at least a concussion if not a traumatic brain injury.  You do not get up, rub your head, and then act functional and remember what happened.  When knocked out, you lose the last thirty seconds to few minutes of memory.  If you were knocked out quickly, you would wake up not even knowing why.  You would also experience headache, vision issues, and nausea.  This state would continue for some time and you would need medical assistance.  If you had bleeding on the brain, cerebral swelling, or organic brain injury, simply ignoring it will cause the damage to be permanent, worse, and perhaps fatal.

If your hero is good, and does not kill anyone, they simply knock them out.  In reality, there is a good chance that hitting them over the head hard enough to cause loss of consciousness will not only cause severe damage but maybe death as well.

Sleeper Hold – The good hero often does the sleeper hold.  This again is easy, simply holding them gently with an arm until they pass out.  In reality, this can often damage the trachea and cause suffocation and heart attack, even in trained professionals.  How many times have law enforcement been sued over choke hold related deaths?  Also, it takes a long time to make someone pass out, in which they turn blue, eyes bulge, and they fight like hell to stop you.  I get so tired of “don’t fight it” being said during a choke hold to make it easy.  The truth is that when you are suffocating, you WILL fight it whether you want to or not.  It is a primal instinct.  These scenes would result in about four minutes of horrible struggling, blood vessels popping in the eyes, mucous forced from the nose, and not very heroic for our good hero.

Temporary Amnesia Caused by Blow to the Head – If you have physical trauma induced amnesia, it is likely permanent due to the severe damage to your brain needed to induce memory loss.  Psychological trauma, such as PTSD can result in temporary suppression of memory or memory loss.  Sometimes these memories can be regained.  However, a physically damaged brain causing memory loss is unlikely to recover.

Regaining Memory from Another Blow to the Head – In Three Stooges tradition, you lose your memory from a head injury, then you regain it from another blow to the head.  Each time you get hit, your brain will take more damage.  All brain surgeons know the best way to heal damaged neurons is to smash them with a blunt instrument – NOT!  And yet this mythos endures, even on famous shows.

Psychological Trauma – The hero’s base is attacked and half the people die.  They fight back, overcome and end up defeating the enemies.  They have a tearful funeral, talk to the family of the dead, and get drunk.  Next week they are all back at work as if nothing happened.  In what world does your office place have several long time members killed, you kill others, then you return to work for more.  Likely that whole unit would be faced with 90% absentees due to leaves of absence, transfer requests and people quitting.  Even in the military no unit in wartime withstands 50% casualties and continues to function after that.  Even with ten percent casualties, the unit would have severe personality changes and replacements would be viewed as outsiders for not having shared the trauma.

Capillary Bleeding – The head bleeds like the dickens.  In the military we are trained to avoid people going into shock.  Scalp capillaries will cover the entire head and face with blood very quickly from even a minor scratch.  The injured will often think their entire head has been blown apart.  A tire iron to the head or a grazed bullet to the scalp does not produce a smudge of blood in the hair that one puts their fingers to and shrugs off.  They would instead be unable to see for blood in their eyes and if they clear them to look in a reflective service they would see themselves covered in blood and usually freak out.  In these situations, the brain often sends them into shock, shutting down their ability to function and possibly causing death as it shuts down thinking it must preserve blood.

For more on literary wound descriptions, see my earlier post – https://mbtimetraveler.com/2013/05/18/writing-realistic-injuries-warning-graphic-images/


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Six Word Stories

Brevity is the soul of wit…  (See what I did there?  Grins.)  Stop me now, stuck on six…  Oh no, still writing in sixes…

The following is Reposted from StumbleUpon.  Original source – http://www.sixwordstories.net. 

Six Word Stories

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Naomi Novik – An Author to Read!

I was very pleasantly surprised to find that Naomi Novik would be at Phoenix Comic Con 2014.  So, I left my booth in the capable hands of my wife and friends and stood in line to get her autograph.  My appreciation for her work came from a random coincidence.  I receive free books from publishers through Patti Hulstrand in exchange for my reading and reviewing them.  I read over a book a week, in addition to writing my own, so this works out well for everyone.

I am usually disappointed at the quality of books I receive, even from major publishers.  I was very happy as I opened Blood of Tyrants and started to read to find that the author, Naomi Novik, wrote outstanding prose and has great characterization.  As a result, I actually spent my own money to buy her other books in the series and I am rapidly going through them.

When I met Naomi Novik in person, I was also happy to find that she was quite charming, appreciative of fans, and fun to talk to.  This is more rare in celebrity guests and writers than you would think.  Here is a picture of us at PCC, followed by the Book Review I wrote for The WOD Magazine:

Naomi Novik and I

And here is the book review:


Blood of Tyrants

by Naomi Novik

 Book Review by Michael Bradley

 Blood of Tyrants is the eighth book in the Temeraire Series by Naomi Novik.  Generally, it is difficult for me to properly evaluate a book starting at book eight.  I must admit I had never read any of the series prior to this one.  The two main characters are Captain William Laurence and Temeraire.  Temeraire is a dragon, though one of remarkable intelligence and character.  What helped me out surprisingly is one of my most hated overused writer tropes or devices – the character with amnesia.

Still, Captain Laurence is washed ashore with amnesia, which being the eighth book in the series, actually let me discover who he was and his relationships as if the first book in the series.  Please authors, stop with the amnesia though.  It just doesn’t happen like that.  But back to the book…

I was immediately impressed by the pacing and the outstanding prose of Naomi Novik who immediately makes you interested in the characters and their adventure.  This particular book takes place in the orient during the Napoleonic Wars, early nineteenth century.  I was so impressed that I went out and bought the early seven books so I could read them as well.  I have finished the first two but seem to have missed buying number three, so I am stuck for now.  I definitely recommend reading them in order.

Naomi Novik creates a world that in many ways is a realistic historical novel of the Napoleonic period, heavily reminiscent of Patrick O’Brien’s Master and Commander series, the Horatio Hornblower series by C. S. Forester, or the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell.  In this way, her novel is far from revolutionary.

Then Naomi Novik mixes in the concept of dragons used to fight in the war.  This is not very original either, as other authors have done so, such as Harry Turtledove’s Darkness Series which recounts World War 2 in a medieval setting with Dragons as aircraft, behemoths as tanks and magic for nuclear weapons.  Similarly, local author Michael Stackpole uses the same concept in The Crown Colonies Series, only set during the American Revolution.  Dragon Riders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey and countless others have trod this literary path.

What makes this book worth reading, is not the historical sense, nor the use of dragons in an otherwise near historical tale, but instead her excellent characters and writing.  Any published author will tell you that excellent writing has very little to do with the story and very much to do with the characters.

The relationship between Captain William Laurence and his companion Temeraire is as engaging as Captain Jack Aubrey and Doctor Stephen Maturin or Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson.  She captures every detail and nuance of their characters, friendships, conflicts, self-revelation and discovery in a delightful and artful way.  I was unable to find any fault at all in the book and strongly recommend the series to any science fiction or fantasy readers.

The series also deals with war and adult issues but refrains from any language, violence or situations that would be inappropriate for younger readers, so I can safely recommend it for everyone age twelve and above.  The first book in the series, which I recommend you start with is entitled His Majesty’s Dragon and is widely available in bookstores and online.

 [You can connect with Naomi Novik at the following locations:  Naominovik.com  Facebook – NaomiNovik  Twitter – @NaomiNovik and Temeraire.org]

Her new series of books, starts with Uprooted, due out June 2015 from Del Rey Books, an imprint of Random House.



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10 Painful Rejection Letters To Famous People Proving You Should NEVER Give Up Your Dreams

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The sting of rejection is bitter, but it’s a necessary step to triumph. Even the best have been told that they aren’t good enough.

1. Madonna


perezhilton.comWhen the Queen of Pop finally signed with Sire Records in 1982, her debut album sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. She used this early rejection as motivation, as this respected producer didn’t believe she was “ready yet.” She’s now the best selling female artist of all time.

2. Tim Burton


lettersofnote.comThis Disney editor didn’t consider Burton’s first children’s book, “The Giant Zlig”, marketable enough. He took the feedback to heart, feverishly honed his skills and was hired as an animator’s apprentice at the company just a few years later. He went on to become involved in films like “Edward Scissorhands”, and “The Nightmare Before Christmas”.

3. Andy Warhol


papermag.comIn 1956, Warhol gave one of his pieces to the Museum of Modern Art – for free – but was quickly rejected. Obviously, his luck turned around pretty fast. On top of having his own museum in Pittsburgh, the very museum that rejected him now features 168 of his original works.

4. U2


mentalfloss.comWhen U2 debuted in 1979, RSO Records was thoroughly unimpressed. Within months, the band signed with Island Records and released their first international single, “11 O’Clock Tick Tock.” They went on to sell 150 million records, win 22 Grammy Awards (most of any band ever), and performed in the highest grossing concert tour in history .

5. Kurt Vonnegut


lettersofnote.comThree writing samples sent to The Atlantic Monthly in 1949 were deemed commendable, but “not compelling enough for final acceptance.” Rather than giving up, Kurt framed the letter, which now hangs in his Memorial Library in Indianapolis.

His most famous work, Slaughterhouse-Five , is rumored to have developed out of one of the samples.

6. Sylvia Plath


openculture.comAlthough this wasn’t a complete rejection, the New Yorker requested the entire first half of “Amnesiac” to be cut. It’s hard to believe that the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet would have her work torn apart, but it shows how even the greatest writers start from humble beginnings.

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7. Gertrude Stein


mentalfloss.comIn possibly the snarkiest letter of all time, Arthur C. Fifield turned down Gertrude Stein’s manuscript for “The Making of Americans” without reading all of it, then mocked her. The celebrated novelist and poet later mentored the likes of Ernest Hemingway.

8. Jim Lee


instagram.comToday, Jim is the co-publisher of DC comics and one of the most famous figures in the comic book industry. But in this letter from Marvel (one of many rejection letters he’d received throughout his life), he was told to reapply “when he had learned to draw hands.”

9. Stieg Larsson


theguardian.comThis Swedish letter the man behind the award-winning “Millennium” trilogy told him he wasn’t good enough to be a journalist. Although he didn’t live long enough to experience his own success, those in charge at the JCCJ in Stockholm must be kicking themselves.

10. Edgar Rice Burroughs


erbzine.comEdgar’s claim to fame, “Tarzan of the Apes”, has spawned 25 sequels and countless reproductions. But before everyone knew about the famous ape man, his story was unceremoniously rejected from a magazine in 1912. Luckily, a wiser publication accepted his piece later that year, launching a legacy that is now over a hundred year old.

11. Others didn’t save their letters, but they’ll never forget the words that fueled their success…

Walt Disney – Fired from the Kansas City Star in 1919 because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”

JK Rowling – Rejected by dozens, including HarperCollins, when a small publisher in London took a chance on Harry Potter.

Oprah Winfrey – Fired as an evening news reporter of Baltimore’s WJZ-TV because she couldn’t separate her emotions from her stories.

George Orwell – A publisher turned down his legendary novel, Animal Farm, with the words “It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA”.

Jerry Seinfeld – Didn’t find out he was cut from a minor role on a sitcom until he read the script and discovered his part missing.

Elvis Presley – After a performance in Nashville early in his career, he was told by a manager that he was better off driving trucks in Memphis (his previous job).

Steve Jobs – Fired from the company he started, Apple, but was desperately brought back in 1997 to save it. Apple is now the most valuable company in the world.

Stephen King – His first book, Carrie, was rejected thirty times. He nearly threw the book out when his wife saved it from the trash and encouraged him to keep trying.

Marilyn Monroe – At the start of her storied modeling and acting career, she was told she should consider becoming a secretary.

Abraham Lincoln – Demoted from Captain to Private during war, failed as a businessman, and lost several times as a political candidate before becoming President.

I could show you more, but the list would never end because no one has ever won without first experiencing many failures and rejections.  We can choose to learn from these lessons, or let them destroy our spirit. The ones who ultimately succeed are those who never, ever stop trying. Share this list and inspire others to keep chasing their dreams!

Satisfy your curiosity by checking out more lists on Distractify! See below.

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Book Review – Mac & June – Love in the Time of Oil

This is a book review I completed for a magazine, but with their ongoing permission I also post some reviews here on my own blog site.  This book is so awesome that I recommend all of you go out and buy it.  You will not be disappointed. (following the review is the Amazon Link to buy it online).

Mac & June – Love in the Time of Oil

By James David Nicol

 Book Review by Michael Bradley

mac and june

Mac & June – Love in the Time of Oil is one of the best slice of life books I’ve read in my lifetime.  Written by James David Nicol, it details the love story between Mac, an America sent over to Scotland in 1974 during the North Sea Oil boom, and June, a local Aberdeen woman with a uniquely Scottish fisherman family.  Nicol is himself a native of Scotland, though he has since lived in such exotic places as Hong Kong, Australia, and now Phoenix, Arizona.

There is so much to love about this story it is hard to know where to start.  The overall story line is similar to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, in which an American deals with the culture clash and interesting characters of his love interest’s Greek family.  It is also reminiscent of Polish Wedding, starring Claire Danes and Gabriel Byrne and Lena Olin which gives similar insight into the Polish traditions.  In Mac and June, you will definitely learn about family and life in seventies’ Scotland.

The language, the humor, the pathos and the challenges are all laid out smoothly and as a reader you grow to love each and every character.  The Grandpa of June really steals the show though and his parts of the story alone are worth the price of the book and the time to read it.  As a first novel, James David Nicol shows a mastery of prose and fiction rarely seen even in much more experienced authors.

Nostalgia fans will also appreciate the 1970s references including language, music and other trends.  Mac and June is similar to American Graffiti in its use of time and locale to tell the story of ordinary people facing situations men and women have faced throughout time.

I give my highest recommendation to read this novel.  The two notes I must make is that the book is so good you might read through it all at once and be left wanting more.  My understanding is that Nicol is working on a sequel, so let’s hope that is not to far out to wait.  Second, the salty language and adult situations of real people living in Scotland in a blue collar town may be too much for a younger audience.  As a result, this is probably a book for those eighteen and above.  Neither the situations nor the language are inappropriate to the story, but a realistic part of it.


James David Nicol

James David Nicol

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Character Writing Tips from Writers Write

Character Writing Tips from Writers Write

The 12 Common Character Archetypes


Writers can use these 12 Archetypes to create characters

The 12 Common Archetypes by Carl Golden

The twelve archetypes are divided into ego types, self types, and soul types.

1) The Four Ego Types

1. The Innocent
Motto: Free to be you and me
Core desire: to get to paradise
Goal: to be happy
Greatest fear: to be punished for doing something bad or wrong
Strategy: to do things right
Weakness: boring for all their naive innocence
Talent: faith and optimism
The Innocent is also known as the: utopian, traditionalist, naive, mystic, saint, romantic, dreamer.

2. The Orphan/Regular Guy or Gal
Motto: All men and women are created equal
Core Desire: connecting with others
Goal: to belong
Greatest fear: to be left out or to stand out from the crowd
Strategy: develop ordinary solid virtues, be down to earth, the common touch
Weakness: losing one’s own self in an effort to blend in or for the sake of superficial relationships
Talent: realism, empathy, lack of pretence
The Regular Person is also known as the: good old boy, everyman, the person next door, the realist, the working stiff, the solid citizen, the good neighbour, the silent majority.

3. The Hero
Motto: Where there’s a will, there’s a way
Core desire: to prove one’s worth through courageous acts
Goal: expert mastery in a way that improves the world
Greatest fear: weakness, vulnerability, being a “chicken”
Strategy: to be as strong and competent as possible
Weakness: arrogance, always needing another battle to fight
Talent: competence and courage
The Hero is also known as the: warrior, crusader, rescuer, superhero, the soldier, dragon slayer, the winner and the team player.

4. The Caregiver
Motto: Love your neighbour as yourself
Core desire: to protect and care for others
Goal: to help others
Greatest fear: selfishness and ingratitude
Strategy: doing things for others
Weakness: martyrdom and being exploited
Talent: compassion, generosity
The Caregiver is also known as the: saint, altruist, parent, helper, supporter.

2) The Four Soul Types

5. The Explorer
Motto: Don’t fence me in
Core desire: the freedom to find out who you are through exploring the world
Goal: to experience a better, more authentic, more fulfilling life
Biggest fear: getting trapped, conformity, and inner emptiness
Strategy: journey, seeking out and experiencing new things, escape from boredom
Weakness: aimless wandering, becoming a misfit
Talent: autonomy, ambition, being true to one’s soul
The explorer is also known as the: seeker, iconoclast, wanderer, individualist, pilgrim.

6. The Rebel
Motto: Rules are made to be broken
Core desire: revenge or revolution
Goal: to overturn what isn’t working
Greatest fear: to be powerless or ineffectual
Strategy: disrupt, destroy, or shock
Weakness: crossing over to the dark side, crime
Talent: outrageousness, radical freedom
The Outlaw is also known as the: rebel, revolutionary, wild man, the misfit, or iconoclast.

7. The Lover
Motto: You’re the only one
Core desire: intimacy and experience
Goal: being in a relationship with the people, work and surroundings they love
Greatest fear: being alone, a wallflower, unwanted, unloved
Strategy: to become more and more physically and emotionally attractive
Weakness: outward-directed desire to please others at risk of losing own identity
Talent: passion, gratitude, appreciation, and commitment
The Lover is also known as the: partner, friend, intimate, enthusiast, sensualist, spouse, team-builder.

8. The Creator
Motto: If you can imagine it, it can be done
Core desire: to create things of enduring value
Goal: to realize a vision
Greatest fear: mediocre vision or execution
Strategy: develop artistic control and skill
Task: to create culture, express own vision
Weakness: perfectionism, bad solutions
Talent: creativity and imagination
The Creator is also known as the: artist, inventor, innovator, musician, writer or dreamer.

3) The Four Self Types

9. The Jester
Motto: You only live once
Core desire: to live in the moment with full enjoyment
Goal: to have a great time and lighten up the world
Greatest fear: being bored or boring others
Strategy: play, make jokes, be funny
Weakness: frivolity, wasting time
Talent: joy
The Jester is also known as the: fool, trickster, joker, practical joker or comedian.

10. The Sage
Motto: The truth will set you free
Core desire: to find the truth.
Goal: to use intelligence and analysis to understand the world.
Biggest fear: being duped, misled—or ignorance.
Strategy: seeking out information and knowledge; self-reflection and understanding thought processes.
Weakness: can study details forever and never act.
Talent: wisdom, intelligence.
The Sage is also known as the: expert, scholar, detective, advisor, thinker, philosopher, academic, researcher, thinker, planner, professional, mentor, teacher, contemplative.

11. The Magician
Motto: I make things happen.
Core desire: understanding the fundamental laws of the universe
Goal: to make dreams come true
Greatest fear: unintended negative consequences
Strategy: develop a vision and live by it
Weakness: becoming manipulative
Talent: finding win-win solutions
The Magician is also known as the: visionary, catalyst, inventor, charismatic leader, shaman, healer, medicine man.

12. The Ruler
Motto: Power isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.
Core desire: control
Goal: create a prosperous, successful family or community
Strategy: exercise power
Greatest fear: chaos, being overthrown
Weakness: being authoritarian, unable to delegate
Talent: responsibility, leadership
The Ruler is also known as the: boss, leader, aristocrat, king, queen, politician, role model, manager or administrator.

Note: There are four cardinal orientations: freedom, social, ego, order. The types have a place on these orientations.

Article via soulcraft.co

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