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.  🙂

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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.

 

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Forbes – Best 100 Inspirational Quotes

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

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Kevin Kruse

Contributor

I write about wholehearted leadership and employee engagement.

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

100 Best Quotes On Leadership

Kevin Kruse
Contributor

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

Lexophile

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.

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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:

cover

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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