10 Things To Do Before Buying A Novel

by: Jill Brennan

OK, you don’t get much time to read novels anymore. You used to but that was another life. Before you could pick up something that appealed and because you read so much, you weren’t too disappointed if it didn’t grab you like you thought it would. Things have changed. Now when you pick up a novel to read it has to get you in quickly or it will collect dust on your bedside table. There are too many other things demanding your attention…like sleep!

And when you go to the bookshop sometimes its hard not to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of books on offer, especially with the big mega stores becoming the norm. So what to do?

I’ve put together a checklist that with a little bit of preparation can help you wade through
the sea of books and help you pick a surefire winner: a novel that will captivate YOU.

1. The best place to start is to look out in magazines, newspapers and online for book reviews – see what is being billed as the latest must read. Even if you don’t have time to read the whole review, jot down the title and author as one to look out for.

2. Ask friends for the best book they have read in the last few months or this year or the last few years if like you they really are struggling with the whole when-am-I-going-to-find-time-to-read-a-novel?-thing. Don’t just ask them what book was their favourite; ask them why they liked it. Was it an unusual story, was the pace so fast they needed a crash helmet, did it have edge of the seat suspense, did it remind them of growing up? You want to know what exactly made it a great read for them. This will help you to refine your search, especially if they say they liked the quirky twist in the ending and you don’t do quirky. Just because you’re close friends doesn’t automatically mean you like the same books.

3. Ask the people behind the counter at your favourite bookshop what they enjoyed reading and get them to take you to it or give you a specific reference number so you can find it easily yourself.

4. When you get the book in your hands look at the cover. Is it a catchy title? Does the cover appeal to you? Despite the old saying about not judging book covers, publishers put a lot of time and effort into creating a captivating cover and title. Does it work for you?

5. Turn it over and read the back. Does it still appeal? Do you only like reading modern books and this is set in the 1800s? It’s important to be fairly ruthless at this stage. If the premise for the story doesn’t leave you wanting more, chances are the writing probably won’t either.

Books
Book Selection (Photo credit: henry…)

6. Look at the size of the book. I know this isn’t something for the purists but if you don’t get time to read many novels, don’t launch back in with a 700 page tome or it will probably take you all year and then you’ll be frustrated and annoyed at wasting time and money on something you haven’t enjoyed.

7. The next step is crucial. Read the opening – does it get you in straight off? Novels have a bit more time to seduce you than a short story but not much these days. A good opening is like someone placing a thread around your finger and gently tugging on it. They’ve got you but can they keep you?

8. Has the author mentioned 10 characters and 5 different place names in the first 3 paragraphs? You want to be captivated not confused, remember? If your main reading time is before you drop off to sleep, books that have lots of characters and places or even a family tree at the beginning are a warning that it gets complicated and you need to keep track of who is who and what they’re up to.

9. Are there lots of long sentences or are they short and sharp? Lots of short sentences usually mean action and pace. Something. Is happening. Right now. Usually it’s best to go for a story with a combination of both – one that suits your preferred action/background information mix.

10. If you still think the book in your hands is worthy, randomly flip open the book in 5 places and see whether it is densely packed with text. Is there dialogue at each page you stop? No dialogue usually means that a book is more descriptive rather than direct scenes. If you want a compelling read then go for something with a fair amount of dialogue; if you don’t mind a slower pace then bits of dialogue here and there is probably enough to keep you going.

If it all stacks up, buy it and enjoy. Just one more tip though. If it doesn’t captivate you in the first 100 pages and you find reading it a chore, give it up. Don’t keep persisting just because you don’t like leaving things unfinished. The book won’t feel hurt if you don’t finish it. And the author will never know.

About the Author

Jill Brennan, an experienced writer, editor and mother of 2 young boys, created espresso Fiction to help time-poor fiction lovers get a regular hit of quality fiction that they could read in 15 minutes or less and still feel satisfied. To learn more about getting great fiction home delivered, go to http://www.fastfoodforyourmind.com

Enhanced by Zemanta

Dress Your Gifts to Impress

by: ARA

(ARA) – Impress friends and family this holiday season by ditching the wrapping paper for a more personalized gift presentation. Creative packaging can heighten suspense and make gift exchanges more memorable and meaningful. The gifting experts at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM suggest the following wrapping ideas that are guaranteed to dazzle all those on your gift list!

Make reusable gift bags from silk, taffeta, burlap, chintz or another fabric; or from dishtowels, doilies or pillow cases. These are great for wrapping odd-shaped or un-boxed items in a hurry.

Use colorful shoelaces, artificial rope pearls, leather strips, vinyl cording, jump ropes, strips of netting, paper twist, raffia, hemp rope, twine or yarn as creative alternatives to ribbon when tying a package.

Mislead shakers and squeezers by adding marbles, bells, weights or padding to your package before wrapping it.

English: A gift wrapped in yellow and green paper.
English: A gift wrapped in yellow and green paper. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Design your own gift-wrapping paper by splatter-painting, rag-rolling, sponging or stenciling sheets or rolls of plain-colored paper.

Use sheet music to wrap concert tickets or other small gifts for the music lover.

Hide a small gift in a huge bouquet of flowers, a jar of penny candy, a bucket of marbles, a box of chocolates or a bag of popcorn.

Visit 1800flowers.com on the Web for unique gift ideas and more holiday fun.

Courtesy of ARA Content

About the author:
Courtesy of ARA Content

Circulated by Article Emporium

Enhanced by Zemanta

Organize Your Home Storage and Simplify Your Life!

by: Andrew Porter

Be delighted with yourself — committing to organize your home is the first step in actually doing it! The Linen Closet will need attending to eventually so lets go there now.

If you have excess laundry to deal with, you probably have a linen closet that is less than user-friendly. Once you have clean towels, rags, and other linens to put away, you won’t do it if thier destination is less-than-appealing.

So let’s organize it! This is the first place where you’ll have to be brutally honest with

English: Milo the cat in a laundry basket bein...
English: Milo the cat in a laundry basket being helpful. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

yourself about what you keep and what you get rid of. When I say, “get rid of,” I don’t necessarily mean it ends up in the trash—if it’s towels, bedding, etc., that are in bad condition, your local animal shelter would be grateful for your donation. They always need things for the dogs and cats to lay on in their runs and crates, and your cast-offs in this area will be eagerly accepted.

 

Take stock of what you have for shelves. Do you have wooden or wire shelves? Do you have problems with things “falling through” if you have wire shelves? If so, you don’t have to worry and go buy scrap wood to line the shelves with—a simple piece of shelf-lining (you know, that bumpy green stuff that comes in rolls) will lie nicely and prevent small things from falling through. If necessary, put some of that down.

Now take a look and see what you’ve got in terms of extra bedding.

How many beds in your home? You should have a minimum of 1 extra bedding-set for each bed, a maximum of 2. Think about it before you start to write me and tell me why you need 6 sets of bedding for each bed—if you have small children who have nighttime accidents (or get the stomach flu in the middle of the night), you might have to change sheets in the morning (or the middle of the night if it’s barf!), and you’ll have some clean ones to put on. You’ll put the dirty ones in the washer and get the machine started on that task. Then you’ll swap things to the dryer. You’ll still have clean sheets on the bed and if you’ve got 2 extra sets, another clean one in the linen closet.

So now with that argument won, go through your bedding. Do you have mis-matched pieces? If so, put them in the donation pile. Do you have twin pieces mixed in with king pieces? If so, separate them in two piles. Make sure everything is folded (I’ll give you a pass on the fitted sheets—those are impossible to fold neatly!). Now set aside one or two shelves for your bedding. Make sure that the bedding for the queen bed is not piled up with the stuff for the crib or twin bed. You can fold the stuff in squares or fold it in to long rectangles and then roll it. Either way is acceptable—it just depends on how much space you’ve got.

Now we move on to towels and other things in your linen closet…

3. Take stock of your towels, washcloths, and other terrycloth things. Do you have towels that are holey or bleach-stained? Do you have towels that aren’t very absorbent from using too much fabric softener? Do you have towels that don’t match your current bathroom décor? Donate them. Keep only that which matches your décor (unless you turn it in to a rag), and only that which wouldn’t embarrass you to put out for guests when they visit. That should pare down your towel collection to a more manageable number.

I can’t tell you an exact number that is appropriate here—that depends on how many members are in your family. What I can suggest is 2 towels per person—one that’s currently hanging in the bathroom and one clean one that can be conscripted into service when the current one is in the wash. Do you have washcloths? One for every-other day of the week would be appropriate—many people don’t use them anymore, in this age of scrubbies, poufs, and other facial cleansing methods.

Do you have a rag-pile (or kitchen-towel pile) in your linen closet? If so, fold those and put them on a shelf that’s easy to access. You’ll use those most frequently, so make them easy to reach and use. Again, sort through and see what’s in reasonable condition and put the rest in the pile for the animal shelter.

What other things are in your linen closet? Do you have table linens there? If so, do you know what’s there? Are they neat enough that when you need them you don’t have to go digging and put the iron on “fry it silly” to get the wrinkles out? If any of the above is true, pull them out, wash, sort, keep only the best, and fold (or press) them quickly and put them away.

Finally, if you have other miscellaneous things (doilies, candlesticks, etc.) in your linen closet, set a shelf aside for those things. If you don’t have a full shelf to ascribe to them, use a shelf that’s only half-full of other items. Again, sort through and keep only what you’re in love with—anything else can be donated to a charity-resale shop, given to siblings, or sold on eBay.

Don’t keep things “just in case” great-aunt Mildred comes by—she won’t, and if she does, she probably won’t remember what it was. Remember, you’re organizing your home so that it’s not just a house of stuff for your family. That’s much more important than not offending a distant relative!

Congratulations—you’ve won the battle with your linen closet. Isn’t it such a nice feeling to open up a closet and not be in danger of the falling towel zone?

About the author:
Andrew Porter: Is a home improvement consultant and frequent contributor to ClosetOrganizer4U.com.

For closet organizers, accessories and design plans, visit:http://www.closetorganizer4u.com

Circulated by Article Emporium

Enhanced by Zemanta

Walk-in Closet Organizers

by: Steve Valentino

It stands to reason that you more space you have, you more organized you will be. Why then, are so many walk-in closets disorganized messes? It seems that the more space we have, the more junk we have to fill it.

Walk-in closets offer a variety of design options. They can be filled with shelves for folded clothing or books. They can host tie racks, belt racks, and shoe cubbies. They can hold multiple garment racks for hanging clothes. Hooks and hang bars can also be installed to hold hats, robes, and other such items. Drawers or dressers can be placed inside walk-in closets to free up space inside the room.

Walk-in closets grant you the freedom to be creative. For example, islands and benches can be placed inside large closets to create the feeling of a dressing room.

Walk-in closet organizers can be purchased as kits from local home improvement stores and some department stores. These kits contain everything needed to design your basic closet—components, shelving, and hardware. Accessories are available separately. You may have to purchase more than one kit to accommodate the entire closet. Though assembly is necessary, it is usually relatively simple.

Closet organizer systems can also be purchased for walk-in closets. These systems usually consist of pre-assembled pieces that simply need to be installed. Most can be placed on the floor for a built-in look or wall-mounted to keep floors clear.

Wall Closet
Wall Closet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another option for walk-in closet organizers is a custom closet. Though these can be rather expensive, it does allow for a bit more creativity and flexibility. Custom closets can be ordered online. You give the dimensions of the closet and the desired components and accessories. You also select color, material, and style. The company will then provide you with a drawing or diagram of the proposed closet. Upon approval, they will ship the pre-made pieces to you for installation. Local closet organizer companies are also available. Many of these will send a consultant to your home. This person will evaluate your space, your décor, your needs, and your budget before presenting his or her recommendations for a custom closet.With walk-in closets, the sky really is the limit. Organization is truly within reach.

About the author:
Closet Organizers Info provides detailed information on bedroom, kids, custom, wood and walk-in closet organizers for sale. Closet Organizers Info is affiliated with Original Content.

Circulated by Article Emporium

Enhanced by Zemanta

Bathroom Organization

by: Norman Fleming

If you’re lucky enough to have a “guest bathroom”, one that isn’t used by the family and one where you can always keep clean hand towels hanging for the guests, good for you. For most of us however, we have one or two bathrooms, and they both get a lot of use from the family members on a daily basis. Let’s see how you can organize your bathroom so that it’s guest ready too.

The one thing that most of us have too much of is lots of bottles of “stuff” sitting around the sink and countertop. Go through these and discard what you don’t use on a daily basis, and what only has a drip left in it. Go buy two decorative baskets and have a “his” and “hers”. One for his stuff, and one for her stuff. You could keep your toothpaste, hairspray, brush and comb, moisturizer, etc., in a basket that can be simply picked up and moved when guests come, and then put back when you’re ready to use them again.

If you like to have magazines in the bathroom don’t let them just pile up in a corner next to the toilet, get a nice magazine rack for them.

English: A bathroom.
English: A bathroom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next take a look at the inside of the shower. How moldy is that curtain? They cost around $4.00 – buy a new one. Look at the bottles in the shower, they tend to get left in the shower even when they’re almost empty. Throw them out and try to streamline the number of bottles in the shower. If you don’t have built in shelves around your shower get an organizer that hangs over your showerhead, or one on an extension pole you can put in the corner of the shower.A cheap way to make your bathroom like new is with accessories. Buy a nice shower curtain with a matching rug. You can also get matching towels. If you have limited towel space you can buy a towel rack that hangs on the wall, they come in many different designs. With a nice wall towel rack you can make a display of beautifully colored towels – that you can also use too! Purchase a set of matching bathroom accessories, soap dish, toothbrush holder, cup, liquid soap dispenser.

I think you’re going to love your bathroom!

About the author:
This article courtesy of http://www.vac-facts.com

Circulated by Article Emporium

Enhanced by Zemanta

Book Marketing 101

by: Jeremy M. Hoover

Francine Silverman. Book Marketing from A-Z (InfinityPublishing.com, 2005). Trade paperback. 400 pages. $18.95 US.

For beginning authors, book promotion is the key to success. Whether an author self-publishes or is published by a major house, most often that author needs to market her book herself if she wants there to be any chance at all of it being successful. Large publishing houses are too concerned with promoting the next blockbuster to focus even on mid-list titles, and smaller publishing houses usually don’t have the resources to commit to marketing their titles. Even worse off are those who self-publish, because when they receive their books, they are on their own. Any marketing that happens, happens because of their efforts, and their efforts alone.

What is a new author to do? He can sit back and hope that his book sells somehow, or he can put money into a marketing plan and hope that plan is successful. But without a marketing background, that money can be wasted quickly. As a result, many authors don’t market out of fear of loss and uncertainty, and sell far fewer books than they should.

Collection of Marteting books
Collection of Marteting books (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Into this void comes a wonderful book – Book Marketing from A-Z by Francine Silverman. The sub-title explains it all: “More than 300 authors share the peaks and pitfalls in promoting their books.”

Silverman hasn’t so much written this book as she has edited it. She is the successful author of two books, as well as the owner of a very influential book promotion newsletter (http://bookpromotionnewsletter.com). Over a couple years of publishing her newsletter, she has collected marketing success stories from many authors, and, combined with her own expertise, has put it all together into an excellent resource.

This book contains everything a new (or even experienced) author needs to begin marketing. Authors might be surprised to learn that there are many free things they can do to market their books! For example, I was surprised at how many authors related that something as simple as handing out bookmarks or pens stamped with their website and book name resulted in much publicity and many sales.

The book is comprehensive—arranged alphabetically, Silverman covers such topics as the importance of good reviews, what to do (or not do) at book signings, how to brand yourself, how to tie-in with holidays or movies, how speaking engagements can help a career blossom, and how to send out press kits. There are two huge sections on using Internet technology (web sites, ezines, e-groups, etc.) and newsletters to build a following. In my view, these two sections are the most informative sections of the book.

Silverman has produced a timely, comprehensive, and very helpful book that new and expert authors will return to time and again as they build their writing careers.

About The Author

Jeremy Hoover is a proofreader and book reviewer. He proofreads and reviews religion books, poetry, and most fiction. Contact him at jeremyhoover@gmail.com or Hoover Reviews (http://hooverreviews.blogspot.com) for proofreading rates or to request a review.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Learn some feng shui guidelines for your children’s room

by: Jakob JellingBy Jakob Jelling
http://www.fengshuicrazy.com

Feng shui indicates some specific guidelines regarding children’s spaces and bedrooms. The way we decorate them and the way we distribute the furniture should be done by following those principles in order to achieve harmony and help your children feel comfortable in that space.

One first important aspect to have into account about a child’s room is the colors within it. You should pay special attention to the colors you choose for this space, not only for the walls but for the decoration in general. According to feng shui, a child’s room should be in earth colors such as light oranges, terracotta or warm yellows. These colors would make them feel safe.

Child's room Panoramic
Child’s room Panoramic (Photo credit: The Pug Father)

Colors that are cold, such as blue or gray shades should never predominate in a child’s room, since they could bring them insecurity feelings. Besides, the wall and furniture colors should be in balance as well. It is also important to remark that too bright colors are not recommended for a child’s bedroom.

If your child is very active, you should balance this through the colors you choose for his bedroom; they should be light and relaxing colors such as beiges or very light oranges. On the other hand, if your child is quiet, you should choose warm orange or yellow colors which would be in balance his personality.

As with all bedrooms, the bed position is very important. First of all, your child’s bed should not be right across the door. Besides, it should ideally have a wall at one side and be in such a position that allows him to easily see the door. If possible, the bed should be in a corner since that would make the child feel secure and sleep better.

Also, the position in which the child sleeps can influence the time he wakes up and how deep he sleeps. If your child has problems waking up, you should place his bed in a position which allows him to sleep with his head towards east or south. On the other hand, if he has light sleep, his head should be towards north or west.

About the author:
Jakob Jelling is the founder of http://www.fengshuicrazy.com Please visit his website and learn all the feng shui tips you’ll ever need!

Circulated by Article Emporium

Enhanced by Zemanta

An Introduction to Ebay Selling

by: Jason James

Success in any business is built on a foundation of customer service. eBay is no exception – every day thousands of eBay buyers register. I have a simple strategy that I use in all my auctions called the “eBay Welcome”. Follow it and your repeat business will grow, along with referrals from those satisfied customers.

1. Pricing Strategy: Don’t set your opening bid too high, you want to generate clicks on your auction listing. When buyers browse via the Search Bar, they will not even open your ad to view the description if the price is too high.

When you use a reserve price, it will often create the same effect. Take three minutes prior to listing an item to check Current Completed Auctions to see the average sale price of an item similar to the one you are listing.

2. Offer Multiple Payment Methods: It is a fact that Buyers are more likely to bid on your items if payment choices are easy to use and explained clearly. By using payment methods that are preferred by eBay buyers such as PayPal, you can increase your auction sales. Explain to your buyers about the PayPal Buyer Protection Program. It protects buyers against fraud or material misrepresentation up to $500.

If you are willing to offer alternate payment methods; such as money orders or wire transfers, state that in your auction description.

The headquarters of eBay in San Jose, Californ...
The headquarters of eBay in San Jose, California. Photographed on August 5, 2006 by user Coolcaesar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. Shipping: It is reasonable for you to make a few dollars on your shipping and handling; but if your charges are excessive, it will turn off potential bidders and give you a bad reputation.

The quickest way to get great feedback is to ship your item quickly. Top eBay Power Sellers strive to ship within one day of payment.

4. Offer A Fair Return Policy: Your return policy must be clearly stated – this will save potential conflicts in the future. We want to extend a “eBay Welcome” to all buyers. We were all novice users at one point.

5. List Warranty Services In Your Auction: If you sell computers or electronics on eBay, you can now give buyers assurance and peace of mind by offering them a standard warranty or extended warranty via the Warranty Services program. Click their Link to join – it is free!

You will be given a cash incentive for any buyer that purchases this warranty coverage on any of your auction items. This can really add up at the end of each month.

In conclusion, give your Buyers the “eBay Welcome” and watch your business grow!

About the Author

Jason James is a 10 year Internet marketing veteran and an eBay Power Seller
of 4 years. His website “The Auction Resource Network” reveals his inside
secrets, tips, and sources that help him pocket over $10,000 per month on eBay.

Claim your FREE 14 Day “Learn How to Sell on eBay” e-Course Here:
http://www.auctionresourcenetwork.com

Enhanced by Zemanta

To Get That Famous Hair Cut You Gotta Ask

by: Donna Monday

There you are sitting at your dining room table with all those pictures of hair cuts spread out in front of you. You’ve managed to narrow it down to a few cuts and styles for hair that look just like your favorite celebrity. You’re trying to decide whether or not you want those trendy hair cuts.

It makes no difference whether you’re a man or a woman. Getting a great looking hair cut is important to your self image. Maybe you’re looking at pictures of short hair cuts because you’re thinking of going with a shorter look this time around. Bob hair cuts are always in style.

Maybe you’re looking at long layered hair cuts because you’ve always worn long hair cuts and you don’t want any changes to your “signature style”. Or, you wanna stick strictly with medium hair cuts because they’re more versatile.

I bet somewhere in those pictures hair cuts are a few celebrity photos featuring well coifed celebrities like Jennifer Aniston. Men’s celebrity hair cuts are popular as well. Want Brad Pitt’s hair cut? Better cough up some bucks.

English: Actress Jennifer Aniston at the Londo...
English: Actress Jennifer Aniston at the London premiere of movie Horrible Bosses. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whatever hair cut style you choose, remember to bring a photo of the hair cut with you along to the salon so your stylist can see exactly what you desire. Your stylist may wish to make adjustments based on what looks most flattering for your features.

Always ask for exactly the style and cut that you want. While you may not end up looking exactly like your favorite celebrity after your hair cut, hopefully you will walk out of the salon feeling like a star.

About the author:
Copyright 2005
Donna Monday
Give Yourself A 60-Second Make Over
http://www.1-minute-beauty-diva.com
Single Again? Meet Someone New here ==> http://url123.com/dc9uc

Circulated by Article Emporium

Enhanced by Zemanta

Body Wraps & Weight Loss

Copyright 2005 P. Mehta http://www.fatfreekitchen.com
[You have permission to publish this article in your web sites, ezines or electronic publication, as long as the piece is used in its entirety including the resource box, all hyperlinks (HTML clickable) and references and copyright info. ]

Body wraps can help tone and tighten the skin, improve blood circulation, detoxify the body and help mobilize fat so it can be eliminated from the body naturally. You do not need any special equipment other than a mixing bowl, heating pot and wrapping sheets like thin towels.

Body wraps work in two stages: absorption and squeezing (compaction). In the absorption stage you apply a substance on your body by “wraps”. Once the pores of skin are opened, the fluids are “extracted” or “absorbed” by the substance and the bandage.

Foundry Signature Body Wrap 2
Foundry Signature Body Wrap 2 (Photo credit: FoundryParkInn)

There are several absorbents: sea clay, seaweed, herbal, mineral and aloe vera. The effect of the wrap is determined by the ingredients used.

Squeezing is simply compacting the tissues together after the “interstitial fluid” has been extracted. Once the fluids have been extracted, there are empty “pockets” between the cells. So if somehow we can squeeze them closer together, the end result should be a thinner and leaner looking body. The body bandages and wraps squeeze the body part and squeezing together the empty “pockets”.

A simple wrap can be a mixture of a clay and some salt. More complex body wraps contain herbs, essential oils and nutritive ingredients. The exact proportions of ingredients are not important but the repeated use will be useful. You can add a small amount of nutrition oil (upto 2 tablespoons) if your skin is too dry.

——————————————————-
This article has been written by http://www.fatfreekitchen.com/.
For more information on Body Wraps & Weight Loss visit Body Wraps.

http://www.fatfreekitchen.com/bodywrap.html
——————————————————–

About the Author

——————————————————-
This article has been written by http://www.fatfreekitchen.com/.
For more information on Body Wraps & Weight Loss visit Body Wraps.

http://www.fatfreekitchen.com/bodywrap.html
——————————————————–

Enhanced by Zemanta