November 20, 2013

Hi! Fire up your PC, fly those digits over your calculator and look out: Next year you’ll be THE #1 BEST SELLER!

Part 1: Writing Columns Are Back

First, I’m dead sorry for being gone for months. If you’re a writer, you’ll understand. We chose one heck of a time-consuming profession, didn’t we? Ho!

I finally stopped teaching in Chinese universities. In fact, I’ve stopped teaching, except for you, here. I’d planned to work for another year or two in China, but got sick a couple of times and decided it wasn’t a good idea to go there, with so few doctors where I was.

Having those Chinese years suddenly stop just killed me. Chilled me to the marrow. Left me with skills that I’d suffered to cook up but were worthless once you left. I then did what I always do when things pile up: I camped out in the library and read. I read for two months and now I can face writing, querying, submitting, getting ignored, getting praised, getting forgotten, getting ink, all of it. I’m still not sure how I’ll fit into the ‘Free’ world, because so many things seem irrelevant. But I’m giving it my best.

Before I worked in China, I’d email off a query to an editor I knew and we’d have the piece printed up the next month. It’s not like that now, is it?

Here are some of the writing links I found.

It’s not your imagination. It’s rough: the markets are very specific now. They expect perfect copy and have bigger appetites. There are many steps to follow.

This is old news for you, but it took me awhile to catch on. First I noticed that there were many talented writers around on the Net, writing for free. Then I remembered that since 2008 I’ve watched newspapers going bankrupt. There are plenty of reasons why there are more freelancers around now.

Two years ago I read an agent’s guidelines. She was fierce, telling writers to have ‘a platform in place’ and be ready to discuss it. I remember saying, “What’s a platform?” This might sound idiotic, but there are a lot of people out there who barely know how to send an e-mail.


1. If you’ve been published in the past, remember that. Be self-confident.

2. Read interviews with successful writers and pay attention to their advice. Even if you don’t agree with them, remember what they say. You might decide their advice is good.

3. Increase your vocabulary. Read dictionaries and the etymology of words.

4. When your mss is finished, let it sit for a couple of days. Before you send it, make another pass through it.

Each of us needs to be organized now when submitting work, including our queries, more than ever before.

It’s time to get strong. Ride your bike, do your yoga, swim, lift weights, eat clean (whole grains, low-fat protein, vegetables, fruit). Get 7 hours sleep and rest each night. Drink 2+ liters of water/day. There are exercise videos on YouTube, but don’t do anything that hurts!

Getting stronger will help your writing, too. No kidding: it helps everything.

Part 2: free essential oils recipes

I’ve made these blends for many years. Go for it!

Rosemary-Lavender Oil Anti-pollution Blend. 10 drops pure essential oil of rosemary; 10 drops essential oil of lavender. A variation: add a few drops of Peppermint essential oil.
Take this with you in a tiny bottle wherever you go. Sniff it throughout the day. (Oriental people do this a lot.)

Rosemary-Lavender Daily Hair Care. Place one drop each rosemary and lavender essential oils in the palm of one hand. Bend over and let your head hang forward. Brush your hair with one hand, from roots to tips; rub the palm of the essential oiled hand over your hair, following the brush strokes. Brush for 75 strokes every morning. In my case (20 years) this completely stopped hair and scalp illnesses, increased fullness and reduced graying.

AND more…

– After a hard work-out, I soak my feet in warm water with 5 drops each rosemary and lavender oils, sometimes for only a couple of minutes.

– Apartments in the tropics don’t usually have a bath tub, just a shower. I put 2 drops each rosemary and lavender essential oils on a damp washcloth and use it normally (with a gentle soap) in the shower.

– Topical insects swarm near some essential oils and herbs, but they don’t with these.

– Rosemary oil has long been one of my favorites. Authorities say it stimulates mental energy. Jane Austen’s characters used lavender oil for hysterics and dizziness. I use it to decrease angst and re-establish hopefulness.

This is not medical advice. Do not use it as such. Don’t eat, drink or put these oils directly on your skin. Stop using essential oils if any problems occur and/or see a licensed medical person.

Write your ideas and send them as comments to this site. Your insights are valuable and will help others.

IT’S BONUS TIME*****************

Registered readers receive a free herbal or bread recipe as bonus! Just put your name and email address in the comment, saying which one you want. I’ll email you your recipe in plenty of time for the Big Holidays in December.

And Know that Mary Ann in Thailand is thinking good thoughts for you during these holidays.


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