Sunday, July 24, 2016

Communication Skills by Stephen L. Brayton

I plan to do a series of blogs on my own blog site on the following points in regards to a more personal matter, but I thought I’d throw these out here with a brief discussion.

I received these at work in an email. The email wasn’t sent to me alone, it went company wide, and I think it could be of interest and assistance to nearly everybody, including authors. These are a list of communication skills to have when in social settings. I think they’re interesting.

1. Watch body language. Watch how others are reacting to what you say? Watch how you stand/sit when speaking to others. Are your arms crossed? Is the other person not making eye contact but looking away as if bored and wanting to move on to somebody else? If you’re speaking to a group, it should be easy to figure out if they’re paying attention to your words.

2. Avoid Unnecessary Talk Fillers. Don’t babble. Stay on point. Don’t say something just to say something.

3. Have a Script for Small Talk. If you’re just casually conversing and miscellaneous topic pop up, keep one or two points ready when specific points come up. That way you avoid #2.

4. Tell a Story. Have an anecdote. Keep it short and keep on point. Relate a personal story or one someone shared with you that relates to the topic at hand.

5. Ask Questions and Repeat the Other Person. I enjoy conversing with foreigners. I will question them until the cows come home if allowed. Repeating the other person shows that you’ve heard the answer and might have a follow up question or be able to exhibit #3 or #4.

6. Remove Distractions. Basically turn off the cell phone. No texting and talking. A few others might come to mind, but I think this is a biggie distraction.

7. Tailor Your Message to Your Audience. Keep on point and keep the message relevant to the situation. I tend to veer off onto other points when teaching martial arts and I need to stay on point. Also keep in mind your audience. What are their needs and can you speak to them about those needs?

8. Be brief, be specific. Review #2 and #3.

9. Up Your Empathy. If you’re speaking to an audience and they have questions, bring that question down to a personal level and relate it to your experience. Don’t come off as if you know all the answers and this problem never bothered you. See #4 and show how the question/problem was answered/solved when you experienced it.

10. Listen. Really Listen. Don’t just hear the person, listen. Listen to names when introduced. Listen to their story and don’t just be waiting to throw your words into the mix. Look at them when they speak. Review #5 and #6.

Many of these points cross over and that’s okay because you may have to one to do another and both will be beneficial. Try out these points today and see how different your relationships are, how new windows of opportunity may open, and how much fun you can have speaking to an individual or a group.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Weekly Roundup: July 22, 2016

Welcome again to the Oak Tree Press Weekly Roundup! This week, Amy Bennett (At the Crossroad) contributed to our blog with a great post about finding inspiration for characters. Don't miss this insightful post, and be sure to check back through the week for more commentary about writing and books from our stellar writers.

The Public Safety Writers Association annual conference was held last weekend, and news from the event is beginning to trickle in. The organization awards its annual writing contest awards at the end of the conference, and OTP authors have a stellar history of winning in many categories. Our Roundup this week has some preliminary results, and we'll have a full reporting in the weeks to come.

OTP publishes compelling stand-alone mysteries and mystery series, thrillers, romances, police procedurals, westerns, memoirs, and children's bookseven some paranormal storiesmany of which have been acknowledged as prizewinners or finalists for regional and national book awards. Browse through our bookstore to get your hands on these widely recognized stories! 

Thank you for stopping by for the roundup this week. Here as always, for your reading pleasure, we have the week's news, book signings, events, reviews, blogs, and more from our authors to share with you.


"When I got [my] library card, that was when my life began."
~Rita Mae Brown
 

A reminder from Jeana: All OTP books are on Manic Readers!
Need help choosing a great book to read?
Check out our sample chapters on
Manic Readers!
Just click on a title and you will be directed to a free read! These sample chapters are updated frequently, and new releases are featured.





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REVIEWS & INTERVIEWS


Ron Corbin was interviewed on PJ Nunn's bookbrowsing blog this week. In the interview, Ron answers a variety of interesting questions, giving his insights on writing and promotion. Here's a sample:

"Writing Controversial Topics – Good Or Bad Idea?
Personally, I think writing on controversial subjects are good for promoting sales. It’s like people discussing politics. People who agree with your ideas will likely recommend the book favorably, just like they do in voting for a certain elected official. And those who don’t agree with your writing will talk about or complain to their friends, which I think that inadvertently promotes your books to those who want to see for themselves. In either case, it gets people talking about your literary intrigue."

 

You can read the full interview here.

Ron's most recent book is his memoir, Beyond Recognition. Ron is a former Army combat helicopter pilot and Vietnam veteran who becomes a Los Angeles policeman, and eventually a pilot for LAPD’s Air Support Division (ASD).

Ron’s military training and unique combat flying experience as a “Slick” Huey pilot, and background as an instructor pilot is recognized by the ASD captain, but not without creating fierce jealousies.

After an accident that puts Ron in the hospital, the LAPD assembles a Board of Inquiry. Ron’s detractors seek revenge -- feeding misleading statements to the Board. It evolves into a “kangaroo court,” but Ron exposes a cover-up that has the attorneys scrambling to settle.



 



AWARDS & ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Serita Stevens's true historical Civil War script The Master's Will, which is also a book, is now a finalist in the prestigious PAGE International Screenwriting Awards.

Serita is the author of the forthcoming A Pagan's Love. 60 AD - Rome has occupied Britain and conquered the tribes there forcing them to pay taxes and homage the Roman gods.  When half-Roman Brita, the niece of Queen Boudicea, begins searching for her long lost father she is told by her Druid master that she must find the raven. Colliding with Quintus, a Roman centurion who has come to Britain not only to help with the conquest but to find his missing uncle, Brita receives hints from Sully -- her talking cat and other omens -- that she is meant to be with this man. She resists. But when the tribal king dies and the greedy Romans refuse to acknowledge a woman's rule, Boudicea refuses. She is publicly whipped and her daughters raped. The furious queen calls all the local tribes to revolt.

Quintus tries to save Brita, but despite longing for him, she insists she must be with her tribe. Only when her betrothed is murdered by the Romans, and the revolt -- despite several successful battles -- seems hopeless, does Quintus convince her to travel west toward the Stonehenge where his uncle had last been seen. Escaping the evil machinations of the cannibalistic Druids who will destroy the Romans at any cost, the pair escape even as they pledge themselves and return to Londinum only to find that while the city has been destroyed by the queen and her rebels, the general has ordered more men to the island and vowed to have her head. Brita and Quintus help Boudicea in her last hours before finally, themselves, fleeing back to Rome, determined to tell the story of the revolt.


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Jackie Taylor Zortman won two awards in the 2016 Public Safety Writers Writing Competition. She received first place in the Creative Nontechnical Published category for her article “Memoriam,” which was published in the anthology Felons, Flames and Ambulance Rides (edited by Marilyn Olsen). In that same category, she received an honorable mention for “Legacy of a Fallen Comrade,” which was published in American Blue (edited by Ed Nowicki).

Jackie has entered the contest in each of the last four years and has won nine awards, including first place in 2014 for her latest novel Footprints in the Frost. The novel introduces homicide detective, Max Richards, and involves his life  both on the job and away from it.  When he is hand picked by the chief of police to work a long and complicated serial rape case involving five beautiful victims with whom he must spend much time, his life with girlfriend and bookstore owner, Sami Murphy, becomes extremely complicated.

Escaping from the city hustle and bustle to his beautiful and remote Colorado mountain cabin, the two of them attempt to relax and try to untangle the knots in their relationship.  What will happen to this couple who are tremendously bonded, but have to decide if their jobs and lives can meld permanently or if it  would be better to go their separate ways?







J. L. Greger's recent medical mystery, Murder . . . A Way to Lose Weight won first prize in the Published Novel category at the 2016 Public Safety Writers Writing Competition. Janet's Malignancy was last year's first-place winner.

Dieting is hard. So is fitting into a new job where you aren’t wanted. In Murder: A Way to Lose Weight, Dr. Linda Almquist is trying to do both as she investigates two diet doctors who are endangering the lives of their obese patients.

When she finds one diet doctor dead, she and the police suspect the other diet doctor. Maybe they’re wrong. The murders might be related to something in the past—something involving the dean of the medical school. While Linda fears for her job, the police fear for her life.





  
 


UPCOMING

Children’s book author Beryl Reichenberg is once again presenting a series of children's paper craft and bookmaking classes in cities along California's Central Coast. On July 27 and August 3 from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Centennial Park White Oak Room, she'll offer a children's class on making pop-up forms through Paso Robles Recreation Services. Parents can sign their children up here


Beryl will also have her books available for sale. She is the author of Ants on a Log, Butterfly Girls, Camouflage, The Mysterious Case of the Missing Birthday Cake, When Caterpillars Dream, and Clowning Around.

Clowning Around is the story of Charlie, a young clown fish who delights in performing antics for the children who come to the aquarium to watch the action in the fish tank.











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J. L. Greger will sign copies of her novels and speak about weight loss to a group from Curves in the Figments Tea Shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Friday, July 22. Her latest book is Murder: A Way to Lose Weight. 

Dieting is hard. So is fitting into a new job where you aren’t wanted. In Murder: A Way to Lose Weight, Dr. Linda Almquist is trying to do both as she investigates two diet doctors who are endangering the lives of their obese patients. When she finds one diet doctor dead, she and the police suspect the other diet doctor.

Maybe they’re wrong. The murders might be related to something in the past—something involving the dean of the medical school. While Linda fears for her job, the police fear for her life.

Janet is also the author of Coming Flu, Ignore the Pain, the award-winning Malignancy, and I Saw You in Beirut.






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Nicholas Checker will be a guest panelist at Ro-Con, a fantasy and science fiction convention being held on July 22 to 24 at the Ramada Mystic in Mystic, Connecticut. Nick is also preparing a special presentation on adapting stage and screen works into literary formats (and vice-versa). Nick will also have his novels Scratch and Druids available for sale.

Scratch is a chilling tale of loyalty, friendship, and courage – set in the mysterious world of feral cats. It also contains reflections of how cultures too often misread and mistrust one another, leading to ends that might have been avoided. 

White Saja, a renowned tomcat of the wild woodlands, returns to his old haunts to rescue his onetime clan from a gruesome fate. It leads him on a fearful quest into the brooding Dark Woods where he and a reluctant rival must seek the aid of a dread creature whose very name has long invoked terror in them all. Enter the pages of Scratch and discover unrelenting adventure! 


C. Ed Traylor will be promoting his novel At the Crossing at the Sandwich Public Library in Sandwich, Illinois, on Thursday, August 4, from 3 to 7 p.m.
 

In At the Crossing, a routine traffic stop in the Illinois heartland uncovers a sinister secret – a sweeping terrorist plot endangering the lives of thousands of Americans. The Crossing focuses on Racheed Ul-Bashar, a Pakistani whose grandfather and sister are killed in an American drone strike in Pakistan. Driven by revenge against the United States, the obsessive Racheed develops a minutely detailed plot, a synchronized attack that will hit three American cities on the anniversary of September 11. He obtains contact information of Juan Rodrequs, a violent, ruthless drug cartel leader in Juarez, Mexico, who agrees – for a price ― to move terrorists across the border and supply all materials needed for the attacks.
 

All goes well until Diego Garcia, a trusted ally and confidant of the cartel leader, is stopped for a speeding violation in Illinois.  There, 400 kilograms of cocaine are discovered, concealed in his vehicle, and he is facing significant prison time.  To save himself, Garcia, becomes an informant for agents of the FBI Anti-Terrorism Task Force.
Unbeknownst to the other terrorists, the informant, or the FBI Task Force, Racheed and his partner change plans at the last minute and enter the U.S. at a different location. This unexpected move forces the FBI Task Force to scramble. Will they be able to eliminate the threat to some of America’s largest cities and most cherished attractions?
 



RECENT
Beryl Reichenberg was at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Gardens last Monday teaching children how to make a paper bag book for field notes. Her event was part of the Kids Mediterranean Adventure Camp 2016 program.

She reports that "Twenty-eight kids making paper bag books. These books were used during the week to write, draw, and collect things at the week-long camp for children. There were five bags (pages), one for each day of the week. I hope they had an exciting time and many memories to fill their their books.

"I was thankful that I had plenty of helpers, and as always the children were creative and focused. These books are easy to make and require only paper bags (white or brown or colored), decorating materials, inserts for writing or drawing, and a stapler.”







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J. L. Greger signed copies of her novels and speak on the topic science or fiction at the Algeria Community Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on July 20. Her latest book is Murder . . . A Way to Lose Weight. Janet is also the author of Coming Flu, Ignore the Pain, the award-winning Malignancy, and I Saw You in Beirut.

Janet also attended the 2016 Public Safety Writers Conference, which was "like a homecoming for OTP authors: Lorna Collins, Dave Cropp, Joe Haggerty, Thonie Hevron, Marilyn Meredith, Marilyn Olsen, Ilene Schneider, John Wills, and soon-to-be OTP author Lynn Hesse."


BLOG CORRAL


J. R. Lindermuth posted about his favorite female mystery writers this week at his Lindy's Lair blog. He writes, "The first female detective novel was written by a man, James Redding Ware, in 1864. It was another two decades before Anna Katherine Green (I've written about her before) and some other pioneers broke the ice and women became known as both the authors and protagonists of the mystery genre.

"Now in the heat of summer as some of you may be seeking books to read, I thought it might be fun to name some of my favorite women writers and what I like about them.
"


You can read the full post here.

J. R. is the author of Fallen from Grace and Sooner Than Gold.

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Lorna Collins's blog hosted J. L. Greger this week in a post dealing with finding inspiration for books. J. L. writes, " Have you noticed? Many Americans have schizophrenic attitudes about food. If you doubt me, flip on your TV and watch the ads. First there’s one for a restaurant with pictures of smiling people and sizzling steaks or pizzas dripping with gooey cheese. Next comes a commercial for a diet regime or exercise product. The presenter is smiling as she effortlessly performs twenty abdominal crunches with some sort of “torture” contraption. Most of us would pant after moving the device twice. After a small break for the program, the ads are back.

"Funny? Sad and pathetic? Annoying, especially to me, a former professor of nutrition. Maybe, that’s why I wrote Murder . . . A New Way to Lose Weight."

You can read the full post here

Lorna is the author if Ghost Writer.

  
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