S J Seymour

Everyone is unique, but we are all infinitely more alike than we are different.

My site is meant to introduce you to my novels,
my opinions on current events, investment advice, 
and my genuine gemstone jewelry page at Etsy.


Uncensored: Fun Facts About Me

This is the text of an interview that I enjoyed. I would like to extend my gratitude to Sherrie Wilkolaski for publishing it online.

“Slim Target” Book Synopsis

In this multi-layered tale of international surveillance, one of America’s favorite financial television journalists has an inexplicable string of bad luck. Biz Andrews feels certain someone is stalking her, but can’t imagine the reason. As she searches her romantic and family history for clues, Biz must re-evaluate her career and even her basic philosophies. Her emotional journey forces her to contemplate life’s eternal question: How much control does she truly have over her ultimate destiny? Involved in a web of complex intrigue, no one realizes Biz is in danger until it’s too late. She is unable to discover the truth until a series of unfortunate events leaves her alone, vulnerable and powerless. Who will save her when she finds herself in mortal peril?

How did your book come to life?
My book was a marathon to write and a thrilling experience. It took shape through editing and revisions after obtaining feedback from editors. I have to thank my editors for their tireless revisions and feedback. The experience made me more satisfied with myself. Writing a book is a long project that requires a vast amount of patience.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
I couldn’t choose one more than another. I tend to identify and empathize more with my principal characters, and even the villains have redeeming qualities. The villains in my novels aren’t usually leading players, with exceptions.

How did you name your characters?
Names in my manuscript changed between concept and completion. I always write with an image of my character in mind. My characters are amalgams and not one particular individual.

Are the characters in your books based on people you know?
I have many names in my mind that I can use for each and every character as if they historically had several middle names, and I can pick and choose any one at will.

Why do you think your readers are going to enjoy your book?
I hope my books are going to entertain, help readers escape their daily lives, and maybe think about what might happen in certain circumstances. If emotions are experienced in an imaginary non-confrontational way, it’s more pleasurable to learn, as it isn’t actually happening. It isn’t uncomfortable, as we haven’t been singled out. We’re prepared for unexpected experiences. Entertainment is a useful educational tool: it can prepare one for unexpected eventualities and isn’t a complete waste of time. Being entertained can be an enjoyable learning experience anywhere at any age.

Are your characters’ experiences taken from someone you know or events in your own life?
I can say I have firsthand experience with the settings in my novels and have been there, although some have developed and are far from reality. But the experiences of the characters are true to life and well-researched over decades.

How long did it take you to write your book?
The rough drafts are short, and then I make them longer and longer with each revision. So, while it might take less than a month to write the skeleton of the first draft, subsequent revisions and editing have taken several years.

Who designed the cover?
Lebbad Design of Flemington, N. J. did the cover. My graphic designer, Jim Lebbad, has created covers for bestselling novelists for decades with New York publishing companies. He introduced me to editors here in New Jersey who presently work and have worked with New York publishing companies.

Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?
The writing of the books was more intellectually rewarding than expected. I guess that’s what keeps novelists going. I thought it was all the money and awards they got, but it’s the work itself that keeps writers creating.

How do you start writing a new book? Do the characters or story come first?
First, a solid idea propels me through the many pages it takes to make the manuscript. Then I weave through it themes and life lessons continuously recorded in my notes and diaries. The characters I’m going to use are crucial to carrying out the story, just as actors carry movies. My stories tend to pivot around a few central characters. The first draft is usually written like a marathon.

Do you like to write series? Or single titles only?
So far, I’ve written single titles, but I use my self-created organization called the Diamondbacks again and again to represent organized crime.

Can you describe your main character in 3 words?
Biz is elegant, intelligent and courageous.

Can you describe your heroine/hero in one sentence?
I like my leading characters to be well-educated, traveled and sophisticated.
Biz Andrews is a successful financial journalist who travels the world at a moment’s notice and hopes to have it all but isn’t content with her current romantic prospect until she meets a new man just as a string of bad luck befalls her, and leads them in an entirely new and unexpected direction.

Without giving away details, can you describe one interesting scene in your book in less than two sentences?
My leading character travels around Europe when her guide in England happens to see her in a café in Rome, sits near her, and then disappears again before she has time for a long conversation with him. Why did he bother to re-introduce himself like that to her?

In two sentences or less can you tell readers something unique about your book?
Meet a beautiful adventurous financial journalist as she travels through Europe and experiences a string of bad luck. Haunted by the idea she is being followed, who will save her when she becomes involved in a web of complex intrigue?

List three adjectives that describe your book as a whole.
Entertaining action thriller

Where can a reader purchase your book?
Wherever fine books are sold, and online.

What other books are most similar to yours?
I have my own style that is a combination of Rosamunde Pilcher, Anita Shreve, Danielle Steel, many others and my favorite male thriller writers, but different from all of them.

Who inspires you?
Rosamunde Pilcher is a writer I’ve enjoyed reading. She has a large repertoire of writing that I admire. I like to examine her books to see why they have been bestsellers for decades.
Danielle Steel is an amazing example of a commercially successful writer. My writing isn’t much like hers, but I admire the volume of her writing.
I also admire Dan Brown’s writing, John Grisham, David Baldacci and Nicholas Sparks, all bestselling authors with strong stories and likeable characters and smooth writing. I race through them or clickety-click on my Kindle.

Where do you find your ideas? Does something trigger them? Do you carry around a notebook in case inspiration strikes?
By its nature, inspiration is capricious. It’s fun to catch the bubbles of inspiration when they happen. When I write a novel I have a larger outline and many smaller outlines within that. I can’t cross every bridge until I come to it so some of it is just spontaneous and then later revised. Many of my inspirations are added during revisions to make a shinier finish or polish.

How do you research your books?
As a general rule I travel and write about what I’ve seen and experienced. For details, there’s always the internet, and I do check details. For example, I’d been to the Paris Opera House, but had to check the shows that are currently being shown. I try to work around the temporary to make my writing more timeless. That is my goal in each place, not to laden the text with numbers that can change with the prevailing winds of economics but with entertaining ideas that will endure.

Have you written your entire life? Have you always considered yourself a writer?
Absolutely. I’d always hoped to write books, and would most like to be remembered as a fiction writer in my professional life.

Why do you write? Is it something you’ve always done or always wanted to do?
Writing relaxes me and it’s also exhilarating, just as physical exercise can be. Also, like exercise it can be tiring when done to excess. Sometimes just nailing what I’ve been worrying about makes problems subside. I realized that writing a long story would give me more freedom to create a lengthy plot-line and luxuriate in the creation of complex characters that are essential to the story. I also enjoy writing blog posts, and have to check on details for that and add references at every turn.

What is your writing process?
Hours go by before I notice time has passed, rather like sleeping in that way, or talking with a good friend. I have a good time writing. Since I blog and publish on the same day, I have to be wide awake, so often exercising my body comes first. Occasionally, I might write from first awakening in the morning, especially if the weather’s inclement, but usually I’ll exercise at some point once or twice every day. After I’ve been sitting all day, I need to do more exercises again in the late afternoon. Otherwise, I’m writing at any and all times of the day, usually starting in the morning. Sometimes, early in the morning, I’ll take notes of my ideas and go back to them when I’m more awake, and get back to writing after exercising. Have I thoroughly confused you about my schedule yet? Flexibility is another advantage of the writing life. Few writers sit and write all day every day of their lives and take two week holidays on clockwork.

If you could visit a place for research, where would it be?
If I wanted to go somewhere, I’d go. I don’t like to travel that often and am truly a landlubber. Staying on earth is enough of a challenge for me. But some years, we travel more than others, and I’ve traveled to excess in the past.

Where do you want to go with your writing career?
Writing more novels, publishing them, and editing the ones I’m working one. I work on several at one time.

What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
I’ve also published Finer Spirits, a novel that deals with the social after-effects of the Prohibition era in New Jersey, and have written several rough manuscript drafts and am revising and editing. Each one in the pipeline has a strong theme I’ve researched and wanted to explore further in the form of action-packed adventure and heroism.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing versus traditional publishing?
During my days at university, decades ago, I always heard that being accepted by New York literary agents wouldn’t happen for Canadians in general. Then I moved to New Jersey, self-publishing happened and gave me the certainty of publishing my writing. I didn’t need a literary agent who would accept only one in two thousand manuscripts or whatever is the current ratio. I can judge good writing and what I like to read for myself, and publish what is worthy of publishing.

If you were told your stories were unbelievable and not written very well, would you continue to write? What would your response be?
Lots of books have mistakes. A book can always be improved and is never perfect. I certainly do try to write the perfect book. That has always been my goal, but what is true perfection in any form? Perfection is usually elusive, even to Olympic stars who need to reduce speeds hundredths of seconds to win medals. Reality tends to be messy. It’s an ideal that published authors can’t afford to wait to have in a book. Being effective and getting a book out is the most important goal a book writer can have “Done is better than perfect,” as the saying goes.

Would you ever consider converting one of you stories/published books into a screenplay?
Yes, of course, I’d love to have my books converted for movies. I do think my action-packed books are particularly well-suited to being converted to the big screen. A great novel is a unique work of art. Not all of them necessarily convert to any other medium without losing substance in the transition.

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always hoped to publish novels to entertain and didn’t have a constant mentor. Blogging became my passion several years ago. I still write a post when I feel strongly about a world event and want to add my two cents to cyberspace. I’d been wanting to write a novel since college, and had been writing short stories for years, but they were kept in my files. I wrote stories on my computers, but as my computers crashed and were replaced, I lost many of them. Ever since I can remember, and all the time I was blogging, I secretly wanted to write fiction. After several years of blogging I decided this was it, I had to sit and write a novel, so I planned an outline, and the result is “Slim Target.” My first working title for it was “When Love is Enough,” because my mother’s favorite phrase was “love is enough.” My editor thought “Slim Target” would sell better, so that’s the title. My second novel “Finer Spirits” had a compelling idea that had to do with alcohol poisoning and formed itself easily in my mind.

While writing, how many times do you go back and rewrite a plot?
Countless times. With the advent of my Word program, it’s impossible to say. I do several full rewrites which are easy since I’ve found that typing is extremely speedy. Between rewrites I read and make smaller changes. Then the manuscript goes through a conceptual editor who reads and makes eight pages or so of suggestions, and my other editor goes through it line by line with amendments and questions. Then it’s proofread, and I’m excellent at spelling, if I do say so myself.

Which do you prefer to write – full length novels or short stories?
Now that I’ve written novels, I most enjoy writing full length novels. But I also appreciate the immediate gratification of publishing blog posts that I know others are reading. I have stats for that. Having that outlet was useful to give me the stamina to keep grinding through the revisions required for a full length novel. I really am rather jealous of writers who write novels off the tops of their heads perfectly and publish them without going through harsh editing. I don’t write novels without editing everything so can’t imagine others writing books worth reading unless they’re edited either. I’ve always heard that to write well you have to speak well. Fortunately, I can turn to Word and make numerous corrections.

Do you have a specific writing style?
I draw inspiration from some of my favorite novelists and write with a third person limited point of view.

What are your strengths as a writer?
Maybe that it’s so natural, it’s like breathing. I’m involved in the lives of my characters and think through the plot and imagine how the characters would react to the situations in which they find themselves. Being able to take different points of view is a skill that takes time and I spend a lot of time ensuring that my novels are thoroughly researched.

Where did you grow up? How did your hometown (or other places you have lived) inspire your writing?
I grew up in the center of Ottawa, a mile from the Parliament Buildings in Canada’s capital city. My parents took me and my siblings with them on weekends and summer holidays to our family beach on McGregor Lake, north of the city. We used to meet our extended family there and on holidays in the wintertime. Traveling inspires me, and so does watching movies.

Do you like to travel? If so, what is your favorite city?
I enjoy traveling, although my mathematician husband travels far more than I could keep up with after my children began to go to school. Besides, I don’t think I have as many genes for being susceptible to novelty as he does.
I actually lived in London, England and it’s definitely high on my list, and so is Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, New York and San Francisco. I’ve decided that I like living where I can drive easily and most have enjoyed living in the suburbs and on our farm in “rural New Jersey” (an oxymoron, I’ll admit.) I’m living between New York and Philadelphia, around an hour to both, and travel to them often. And California is high on my list of favorite states.

How many books in a month do you read?
I read a lot of non-fiction books and a lot on the internet. My husband reads novels faster than I do, usually at a pace of a hundred pages an hour; I like to savor books and slow down if I’m really enjoying a good book. I speed read in direct relation to my enjoyment and don’t skip anything if I love it. I’m glad to have read many of the classics in my university years. Now when I read a novel, I read it once and skim it the second time to inspect the structure. If I don’t like a book, I sometimes won’t finish it. A book has to earn the interest of the reader.

What are you currently reading?
“Quiet” by Susan Cain and “Flash Boys” by Michael Lewis. It’s easy for me to read several at once. I have a good memory for characters and haven’t any trouble resuming a story where I left off. Soon, I’m going to start “Sycamore Row” by John Grisham and Anita Shreve’s new book. I just finished an honest easy-to-read nonfiction by a physician that I recommend: “A Short Guide to a Long Life” by David Agus.

What is the best book you’ve read?
My own. Seriously, I’m looking for it if it’s not the book I’m actually reading. Books from my childhood that I loved stick in my memory. It would embarrass me to say the titles, too revealing!

What is your favorite genre?
I like romance, but not generally romantic and erotic fiction. Thrillers I most enjoy, but it has to have romance and show research was done so I will learn something.

State 5 random facts about yourself.
1. My children, now in their twenties, constantly fascinate me in a good way and remind me they need privacy. I have to give them a lot of it, and haven’t ever consciously tried to be intrusive. Hope they love me a fraction of how much I love them.
2. My genes have been sequenced with 23andme. I wish the company could be authorized by the F.D.A. to dispense medical information once again and love the way they linked to medical journals and organized information. Learned a lot about myself and recommend it.
3. New Jersey should have vegetarian restaurants closer to me. It’s the home of the greasy spoon, but I still find eating out a highlight of my life and New Jersey has thousands of casual dining spots.
4. Being effective is a high priority to me. If something needs to be done, I try to find a way to do it and not let any obstacles stand in my way.
5. I don’t have as much need for frightening forms of novelty as others in the family. Sitting and reading is often enough to scratch the itch.
6. I make exercise a priority every day and enjoy dance-like exercises, swimming, and walking the Lawrence-Hopewell Trail, a twenty-mile trail near Princeton, and have completed three full marathons.

If you had to choose, which writer would you like to have mentor you?
Rosamunde Pilcher. I do keep reading Danielle Steel’s blog, where she writes a lot about her life and how she writes.

What books or authors have most influenced your life?
Anita Shreve has wonderful books and I’ve read all of them. She is/was a journalist and author with a sharp eye for detail and her books are to be savored and enjoyed like fine wine. Rosamunde Pilcher is also an engaging writer. I adore her writing. I wish I could see how Danielle Steel lives. When I was in middle school, I also recall enjoying Mary Stewart and Agatha Christie.

In all the books you’ve read, who is your favorite character and why?
In a book I read as a child called “Tanglewood Secrets” by Patricia St. John, a likeable boy in the story was called Philip, and he enjoyed walking in the British countryside.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I listen to the radio, mostly to NPR and classical music, while driving. I like to exercise and swim and take long walks. Every day I exercise at my health clubs, and occasionally travel to shows of one kind or another in the city.

If you could ask the genie in the bottle to grant you one wish, what would it be?
I would like to see an end to cancer, global obesity and the common cold. I wish it were easier for people to incorporate healthy habits into their lives and wish there was a pill without adverse effects that would help people lose weight.

Have you ever sat and just watched the people go by?
I have at cafes in Europe, or here in coffee shops. When traveling, I prefer to actively sightsee and enjoy spectacular views. Biz, my career girl in “Slim Target,” enjoys watching parents taking children to school through the window of a hotel café in Rome. I hope you enjoy reading my novels.

S.J. Seymour was born in Ottawa, Canada. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English literature from Carleton University. After earning her degree, she attended classes at the University of Oxford. She traveled Europe extensively, and worked at the University of Oxford founding a library. She raised two children with her husband, a Princeton University mathematician and earned a New Jersey real estate license. She is the author of “Slim Target” and “Finer Spirits,” and now lives in the Princeton area of New Jersey.


Abbreviations To Know

1. LOL: Laugh out loud 
2. OMG: Oh my god
3. ILY: I love you
4. LMAO: Laughing my a** off 
5. WTF: What the f***?
6. PPL: People
7. IDK: I don't know?
8. TBH: To be honest
9. BTW: By the way
10. THX: Thanks
11. SMH: Shaking my head
12. FFS: For f***'s sake
13. AMA: Ask me anything
14. FML: F*** my life
15. TBT: Throwback Thursday
16. JK: Just kidding
17. IMO: In my opinion
18. YOLO: You only live once
19. ROFL: Rolling on the floor laughing
20. MCM: Mancrush Monday
21. IKR: I know right?
22. FYI: For your information
23. BRB: Be right back
24. GG: Good game
25. IDC: I don't care
26. TGIF: Thank God it's Friday
27. NSFW: Not safe for work
28. ICYMI: In case you missed it
29. STFU: Shut the f*** up
30. WCW: Womancrush Wednesday
31. IRL: In real life
32. BFF: Best friends forever
33. OOTD: Outfit of the day
34. FTW: For the win
35. Txt: Text
36. HMU: Hit me up
37. HBD: Happy birthday
38. TMI: Too much information
39. NM: Not much
40. GTFO: Get the f*** out
41. NVM: Nevermind
42. DGAF: Don't give a f***
43. FBF: Flashback Friday
44. DTF: Down to f***
45. FOMO: Fear of missing out
46. SMFH: Shaking my fucking head
47. OMW: On my way
48. POTD: Photo of the day
49. LMS: Like my status
50. GTG: Got to go
51. ROFLMAO: Rolling on floor laughing my a*** off
52. TTYL: Talk to you later
53. AFAIK: As far as I know
54. LMK: Let me know
55. PTFO: Passed the f*** out
56. SFW: Safe for work
57. HMB: Hit me back
58. TTYS: Talk to you soon
59. FBO: Facebook Official
60. TTYN: Talk to you never
*Provided by wearesocial.com.au

Grammar Guides to the Ever-Changing English Language

         A classic of English Grammar is certainly agreed to be by Sir Ernest Gowers who wrote a book meant only for civil servants called Plain Words first published in 1948. He then wrote An ABC of Plain Words, and in 1954 produced an amalgam of both called The Complete Plain Words, that has been in print ever since. He also wrote the revised Second Edition of Fowler's Modern English Usage (W.).

    For up-to-date information about American grammar, I recommend the excellent online blog called Grammar Girl by Mignon Fogarty. For further reading, there is the Strunk and White classic, Elements of Style, but it was first published in 1918 now with a foreword by Roger Angell. Editors currently usually refer to The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Ed. and others listed in the righthand column.

        Thanks to Google Books, it's now possible to see a leading book about English grammar that has been influential for a hundred years. "The Queen's English: Stray Notes on Speaking and Spelling" was first published in 1864 by the Dean of Canterbury Henry Alford D.D. In 2014 the dated anachronisms are amusing. 

        If you enjoy thinking about grammatical points and most writers do, this is another thoughtful book to add to your repertoire. For example, in case you're wondering whether to use "center" or "centre" (the latter being perfectly acceptable) and "ize" or "ise" (open questions), here's a book to peruse. "Talent" was a "newspaper word" according to Coleridge, and is a noun not a verb. 

        Dictionaries I often refer to were printed in Oxford such as The Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED now online), and The Oxford-Duden Pictorial English Dictionary, but in a pinch, I'll just go ahead and Google, especially for Americanisms. 

          An article by John Preston in the Daily Telegraph about jargon called "Will Jargon Be The Death Of The English Language" is also useful to bring us up-to-date on British grammar. It makes the point that if responders couldn't understand the victims of London's bombing raid in 2005, then perhaps there is room for more agreement in the language. Amen.

Keep Writing

Self-Publishing Support Videos

        The executives in this video are echoing remarks they made at the writer's conferences in New York. I can verify as I've listened to talks by many of them. They are super-nice in person. Jon Fine, Director of Author and Publishing Relations at Amazon, Grant Faulkner, Executive Director of NaNoWriMo, Jason Osalvo Vice President of Content Creation from Audible, Patrick Brown, Director of Author Marketing at Goodreads, and more. I recommend listening in case you have a book you're bound and determined to publish. Not all of us can put up with 137 rejections from literary agents as author Matthew Quick did with his manuscript for the book "Silver Linings Playbook."

        Self-publishing and knowing that publishing was within my grasp was a catalyst I needed to write and be certain my book would someday be available in physical and online forms. (NaNoWriMo was another factor but that's a story worth several posts).

         Good luck, and here's a sunny video with a story of how a couple hit a golden nerve with self-publishing. I'm unfamiliar with their writing but it makes compelling sense. Their ideas had immediate impact.

Keep Writing

Check the Repute of Publishers and Sleep Well

My photo of a bookish headboard
Courtesy: Anthropologie, Princeton MarketFair 
         January is speeding past in the northeast United States. And as usual it's chilly at this time, perhaps more than normal for this part of the world. That's the weird aspect of weather: even extremes can easily be forgotten.
        In my email inbox, I often receive inquiries from publishers asking if I'd be interested in publishing with them.
        The first action I take before replying to them is to check Preditors and Editors. It's a trusted resource often recommended for individual writers at writer's conferences, so it's always worth checking. The wrong one could keep you awake at night.  
         I've launched another of my own websites at See More Publishing which you're welcome, even encouraged, to comment on. Sleep well.

Keep Writing

Ancient Libraries Save Precious Collections

File:Detail of the Bodleian - geograph.org.uk - 792577.jpg
Bodleian Library, Oxford, UK (detail) 
Important Work Rescuing the Wisdom of the Ages

     Once upon a time I belonged to the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England, and earned a permanent card, I believe, if memory serves me.
        In any case, I have held the Bodleian in my memory with affection, though my time at the library itself was short. My female protagonist Elaina in my novel Finer Spirits is a library aide and aspiring artist who likes to work in the rare book rooms at  libraries in Washington. D.C. and in New Jersey. I myself worked briefly in libraries, learned how to use the Bodleian itself in classes, attended Oxford University (helped found the medical library at Green Templeton College), and spent time in the Bodleian Library following my research interests at the time which were more academic than writing fiction is now.
        In any case, it is with interest and joy that I noticed today the Bodleian Library has joined in a project with the Vatican Library to digitize certain early (mostly 15th Century) printed books, Greek and Hebrew manuscripts.  Some of these books, formerly inaccessible to all but the most determined, are now readily available online and the list will continue to be updated as the collection is digitized in a process described here. Hallelujah, the feat seems miraculous to me! Not only are these works a challenge for scholars to access, they must be kept in extremely fragile climate-controlled conditions and will benefit from reduced circulation. Benefiting too will scholars and interested researchers around the world. They will finally be able to research with speed and ease before these rare books possibly become extinct in real life from wear and tear. Information about the project is described in the blog on the website.
        It's marvelous to skim an antique leather book, and now it's a clean and swift process. The conservators taking images of the priceless collections of rare books at the Bodleian have had at least six years of practice. I hope they are being very, very careful. Here's a link to an example of a fine book from the fifteenth century. 

Keep Writing


S.J. SEYMOUR                                                                              
See More Publishing LLC
P.O Box 6494
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648-0494
Toll-free: 1-609-375-5850

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                 11/9/2013

An enduring love story of friendship, truth and courage

 A Suspenseful Romantic Mystery Just Released



 Archie and Elaina’s spouses both died of mysterious ailments, and they lose peaceful secure futures they hoped and expected to enjoy. And while their relationship develops and they realize they’re concurrently investigating why their spouses died, Archie's peaceful existence is disturbed with random acts of escalating aggression. Will he have time to find the true source of aggression before the stalker is successful?
Just as a wild cougar stealthily watches unsuspecting prey and waits for the perfect moment to pounce,

So too a diligent gardener watches a seed grow and blossom into a flowering plant,

A daring owner expects an investment will soar in value,

And a patient listener searches for a waterfall of revealing information

.......THE WEATHER IN New Jersey in late spring deepened in a succession of heat waves. Lawns grew lush and green, rosebushes bloomed, and flowering trees flowed thick with pollen. Peonies and wisteria boldly sprang to life for their fleeting moments of glory in the sunshine. Fragrant honeysuckle spiraled wherever it could, weeds shot out of control, and the heavens occasionally opened in sudden cloudbursts. Many evenings the sun sank from the heavens in a blazing sphere of gold. Amidst this generous outpouring of nature, Elaina drove to Alison and Nick’s house for week’s rest to make up her mind about moving to New Jersey. 
........THE POLICE FORCE investigation widened in New Jersey, but so far had failed to solve the mystery of Archie’s troubles. Archie guessed his home invasions had to do with his quest to expose Finer Spirits and take revenge for the death of Junie, for Grandon’s death, and for the deaths of countless untold others. After receiving the package at his office, he felt even more beleaguered and mystified, and wondered whether the sender was the same as the person who’d entered Lindenwood or if there could be, God forbid, another unknown opponent.
Call TODAY toll-free or please write for Copies and further Sales information.
FINER SPIRITS by S.J. Seymour, published by See More Publishing LLC
Printed and Available at Amazon.com.
Find out more about FINER SPIRITS and S.J. Seymour at www.sjseymour.com

# # #

How to Write a Bestseller, from Donald Maass

     I've been writing my fifth novel, and editing, and also try to read a tremendous amount. Reading has to be one of my favorite and most absorbing activities. Books have to earn my attention, though, and I'm very selective.
     There are many more books out than I'll ever be able to read, and fascinating articles to read on the internet, and one of the books I've been enjoying lately has been Donald Maass' excellent instructional "Writing the Breakout Novel" chock-full of hot tips and weighty pronouncements that seem to slip off his tongue naturally, as if he were an authoritative professor. His observations are based in a wide range of life-long reading and attention to what is selling at this time. Being head of a successful literary agency in New York City, and a primary mover of best-sellers, he writes with authority and wit on how to write for success.
     By "breakout" he is referring to books that break out from the "mid-list" and become "bestsellers." I'm not certain what's below the mid-list--the low-list? In any case, if you'd like to know the secret ingredients in a wide range of commercial best-sellers, this is the best cookbook I've seen detailing how to write a best-seller.

     Bestsellers have:
1) a premise that fires the writer from beginning to end of the novel 
2) a layered complex plot with subplots
3) detailed sense of the times, setting or place, 
4) larger-than-life characters
5) deep themes.

     He does a conscientious job of observing the common features of bestsellers, and almost makes it sound easy to engineer, not that he has a strict formula. He readily admits the target of capturing "wizards," as he calls readers, is moving constantly.
     Writing is the responsibility of authors, he writes, for what goes on inside the sheets (of paper). This is a good one to buy and read. He asked that you buy it through his website, but doesn't make it easy to do, and here's a link again.

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Questions Writers Ask To Develop Characters and Plots

      When planning a new novel I like to write a lot about each character before I even start writing a first draft of the manuscript.
        Proust made a famous Questionnaire many years ago (c. 1890 W.) that I have found useful to answer as I explore the distinct personalities of my characters one at a time. I also find it an extremely helpful tool to develop the story. It may sound a bit odd to the uninitiated, but that's how many experienced writers develop plots. Character development is a well-known method to develop plots because we keep going back to our characters and follow them around. I have added more questions to his (below) about confidences and confessions. Please add further questions you like to ask your characters in my comment section.
     These questions are useful in conversation and parties, too, by the way, although many might be considered private or intrusive. So be careful what you ask is all I'm just saying...

  1. What is your current state of mind?                                                                           
  2. What do you most fear?
  3. What do you most dislike about your appearance?                            
  4. What is your favorite occupation?
  5. What do you consider the most over-rated virtue?
  6. Which living person do you most admire?
  7. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?                                
  8. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
  9. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?    
  10. What is your most favored possession?
  11. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?     
  12. Who are your real heroes?
  13. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
  14.  When and where were you happiest?
  15. What is the quality you most admire in a man? 
  16. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
  17. What is the quality you most admire in a woman?                     
  18.  What is your most obvious characteristic?
  19. What do you value most in your friends?                                         
  20. What is the trait you most dislike in yourself?
  21. If you were to die and come back as a person or animal which would you choose?      
  22. If you could choose any object to come back as, what would you choose?            
  23. What is the trait you most dislike in others?                                                  
  24. Where else would you like to live?
  25. What historical figure do you most identify with? 
  26. What is your greatest extravagance?
  27. Who has been the greatest influence on you?                                          
  28. What is your favorite journey?
  29. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?                                  
  30. On what occasion do you lie?
  31. Which natural talent would you like to have as a gift?                                 
  32. What is it you most dislike?
  33. For which fault do you have the most toleration?                                       
  34. Where would you like to die?
  35. Which military event do you admire most?                                                   
  36. What is your favorite bird?
  37. If you could have been anyone in history, who would it have been?                      
  38. What is your motto?
  39. What are your favorite names?                                                             
  40. Who is your favorite hero in a novel?
  41. What is your favorite food and drink?                                                
  42. Who is your favorite heroine in a novel?
  43. What is your favorite color?                                                                        
  44. Who is your favorite composer?
  45. What is your favorite flower?                                                                        
  46. Who is your favorite painter?
  47. Who is your favorite poet?                                                                               
  48. Who is your favorite author?
  49. What is your character's motivation?
  50. What is your character's goal?
  51. What is your character's major conflict?
  52. How does your character change by the end?
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He Said, She Said

     Polishing one of my novels, I reflect on the idea that novelists are probably the only writers who find "he said she said" essential and time-consuming aspects of editing novels. Most people wouldn't realize how much time I spend adding the attributions of conversations in my novels, tightening the prose, and making the final copy as legible and close to my intentions as possible.

     I'm readying "Finer Spirits" for publication, have had it officially edited, and am doing yet another editing to delete needless repetitions.  Connecting words ease flow and make reading easier and more enjoyable. I edit countless times. And with computers it's far easier to make revisions than it used to be on paper. Some authors still use paper, as Danielle Steel said on her blog. But that's not me. I learned how to type when I went to England from Canada years ago, as someone recently asked me on facebook. 

     My cohort in high school and university in Canada didn't learn typing if they were going to take Liberal Arts. Turns out that was a mistake. I spent needless hours in university agonizing about the quality of my essays typed on a manual, with mistakes whited out and typed over (sometimes causing me to anxiously retype an entire page under a deadline if the White-out burned through a delicate piece of paper). I worried what the professor would think of my product, in comparison to those of other students. If only I'd learned how to type before university, I would've been better served.  If only someone had told me how much I'd eventually use it, I would've focused on its' importance.

     But learning to type wasn't the fashion, or any priority, when I graduated from University in 1977. Women were facing the world, supposedly heading for executive positions, and didn't need to learn how to type. Reality, of course, soon hit, and I decided to head to England to learn to type, and more importantly live and try to support myself in the exciting City of London on a temporary visa. It served as a great excuse to escape the long cold Canadian winter, live near my new English friends, and learn a marketable skill. But I didn't use my new skill for awhile. I began freelancing and my speed picked up, went back to graduate classes in Canada, then to live and work in England, and later moved to America with a green card.

    So that's how I learned to type. Children are learning it, in some schools, at the preschool level now, and that's excellent. It's one of the most useful skills they can learn in school. 

     It used to be, circa 1980, that just getting ideas out on the internet was important. Good grammar and spelling weren't cool. Fortunately, English majors like me have flooded broadband, and shamed illiterates. Well, maybe not completely illiterate. They were super-nerdy, they just couldn't spell. I guess we've shown 'em!

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Staying Alive

      A writer's first priority is to stay alive...

     Every week, I do an hour's serious but fun exercise three times with weights and core routines. For years and years, I used to jog or walk every day for an hour, but it's important to keep up with exercising enough since writing is such a quiet private and sedentary activity.
     To prevent heart disease, I've been influenced by my doctor and the book "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell, which encourages a strict Chinese diet of rice and vegetables for better health, and banishes meats and dairy products. Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr.'s book "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" espouses a strict heart-wise diet. It goes even further than The China Study and bans meats and dairy, and even oils. These are the books that former President Clinton turned to after he had serious heart issues. And both are essential to read if  heart disease runs in your family.
     To keep my glucose levels down, I've just banned high-glucose foods from my diet. Of course, this is ideal, and we'll see how permanent. Yesterday, I cleared my kitchen of almost all healthy grains and brown rice because it isn't enough for weight loss if I simply switch to vegetables, grains, fruits, and salmon for omega-3s a few times a week.
     Here's a delicious easy non-starchy recipe I created for a Mediterranean tomato-eggplant dish. It does use tomatoes, however, so won't be suitable for those are avoiding the nightshade vegetables. (Warning: some writers say these vegetables, the tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, peppers, potatoes, and cabbage-family vegetables and sweetener cause inflammatory arthritis pain.)

Set the oven timer to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Total cooking time: 90 min. Total prep time: 5-10 min.

1 eggplant, sliced
3-4 red peppers, slice into large cubes
16 oz. tin sweet tomato sauce or fresh tomatoes in a sauce
8 oz. prepared tomato sauce
optional: garlic, thyme, marjoram to taste

Place sliced eggplant on the bottom of a flat pan. Slice the red peppers and place on top of slices of eggplant. Layer canned or fresh tomatoes in a sauce on top of this, and for flavor add a thin layer of your favorite tomato sauce. I used a prepared sauce with seasonings and a little olive oil. And you can add fresh garlic and your own favorite spices such as thyme and marjoram to taste if you like. It's very similar to ratatouille, and cubed or sliced zucchini could be added to the peppers on top.

Cook for half an hour at 325 degrees, reduce to 275 degrees, and cook for another hour.

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On Editing

     Why is that the scenes true to life that I've experienced are questioned by editors, while the scenes where I'm winging it and really writing true fiction sound more believable to them? Guess truth can be stranger than fiction.

     Feedback is incredibly important to me. At the same time, it's also both helpful and unhelpful (depending on the attitude of the critic). I've never bought the idea that hurting to help is useful. Criticism always hurts. It's never easy to allow one's work to be criticized, and yet the work of performance artists of all kinds lives and dies by criticism.

     That's why the editing of writing before publishing is important. It's harmless criticism before the world sees it, or so I should remind myself. It's not rejection, although it feels that way. It's cutting back weeds to see flowers. Creators, whether artists, musicians, writers, even creative scientists, should have their work judged by an audience if not of peers--of interested parties. It's better for audiences, and improves the final product. And as we all know, perfection is an ideal.

     Excellence, fortunately, can be reality and a more attainable goal if we work at it. 

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The Fascinating World of Publishing

     I used to be shy about writing my thoughts and publishing online. In fact, I used to think everything I wrote wasn't worth anything because it was not in a publication. Now I can see my writing online I know for certain it's true, rather like Lincoln's adage that it's better to remain silent and be thought a fool than speak out and remove all doubt. But now that everyone can see my writing, unedited by my fancy New York editors, I rationalize the risks of writing online. The alternative is that some people mightn't ever read my writing at all, so blogging is an easy decision to make. Besides, I've been blogging for years at my other sites. And one result of having blogs and articles with comment sections is that we know readers often draw differing conclusions from the same sets of ideas or facts.

     At the Self-Publishing Expo of 2012 in NYC last Saturday, I listened to an expert lawyer-publisher say in his presentation that he expected none of his own books that he wrote to actually sell any copies, and then was glad when they did.

     The New York City Self-Publishing Expo was great, by the way. It was the fourth such Expo ever, but the first one I'd attended. Missed a few of the opportunities that were made available to ticket-holders, such as one-on-one sessions with agents and marketers and would definitely make use of the marketing strategists next time.  The expert panels or lone speakers  were parallel sessions, and it was impossible to see and hear everything without missing talks I would have liked to attend. Listeners were allowed to move freely between talks, but rewarded for doing so with sounds of rebuke and looks of disdain by other writers in the audience.  And I would guess most were writers, although the Expo was open to all.

      The talks were by big name panelists from the likes of Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Good Reads around the country. They seemed to know a lot about many complex aspects of publishing such as: 

1) where to publish and why
2) the editorial side--how to find editors and why
3) the various print and online publishing sites to use
4) the importance of starting small with book reviews
5) new marketing placement vs. traditional publishing timelines
6) distribution, wholesale, and the difference

    New York is at the epicenter of the American publishing industry, and the Expo reflected that and was an invigorating and energetic event. The venue at the Sheraton Towers was more than comfortable; it was surprisingly luxurious for a workshop. And I loved the Starbucks in that building, quite possibly the most relaxing I've seen, at a quick glance.

     Of course, i think the Expo was totally worth it, and not just because I spent the next few days indoors writing and riding out Superstorm Sandy. I paid for my ticket, so will not second guess any such rash decision made on the spot. The Expo was free to visit the vendors, but there weren't enough of them, maybe thirty, to spend a whole day and be worth my four hour round trip. Everyone else seemed to have paid their $150 ticket to see expert panels, so I sort of had to pay to get much value. After talks, there was time and opportunity for questions and networking, and that was great. But paying by the talk or paying less, maybe fifty instead, would have been nicer and there might have been more attendees. I guess costs had to be covered, and I can only assume the publishing-related companies chipped in on the overhead.

     I have to thank the organizers for this special event, and wanted to say I enjoyed it thoroughly and hope they hold it again next year. The world of publishing is fascinating.

                                                 Keep Writing                                                                    

Accepted Publishing Wisdom

      If self-publishing a book, it's important to get it edited first, have a professional cover made and market it. That's the accepted wisdom from years ago in college, and it's more than true now. It's crucial. The best books have been carefully edited for many elements, such as  spelling, grammar, syntax, flow, characterization, dialogue, point of view, and proportion. For a splendid book describing these elements, see Self-Editing for Fiction Writers (2nd. ed) by Renni Browne and Dave King. An eye-catching cover is important, and so it marketing to the widest possible worldwide audience. The self-publisher is doing what twenty people in a traditional publishing company do, so it's a miracle that self-publishing can happen at all.

     But happen it can, and it did to me. The learning curve was steep, but we did it. I actually have physical copies and Slim Target is also online. I had my book edited by a conceptual editor, and a line editor who completely rewrote it (at Dream Your Book). A book cover designer made the cover, and then a computer whiz formatted it, and helped upload it onto Amazon's publishing arm, Create Space first, and then BookBaby and Lightning Source so it's out everywhere. All right, I'll admit, two daughters helped me design the concept of the plot before I wrote it, and one of them, with a computer science degree, helped format and upload it. Formatting is an under-rated clean profession, and miraculously replaces a dusty filthy predecessor.

    I also applied for a Copyright, and spent an hour minimum on the phone to the Copyright Office of the Government. Understaffed, probably. So beware, and have your questions ready. Copyrighting is a process that takes months and is difficult to understand. But I finally succeeded and sent them paper copies. Waiting for the official Copyright Certificate. The publishing process was still expensive and rather time-consuming, but it was satisfying to be in control. In other words, at any point, the book project could have collapsed. But I did it my way. That's the important point. And I have a physical product at the end to prove it.

The Publishing Process

     I chose not to use a literary agent, and didn't try to get one despite my perhaps desperate hope that my novel will be as widely read and commercially successful as any bestseller. With one-in-a-thousand chances of landing an agent, why bother? Too discouraging to face.

     Meanwhile, some novelists are just uploading books as fast as they can write them now. And they're selling well, although one can only trust they were properly prepared for the market.

     Self-publishers certainly remind readers simply being published by a big publisher is not a guarantee of readers' enjoyment. Fiction, whatever the source outside of academia, tends to be chosen by whim and in hope of self-improvement, knowledge, entertainment and so on.

     I think the most influential reasons I went with self-publishing were online articles I read, probably an accumulation of them over time, but one particularly called "How Amazon Saved My Life" in Huffington Post. It detailed how one author's financial needs were met when traditional methods had failed. The success of many prolific authors and fountains of knowledge such as Dean Wesley Smith, Barry Eisler, and JA Konrath were also influential in my decision to self-publish. Most of these self-published experts agree that agents and publishing houses have squeezed spongy authors beyond reason financially in the past and give numerical examples.

Traditional Media Plays Catch-Up

       Huffington Post is itself a successful triumph of self-publishing in the news media, and I adore The Daily Beast, and many blogs. I turn to those before newspaper sites now. CNN, my television source, is still reliable, along with the New York Times and the BBC and NPR. Doesn't matter where we get our news and personal information. We've always used scattered sources when we think about it. Word of mouth has become one of the least reliable and last sources of news wherever the internet is available. Many of the traditional powerful sources of news, newspapers and television, have been reported as one-sided and neglectful more frequently in recent times. And it's quite refreshing to discover opposing views and news in comments and such--online--as a new service.
     Next time, with my second novel, I'm tempted to go straight to BookBaby. They were most user-friendly and easiest to get answers from. Their website was easy to understand, too. I feel loyalty to Create Space, but little to Lightning Source. LS was the most difficult to understand of all the websites and had the most onerous paperwork requirements. They tried to be helpful, true, but their process is slow. Lightning Source, unfortunately, is one way to make books available in international (and national) Espresso book machines.

     My second book is being edited now, and the third is being rewritten, and in November the fourth is being written. They take years to research, write, edit, and every verifiable detail has to be correct. Not a good idea to mislead readers. 

    But mainly we fiction writers are supposed to entertain. Help readers escape the mundane. Give readers hope. Take the ordinary and make it extraordinary and enjoyable.

Keep writing

How To Escape Everyday Realities: Read Novels

     When we read we want to learn, but we also want to be entertained, and sometimes these topics come uncomfortably close to reality. Perhaps that's why many people like to read fantasies and other escapist forms of literature.

     Most writers touch on topics of every day life and turn them into entertainment. While making certain my first novel is available worldwide on separate platforms in digital and print form, I've been planning my fourth novel, and rewriting and editing my second and third ones. I decided to make a list of aspects of life here in New Jersey in late 2012. To write about these everyday issues, it's wise to have a list always at the ready. I will use these values when I write my next novel in November as part of the National Novel Writing Month contest. And they might be useful topics for bloggers and writers to research and write about.

1.    To drive or not to drive - the pros and cons of the auto industry, the results of the federal bailout, and the highway infrastructure

2.   The role of food in weight loss, exercise, restaurants, grocery stores

3.   Shelter: real estate, the moving industry and decorators staging, providing employment for architects, developers and builders, and construction workers, real estate agents and lawyers.

4.   Travel: how, where to stay, amenities in hotels, airlines, railroads - and how they should be cheaper in the US - and local transportation (which should be pristine).

5.    Jobs. Where will they come from? The gradual change over decades from an agrarian to an industrial to a digital economy, and the fact that industries have become leaner, with minimal staff, and more computer technology -- saving as much as possible for corporations.

6.    The shift in world power to the Pacific countries of Asia

7.    Fashion and shopping and the garment industry

8.   The role of personal computers to change the way we communicate - through Skype. The use of computers to surf, to research topics, recipes and phone numbers and maps, to cut down on business travel, blogging for personal expression and as a new form of art.

9.    The role of smartphones as adjuncts to computers, for messaging, tweeting, and as replacements for cameras.

10.  Taxes, the government, politicians. Do we approve of the way we are taxed? Is excessive taxation bringing us down? Do we like the election process? Are officials corrupt?

11.   Religion, personal and structured, organized. American (different denominations) vs. world religions. The effects of secular prohibitions

12.   Immigration. Do we approve how it's being handled? Should anyone be taken aside on police suspicions (without evidence) because of the way they look?

13.   Education of children up through universities. Is it done well? Privately or publicly, pros and cons. The importance of literacy, the basics of science and humanities, the role of the internet.

14.   Gun control - reasons to lessen the influence of guns and their ability to harm citizens.

15.   Government services, public schools and recreation, police force, criminal justice, creation of local laws, permit, tax, public services of trees, animal control, paving roads. The importance of electricity, water, and sewers to modern life.

16.   Insularity of different countries, their differing world views, and the firewalls of national borders psychologically and physically.

17.   Crime, petty, and organized, and how layers of police and the internet are helping find predators and sex traffickers.

18.   The changing publishing industry, of books, periodicals and journals, newspapers, and the internet.

Keep Writing


S.J. SEYMOUR                                                                              
See More Publishing LLC
P.O Box 6494
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648-0494
Toll-free: 1-855-899-4663

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                 Thursday, October 11, 2012

An enduring love story of friendship, truth and courage

 A Suspenseful Romantic Thriller Just Released


Travel with an elite news team from New Jersey to Europe. Watch their exciting journey unfold as they uncover financial news stories with fictional WYN-TV. Discover how the television media intersects with the art world as a recent mysterious string of thefts creates a newsworthy challenge. Our team enters unknowingly into the dangerous hands of an internationally dreaded criminal organization. And throughout the tale, love shines.  Biz must decide if she truly desires to have any man's love and trust. 

[EXCERPT] “Everything men and women want,”…“has hardly changed at all through many centuries of human existence, no matter how enlightened and progressive we think we are. In relationships, we all have to weed through the unconscious expectations and assumptions we make of each other, however inconsistent. These are important issues in any relationship: how much emotional trust we have for each other; our capacity for intimacy, since we're all different; and how much recognition we need to have. In our relationships, we're at our best and our worst. In the final analysis, I think we're all more alike than we're different."…“It's easy once you realize everyone wants to love others and be loved. My philosophy when I'm traveling,” he continued, “is incredibly simple. It's this: you only need to love others. Here's a famous anonymous quotation: ‘What most people need to learn in life is how to love people and use things, instead of using people and loving things.’ ”

Call TODAY toll-free or please write for Copies and further Sales information.
Slim Target by S.J. Seymour, published by See More Publishing LLC
Printed and Available at Amazon.com.
Find out more about SLIM TARGET and S.J. Seymour at www.sjseymour.com

# # #

So What? Why Not Find Meaning and Write?

     Have you ever felt drawn to writing and irritated, at the same time, that you haven't been published yet?

    Have you ever tried to make sense of your history or your relationships by writing about them, and then felt better, a little healed, after making an effort to clarify your thoughts and ideas? 

     Do you have a clear imagination and create stories about other people? 

    Do you listen to stories and learn, really discern and evaluate, how they're told and written? 

     Do you want to educate people? 

     Do you want to move emotions in your listeners and readers? 

     Do you want to entertain people?

***If so, maybe you're a writer.*** 


      A writer is simply anyone who can write. In the larger world context, of course, a writer is someone who can successfully move other people to feel and act through the word choices they make and the powerful effects their words have on others. 

     As readers, we read stories, articles, and books. We read with our senses. We see with our eyesight and understand figuratively. We hear the noises of the marketplace, touch the vegetables and fruits, smell the spicy aromas, and ultimately sink our teeth carefully into the tasty morsels. 

     Why do we read? We want---need---to learn, to be moved, to be entertained with all our senses. We want to be more fully alive. 

     Writers must be able to deliver to all our senses. We must reward our readers for taking the long private journey to our humble destination, for however long they stay and appreciate our humble offerings. Words. That's all we have to offer on the page. The beginning and the end. Blood of our blood and flesh of our flesh. Words are our own. We live and breathe our thoughts and ideas. We make them whole in our writing. We complete them. 

     If you love to write, just do it. And keep on doing it. Do it for yourself. Do it for others. Do it whether you're tired and haven't any energy. Simply stop and write when you don't have any time, on form of medium available. Don't wait for the perfect time to write, the perfect circumstance, the best idea. The perfect moment to write is now when you're thinking. Start whenever. 

     It's the perfect moment and it's time to be in the midst of life. So write. Tell others who will come after you what you know. You may not think you know much. But when you sit still, think calmly, and allow your thoughts and ideas to flow into words and messages, you'll be surprised how much of yourself you can freely give to others.  

     Writing is generosity in action. It's taken me years to understand this. Years I've waited, far too long, until the time or the place to write would be perfect, or I'd be old enough, strong enough, to quell any criticisms. Years until I stopped listening to others saying to wait, and realized the hardest part of writing is the starting of the task, just as it is with gardening, cooking, and cleaning. It's about changing gears, and getting into the spirit. I can put on my virtual apron, and enjoy the opportunity. It's a privilege, and it's optional. 

     We aren't forced to write---except inasmuch as we feel inside our minds it's the time. As writers, we're driven. It's the appropriate action to take, and the highest and best use of our time. 

     Through many hundreds, if not thousands of years, those with the leisure to write have taken the time and effort to place thoughts and ideas onto a lasting repository. 

     Archives of writing in various venues have kept: 

           *Records of births and deaths. 
           *Records of monarchies, governments, and wars. 
           *Journals of the nobility. 
           *Fables to educate children. 

     All of these and more have attracted the efforts of the most noble in society. There is a nobility in writing. It's not at all shameful. It's a tool of education. Certainly, it's exciting and useful. Indeed, some say it's "the best" profession. Write whenever possible.


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