Triple Threat In Da House

You go Triple T- JC Aka Triple Threat

Its been a long week, I just interviewed a great guest on Thurs.  Fri morning came  6 AM PST, My mind wonders how can I give JC a great interview, I say that because I consider JC family which makes me just wanna have fun and your glad they came. The problem with that is you might miss an opportunity for JC to promote something, so you go in as if he is someone you don’t know and try to find out what’s he doing. You take away JC good looks, quick wit, Talent, what you have left? you still have one special dude with a will to make things better. 7A.M  is here fri morning it’s showtime, JC comes in the studio and you can feel the energy fill the studio up. ( My coffee even says: Damn I wish I had that energy) JC came on like a pro, He promoted his songs,tours, merchandise  which is cool.

JC aka Triple Threat

But I wanted to go deeper, His fears his wants his flaws, JC came in with another Agenda, a passion he connected  himself with, A charity to help stop bullying, I tried to bait him by talking about I think bullying is a good thing, JC didn’t waver ignored my dumb ass and gave a true heartfelt answer. You can listen to the podcast by hitting the link Hammer & Ellen in the morning Triple Threat in The House.  JC came in as a  professional & left as family. What does he have when you take away his Good Looks Wit, & Talent? You got parents like Lady T Mr T and you still got one special dude.  Lady T (JC MOM) she is a shark, Sure she is sweet,looking all fashion model Ms Thang. She is a no nonsense business woman and she will let you know it if you step out of line. She also one of the most beautiful lady inside and out you will meet. What about (Mr.T) Now we are talking.  I ask Mr T have you seen the bad side of Lady T? He thought for a moment and said back in the 90’s ( I’m thinking you are a brave man and I will remember you at your funeral) He continued He said just  i saw just a bit a  little bit of her halo slipped….. Oh man…

Triple Threat Dancers

But I couldn’t argue because I know he was right in his thinking.

It’s been a long day without,  You my friend. and I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again. ( Listen to the podcast hit hammer and Ellen in the morning above)

One more thing, Dip It Dance

Learn it & send it to Jc  lets go viral   Check out the interview by hitting Hammer & Ellen in the Morning link..  If you want to contact Jc  hit this link

Mitchell Levy -Aha Books

Aha Books

Mitchell talked about a number of topics. Here are a handful of topics we focus show on: How can anyone write a book in 8 hours How can your audience become Thought Leaders What are the 5 top Thought Leadership practices today Why do organizations need more Thought Leaders How is business changing and will continue to change How can you create a content machine that shows your Thought Leadership How can you take 1 piece of content, turn it into 5 on 10 platforms How can you do social media effectively with only 5 minutes a day What is a social media enabled eBook How can I quickly make physical and eBooks part of my Thought Leadership.

Check out website link   

10 Shrewd Tax Moves For 2017

Looking to lower your tax burden? As April 18th approaches, here are 10 strategies you may want to consider before you file.

The good news for tax filers this year is that no sweeping tax law changes took place last year. However, taxpayers may see some sweeping changes between now and next year, as President Trump has signaled that tax reform is one of his priorities in 2017.

This year, the estate tax will stay at a maximum of 40% and has an exemption of $5.49 million in 2017. In addition, the annual exclusion from gift taxes remains at $14,000 per donee for 2017.

That said, the IRS did adjust federal income tax brackets and increased some tax exemptions, deductions and credits so consult with your Financial Advisor and tax professional for possible tax savings strategies. With that in mind, here are 10 tax strategies to consider this year.

1. Max out retirement plans. It may make sense to fully fund your employer-sponsored retirement plan such as a 401(k), since contributions can be made on a pretax basis. If your taxable income is lower, the amount of income tax you owe for that year might also be reduced. And because this is a tax-deferred account, you generally do not pay income taxes on any earnings on your investments until you withdraw funds.

2. Make an IRA Contribution for 2016. Another way to maximize your retirement savings is to make annual contributions to an IRA. The deadline to make an IRA contribution for 2016 is April 18, 2017, so there is still time to make a contribution to a Traditional IRA which may be tax deductible or to a Roth IRA for potential tax-free income, subject to IRS eligibility requirements (including any applicable age or income restrictions). The maximum contribution is the lesser of (a) your taxable compensation for 2016, or (b) $5,500 (or $6,500 if you are age 50 or older) for 2016. These limits apply to all your IRAs combined.

3. Consider a Roth IRA conversion. While income limits may preclude some investors from contributing to a Roth IRA, anyone can do a Roth Conversion by converting eligible funds from a Traditional IRA or employer-sponsored retirement plan to a Roth IRA. Roth IRA contributions are made with after-tax dollars, and qualified distributions are federal income tax free. ¹ When you convert, you must pay taxes on the amount converted as ordinary income for the year of conversion distribution (or deemed distribution), except to the extent the amount converted is treated as a return of your after-tax contributions, if any.

Subject to certain requirements, after-tax money in an employer-sponsored qualified retirement plan (e.g., 401(k)) may be directly converted to a Roth IRA tax-free. Taxpayers who have potentially taxable estates should consider the Roth IRA conversion option, as it could make a potentially significant future wealth transfer more tax efficient. Consult with your tax and/or legal advisor regarding your individual situation as a Roth IRA conversion may not be for everyone. A number of factors should be considered before converting, including (but not limited to) whether the cost of paying taxes today outweighs the benefit of income tax-free qualified distributions in the future.

4. Review highly appreciated assets. The capital gains rates for most taxpayers are still significantly less than ordinary income tax rates. Consult your tax advisor about whether shifting to investments that generate capital gains instead of ordinary income would be a good strategy. Be sure to weigh the risks of having a large concentrated stock position or highly appreciated position. If gradual diversification is needed, trim before year-end to spread the capital gains impact over multiple years.

5. Give increased attention to buy-and-hold strategies. With increased capital gains tax rates, buy-and-hold strategies may be attractive; the higher the tax rate, the more valuable the strategy. Similarly, it becomes more important to harvest tax losses to shelter gains that otherwise would be taxed at the higher rate.

6. Augment your tax-advantaged investments with municipal bonds. Municipal bonds, the interest on which is typically free from federal, state and local taxes, are one of the most efficient investments available for defending against current and potentially higher tax rates. Even though income tax rates rose for high-income taxpayers, interest income earned on municipal bonds remains largely unaffected. (Capital gains from the sale or exchange of municipal bonds typically is not tax free.)

7. Consider redeploying assets to a variable annuity. In a rising tax environment, the tax-deferral feature of annuities becomes increasingly attractive. Diversifying your retirement portfolio with a variable annuity may provide tax-deferred growth potential, guaranteed lifetime income, increased retirement savings, equity upside potential and a death benefit for named beneficiaries. Remember, though: withdrawals from variable annuities will be taxed as ordinary income and, if made before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% early distribution penalty tax. Please consult your tax advisor about whether variable annuities are appropriate for you.

8. Consider professionally managed and tax-advantaged investment strategies. Now is a good time to evaluate the overall tax efficiency of your investments. Beyond municipal bonds, consider tax-efficient mutual funds or separately managed accounts that aim to limit the number of taxable events within your portfolio.

9. Review dividend distributions of your current portfolio. Qualified dividend tax rates are still lower than ordinary income tax rates for most taxpayers, so consult with your financial and tax advisors about whether you should adjust your investment holdings to achieve greater income tax efficiency.

10. Engage in legacy planning and gifting. All investors should have an estate plan that reflects their wealth-transfer goals and objectives. Taxpayers with taxable or potentially taxable estates who are in an economic position to do so and would like to benefit their heirs should consider making lifetime gifts to those heirs now, which may be a potentially more tax-efficient wealth-transfer strategy. Also, consider making gifts under the annual gift tax exclusion and charitable gifts before year-end. Please consult your tax and legal advisors to review your current estate plan and insure it reflects your goals and objectives.

These strategies might help minimize the impact of current tax laws on your portfolio. Contact your Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor or Private Wealth Advisor to determine which strategies might be appropriate for you. If you don’t have a Financial Advisor, find one near you through the locator below.

The Clueless Guy’s Guide to Buying Lingerie

Buying lingerie for women is one of the hardest things a guy can do. It’s right up there with asking that special someone out for the first time or trying to find the correct feminine hygiene product.

It seems that lingerie is designed to be as confusing as possible for men. There are numbers and letters that don’t make sense. Some lingerie pieces look the same but have different names. And there are at least 10 different shades of blue you’ve never heard of before. Of course you can save yourself a lot of personal embarrassment and a panic attack by doing one simple thing before trying to buy lingerie: raid her panty drawer.

A woman’s panty drawer is like one big cheat sheet when it comes to buying lingerie. It has all the information you could possibly want – provided you know what you’re looking for in the first place. There are four key things you need to figure out before trying to buy lingerie.

Her Lingerie Size
The absolute worst mistake you can make when buying lingerie is getting things that are too big for her. Check multiple pieces as sizes can vary from one lingerie label to another. Make sure they’re pieces she’s worn recently. You don’t want to pick up an old piece that no longer fits her by mistake! And be sure to write everything down. All those numbers and letters can be confusing, and you don’t want to spend the next month on the couch if you get something wrong.

Her Personal Taste in Lingerie
Does she favor tight-fitting pieces like corsets or chemises or looser items like baby dolls? When you’re shopping, pick something she already likes and wears instead of trying to stuff her into some fetish corset you saw in a porno movie.

Her Favorite Colors
If she favors one or two colors, then you should probably stick with those instead of something that matches your favorite football jersey. Take your color cues from her wardrobe instead of her panty drawer. Good lingerie deserves to be shown off and not hidden.

Lingerie Fabric and Material
Does she wear a lot of lace? Does she go for fishnet or something soft and sheer? Stick with things she likes, and she’s more likely to actually wear the lingerie you buy.

After doing your research, you should have a pretty good idea of what type of lingerie you should buy for your woman. Just remember not to buy her anything with the words “control” or “reducing” in the label!

Here are our top recommendations:

69.98
MICRO MODAL RIVIERA DREAM DRESS
37.98
SILKY SATIN UNDERWIRED CHEMISE & THONG

 

Bill O’Reilly apologizes after making racially charged joke about congresswoman

James Brown Wig

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly apologized Tuesday after coming under fire for mocking a black congresswoman’s hair.

During an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” O’Reilly reacted to a clip of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) delivering a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives.

“I didn’t hear a word she said,” O’Reilly said of Waters. “I was looking at the James Brown wig.”

“If we have a picture of James Brown — it’s the same wig,” he added.

The remarks were widely denounced as both racist and sexist on Twitter, where O’Reilly’s name was trending Tuesday morning and afternoon. VIDEO 

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, O’Reilly expressed regret for the remarks.

“As I have said many times, I respect Congresswoman Maxine Waters for being sincere in her beliefs,” he said. “I said that again today on Fox & Friends calling her ‘old school.’ Unfortunately, I also made a jest about her hair which was dumb. I apologize.”

The top rated host on cable news, O’Reilly actually drew some pushback before he even left the “Fox & Friends” set.

While one of the program’s male co-hosts, Brian Kilmeade, laughed heartily at O’Reilly’s comment, the lone female host — Ainsley Earhardt — stepped in to back Waters.

“I have to defend her on that,” Earhardt said. “You can’t go after a woman’s looks. I think she’s very attractive.”

“I didn’t say she wasn’t attractive,” O’Reilly said. “I love James Brown. But it’s the same hair!”

He later called Waters a “sincere individual” and said she should be commended for speaking her mind.

“Whatever she says she believes,” O’Reilly said. “She’s not a phony, and that’s old school.”

Related: The Wall Street Journal and Trump: a history of hostility

The congresswoman’s office declined to comment.

As clips of O’Reilly’s remarks made the rounds online, some media watchdogs noted that Waters found herself on the receiving end of another racially charged remark from a different Fox News personality years earlier.

In 2012, Fox host Eric Bolling said that Waters should “step away from the crack pipe.”

O’Reilly himself has faced charges of racism and sexism in the past. And in his bid for laughs, he has been known to crack wise about the physical appearance of some high-profile women.

At a comedy program in Long Island in 2015, O’Reilly made fun of the weight of both Rosie O’Donnell and Hillary Clinton.

In his joke about the former secretary of state, O’Reilly imagined a farcical scenario wherein the Clinton Foundation was forced to return thousands of pantsuits to the Chinese government.

“We don’t want them back,'” O’Reilly said, adopting a fake Chinese accent. “‘They don’t fit anyone here in this country.'”

Writing Your First Book

Debra Shively Welch nails this story

I have had so many people say to me, “I don’t know where to start! How do you do it?’  How do you manage to write a book?”   It may not be as difficult as you fear.  The “doing” simply is in the knowing how.

Let’s start with the basics.  Just as you prepared for doing your homework as a child and young adult, you must prepare for writing your manuscript.  This isn’t something you can just jump into without preparation.

First of all, most publishers want your work written in Microsoft Word.  Documents must be single spaced, in Times New Roman, 12 point, with no spaces between paragraphs; each paragraph with a five space indent, except for the first paragraph of every new chapter and the first chapter of a new scene. Those should be flush with the left margin.

No hard tabs! You do have to use the tab button for your first paragraph of the chapter. Write your second chapter without using the tab; you simply hit <enter> and it will automatically indent five spaces. Now remove the indent from your first paragraph and finish your chapter.

If you start a new scene within your paragraph, simply begin the scene after hitting enter, write your first and second paragraph in that scene, then go back to your first paragraph in the new scene, remove the tab by hitting the backspace key, and enter twice to separate the new scene from the former.

Hard returns

Hard returns are as bad as hard tabs. Only use your <enter> key at the end of a paragraph. You’re not using a typewriter; the words will wrap on their own.

Get an editor on board!

Find a writing/editing partner to work with, whose strengths do not mirror your own. For instance, let’s say that you are very good with dialog, and they are weak – but they are very good with punctuation, grammar and verb tense agreement.  You can help each other a lot.  In the end, however, a professional editor can be invaluable.  The publishing world is not what it used to be.  An editor will most probably not be provided, and many works are rejected on bad-editing alone.

Invest in a good writing guide such as Harbrace College Handbook or Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style.  They will be invaluable to you as you edit your work.

Start out with a good outline

Eternal beauties have “good bones.”  Your book has to have “good bones” to be a good book.  That is, good organization, a good outline…a good “skeleton.”  Create an outline for your book to keep you on track.  It doesn’t mean that the outline can’t change. Sure, you can take detours, but if you write out a “road map” for your work, you won’t get lost before you reach your destination:  the end of your book.

Join a writing group

Many writing groups are set up so that, in order to be critiqued, you must reciprocate.  So if you are active with other writers, you will get feedback on your work.  This is all done with respect and a desire to help each member become a better writer.  This is also an excellent place to find your writing/editing partner.

Learn to take criticism

It’s nice to hear someone say, “Oh, I just love your work!” But does this help you?  Maybe a little, but honest, constructive criticism is your best tool for improving your writing skills.  However, sometimes, the people around you, friends and relatives, for instance, are the worst ones to listen to.  They will either tell you that you are brilliant, when you are not, or not talented – when you are!  Some may even tell you to give up.  Only you can decide if you want to go on, and if the need within you to write is great, go for it.

Write, write and then write

Write every day.  If you are blocked on your current project, write a practice exercise.  Keep the juices flowing and your creativity active.  Writing is not like riding a bike….if you get lazy and don’t practice, you will lose a lot of your skills.  The more you practice, the better you will get, but if you don’t use it, you will lose it.

Practice – indulge yourself in writing exercises.

For instance, pick up a piece of fruit.  Smell it, feel it, taste it.  Now write about it. Make your reader smell, feel and taste that piece of fruit.

Step outside.  What do you see, hear?  Describe it so that a reader will feel like they are there.

Example:

Summer Harvest

Ripe, red and round, I bite deeply. Juice runs down my chin and within the core of this plump, luscious orb, I taste sunshine. Mawmaw is waiting for the green beans I am to pick for lunch, but she knows that my duties in the garden will take a little longer than expected. I am a forager, a nibbler, a taster of bounty. I bite again and my mouth is filled with glorious, sweet, warm fruit. “Youngin’ you eat more ‘an you pick!” she cries, smiling and shaking her head.

I choose a few extras and place them in my basket. They are warm and bursting, fat and juicy. Mawmaw will slice them and put them on a platter, and we will feast upon large, meaty Beefsteak, sweet golden streaked German Stripe, beautiful, delicious, creamy Golden Yellow: slices so large, they fill a plate.

We sit and join hands. Pawpaw says the blessing, gives me a wink, and passes a plate filled with golden fried circles. I question with raised eyebrows and dig in. Fried green tomatoes, prepared as a surprise. I crunch into warm juice-filled ambrosia. They fill my mouth with the taste of green, of red, of fresh air. They are a little bitter at first bite, but sweetness comes through, as tongue and palate work in harmony to wrest from each morsel every nuance of taste: corn meal, salt, pepper, un-ripened tomato, bacon fat. I close my eyes and eat more slowly – savoring.

And, you’re off!

Now you are prepared to begin your first book.  Word is loaded on to your computer, you have your writing manuals, you have a writing/editing partner, and your keyboard is dusted off and ready to go.  Now what do you do?

Well, we will talk about:

Writing about what you know
Getting your reader’s attention
Setting the Scene
Fleshing out your characters
Dialog – It can make or break your book
Transitions
And
Editing

Write about what you know

If you write about what you know, places you’ve been, and draw on your own experiences, you will bring to your writing a unique quality and a reality that will truly speak to your audience.  Sci-fi and fantasy novels are fun to write and read, but even they must be based on some reality unique to the author.  Draw on your history, and your book will ring true to your readers.

Most of my books are set in my home town. I write about the places I know about. I use familiar dwellings and stores to tell my story:

Example – Excerpt from “Spirit Woman”:

The mid-July summer evening was warm and fragrant. Unusual for Ohio’s schizophrenic weather, the temperatures continued in the mid-70s, and the nightlife of Uptown Westerville was flourishing in spite of its being a Monday night.

Nickie passed Jimmy V’s, the Greek restaurant one block south of Cedar Woman’s, and noticed that the patio was filled to overflowing. She slowed her walk and surreptitiously took note of the scene.

A water wall of stone on the south side of the patio murmured gently. Servers wove in and out of the tables, sometimes circling one another in a practiced rhythm akin to a synchronized ballet.

Some of the guests were laughing and joking: a couple raised their glasses in a toast, yet another leaned into each other over a small table, deep in conversation. A middle-aged man and woman, hands entwined, gazed into each other’s eyes, clearly falling in love and nestled within their own world.

A family of four occupied a larger table near the west side of the water wall. A two year old, chubby finger pointing, exclaimed, “Wawer wah, Mama, wawer wah!” The parents looked at each other and smiled.

A couple in a secluded two top, however, appeared to be ending their relationship. The young man’s face was earnest and regretful, the young woman’s cheeks and nose red, her face turned away from him.

Every aspect of life is displayed here, Nickie thought. Well, almost. I don’t see anyone grieving for the loss of a loved one. It hit her then: of course grief was represented. The young woman, informed that her relationship with her partner was over, was grieving the loss of her love.

The knowledge almost doubled Nickie over. The loss of her love!

Get their attention

Any work, whether it is an article, an essay, a novel or a poem, must start with a first paragraph that is a “grabber.”  If you don’t get your reader’s attention immediately, you will more than likely lose them.  Be creative, think about your story, and give them all you’ve got with your opening.

Example – Excerpt from “Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams”:

Mortified and with shoes in hand, Oma Mae paddled flatfooted to her office door, her burning feet, swelling and smacking heavily on the tiled hallway floor. “WOMEN DO NOT HAVE HOT FLASHES!  THEY HAVE POWER SURGES,” flashed across her brain, the words throbbing in her head like a strobe light on the set of Saturday Night Fever.  “What in the hell would Gail Sheehy know about hot flashes!  I’ll lay odds she was popping estrogen pills like they were M&M’s when she wrote that one,” Oma Mae blustered hotly, her breath so hot she quickly sipped it back in to keep it from scorching the tender insides of her feverish lips.

Set the Scene

Where does a particular scene happen?  Your reader must “see” what you “see,” “hear” what you “hear.”  Each scene should be carefully crafted so that your reader can follow the story with ease.

Example – Excerpt from “Circle of Time”:

Bridget Littleton raised her face to the darkening sky. Stars sparkled and shone, accentuating the soft feel of the salt-scented air. Leaning against the rail of her father’s luxurious yacht, she gave herself up to the gentle listing of the ship, enjoying the sound of the slap of the waves against the yacht’s steel hull. To her left, a seagull flew – just at eye level, so close that she could hear it pull the wind beneath its snowy wings. Intermittently, the maritime bird would glide and soundlessly ride the air currents, like a silent phantom above the blue-green waves of the sea. Flap, glide, dip and climb, her airborne companion followed the yacht for a short time, then soared off in the quest of an aquatic snack.

Flesh out your characters, but don’t go overboard

When you introduce your characters, flesh them out.  Describe them:  color of hair, eyes, height, attitude, perhaps a brief history.  Make them real – a living and breathing character, but don’t go on forever.  I once read a book where it took 20 pages to introduce a character.  By the time I got back to the plot, I’d lost interest. But your readers have to care about your characters, whether it is to love or hate them.  Ambivalence doesn’t work in successful writing.

Example – Excerpt from “Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams”:

Sylvie Musser stood a mere five feet tall, her height diminished by a pronounced dowager’s hump, forcing her head and shoulders forward in a classic osteoporosis slump.  Hazel green eyes, sunk deeply in their sockets, peered beneath gray brows and above high cheekbones, her facial structure reminiscent of her Native American great grandmother.  Her hair, straight and iron gray, was worn in a simple bun nestling atop her curved spine.

The old woman was thin to the point of gauntness, her frail frame clothed in a simple summer dress of the kind Oma Mae had not seen since the early sixties, consisting of a simple sleeveless shift under a bibbed apron, tied at the waist and pinned at the shoulders.  She wore terry cloth carpet slippers, their outline stretched and molded by the arthritic toes encased inside them.

Dialog – It can make or break your book

Your dialog should make the reader feel that they are there, in the moment, eavesdropping, as it were.  Stilted dialog can make a book drag to the point where your reader will eventual put the book down, and possibly never pick it up again.

Listen to the following dialog…first without description and then with.

Example – Excerpt from “Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams”:

“You know, evolution is impossible.”  Ray said.
“Impossible?” Oma Mae said.
“Yes.  Well, more accurately I guess, is that it is a miracle. I suppose nothing is impossible; it’s just that we haven’t come to fully understand evolution yet,” he said.  “It goes against natural law.”
“Yeah, it would be like reversing the flow of the tides of the ocean, if I’m understanding what you are saying,” Oma Mae said.  “Or the breeze kicking up now and swirling across the water,” she said.

Now, note the difference:

“You know, evolution is impossible.”  Ray scanned the horizon of the vast ocean with a slow contemplative sweep of his head and rested his gaze fully on Oma Mae.
“Impossible?” Oma Mae slanted a disbelieving look at his statement.
“Yes.  Well, more accurately I guess, is that it is a miracle.  I suppose nothing is impossible; it’s just that we haven’t come to fully understand evolution yet.”  He turned sideways toward Oma Mae and rested his elbow on the railing.  “It goes against natural law.”
“Yeah, it would be like reversing the flow of the tides of the ocean, if I’m understanding what you are saying,” Oma Mae contributed.  “Or the breeze kicking up now and swirling across the water.”  She raised her hands to her hair and smoothed the tendrils dancing in the wind across her face.

Transitions:

Ever watch a good movie where the transitions are so great, you can’t help but notice them?  Take for instance, Avalon.  Released in 1990 and directed by Barry Levinson, it is a story of three generations of Russian immigrants who try to make a better life for themselves in America.  The first scene ends with 4th of July fireworks.  There are the bright lights, the booming, and then the smoke…fade to black, with smoke drifting across the scene, fade in to the grandfather, blowing smoke from a cigar, and telling his grandchildren of when he came to America in 1914 on the 4th of July.  Now there is a transition.  Your viewers know that a scene has changed, but there is a connection.

The same holds true with a novel.  Each paragraph should lead into the next.  More importantly, each chapter should end with a transition which leads to the following one.  This keeps your reader interested, and keeps them turning the page: picking your book up again and again, until the finish.

Example – Excerpt from “Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams”:

Chapter ends with:

I feel prepared to take this giant step away from the comfort and security of my mother’s loving arms, Patrick’s brotherly protection and Joy’s sisterly companionship.  Even Mother Mary Clare, as with the others, must be left to pursue, ‘her own soul development and growth.’  These wise and wonderful and loving people have honed me, and if I am to do anything of good or service at all, it will be to them the credit will be owed.  Therefore, it is those four most precious loved-ones to whom I devote my life, even as I say goodbye.

Next chapter:

The lonesome faraway echoes of a braying burro were the only sounds Oma Mae Adams heard as she disembarked the bus transporting her to the Terminal in the city of Cuenca, located in the southern highlands of the Andes Mountains in the south-central region of Ecuador.

Edit, edit and then edit

Clean up your work!  You wouldn’t send your child to a party with mud on his face and his clothes torn, would you?  So why would you send your book, your “child,” out into the world filled with errors in punctuation, grammar or spelling?  Take the time to edit and then edit again.  This is not the time to be lazy.

Check your spelling. Not just the words underlined in red in Word, but look for common mistakes like, typing it’s instead of its when its is not a contraction, here instead of hear or their instead of they’re.

Watch out for common grammatical mistakes such as: “Mike and me went to the store.” Take one noun out and see of “me” stands alone. Would you say, “Me went to the store?” No, of course not. The correct grammar is, “Mike and I went to the store.”

Make sure you use the correct word! This is one of the most common writing mistakes that I come across. Example: “He made a grand jester.” Jester? Huh? No, the term is gesture. If you’re not sure, look it up. You’ll be amazed at how you improve your writing, just by using the internet to help you with something as simple as word choice and spelling.

Don’t echo. Every time you repeat a word, your reader’s brain gets a little “jolt.” Example: “I decided to go to work, even though it was a work day. I really don’t like my work, but I decided that if I don’t go to work, I could fall far behind.” Not good! Change it up. Your program has a thesaurus built in. Simply right click on any given word and see if there is an alternative, or try to rephrase your sentence:

“I don’t enjoy my job, but I decided to go into the office today, even though it’s a Saturday, because if I don’t, I’ll fall far behind.”

I can’t stress enough the importance of a good editor. When shopping, interview them. Make them “audition” by sending five pages to see what they do with your manuscript. A good editor should not try to change your story or your voice, but edit it instead with possible good suggestions on rewording and paragraph arrangement, but they should never try to change your voice or your story line. It’s okay to suggest, but not to change. Also, did they actually do the job?

Many people I have worked for have sent me manuscripts for which they’ve paid as much as $1,500 to have edited. When I asked them, “Did they send you a galley with red marks to show you the corrections and comments in the margins with suggestions?” The answer is often, “Well, no.” Don’t fall for it! If they can’t show you the work they have done, the conclusion can only be that they haven’t done any work; they’ve simply taken your money and returned your manuscript in its original form. Many self-publishing houses do this. I know of one that has even changed its name because of its bad reputation in this area. Don’t be fooled by a sharp web site and glossy covers. If you don’t get an edited galley, your book was not edited!

Even if you believe they have, before you send your book out, double check! Look at your original manuscript and compare it to the final, edited version. Each edited version (I edit twice) should be renamed. I name mine as follows: yourmanuscript DSW edit and yourmanuscript DSW edit 2. Ask that your editor rename your document so that your original is not accidentally overwritten.

So, now you have written your book.  You’ve made an outline to help you stay on track, you’ve written a killer first paragraph to get your reader’s undivided attention, your scenes and characters are vivid and believable, and your dialog is visual and interesting.

You’ve edited and edited to make sure that your punctuation, spelling, word choice and grammar are absolutely correct, you’ve used a writing/editing partner to read your story and help you with every aspect of your work, you’ve hired a good editor who has done their job, and now you are ready to submit your “baby” to a publisher or agent.

A word about publishing

I can’t finish this without talking about publishers. First of all, today you do not get an advance. That is a thing of the past. (Not passed, because it’s related to time.) You won’t get 40 free copies and you won’t get any promotion from them. The market is flooded with books today, and publishers are taking advantage of that fact. You may want to consider the self-publishing route.

Remember me talking about hard tabs and the enter key? The best way to launch your book is in the eBook format. This will allow you to test the waters for your book and hopefully earn you enough royalties to publish a paperback. Hitting the tab and enter keys will mess up the formatting of your manuscript, and the end result will be a mess! So remember, you are using a computer and not a typewriter.

Download Calibre – it’s free and it’s fantastic. It easily turns your Word document into an ePub file which uploads beautifully into Amazon and all of the other online book stores. Don’t try using a pdf document. It will turn out a mess.

Finally, remember, there are so many authors out there, and the competition is daunting. Give your story a hand up with good editing, a good story line, vivid characters, engaging dialog, descriptive writing and believable scenes. Good luck!

Questions? Just ask. I’ll be happy to answer any and all of your inquiries.

Debra Shiveley Welch

Trump taps Kushner to lead a SWAT team to fix government with business ideas

Trump taps Kushner to lead a SWAT team to fix government with business ideas

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Jared Kushner, President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, listens during a meeting with small business leaders at the White House on Jan. 30. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Jared Kushner, President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, listens during a meeting with small business leaders at the White House on Jan. 30.

President Trump plans to unveil a new White House office on Monday with sweeping authority to overhaul the federal bureaucracy and fulfill key campaign promises — such as reforming care for veterans and fighting opioid addiction — by harvesting ideas from the business world and, potentially, privatizing some government functions.

The White House Office of American Innovation, to be led by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, will operate as its own nimble power center within the West Wing and will report directly to Trump. Viewed internally as a SWAT team of strategic consultants, the office will be staffed by former business executives and is designed to infuse fresh thinking into Washington, float above the daily political grind and create a lasting legacy for a president still searching for signature achievements.

“All Americans, regardless of their political views, can recognize that government stagnation has hindered our ability to properly function, often creating widespread congestion and leading to cost overruns and delays,” Trump said in a statement to The Washington Post. “I promised the American people I would produce results, and apply my ‘ahead of schedule, under budget’ mentality to the government.”

In a White House riven at times by disorder and competing factions, the innovation office represents an expansion of Kushner’s already far-reaching influence. The 36-year-old former real estate and media executive will continue to wear many hats, driving foreign and domestic policy as well as decisions on presidential personnel. He also is a shadow diplomat, serving as Trump’s lead adviser on relations with China, Mexico, Canada and the Middle East. Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Jared Kushner, President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, center, arrives for a Feb. 15 event at the White House with wife, Ivanka, left, and Gary Cohn, director of the…

The work of White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon has drawn considerable attention, especially after his call for the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” But Bannon will have no formal role in the innovation office, which Trump advisers described as an incubator of sleek transformation as opposed to deconstruction.

The announcement of the new office comes at a humbling moment for the president, following Friday’s collapse of his first major legislative push — an overhaul of the health-care system, which Trump had championed as a candidate.

Kushner is positioning the new office as “an offensive team” — an aggressive, nonideological ideas factory capable of attracting top talent from both inside and outside of government, and serving as a conduit with the business, philanthropic and academic communities.

“We should have excellence in government,” Kushner said Sunday in an interview in his West Wing office. “The government should be run like a great American company. Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers, who are the citizens.”

The innovation office has a particular focus on technology and data, and it is working with such titans as Apple chief executive Tim Cook, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff and Tesla founder and chief executive Elon Musk. The group has already hosted sessions with more than 100 such leaders and government officials.

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“There is a need to figure out what policies are adding friction to the system without accompanying it with significant benefits,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, chief executive of the investment firm Blackstone Group. “It’s easy for the private sector to at least see where the friction is, and to do that very quickly and succinctly.”

Some of the executives involved have criticized some of Trump’s policies, such as his travel ban, but said they are eager to help the administration address chronic problems.

“Obviously it has to be done with corresponding values and principles. We don’t agree on everything,” said Benioff, a Silicon Valley billionaire who raised money for Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

But, Benioff added, “I’m hopeful that Jared will be collaborative with our industry in moving this forward. When I talk to him, he does remind me of a lot of the young, scrappy entrepreneurs that I invest in in their 30s.”

Kushner’s ambitions for what the new office can achieve are grand. At least to start, the team plans to focus its attention on reimagining Veterans Affairs; modernizing the technology and data infrastructure of every federal department and agency; remodeling workforce-training programs; and developing “transformative projects” under the banner of Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan, such as providing broadband Internet service to every American.

In some cases, the office could direct that government functions be privatized, or that existing contracts be awarded to new bidders.

The office will also focus on combating opioid abuse, a regular emphasis for Trump on the campaign trail. The president later this week plans to announce an official drug commission devoted to the problem that will be chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). He has been working informally on the issue for several weeks with Kushner, despite reported tension between the two.

Under President Barack Obama, Trump advisers said scornfully, some business leaders privately dismissed their White House interactions as “NATO” meetings — “No action, talk only” — in which they were “lectured,” without much follow-up.

Andrew Liveris, chairman and chief executive of Dow Chemical, who has had meetings with the two previous administrations, said the environment under Trump is markedly different.

After he left a recent meeting of manufacturing chief executives with Trump, Liveris said, “Rather than entering a vacuum, I’m getting emails from the president’s team, if not every day, then every other day — ‘Here’s what we’re working on.’ ‘We need another meeting.’ ‘Can you get us more input on this?’ ”

Kushner proudly notes that most of the members of his team have little-to-no political experience, hailing instead from the world of business. They include Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council; Chris Liddell, assistant to the president for strategic initiatives; Reed Cordish, assistant to the president for intergovernmental and technology initiatives; Dina Powell, senior counselor to the president for economic initiatives and deputy national security adviser; and Andrew Bremberg, director of the Domestic Policy Council.

Ivanka Trump, the president’s elder daughter and Kushner’s wife, who now does her advocacy work from a West Wing office, will collaborate with the innovation office on issues such as workforce development but will not have an official role, aides said.

Powell, a former Goldman Sachs executive who previously worked in George W. Bush’s White House and State Department, boasts a government pedigree. Bremberg also worked in the Bush administration. But others are political neophytes.

Liddell, who speaks with an accent from his native New Zealand, served as chief financial officer for General Motors, Microsoft and International Paper, as well as in Hollywood for William Morris Endeavor.

“We are part of the White House team, connected with everyone here, but we are not subject to the day-to-day issues, so we can take a more strategic approach to projects,” Liddell said.

Like Kushner, Cordish is the scion of a real estate family — a Baltimore-based conglomerate known for developing casinos and shopping malls. And Cohn, a Democrat who has recently amassed significant clout in the White House, is the hard-charging former president of Goldman Sachs.

Trump’s White House is closely scrutinized for its always-evolving power matrix, and the innovation office represents a victory for Wall Street figures such as Cohn who have sought to moderate Trump’s agenda and project a friendly front to businesses, sometimes in conflict with the more hard-line conservatism championed by Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

The innovation group has been meeting twice a week in Kushner’s office, just a few feet from the Oval Office, largely barren but for a black-and-white photo of his paternal grandparents — both Holocaust survivors — and a marked-up whiteboard more typical of tech start-ups. Kushner takes projects and decisions directly to the president for sign-off, though Trump also directly suggests areas of personal interest.

There could be friction as the group interacts with myriad federal agencies, though the advisers said they did not see themselves as an imperious force dictating changes but rather as a “service organization” offering solutions.

Kushner’s team is being formalized just as the Trump administration is proposing sweeping budget cuts across many departments, and members said they would help find efficiencies.

“The president’s doing what is necessary to have a prudent budget, and that makes an office like this even more vital as we need to get more out of less dollars by doing things smarter, doing things better, and by leaning on the private sector,” Cordish said.

Ginni Rometty, the chairman and chief executive of IBM, said she is encouraged: “Jared is reaching out and listening to leaders from across the business community — not just on day-to-day issues, but on long-term challenges like how to train a modern workforce and how to apply the latest innovations to government operations.”

Trump sees the innovation office as a way to institutionalize what he sometimes did in business, such as helping New York City’s government renovate the floundering Wollman Rink in Central Park, said Hope Hicks, the president’s longtime spokeswoman.

“He recognized where the government has struggled with certain projects and he was someone in the private sector who was able to come in and bring the resources and creativity needed and ultimately execute in an efficient, cost-effective, way,” Hicks said. “In some respects, this is an extension of some of the highlights of the president’s career.”

Sex Pistol’s Johnny Rotten defends Trump against media’s ‘smear’ campaign


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Johnny Rotten performs with the Sex Pistols during the Exit music festival in Novi Sad, northerm Serbia, July 14, 2008. © Reuters Johnny Rotten performs with the Sex Pistols during the Exit music festival in Novi Sad, northerm Serbia, July 14, 2008.

The Sex Pistols and Donald Trump have a lot in common, according to Johnny Rotten.

Rotten, whose real name is John Lydon, defended the president against the “left-wing media in America are trying to smear” Trump.

“The Donald. He’s a complicated fellow,” the rocker said on “Good Morning Britain” Monday. “As one journalist once said to me, is he the political Sex Pistol?”

Rotten, who holds American citizenship, agrees Trump shares the Sex Pistol’s anti-establishment qualities.

“There’s many, many problems with him as a human being but he’s not [racist] and there just might be a chance something good will come out of that situation because he terrifies politicians,” Rotten shared. “This is joy to behold for me. Dare I say, [he could be] a possible friend.”

The 61-year-old rocker also voiced his support for Brexit saying, “the working class [has spoken] and I’m one of them and I’m with them.”