Cover Reveal for new YA Fantasy, THE MEDDLERS OF MOONSHINE

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00003]

 

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00003]

Cover art by Cary Vandever

I got a little peek at the cover for a new YA Fantasy, The Meddlers of Moonshine by A.E. Decker. It’s the second in the Moonlight Mayhem series.

I love the synopsis (below) and description of the series by another author, Susan Sullivan:

“I’d say it’s like Shrek meets The Wizard of Oz if Dorothy were Wednesday Addams and Toto a talking cat with bat wings.”

Sounds very cool. Fairy tale mashups are an obsession of mine and after reading some more of Decker’s work, it sounds like she’s a real find for me! In fact, I would have posted this sooner but I was gobbling up her other stories.

The Meddlers of Moonshine will be available on October 25. Until then, check out the ebook for the first in this series, The Falling of the Moon, available for $0.99 for a limited time.

Here’s the summary:

Something is rotten in the town of Widget, and Rags-n-Bones knows it’s all his fault.

 

Ever since he snitched that avocado from Miss Ascot’s pack, things have been going wrong. Armed with a handful of memories he never realized he had, Rags-n-Bones searches for a way to put right whatever he did to Widget in the past. If only he knew what it was! Unfortunately, the only person who seems to have answers is a half-mad youth that only Rags can see.

Widget is also suffering from a ghost infestation that has the townsfolk almost as spooked of outsiders as they are of actual spooks. While Rags-n-Bones seeks answers in the past, Ascot offers the town leaders her service as an exorcist, only to be handed an ultimatum: banish the ghosts or be banished herself!

Who’s meddling with Widget? To catch the culprit, Ascot and Rags-n-Bones must match wits with a shifty sorcerer, a prissy ex-governess, and a troublingly attractive captain before the town consigns itself to the graveyard of history.

Pre-order:

Ebook
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Kobo
World Weaver Press online store

Trade Paperback
World Weaver Press online

 

Decker Author Photo

More about Decker at Words Meet World. Also, don’t you just love her for her profile picture alone? I do.

A. E. Decker hails from Pennsylvania. A former doll-maker and ESL tutor, she earned a master’s degree in history, where she developed a love of turning old stories upside-down to see what fell out of them. This led in turn to the writing of her YA novel, The Falling of the Moon. A graduate of Odyssey 2011, her short fiction has appeared in such venues as Beneath Ceaseless SkiesFireside Magazine, and in World Weaver Press’s own Specter Spectacular. Like all writers, she is owned by three cats. Come visit her, her cats, and her fur Daleks at wordsmeetworld.com or@MoonfallMayhem.

 

Social Media Timing in the Age of Despair

I have words but they are jumbled

We’re in this vicious cycle now:

Tragedy

Outrage

Tears

Thoughts and Prayers

We need more than just thoughts and prayers

Think Pieces

Action items you can take

Reactions to Think Pieces

New Tragedy

Outrage

Rinse and repeat

 

After the Sandy Hook massacre, I created a social media policy for handling mass shootings in progress, tailoring it to each of my clients at that time.

It took me until Tamir Rice to create a policy for when an unarmed Black person is killed by police.

After Charlie Hebdo attacks, I adjusted the mass shootings policy to include terrorist attacks. Why that didn’t start earlier and why it mostly only focuses on attacks in the western world is a topic for another post.

What to do when we wake up each day to horrible news, or at the very least, weekly?

How to continue business on social media outlets when you need to acknowledge, or at least respect, but life also must continue?

How to let some light into the dark, either through happy photos, good news or commentary?

How to continue your work and your life without sounding like you are ignoring the devastating news of the day? Without sounding selfish, or privileged enough not to be confronted with the fear every minute, either because of where you live or the color of your skin?

I think about this a lot. It even makes me pause sometimes from posting the cycle of gun control, of Black Lives Matter, of how to raise a white child without white privilege: because in a matter of days, I can start to sprinkle more photos of my happy toddler or outreach advice or activism through art.

And then a new outrage will occur.

Rinse. Repeat.

It’s much too easy to ignore before the next horrendous headline enters my morning Facebook feed.

 

After the brutal month of June and early July 2016, I decided the only solution is to stop letting myself ignore it on days that it isn’t in my face. Many people fight these inequalities and face these horrors every day. I need to make the real effort to be more than an ally, and I need to make it every day. There are times for self-care, but I cannot retreat into it. I need to not only post “What You Can Do” articles, but hold myself accountable and post when I actually do make those calls to Congress and inquire/fight for proper police procedure. Feeling jumbled, as in my July 8 Facebook post, is not enough. I also greatly respect those who are not as public with their feelings or actions. Silence is complicity, certainly, but just because I don’t see you touting your feelings or actions on social media doesn’t mean you aren’t doing the work in real life. Posting something just so you are seen as aware often makes it sound trite, no matter how genuine the feelings behind it. I worried about that with every other post that ran through my brain on July 8th, and so just focused on my exact feelings at that exact time. I still worry it could sound trite, but at least I know it was the truth and not me trying to make something more out of the truth that I felt at that moment.

Now this is only for my personal social media platforms. What about brands, entrepreneurs, businesses? There are ways to mirror mission with current events for nonprofits, but others? Right now,I just take it case by case. In much of my work, I ghost write social media posts for people, and I take my cues from their personal pages, or send that all too familiar email:

“In light of recent events, I would like to post something along these lines:” and then I say something relatively simple without making any real statement: the brand version of “Thoughts and prayers”. For a local Orlando business, I barely even mentioned the actual massacre, but focused on the helpers in Orlando and particularly helping Orlando businesses.

I take it day by day, adjusting social media protocols as necessary but mostly winging it, collaborating when I have a team. Sometimes it is best just to stay silent. You don’t want to feel like you’re trying to draw attention to your brand through tragedies, even if it is to express sympathy. Yet, with these events happening so often (or at least our awareness of them amplified by access to media), how can you stay silent?

There are no real answers, just conscience and judgement and the ability to feel ignorant and ask questions of those more knowledgeable more I.

How do you handle your personal social media and business accounts lately?

So I Got a Passion Planner

passion planner

Right around January, that beautiful idealized time when everyone re-evaluates their life and dreams, I followed up on something I’d bookmarked a few weeks earlier:

The Passion Planner.

I checked out how it works, and printed a few free sample pages to see if I could better organize my February workload if I used it.

It requires a lot of dedication, a lot of planning to the minute detail and date as to how you will accomplish your goals. It takes a focused amount of time every week to not only organize your life by the half hour, but also to evaluate how successful you were in implementing your plan.

Here is the main thing I saw from using a Passion Planner that no other planner thus far has done for me:

It helps me understand exactly  how much time my various activities take and how much time I have left.

I gained a real understanding of my limits, but more importantly, I clarified my priorities. In order to continue with both my Outreach Nerd consulting, revising my novel-in-progress, keeping my toddler and I active, and eating as healthily as possible, I had to get real on my time commitments.

In no particular order, here are my concrete takeaways using the Passion Planner:

  • I have to focus on one writing project at a time. Decide whether I want short term gratification (blog) or to get absorbed into revisions, and plan my writing time that day accordingly (even if it is only an hour).
  • Schedule time to prepare food and eat it.
  • Plan on Sunday for the following week and discuss the work schedule with my husband where it overlaps with our time at home together.
  • Plan on 1-2 days where we don’t take the car and enjoy the lack of structured activities to let my son lead our playtime. This also means his nap isn’t overlapping with driving time and I then get at least an extra half hour of work time.
  • Take pleasure in highlighting the items I finish.
  • Schedule time to shower.
  • Perhaps most importantly: This is not a to-do list. Each line represents a half hour of my life, and some tasks take longer, some take less time. Adjust accordingly.

If you need better time management in your life and have multiple projects to juggle (including household and relationship ones), then I strongly suggest downloading some sample pages and testing it out for at least a month. I ended up buying the undated planner and it is working very well for me.

I am in no way associated with the Passion Planner and was not solicited to write this review in any manner. If you do want to try one, I would appreciate it if you say you were referred by cindymariejenkins@gmail.com and I’ll eventually get a discount. 

 

Can’t We Just….?

Outreach Consultant

I hear it a lot.

After I detail the work needed to accomplish a client’s goal, whether that be attendees at an event, audience at a show, Facebook Likes, Twitter followers, YouTube subscribers…..

“That seems like an awful lot of work.”

Then I hold in a sigh and brace myself for the inevitable question:

“Can’t We Just…..”

  • Blast to our email list?
  • Post it on Facebook?
  • Put out a bunch of tweets?
  • Offer free tickets?
  • Throw out a Facebook Ad?
  • Ask people to Retweet?…….


My answer is always the same.
If you want the same results, then by all means, keep doing the same things.

However, you hired me so that you, and your business, could accomplish more. You know you need more.

The truth is…..

Right now, we are marketed to all the time. Day and night. What used to be interruption marketing is now simply our existence.

Blasts, tweets, status updates….they all serve a purpose. The main thing to remember now is that relationships matter. The personal touch matters. Making your audience feel as though they matter to you and are not just a number, not just a sale.

I know it sounds like a lot of work. That’s because it is.

Audience/customer development is a lot of work.

Just getting people’s attention is a lot of work.

You must invite people to the party. Invite them as an individual, and have reasons why that person would like what you offer, not why just anyone who follows you on Instagram should buy it. Then you convince them to stay, and keep them interested.

It’s work. Consistent work.

The same old blasts won’t do the job.

It takes time to find and nurture new customers, and even more time and care to make them feel like more than just a sale, and get them to feel part of a community where they are wanted and valued for more than their checkbook.

So the next time you feel the words “Can’t we just….” about to come out of your mouth, please stop and consider whether what you are about to suggest is exactly what hasn’t been working, exactly the reasons why you felt you needed my – or someone else’s – help.

Then let’s talk.

 

 

My 2016 Hollywood Fringe Festival Picks

I’ve enjoyed attending the Hollywood Fringe Festival since it started, and always searched for more ways to let audiences in on the fun. Now living in a new city, I understand even more how it’s hard to just jump into a Fringe Festival, even if you’re really into it.

These are the shows that I would put on my #HFF16 Dance Card during this first week of previews and through opening, if I were in town. Click the title to find the show on the Fringe website.

Enjoy!

Cindy Marie Jenkins, Founder & Consultant of See It or Skip It LA

From Reputation

Neva  “People are dying of hunger in the streets and you want to put on a play?” I saw this NEVAplay (different production) at CalArts REDCAT in 2011 and was thrilled to see Diana Wyenn directing it now.

Patriot Act is written and performed by Michael Schlitt, whose show Jesus Ride I adored a few years ago at Fringe. He is incredibly sharp, funny and theatrical. I would not miss this if I were in town.

Thug Tunnel by Robot Teammate and the Accidental Party. They had a great show last year and this one doesn’t look like it will disappoint: In the not-so-distant-future, greed, pollution, and The Ancient Fire of Death and Despair have made Earth’s surface uninhabitable, forcing the human race to survive underground in a criminal society known as THUG TUNNEL.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) with an all female cast who are incredibly funny.

Simon Coronel: Alien of Extraordinary Ability. That’s how he’s designated by the U.S. Department of Immigration. An Australian Illusionist who often frequents the Hollywood Fringe, Simon always entertains. Sometimes, he throws his knowledge of Mandarin in there, too.

All the Best Killers are Librarians. I mean, the title. Then I learn it is from Serial Killers, the late night serial competition at Sacred Fools, and I’m hooked.

Bull and Smoke are both by Rogue Machine, who never seem to disappoint with new plays.

 

Just Because I Dig This Kind of Thing

Troy Before I knew it was a Fountain Theatre production (looks like part of a development series), this is a rare instance of the play description gripping me. (It should be noted that I am a Greek geek to the extreme.)

Photojournalist and war correspondent, Arthur Hess, has made his living taking photos of some of the world’s most violent places. But when his eldest daughter is publicly murdered, it is the photo he takes of her corpse that threatens to destroy both his family and his name. Inspired by The Oresteia, TROY is a play about the perplexity of grief in a war that is happening both far away and in our living rooms.  

Fairy Tales Against Humanity Like children’s theatre gone horribly wrong, “Fairy Tales Against Humanity” is a new half-scripted/half-improvised show. This is one of those big Fringe #ChanceIt shows. It could be horrendous but it could be hilarious. I’d probably #DrinkBeforeIt.

Here There Be Dragons: A Journey from Fear to Freedom with Ukrainian Dog and Shredded Cheesedid you read that title? Taking chances on shows like this are why Fringe Festivals exist, in my opinion.

50 Shades of Shakespeare – Twelfth Night with four actors. It’s been done, but you, the audience, picks who plays who. I’d easily give this show 45 minutes of my life. Learn More at www.lanewcourttheatre.com

Keep up w/ See It or Skip It LA Correspondents’ Picks here

Webinar: Harvesting Leads using social media

Harvesting Leads

using social media

APRIL 24 (11:30-1pm PST)
with Cindy Marie Jenkins

So you have cool content, but don’t see butts in seats as a result?

We’ll cover: 
—Generating leads for your audience beyond family and friends
—Create a fun calendar to attract new audiences
—How to follow through and invite them to your show

More about Cindy

—————-

$50 for live individual training

REGISTER HERE

More Webinars:

APRIL 17: Twitter & Instagram Tutorial

MAY 1: Pitching to Press with Diana Wyenn

MAY 8: Crowdfunding Prep with Madeline Rosenstein

Webinar: Twitter & Instagram Tutorial

Twitter & Instagram Tutorial

APRIL 17 (10-11:30am PST)
with Cindy Marie Jenkins

Is “Hey! My first tweet!” also your only tweet?

Not sure how to use Instagram to connect with audiences?

Have questions but scared to ask them?

We will:

  • Run through Twitter and Instagram Basics, step by step, so you know the correct set up and tools at your disposal.
  • Review Best Practices and Common Missteps so you feel like a power user from Day 1.
  • Plan how you will use each platform to accomplish your short and long term goals.

$40 for live webinar if you register by April 15

$50 after April 15

REGISTER HERE

More Webinars:

APRIL 24: Harvesting Leads using social media

MAY 1: Pitching to Press with Diana Wyenn

MAY 8: Crowdfunding Prep with Madeline Rosenstein