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Tips for shelling out on Halloween

A girl receiving treats from a lady on HalloweenHalloween is fun for both the children who go out "trick or treating" and for those who are shelling out the goodies. If you are shelling out, you want to ensure the little gremlins knocking on your door are safe and having a good time. Here are a few tips to keep it both enjoyable and safe.

These days, people are decorating their front yards to scare the kiddies coming to there doors. You don't need to overdo it, but it's fun to add a few things to the lawn. One easy solution is to shape an old white sheet into a ghostly figure and hang it from a tree so it blows in the wind. Get your creative juices flowing and you'll have a bit of fun with it. It makes it even more exciting for the children who come to your door.

Here are some tips on what you may need to have;

  • Always buy pre-packaged candies and buy twice as much as you think you'll need
  • Homemade isn't considered safe. Nor is fruit or anything that isn't mass produced and properly factory-wrapped
  • Consider items other than candy. Kids get way too much candy, their parents will appreciate it, and so will the kids. Try fun items like little dollar store toys
  • Crayons, coloring books and stickers are always a hit with young children

Keep your candle-lit jack-o'-lanterns away from children. Inside your front window with the curtains open is best.  You can still decorate the porch with with scarily carved pumpkins, but leave out the candles or replace with alternative lighting. A good alternate to real candles nowadays is artificial LED candles.

Here are some more tips for Halloween;
  • If you're driving on Halloween, drive slowly and watch for the little ghosts and goblins crossing the roads
  • Keep your bowl of goodies well stocked and placed conveniently by the door
  • Most children will arrive at via your front door so ensure your driveway and pathways are well-lit and clear of anything that can cause costumed children to trip. Bicycles, carriages and garden tools belong in the back of the house or side yard
  • Dress for Halloween yourself. Play scary music in the background. Play along and the kids will love it
When you run out of goodies to give the children, it's time to close up shop. Extinguish the candle in the jack-o'-lantern and turn off your outside lights. That way children and the parents who follow them will know not to knock on your door.

Copyright © Lorraine on 2017

Editor's Note: Find below additional information that you may find useful about Halloween;
More tips for shelling out on Halloween
Halloween decoration ideas
Alternatives to candy for Halloween "Trick or Treating"
Lots more Halloween ideas
Safety tips for Halloween

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How to be a successful Freelancer

Man working on a laptop computerLaunching your own freelancing business isn't easy. From coming up with a name for your business to landing your first clients, you'll be working constantly as a freelance entrepreneur. Despite the difficulties that many new freelancers face, however, rest assured that it is completely possible to develop a successful business.

Many new freelancers start out excited about their new business. While this is fantastic, it's also important to learn how to balance excitement with realistic expectations. One of the biggest reasons many new freelancers fail is that their business doesn't become fully operational right away. While you might have a great idea for a business, finding clients might prove to be more difficult than you anticipated.

No matter what type of freelancing business you want to launch, it's important to understand what it truly takes to be successful.

1. Be patient
Your freelancing business probably won't be successful overnight. It might not even be successful in a month. Because building up your reputation and client base as a freelancer can take time, many new freelancers become discouraged and quit before they really get going. Try to balance your expectations and understand that in order to be successful, you need to be patient.

2. Get serious
Another common mistake for new freelancers is to think that working part-time hours will result in full-time pay. While this might be true once your business gets going, it's not going to be the case when you start. When you first launch your business, you need to be as serious as possible. This means behaving in a professional manner, setting up regular client meetings, and frequently looking for new ways to advertise and promote your business. Don't view freelancing as a way to have a prolonged vacation. If you do, you'll find that the only person you're hurting is yourself.

3. Set regular hours
Your friends and family members might think you're just hanging out all day, but freelancing is actually a lot of work. Consider setting regular business hours. Whether you choose to work at night or during the day, having set hours will help you stay focused on your work. Avoid scheduling anything during your work time. Not only will this give you regular blocks of time to focus on your business, but it will also remind any well-meaning friends and family members that you are, in fact, working.

4. Branch out
When you freelance, it's important that you have several streams of income. This means that if you're a writer, you need to write for several different websites. If you're an artist, you need to have your work available at several stores. If you're a closet organizer, you need to have several clients. Branching out protects you from financial disaster if you lose a client or a website closes.

5. Try again
Part of developing a freelance business means making mistakes. Unfortunately, even smart freelancers will sometimes have a hard time launching their business. Even if your freelance company doesn't seem successful right away, make sure you keep trying. The more work you pour into your company, the greater results you'll see.

Remember that no matter what type of freelancing you plan to do, it's possible to have a fantastic, successful experience. Even if it takes a bit of time to launch your company, you'll find that the results are well worth the effort.

Copyright © Gotter on 2017

Editor's Note: Find below additional information that you may find useful in becoming a successful Freelancer;
The right mindset for successful freelancing
Where to find new freelance clients and keeping them
Signs your in a bad relationship with a client
Tips on how to behave professionally
Tips on working from home

Tags: career

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How to fix a slow android device

An android device with a hand and thumbs-up displayedYour new Android smart-phone will do everything from making phone calls to watching Full HD movies. Applications will load quickly and your phone will boot in just a few seconds. However, you'll find that after a few months, your phone isn't as quick as it used to be. Soon applications slow down, animations don't transition very well, and everything will generally be a lot slower.

It is normal for all computers to slow down over time and there are a few things you can do to keep your Android device running as fast as possible.

Things to try first include;

Freeing up RAM
Go to the running applications list, tap the pie chart icon in the bottom right of the screen, and navigate to the RAM section. You can then tap the "Clear Memory" button and Android will stop unnecessary processes. Reducing the number of processes running in the background will reduce CPU load and speed up your device.

Removing cached data
Cached data can help to speed up your phone or tablet by saving data locally on your device. It can save loading times because your phone doesn't have to keep downloading the same bits of information from the Internet. However, cached data can take up a lot of storage and cause your device to slow down. Therefore, you should regularly clear your cached data.

Closing applications
Multi-tasking makes it easy to switch between applications, but multi-tasking can slow down
your phone. After a while, you'll find that you have many applications running in the background. Close applications you aren't using by opening the running applications list and tapping the cross on the application you want to close.

If these measures still haven't worked you should then try;

Turning it off and on again
Restarting your phone will clear the RAM and give your device a fresh start. This is usually the first thing to try if your Android device is running extremely slowly, or has encountered a critical error, restarting it can often fix errors and speed up your device.

Things that you should do on a regular basis that will also help include;

Deleting any unused applications
You are likely to have applications installed on your phone which you never use. These applications are often still running in the background and making your phone slower by using the CPU, RAM, and storage. You can delete any application by opening your list of applications. Then Tap and hold the application you want to remove and move it to the 'delete' icon at the top of the screen. Make sure you only remove applications that you do not need.

Limiting the use of widgets
Widgets can be very helpful, but they can use a lot of resources and make your device run slowly. The more widgets you use, the more resources you need to run them. You don't need to remove all widgets, but be selective and only use a few widgets.

Always keep your phone's operating system and applications up to date. New updates aren't only about getting new features. Many updates also fix bugs and make performance enhancements.

If your phone is still behaving slowly or strangely consider trying;

An Anti-virus application
Internet fraudsters will try to infect your device with malware which can cause many problems including excessive CPU and GPU use, data loss, and hardware failure. You can keep your device free of viruses by installing an anti-virus application. There are many free and premium anti-virus applications available to download in Google Play. AVG, Kaspersky, Norton, and Avast are all popular choices and are trusted by millions of Android users.

If your still having troubles, the following are much more drastic measures that should only be attempted if things are becoming really bad;

Do a factory reset
Android gradually becomes fragmented as you use your phone and sometimes the only thing which will fix a slow Android device is to perform a factory reset. Warning: Make sure that you back up all your data before you do a factory reset as all your data will be lost! Your Android operating system will have been completely restored and your device will be like new.

Rooting your phone will give you access to advanced features to make your phone run smoother. You can install leaner Android ROMs, over-clock the processor, remove factory installed bloat-ware, and make changes to the source code. Warning: Rooting can be complicated and may void your warranty! You should only attempt to root your phone if you know what you are doing and are willing to take the risks.

Over time, Android devices will begin to slow down. In some cases, devices may run so slow that they are barely usable. When this happens, you need to do some maintenance to get everything back up to speed. If you've tried everything else, then you should consider performing a factory reset. If the phone still operates slowly after doing a factory reset, then you may have a hardware related problem.

It's best to perform regular maintenance on your phone instead of letting it becoming totally full and then dealing with it. There are many applications which run silently in the background which can do most of the hard work for you.

Copyright © Darryl on 2017

Editor's Note: Find below additional information on maintenancing your android device and other actions you can consider;
How to clear Android cache
How to close background applications in Android
Why Android devices slow down and how to speed them up
Bringing your slow Android device back to life
How to factory reset your android device
How to root your android device

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Identifying and overcoming overeating disorders

Shows a diagram of the brain and a series of question marks"I am forever engaged in a silent battle in my head over whether or not to lift the fork to my mouth ..." -- Jena Morrow, Hollow: An Unpolished Tale

Overeating is one of the most common problems in America. It is defined as "excessive eating -- consuming more calories than necessary and generally consuming in large portions that cause a person to feel uncomfortably full." Americans, as a group, tend to eat in excess. Practically a part of the culture, it is the essence of every Thanksgiving dinner.

But why do so many individuals engage in such an unhealthy activity? Like anything else in psychology, the answer is never simple. Here are just a few different forms of overeating:

Firstly there are a number of overeating disorders that are important to identify;

  • Binge Eating-- The binge eater consumes a large number of calories in a short period of time. Most often, they also suffer from bulimia and will force themselves to vomit or take laxatives to purge themselves of the excess calories. Those who are not bulimic, however, tend to be quite large in size.
  • Grazing -- Grazers may not even be aware they have a problem because of the way they eat. They will take in many small snacks or meals throughout the day, which seems harmless. However, the calories accumulate over time, especially if they are not burned off.
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome -- A chromosomal disorder that gives an individual an intense craving for food, often willing to do anything to get their hands on their next meal, the presence of Prader-Willi Syndrome is apparent at birth. Symptoms include floppy limbs, little to no muscle tone, almond-shaped eyes, disproportionately small hands and feet, and undescended testicles in males.
Then there are many more subtle psychological causes for overeating;
  • Boredom -- Many individuals report eating because their mind is unoccupied. Therefore, their thoughts stray to the pantry and the goodies within. Many who eat out of boredom are more successful at reversing the harmful habit because they are more willing to engage in activity, which helps them avoid unnecessary eating.
  • Stress -- For those who are under a great deal of stress or anxiety, food provides a way to "cope" with the problem until another solution can be found.
  • Comfort -- Many people find comfort in certain foods. If other needs go unmet, such as acceptance, companionship, or appreciation, the individuals console themselves or bury their hurt feelings with food.
  • Self-Tranquilizing -- Sometimes food is an effective emotional anesthetic. People who feel vulnerable or unable to handle their emotions may, instead of coping, seek to take away the pain with food.
  • Punishment -- "It's all your fault." "You deserve to be fat and ugly." "No one would ever love someone like you." These are just a few of the thoughts that commonly race through the mind of an overeater. Self-talk is one of the most powerful and destructive weapons; it can be a great asset or worst enemy. For most over-eaters, it's the villain compelling them to continue the harmful behaviors. Feeling unworthy or unwanted, they eat as a way to inflict punishment on themselves.
  • Learned Behaviors -- Oftentimes, if one person is overweight, the rest of the family seems to be similarly afflicted. That's because certain habits are learned behaviors. Family and close friends affect a person's thoughts, preferences, and feelings about food. Individuals can even learn negative eating habits. For example, if the parents were stress-eaters, their children may mimic that habit.
Common Traits of Overeater's
Overeater's probably have a lot in common, regardless of their reasons for eating in excess. Here are just a few traits they may share;
  • Depression or guilt after eating
  • Dissatisfaction with one or more aspect of his/her life
  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • Perfectionist tendencies
  • An unhealthy urge to please others
  • May feel unsure about his/her identity
  • May feel awkward in social situations
While it is rare, many people who suffer from an overeating disorder have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from parents or spouses. Food can be used as an escape in those instances.

How Can I Stop?
There are millions of purportedly "quick fixes" for those who are struggling to curb their eating habits, including pills, special foods and drinks, physical treatments, and hypnotism. All claim to offer the best chance at regulating a person's eating habits. Others offer dieting advice, such as eating slower or consuming foods that are high in fiber.

Real change, however, needs to come from the source, whether by unlearning a learned behavior, avoiding triggers, or dealing with a psychological issue at the root of the problem. By identify the causes of their overeating habits, they can begin to work toward a healthier future. There are also support groups, such as Overeater's Anonymous, that can provide an outlet for pent-up feelings and lead to friendships with those who understand the struggle.

If you are an overeater, learning to overcome your compulsions won't be an easy road, but it is a necessary one. You have only one life, and you shouldn't waste it by spending every day hiding your feelings, punishing yourself, and feeling just plain miserable. There is always help, and therefore hope.

Copyright © Sarah on 2017

Editor's Note: Another excellent article Sarah. I've included some further links below that may be of interest in relation overeating and how to overcome it;
Tips on how to stop overeating
How to recognize and stop emotional and stress eating
A calorie calculator to help you determine how many calories you should be consuming based on your body size and activity level

Tags: health, lifestyle

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How to carve and use a Jack-o'-lantern

Three well lit Jack-o'-lanterns showing differently carved designsCarving the pumpkin for Halloween is fun for both the adult doing the carving and the child sitting and watching. You can get really creative in the process by carving the traditional scary face or something else entirely, like a spooky house silhouette or a car or other inanimate object. Whatever you decide, these carving tips will give you a sense of how to do it;

  • Choose a firm pumpkin – one that will withstand the carving and survive a few days without going mushy.
  • You'll need a long slender knife, preferably one with a serrated edge and a little flexible for carving those curves.
  • Cut out the top of the pumpkin in a circular ring and remove it. With a large spoon, scoop out the stringy flesh and discard it.
There are a couple of ways to come up with the design;
  •  1. You can first draw it on paper, then cut it out like a stencil and transfer the design onto the pumpkin by following the lines.
  •  2. The second method is to draw the design free-hand directly onto the pumpkin.
Once you have your design outlined on the pumpkin, it's time to carve it out. Carve slowly and carefully, so you stay within the design and prevent cuts to your hands.

Tip: After it's carved, you may want to rub a bit of Vaseline around the cuts. This will keep the cuts from drying out and give a longer life to the jack-o'-lantern.

You can add other elements to your pumpkin at this stage – a carrot for a nose or you can turn the parts you've cut away into ears with a little shaping.

If candles aren't for you, you can illuminate with a flashlight or glow-lights. Red Christmas lights will make it even scarier.

Don't forget about safety
Halloween preparations are fun for both young and old, but it's also a time to think about safety. You're carving through a very thick skin, so carve carefully.

Also if you use real candles in the pumpkin, these should not be left unattended. If you want the flicking effect of candles, a safer solution might be to use artificial LED candles.

Finally don't forget to select good locations for your Jack-o'-lanterns. Inside your front window with the curtains open is usually best. Check to make sure they are visible from the footpath. You can also decorate your porch with scarily carved pumpkins, but leave out the candles or use other forms of lighting were you intend to leave them unattended.

Copyright © Lorraine on 2017

Editor's Note: I've included some more information on the Jack-o'-lanterns below;
More information on how to carve Jack–o'–lanterns
Many different Jack-o'-lantern design templates
Jack-o'-lantern safety tips for Halloween

Here is some additional information about Halloween;
Tips for shelling out on Halloween

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How to use the "law of attraction" to find a job

Sign on building displaying "Come in We're hiring!"The law of attraction works in every aspect of life, even for your career.  Although a lot of people feel hopeless if they are unemployed, they can change that by changing their thoughts.  It does not necessarily happen overnight, but it can happen very quickly depending on how quickly you apply the concepts.  Here is what you can do to use the law of attraction to find a job.

- Assess your current situation
Before you can use the law of attraction, you need to understand where you are and how you got that way.  You have to realize that you are responsible for attracting whatever situation that you are in right now whether you are unemployed, stuck in a bad job, or not getting paid enough.  It is not necessary to ask what type of vibes you have been sending out because you will know that by the results that you have been getting.  

- Determine what you want
Now is the time to start thinking about where you are and where you want to be.  If you could have any job you wanted, what job would that be?  It does not matter if you lack the credentials or experience for the job, just think about what your dream job is.  Think about what hours you want to work, where you want to work, and what your office will look like.  Describe your ideal coworkers, clients, and boss  and think it about what it would feel like to work with them.  Once you know that, you will have an idea of which direction you should go in.

- Make a choice to succeed
This is the most important step in the process.  You must make a choice to succeed at whatever it is you decide.  Just say to yourself that you are going to make this happen no matter what and that failure is not an option.  

- Change your feelings and beliefs about yourself
Since you have already decided to succeed in pursing your goals, you should change the way you feel about yourself and alter your core beliefs.  If you feel about yourself or feel that you are lacking compared to other people, realize that you are good enough no matter what you have heard anywhere else.  Believe that it is still possible to find a job and earn a living regardless of the economic situation.  

It is key that you think like you already have the job that you want.  If you are unemployed, then you should still be productive every day by educating yourself and staying current in your field.  Even if you already have a job, you need to still be the best that you can be and continue to figure out ways to improve yourself and make the transition.  Apply all of these concepts and know that the right opportunity will materialize soon enough.

Copyright © Henry on 2017

Editor's Note: I've included some more information on the "law of attraction" and changing your core beliefs;
How to use the law of attraction
Using the law of attraction when you don't know what you want
Avoiding the “dark side” of the law of attraction
A self test to see if you are using the law of attraction correctly
Changing your core beliefs

Tags: career

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Superfoods that will help you nail those pounds

Apples with a tape measure around one appleSuperfoods” are known for being power-packed with nutrients and antioxidants, and have many beneficial characteristics which include fighting cancer cells, improving your eyesight and detoxifying your body. There are a good handful of foods that help control and maintain your weight, and these are at the top of the superfood chart for weight loss:

Apples may seem like a staple item in the kitchen, but did you know that having an apple before your meal actually helps you control your calorie intake? Apples tamp down your appetite with antioxidants, which help reduce and even prevent a metabolic syndrome.

This food is rich in fiber, and also has a healthy measure of proteins, minerals and vitamins. Oats function as a cholesterol sponge as it contains beta-glucan, which is a cholesterol buster. Beta-glucan helps lower the cholesterol level in your body by penetrating and inhibiting the flow of cholesterol back into the bloodstream. Make oats your breakfast meal for the day, as it also contains healthy fibers to provide you that perfect kick to start your morning.

Don't be fooled by their size, as blueberries contain the highest content of antioxidants compared to any other vegetable or fruit. The pigment Anthocyanin which gives the fruit its blue pigment is responsible for this spike in antioxidant levels. Add a handful of blueberries into your cereal or yoghurt for a refreshing and nutritious meal.

Did you know that a spicy meal actually works to your advantage, as it fuels your metabolism? Chiles, in particular, contain the compound capsaicin, which provides your body with a thermogenic reaction. This basically means that the capsaicin provides your body with a means to start burning more calories within half an hour of consuming chilies. Now that is a neat trick, isn't it?

Wild Salmon
Nothing beats a healthy dose of fish oil in your system, and it does not get any better than that of wild salmon. The omega 3 fatty acid found in salmon plays an important role in improving your body's sensitivity towards insulin, which in turn would help you reduce the fat content around your abdomen. Opt for wild salmon when possible, as it would contain fewer pollutants.

They may contain a higher number of calories compared to other foods, but avocados are always a good ingredient to turn to as you cinch those inches away. Besides containing the right fat content, avocados also have oleic acid in them, which helps curb hunger pangs. Half an avocado a day is more than sufficient to banish fat around your waist.

This tiny tree nut is an excellent supplier of vitamin E, apart from being rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids that help combat the bad cholesterol in your body. A single serving of almonds a day will help your weight loss regime, as it is a good alternative to reaching out for a bag of chips after your workout or a stressful day. Besides keeping your snacks healthy with almonds as a substitute, you are also reducing your chances of getting diabetes or heart diseases.

Be sure to try out some of these superfoods, and watch in surprise as your weight falls off on its own. For the best results, plan out a proper diet plan and a good exercise schedule that is workable for your week.

Copyright © Annette on 2017

Editor's Note: The foods listed in Annette's article are very good for you and will help you in the quest to loose weight, As additional resources I've included some more information on foods that support weight loss, some information on calorie counting, and some exercise programs that will help you shed those pounds;
50 useful superfoods to help weight loss
Free calorie and nutrient calculators for dieting
The exercise program of choice
An alternative free exercise program

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Ideas for families who can't travel

Family sitting together on a logHaving your vacation at home

So you've gotten a twinge of jealousy perusing the adventures of all your friends on social media as they take their beach trips or explore some exotic location with their families. Maybe packing up your minivan and heading to the beach isn't in your budget this year. Perhaps you have commitments that just prevent you from spending time out of town. The good news is that you don't have to sink your toes into the sands of some exotic locale to experience a vacation. There are simple ways to feel like you've "gotten away," without ever leaving your zip code. Here are a few ways to enjoy a proper "staycation".

Go for a dip
Get your toes in the sand anyway. If you still want to enjoy beach days but aren't able to go for a week, find a local lake or watering hole where you can pack a picnic and spend the day. Splashing in the water and enjoying fresh air isn't isolated to the coast, and lakes usually have more options for boating and other water sports. Who knows, you might discover a new favorite swimming spot, which means you can go back whenever you want without waiting for vacation.

Explore your town
Be a tourist in your own city. There has to be things within driving distance of your house that you simply haven't seen. Most people get so busy with the day-to-day of life that they forget to explore their hometown. Get online and find some historical locations, hiking trails or amusement parks to visit. Find out what historical events happened in your area and go exploring. There are so many history-rich museums and attractions that offer reasonable admission prices to experience.

Find local festivals
Join the celebration. There is at least one festival every day...somewhere. Whether it's a festival that celebrates apples, funnel cakes or cowboys, there are no shortages of small towns hosting celebrations for any little thing they may be famous for. These events usually host a plethora of street food, craft booths and interesting activities for both young and old and is sure to entertain you and your family. Find out what local festivals are in your immediate area and plan to spend the day taking in the culture and fine cuisine.

Do the bucket list
Make a bucket list. Take your favorite vacation things to do and make a bucket list. Maybe all the things you can accomplish during one week at the beach can be spread out over many weeks or even months. Got a craving for crab legs? Find a great recipe online, cook up a feast of crab legs and Pina Coladas (virgin for the kids) while blasting beach music through your house. Love long trail bike rides with the family? Find a new bike trail in your own area to explore and hit up the local ice cream shop afterward. Sleeping under the stars your thing? Declare a campout night and pitch your tent in the backyard with all the fixings.

Have fun
Sure, everyone loves to get out of town and leave the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives behind for a week away. There are times in our lives, however, when a vacation just isn't feasible. Rather than spending one second feeling like you and your kids are missing out, plan an alternative "staycation" that will keep you and your family entertained while allowing you to spend precious time together. With a little bit of planning and creativity, you can create a fun experience without leaving town that you and your family will cherish for years to come.

Copyright © Rachel on 2017

Editor's Note: Here is some additional related information on having your vacation at home;
More things you can do on your home vacation
Find lakes anywhere in the United States
Find activities and landmarks in your location
Find festivals near your home
Do a world tour from home

Tags: home, travel

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Quick ways to promote your book

People lining up for a book signingCongratulations! You've published your book. This in itself is quite an accomplishment. In fact, it's one you probably worked toward for years. Now that your book is on store shelves, however, your real work is just beginning. Many authors don't realize just how important marketing a book is, nor do they understand just how much work goes into promoting a book once it has been published. If you're a new writer, creating a buzz about your book is an essential part of increasing your sales and getting your story noticed by the public. While many publishers will create a marketing plan to help your book along, much of the work will be on you.

Tell everyone
First off, tell everyone you know that you've published a book. Don't brag about it or be obnoxious, but let people know. Even if someone isn't interested in your story, chances are they know someone who is interested. If people know about your book, they'll share it with other people. For example, let's say you wrote a book about fishing. Tell your cousin about it. Even if he doesn't like fishing, he may have friends who do and he can recommend your book to them.

Book signing
Another way you can create a buzz about your book is to hold a local author book signing. This can be as simple as visiting your local bookstore and asking to set up a table and sell your books. Many bookstores will be happy to let you do this. If you choose to hold a book signing, make sure you look professional. Dress up a little, maybe you don't need the fully formal attire approach in this day and age, but looking the part is very important. It's also important to remember to smile. You may be there for a few hours and you may start to feel tired, but first impressions are everything. If someone thinks you look frustrated or grumpy, they will be less likely to buy your book.

Blog coverage is another way many authors choose to promote their books. You can do this by giving bloggers review copies of your book and asking them to write about their experience reading it. Another way you can create an online buzz about your book is to have bloggers give away free copies of your book to their readers. You'll get people thinking about your books and you'll also get your books into the hands of people who will talk about them.

Social media
Finally, create a social media presence so you can interact and speak with your fans. This will also enable you to keep your readers updated on new books you're working on. If you aren't already active on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, now is the time to start. Create fan pages and make sure you fill them with real and interesting content. For example, you can post about your books on Facebook, but you can also discuss news articles and book-related blogs you come across. This will keep your readers interested in your pages and will keep them coming back for more.

Copyright © Gotter on 2017

Editor's Note: Here is some additional related information on, publishing a book, promoting a book, blogging sites and social media;
If you haven't already published your book check out these tips on publishing your book
More tips on how to promote your book
Tips on how to get book signings in bookstores
Blogging sites from the directory
Social media sites from the directory

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How many meals do you really need to eat

It is surprising how much our ancestors knew about proper dieting. It seems that despite all our technological advancements, we have forgotten the simple art of nutrition. It seems like people in the old times had it right when it came to staying healthy, but we decided to ignore their wisdom.
A number of meals on plates
As far back as the Roman civilization, people used to eat only one meal per day. They worked hard all day long and rewarded themselves with a delicious supper in the evening. This tradition was followed by almost all civilizations across the Mediterranean for more than a thousand years.

We have to ask ourselves, how many people actually “reward” themselves with food anymore? How many of us treat a meal as an occasion to savor with our near and dear ones? How many of us actually take the time to let the body digest what it has eaten before stuffing ourselves again?

At the height of their prowess, the soldiers of the Greek and Roman empires were fit enough to be athletes. They carried tremendous weights over long distances and ate only one full meal per day. They had a small breakfast at dawn, and then a more complete meal at the end of the day.

Confronted with this evidence, it is hard to believe the preoccupation our generation seems to have with food. Most of us eat entirely too much every day. There is no metabolic advantage to eating 6 small meals per day as many fad diets would have you believe.

If you frequently lack energy and focus, you might want to take a hard look at your eating habits. How many meals you need to have per day is completely up to you. If you find that you are building your life around your eating habits, then you need to stop.

A lot of diets prescribe strict meal timings for eating certain things. This is not productive if you need to postpone important activities because your diet plan tells you to eat at a specific time. Your body doesn’t benefit any more by eating a bowl of vegetables at exactly 6.00 pm then it would if you eat it at any other time during the day.

In summation, if you are unhappy with the way you feel during the day, you might need to take a look at what you are eating. As long as your body gets the appropriate amount of nutrients per day, you need not worry about meal timings or meal sizes. Whenever in doubt, keep it simple.

Copyright © Rohit on 2017

Editor's Note: Here are some additional resource links in relation to diet and eating habits;
Here are some dieting tips
Information on improving eating habits
Dietary guidelines by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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How to enjoy Corfu

Boats on the water at Corfu, GreeceCorfu is a Greek island off of the coast of Sarande, Albania, whose main city is also called Corfu. The climate is Mediterranean with hot dry summers, and cool, wet winters. The island is sickle shaped, with the open end and the harbor facing the coast of Greece. The geography ranges from mountainous in the north to low lying in the south. There is an international airport on the island with regular flights to Athens, and there is regular ferry service from several ports to the mainland. The economy has traditionally been based on agriculture, but tourism is a large part of the modern culture.

Because of heavy Venetian influences, the town of Corfu more resembles an Italian city than a Greek one. Other cultural influences are also apparent, for instance, cricket is played regularly in the town square, and there are many French cafes along the main esplanade. Venetians built fortifications in the sixteenth century and the old gates to these fortresses still stand. There are also several museums in town. A horse drawn carriage is available for tours around the city. Corfu port is a very popular stop on the cruise ship circuit.

For the spectacular vistas, Mt Pantokrator on the north part of the island, is over a thousand meters high and is frequently snow capped in the winter. There is a road that winds all the way to the top with breathtaking views of the bay and the mainland. One of Corfu’s top tourist attractions is Achillion Palace. The gardens overlook the town of Corfu and the architecture and statuary is beautiful. For a fun day with the kids, visit the water park, Aqualand. This is a huge water park with all the normal slides and rides and is location close to the town of Corfu. For the golfer, there is a course on the island and it is listed as one of the nineteen best in Europe.

During the summer months, there are several local Greek festivals, usually in August and September. Each town has its own celebration, and there is always plenty to eat and drink. Everyone is welcome at these events where the whole city comes out to celebrate into the night. If you can’t make it to Corfu in time for one of the festivals, check out the local tavern and inquire about Greek night. For a fixed price, you can enjoy a night of food, drink, and dancing.

For a Mediterranean vacation with a Greek flair among a warm and friendly people, Corfu is a fantastic destination.

Copyright © Darryl on 2017

Editor's Note: Here are some additional resource links that you may find helpful in relation to travel to Corfu, the Mediterranean, and travel in general;
A travel guide on Corfu
The best times to visit Corfu
More Mediterranean locations to consider
Travel category links in the web directory

Tags: Greece, travel

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How to make mozzarella stuffed meatballs

Meatballs and pasta on a plateMaking meatballs is a quick and easy way to create a tasty meal for the whole family. However, when you add a twist to a classic recipe you can turn a traditional meal into an instant favorite.

You’ll love these cheesy mozzarella-stuffed meatballs, cooked in a lovely Italian-style tomato sauce. They’re easy to make and they taste great!

2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 pound (500g) ground beef
2 bacon rashers, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1.5 pints (700ml) tomato passata (sieved tomatoes)
14oz (400g) tinned chopped tomatoes
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
½ teaspoon dried basil leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Finely grated parmesan cheese

Making the Sauce:
Add a little olive oil into a large frying pan and heat over a medium heat. Add 1 onion and the crushed garlic cloves to the pan and fry lightly until the onion starts to soften.

Pour in the passata and the tinned chopped tomatoes and stir through with a wooden spoon. Add the basil leaves and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the sauce gently for 10 minutes. Remember to stir the sauce occasionally while it’s simmering.

Making the Meatballs:
Add a bit of olive oil into a small frying pan and add 1 chopped onion and the finely chopped bacon rashers. Cook these over a medium heat until the bacon is golden. Remove the bacon and onion from the pan and allow them to cool.

Tip: You should pre-heat your oven to 350F (180C) now.

In a large bowl, add the ground beef and breadcrumbs. Combine these ingredients together well until the breadcrumbs are mixed through. Then add the bacon and onion and combine these into the mixture.

Lightly beat one egg in a cup and pour this into the ground beef mixture. Mix together well. If the mixture is too dry to roll into balls, add a few drops of olive oil to help it form properly.

Divide the mixture into 8 portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Use a teaspoon to dig a small hole into the side of each meatball and fill with grated mozzarella cheese. Roll the beef mixture back over the cheese to enclose the meatball fully.

Baking and serving:
Place the meatballs into a lightly greased baking dish and cook in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and pour the tomato sauce over the meatballs. Place the baking dish back into the oven for another 35 to 40 minutes, or until the meatballs are completely cooked.

Serve on cooked pasta or by itself in large bowls, have some Parmesan cheese on hand for those that would like to sprinkle it over the top.

Copyright © Sarah on 2017

Editor's Note: Here are some additional resource links that you may find helpful in relation to cooking, meatballs and mozzarella;
Metric conversions for cooking recipes
A cooking encyclopedia that covers thousands of cooking ingredients with descriptions, synonyms, pronunciations, and suggested substitutions
Various cooking techniques and how to apply them
More recipes with meatballs
More recipes with mozzarella
Food category links in the web direcory

Tags: cooking, food

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Use possessions to develop your fictional character

A man and his carYou can use possessions to help develop your fictional character. Lets take the example of the characters car. What kind of car does your character drive? How can we use a typical possession such as the characters car to develop the character further?
In making the movie 48 Hours, there was very little script or rehearsal. The movie was mostly shot in sequence and the story grew and changed as it progressed. Early in the filming, there was a scene where Nick Nolte walked out of his girlfriend’s house to get into his car. The director, Walter Hill, had parked an old beat-up Cadillac convertible in the street with one wheel up on the curb. Seeing that car and how it was parked told Nolte more about his character than any direction would have.
The same is true of the characters in the stories we write. We can are often show much about them without telling the reader directly. While there are many visual clues we could give our readers as to the personality and status of our characters, few can say as much about them as the car that they drive. Is it old or new? Well kept or a beater? Is it an expensive status symbol or the cheapest thing with wheels?
Travis Mcgee a fictional character created by mystery writer John D MacDonald had two modes of transportation – a houseboat named the 'Busted Flush' that he won in a poker game, and a purple painted Rolls-Royce that has been converted to a pickup truck called 'Miss Agnes’. If that were all you knew about this character, you would still know a lot.  
Kinsey Millhone a fictional character who was created by Sue Grafton drives a battered VW that befits her style as a near pauper. However this is the antithesis of many male private detectives who often drive flashy sports cars, thus setting her character up in a completely different mold to the regular fictional detectives.
We are never sure what, if any, car is driven by Spenser a fictional character by the American mystery writer Robert B Parker. And certainly a car is not necessary in helping to develop your stories characters and sometimes might not even be of use. There are many other ways to let your readers see your stories characters. However few ways that I can think of can say so much about a stories character, as the timely description of their car.
Next time you are in or by a parking lot, look at the cars parked there. Many, if not most, are nondescript and forgettable. Those aren’t the types cars that would be of use in a characters description. The types of cars that are of use are those that grab your attention and say something about the personality and status of the person who is driving them. For example;

  • the truck that is set so high on large tires you need a ladder to get in
  • the expensive sports car parked out on the edge of the lot
  • the older cars with character - both the pristine antiques that show meticulous care, and the old rust buckets that are barely hanging together 
Each of the above examples allows you to give the reader some deep insights into the your stories character.
Consider these sentences, which all describe the same scene;
  • Dave Johnson got into his car.
  • Dave Johnson climbed up into his rig, the oversized tires spattered with a coating of mud.
  • Dave Johnson clicked the remote unlocking and starting his silver Maybach.
  • Dave Johnson pried open the door of his 1963 Dodge, hoping the rusty hinges would hold together one more time.
The same guy getting into a car. The first one tells us nothing, while the next three tell us a great deal about who this character is in a single sentence.  
Your characters car description can be especially useful in first person narratives. Writers are frequently at a loss on how to get readers to ‘see’ a character that is the first person narrator. One can’t say, “I’m Dave Johnson, and I’m rich.” Well, they could, but it sounds clumsy. Better to have the character describe something about himself. The type and condition of his or her car can tell the reader a great deal.
The same concept can then be extended to other possessions the character owns to either backup the readers perception of the character developed from the car, or to even conflict with this perception to make the character seem more complicated.

Copyright © Gotter on 2017

Editor's Note: Here are some additional resource links that you may find helpful in relation to developing fictional characters and descriptive writing;
Creating a fictional character from scratch
Writing an effective character description
Tips on descriptive writing
Tips on writing first person narratives

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