Happy, Happy 2015!

Ah yes.  It’s that time of year when many of us start to consider what we really want and then set about the tasks required to achieve some meaningful goals.  After reflecting on what matters most in this New Year, I suspect I’m really not all that different from many when it comes to spending time on the Internet.  I mean, let’s face it.  Social media can be both a blessing and a distraction.

Some of you may have noticed I’ve taken some time away from my various social media accounts, which has allowed me to focus on the people in my life who matter most.  Needless to say, my daughter and husband sit at the top of this list.  My daughter has a fabulous sense of humor, and for the life of me, I’m not sure how I lucked out when the man I married twenty-five years ago approached me with a hilarious opening line – one which we still laugh about to this very day. The point I’m trying to make is how important I’ve discovered it is for me to have a balanced approach to social media.  Ironically, my A-Ha! moment occurred while a couple of events happened in our lives – one positive, and the other not so much.

Let’s just dive in and get the bad stuff out of the way first.  As we all know, many folks no longer feel secure in their jobs, and unfortunately, this issue has once again surfaced for my family.  Still, despite all of this unpleasantness, I can honestly say that while we’re not completely sure what the future may hold, my husband, daughter, and I have grown closer.

Also during this time, it just so happened that I was led to a potential publishing opportunity, which I’m still mulling over.  (Let’s face it, traditional vs. Indie publishing isn’t such a clear cut decision these days.)  And even though the publishing aspect is still undecided, I’m happy to report that by simply focusing on a few key things, I’m feeling a lot better about whatever tomorrow may bring.

Of course, since I tend to be rather introspective, the murky part in all of this lies in returning to social media.  The reason for this is because I believe it’s important for me to continue focusing on my spiritual growth while also making a point to spend quality time with my family and friends.  Additionally, as a writer, there’s the writing itself, not to mention, the myriad of  tasks which must be attended to on a daily basis.  I suspect many of you face similar challenges, and I freely admit I’m still grappling with this important life skill.  The good news is that I do believe I’m finally arriving at a middle ground – a place which makes sense both personally and professionally.  So today, I’m very happy to reconnect with my social media pals.  Please know I’d love to hear from you and here’s to wishing each and every one of you a beautiful New Year.

Happy writing (and reading!),

Danica

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Danica Cornell

Danica Cornell is the pen name of Donna Marie Manobianco.  To learn more about Danica and her adorable dachshund, Hugo, as well as her forthcoming DARK STAR sci-fi/fantasy series, please visit http://www.danicacornell.com.

Deconstructing My Writing Process

By Danica Cornell

Many thanks to my dear friend, Enn Kae, (a.k.a. @zeekworldnet on Twitter) for inviting me to share what goes on behind the scenes in my creation of the  DARK STAR sci-fi/fantasy series.  I’ve decided to use this unique Q & A opportunity to describe step-by-step, how it is that I go about writing a novel.  And while I’m aware many authors undoubtedly dive in and immediately begin their manuscripts, I’ve learned that in my case, a lot more structure is required.  🙂

How do I start my writing projects?

1.  The Spark

For me, every major writing project begins the same way – from a spark of an idea that sets my imagination ablaze!  These “sparks” can come from anywhere:  Movies, news stories, books, billboards, songs—the list is practically endless!

2.  The Think Tank

Once I’ve settled on a story idea, I make a point to write down everything that comes to mind.  In other words, the Think Tank step is basically a non-linear, highly chaotic, stream-of-consciousness, brainstorming exercise designed to generate additional ideas and research questions.  All I can say is, it definitely works!

3.  The Master Organizer 

Thankfully, coming up with sci-fi story ideas, (including characters and sexy, futuristic technologies) has not been an issue for me.  I mean, not at all.  Instead, my challenge has always has been in finding ways to sort through and organize all of my Think Tank material.  Fortunately, I’ve learned to accomplish this task by separating all of a story’s related ideas into the following five categories:  Story, Story World, Technologies, Characters, and Research.  The story’s title is used to create a folder which houses all of these five items.

4.  Playing God by Building My Story World

Once my materials have been organized, I set out to create my story world.  This is accomplished by imagining the time and place my story will occur (i.e. the month, year, geographical location, weather, etc.).  I also consider the different cultural groups within this world, (i.e. wealthy, impoverished, those with top-secret security clearances, alien species, etc.).  With my story world in focus, it’s a lot easier for me to see the backdrop for conflict as well as the story’s theme.

5.  The One Sentence Summary/Storyline

Now that my story world has been formalized, I set about the task of writing a one sentence storyline/summary, which serves as the foundation for keeping my ideas in check.  (I cannot over emphasize how important this step is for my uber-creative brain!)

6.  The One Paragraph Three-Act Structure

Looking at my one sentence summary and Story file, I begin to loosely map out my tale by way of the three-act structure.  The result of this exercise is one paragraph, briefly describing my story’s three disasters:  The call to action, the disaster to support the middle, and the final disaster to force the story’s end.

7.  Character Creation

Referring to my Characters folder and three-act structure, this is when I start bringing my major characters to life.  The beginnings of this process are admittedly humble and include naming each character and defining their role (i.e. villain, hero, etc.), ambition, story goal, conflict, lesson learned or change in character.  Afterwards, I’m able to craft a character summary.  Even as a beginning writer, I’ve come to realize I’ve already had a lot of these points figured out ahead of time.  So far, this step has merely helped to crystallize my ideas.

8.  The Short Synopsis

At this point, I construct a short synopsis, (approximately one page in length, maybe two) using the one paragraph, three-act structure as a scaffold.

9.  Character Expansion

Armed with a clearer vision for my story, I now set about the task of expanding my characters by way of character sketches.  This is where I fill in the blanks with regard to each character’s backstory, ambition, story goal, conflict, lesson learned or change in character, and character summary.  This is also my favorite step in the planning process, no doubt because of my background in psychology!

10.  The Long Synopsis

For me, the long synopsis is the most challenging step of all!  Moreover, since its function is to capture high-level details, I strive to keep the long synopsis to roughly five to six pages in length, going back and forth between characters and plot.  Also, if I haven’t already started my research (often related to advanced technologies), this is definitely the time I’ll buckle down and get serious about gathering any necessary facts and figures.

11.  The Character Bible

A couple of days later, (after I’ve calmed down from the long synopsis!), my next step in the planning process is to create a character bible from all the information I’ve assembled.  This will include everything from each character’s date of birth, middle name, physical description, education and work history, any disabilities, their greatest fears, dreams and hopes, as well as their history (backstory).  Many of these ideas have already been generated as part of the character expansion, so I simply transfer this information and fill in any remaining blanks.  

I should probably mention, the reason I take the time to create a character bible, is to help insure my characters come off as conflicted and flawed.  I’m specifically looking to create characters with competing values and ambitions.  There must be a reasonable dose of intra- and interpersonal conflicts, otherwise the characters will emerge as flat, boring, and frankly, unbelievable. Furthermore, if any character doesn’t meet my rigorous sniff-test, I go back to the drawing board–and will keep doing so, until I get them just exactly right.

12.  The Scene List

Next, using my long synopsis, I focus on generating a scene list—what I consider to be the second most challenging step in the entire planning process.  The scene list is basically a simple outline of how the story is planned to unfold.  (Generally, there’s a scene containing a goal, a conflict, and a setback.  This is then followed with a scene containing a reaction, a dilemma, and a decision.)  Additionally, this is also when I finalize my decision regarding what point of view I’m going to use.

13.  Scene Analysis

Before beginning my manuscript, I analyze each scene to make sure I have a goal, a conflict, and a setback followed by a reaction, a dilemma, and a decision.  Additionally, I’ll once again look at my three disasters, to be certain they are doing what they’re supposed to (call to action, support the middle, force the story’s end).  This may result in some rearranging, but I’ve learned the hard way, this step can save me a lot of time later on!

How do I continue my writing process?

Thus far, I’ve been editing as I’ve been writing.  And while this may not be the preferred method for many, as a beginning novelist, this approach has helped me to refine my voice through a lot of experimentation.  It’s also taken me about four times longer to wrap up this project than it normally would’ve, I’m sure!  But in all honesty, I’m okay with this. Why?  Because for me, learning the writing process and putting out a quality product are the only two things that matter.  Everything else is secondary.

How do I finish my writing projects?

Before I reach the point of being psychologically ready to hand my manuscript over to an editor, (and/or beta readers) I need to be certain my manuscript is in the very best shape I’m able to attain on my own.  To reach this point, I carefully scrutinize my story, using a detailed checklist I’ve created.  (As of this writing, accidental head-hopping is my number one writing boo-boo.)

Include one challenge or additional tip that our collective communities could help with or benefit from.

Before I sign off, I’d like to share with you the following time-saving list of transitions. By the way, I keep this list on my desk at all times and use it quite often!  And for those of you who may be new to writing, transitional words and phrases allow writers to express different ideas in ways which are clear to readers.   Okay, so here it is, as promised:

Danica Cornell’s List of Transitional Words and Phrases

 Showing continuation:

  • Again
  • Also
  • And
  • Besides
  • Furthermore
  • In addition
  • Moreover
  • Coincidentally
  • Next
  • Undoubtedly

Showing contrast:

  • Although
  • And yet
  • But
  • Even so
  • However
  • Nevertheless
  • Nonetheless
  • Notwithstanding
  • Still
  • Though
  • Whereas

Showing illustration:

  • For example
  • For instance
  • Likewise
  • Second
  • Similarly
  • First
  • In the same way
  • To illustrate
  • Third

Showing conclusion:

  • All in all
  • In brief
  • In conclusion
  • In summary
  • Therefore
  • To summarize
  • What this means is
  • Finally
  • Thus so
  • As a result

For those of you who have additional helpful writing tips/techniques, I hope you’ll feel comfortable sharing these here, so we may all benefit from your knowledge and experience.  Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my post, and I hope to see you again real soon!

Until next time…

Happy writing,

Danica

ABOUT DANICA CORNELL:

Danica Cornel Photo

Danica Cornell holds a BA in Psychology from Argosy University.  She is the visionary president of Mano Nanotechnologies, Inc., who is busily penning the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books.  To learn more about Danica’s work, her love of dogs, and her support of UNICEF, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.

CONNECT WITH DANICA:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Instagram

Google +

About.Me

You Tube

Danica Cornell is proud to be a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and the Fantasy Science Fiction Network 

Book Club Badge Suggestion copy (1)

FSF Net

 

 

Shining a Spotlight on RAVE REVIEWS’ “SPOTLIGHT” Chats

 

 

RRBCSpotlightChat2

 

Written by Danica Cornell

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, there’s a pretty good chance at least some of you are familiar with Rave Reviews Book Club’s (RRBC) “SPOTLIGHT” Chats.  But, for those who don’t yet know about these chats or why they’re so beneficial for authors, then this post is for you.

“SPOTLIGHT” Chats, (also referred to as Twitter Chats, Twitterviews and Live Tweet Chats) are an exciting new program we’ve designed at RRBC as yet another way to Profile, Promote & Propel the careers of our indie author members!  Simply put, these chats are live Twitter interviews, (conducted by yours truly) which are designed to drive the conversation around the author’s brand – and they do so in a manner that’s both fun and effective!

Here’s How it Works

With “SPOTLIGHT” Chats, folks can join the conversation by directly tweeting their own questions to RRBC’s “SPOTLIGHT” Author, using #RRBCSpotlightChat in each tweet.  Participants may also respond to other people’s tweets and even retweet throughout the chat.  As you might imagine, all this buzz helps to generate even more visibility for our “SPOTLIGHT” Authors, which has the potential of increasing their book sales and following!  Simply put, “SPOTLIGHT” Chats truly put the “social” back into social media marketing on Twitter, and they do so in a way that feels like chatting with friends!

The Buzz Before the Buzz

In order for RRBC to launch the best possible “SPOTLIGHT” Chat, there’s a bit of preparation that goes on behind the scenes.  For example, prior to a scheduled chat, RRBC’s Governing Board announces the event on our club’s social media accounts.  Of course we also appreciate the support of our members and friends in helping us spread the word, too.  As RRBC’s Marketing Director, I can tell you; this kind of coordinated effort really works!

Tuning in to Twubs for Twitterviews

Believe it or not, we’ve learned through experience that the best way to conduct a Twitterview, is to do so while using Twubs—a handy dandy social media marketing tool, if there ever was one.  Twubs provides a fast, free and easy way for folks to join in on RRBC’s “SPOTLIGHT” Chats.  And as someone who’s had more than her fair share of tech issues, I can honestly say, there’s nothing complicated about Twubs—it’s completely intuitive and user friendly!

Why Use Twubs?  

Twubs takes care of the two issues most often seen in Twitter-conducted twitterviews: The time lag experienced between sent and received tweets, and the difficulty in following a conversation.  Anyone who’s ever tried to follow a live tweet chat on Twitter will undoubtedly appreciate how Twubs eliminates these issues altogether!

How to Get Your Very Own “SPOTLIGHT” Chat!

By now you may find yourself wondering, “How can I get in on all the excitement?”  Only RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB members are eligible to be interviewed in “SPOTLIGHT” Chats.  Of course members and non-members alike are welcomed and encouraged to join in on these conversations.  After all, when it comes to “SPOTLIGHT” Chats, the more, the merrier!

***

For more information on, RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, including how to become a member, please visit our website at: http://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/join-here/ .

To join in during our “SPOTLIGHT” Chats, please go to our Twubs page at:  http://twubs.com/RRBCSpotlightChat.  (“SPOTLIGHT” Chats are announced ahead of time on RRBC’s social media accounts.)

 

Book Club Badge Suggestion copy (1)

 

CONNECT WITH RRBC:

Website

Twitter

Twubs

Facebook

Instagram

LinkedIn

Pinterest

Goodreads

You Tube

 

ABOUT DANICA CORNELL:

 Danica Cornell

Danica Cornell is the PR/Marketing Director for RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by COOL GEEK BOOKS.  To learn more about Danica’s work, her love of dogs, and her support of UNICEF, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.

 

CONNECT WITH DANICA:

Website:  http://www.danicacornell.com

Blog:  http://danica-cornell.com/

Danica’s Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DanicaCornell

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDanicaCornell

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/danicacornell/

Instagram:  http://instagram.com/danicacornell

Google +:   https://plus.google.com/+DanicaCornell/posts

About.Me:  http://about.me/danica_cornell

You Tube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/DanicaCornellChannel/

Two Perfect Summer Reads by Effrosyni Moschoudi

 

Free promo 7-11 aug 2014

 

Today, I’m pleased to present to you Greek author Effrosyni Moschoudi and her books.  As of this coming Thursday and for five days, they will be FREE on Amazon; seeing that they are perfect for a summer escape, you may not want to miss out on this opportunity!

 

WHO IS EFFROSYNI?

Fros messo1 test2 jpg

Effrosyni Moschoudi was born and raised in Athens, Greece. She has a BSc in Computer Science and has worked for large companies for twenty years, mainly in the hotel and airline business. She’s been writing since childhood and lives in a quaint seaside town near Athens with her husband Andy and a naughty cat called Felix.

Her debut novel, “The Necklace of Goddess Athena”, is a fantasy adventure of Greek myths and time travel that’s suitable for all ages. It’s been described as a “Rare Gem” by the Fantasy & Sci-fi Network and has reached Amazon’s #1 in Mythology and #2 in Fairy Tales. The novel also made the shortlist in 2014 for the “50 Best Self-Published Books Worth Reading” from Indie Author Land.

Effrosyni’s second novel, “The Lady of the Pier – The Ebb”, is an ABNA quarter-finalist. The book follows the lives and loves of two young girls who’ve never met but are connected in a mysterious way. It is the first part of a paranormal romance that’s set in Brighton (England) in the 1930’s and in Corfu (Greece) in the 1980’s. Effrosyni is currently penning the second part of the series (“The Flow”), which she plans to publish in 2015.

On her blog, Effrosyni presents the works of fellow indie authors with spotlights, interviews, and book reviews. She also posts her own content of various subjects, such as travel articles, inspiring personal accounts, tips for authors, and even some Greek recipes.

 

NECKLACE OF ATHENA533x800

IN ATHENS, THE GODS STILL DWELL AMONG THE MORTALS.

Efimios is an ancient Greek and an unsung hero of Athens. He has saved the city countless times by undertaking time-travelling missions as instructed by Goddess Athena herself. Now an elderly man, he sends his son Phevos and his adopted daughter Daphne on a time-travelling quest to modern-day Athens. Mysterious as always, he only advises his children to look out for the signs without offering any explanations. Mystified, yet eager to obey their father’s will, Phevos and Daphne settle down in this new world, having been offered assistance by two orphaned siblings: Ksenia and Manos. New friendships and romantic love change their lives while their father’s covert purpose is gradually revealed. As the youngsters continue to unravel the secrets of their family past, inevitably they get caught up in the ongoing conflict between two Gods, one of which becomes their protector and the other, their worst nemesis. Who will prevail when the rival Gods meet again and will the mortal bystanders survive to tell the tale?

 

 Praise for the book:

(Excerpts from posted reviews on Amazon.com)

“Beautifully written – an enchanting read!”

“A sweet, nostalgic view of Athens.”

“You will be left wishing it had never ended.”

“Wisdom, eternal values, and ethos are at the heart of this book.”

“I didn’t want it to end – a remarkable achievement!”

“Gem after gem of wisdom that will touch your heart.”

“Each word is a picture! Each turn, a beautiful description of an Athenian site!”

“A tale that is woven with artistry, love, and great care easily becomes one of my favorites. Check it out and you won’t be disappointed!”

 

Find it now on Amazon:

Amazon (US): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I5GXHCO

Amazon (UK): https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00I5GXHCO

 

LADY OF PIER EBB old 533x800

LOVE WILL GO ON FOREVER, SEEKING A SECOND CHANCE.

 

BRIGHTON, 1937

Laura Mayfield leaves London with her mother Ruth in order to pursue a new life in Brighton. She finds employment at the West Pier Pavilion and soon falls in love with Christian Searle, one of the stagehands at the theatre. Laura aspires to a life of riches but this annoys and frightens the proud and insecure Christian, causing rows between them. When she is offered the chance to perform at the theatre, her love for Christian is put to the ultimate test. Charles Willard, a wealthy and arrogant aristocrat becomes fascinated by her and pursues her relentlessly, causing Christian to become enraged. Will Laura’s desire for wealth throw her in the arms of Charles or will her feelings for Christian prevail?

 

CORFU, 1987

Sofia Aspioti, a Greek student from Athens, arrives in Corfu for her annual summer holidays at her grandparents’ house, relieved to escape her overprotective parents’ care for a while. She takes on a job at the local water sports pier and when Danny Markson, a larger-than-life British tourist flirts with her, she is initially worried that his advances will cause her trouble with her strict family. Yet, by the time she realises that she’s desperately in love, she finds she no longer cares. When Danny returns home to a village near Brighton, Sofia becomes haunted by a series of dreams about the West Pier and a woman dressed in black. As if cast by a spell, she takes to writing poems about a love that won’t let go. Who is the grieving woman in her dreams and how is her sorrow related to her own feelings for Danny?

 

Praise for the book:

(Excerpts from posted reviews on Amazon.com)

“Addictively mesmerizing”

“I defy you to put this book down after the first chapter”

“I got withdrawal symptoms when I ended it”

“The writer has an undisputed talent for creating vivid imagery”

“A fantastic read. This author has the ability to draw you into the story”

“If you enjoy romance, take heed: The Ebb makes a perfect summer read!”

“A heartfelt story drawing you in and not letting (you) go until the last page. Fantastic!”

“An inner glow, an inherent purity emanates from the pages to create a sense of completeness, like a dream you don’t want to wake up from.”

 

Find it now on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LGNYEPC

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00LGNYEPC

 

CONNECT WITH EFFROSYNI: 

Blog: http://www.effrosinimoss.wordpress.com

FB Book page: https://www.facebook.com/Necklaceathena

FB Book page: https://www.facebook.com/ladyofpier

FB Author page https://www.facebook.com/authoreffrosyni

Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/effrosyni

Twitter: https://twitter.com/frostiemoss

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7362780.Effrosyni_Moschoudi

Google + : https://plus.google.com/+EffrosyniMoschoudi

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/effrosyni-moschoudi/82/347/a01

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/efrosinimoschou/

Book Trailer: (Necklace) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHJcVuAkRV4

Book Trailer: (Lady) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3LrIRBxNVM

 

ABOUT DANICA CORNELL:

Danica Cornel Photo

Danica Cornell is the author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books. To learn more about Danica’s work, her love of dogs, and her support of UNICEF, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.

 

DARK STAR I The Assassins (2)

IN 2045, DEEP WITHIN A TOP SECRET WORLD, LURKS A THREAT BEYOND COMPARE…

 

CONNECT WITH DANICA:

Website:  http://www.danicacornell.com

Blog:  http://danica-cornell.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DanicaCornell

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDanicaCornell

Instagram: http://instagram.com/danicacornell

You Tube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/DanicaCornellChannel/

 

Book Club Badge Suggestion copy (1)

 

Danica Cornell is a proud member of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

The Superhero

By Danica Cornell

Here’s a question: What’s your favorite thing to do in your spare time? Is it shooting pool? Going to a ball game? Writing? Those who know me best would probably tell you that learning is hands-down my all-time favorite pastime—with writing coming in a very close second.

Looking back, my thirst for knowledge started quite early. As such, I figured out that in order to avoid getting beaten up on the playground, I had best conceal my geek-like tendencies from the other kids. Thankfully, this plan worked out quite well—that is, until Christy came along.

Much to my chagrin, this mammoth-sized third grader saw right though me, promptly informing our classmates that I was in fact, The Teacher’s Pet. As you might imagine, it was at this point when I began to experience a long-held and long-feared universal kid-truth: There’s nothing quite like facing the stomach-churning glares of the less intellectually endowed, to make a Teacher’s Pet hand over her lunch—especially if those glares come from a girl who happens to be a lot meaner than you.

Not to mention, a lot bigger.

There’s no point in denying it. Christy’s acid tongue and sheer girth terrified me! And it was because of this fear that it took me an entire year before I decided I’d finally had enough. An entire year! That’s like a hundred lifetimes to a kid! Nevertheless, by the time I turned nine, I’d grown fed up with going unfed at lunch. I was determined to man-up and face my nemesis head-on.

And so it went. The exact time and location where my archenemy and I would face-off was set without debate or delay—along with a few ground rules: No biting, scratching, or hair-pulling. And above all else, neither of us could rat the other one out. Amazingly, in about half the time it took to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, we’d gotten it all settled: In 24 hours, the colossal showdown would take place. (Now that I think about it, it’s a little ironic we weren’t able to resolve the lunch-issue in a similar manner!)

As it turned out, it didn’t take all that long for the tough-talking, lunch-stealing, Christy, to hobble away with more than a little blood gushing from her nose! I distinctly remember listening to her uncontrolled wailing in the distance and wondering why I’d allowed myself to endure an entire year of hunger-inducing harassment. As my new reality began to sink in, it occurred to me that in confronting the evil Christy, I had acted as bravely as any of my favorite comic book superheroes!

Minus the cape, of course.

What I didn’t realize is that when it comes to navigating through the fog of war, even the most accomplished of superheroes can eventually find themselves facing the consequences of being on the wrong end of a fist. My rapidly swelling and blackening eye was proof positive; I was no exception to this rule!

But from my perspective, none of that mattered. As far as I was concerned, my David vs. Goliath moment had been well worth a bit of physical discomfort. After all, tucked away in the far corner of the school’s playground, I had bravely stood up and fought for what I believed in. Cocooned within a sense of intention and purpose, I was now surrounded by a swarm of children—most of whom congratulated me and agreed Christy had had it coming for a good long while. It was a magical feeling. I was brimming with a newfound sense of hope and justice, basking in the glory of my hard-won elementary school kid status—

For all of about 15 seconds.

That’s when the teacher I’d nick named, Mrs. Piranha, appeared. Of all the adults in the school, it was she who could strike fear into the hearts of even the most seasoned of trouble makers. Parting the sea of kids with a level of efficiency I’ve not seen since, she grabbed me by the elbow in a way that suggested The End Was Near. Now parading me in front of God and everyone, The Piranha and I made our way across the playground and into the aging, brick building that housed The Principal’s Office.

Maybe being a Goliath-defeating superhero wasn’t so great after all…

In hindsight, the whole thing was really quite a spectacle, but it was probably the best outcome I could’ve ever hoped for. Sure, I got in trouble. But I’d also earned the respect of my peers – something which served me well throughout the rest of my elementary school career. But perhaps even more noteworthy was that I finally got to tell my side of the story. The principal actually cared about the fact that for the last year I’d been feeling as though my life had been spiraling out of control. He understood my need to seek justice and take back my power. And through it all, through my discussion with that empathetic man, I could feel myself changing. Growing. Evolving.

In the end, my punishment really wasn’t all that bad. I was made to endure a highly uncomfortable phone call home to my mom, plus I apologized to Christy in front of the whole class—all while sobbing, mind you. Interestingly, Christy’s reciprocal apology was equally heartfelt! And while were never really friends, we did manage to reach some kind of equilibrium in our relationship—a kind of mutual understanding, I suppose.

I have no idea whatever happened to Christy, but I am grateful for the valuable lessons she taught me: Whether a superhero or super geek, I have the right to be me. I have the right to be happy. And I definitely have the right to eat my lunch in peace. Now that I think about it, maybe being a geek isn’t so bad after all!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Danica Cornell

Danica Cornell is the author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books. To learn more about Danica’s work, her love of dogs, and her support of UNICEF, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.

 

CONNECT WITH DANICA:

Danica’s Website:  http://www.danicacornell.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DanicaCornell

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDanicaCornell

You Tube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/DanicaCornellChannel/

 

Danica Cornell is a proud member of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

Book Club Badge Suggestion copy (1)

 

 

The Name Game

Written by Danica Cornell

I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but over the last several months, I’ve noticed a certain level of confusion when it comes to how folks should address me.

Yes, you read my opening sentence correctly.

This all came about because I decided to utilize a pen name.  In fact, it wasn’t all that long ago when a friend and colleague emailed, “Should I call you, Donna, (my real name) or, Danica, (my pen name)?  What about just, D?”

It’s interesting to note, the only people who struggle with this issue are my writer friends.  I mean, let’s face it—most folks don’t take the time to read an author’s bio page, right?  That means the vast majority of people have no earthly idea that, Danica Cornell, is my pseudonym.   Of course, those who’ve known me since way-back-when just call me by my real name.  That leaves those writers with whom I’ve developed a friendship to wonder, “What do I call her?”

While all of this may seem insignificant and perhaps even a bit comical, it got me thinking about how much of our identities are wrapped up in our names.  Whether we’re talking about birth names, married names, professional names, or product names, these labels tend to become a big part of our identity—which, as you might imagine, is actually serious business for novelists.  Needless to say, the significance of branding is precisely why I put so much thought into selecting both a pseudonym and a book series name.

Following the K.I.S.S. rule

For those of you unfamiliar with K.I.S.S., it stands for Keep It Simple Sweetie.  Of course as fate would have it, my real name is, Donna Manobianco, which is anything BUT simple!  Fortunately, I went into the writing business armed with a background in psychology and marketing, which means, I understood right from the get-go that most folks don’t like to think too hard when it comes to remembering the names of people or brands.  In other words, I knew I needed to make things as easy as possible for my readers!

What’s in a name?

For my pen name, I selected, Danica, which originates all the way back to Slavic mythology.  In fact, it was before the Eastern European Slavs were introduced to Christianity that they prayed to a deity known as Danica—the first star they saw in the morning sky.  This “morning star” was thought to be the sun’s little sister.  Since one of the themes in my writing has to do with good vs. evil/light vs. dark, adopting the name, Danica, as the author of the DARK STAR Series seemed like a no-brainer!  As for the surname, Cornell, this is a nod to my husband’s alma mater, Cornell University, which just so happens to be located in New York, where we currently reside.  Plus it’s easy to spell and remember—an important consideration indeed!

As for DARK STAR, I originally thought about naming the series after my protagonist, Dr. Rachel Cohen.  However, after reflecting on this, I realized other series, (i.e., Batman, Spider Man, etc.) use the names of their superheroes for branding.  Additionally, I figured DARK STAR would likely be easier for fans of science fiction and fantasy to recall than, Rachel Cohen ever would be.

With all of this in mind, I consider my top branding priority to be with my DARK STAR series followed by my pen name, Danica Cornell.  Notice how, I didn’t mention, Donna, at all?  So, for all of my pals who feel funny addressing me as, Danica, in the public domain, don’t fret.  You’re actually helping me reinforce my brand!

Until next time…

Happy writing,

Danica

 

ABOUT DANICA CORNELL:

Danica Cornell

Danica Cornell is the author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books. To learn more about Danica’s work, her love of dogs, and her support of UNICEF, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.

 

CONNECT WITH DANICA:

Danica’s Website:  http://www.danicacornell.com

Danica’s Blog:  http://danica-cornell.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DanicaCornell

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDanicaCornell

You Tube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/DanicaCornellChannel/

 

Book Club Badge Suggestion copy (1)

Danica Cornell is a proud member of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

 

Confessions of an Indie Book Reviewer

Hello everyone, please help me welcome the one and only Kindle Ninja!  Mr. Ninja and I met some time ago through RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.  He is truly fun to chat with, as I discovered while reading and then participating in one of his now-famous conversations over Milk & Cookies.  Mr. Ninja, the floor is all yours…  

Submitted By Kindle Ninja

Hi, I’m Kindle Ninja, the Kindle-reading-book-reviewing Ninja who occasionally stalks indie authors and invites them for conversations over Milk & Cookies.

Although I was born a Ninja, it took a long crooked road to get to this point where I devote a few hours a day reading indie books and reviewing them.

Many years ago, I was a games and gadget reviewer (yeah, good times!), and briefly, a slush pile sorter (horrible times!). [To the uninitiated, a slush pile is a stack of unsolicited manuscripts that have been sent to a publishing company for consideration.]

Most of the manuscripts were dreadful, but there were also brilliant ones that I lobbied and fought for, only to be shot down by the ‘Editorial Overlord’. I wielded no real power. I was at the bottom rung of the editorial ladder. No, make that the gum stuck to the bottom of the Dark Lord’s shoe. It was maddening.

In some warped way, my mind was conditioned to think that those aspiring authors were delusional until proven brilliant. It was a distorted thinking brought on by an ambiguous system.

Needless to say, my stint as a slush pile sorter was short-lived. It was an ugly job akin to kicking someone in the teeth. I didn’t want to be the one who crushes dreams with ego-shredding rejection letters. And I certainly didn’t want to be that fool who rejected Harry Potter.

Years later, the self-publishing revolution happened. Kindle Ninja was born. It was time to make amends.

CONNECT WITH KINDLE NINJA

kn_jaa

Say hello on Twitter @kindleninja

Read my book reviews

Meet the Rave Reviews Book Club Board & Members

ABOUT DANICA CORNELL

Danica Cornel Photo

Danica Cornell is the author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books. To learn more about Danica’s work, her love of dogs, and her support of UNICEF, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.

Danica Cornell is a proud member of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

Book Club Badge Suggestion copy