Applying Information Theory to RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB’s Phenomenal Success (And Why You Should Join!)

By Danica Cornell

The early part of the 21st century has been hailed as the Information Age—and with good reason.  The advent of high speed Internet access has enabled us to live in a time when information, learning, and the acquisition of new skills are readily available to billions worldwide.  And with so many tapping into this wellspring of data and knowledge, it’s not an overstatement to say this disruptive technology has had transformative socioeconomic impacts globally—the likes of which haven’t been seen since the industrial revolution.

As a science fiction writer, UFO researcher, futurist, and nanotechnology business owner, I end up spending a considerable amount of time on the Internet.  I’m talking, a lot.  So it’s not surprising it was through some research I conducted a few months ago, that I was able to make the connection between information theory and RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB (RRBC). 

Say what?

It may sound strange, but time and again, I’ve found myself drawing parallels between the evolution of this illustrious organization and of all things, information theory—or more specifically, to a term used by information theorists known as phase transitions (PTs).  In short, a PT is the movement of a disordered state  into a an ordered, productive, and beneficial state.  (I’m using “disordered” loosely here, as even in RRBC’s formative days, things were never truly disorderly.)

I know, I know.  Applying information theory to a book club of all things sounds a little over-the-top.  Simplistic.  Maybe even downright laughable.  But stay with me, because as we explore this concept further, I think you’ll see this idea is anything but simple.  Or ridiculous.

A Brief Moment in Time

One can only speculate about whether or not President, Nonnie Jules was thinking about the idea of PT when she formed RRBC at the end of 2013. However, since the club’s inception, it’s become increasingly likely; (statistically speaking) that RRBC would experience such a phenomenon.  And in fact, it already has!  Allow me to explain…

In its earliest days, RRBC was like most new organizations: random-appearing from the outside and sensitive to small internal and external variations.  In other words, to the casual observer, the first few weeks at RRBC may have appeared disheveled.  But, it’s precisely during such initial states when literally anything and everything is possible!  In fact, RRBC’s writer-members will likely appreciate that the Board’s first interactions tended to mirror the steps many authors experience during a novel’s conception:  the initial spark of an idea followed by excitement/enthusiasm; the focusing of efforts; and lastly, getting to the task at hand—which, as every author knows, is when the hard work really begins!

For those more comfortable with structure and routine, the “chaotic” nature of such an undertaking may feel disconcerting until  you consider that RRBC itself could be viewed as a disruptive innovation because of its potential to displace or transform established book clubs which offer fewer services/support to their members.  In other words, just as high-speed Internet access transformed global communications, RRBC could have a similar transformative impact on the indie author community—especially as its membership continues to grow over time!

Information Sharing and RRBC

Things get really interesting—at least in terms of information theory and PT, as we look beyond RRBC’s very early days.  That’s because with each new RRBC member who becomes indoctrinated into the Club through information sharing, (via a variety of Internet-based communications) they’ll learn about our culture of writing, reading, and reviewing books, as well as that of Profiling, Promoting, and Propelling our fellow authors.  This means that over time, a growing number of members will continue to engage in this type of behavior, which represents a PT, which is to everyone’s benefit!

Another way to look at this is, if the basis of every society/group/organization is information, then RRBC is the perfect example of how organizations can apply information optimization in transitioning towards a more orderly and productive state.  The fact that RRBC has achieved a PT in less than a year is a testament to its strong leadership along with its awesomely wonderful 500+ members!

That being said, hold on to your hats, because with regard to relevancy and excitement, all of this is about to take a quantum leap…

Writing and the Distribution of Wealth

Ultimately, most writers come to realize they acquire readers through their own actions which include: the quality of their work; their marketing efforts; and the connections they make within the industry.  With this in mind, many may be under the impression that in terms of acquiring readers and reviews (what we’ll term here as wealth), writers tend to follow the Gaussian or bell curve, which is used to describe distributions in nature.  However, instead of the Gaussian curve, what’s typically seen in such groups is what’s known as the Power Law.  Simply put, this means more often than not, the number of “wealthy” writers is very small, while the number of “poor” writers is large.  Make that colossal.  Why?  It seems that wealthy writers gain more wealth in a manner that is multiplicative, rather than additive.

Okay, let’s backtrack for a second.

If you think of book clubs in terms of societies consisting of authors and readers, and if you consider that most societies are either very connected or unconnected—what’s termed as small world networks, then the multiplicative effect of the Power Law makes more sense.  The reason for this is because highly connected (better informed and better aligned) book clubs—like RRBC—will yield the best wealth-building results over time for their members.   By the way, it’s interesting to note that the Power Law is used to explain many different types of social phenomena, including one many people like to talk about these days: the rich getting richer!

Why Authors Should Consider Joining RRBC

  • Active, well-informed, well-connected membership;
  • Awesome Mentor Program;
  • Writing and Other Cool Contests;
  • Extensive Twitter support through our Tweet Support Team and general membership;
  • The option of promoting your blog and website on Twitter by using our club’s hashtag;
  • A virtual V.I.P. Lounge for our most supportive members;
  • A Conference and Book Expo scheduled for Summer 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri;
  • Numerous author promotional opportunities including “SPOTLIGHT” Authors; Member of the Month, Books of the Month, #PUSHTUESDAY and #PUSHWEEK Winners;
  • And so much more!

Your Personal Invitation

With all of this in mind, I’d like to personally invite you to visit RRBC at http://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/ and tell them Danica sent you. And while you’re at it, please check out all of our members’ fabulous posts for our Blog Recruiting Day Contest at http://wp.me/P49Fi9-GG and vote for your favorite one!   🙂

Coming Up…

Before I sign off, I’d like to add that I have some thought-provoking posts related to UFOs and extraterrestrial/ interdimensional beings in the works.  This is an area I’ve extensively researched for my DARK STAR series, and as such, I truly believe these topics are worthy of serious discussion and debate.  I hope you’ll come back and join me for what promises to be a lively and spirited exchange.  Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by my blog today!

Until we meet again…

Happy reading,

Danica

 

ABOUT DANICA CORNELL

Danica Cornell

Danica Cornell is RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB’s PR/Marketing Director.  She’s also the author of the DARK STAR Sci-fi Series, a UFO researcher and futurist, nanotechnology business owner, and dog lover.  To learn more about Danica and her work, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.

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The GIMME MORE! Blog Series, Part 2

Using Psychology to Create and Develop Complex and Compelling Characters

Written By Danica Cornell

Hi Everyone!  Before I get started, I feel as though I owe all of you an apology for taking so long to submit this follow-on article.  As some of you might have guessed, I had intended to post this some time ago, however, a number of things related to my nanotechnology work have come up over the last few weeks.  While all of this prevented me from sticking to my original schedule, these were positive developments.  With any luck, I’ll be able to share some of these details with you in the not-too-distant future.  🙂

Okay, now on to the good stuff…

In looking back to my previous GIMME MORE! post, you may recall my discussion on how good character development is considered by many to be the hallmark of truly great storytelling.  I can honestly say that as a reader, writer, and television/film viewer, I too share this viewpoint – which is why when it came to constructing my own book series, I decided to tap into psychology.  After all, what better way to create and develop compelling and complicated characters?  Of course, when it comes to science fiction, one must be able to imagine story worlds which are out-of-this-world!  This is where my work in nanotechnology comes into play.

Tapping Into Nanotechnology and Psychology to Create Science Fiction

I realize a number of you may be unaware, (or vaguely aware) of my history in both the behavioral sciences and nanotechnology business development.  Without a doubt, these two diverse areas have proven quite handy when it comes to penning a sci-fi series!  Specifically, owning a high-tech start-up has captured my imagination when it comes to the future directions of technology and society, while holding a BA in psychology has enabled me to better understand myself and others.  The latter has also allowed me to recognize certain behavioral patterns, thus helping set the stage for the development of my DARK STAR series characters. Please know, I’m not suggesting all novelists need to run out and get a psychology degree.  Rather, I’m making the point that for new writers, learning about the inner workings of the human mind, (along with observable behaviors) could prove helpful in the areas of character creation and development.

Characterizing Character Development

Character development.  How many of you have noticed just how often this term is used today?  Sometimes it seems as though this term is mentioned without any regard for non-writers or those new to the literary field.  Since not everyone reading this may fully understand what character development is, whenever I discuss this in the context of my own book series, I’m really describing a character’s:

  • Physical appearance;
  • Personality;
  • The things they say/don’t say;
  • The behaviors they exhibit;
  • The choices they make as they move forward in my DARK STAR series.

To be honest, the way I envision my characters is the same way I see people in the real world; both can grow in surprising and unexpected ways!  They can also remain stuck in the same place, (emotionally, spiritually, and physically) depending on the situation.

So, just how I was able to get started with all this?  In other words, what steps did I use in creating DARK STAR‘s three-dimensional characters?

Looking to a Character’s Past, Present and Future

To answer this, let me begin by saying, I recognized early on that each of my characters has a past—one which I know intimately, even if my readers do not.  Of course they also have a present and a future, (even if that future sometimes ends in an untimely death).  In fact, I’ve discovered, the only way for a character to truly come to life in my mind’s eye, is by knowing their past and present, while also having a good idea about their future.  All of my characters, (no matter how minor they may be), have histories which have helped to shape them into the people they are today.  They also have their own perceptions, motivations, present-day realities, and futures which will be impacted by the situations they face and the choices they make.

But here’s the best part.  I’ve found that things get really interesting once I’ve factored Free Will into the writing equation.  After all, the possibility that a particular character might break away from their past and move toward a future that’s not easily predicted, is what helps to add an element of surprise for readers.  And let’s face it.   We all enjoy stories with twists and turns and endings we don’t see coming!

Saying No to Stereotypes

Once I started getting my feet wet with generating DARK STAR’s characters, it quickly occurred to me that I’d be doing them, (and my readers) a disservice if I allowed them to come off as overly stereotypical.  After all, what could be more boring than a character who is average in every conceivable way?  In the real world, the people I know are anything but stereotypical.  They are flawed, complicated, and not easily labeled.  Why should my characters be any different?

Of course just like real people,  characters have their own gender identities, religious backgrounds, ethnicities, and political affiliations.  But in order to avoid the Snooze Factor, I’ve learned that not everything about them should be predictable.  This is why even though my characters are typical in many ways (this helps them to be believable), they are also unusual in a few ways.  For example, imagine a tall and handsome CIA agent – an assassin, who just so happens to love kids.  What will he do when his nuclear device-toting target runs smack into the middle of a busy playground?  Will he pull the trigger?  By adding an atypical element to this character – along with free will, I’ve set the stage for an interesting scene.  I’ve also provided the potential for this character’s continued development.

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Coming Up

In my next installment of the GIMME MORE! blog series, I’ll be shining a spotlight on character motivation and conflicting values.  It’s been a pleasure spending this time with you.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Until we meet again…

Happy reading and writing,

Danica

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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DANICA CORNELL, holds a BA in Psychology and is the visionary President of Mano Nanotechnologies, Inc.  She’s also a dog lover, a self-confessed chocoholic, and a UNICEF supporter who is busily penning the DARK STAR science fiction/fantasy series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books.  To learn more, please visit Danica’s Website.  You may also follow Danica on Twitter, where she’s been known to tweet about aliens and hybrid humans, among other things.

 

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Danica is a proud member of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

 

The GIMME MORE! Blog Series: My Secrets to Creating Compelling Science Fiction & Fantasy

Written by Danica Cornell

If you were to venture a guess, what would you list as the number one aspiration of today’s fiction writers?   Might it be to make a living doing what we love?  To be famous?  To work less than 50 hours a week?  Actually, for myself, anything less than 60 hours would be a step in the right direction—but I digress.

Digging a little deeper, I’d be willing to bet for the majority of us in the writing/publishing biz, our deepest longing is to gain a loyal following of readers—but not just any readers.  What we really want are readers who HUNGER for our work.  We want them banging down the doors demanding , “When’s your next book coming out?!” Naturally, the question then becomes, how do we achieve this–what’s the magic stuff that makes readers crave our work?

For most of us, the bottom line is this:  We want our readers screaming from the rooftops, “Gimme more!”

On some level, I suspect even beginning authors understand that in order to write as well as the pros, they’d best be advised to begin with an interesting story (a conflict, a problem) within a well constructed story world.   They might also understand they need to deliver the goods when it comes to description and emotional experience—the goal being to have their masterpiece read more like a modern day movie than a centuries-old novel.

When you think about it, a lot of what I’ve outlined here deals directly with the characters themselves.  Their feelings and experiences.  Their conflicts and growth.  This is precisely why I’ve devoted a considerable amount of time to developing my DARK STAR Series’ characters up front—during the planning stages of my novels, NOT while I’m in the middle of writing them.  I realize this technique isn’t for everyone.  But for me, because I believe character development is KING when it comes to creating compelling science fiction/fantasy, (or any kind of fiction for that matter), I’ve chosen to spend the bulk of my time getting to know my characters before word one ever hits the page.

Come again?

That’s right.  Even though I write in what many consider to be one of the most challenging genres out there (due to the imaginary worlds which must be created from scratch), I’m here to tell you I actually spend the bulk of my time developing my characters.

Allow me to explain…

Many of you probably don’t know much (if anything) about my background, so let me start off by saying that I’m not only a writer.  I’m also the owner of a nanotechnology start-up, which is probably why dreaming up sexy, futuristic, high-tech gadgets and weapons systems is second nature to me.  Additionally, because I’ve spent the last fifteen years immersed in nanotechnology business development, I’ve learned a thing or two about technological forecasting and social change— constructs which just so happen to make great fodder for my DARK STAR Scifi/Fantasy Series.

But here’s the deal.   Things get really interesting for readers of science fiction when writers take the time to weave social change into personal change and tie it all together with healthy doses of inter and intrapersonal conflict.  If you think about it, the most fascinating characters any of us have ever known are flawed and complicated.  They’re not stereotypical.  They’re unique, yet believable.  It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about protagonists, antiheroes, villains, sidekicks, or mentors—our main characters need to LEAP off the pages!  As writers, we want our readers to identify with at least one of our main characters.  Why?  Because we want them to experience first hand, their pains, joys, sorrows, and triumphs.   But more than anything else, we want them to become INVESTED in our characters and their journeys—even to the point of morphing into one of them for a few hours while reading our tantalizing tales.  As you might imagine, this becomes especially important than when creating a series–which is why I’m so passionate about character development in the first place.  Let’s face it, if your readers don’t care about your characters, they won’t care about your cool sci-fi tech or out-of-this-world adventures–so give your readers more of what they really want.  Give them characters they can sink their teeth into.

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COMING UP:  In my next installment of The GIMME MORE! Blog Series, I’m going to discuss just how I’ve utilized my psychology degree to help develop DARK STAR’s cast of characters.  This promises to be a fruitful discussion, one chock-full of ideas for helping new writers create truly three-dimensional characters.

It’s been a pleasure spending this time with you.  Thanks so much for stopping by and I do hope you’ll come back again real soon!  🙂

Until we meet again…

Happy writing,

Danica

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Danica Cornell holds a BA in Psychology.  As the President and Co-Owner of Mano Nanotechnologies, Inc., Danica has over 15 years of business development experience, which she uses to guide the advanced technology concepts featured throughout her forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series.  To learn more about Danica’s writing, her background in nanotechnology and psychology, and her passion for deep character development, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.

DARK STAR I The Assassins (2)

DARK STAR II RISE OF THE HUBOTS

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/DanicaCornell

Danica’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/danica.cornell.author

Danica’s Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDanicaCornell

DARK STAR Series’ Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/DARK.STAR.Series

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

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

 

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

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I’ve Just Been Nominated for a Liebster Award for Blogging!

I’m excited to announce I’ve just been nominated for a Liebster Award by Jennie Sherwin.  Many thanks to Jennie for this incredible honor!

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The Rules:

You must link back to the person who nominated you.

Answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you.

Nominate 11 new bloggers and ask them 11 questions.

You cannot nominate the person who nominated you.

You must let the people you nominate know they have been nominated. 

Here are my questions from Jennie:

1Who are your role models in your professional life?  My writing mentor T. Emerson May and Nonnie Jules and Bruce Borders from RAVE REVIEWS Book Club.

2.  Who are the people who have inspired you in your personal life?  My husband.

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3.  Choose one thing in your life for which you are immensely grateful.  My loved ones.  This includes my family, friends, and dog (Hugo).   They all make my life complete!

4.  Give one example each of how you make the chemical, emotional, mental, and physical environments in your home safer for you and those you love.

Chemical: I like to use vinegar for cleaning my shower doors, as opposed to products with a long list of ingredients—many of which I can’t even pronounce!

Emotional: I always strive to be supportive of my family members and friends.  This requires really listening when they need someone to talk to.

Mental: Anyone who knows me is aware in my strong belief in giving one’s best to their pursuits.  However, I also firmly believe in “down time.”

Physical: I routinely place a gate so my little dachshund can’t run upstairs and jump on and off our beds.  Excessive jumping can be detrimental to dachshunds’ long backs.

5.  Choose one person in your life to whom you can tell almost anything without fear of judgment.  Good ol’ Mom.   

6. If you could choose another profession, other than the one you are in, which would you choose?  Psychologist.

7. How would you like to be remembered?  As someone who entertained and educated others through her writing, while simultaneously using her platform to help those in need.

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8. What do you do for recreation?  Exercise, read, go to the movies, swim and canoe.

9. What is your favorite family game, i.e., something you play or played with your children?  Scrabble.

10. Who is your favorite poet?   Walt Whitman.

11. Is there a song you like to sing?  Yes!  It depends on my mood and could be anything from Writing by Elton John to Aja by Steely Dan to How Do You Speak To An Angel? By Etta James to We Are The People Our Parents Warned Us About by Jimmy Buffet to Five To One by The Doors.  This really represents only a small sampling of the music I love to sing along with!   

I nominate the following bloggers for a Liebster Award:

1.  Effrosyni Mouchoudi  

2.  Janice Ross

3.  Joe Perrone, Jr.

4.  Cassidy Frazee  

5.  Christine Burba  

6.  Jo Robinson

7.  Eli Glassman

8.  Bruce A. Borders

9.  Teri Garringer  

10. Vincent Egoro  

11. James’ The Zombie Blog

Congratulations to all my honorees.I selected you because your blogs inspire me in many different ways.   To claim your award, please follow the rules above.

Here are your 11 questions:

1.  What is the one thing you can’t live without?

2.  If you could go anywhere you wanted…anywhere at all, where would this be?  Why?

3.  Who brings out the best in you?

4.  What is your highest vision/goal for yourself?

5.  What Superpower do you wish you had?

6. As a reader, are you a fan of the close-up view, like exploring a microcosm, a subculture?  Or do you prefer the wide shot—looking at an entire cosm, culture?

7. Who is your favorite author?  Why?

8. It has been suggested that as a group, writers tend to be elitists.  Based on your experiences, do you agree with this assertion?  Why or why not.

9. What is your favorite genre of music?

10. Do you have any pets?  If so, what kind?

11. Who is your favorite cartoon character?  Why?

That’s it, everyone. Have fun claiming your award.

Thank you, again, Jennie for nominating me for the Liebster Award.

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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 the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

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How One Writer Hopes to Shape a Better World for All of Us…One Word at a Time

Author Danica Cornell Discusses the Layers of Social Responsibility Inherent Within the Science Fiction Genre and Why She Believes Her DARK STAR Series is an Idea Whose Time Has Come

Guest post by Danica Cornell at romance author Jan Romes’ blog:

http://jantheromancewriter.blogspot.com/2013/12/shaping-better-world-by-danica-cornell_9.html

Before we embark on what I hope will be a fruitful and spirited discussion, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Danica Cornell, and for those of you who don’t know me, I’m the author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Science Fiction/Fantasy Series soon to be published by Cool Geek Books.

 

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Coming soon…DARK STAR I: The Assassins

But the reason I’m here today isn’t only to talk about my novels.  I’m also going to discuss some topics with all of you that are near and dear to my heart:  The social responsibility inherent within the sci-fi genre, as well as my support of charitable organizations through the sales of my books.

Let’s begin by taking a closer look at how science fiction contributes to the greater good by acting as a moral compass for us all…

Science Fiction and Social Responsibility

I’d like to start off this section by clarifying that the series I’m creating has elements of fantasy interwoven throughout each of its science fiction story lines.  But here’s the thing.   It’s because of DARK STAR’s overarching science fiction themes that I feel a certain level of responsibility when it comes to the messages each of my books will convey.  To be clear, as an author I understand the cautionary tales I’m penning are first and foremost meant to entertain my readers.   But I would be remiss in overlooking their added value when it comes to opening a dialogue about the directions technology and society are taking—and whether or not humanity’s heading down the right path.

 

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Tapping into Sci-fi Themes to Create Messages

When I lasered in on DARK STAR’s science fiction themes and messages, I did so with the intention of using these constructs as a scaffold for the series, as well as for the development of its characters. The themes I’m incorporating are what most people would probably consider to be The Really Big Questions, and include:

  • What is reality?
  • What does it mean to be human?
  • Are we becoming more or less integrated?
  • Can humans be trusted with new technologies?
  • What does the future hold for us?
  • Are we alone?
  • Will technology save us or annihilate us?
  • Is it possible to travel in time?
  • Why are we here?
  • How did we get here?
  • How do we fit into the great beyond?
  • Can we live forever and if so, should we?

Timing is Everything

While I’m the first to acknowledge these themes are not new to the genre of science fiction, my sense is that the time is ripe for the creation of the DARK STAR Series. Why? Because of three specific factors that are coming together as we speak: the technological renaissance; globalization; and the mainstreaming of science fiction itself. In other words, from my vantage point, DARK STAR is a series whose time has come! Additionally, it’s my intention to utilize this unique opportunity for the greater good of humanity by serving as a messenger in my writings as well as by financially supporting charitable organizations.

 

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Writing For the Greater Good of Humanity…For Both Today and Tomorrow

Perhaps the most obvious (and immediate) way I’m using my writing for the greater good of humanity is by donating a portion of the proceeds from my ground-breaking novel to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). My hope is that through these contributions, some of the children who benefit from UNICEF’s work may go on to help others in the future.

To be sure, this philanthropic gesture brings added meaning to my writing, but I recognize it’s only the beginning of my social responsibility as an author. I suspect many may be surprised to learn that my long-term plan is to use my books as a stepping stone for even more ambitious philanthropic projects later on—indeed this has been the driving force behind my creation of the DARK STAR Series all along! From its inception, I’ve been combining my passions for the written word with my desire to help others as a way to open the door to achieving this—my ultimate goal in life.

 

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Exit Stage Left

So, in case you’re wondering if I’m entering the literary field with the intention of eventually leaving it, my answer is an unequivocal yes. Strange as it may sound, with any luck one day I’ll be financially able to extricate myself from the work I love so I can devote the remainder of my life to helping others. Having said this, DARK STAR is an ambitious series—one that will likely keep me firmly planted within the scifi-fantasy community for at least another decade. So for now, I’m hoping people will begin to recognize me as an author who’s dedicated to creating a quality book series while simultaneously making the world a better place for all of us…one word at a time.

Until we meet again…

Happy reading,

Danica

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Danica Cornell holds a B.A. in Psychology from Argosy University. She is also a visionary entrepreneur, Fantasy/Science Fiction Network contributing author, and UNICEF-supporter. To learn more about this emerging author please visit Danica’s:

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