Sunday, June 28, 2020

quote of the day

Quote of the Day 

"None is more impoverished 

than the one who has no gratitude. 

Gratitude is a currency 

that we can mint for ourselves, 

and spend without fear of bankruptcy."

 ~ Fred De Witt Van Amburgh


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Friday, June 26, 2020

recommended resources

Recommended Resource

Advertising, promotions, networking and media materials, websites, blogs, ezines, newsletters, business cards, pamphlets and all our social media... each of these are like billboards representing all that we are and that is why it is so important to unify the look and ambiance for everything we use, be it online or in print. Whenever someone looks at anything you do they immediately feel it is you because of the images and colours you choose. 

Colours, as we discuss in depth in our Purple Snowflake Marketing book, have a huge impact on consumers' emotional response. You've seen major fast food restaurants use bright colours that stimulate hunger and energy, but are bright enough that people don't want to linger and lounge about. Offices use colours that stimulate calm contemplation, and gyms use colours that impact energetic activity. 

Today's resource will introduce you to the topic of colour choice, how it impacts the people you are trying to reach, choosing colours that represent what you offer and more. To learn how to use colour to stand out in advertising and promotional materials refer to our book (mentioned above).


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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

article, part 2

Remaking Our World: Coronavirus, Hope, and Future Society 
* Written by Cristina Deptula, of 
Authors, Large and Small provides resourceful and tenacious book outreach services for writers of many genres and believes in the value of stories to help us uncover moments of grace and beauty and expand our capacities for creativity and compassion.

Coronavirus has radically shifted our lives and schedules. Now that we’re three months in to shelter in place in many metro areas, people are beginning to speculate on how society might reshape itself after we survive this pandemic.

A few of the authors we represent have written pieces inspired by the psychological experience of quarantine. Some look to the big picture and speak out on ecology and economics, while others look inward, seeing this as a time to process and heal personal and communal grief, and to reconnect with neglected aspects of our lives.

In this short series, I give these writers space to share their thoughts.

Nhi Chung is a refugee from Vietnam as part of the post-war migration to the United States. After a journey that took the lives of several of her family members, she resettled in the US and worked for many years as a bilingual public-school teacher. She’s the author of the memoir Among the Boat People, available here from publisher AK Press.

She shares these thoughts about life during quarantine:

I imagine when the viral crisis is over, I will continue doing a few things that I only began during lockdown.

One is to talk each week on Facebook chat to my daughter and grand-daughter. They live in another state, and we didn’t keep up very constant communication in the past. My grand-daughter, almost two years old, can say a few words and add her part to the conversation.

I am also walking around my Brooklyn neighborhood and learning about it. Before the crisis, I only knew what existed between the subway station and my house, but now, since walking is my main exercise, I am seeing more.

Lastly, I have been very slowly learning Spanish. Before the virus shutdown, I was taking two weekly classes. With more free time and less to occupy me, I can study one hour each night and supplement that with watching Spanish movies with Spanish subtitles.

As to what from my former life I might leave out when we all return to some semblance of normal, my first response was to say, “I need everything.”

Reconsidering, I can see my real longing is to return to meditation and tai chi. I meditate every day at home but it lacks the energy waves one feels meditating in a temple. I also do tai chi in my basement by myself but this lacks the camaraderie and fun of group practice.

And reconsidering, I realize I will probably give up going to restaurants or even buying takeout. Not because it may never be safe anymore, but because I found, unexpectedly, that while there are plenty of restaurants still open for takeaway in our area, I prefer to cook a little (or have my husband cook) even though there is less variety of food that way.

I will also slow down my walks, allowing myself to get more absorbed in my surroundings rather than hurriedly passing them by.


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Tuesday, June 23, 2020

quote of the day

Quote of the Day 

"Hurt no living thing:


nor butterfly,

Nor moth with dusty wing."

~ Christina Georgina Rossetti


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Sunday, June 21, 2020

Recommended Resources

Recommended Resources 

Today we are sharing a few nature-related resources with you...  

Activities and Ideas for 'cooped-up' people : Find lots of free bird information, games, and activities (including K-8 educational resources) to help you enjoy birds.

Check out this short film about the incredible but endangered Helmeted Hornbill won at the International Wildlife Film Festival.

Win a free Bird Academy course: In May, every eligible eBird checklist that you submit gives you a chance to win free access to our Joy of Birdwatching course.


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Thursday, June 18, 2020

Tips for Advertising Efficiently

Tips for Advertising Efficiently

When it comes to advertising efficiently it helps if you understand that people will only make a purchase if they perceive certain benefits. Therefore, before you do anything, be sure to make out a list of reasons why someone would buy your product or use your services, and what the benefits are. 

Make a second list of the important features of the product, people, business, or service involved in the current project that you hope to draw attention to. 

It can take a lot of creative thought to weave these two lists together in such a way that few words are used, but the message gets across. 

The next task is to evaluate who your customer might be and determine which advertising outlet is already reaching out to those prospective customers within the location that you are able to serve. 

The ad space placement in that publication is most important, you'll find higher priced ads are often placed in an ideal location.

Your ad must stand out from other ads of similar size in that publication.

Your ad must provide a clear path for your customer to reach you, or buy the product, immediately.

Be very clear and concise, have a definite message but say it with very few words, while establishing your call to action and providing a way to reach you. 

Putting an ad campaign out sounds easy, until you look deeper - hey?

Check out the amazing time saving tips, advice for dealing with advertising agents and how to save a heck of a lot of money via our Purple Snowflake Marketing book :)


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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Quote of the day

Quote of the Day 

"Don’t be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. 

All things break. 

And all things can be mended. 

Not with time, as they say, 

but with intention.

So go. 

Love intentionally, 

extravagantly, unconditionally. 

The broken world waits in darkness 

for the light that is you."

~ L. R. Knost


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Monday, June 15, 2020

Recommended Resources

Recommended Resources

Domestic Shelters: Find resources, browse frequently asked questions, learn about issues revolving around domestic violence and abuse whether it be in the emergency room or temporary shelters, in the doctors office or the employment building.

Ducks Unlimited - preserves, manages and maintains water habitat areas for birds while offering education and volunteer projects to get involved in. Sloughs, ponds, marshes and bogs all play a major role in the environment but these wetlands are also essential for birds, salamanders, fish, frogs and other wildlife.

Durham SustainAbility is an environmental social enterprise that works with sustainability experts who integrate programs, training, and facilitation services for both business and communities. 


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Sunday, June 14, 2020

Product Review

 Product review

As passionate gardeners, Dave and I are always watching for more efficient ways to manage seasonal succession crops without using a lot of space. We also wanted to grow salad mixes and fresh herbs all winter long; and now we can. No longer do we have that annual chore of finding a place to hang old, clunky fluorescent ballasts for our seed starts each spring.

The Deluxe 3-Tier T5 High Intensity SunLite Garden, made by the Gardener’s Supply Company, is designed for starting seeds, growing herbs, houseplants and orchids. The Gardener’s Supply Company is based in Vermont (US) and specializes in grow lights and stands, seed starting supplies, season extenders and a wide array of gardening and kitchen supplies. Researching further I found that 8% of the company profits go towards supporting pollinator health and habitat. This 100% employee owned company has strict in-house and business guidelines to strive for a positive impact on the environment. Their happy employees enjoy their own garden space and yoga classes while at work. All the while the company continues to support soil regeneration, fight hunger and get more kids exposed to the joys of gardening.

The unit retails for $899.00 (US) plus shipping, handling, taxes and surcharges. The unit arrived on the day the company promised via Canada Post; packaged in cardboard, very little plastic and no polystyrene foam.

Once we unpacked it from the box and put away the packaging, Dave separated all of the parts in piles with part #’s facing up. Doing this task made the assembly process much easier and avoided wasted time and frustration while scrambling for parts and stumbling over packaging.

We had no problems understanding the manual, the instructions were very clear. It was helpful that the manual suggested having a Phillips screwdriver, rubber mallet, needle nose pliers and twist ties on hand prior to starting the assembly. Be sure that you have a minimum 8'X8' area cleared of any clutter or furniture – you’ll need the room to work in. It is helpful to have two people for the assembly.

There’s a little indentation on the cross bar; be sure to place the bar so that the dent side is facing out. Tighten the bottom before you go on to the sides and double-check all the bolts and screws before installing the shelves. Place the unit on its side to make it easier to attach the caster wheels. The wheels required some strength to pop into place, be sure you hear the little pop that tells you when the wheels are seated in properly. If you have a rubber mallet, it is helpful to carefully tap the caster wheels into place.

Part way through construction, we became concerned as the frame felt a little loose. Upon double-checking we found some of the connections could use a little tightening, so we made sure to check all bolts before continuing. Upon completion, Dave felt quite impressed with both the quality of the steel and the stability of the unit.

You'll see here via one of the pictures a little a wire tool Dave made… and another picture that shows it attached to the beaded metal pull chain. The tool was made to insert the chains into the post, which has a grommet on both side so if you just push the chain through it will tend to drop down, but this little wire tool Dave made pushes the wire through both grommets, ahead of the chain, pulling the chain through along behind.

The 4 wheels definitely make the unit easy to roll around on our basement linoleum floor. Rolling out and away from the wall enables the user to access all sides of the unit to water, mist or tend to the plants without having to raise ballasts or wipe down a moist wall.

The light bulbs flickered on one of the ballasts and we thought the bulbs were faulty or that a connection was wonky, but with extra firm pressure on the electric cord connections Dave got the ballast to work again. It still flickers once in a while upon start up, but that might stop when we replace the bulbs with LED version. We’ll connect with the company to find out more about this soon.
The light ballasts measure 14” wide and have beaded metal chains with cord locks to secure it in place. This makes is easy to lift one side then the other in incremental stages as needed. Our top shelf has taller plants on one side so we have the ballast slightly tilted right now to accommodate the shorter plants on the other end. Each shelf has its own light switch, enabling gardeners to run the system efficiently. An added bonus is that the ambient light can support other plant life in the room and reduces the need to turn on the ceiling light.

Each of the ballasts come with three T-5 bulbs, which produce full-spectrum light and last up to 7,500 hours, while using 45% less energy than standard fluorescent bulbs would. Since these T-5 bulbs produce more heat than LED’s, we found it useful to bring in a small fan – both to strengthen the plants and to dispel excess heat and moisture. Besides this we bought a 24 hour timer that allows you to control the on and off times automatically. It also requires that you use a 3-plug extension cord for the three ballasts. Basement placing may be beneficial as it is cooler in the summer down there and therefore the heat will not bother the living space. And in the winter, the extra heat produced from the T-5 bulbs is welcome. In the future we may install a bathroom style fan in the ceiling if needed to vent out any extra moisture.

If you are like us, you’ll want to know what it costs to replace those bulbs and if there are more efficient options out there. A search on Amazon revealed that a 3 pack of these same type of bulbs sell for around $30 or more, but offer longer life span – up to 20,000 hours. Alternatively, go for the LED version and get a 50,000-hour life span (up to 20 years). These T-5 compatible LED bulbs will work with this type of ballast, will produce less heat and meet safety requirements (not all bulbs available for sale do). I saw a pack of 25 on sale at Amazon for $295, which works out to $11.80 per bulb.

Dave wanted to keep the cords tidy, so he used nylon cable strap ties (zip ties) to attach them to the frame. While doing this, he made sure to affix the switches to the post in such a way that they are convenient to reach. 

tidy wires / light switch

The Specs:

The unit measures 51" long x just over 14" wide and about 68.5" tall. The black, powder-coated aluminum frame comes with 3 watertight trays, and allows for a maximum of 14 3/4" distance between tray and ballast.

Overall we are both highly impressed and would recommend this product any time. Within days of having it assembled I had all the shelves filled with seed starts, and within weeks it was full of robust greenery. We started more than 50 plants between April 20 and June 6th. While the garden is planted now, we are currently keeping one shelf supplying us with succession crops... saving us hundreds of dollars already. This unit will negate the need for a greenhouse as we can time our plantings more efficiently now.

If you are interested in this unit check out the company at: ...or visit one of their distributors i.e.:


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Saturday, June 13, 2020

article, part 1

Remaking Our World: Coronavirus, Hope, and Future Society

*Written by Cristina Deptula, from Authors Large and Small

Coronavirus has radically shifted our lives and schedules. Now that we’re three months in to shelter in place in many metro areas, people are beginning to speculate on how society might reshape itself after we survive this pandemic.

A few of the authors we represent, as literary publicists with Authors, Large and Small, have written pieces inspired by the psychological experience of quarantine. Some look to the big picture and speak out on ecology and economics, while others look inward, seeing this as a time to process and heal personal and communal grief, and to reconnect with neglected aspects of our lives.

In this 4-part series, I give these writers space to share their thoughts.

Christopher Bernard is a poet, novelist, librettist, and the editor of San Francisco’s literary magazine Caveat Lector. His latest work, Meditations on Love and Catastrophe at the Liars’ Café, is available here from publisher Regent Press.

Here is what he has to say:

I believe this is an extraordinary opportunity to remake, not reconstitute, our world.

Before the coronavirus struck, our world was heading blindly toward an ecological catastrophe on several levels (of which the climate crisis is only one) that is likely to make this pandemic look, when we look back at it, like a childhood disease that got terribly out of hand.

We are, in more than a rhetorical sense, facing nature's call, her challenge, and her dare: we can change the bases of our entire civilization - from the ecological disasters created by industrialism to the vast inequalities caused by capitalism, from a grotesque celebrity culture of unleashed individualism to ecocide and a suicidal triumphalism - or we can return to the multiplying horrors of the world we have just been forced to cast from us like a robe on fire.

We now have a chance to reorder the world along lines that are, at one and the same time, more just economically and more sustainable environmentally, if we will have the courage, patience, skill and determination to let nothing stand in our way.

We will not have many chances to rebuild global civilization from the ground up. This is one of them.

Will we take it?

Mark Gunther is the author of Without Jenny, a novel of love, grief, and touch-and-go resilience. He’s an avid cyclist and an activist on behalf of educational and other opportunities for girls, inspired by the memory of his own daughter. Without Jenny is available here.

From Mark:

San Francisco has been shut down for nearly eight weeks. Day after day of clean, sharp, pollution-free air and traffic -free streets.

A fragile peace limned with overwhelming loss. Our grief is real; the brutality of so much death and dislocation, the simple but sad losses of restaurants and coffee dates and birthday parties.

But restoration is inevitable. Even here the streets are coming back to life. We must live, after all, and trust the wisdom of the commons to teach us to be kindly though distant, to be welcoming behind our masks. Our communal fate rests in the generosity of spirit that’s at the core of human resilience.

We will have dirty air and clogged up streets again, and likely will welcome them, but life still will be lived person to person, encounter to encounter. A paradigm is shifting; whatever new normal will emerge, peace is still quilted with loss, while grief forever dances with gratitude.

May this smallest of truths be the largest lesson of the pandemic.


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Thursday, June 11, 2020

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

quote of the day

Quote of the Day 

"And the dandelion does not stop growing,

because it is told it is a 'weed'.

The dandelion does not care what others see!

It says ' One day, the'll be making wishes upon me'."

~ B. Atkinson


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Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Recommended Resources

Recommended Resources

It is time for another batch of resources that we hope you have time to check out. These two resources are for the musicians and those who appreciate musicians, bands, entertainers in general:

GigSalad offers a one-stop website to find and book everything from bands, musicians, and DJs to entertainers, speakers, and event services. Entertainers would be wise to consider listing their services, and those who are setting up an event of any kind can find professional performers for hire across the U.S. and Canada.

For something a little different to enjoy, here is a video of Micky Hart (formally of Grateful Dead) and a wide array of talented performers living it up on stage :)


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Sunday, June 7, 2020

World of Writing - Interview

Author Interview
Today we have the pleasure of learning from the writing experiences of Max Frenzel, co-author of Time Off. It is always interesting to hear about the behind the scenes activities, challenges, organizing and strategies that go behind producing a book, but today we learn how Max and his co-author John Fitch balanced the work load and shared skills in a very effective way. Max is an AI researcher with software startup experience and holds a PhD in Quantum Physics, while John's specialties range from software and entrepreneurship to coaching.   

* Shout out to Rebekah Epstein of for connecting us with Max ;)   

Q: What have you learned about working with a co-writer?

Initially I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from writing a book together with a co-author, but in retrospect it was one of the best decisions I ever made. John and I really believe in the same vision, but we have in some ways quite different and complimentary approaches and backgrounds. John has more of a storytelling background, while I have a more academic background. Even the experience of how we found the value of time off was very different for the two of us, even though it eventually led to the same realization. Working on a book with someone else also has many other benefits: You immediately get a second set of eyes to look at all of your work, question and challenge it, and improve it. It’s not a replacement for a professional editor, but I think it got the manuscript in a much better shape before it went to our editor. And even small things like the difference in time zones, with John based in Austin, Texas, and me in Tokyo was quite nice. While one person was taking time off and sleeping, the other one was making progress. Every morning felt a bit like Christmas, checking what John had been up to in our shared Google doc.

Q: What were some of the challenges you faced in writing this book together?

Surprisingly I’d say we faced very few challenges in the co-writing process. I guess being in quite different timezones meant that we couldn’t always immediately get a response from each other, but I’d say overall that was actually a positive, it made us think through things better ourselves. We’re both big fans of asynchronous communication, and it definitely helped us be more effective with our communication. Maybe the most challenging, or rather humbling experience of the writing process was when we got the first detailed reply after handing our draft to our editor. At that point we thought most of the work was done, but she challenged us to completely review and rework most of the manuscript. But ultimately it definitely helped us make a much better book, and also become better writers in general.

Q: Are you satisfied with your (career, publisher, agent, publicist, co-writer)?

Honestly, I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out. Two years ago I wasn’t even thinking about writing this book, and now we’ve built a great team and together made and self-published an amazing book that looks and reads better than many things I’ve seen from big traditional publishers. It was a lot of hard work, but fully in the spirit of time off we approached it in a calm way, and it never really felt stressful. If anything, the work on such a meaningful project constantly energized and motivated us. And now finally seeing the results of it and getting it out into the world is an incredibly rewarding experience.

Q: What are some of your favorite writers’ resources?

Reedsy is a wonderful place for finding freelancers to work with you on the book. We found our designer, copyeditor, and proofreader on Reedsy, and all three of them did an amazing job and hugely contributed to the final result. Other than that, I’d say a thesaurus is pretty handy while writing and editing. And Google Docs allowed us to seamlessly collaborate on the manuscript, and leave comments and edit suggestions for each other. The entire book was written and edited there. And for the initial note taking and research, I’m a big fan of Evernote.

Q: Tell us about your journey to publication… (How long have you been writing? Why did you decide to pursue writing this book together?)

I think the way we wrote this book is quite unique. The truth is, John and I have to this day actually never met in person, the entire collaboration was online. About three years ago I realized that I was quite unsatisfied in my job at the time as an AI researcher in a startup. To process my own thoughts I started writing about productivity, creativity, work place culture, and the importance of time off. John, who had been doing a podcast on the importance of time off (also called Time Off), found some of my articles and invited me on as a guest. We became friends after that, and one day in early 2019 I found an email in my inbox asking me if I’d be up for writing a book together. I agreed, and that’s how it all started.
Both John and I have experience in software startups, and we essentially approached the book like launching a product. We wrote a very simple early prototype and got that in the hands of some test readers, and then used their feedback to iterate and improve. That’s definitely had a huge impact on improving the book and getting it into its final shape.
We also decided quite early on that we want the book to be visually beautiful, and through a very lucky chain of coincidences got introduced to our illustrator Mariya Suzuki. Her style fits the book perfectly, and she also personally experienced the importance of time off, so we decided to get her onboard as a core member of the team, not just someone we hired to do the illustrations for us, and her influence and ideas definitely also shaped the final book.

Q: Who are your favorite authors?

That’s a pretty difficult question, there are just too many. In terms of non-fiction, some recent names that come to mind are James Clear, David Epstein, Micheal Pollan, Tim Ferriss, Cal Newport, and Austin Kleon. For fiction I’d definitely include Neal Stephenson, Haruki Murakami, Ayn Rand, Hermann Hesse, and Gabriel García Márquez.

Q: Do you provide public appearances & services: How do you organize the classroom, lessons, presentation, workshop? etc.

Both John and I are already active public speakers at events and conferences, and John also has been working as a business coach. Now with the book released, we are definitely planning to expand on this, and we already have some interest from several companies to organize Time Off workshops and seminars for their employees and leadership teams. We are also thinking of offering additional digital services or workshop around Time Off to a wider audience online, but this is currently still in the planning phase.

Q: How did you arrive at setting your goals?

I guess we just tried to be realistic, while at the same time aiming high. Looking at other similar titles or other authors and entrepreneurs with similar background and trying to emulate (or exceed) what they have achieved. Also working as a team, you kind of have an element of accountability baked into the process, which definitely helped as well.

Q: What advice would you give for aspiring authors?

Build a great team around yourself. Even if you decide to write the book as a solo author, there are many additional people that make a great book but don’t have their names on the cover in the end. Especially the importance of a good editor can’t be overestimated. Our editor Ann Maynard had a huge influence on the final book and really helped us to sharpen and refine our narrative and explanations, and reexamine everything from the perspective of the reader. Also our illustrator Mariya and designer Nikki were crucial in shaping the final book and turning it into the beautiful work of art it is. Besides these core people, we also had over twenty test readers give us feedback along the way.

Q: What criticism about your writing gave you pause, made you re-think your writing style?

I guess as an author you feel really precious about your ideas and your writing. But having an editor remind you that your book is not for you, but for your reader, and that you should assess everything you write through a lens of “how will the reader benefit from this”, definitely really helps you sharpen your writing and get rid of a lot of stuff that doesn’t serve the reader and just dilutes your message.


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Saturday, June 6, 2020

quote of the day

Quote of the Day 


"Ladybugs all dressed in red

Strolling through the flowerbed.

If I were tiny just like you

I'd creep among the flowers too!"

~ Maria Fleming


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