Artful Luck

Mellie hit the brakes for the thousandth time. If she missed this seminar, the company would never hire her. She let off the brakes to creep along with traffic.

And they stopped again.

“Excuse me, ma’am.”

Mellie jolted. A man stood next to her car, crouching to look in at her.

“I didn’t mean to startle you,” he said, grinning despite his worn overalls and badly stained T-shirt. He carried an olive-toned knapsack on his back. “I was hoping you could spare some change?”

“Oh,” Mellie said, “Yeah. Yeah, hang on.”

With disappointment, she found only pennies in her cup holder. Mellie remembered the thirteen dollars in her pocket, the last of her money.

Hesitating briefly, she handed him eight bucks. “Here, I hope this helps.”

“God bless you, ma’am.”

“No problem,” she said, and drove forward.

Traffic finally broke, but then a lady tripped as she crossed the street. Several large packages tumbled to the ground. Mellie glanced to the clock on her car’s dash, sighing, and parked. She sprinted over and helped the woman collect the thin, rectangular parcels.

The brown packaging paper nearly ripped completely off of one.

“Is this a Cremble?” Mellie asked, admiring the fine detail of the oil painting. “I used to paint a little, as a hobby, you know.”

“Not many recognize Cremble.” The lady smiled, reaching in her purse and handing her a pamphlet. “Stop by the exhibit over here on First Street later.”

Mellie thanked her and returned to her car. She loved to paint. She remembered in high school, how she dreamed of painting for the rest of her life.

She started backing her car out, glancing at the time.

A guy on a bicycle pounded on the trunk of her car, cursing at her. Mellie slammed on the brakes, watching the cyclist continue down the road.

She drove forward, put it back in park, and stepped out onto the street.

For as long as she remembered, she considered adulthood synonymous with money. Happiness, the same as money.

No.

Mellie strode down First Street, into the art exhibit. Cocktail dresses and suits filled the room.

“Excuse me, ma’am.” The homeless man grinned. “I hear you enjoy painting?”

“Um, well…”

“This exhibit is a fundraiser to help those in need,” the woman from the street explained, stepping into view from behind the man.

“Earlier, I was conducting a social experiment. I wanted a video to use for this evening,” the homeless man said. “Would you care to say a few words?”

That was four years ago. Now, as she stands in a room of her own art, she reflects. If she denied the Assistant Dean of Hollister Arts Institute those eight dollars, or ignored his assistant when she tripped, Mellie’s dreams may have withered.

Luck is not a mystical or random force; it is a return of that which you place into the world.

Death Vows: A Book Trailer

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I do not own any of the clips or music in this video. I used the clips and videos as a form of expression. I claim no rights to the footage or music in this video.

Facebook: A Sales Floor

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Indie authors, like myself, know one thing above all else: Every literate human being is a potential sale. We’re at our day jobs, passing out business cards (much to the dismay of our employers). We’re in line at the fast food joint, striking up conversations with strangers, baiting them with questions about their reading habits. And we’re on Facebook, where our friends are appalled to realize that their good friend has been replaced with a salesperson and they are ALL on a cold call list.

Now, most all new authors have launched a page for their project(s), so your friends are normally used to frequent updates about your work and constant requests (often sent multiple times) to “like” your page. By the time you actually publish it, they’re typically excited–because, finally you reached your goal! Your friends will be excited for you. Most will purchase your book to support you, because they followed you on your journey all this time.

Two weeks in, from my personal experience, is when they start hesitating before replying to you–if they reply at all. Maybe some of them said they would buy it, but now something’s come up. Maybe they’re just sick of hearing about it day in and day out.

My advice is to let up a bit–but don’t entirely stop! Your friends are your friends. Yes, they are also potential sales, but they are your friends first. If they’re getting annoyed, back off a little and just try to make time in your marketing endeavors to treat them like your friends.

Besides, if you go too hard for too long, you’ll get too salesy anyway. People buy from people–not from a salesperson. And nothing is ever gained by alienating yourself from your audience. Happy marketing out there, everyone, and good luck!

Deaf, Blind, and Stark Naked

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I’m an author. I know I’m an author because, from age eight to my current age, I’ve written. I’ve imagined. I’ve fallen in love with the people and pictures and scenarios in my own head. I’ve never stopped and I never will. That’s what makes me an author.

I write. I write constantly and never run out of ideas. That’s what makes me an author.

Recently, I published my first book (DEATH VOWS). It has not sold one-hundred copies yet, or even fifty. It has not garnered a single review anywhere. It’s been published for two weeks. Now, of course, I should not tear myself down or berate myself after two weeks–

–but I’m Lynn Evans, an author, and an extremely sensitive person by nature. Authors are normally sensitive about their work, even if they don’t always show it. If an author is not sensitive, if they are not their own worst critic, it usually shows in their work. An author who truly loves to write has no choice but to pour themselves into their project. Every page is littered with bits and pieces of the writer’s heart and soul.

And then they publish it, bare everything they are–for strangers to see and judge.

When that fictionalized diary is met with silence, for however long, it takes its toll on an author. It would be like somebody telling their friend their deepest, darkest secret, while the friend just stares blankly at them, giving nothing away. What does my friend think, after I’ve told them everything? Are they scandalized? Do they think I’m a bad person? Are they admiring me for my strength?

But they say nothing and do nothing, and you are left to chase these vague inclinations around in your head in an unceasing, grueling cycle. Until they speak. Until they say, “Wow! That’s incredible!” or “Um…wow, that’s…yeah.” But either way, no matter what they say, at least you know definitively what they actually think.

The worst part of baring your soul is the silence with which it is inevitably faced. And the best part? Finding like souls that think you’re just neat-o.

I think the reward outweighs the tension.

Death Vows is Published!

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After a long, grueling journey, I finally decided to self-publish my novel, DEATH VOWS! The story begins in Lancaster, Ohio, where Bridgette Farmer enrolls in a new school and uncovers a grisly fact: Jesse Harstrom’s girlfriend died in her house! When students and teachers begin to collapse and wake up with totally different personalities, all of their lives are in danger. Bridgette and Jesse must solve the mystery before it kills them and their friends.

This book has a lot of different elements. By the time you reach chapter twelve, it flips on its head and keeps you turning pages in a feverish fit. Bridgette’s sarcastic humor keeps things light in the face of insane and dangerous situations, and Jesse is every girl’s dream guy…eventually.

People have said, “This story made me laugh, cry, fumble with excitement, and much, much more! I absolutely love it!” and, “Brilliant story that evokes emotions and stirs the heart.” I want to know what YOU think of it, though, so go here and purchase your very own copy! Ships in 3-5 days!

DVCover2

Money, Dreams, and People

Sometimes, life looks bleak. Low finances, unpredictable employment, and debts inevitably bring even the most stalwart people to their knees. As a twenty-five year old single woman, the above depicted scenario crippled me every year. Winter always drains my bank and, this year, I tried a credit card.

Mistake.

BIG mistake.

On top of that, I almost never keep my job in the winter. Not because I get fired, but because I get annoyed or bored. Yes, those reasons are irresponsible and childish. No, I cannot just stick with the jobs. You see, we spend roughly thirty percent of out lives working, if not more. Why would anyone want to spend such a large portion of their life in misery?

So, moving job to job, it got more difficult than usual this year. I owe lots of people lots of money. Rent got behind quite a bit. Of course, my panic mode exceeded its limit and I spent several nights working and re-working my budget. Then, one night, something wonderful happened.

I stopped caring.

None of those numbers really matter. Worst case scenario, I lose my house and my car. My biggest fear came down to my pets, but I reasoned that a friend could foster them. I calmed down. I found little part time jobs. They pay less than I usually make, but having several means I’m not bored. When I get tired of one, there’s a different one tomorrow.

I am happier now than when I made enough money to cover my bills. Why? Because with my part-time positions, I choose my own hours. In the past, I struggled to find time for my writing. Now, I simply stay up as late as I need, pass out, and wake up whenever to go to work. Yeah, my bills are important and I need to pay them, but my dreams are more important than money. People are more important than money.

I want to value myself and my dreams more than the numbers that appear on my check stubs or my deficient credit card statement.

Dreams: Telling Yourself the Truth

Dreams are full of symbolism for one reason: To keep you from rejecting the thought process your conscious self avoids every day. We’ve been taught to suppress negative thinking, to be perpetual optimists, but every extreme has its consequences.

In this case, the consequence is unconscious stress. As anyone will tell you, bottling up your feelings is not healthy. Denying that you feel negativity is as debilitating as turning to substances to forget your problems.

When someone ignores their negative feelings, they eventually find their outlet in dreams. There are entire websites dedicated to dream symbolism for this express reason.

By interpreting one’s dreams, a person will be able to glimpse the unfiltered truth of their feelings and opinions about a waking situation. I encourage everyone to embark on this journey of self discovery.

Sweet dreams!

Dogs, Autism, and Bullshit

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Bullshit. Bullshit that dogs don’t understand why you’re mad. Bullshit that dogs don’t understand what they’re being punished for. My dog is only allowed to chew his chew toys and he damn well knows it.

Last night, in addition to eating an entire loaf of bread that I THOUGHT I put out of his reach, he also chewed up an old water bottle. Of course, he got scolded for the bread, but I didn’t discover the water bottle until later. Frankly, the water bottle was too trivial for me to REALLY scold him.

So, today, after a long “time out” (he has to stay downstairs and can’t come up to lay in my bed), I give him a bath and we start playing in my room. Without really thinking about it, I pick up the chewed up water bottle to let him play with it.

He IMMEDIATELY looks away in shame.

He refuses to touch the water bottle. At first, I was confused, but then an idea struck me. I decided to perform an experiment. I took a stuffed animal, the water bottle, and his chew toy and held two of them out at the same time. When the chew toy was not present, he refused to take either item. When the chew toy WAS present, he would invariably and immediately go for the chew toy.

Now, maybe it’s just MY dog that’s that smart, but I highly doubt it. We consider ourselves of superior intelligence, but I believe we’re mistaken. Forgive the following parallel, as it might seem a bit of a reach, but much like we used to think that an autistic child was of inferior intelligence, we may soon learn that animals are not so much inhibited to learn as they learn in a different way.

They understand things differently, but that does not make them of inferior intelligence.

Being A Manager

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I haven’t posted in awhile because I’ve been focused on work. I just received a promotion! So far, it’s been great, but it comes with…duh-duh-duh…responsibility.

Responsibility is not my nature by any means. I frequently procrastinate in paying my bills, use my spare time unwisely, and…well, there’s a whole slew of examples.

And now I’m in charge of leading a marketing team. Holy shit. Holy effing shit. I’m writing this because I made a mistake today and it put some things in perspective.

You see, I’m responsible for making sure my team is happy, prepared, and set up for success. I failed in that last part today.

Happy? Yes, because we were slow to get out. My meeting ran over, so they were able to rest up well.

Prepared? Learned to make sure of all that last week. I check that they have everything they need before they go out to work–including an empty bladder.

But I failed today to set them up for success. I was so busy preparing for the meeting, I forgot to thoroughly inspect the area I chose to take them.

It ended up being an apartment complex and renters; our job requires homeowners. Luckily, I printed out another map, which thankfully turned out to be exceptional.

But now I realize how important my position is to the team. If I drop the ball, nobody makes money. It’s awful. It’s stressful.

I love it.