an inspirational keynote, reading & writing…

“…remember the nature of what it is you signed on for. You’ve come here to make a difference…” LeVar Burton at the 2012 O’Reilly Tools of Change conference. 

Kent A. at the Scholarly Kitchen posted a link to LeVar’s keynote address. It’s 15+ minutes long, but worth every word.

That’s a great way to start a Monday morning, but let me backtrack a bit. Time seems to fly these days. Since my last post, I’ve been to the Kansas Library Association annual conference, lost a tree in my front yard, turned in the ACRL survey, participated in the planning of our Employee Recognition Ceremony, and realize that NASIG is 6 weeks away and I need to work on my presentation & paper!

But let’s go way back in history since one of my longer term goals is to write a novel that takes place in 1776. I’m keeping my eye out for things like this:

@RagLinen: RT @BostonHistory: Rare “lost” letter written by Paul Revere rediscovered and preserved. ow.ly/arxzU

@RagLinen also posted a teaser trailer for Reporting the Revolution! youtu.be/xBIofoTp6U8

I’ve been reading a number of books, fiction and non-fiction, about the life & times of Richard the Lionheart and the Third Crusade to immerse myself in the ‘flavors’ of the late 12th century. Two of my current fiction reads are King’s Man by Angus Donald & Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman. My own fiction – next year’s project – will feature 2 of Richard’s knights.

Speaking of my writing… my manuscript is sitting with 2 beta readers right now. If you aren’t familiar with the concept of a beta reader, JW Manus provided a great explanation in a recent post:

“Beta readers are not editors. You shouldn’t ask them for editorial help. They should be reading as readers. If you want to get the most out of your beta readers, then along with the chocolate or cookies or other tokens of gratitude you send, you give them these instructions:

Dear Reader: As you read it will be very helpful if when you run across something that confuses you, you mark it with a big HUH? If something bores you, mark it with a big YAWN. If a passage requires you to reread or stop and ponder what it means, mark it DIB! (do it better).

I nearly copied her advice word-for-word! Round 3 of my revisions will begin when I get their comments. You can get a sneak peak at the book description for Keeping the Family Peace – what will appear when the book is available via Amazon & other venues – on my fiction blog. I imagine that blurb will change over the next few months. Let me know what you think of it! Would that make you click “Buy”?

I’ve also participated in a twitter exercise with other writer friends in #luckyseven. Go check out my blog post for short excerpts from my novel and one of my 12th century short stories!

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