Our Posterity

From Lillian’s October Newsletter:

https://mailchi.mp/56caee102e67/october-news-from-lillian-speaking-my-mind

“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Inspired by the Preamble written by our founding fathers in 1787, I wrote the following poem in 2020:  

Our Posterity 

What is the legacy of our posterity?
What will it be from sea to shining sea?
Brotherhood crowned by good,
Or camo and teargas in the hood?
A nation of peaceful democracy,
Or the one percent autocracy?
A sustainable planet for all,
Or a divided people doomed to fall?
Shall we provide more clean energy,
Or continued mean mendacity?
What will be our choices
As we count ALL our losses?
Will our blessings of liberty remain free
To guarantee our posterity.
What will be the legacy of our offspring?
For how long will freedom ring,
If accountability is not a thing?
Shall we elect the man of the hour,
Or the one to enliven our power?
Can we bring back common sense
Into the present tense?
With the Soul of Democracy at stake,
We can’t afford another mistake!
For our country to stay afloat,
We the People have got to Vote!
 

Life Is a Metaphor

September Newsletter Articlehttps://mailchi.mp/ee0f333ac8a2/life-is-a-metaphor-and-grammar-games-from-lillian

Life Is a Metaphor

Wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, COVID 19, conflicting information, looting, rumors running rampant!

Surely there must be a logical explanation for current conditions that seem so out-of-control. If we look at life as a metaphor, then what does it all mean? From my perspective, it means to slow down and take a good look at each lie, each rumor, each situation, and go within to find the truth. Yes, we need facts to substantiate various claims via news and social media, but how do these facts relate to us as individuals? Are we letting our fears and preconditioned beliefs dictate our actions and reactions?

We must not allow ourselves to be stuck in negativity. It is up to us to raise our energy to a higher level. We make choices that influence our environment. Our thoughts become things, and they dictate the type of world we choose to live within. I teach this concept in my book, Theep and Thorpe: Adventures in Space. Although the book is geared toward young readers works for all of us and has been taught by various philosophers down through the ages. Does “You reap what you sow” sound familiar? There is a Universal Law called the Law of Attraction. It works by responding to our thoughts and feelings, whether negative or positive.

We live in both a physical world and a metaphysical world. Metaphysical, or spiritual, means that which is beyond the physical. I agree with some metaphysicians who suggest that the metaphor of current reality is the age-old battle of good vs. evil, or the light against the dark. There’s a schism of choices. We can choose to fear change and cling to outdated, ineffective thinking, or we can open our hearts and minds to better choices for the evolution of humankind.

Here are some ways to improve one’s mood and increase positive energy:

  1. Spend time out in natural settings or any change of scenery with safety measures in place.
  2. Count your blessings. Develop an attitude of gratitude for big and small pleasures such as a roof over your head, food to eat, and good friends and loved ones. Challenge yourself to find something positive in any situation.
  3. Look around you. Notice what people you admire are doing and saying. Do they seem stuck, or are they resilient and adaptable to change? Set the intention to attract positive people to your environment.
  4. Read books and watch programs that bring you joy and stimulate your mind.
  5. Find and participate in creative outlets such as art, music, dance, creative writing, or journal writing for self-expression.
  6. Exercise. Physical exercise is mood-enhancing and can improve your health.

August 2020 Newsletter

https://mailchi.mp/bd69cc310c91/episodes-from-my-family-history

Episodes from My Family History

Two young ladies went down to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to meet the ship that would embark upon a journey from Syria (now Lebanon) to the United States of America. One was twenty-one-year-old, Asma Asaff, with her eight-month-old baby as her traveling companion. That baby was my mother, Matilda Asaff. The other was Athuna Asaff, Asma’s teenage sister-in-law, who came to see her off.

After a tearful goodbye, Asma said, “I hate to leave you here, Athuna. Do you want to come with us?”

“Yes, I would love to go with you, but I have no money for a ticket,” answered Athuna.

“Not to worry,” replied Asma. “I will send word to George to wire money for you.”

So Athuna came on board that day with no money and only the clothes on her back. “We will share everything,” Asma told Athuna. “You are my sister and good friend. We will take care of each other.”

The family story goes that as the ship set sail, Athuna waved to her birthplace and said, “Goodbye, you sons of bitches,” and she never looked back. Asma, on the other hand, had such fond memories of Syria, that she would point to the moon and say, “Same moon that shines over the old country. Same moon.”

Asma Asaff was born when the figs were ripe in Berbara, Syria, a Christian village near Mt. Lebanon in 1890. Fleeing Ottoman oppression, she came to the U.S. via Ellis Island in 1911 with her firstborn baby. Her husband, George, had traveled to America the year before to earn money for his wife and child to follow him there.

Like many immigrants in those days, Asma was illiterate. In the old country, she had learned to bake in an outdoor stone oven, using her hands as measuring tools.

In America, Asma rose at 4:00 a.m. to bake bread, singing Arabic songs while she was at it. She crafted thick, round loaves from scratch, placing the sign of the cross on the dough before baking. Her kitchen always smelled heavenly. She also made delicious spinach and meat pies with the dough, and on special occasions, fried donuts with powdered sugar on top.

Cooking and feeding people came naturally to her. She would sit on her front porch in Lake Charles, Louisiana, waiting for men from the nearby airbase to walk by. “You hungry? Come in, I give you food,” she would say. Once inside, she would introduce them to her single daughters—and that’s how Uncle Roy met Aunt Rosie.

We called her Big Mama. When her first grandchild, my sister, Virginia, called her Mama, she replied, “I not your mama, I your big mama.”  Big Mama never learned to read or write and spoke broken English. The letter p was difficult for her to pronounce, substituting it with the sound of b. One day she offered my brother’s friend some peaches, saying, “You want some bitches, honey?” He knew what she meant by the fruit in her hand, but he replied, “You got any?”

When not cooking, Asma peddled piece goods door to door in her neighborhood. She tied her money in a handkerchief and had her own system of bookkeeping. I went with her occasionally and got to see firsthand how smart she was. With limited English, Big Mama found other ways to communicate, and we could always taste the love in her bread.

One of the unexpected joys of researching this story came when I heard from a cousin, Athuna’s grandson, with whom I had lost touch. He reminded me of a fun trip we took together as kids, riding in the back of a pickup truck from Shreveport to Dallas. He also reminded me of the courage and grit our grandmothers had when they traveled as steerage passengers on that long voyage to freedom and the “blessings of liberty” promised in the preamble to our Constitution. If not for them, we wouldn’t be here today.

Valentine’s Day e-Book Offer

Happy Valentine’s Day!
Our Labor of Love is One Year Old! To celebrate, our eBook is
 free on Feb 14 and  15, 2020.  Enjoy! https://tinyurl.com/ydxf9j54

Muse and Ink: Soul Expressions Through Writing offers tips and exercises for creative self-expression. This book is a collaboration by three authors based on their own experiences as writers. The book also includes revision tips by Lillian Nader, author/editor, and activities by workshop facilitators, Dr. Marjorie Miles, and Dr. Heather Rivera. Our mission is to help writers find their creative spark, get their message out into the world, and flourish. We honor and encourage voices that may have been suppressed for years to finally emerge by providing a supportive, heart-centered, intuitive, and playful approach to both writing and publishing.

My Job As a Copyeditor

It all started when a friend referred someone to me, thinking I was an editor because I have a BA in English and a Master’s in education. Actually, I am a retired special education teacher experienced in working with struggling writers. So, I agreed to do the editing and gave the client a huge discount for my first editing job.

I edited my first e-book in 2013 and have enjoyed helping people publish their fiction and nonfiction manuscripts ever since. I use the Chicago Manual of Style along with other resources to verify my edits and comments while striving to maintain the unique voice of each author.

What Does a Copyeditor Do?

Even expert writers need a second pair of eyes to do the editing. Authors often miss errors because they know what they intend to say, and their brains fill in the missing details. The writer’s job is to get their thoughts and creative ideas written; my job as an editor is to fix writing errors and prepare the manuscript for publishing.

Unfortunately, books are being published today with missing words or repeated words in sentences and other annoying errors that interrupt the reader’s focus and enjoyment of the text. These mistakes frequently happen during the first draft of a manuscript, but they should never show up in the published version.

How to Prepare for Copyediting

I recommend writing and revising as much as possible before engaging a professional copyeditor. Write the first draft without editing or censoring the flow of ideas and then go back to fine-tune the pacing and text of the manuscript. Read it aloud or use a read-aloud program to discern potential flaws in the pacing, engagement level, repetitions, and omissions. By doing this prior to editing, the copyediting process goes faster and more smoothly.

Next, engage a few beta readers to offer feedback and revise again based on their observations of your work. Choose people who read the type of book you’ve written and provide them with a short set of open-ended questions to answer as they read. Keep an open mind when receiving constructive criticism and know you are making your book even better with appropriate revisions. With that said, use good judgment and only follow through on suggestions that enhance your work.

The Copyediting Process

I like to think of the editing process as a partnership between the author and me. Communication is key. We begin by exchanging contact information and the best methods and times for reaching one another. The author describes the manuscript regarding genre, potential readers, word count, and overall theme of the book. They send a portion or all of the manuscript to give me an idea of the scope and magnitude of the project. The manuscript must be in Microsoft Word, Times New Roman, and twelve-point font. We discuss payment terms and if both parties agree, I draw up a contract outlining the terms of our agreement.

The contract will list specific areas to be addressed such as punctuation errors, appropriate word choice, correct verb tense, omitted or repeated words, sentence structure, content clarity, consistency, and repetition. I use Track Changes, an editing format in Microsoft Word that allows editing markups within the manuscript and comments in the margin. In the contract, the author agrees to receive one edited document with Track Changes markups and comments in the first pass of edits, consisting of two read-throughs of the manuscript.

Upon receipt of the first pass, the author agrees to accept or reject each of the recommended changes. It is the author’s responsibility to review all marked changes, comments, or questions and to revise the manuscript accordingly. The author also agrees to send revisions to me for a final check as the last step of the editing process.

Some editors do not do more than one pass, but I prefer to take the extra time and effort to do as thorough a job as possible. I take pride in being thorough and accurate in my work and in making myself available to address any questions or concerns communicated by the author to me.

Finally, the contract stipulates the fee based on the word count of the original manuscript. I charge by the word rather than an hourly rate. Payment plans are available, and the dates of payment are also stipulated in the contract so that everyone knows their responsibilities in advance.

Perks of Being a Copyeditor

I enjoy my job as a freelance copyeditor for many reasons. First, I meet and work with interesting and talented creative writers. As a writer myself, I learn more about my craft by editing the works of others. Because I work from home, I can choose my work schedule and due dates. Most of my clients are repeat authors of books I’ve previously edited or referrals from those who know me or my work.

I can balance my time between editing and working on my creative writing projects. I provide a professionally polished manuscript an author is proud to publish, and I receive reasonable compensation to do so. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement that I love!

Interview with Heather Rivera about Her Upcoming New Book

Feature Interview of Dr. Heather Rivera
November 2018
Dr. Heather Rivera is a prolific and versatile author of eight books and counting. She is the focus of today’s interview because she plans to release an inspirational e-book for writers in January 2019. I am proud to have collaborated on this book with Dr. Heather Rivera and Dr. Marjorie Miles of Muse & Ink.

Lillian: Heather, thanks for taking time for this interview.

Heather: Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be featured on “News from Lillian.” You’re very special to me. Not only do I consider you one of my dearest friends, but you are also my trusted editor. I wouldn’t be able to do my writing job without you.

Lillian: Muse & Ink: Soul Expressions through Writing is the title of your new book. How did you come up with this title?

Heather: The title was easy. I knew it had to be Muse & Ink. Years ago, Dr. Marjorie Miles and I decided to collaborate on some writing projects, workshops, and a writing festival. We came up with the name Muse & Ink at our favorite café. Dr. Miles teaches a “Writing with Your Inner Dream Muse” workshop. We thought the name represented a balance between the two sides of our brain—right and left. Utilizing both sides of the brain makes a good writer—the muse and the ink. Coming up with the subtitle was a little more difficult. I wanted to express how important I believed writing authentically was good for our soul. I found so much healing from writing-especially writing fiction and I wanted to share what I discovered.
I also knew that I needed help. I can’t think of two better people to collaborate on this project with me. Thank you, Lillian Nader and Marjorie Miles.

Lillian: Please give a brief description of the book.

Heather: Muse and Ink: Soul Expressions Through Writing offers tips and exercises for creative self-expression. This book is a collaboration by three authors based on their own experiences as writers. The book also includes editing tips by Lillian Nader author/editor and activities by workshop facilitators, Dr. Marjorie Miles, and Dr. Heather Rivera. Our mission is to help writers find their creative spark, get their message out into the world, and flourish. We honor and encourage voices that may have been suppressed for years to finally emerge by providing a supportive, heart-centered, intuitive, and playful approach to both writing and publishing.

Lillian: I know you are a writing coach as well as a published author of nonfiction, fiction, and books for young readers. You have a Life Coaching certificate along with a Creative Writing certificate from Wesleyan University, and you currently facilitate Finding your Voice Workshops in addition to one-to-one consulting with writers. What motivates you to teach other writers in addition to your own creative expression through writing?

Heather: I remember what it was like when I was just starting out. I had tons of questions and searched for answers. I love teaching and passing on what I’ve learned brings me joy. I want to see others succeed.

Lillian: How has your experience as a writing coach and student affected the content of Muse & Ink: Soul Expressions through writing?

Heather: It was my desire to share what I’ve learned over the years from practicing my craft. If I can inspire another writer or help someone discover the joy and healing from creative writing, I’ll be overjoyed. When I teach my writing workshop, I’m amazed at what the students write. I’ve learned a lot from them. By sharing what we write and being receptive listeners, we grow together.

Lillian: What else motivated you to write the book?

Heather: I think one of the things that makes our book and our workshops unique is the use of guided imagery. Being that we are all trained in hypnotherapy, we were able to present some nice visualizations in the book. When I’m teaching a workshop, I like using guided imagery and having the attendees write from a relaxed state. I believe it helps the writer dig deeper and gives them the space to find their writing voice.

Lillian: As a published author and writing coach, who or what has inspired you the most?

Heather: I am not sure I can narrow it down to one person or one thing. Many things and people inspire me. I’m inspired by reading books by my favorite authors like Susanna Kearsley and reading books about writing like On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. I’m inspired by nature and some special people that have touched my life along the way.

Lillian: How long have you been writing?

Heather: I’ve been writing most of my life. As a child I wrote poetry, then as a young adult I wrote children’s stories. Later, I started writing for magazines and then I progressed to full-length novels. I enjoy writing novels more than any other form of expression.

Lillian: You recently relocated from California to Hawaii. Just as the setting can drive the plot of a story, how has your new real-life setting impacted your writing?

Heather: It’s quieter here. I think that helps me drop into my story quicker. Also, the scenery is breathtaking so taking a walk is a great way to get unstuck. I do miss the cafes in California, though.
Hawaii, I’ve realized, is as good a place as any to sit down and get serious about writing. It’s all about our commitment to the craft.

Lillian: I wrote a chapter on dreams for our book in which I cite several well-known stories that originated from dreams. Have you had dreams that inspired any of your books?

Heather: It’s funny that you ask. A few of my books were inspired by dreams. The first novel I wrote, Quiet Water, came from a dream. I woke early in the morning with the story “downloaded” into my head. I excitedly told the story to my husband, and he loved it. Over nine months I wrote it. It was a lot of fun.
Into ExaltiaTwice Again, and a new novel I’m working on, Chasing Chance, also came from my dreams. I keep my smartphone by my bed to jot down notes if I have a dream that I need to remember.

Lillian: You also write a monthly newsletter called Muse and Ink News. What is the best way to sign up for it?

Heather: Thank you for asking. The link to sign up for our Muse News is

http://www.heatherrivera.com/subscribe-to-muse-news/
By signing up, readers also get the free gift, “Ten Tips for Finding Your Voice.”

Lillian: Speaking of Muse & Ink, the concept started with you and Dr. Miles, and you recently included my editing tips in your publications. Thank you. Please explain the concept of Muse & Ink and its history.

Heather: I’m so glad that you’re a member of our merry band of writers. As I mentioned above, it began with Dr. Miles and myself collaborating on a few projects and grew from there. The three of us also participate in a weekly author accountability email. I really appreciate having someone to check in with weekly. You both help keep me on track with my writing projects.

Lillian: You seem to have a never-ending supply of ideas for books. What will you be working on next?

I like to work on more than one book at a time. My new projects are two novels. One is called Chasing ChanceChasing Chance is set on the island of Hawaii. The other manuscript is called Following Tai.  I like to write stories that contain a little magic and a little romance.

Lillian: Do you have anything else you would like to say to your readers?

Heather: Thank you for taking the time to read my interview. I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions about the writing process, I hope you take the time to reach out to me at drheatherrivera@gmail.com

Lillian: Thanks so much for your thoughtful responses to my questions.

Heather: Thank you again for having me on “News from Lillian.” It was a lot of fun answering your questions.

Dreams and Premonitions By Lillian Nader, M.Ed.

I’ve always had vivid dreams. My mom says I inherited her gift of dreams. Once when I was visiting a married couple, the wife tried to commit suicide with an overdose of drugs. The night she did this, I dreamed that a police officer approached me outside of their home and said, “Ginny is going to be all right.” When I work up, her husband, who was extremely upset, told me what Ginny had done. He seemed utterly helpless and useless in this situation. His anger at her had overtaken his sense of responsibility and rendered him ineffective, whereas people usually looked to him for assistance.

Seeing the urgency of the situation, I immediately gave Ginny some very strong coffee and refused to allow her to sit or lie down. I walked with her while telling her I knew she would snap out of this because of my dream. She had faith in me and felt that my dream was an omen that she would, indeed, recover from her suicide attempt, which is exactly what did happen.

I believe the dream was given to me because I would remember and act upon it. I knew enough about dream symbols to know the policeman represented authority. Therefore, I had it “on authority” that Ginny would be okay.

On another occasion, I was employed in a very difficult teaching position at a special education developmental center for severely disabled children. One case in particular was beyond my power to improve, and the student’s mother blamed me for his condition, which was severe brain damage. During summer break, while pondering whether to resign my position or continue working there, I had a significant dream. In my dream, I saw someone’s hand writing on a wall. Although, I couldn’t read the words, I realized the dream was helping me with my decision. I know that dream messages often appear in puns, and this was “the handwriting on the wall,” telling me to move on to another form of employment more suited to my sensitive nature.

Another premonition dream was one of someone else dreaming about my car. A friend was supposed to meet me at my church for the first time. The night before we were to meet, she dreamed of a red car and a lady with black hair standing by it, shaking her head no. The next morning, my car wouldn’t start. It had a dead battery. I called my friend to tell her about my car, and she asked if it was red. I said, “Yes, why?” She told me about her dream. The person she described sounded like a dear friend who had passed on.

Later, I had a paranormal experience with the same friend who had passed on. I woke up with the sense of her standing at the foot of my bed with a worried look on her face. She was holding some papers and seemed very distressed about them. It startled me to see her standing there, and the dream/vision or whatever it was, ended. Later that day, I was in an automobile accident while driving home from mailing some papers at the local mail station. The papers were an unusually large amount of information requested by a potential dentist. I later decided not to do business with that dentist.

I truly believe that dreams speak to us in puns, metaphors, and myriad symbols as well as feelings from the dream experience. Although I don’t remember all my dreams, the really important messages are usually very vivid and easy to remember. Maybe I  did inherit Mother’s gift of dreams.

If you have precognitive dreams, please leave a comment and tell me all about it.

 

Lillian Nader

Lillian Nader, M.Ed. is an author, playwright, copyeditor, and educator. Her book for upper middle grade readers, Theep and Thorpe: Adventures in Space, is available at http://Amazon.com.

TIPS FROM THE EDITOR    

Even the best writers need a second pair of eyes for editing. Authors usually miss errors because they know what they intend to say, and their brains fill in the details.

Errors in English are easy to make, and everybody makes them. Some common ones are the following:

  1. Use of one word or two?

Use all right instead of alright; a lot rather than alot.  EXAMPLES: It’s not all right to write alright or alot although people make these errors a lot.

  1. Different from versus different than.

Different from is better when comparing two things, but different than is used with clauses. EXAMPLES: Your book is different from mine. The movie is different than I thought it would be.