Posted in Blogs

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT BETA READERS AND LOVE THE PROCESS

My brilliant beta readers are the best that I could hope for, as a writer. I have the utmost respect and appreciation for them!

You see, they’re not afraid to tell me what they do or don’t like and what does or doesn’t work in my story. Thankfully, they don’t mind having to answer more questions once their work is complete. They see it as an ongoing project they’re helping to shape. They not only provide feedback, but they’ll also catch the occasional typo or inconsistency, and let me know when a transition didn’t go as smoothly as it should have. And, believe it or not, they do this for free!

What I’ve gotten in the way of beta readers has been ideal, I’ll admit, but there are guidelines that help in choosing the right beta readers. And while most of them don’t charge, you’re entitled to have higher expectations if they do.

What’s important to note is, you’re not hiring a beta reader simply to proofread. You can hire an actual proofreader for that. I have several people look over the work for that purpose, including my editor.

You’re not hiring a beta reader to edit your work either. You absolutely need a professional editor for that, no matter how good of an editor you are or how qualified your beta reader may be in suggesting edits.

You don’t want a beta reader who will come back with, “I like it. Everything’s good.” A sentence or a small paragraph of feedback is not going to help much.

Writers are sometimes to blame for that. Many of them get pissed at beta readers for giving their honest opinions, but if you think you can do no wrong, you will get nowhere. We’re not perfect. Mastering our craft is an ongoing thing, and if we’re doing it right, then we continue to grow as writers. Some may say, “But I am the writer, and they are just readers.” Forget that word “just.” Readers are everything! It is the reader you want to appeal to, and it’s their feedback you are requesting. We always benefit by listening and learning. There are a lot of great writers out there. We can’t kid ourselves, thinking we are beyond any competition.

Yeah, we can get a little stubborn about certain things. I’ve found that I can be stubborn, too, so it helps if I give myself time to process what my beta reader is saying. Ultimately, I’ll be able to see their point and let go of what I’d been holding onto so tenaciously. We can be biased, and, no matter what, it’s personal, and so we can have tunnel vision. We need to ask ourselves, “Why is this so important to me? What’s going on here?” Sometimes I engage in a debate with the beta reader, and he or she will convince me that it needs to be a certain way. It may turn out that they see my point, or that it results in a compromise, but we have to be open to omitting or changing things. It’s good to have people who are not going to get upset with you or you with them. It takes a level of maturity on both parts and an ability to set ego aside.

On the other hand, if you’re hiring someone just to validate that you wrote a perfect book, that’s a different thing entirely.

As for me, in searching for the right beta, I also look for people who may be particularly helpful for what I’m writing. I do a ton of research (probably too much), but for my current work-in-progress, I’m interested in cops, detectives, veterans, people who’ve lived in or traveled to Spain, and people who grew up in the Bronx. I like to have both male and female readers because I love appealing to both audiences. I have three beta readers now and can take on one or two more.

Your beta readers are part of your team. At the very least, I like to thank them in the published book’s acknowledgements section and provide them a free signed copy.

My beta readers help me write a better story, and that’s what you always want—a better story.

Posted in Blogs

HAPPY SURVIVAL: THE TRUTH ABOUT LIFE AFTER TRAUMA

People run from life in many ways. We can want a hug so desperately and yet recoil from it. We can crave love more than anything and build fortresses to keep it away. There’s this idea that the more bridges we burn, the harder it will be to go back to the things that caused us pain. Sometimes, that is true, but, at the same time, we keep looking for that place where we belong, and, in some situations, trying almost too hard to fit in, until we accept, with a great deal of shame, that we need to move on. Reaching out to people is overwhelming and terrifying, but we try it, and when we feel unheard, we vanish again. So many goodbyes––until we don’t want to do the relationship thing anymore or the intimacy thing or ask anyone for help or love or whatever the hell we need. Intimacy doesn’t seem worth any of that, and we lose interest. We shut down, close our doors for business, and thrive in our safe, predictable worlds.

We wonder if we are crazy, but people tell us only sane people question their sanity. Sometimes we think we’re monsters, but we come to learn that monsters feel no guilt, no shame, and no love. We do love, from a distance and we absorb the world’s pain.

In my twenties and beyond, I kept changing my name, my hair color, my address, my phone number, my job–you name it. It was as if I couldn’t run fast enough, couldn’t hide in a safe enough place. Without realizing it, I was running away from the trauma of childhood and teen years.

At some point in the healing process, something tells you that you don’t need to hide anymore. You don’t need to run, so you try not to. What’s unsettling is how far you can come in your healing and still get thrown back there in a heartbeat.

Progress can seem slow, but it keeps happening. I’m not a patient person, but I’ve learned to be patient about healing. I’ve had to, and I love healing because I’ve reaped its rewards. Often, I look back and ask myself, “How did I survive, being such an idiot for most of my life?” That may seem harsh, but in light of how far I’ve come, it makes sense. We can’t fix what we don’t know is broken. We can’t benefit from learning the truth about ourselves until we feel safe in rejecting the lies.

As survivors, we want this healing for everyone while needing to learn, too, that people are only ready when they’re ready. And it’s painful when we love people who need desperately to heal but remain trapped in their fear. Sometimes we wish we could absorb every bit of their agony; even it means holding on to all of it ourselves because we know we can handle it. We have.

We can’t get stuck in that inability to forgive either. It’s understandable because we witness so much unnecessary cruelty toward ourselves and others, and we don’t know what to do with that. For instance, how do you come to terms with the fact that someone willfully tried to destroy another person, or that person’s reputation, or his or her life, that they did everything in their power to annihilate another human being?

What I realized, quite a long time ago, is that revenge and punishment are not up to me. Divine retribution happens without the least bit of my help—no matter how we interpret divinity and even if we are divinity in the sense that we represent it in the universe. It works that way because we can’t destroy people without destroying ourselves. If it’s destruction we want, it’s destruction we’ll get, and it’s never one-sided.

A better solution is to keep following our path and goals and  let go of the burdens people give us to hold. The weight comes from feelings of not belonging or being worthy and accepted as we are. It comes from others mischaracterizing us or our actions to suit their agendas and punishing us for not being who they need us to be, not wanting what they require us to want.

We have to find our own happily ever after. It’s undoubtedly not the same for everyone, and that’s another place we can get stuck—wanting what we don’t have and realizing it’s not even what we want but what we think we’re supposed to want and have. Most people want to find that special someone, get that dream house and job. From the time I was eight years old, what I wanted was different—maybe, in some ways, the opposite of what everyone else wanted. It took me a while to realize that I have everything I’d ever wanted or needed in my life and, while I may have moments of feeling sad for another or sad for the world, I am happy.

One thing I’ve always known is to never give up. It does get better, a little at a time, but it gets so much better. Our survival not only gives hope to others but sharing our experiences allows us to help in their healing. We help each other, yes, and we give each other the love that’s been so hard for us to ask for or accept.

I’m not a religious type, but the prayer below has always been my favorite. It can certainly get you through it. ❤️

Copyright © Kyrian Lyndon November 2018

Feature photo credit: unsplash-logoSaffu

Posted in Blogs

ANNOUNCEMENT! NEW MAGAZINE!

 

Brave Wings is a new online magazine that focuses on the human condition—whatever we experience in life that helps us learn, grow, and evolve. Sharing perspectives about healing and empowerment can be exciting and helpful, but we also want to provide entertainment and fun while sharing the beauty of creativity.

Some of the topics we will cover:

Adversity, anxiety, artist(s), authors, books, writing (editing tips and experiences), childhood, classic literature, codependency, compassion, creativity, depression, dreams, ego, evolving, feeling unworthy, fiction pieces and excerpts, fun, giving back, gratitude, grief, growing, healing, hope, humanity, humility, humor, inspiration, interviews, judgment, learning, letting go, life, loss, love, mental health, narcissism, oppression, panic attacks, parenting, passion, poetry, politics, prejudice, reading and reviews, recovery from addiction and trauma, relationships, religion, romance, sadness, self-sabotage, self-care and self-love, shame, stigma, stress, and tolerance.

For entertainment, we are interested in short stories and book series (all genres). We’re interested in humor.

For creativity, we may be interested in photos, handmade products, something that showcases your talent.

Content for submission will include blogs, videos, audios, slideshows, and photographs. Please see the submissions page for instructions on how to submit!

We will not pay for submissions at this time. However, we will always share your work on our social media sites, and we encourage all contributors to share magazine contents submitted by others on their social media sites. Helping one another with exposure is what will make this site work.

In addition, we will provide the following for all contributors to the magazine:

A listing in the contributor section, where more information (links, etc.) will be added with each contribution. The most frequent contributors may also have a few of their books, products, or recommendations in the listing.

The opportunity by contributors to submit news that provides opportunities for artistic communities, as well as their own business events and significant personal news, all of which we will share on our social media sites.

Access to the chat room (as a moderator, if they prefer), and the ability to hold monitored topic meetings to promote their talent/business.

For those privileges, you must be a regulator contributor. There are no deadlines. However, you must have contributed at least twice with acceptance and publication.

We do intend to have a community that includes a discussion forum and chat room where we can present topics hosted by contributors.

Our Announcement page will provide news of available opportunities within the artistic communities, including contests and contributor events.

We will post book reviews that are submitted by contributors, but we don’t assign books for review.

We will post interviews by our contributors if they are relative to our platform. If you feel you are a good candidate for an interview, contact us at submissions@bravewingsmag.com.

If this venture is a success, we may eventually monetize and pay for content.

For those interested in getting involved, we may also need editors, site moderators, group moderators, page moderators, etc. who will have contributor status. Those most involved will be given domain e-mail addresses for the magazine. We have four more available, so if you love this idea, the opportunity is there to get as involved as you’d like.

Another thing I’m tossing around is whether we’ll have a group or newsletter for interested parties, so please, please, weigh in with your thoughts about everything! All suggestions are welcome!

Please visit our site at Bravewings.mag.com, and feel free to follow or subscribe.

Please like us on Facebook and connect with us on Twitter!

Photo by KH Koehler Design

Posted in Blogs

I CAN NEVER AGAIN FORGET TO BE GRATEFUL

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Feature photo by Carli Jeen

Years ago, I thought I had accepted that life was unfair. Coming to terms with that somehow unburdened me. It cured me forever of the “why me’s.” What it didn’t seem to cure me of, however, is the “why anyone?” With countless people suffering all over the world, I have spent the past couple of years feeling anxious, feeling frustrated.

I’ve come to realize that no matter how much I hurt for the world, I must acknowledge that I really am one of the luckiest people alive. I love my life. I love what I do. I have everything I need and more than enough of what I want.

I have to remember that, no matter what is going on.

So here is a just a short list of reasons I am grateful. I decided to share it because so many of us are trying to find some peace in this challenging time.

I am grateful to everyone I have ever known, and what they have taught me.

I am grateful for the forgiveness that brings peace and second chances.

I am grateful for solutions.

I am grateful for change.

I am grateful for truth.

I am grateful for freedom.

I am grateful for all our heroes, warriors, and survivors.

I give thanks for everyday pleasures.

I am grateful for all the beauty that surrounds me.

I am grateful for home.

I am grateful for people to cherish in my life.

I am grateful for this moment.

I am grateful for imperfection, silliness, and madness.

I am grateful for fantasy and imagination.

I am grateful for kindness, for hugs, and for all the love and light in the universe.

I am grateful because there is something beautiful in everyone.

I am grateful to be alive, to have this day.

I am grateful for fond memories of childhood that overshadow the painful ones.

I am grateful for increasing clarity and for having been ready to heal.

I am grateful for all I have been able to resolve internally, for the darkest moments, and rising from every fall.

I am grateful for the realization that my ego was my worst enemy and distorted my perception.

I am grateful for learning from my mistakes, for being able to work through the tough stuff.

I am grateful that I am not bitter.

I am grateful for not giving up, for hanging in there until it was okay.

I am grateful for laughter.

I am grateful for all the learning and evolving.

I am grateful for the beaten dragons.

I am grateful for finding my truth and my voice.

I am grateful for letting go of unworthiness, for self-respect, and learning to stand up for myself.

I am grateful for learning how to be strong, how to share joy, for having learned to trust my instincts and myself.

I am grateful for defying limitations.

I am grateful for the desire to grow finally exceeding my desire to hold on, for the strength and courage to let go of the things that weighed me down.

I am grateful for the doors that opened for me and the doors that, after teaching me what I needed to learn, closed behind me.

I am grateful for the shedding of masks and my embracing of authenticity.

I am grateful for the ability to see people and things as they are, including myself.

I am grateful for being able to see things from another’s point of view.

I am grateful for the ability to feel empathy and witness the empathy of others.

I am grateful for the amazing struggle that is life.

I am grateful for the ability to keep learning, for all the opportunities to be better and do better, and for all these reasons to smile.

Lastly, I am thankful to those who care about my journey and what I have to say. Thank you for reading and for listening to me.

To those who are struggling, I walked through fire to get here, and I am still walking. Don’t you give up!

Every bit of gratitude brings hope.

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© Copyright November 9, 2017 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

 

Posted in Blogs, Radio Podcasts

THANKSGIVING MESSAGE

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By luck, I have always had plenty of food and water. I have not had to experience the extreme oppression that is prevalent in other parts of the world. I have warmth. I have more clothing than I will ever need.

As if that is not enough, I have much more.

I am grateful that the passion in my heart lives on; that I can wake up every day and do what I love. I am grateful for the privilege of sharing what I love with the world.

I am thankful for people to cherish, people who need me and believe in me, people I can also believe.

I am grateful for all our heroes, warriors, and survivors.

I wish everyone could have what he or she needs, feel safe, and have the same rights. Therefore, I am grateful for people who spread peace, help others, help animals, help the planet and stand up for justice.

I am grateful for everyone I have ever known, and what they taught me.

I am grateful for forgiveness that brings peace and second chances.

I am grateful for solutions.

I am grateful for freedom.

I am grateful for change.

I am grateful for truth.

I give thanks for everyday pleasures—writers and books, music, art, dancing.

I am grateful for the sun, the clouds, and all the beauty that surrounds me.

I am grateful for home.

I am grateful for this moment.

I am grateful for imperfection, silliness, and madness.

I am grateful for fantasy and imagination.

I am grateful for kindness, for hugs and all the love and light in the universe.

I am grateful because there is something beautiful in everyone.

I am grateful to be alive, to have this day.

I am grateful for fond memories of childhood that overshadow the painful ones.

I am grateful for eighteen years of sobriety, for increasing clarity and for having been ready to heal.

I am grateful for all I have been able to resolve internally, for the darkest moments and rising from every fall.

I am grateful for the realization that my ego was my worst enemy and distorted my perception.

I am grateful for learning from my mistakes, for being able to work through the tough stuff.

I am grateful that I am not bitter.

I am grateful for not giving up, for hanging in there until it was okay.

I am grateful for laughter.

I am grateful for all the learning and evolving.

I am grateful for the beaten dragons.

I am grateful for finding my truth and my voice.

I am grateful for letting go of unworthiness, for self-respect and learning to stand up for myself.

I am grateful for learning to love myself as I am, for letting myself become kinder, learning to love deeply and be there for others.

I am grateful for learning how to be strong, how to share joy, for having learned to trust my instincts and myself.

I am grateful for defying limitations, for not shrinking to please others.

I am grateful for the desire to grow finally exceeding my desire to hold on, for the strength and courage to let go of the things that weighed me down.

I am grateful for the surviving child in me, for my strong wings, for doors opening for me and for the ones that closed behind me after teaching me what I needed to learn.

I am grateful for the shedding of masks and my embracing of authenticity.

I am grateful for the ability to see people and things as they are, including me.

I am grateful for being able to see things from another’s point of view.

I am grateful for the ability to feel empathy and witness the empathy of others.

I am grateful for the amazing struggle that is life.

I am grateful for the ability to keep learning, for all the opportunities to be better and do better, and for all these reasons to smile.

I am grateful because I have everything I need.

Lastly, I am thankful to those who care about my journey and who care what I have to say. Thank you for reading and listening to me.

To those who are struggling, I walked through fire to get here, and I am still walking. Don’t you give up!

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Happy Thanksgiving to all!
 

© Copyright October, 2014 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.