money

365 Challenge: Day 325 – Monetize

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Monetize: convert into or express in the form of currency

wow

Today’s post is short as I am focused on editing Father Figure. As I was reading my overnight WordPress notifications, I noticed that somewhere around 4am while I was soundly sleeping, I reached 100,000 visits to my blog in the last 14 months. I’m a statistics and numbers guy, so this was very cool to learn. In the last few weeks, I received at least one email per week asking if I would consider linking my site to another company’s web page and allow some marketing graphics. In return, I’d receive income dependent upon any traffic directed to their site from my blog. This is what people refer to when they say monetize your blog. I’ve thought about it before, but ultimately, this blog is not something I ever want controlled by anyone else. If it’s only checking traffic and paying based on views and clicks, is there really an issue if WordPress already displays ads without my control?

I’m curious if anyone else has done this, had a positive or negative experience, or had any input and suggestions… my inclination is if I don’t have to do anything, it doesn’t impact anyone reading the blog unless they choose to click the marketing advertisement, and it is truly legitimate, maybe it’s worth it. I ask only because having small income streams from multiple sources without having to do a lot is helpful for an author in the beginning when trying to focus on writing but also needing to pay bills. It’s also important for me to decide how to position the blog when the 365 Daily Challenge is over in 41 days (5 1/2 weeks)! Will I post daily? Will I break the blog into a few different ones to focus on (a) books / reviews / author content, (b) my author website, and (c) general / inspiration / fun… or will I keep it as a single blog separate from my author page and have content be consistent by day, e.g. Mondays are writer updates, Wednesdays are inspirational messages, Fridays are Author Alerts, Sundays are book reviews, etc.

I welcome input on all these topics today. Thanks for your thoughts and ideas, or even just reading my posts. I’m grateful for everyone I’ve met in the last year & 100,000 visits.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 297 – Credit

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Credit: (a) publicly acknowledge someone as a participant in the production of something published or broadcast, (b) an entry recording a sum received, listed on the right-hand side or column of an account, or (c) the ability of a customer to obtain goods or services before payment, based on the trust that payment will be made in the future

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As I pulled up the covers last night, my mind focused on a few inspirational items from a book I finished over the weekend (review coming in the next 24 hours), all related to the word credit. I opened my phone, placed an entry for today’s log and went to sleep. When I woke up, I had my 365 Daily Challenge word for today — easy, huh? A few reasons this word appeals to me:

  1. None of us achieve our goals by ourselves. Someone is always supporting us, or providing advice, to help along the journey. Always give them credit.
  2. I’m a math guy, and so the concept of debits and credits are frequently on my mind. I once thought I’d be an accountant, but I decided I would rather manage my own finances than someone else’s. Who wants that responsibility? 😛
  3. I had my first credit card when I was 18, but I was scared to use it, even though I had jobs and could pay it off each month. Years later, I still always think twice before using it to make a purchase, even when it’s as simple as a cup of coffee. I’ve been trained to check my credit report a few times a year. When I did last week, the Internet stopped working for a few seconds, and it paused on a very low number. Picture that dial rising from 0 to 900, but stopping in the first quartile… I think I had a mini-stroke — at least until it refreshed itself and went back to where I expected it to be. Wow, that was a moment!
  4. I banked at a credit union instead of a bank for a long time. I never really saw any difference, but it meets the definition of today’s word. I don’t anymore, but why is everything so complicated! It’s money. Put it somewhere safe. Don’t call yourself tons of different names. 😛  (okay, that’s an exaggeration)
  5. Harry Truman said:
    • It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
    • Ain’t that the truth?

I’ve always tried to follow these guidelines, but I think as part of 2018, they should be more prevalent…  more on those thoughts coming in my review of that inspirational book I mentioned… maybe I should write the review while I’m thinking about it!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 289 – Charity

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Charity: an organization set up to provide help and raise money for those in need

charity

Earlier this month, I opened a poll for the 2017 Truth Award, where 12 wonderful bloggers were nominated for their gifts to me this year. After all the votes were tallied, Ryder announced the top 3 winners last week. I’ve mailed each winner her signed copy of my book with a special message from me, as well as a gift card where appropriate. In addition, all three winners picked a charity for me to donate money to in her name. Today’s post is all about being charitable around the holidays — you never know when someone may need a helping hand. I congratulate the winners, not only for being chosen by their peers, and picking three wonderful charities, but also for choosing to donate more on their own accord — that was very generous! Without further ado, the charities they picked are:

Nel – Animals

Noriko – Clean Water & Literacy

Mischenko – Children

I am working with each person to donate the money this week. Checks will either go to the winner, so she can send the money in her name, or if I can easily send it myself on her behalf, I will do that — the donations will be out in the mail by 12/31. Many thanks to all these wonderful bloggers for their charitable donations, both in heart and mind — including all of you who are donating time or money this holiday season. Finding time to volunteer helps those in need — both the volunteers and those receiving the gift.

Happy Holidays!

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Book Review: The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse

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4 out of 5 stars to The Art of Hiding, a family drama novel published in July 2017 and written by Amanda Prowse. I adored this book and am so glad I read it; let’s get right into the review.

hiding

Why This Book
A few months ago, I’d finished reading ‘The Idea of You,’ by this author. I really enjoyed the book, and when ‘The Art of Hiding’ showed up on my NetGalley feed, I had to request it. I forgot that they approved my request until last week, when I went to select whatever was next to be published as my next book to start reading. I’d been so busy writing my own novel, I missed the publish date for this one. So I quickly read it in 2+ days to get caught up.

Plot, Characters & Setting
Nina McCarrick, a mid-30s mother of two boys, 10 and 14, lives a wonderful life on a beautiful Southampton, England estate. That is, until her husband unexpectedly dies and she learns all was not what he’d been telling her. Suddenly losing her life high up on the hill, she’s forced to turn to all her friends and family for assistance. One person takes her in, helping re-build a life for both Nina and the boys. Nina begins to learn the difference between losing your own identity and being part of a married couple. Sometimes, it isn’t a good idea to give up control of all aspects of your life, as when it comes crashing down, you’ll have no idea what to expect.

Approach & Style
I read this novel through Kindle Reader on my iPad over the course of two and a half days. It is about 300 pages long, divided into 15 chapters, all told from Nina’s perpsective in third person point of view. The language is simple but meaningful; it reads itself as you feel immersed in the world Prowse has created for her readers. You could probably read this all in one day over 4 to 5 hours if you kept focused, and it would definitely be an enjoyable read.

Strengths
Prowse tells intricate family stories full of complexity and drama; not so much with everyone around the main characters, but within their small family unit. I felt the same way about one of her other books, and I’ve now come to realize this is her style; this is who the author is and what she excels at.

Nina is easy to relate with, given she is a new widow and has young boys to care for. She has no job, her skills are mostly outdated according to anyone she runs into. You immediately feel a strong connection with the woman, wanting to see her succeed. She’s a wonderful mother. She doesn’t sugarcoat the truth either. She dances around it a bit, hoping not to devastate her children, but she also knows hiding their situation will do more harm than good.

It’s not a suspense story, yet I only put it down because it was midnight and had to wake up early the next morning. You feel as though the events unfold right in your own living room as you are reading, and simply do not want to miss a moment of the beauty and pain inside this family.

Concerns
Very little with this book. It wasn’t a huge and amazing story that captures a tremendous amount of ground. It’s simple and thought-provoking. I felt it could have used a little more clarity around the death of the father and the days leading up to it. At the same time, it all came as a shock to Nina, so why shouldn’t it come as a shock to readers, too. But in the end, I would have connected a bit more strongly if I had some current history. Just a smidge.

On occasion, the relationship Nina had with others felt a bit fake. I thought it was necessary to the plot in some places, but it was a little too much in other places. Sometimes the balance between her being a lonely and hidden wife versus a lonely and hidden widow losing everything wasn’t as clear as I’d have liked it to be. A few extra paragraphs explaining how she interacted with her ‘friends’ before she became a widow might have helped give it more substance and a range between the two people she needed to be during the course of the book. I also think her ‘lows’ weren’t low enough, meaning she needed to struggle more in finding a job, not being able to pay bills. There was some of this impact, but a few things were a little too hunky dory for my taste.

Final Thoughts
Amanda Prowse is quickly becoming 1 of my top 10 favorite authors. I actually marked five more of her books as ‘to-read’ today since I’ve read two and given then both 4’s. I’m going to search NetGalley after I post this review to see if I can get my greedy little hands on more. This woman can really write stories that straddle that line between heartbreak and the promise of a better day.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 80 – Flashback

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Flashback: remembrance of an event from the past

Today’s word is “flashback,” and while it could be interpreted in so many ways, there is only one (1) for the purpose of the 365 Daily Challenge. One month ago, on the 48th day of the challenge, I posted about being generous and noted that we’d re-visit it at the end of May. You can see the post here — 365 Challenge: Day 48 – Generous. Can you believe it’s already the end of May?  Well it is… and I’m having a flashback!

My commitment was to practice what I preached in the post, by taking on two new suggestions that I blogged about that day. The list of suggestions covered pushing yourself to confront the four (4) areas of what was stopping you from being more generous: fear, laziness, unknowing and exhaustion.  From that list of 14 suggestions, the two I’ve followed through on were:

  1. Put a reminder in my calendar for 15 minutes every week to do something for someone else, not for me.
  2. Find something you love to do and share it with someone else who can’t easily do it on their own.

One is an action where I can do something physically and the other is blocking time on my calendar to remember to focus on being more generous. I opted for one in each category to give myself the opportunity to be open-minded and selective in however I follow through. So here’s my plan for starting in the month of June:

  1. Reminder is on my calendar for Thursday evenings from 7:30 until 7:45 PM. My assumption is once I’m done working and complete errands or working out that day, I’ll be home, showered and ready to do something that evening. I’ve got 15 minutes to think about how to be generous to someone on the upcoming weekend, whether it’s calling someone to catch up who maybe needs a positive memory, or scheduling an upcoming volunteer session. I picked Thursdays because it’s the end of the week and about to turn into a weekend where I have more free time. I avoided Friday, as after a full week of work, I need to go out or want to relax. And I picked the time because it’s when my day is over, right before I either order food for dinner, begin cooking or head out to a restaurant. 15 minutes for someone else before I focus on myself again.

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  1. I’ve picked two items to volunteer for… and waiting on my significant other’s input so it is something we can do together… although I know what will be picked:
    • Volunteer a couple of hours a month at a hospital or elder care facility to spend time with folks who maybe don’t have a lot of visitors. Either have a good conversation with them, play cards or board games… something to make their day a little bit different.  I’m open to suggestions on places in NYC if anyone knows of any?
    • Volunteer at a pet shelter to spend time with animals who don’t have anyone to take care of them. Or, maybe participate in a program where I can bring a dog home with me on a weekend to get them out every so often, but I’m not sure Ryder wants his space invaded (even tho he should be generous too!)… so… need to think this one thru.

dlg

The goal is to pick one of those in June after some research and start it in July. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please share.

I’d love to hear from you if you took on any of the suggestions or started your own way to be generous.

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Review: Washington Square

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Washington Square Book Review
4 out of 5 stars for Washington Square, a classic novel written in 1880 by Henry James. Henry James is my favorite American realistic period or classic novelist, and Washington Square is an example of why. This man can take a small situation and write 300+ pages all about it. And this is one of his shorter books. In this classic, the tale of the average woman, who is set to inherit a large sum of money, meets dashing man… but of course, he’s only after her money. She’s considered plain-looking. He’s considered ruthless. They couldn’t possibly be in love. And as you follow the course of their “romance,” you see what couples and relationships go through during the courting period… at least as it was 150 years ago. James is not shy when it comes to providing detailed descriptions of feelings and actions. You read his words as though you are in your head, thinking about choices and decisions for hours, then acting on them. This is a very direct story… commentary on the normal every day live, the differences between classes, the way in which women must act to find a husband, the efforts men go to so they can be free, the attitudes of society towards older women or those who are not considered great beauties. When you step away from this book, hopefully not too frustrated at the story being so basic and calm, you realize it’s a reflection on reality… on what actually was happening at the time. Who would accept it today? Who would tolerate being treated in such a manner? And where do you go when you end up a bit hopeless? Stories like this aren’t common nowadays, at least in this form. But when you put yourself into the time period, this is a true treasure.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: The Merchant of Venice

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The Merchant of Venice Book Review
3 of 5 stars to The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare. My review is an excerpt from a paper I wrote on appearance versus reality in Shakespeare’s plays. In many of William Shakespeare’s famous plays, reality was not quite what it appeared to be. Instead, it was a rather warped appearance that someone molded in a specific way for a particular reason. Reality has been altered in Shakespeare’s plays often by characters who have been known to lie, scheme, and create facades, just so that they could be with the ones they love. When fate intervened in this type of a situation and created an obstacle between the true loves, Portia, the main character in Merchant of Venice, disguised herself as a lawyer to free her love, Bassanio, from the evil Shylock’s clutches. She also altered reality by disguising herself to her husband so that she could see what their wedding rings meant to him. However, this deception, although intended for good purposes, usually ended in disaster. It just goes to show that honesty is always the best policy. Never deceive fate by changing reality, and interpreting [from it] a new appearance that you want other to see.

Portia had already been through an appearance vs. reality problem when it came to her potential suitor’s choosing of the caskets. They could choose from gold, silver, and lead. The first two appeared to be wonderful gifts from God, but in reality, the most worthless one, the lead, turned out to be the best coffin to pick. If you did, like one person did, you would win Portia’s hand in marriage. Luckily, the first two gentleman chose the wrong casket, and then when it came time for Bassanio to choose a casket, he chose the correct one. Thus, it lead to the marriage between Portia and Bassanio. Bassanio’s best friend Antonio, however, was in need of dire help. Portia decided to help her husband’s friend Antonio. Antonio had borrowed money from a man named Shylock to back Bassanio’s ships in the waters nearby. However, the ships never came back to port, and so Shylock wanted his money back from Antonio. The agreement that was made was that Shylock was due one pound’s flesh if he didn’t receive any money. Bassanio didn’t want to let his friend Antonio die from his debt, either. Eventually, Portia and her lady-in-waiting came up with a plan to disguise themselves and become a doctor and his clerk. This plan again alters reality to suit her own purpose. She needed to help her friend Antonio, so she put on a new appearance. She played the doctor who told Shylock he had permission to take his flesh from Antonio, but he best be careful not to shed any of Antonio’s blood during it, because that is illegal. Also, they revealed the Venetian law that states if any foreigner kills a Venetian, all of his money is to be taken from him. Shylock gives in and decides not to take his flesh from Antonio. In the end, Portia’s trickery and deceit works, but still, she had to disfigure the state of reality that Venice was in because she wanted to help her husband Bassanio.

Similarly, Portia decides to put on another disguise to test her husband’s loyalty. She again plays with the appearance of things and creates a false appearance like Juliet did in Romeo and Juliet. Portia, as the doctor talks to Bassanio about being paid for having saved Antonio’s life. Bassanio tires to give her money, but she refuses saying that all she wants is the ring on his hand. Bassanio thinks back to when it was given to him. Portia had said “I gave them with his ring, which when you part from, lose, or give away, let it presage the ruin of your love, and be my vantage to exclaim on you” (3.2.171-174). Bassanio had given her his word that he would never take it off. Well, after Portia, as the disguised man, chides Bassanio for keeping it because his woman told him to, Bassanio hands over the ring. When he later returns to Portia, she notices that his ring is gone and yells at him for it. She thinks he doesn’t love her and is reckless. All the while, Portia has set this whole game up to test her husband. Portia’s plays with reality for the fun of it really. She wants to be sure of her husband’s love for her, but she has no right to alter her appearance and trick him. He is a man of equal measure to her and everyone else.

Portia and Bassanio end up fighting about the loss, but Bassanio ends up vowing never to get rid of the ring again after she tells him what she did. She is constantly switching back and forth from reality, to her perception of it, to the perception she gives to others of reality that she eventually almost messes up the entire situation. Portia wasn’t altogether truthful with her husband with what she did. If she had been though, he would not have given the ring away. Therefore, by playing with the views others see of reality, particularly her husband’s, she tempts fate. If she had never done anything, her husband Bassanio and her wouldn’t have fought and they would have lived happily ever after. However, she doesn’t. They end up talking about it and forgiving each other, but surely there will always be doubt in the back of their minds about what the other is up to. Bassanio may wonder if she is just playing games with him, and Portia may wonder if he will really hold onto the ring for next time. Leave well enough alone and let fate and reality take their course rather than warp the appearance of things for your own purpose.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews