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Book Review – The Face of Death by Cody McFadyen

Reading and editing for a living, I’ve waded through a lot of books. It’s been a long time since a book grabbed me, drew me into the story, and kept me turning pages. The Face of Death, by Cody McFadyen not only grabbed me, but it took me by the collar and dragged me across the pages, while keeping me on the edge of my seat.

Written in first person, from the point of view of our protagonist, Smoky Barret, a battered and beaten but not broken FBI special agent, the reader gets a glimpse inside Smoky’s head, listening in on her thoughts. There is a very intimate feeling to the relationship between reader and Smoky.

This book stumbles into Smoky’s life about a year after she lost her husband, daughter and good friend at the hands of a serial killer, and nearly lost her own life too. Left with the emotional and physical scars–ones on her face for all to see–Smoky is trying to pick up the pieces of her life while moving forward in her job and becoming mom to her dead friend’s now mute daughter, Bonnie.

Once the reader has a handle on Smoky’s world, Smoky is called to the scene of a crime, where a sixteen-year-old, blood-covered Sarah asks for her by name. Soon, the reader is pulled into a new story, third person from Sarah’s point of view, written by Sarah. The reader is exposed to it while Smoky reads it.

This back and forth between Smoky’s thoughts and Sarah’s story is skillfully woven through the pages of the book. Sarah has been targeted by a serial killer, who considers himself an ‘artist’ who is shaping and molding Sarah’s life as a work of art–A Ruined Life–by killing most everyone Sarah could possible love, and hurting or damaging those in her life he does not kill. For ten years, Sarah lives with the horror alone.

Smoky’s job is to outwit the ‘The Stranger’ in Sarah’s life, unveil the corruption and reasons ‘The Stranger’ is doing what he considers justice, and keep everyone Sarah knows and loves alive, and with any luck, sane too.

Packed with action, a bit of blood and gore, and plenty of suspense, there were only two things that bothered me about this book that will prevent it from getting a five star rating: 1) McFadyen has Smoky revealing in dialogue to other officers things even a rookie should know (likely for the sake of the reader). It interfered with my ability to suspend disbelief. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen often. 2) The scene in which The Stranger killed Sarah’s parents, and the manner in which The Stranger creates that scene, in my opinion, loses integrity. I simply cannot bring myself to believe Sarah’s mother would respond the way McFadyen, through Sarah, says she did.

The story ends with a small twist, ties up all loose ends skillfully, answers any questions the reader might have had while reading, and brings some humor and happiness back to story. No, it’s not a perfect happily-ever-after ending, but it’s real, honest… life.

The Face of Death, by Cody McFadyen left me wanting more, and I have already decided I will be reading and reviewing the next Smoky Barret book, The Darker Side. The Face of Death receives a 4 1/2 out of a possible five-star rating from this reviewer. Good book, highly recommended.

Source by Michelle L Devon


Tips to Pass a Talent Show Audition – What to Prepare and Practice

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Talent shows are always popular on television and even in schools and different organizations. Not only that, joining talent shows is a great stepping stone in having a career in show business, thus many are flocking to wherever there is a talent show audition in the hope of being discovered by talent managers and eventually get into the world of show business.


Probably the most popular talent shows nowadays are singing competitions, which often cause a sensation on televisions. They are the talent shows greatly desired by most people especially that they give the greatest exposure and the biggest chance to get into stardom. If you are aiming for these great competitions of talent, do not hesitate to participate in talent shows – may it be small or just within your hometown. These for sure will enhance your talent and you will be equipped to face a bigger talent show audition in the future.


The Right Choice of Song


You might have heard it over and over from American Idol judges when they get to criticize the contestant’s song choice. Indeed, there are songs that fit the quality of your voice or your personality and it is always wise to pick a song that highlights your talent. Of course, you have to consider the pitch and the range of your voice if it matches with your song choice. As a singer, you should learn know your voice and learn what songs fit your voice quality.


At times, the lyrics of your chosen song matters, although sometimes people may seem to not pay attention to the lyrics, but when you are in a talent show audition, trying to impress the judges, do not impress them with a song having vulgar or sexually explicit words. You could be giving them a hint to send you home.


What to Practice


Even if you have the right song or audition piece, do not go to a talent show audition unprepared. Practice your piece before trying to impress other people. You can hire a vocal coach or trainer to help you with your song. Also prepare another alternate song in case you are asked to sing another piece, and practice it too. Do not only practice your song but practice your overall performance – the way you move on stage, your gestures, how to establish eye contact and how to get that connection with your audience.


What to Prepare


Prepare your vocal chords before the audition. Do not push your voice to its limits until it will be all gone on the day of the auditions. Have a good rest before the auditions so you will get the energy level you need for your audition. Prepare your self. Your outfit will also be a factor in talent show auditions, so dress appropriately. Be presentable. With a great talent and appealing look, you could be the total package they are looking for. Talent show auditions can be nerve-wracking as you watch other performers go on stage. Be prepared to be confident and just think about enjoying the performance while giving your best. 

Source by Carolyn Anderson


Book Review – Selling Retail – Book One by John Lawhon

John F. Lawhon, one of the highest paid retail salespeople in America has written a two part course in the art of retail selling.

If I were to try to get through this as quickly as possible, I could simply say that Mr. Lawhon’s first book in this series is based mostly on two premises. To be successful, a retail salesperson should:

A. Be able to recognize the customer’s true needs, and

B. Be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary not only to meet those needs but to aid the customer in realizing what his or her needs really are.

Mr. Lawhon presents the case that good, i.e. professional, successful, and highly paid sales people, will work on achieving these two goals. Those who enter the profession of sales without learning these skills and adopting this attitude will merely become “order takers” who will never achieve the potential presented by a retail sales position. In short, Mr. Lawhon believes that most top-notch and truly successful sales professionals are NOT born, but achieve success through learning and practice.

Mr. Lawhon draws on the lessons of his own years of selling furniture, and an extensive body of personal research to make and/or illustrate his points. For example, he explains why the approach to the customer is so important, and he also explains HOW to make that approach…and why. He believes that each approach to a customer should be made in a genuinely cheerful manner thus beginning to break through the wall erected by so many customers. He then believes in establishing communication with the customer, both in order to “break the ice further’ and to open up genuine lines of communication as well.

This opening and widening of communication is crucially important, because it is through this that the truly competent sales person will begin learning about the customer and his or her needs. As pointed out above, it is this recognition of the customer’s needs which will allow the sales professional to begin illustrating and applying the knowledge and skill which will be the “tools of the trade” by which the sales professional will be able to help the customer find the product which will actually meet their real needs rather than some product which will only partially provide the satisfaction they are seeking.

In order to guide the reader through the entire process of retail selling, or at least those parts covered in this first book, Mr. Lawhon has divided his book into three major sections:

I. Revelations

In this section, the author reveals 11 basic principles which will be of value to the reader. Many of these appear to be taken from the author’s own experiences and he makes wide use of story telling and parable to illustrate the various points.

In one chapter, for example (Old Ugly Was a Dog), he explains that beauty IS MOST CERTAINLY in the eye of the beholder. He uses the example of how he taught his sales staff to sell what most considered to be a hideous sofa by simply getting them to understand that there would still be some people who would consider it to be perfect and that for those people, the sofa would sell itself without their assistance, but that they could LOSE THE SALE by overtly or tacitly expressing their opinion on the beauty, or lack of it, of a piece of furniture (in this case) until the customer had expressed his or her opinion.

Having used the story of old ugly to make a basic point, he then elaborates by pointing out various lessons which can be learned from this one simple story. In this case, for example, he explains that until you know what the customer needs and wants, including their perception of “beauty”, you may be trying to sell them something that they do not see the same way you do. This is extremely counterproductive as it is easier to sell someone something they DO like rather than to try to get them to like something well enough to buy it if they do not really care for it.

II. The Groups of Knowledge

Based on his personal experience, Mr. Lawhon believes that a top notch sales professional should have five groups of knowledge at his or her fingertips.

* Knowledge of their products and those of their competitors.

* Knowledge of their inventory and that of their competitors.

* Knowledge of their advertising and that of their competitors.

* Knowledge of their credit plan and that of their competitors.

* Knowledge of their policies and that of their competitors.

Using the fact that 75% of sales are made by 25% of the sales people, the author explains and elaborates on how proficiency in these five areas can help put the reader into the 25% who are making most of the sales! He also shows how being able to accurately assess and satisfy the customer’s needs by means of these five groups of knowledge, will allow the salesperson to more accurately and successfully achieve the goal of achieving actual customer satisfaction and making a sale of the right item to the right person with minimum effort during the sales process itself.

Within this section, the author also gives substantial advice on how to go about acquiring the five groups of knowledge.

III. Selling Techniques

Having previously laid down an overview of some general philosophies on selling, in this final section, the author actually begins to give instructions on the selling process itself, focusing on greeting and approaching the customer, qualifying their wants and needs, and making the selection of the product(s) which should satisfy those wants and needs.

At the very end of this book, and in preparation for Book Two of “Selling Retail”, Mr. Lawhon makes a few valuable points.

He states simply that once you have acquired the five groups of knowledge, greeted the customer, qualified their needs and wants, and made a selection to present to them, the selling has STILL not yet begun…and that is the subject of Book Two.

Source by Donovan Baldwin


Prewriting Benefits and a Warning

Prewriting is one of the most important stages of the writing process, in addition to revision. Unfortunately, many beginning (and some advanced) writers don’t spend enough time on these activities, and so the writing is more difficult than it needs to be.

Prewriting involves all the activities needed to prepare for the first draft, starting with that first flash of a book idea, all the way to a complete outline. The prewriting process (at least as I have experienced it) has several steps, each with a few techniques that make the step easier to get through.

So why not just start typing after that first flash of an idea?

Only in the movies does a writer do that. Remember Chevy Chase in Funny Farm (1988)? He had what he thought was a great idea for a novel. He sat down at the typewriter, typed “Chapter 1” and stared at the typewriter, at a loss for his first sentence. He hadn’t done his prewriting. He finally figured it out and produced (in my view, based on the thickness of the manuscript and his wife’s reaction) a paltry attempt at a novel, more of a novella than anything else.

Chase’s character eventually gives up on the novel and becomes a sports writer. I wonder, as a writer and teacher, whether he gave up because he didn’t understand the writing process, or whether he simply wasn’t cut out as a novelist. He seems happy as a sports writer, so the movie does have a happy ending.

Prewriting is a vital part of the writing process. In approximate sequence within the prewriting process, some of the benefits of prewriting are as follows:

* Prewriting can be a lot of fun. Anything is possible at this point. You have your wonderful book idea, still fuzzy and vague but with great possibilities. Your ideas can be freewheeling, even idiotic. It doesn’t matter. Just keep brainstorming, playing with ideas, collecting resources and notes, doing all the activities needed to finish this stage of the writing process.

The only restriction at this point (unless you place more on yourself) is your need or requirement to stick close to the original vision for the book, but even that restriction is false. Your original idea will rarely match the finished product. I know that’s hard to read, but that’s been my experience. Of course, my books are often better, more complicated than the original idea. The vagueness of the vision allows you to begin work on the idea, so you can create the book you are intended to write.

Detours and weird ideas can often lead to gemstones for your book, whether with the content, organization, or whatever. At this point, your book can go in many directions. Explore them all until you hit upon the one that feels right. “Ah, ha! That’s what I’m going to write.”

2. You can work out the true purpose of the book, playing with alternatives until you find the one that’s right for you and for the reader. What benefits are you looking for as the writer? What benefits are you hoping to give the reader? Make sure your book addresses these purposes.

3. You can find out more about your readers (a.k.a. target market, audience). This exploration is part of your research about your competition. You probably know a lot about them because you were one of them, having been a beginner once yourself. Or you might be aiming at a difference audience, in which case, you’ve got some work to do.

In your exploration of your readers, you can play around with additional audiences you might want to address. Address different age groups, or education levels, or levels of proficiency with the topic. Do you want to write for adults who are beginners in your field, or practitioners? Brainstorm all the possibilities for all these variables. You might find that the alternatives present other book projects you can tackle, once this first book is done. Heck, create an entire industry or franchise out of your book idea, aiming each book at a different audience.

4. You get to plan the book to best meet the needs of your readers. You get to play around with different organizational strategies for the entire book and for each chapter. You get to think about different features for the chapters. You can even play around with cover design.

5. You get to do preliminary research, as much as you need to finish the first draft, or at least as much as you think you need at this point.

If you are passionate about your topic (that’s most important), then doing more reading on the topic should be sheer delight. Remember that eventually you will have to write your own book, so don’t get lost in the research.

Give yourself a time limit for the research, after which you’ll add research questions to your Research Questions List, to be done during revision.

6. You can easily evaluate new ideas that come flooding into your mind (and they will). Does the idea fit your present vision for the book? If you use the idea, will this new idea drastically change the book? Is that change good or bad? If good, where does the idea fit into your present outline or vision for the book?

7. By the end of the process, you’ll have a full outline of the book (if you use my process). With that outline, you’ll be able to see the whole project at a glance. Spread the outline across your desk and examine your creation. With this outline, you’ll be able to detect:

– inadequate organization of the ideas,

– gaps in ideas and content,

– whether you have one book or two

– whether a chapter will become a monster, which needs to be cut down to size right now, before you begin drafting. (This result also happens with drafting, but you’ll deal with that later.)

8. Prewriting allows you to write the first draft more easily because you know what you want to write at each writing session.

9. Prewriting increases your confidence in yourself as a writer and about your book idea. You’ll be able to determine if the project has merit, and if you’ll be able to finish the project and actually write that book.

A Warning

The one warning about prewriting is that you can become so fascinated by this stage (it really is fun), that you don’t actually move past it to create the first draft, and then on to (oh, no) revision. Writers have a tendency to spend too much time here and never leave.

Allow about 25% of your project’s schedule to do prewriting. This is the time that works for me. If you have extensive research to do (which you shouldn’t, at least not for an early book in your career) then allow more time, say 30 to 35% of the time. But then move on and write the first draft.

Prewriting is the first stage of writing for any nonfiction work, an important stage because it allows your time with the rest of the project to be easier than if you’re stumbling around in the dark.

Good luck with your book.

Source by Katherine Ploeger


The Invisible Father: Reversing the Curse of a Fatherless Generation

In 1985, my high school journalism instructor encouraged me to take the time to research the statistics and overall impact of absentee fatherhood. She knew that I had never met my father and that I was struggling to come to grips with the matter. She had a lot of faith in me as a young man who had the intelligence and drive to elevate myself in a manner that would afford me the opportunity to escape a life of poverty and mediocrity, which was rapidly becoming the norm in my neighborhood. However, she knew that the impact of not knowing my father could easily derail me.

She felt that confronting the issue on my terms would give me the platform I needed to take control over the demons that were haunting me. She was also married to my football coach and the both of them understood my plight and took an interest in me that carried beyond the football field or the classroom. I am grateful to this day. To Coach and Mrs. Leonard, I say, “Thank you!”

Needless to say that I conducted the necessary research and subsequently wrote a full length article on the subject which spawned a life long journey to understand the massive impact that absentee fatherhood has on social culture as a hole.

I don’t know if there has ever been a time that men have been so far offline with their destinies. I cannot recall at any time during my life or in recorded history in which an entire generation had been so negatively impacted by the wayward movement of the very ones entrusted with their care.

Men have come to a point in time in which they have found in an appropriate measure to procreate and abandon their progeny. Even Christian men have fallen away in the way of responsibility.

As a minister I felt compelled to address this epidemic of absentee fathers. The bible speaks clearly about a man that avoids honoring his filial responsibilities.

If anyone fails to provide for his relatives, and especially for those of his own family, he has disowned the faith [by failing to accompany it with fruits] and is worse than an unbeliever [who performs his obligation in these matters]. (1 Tim. 5:8 AMP)

Unfortunately, we as men have abdicated our God ordained positions as protectors, providers and leaders. We have become consumed in our selfishness. In the process, we have left an entire generation to fend for themselves without any manly guidance or supervision. To exacerbate the matter, we continue on claiming to be men of the faith with the slightest inkling that we are in our selfishness giving the faith a black eye.

I have dubbed this epidemic of fatherlessness IFS (The Invisible Father Syndrome). IFS is one of the most devastating forces present in today’s society. We are dealing with a generation of youth that are lost without identities and living in the absence of self-worth. If we don’t take action right now we will find that this nation will fade into the abyss of moral decay.

“But if anyone does not provide for his own and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Tim 5: 8

This scriptural sets forth the scriptural passage that men have God-ordained responsibility to family and especially those in their home (i.e. their wife and children). I have experienced the devastating force of IFS and can testify to its implacable grip.

Where is my father? Why isn’t he here? Does he love me? These are only a few of the questions that flowed constantly through my mind as a young child. See, I never knew my father; the first time I saw my father was at his funeral. I remember it as if it were yesterday. As the coffin descended into the ground, any possible chance of a long desired relationship with my father vanished before my eyes. I was fourteen then. For the majority of my life I have battled many demons in an attempt to come to grips with the fact that I have never and will never know my father. The finality of the moment engraved the pain into my heart.

After my father’s death, I convinced myself that I was fine. I told myself that I could do just fine without my father, but reality said different. Although I was reared by my great-grandparents and provided with a loving and nurturing environment, I could not shake the heartache of not knowing who my father was or better yet, not having an understanding of why my father chose not to be a part of my life. Although I was immensely precocious as a child, I still lacked the capacity to apprehend the circumstances that surrounded me. I searched in so many ways to gain an understanding of how a person could father a child and not have the slightest concern as to their well-being. Through my siblings and other family members, I have come to learn a great deal about my father which in many ways has served to baffle me even. When you have dealt with that kind of pain, you develop a certain image of the person who is at the center of your pain. The problem is my father; by the account of others was not a bad person. This served to only further frustrate me because it left the same question as before. Why?

I mentioned the fact that I was reared by my great-grandparent, both of whom have since gone to be with the Lord; my grandfather in 1992 and my grandmother in 2010. As nurturing as my grandparents were, not even they were able to totally eradicate the pain I felt due to my father’s absence.

The one thing I am most grateful to my grandparents for is introducing me to Christ. Through the constant intake of Biblical Doctrine and consistent hands on teaching, I developed a personal relationship with Christ, which is the true foundation of Christianity. The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way it should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:6). My grandparents lived and functioned daily under this principle.

My personal relationship with Christ has empowered me to move past the pain and difficulty of not knowing my earthly father; it has allowed me to have access to my heavenly Father, which provides me with the strength and stability to victoriously endure the vicissitudes of life.

Unfortunately, my situation is by no means an anomaly in today’s society. The past few decades has witnessed an exponential increase of fatherless homes. As men, we have found it acceptable to procreate and then abandon our progeny. The once inherent sense of pride and responsibility fathers had in and for their offspring has been replaced by an enormous and perpetual state of irresponsibility. Far too frequently mothers have been forced to assume the responsibility of taking on dual roles in the home.

I, as so many others, am a casualty of the “Invisible Father Syndrome”. I stand as empirical evidence of the adverse affects of living in lack of an earthly father. The aforementioned statement is not meant to be implicit that the absence of a father dooms one to failure, because there are many examples of children who grew up without a father’s presence, yet ascended to greatness. I too overcame, However, I can attribute every success and every victory to my relationship with Christ, my Lord and Savior.

As we move forward, I will attempt to address the crisis of absentee fathers from its origin to the only solution; surrender of every man to the will of God, taking his place as leader, provider, protector, qualifier, and habilitator.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

Unfortunately, we have fallen short in this ethereal journey. We are called to be the leaders, the examples by which a lost world will be transformed. According to 1 Peter 2:9, we are God’s special and chosen people, yet we have hardly distinguished ourselves from unbelievers. When I say that we are to distinguish ourselves from unbelievers, I do not mean that it should be done in a condescending fashion, but in a way that illuminates and reveals the life of a true Christian. A Christian’s integrity must stand as a beac
on light to guide those who are lost to Christ. However; as long as the Christian’s position and stance is obscure, he will continue to relinquish his position as a leader and be rendered ineffective.

To be lugubriously honest, the world is exhausted from the lip service of Christians; what they need is a blueprint that is proven. They need to be able to look at the life of a believer and see the difference a relationship with God makes. Isaiah 29:13 warns against honoring God with lip service only and not from the heart.

“These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their heats are far from me. Their worship of me is made up of rules taught by men.” (Isaiah 29:13)

When we honor God from the heart, we relinquish our selfishness and surrender to His will for our lives. God’s will for our lives in no way involves fathering and abandoning our progeny. God feels so strongly about fatherhood that he uses it as a point of reference in describing His relationship to us.

As God reveals Himself as the Father, we find He is consistent in His love, always present and an incessant provider. On more than one occasion in the Bible, God promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us; He promises when all others fail us, He will take care of us. In God, we find the perfect example of fatherhood: dependability, veracity, consistency, and most importantly, unconditional love. Yet, in all that God has provided in the way of a blueprint to fatherhood, we as men have come so very short in providing the love, stability and security our children need in order to fully blossom into the extraordinary young women and men God intended them to be.

We are rapidly approaching a time when an active and present father will be an anomaly instead of a normality. Instead of being a normal expectation, a visible father has become an item on many children’s wish list.

The Clarion is sounding but we have yet to respond. All the signs are distinctly visible; however, our lack of spiritual acumen has rendered us incapable to exact change. Daily we are confronted with the vociferous outcry of a lost generation in search of leaders, a generation looking for confirmation that they are loved and valued. They are a generation that in many ways has broken through barriers that the generations before them found impenetrable. They have been able to move past sociological malignancies such as socioeconomic classation and even denominationalism, yet they have been handicapped by a void left by an absentee father. Fathers are supposed to be examples, affirmers, positive label givers and a source of strength to their children, but somewhere along the journey we have lost our way. We have become engrossed in self-fulfillment and self-gratification.

We have adopted a secular philosophy of relative ethics, morality, and righteousness. We have decided to live our lives as we so desire and totally disregard the admonishment of God’s Word; as it clearly states: “Do not be conformed to this world… ” (Romans 12:2)

Yes, many of us, ourselves, grew up without the love of our fathers. Many of us bear the scars of abandonment and neglect; however, we cannot use that as an excuse to lethargically roam through life ignoring our paternal, filial, and spiritual responsibilities. If anything, the painful experience of growing up in the absence of a father should serve to motivate each of us to take every step necessary to insure that our children know personally, the touch and love of a father.


I personally extend a challenge to every man, especially every Christian man, to not only be the father your children deserve, but I challenge you to stand in the gap of the missing fathers in your periphery. To my Christian sisters, on behalf of every man who has hurt you, every man who has left you with the responsibility of raising your child alone; to every woman who has had a man decimate their dreams; to every woman who’s scarred emotionally, physically, or spiritually, I personally apologize. You too, have been scarred, disappointed, disenchanted, and in many ways cheated. You have been deterred from fulfilling your own destiny, but the time has come to rise up and become all that God designed you to be.

Also, to every person who has had to struggle to overcome the pain and disappointment of growing up without a father, I extend an invitation to stand tall and press toward your destiny and purpose God ordained for you. In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, Paul says, “We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” In essence, the enemy has perniciously attacked you from every angle, but in paraphrasing Paul, you’ve been bruised, but not broken. As vehement as the pain may be, you have the power within to overcome this and every trial you will face in this life.

It is time to reverse the generational curse of fatherhood in absentia. It is time for men to resume their rightful and ordained positions as leaders, providers and protectors. It is time to put self aside and allow Christ to live through us. Proverbs 13:22 says, “A good father leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” What type of inheritance is this generation leaving the subsequent generations? What will our grandchildren inherit from us? A superficial consideration of the aforementioned question may lead some to consider the bequeathment of material and financial assets, but it is my personal belief that the most impressionable and lasting inheritance a man can leave his descendants is his personal legacy. The question then simply becomes what have you done to positively impact your home, your family, your community, or society as a whole?

One of the most awesome legacies a man can leave is that of a good father. In fact, if men would determine within themselves to reverse the trend of abandoning their children and become pillars of strength in their communities, the spiritual, moral, and sociological impact would be astronomical. I call on every man to stand and be the man he was designed and created to be.

Source by Dr. Rick P Wallace


The Psychology of Desire

On the three different types of desire and the need for progeny, power and purpose

Desire is a very intriguing subject to poets, philosophers, psychologists and to every inquisitive human. Desire is shaped by several factors which could have physiological and endocrinal explanations, psychoanalytic, sociological and philosophical explanations. Desire is a fundamental force of human existence and the primary manifestation of sexual energy and is present in all human beings without which survival would be meaningless. Although desire can have negative connotations with societal pressures on controlling desire, desire is largely positive and constructive although aggressive impulses lead to destructive desires as well.

Desire is the root of all human activity from creative pursuits to business pursuits and we are all motivated by one form of desire or another and these may be a desire for fame, desire for benevolence, desire for money, desire for admiration and popularity or even desire for power. Of course this is not an exhaustive list of desires and the range of desires could vary according to the range of human emotions and experiences. The manifestation of desire could be largely restricted by society and there is a huge difference on how society perceives desire in men and women. Society still remains hypocritical as far as sexual desire is concerned and sex or sexual desire is not talked about freely. In fact negative perceptions about sex are rather widespread in which men are considered as sexual predators and women are the victims. At best sexual desire in men is still accepted although sex desire in women is still perceived with certain skepticism. This would not be the right kind of perception as both men and women should have a healthy sexual drive and negative perceptions in society are detrimental to one’s moral and sexual development.

In psychoanalysis, Freud has differentiated between the libidinal or sexual urges and the aggressive or death urges. Sexual urges when sublimated or channeled would result in creative and constructive pursuits and aggressive urges usually lead to feelings of depression or destructive behavior. Desires could thus be constructive and creative or destructive and although both these types of desires would have similar roots in the unconscious, the manifestation would be exactly opposite. Aggressive desires can manifest in violence although sex desires can also be closely related to violence and when sex desires are thwarted, individuals could resort to violent behavior. Desire could have many underlying causes and there could be biological and physiological explanations with high testosterone or hormonal levels being responsible for strong desires, whether aggressive or sexual. Thus men and even some women with high levels of testosterone would show higher desires, levels of competitiveness and stronger physical and even aggressive urges.

Some traditional eastern philosophical texts have suggested that women have higher levels of sex drive. However considering that testosterone is responsible for sexual desire, the levels of testosterone in a woman’s body would be responsible for the strength of her sex drive. Some women with lowered libidos are often advised to take testosterone patches and this suggests that higher amount of maleness in terms of personality traits in a woman could also be related to higher level of sexual desire. So a woman with more male interests and having masculine mental and even physical traits could be considered as having more sexual desire. Men naturally have high levels of testosterone and associated aggressive and sexual desires although they may manifest this through other constructive pursuits. It however remains debatable whether men or women have higher sexual drive and although theoretically men with naturally higher levels of testosterone could have strong libidos and life drives and associated ambition and desire to excel, women could also manifest very strong libidos and life energy.

I would consider three different meanings of desire and all desires could be categorized under these three major kinds of desires. I would call this the Three Ps theory of desire – the three Ps being Progeny, Power and Purpose. The three types of desire are explained here as follows:

1. Desire as mating need for Progeny:

From an evolutionary viewpoint, the human desire for sex which according to Freudian psychology is the basis of human survival is motivated by the need for progeny. Strong libido could be very positive for the human species and men and women with strong sexual desires would have evolutionary advantage and would be able to leave their progeny behind ultimately required for human species survival. The biological need to leave offspring could thus be connected to the Freudian explanation of sex and our desire to mate. Sexual drive is thus not about release but about release with the aim of species propagation. Freudian psychology and its emphasis on the libido is quite compatible with evolutionary psychology that would consider the sexual and aggressive drives as absolutely important for survival of an individual and the human species as a whole. The human needs for partnership, love, security are all aspects of this type of basic desire. All creative and constructive desires also have roots in sexual desire and the creative act could be itself considered as an act of mating according to psychoanalysis. Creative artists, painters and writers are guided by this type of desire.

2. Desire as manifestation of Power:

Desire is however frequently manifested in the need for power and control and the desire to be a parent could be motivated by an underlying need to exercise control on one’s own children. The need for authority is mainly associated with aggressive impulses and the desire for power could be considered as motivated by both sexual and aggressive urges. Politicians, leaders, managers, directors and people in positions of power whether financial, social or political often manifest strong desire to control and dominate people and situations. The desire to earn more money, fame or attain certain social position is guided by the need for power and the need to protect and provide care through control would also fall under this category. All political, social and financial leaders manifest this sort of desire. The question would definitely arise whether celebrities (pop stars and film stars) are also guided by this need for power. Of course celebrities are motivated by a need for admiration (this is common even in authors and leaders) and the need for admiration is manifestation of subtle power rather than any aggressive need to dominate and control as seen more clearly in political leaders.

3. Desire as fulfillment of Purpose:

Desire could also be revealed as the need to fulfill a purpose and in this case the desire takes the proportion of a mission and achieving this goal becomes almost an obsession. This sort of desire could be found in social or political leaders motivated by the need for change and a sense of purpose although this is akin to self realization needs in psychology and all humans are guided by a sense of purpose, no matter how big or how small. Religious leaders and sages have a strongly developed sense of mission and purpose and are driven by this sort of desire. Some authors and creative artists may also be fired by a sense of mission while writing a book or creating a piece of art. Activists and social leaders and even terrorists and sometimes criminals are also motivated by this sort of mission or purpose. Many serial killers, terrorists, activists, social and religious leaders have a similar sense of purpose and the roots of this would be aggressive urges channeled either destructively or constructively depending on how the urges are manifested.

All human desires could be categorized into these three groups with the motivating factor being creation of progeny through sex and all creative urges would fall within t
his category; the need for power and all goals and ambitions to acquire fame, money, status would fall in the second category; and finally the category of desire associated with a sense of purpose explain self realization needs in monks, religious leaders, and a sense of mission in activists, spiritual and political leaders and even terrorists.

Source by Saberi Roy


Top 5 Social Media Marketing Tips for Businesses

by sinnga kilam 0 Comments

Whether you have a startup or you inherit one, you cannot deny the fact that social media will now be an essential part of your marketing strategy.

However, it is very easy to go wrong on social media, and this can have a negative impact on your brand. So, we’re going to give you a quick rundown of the top five ways through which you can make your strategy work.

Here are 5 things that businesses can implement to maximize the effectiveness of their social media campaigns:

  1. Plan Your Social Media Marketing Strategies

Many business owners think social media marketing basically means creating a new account and sharing a couple of updates. They apply the same theory on multiple social media channels and expect the same results. They think – “If you build it, they will come!” When they don’t get any foothold, they give up instantly thinking that social media doesn’t work. However, the harsh reality is that they did not formulate a real plan.

  1. Schedule Your Social Time

Stability is the name of the game when it comes to social media marketing. The time and the frequency chosen for posting are crucial. You will have to keep an eagle’s eye on the current trends and alerts that are relevant to your business, and keep a track of what your customers are doing and saying. Interacting regularly and having conversations with your customers is necessary. Rule of thumb: Allocate at least two hours a week to every social networking site you are present on!

  1. Engage With Your Customers

Focus on connecting and engaging with your customers. A business can engage with customers and prospects by promoting their updates, sharing what they are saying, mentioning them frequently, replying to their questions, asking them questions, inviting them to events, asking them for feedback or sending them a direct message. Frequently engaging with customers and regularly promoting what they share ultimately leads to more customer satisfaction and higher sales.

  1. Content is Still King

Writing and sharing high-quality content with your audience and prospective customers should be one of your priorities because of the key role it can play in how you communicate with your readers and get your message across. A great write-up will attract people organically, and they will hang around much longer.

  1. Be Fun

Last but not the least – your social channels should be useful; however, they also need to be relevant. Everyone loves to laugh and bond; so make time to engage your audience by playing with words or through jokes or fun images.

There is so much information available online; hence, hearing an advice from true and renowned expert will take you in the right direction. Focus on your goals, create high-quality content and keep up pace with the latest trends.

Source by Terence Lewis


Copywriting: Is It the New Kid in Town?

“I’m a copywriter.”

Not like copy and write, I don’t copy other people’s content and use it for my own benefits like Shakespeare!

Oh well,” How dare you drag our beloved Shakespeare into this filthy copywriting business of yours, he deserves not to be here!”

Believe me he has every right to be here as much as anyone else!

You must have heard about the tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet, one of longest running plays in the history along with Hamlet!

But was it completely Shakespeare’s to call?

If you turn some Wikipedia pages over it you will know that it isn’t!

The plot is originally based on an Italian tale translated into verse as The tragical History of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke in 1562 and retold in prose in Palace of Pleasure by William Painter in 1567.

Shakespeare borrowed heavily from both but expanded the plot by developing a number of supporting characters, particularly Mercutio and Paris.

Well now you must be thinking if you know Shakespeare at all?

I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t read Shakespeare from now on just for the sake of originality, I’m just trying to present to you a new definition of copied or more likely to be called “inspired” these days!

Now do you get it? No?

Unique and original is just a relative term in the time frame of reference, well actually there is nothing unique in the nature!

Nowadays creativity is the real thing because a creative person hides the copy clause from not so original content and replace it with the new and fresh “looking” one!

That’s pretty much about copy, now what about copywriting?

It must be something related to copying content of other people or at the worst case scenario people can think you can help them to “copyright” their content!

Actually a copywriter does neither of those.

So what do I do actually? Curious?

Don’t hide it! Well the writing is included but it is more writing than copying!

The following guide can make you understand better.

The interview

A copywriter is generally an attentive listener and in this phase he rather speaks but try to attain a deeper understanding of product or services provided by the client!

The conversation is almost one way with the client narrating the need of his business and his consumers!

The conversation usually happens in a closed meeting room until different geographical locations are included, if that’s the case then the meeting can take place over Skype or telephone too where he will be trying to take the deeper understanding of how you talk and how the writing should sound when one should read it!

The creativity (don’t agree?)

Until further meetings, your copywriter will review the stack of notes he took!

Then the thinking process starts where he decides how your business should look in front of the customers!

Just like a reporter asks questions to the celebrity and makes a note about his answers, in the same way the copywriter has to mold your talking so that it can look presentable to the audience!

The title needs to be extracted out from your talking along with the body of the content and both of them should be interesting enough to be clicked!

Such an easy task, right?

Wait till you see the unscreened data of celebs interviews and then only analyze if you like that celeb at all!

The constant dedication of their media spokesperson makes them what they appear in front of you!

And if he stops interfering then all things starts to fall apart!

Know what they all say, “You need to be a showman before becoming an actor”!

The first draft

Once he is done locking horns with creativity, the final writing takes place!

This what you see has been dumped to trash several times before it gets molded into the first draft to be sent to you!

It has been written only for the readers to see and to know their perspective your copywriter might roam around the city just to get their feedback on your business!

The next time your copywriter go missing, don’t jump on your horses just then, wait till he comes back with probably more ideas than before!

You can share your views with him on the first draft but keep in mind, who’s the expert?

Just kidding, or am I?


Once provided with your feedback the whole chain reaction kicks in again from thinking and planning to writing!

He has to amend it again after your views and re-submit it again to you!

As you can see, there are a lot of stages to copywriting, and it’s a very collaborative process including feedback from both client and readers!

Your copywriter is your buddy and he will never give you advice that won’t prove worthy at the end so reward him with every piece of information he wants and no matter how many times he asks!

Together we can all learn something, savvy?

Source by Arpit Toshniwal


How to Stop Being Skinny – 3 Tips to Gain Weight and Build Muscle Fast

by sinnga kilam 0 Comments

If you’re tired of looking in the mirror and seeing half the person you think you should, or you’re frightened every time you have to take your shirt off in public, then maybe you should try the following 3 tips that will show you how to stop being skinny and help you to pack on weight and gain muscle mass fast.

Increase Calorie Intake

The best way to stop being skinny is to significantly increase the number of calories you consume.  However, this is not a green light to eat anything and everything.

The key to weight gain success is in the quality of calories that you consume as well as the quantity. If you just end up eating a tons of saturated fats and fast processed foods you’ll just end up fat and unhealthy, which is FAR worse than just being a bit skinny.

By eating more we keep our metabolism consistent, and so you should aim to consume around an extra 1,000 calories per day split over 6 meals. This will ensure a constant supply of energy to the body and reduce the need to snack on high fat sugary foods that have little to no nutritious value.

Aim to get your calories from as many natural sources as possible. Lean meats, fish, pulses, beans, nuts, oatmeal and vegetables are the best.

Taking a serious approach to your diet and meal plans is an integral part of your quest of how to stop being skinny.

Avoid Stress

Stress seems to just be part and parcel of life these days. However, if you’re at how to stop being skinny then you need to realize the negative effects stress may be having on your weight.

When we are stressed our bodies release a hormone called Cortisol. This is a catabolic hormone (the opposite of anabolic), meaning that it actually draws nutrients away from the muscle tissue making them shrink or stunt their growth. It also increases your metabolic rate making you burn fat faster, resulting in even more weight loss and an even skinnier body.

Reducing stress is very important if you’re looking at how to stop being skinny, but also for longer term health benefits.

Try relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, massages, or just simply having a long hot bath once or twice a week, or going for a walk. All these things will help you to avoid stress and sleep better, which will reduce the levels of cortisol in your body and help you to gain weight and build muscle faster.

Start A Weight Training Program

If you haven’t already you should start performing a weight training program. This go the guys AND the girls. Bigger stronger muscles improve your appearance, make you feel better, help you to prevent injury and bring out your natural figure.

Simply put, muscle weighs more than fat, so this is the best way to gain weight and stop being skinny.

To avoid wasting your time down the gym, you should stick to a workout program that is designed for skinny people (or hardgainers as we’re affectionately known).

This should focus on compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups. It should last no longer than 45 minutes to an hour and be performed 3 times per week, so there’s no need to worry about becoming a gym rat.

Source by John Wheeler


Teachers – Use the Directed Reading-Thinking Activity (DRTA) To Promote Learning in Your Math Class

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Curriculum and Evaluation Standards propose “decreased attention to teacher and text as exclusive sources of knowledge” (1989, p. 129). Students need to learn to recognize and tap other sources of information–self, trade books, magazines, technical manuals, professionals, and so on–while still developing better ways of learning from teacher and textbook. We cannot expect students to become cognizant of the other sources mentioned nor to know how to use them without some assistance.  One simple way to engage students with reading and thinking about their texts is to use one of several versions of Directed Reading-Thinking Activities (DR-TAs).  Using DR-TAs is one way of enabling middle school and high school mathematics students (1) to begin developing facility in learning from other reading materials, (2) to learn to tap their own knowledge, as well as (3) to use their textbooks more efficiently.  This article provides an overview of the DR-TA concept. 

What is a DR-TA?

The DR-TA is often associated with the DRA (Directed Reading Activity) developed by Stauffer (1969). As defined in the International Reading Association Dictionary of Reading and Related Terms, the DRA is “a lesson plan which involves a) preparation/readiness/motivation for reading a lesson; b) silent reading; c) vocabulary and skills development; d) silent and/or oral reading; and e) follow-up or culminating activities.” While this is a useful plan for some reading lessons and is essentially synonymous with the basal reading lessons of the elementary grades (Tierney, Readance, & Dishner, 1990), the DR-TA is a much stronger model for building independent readers and learners. Dupuis, Lee, Badiali, & Askov (1989) state that “the rationale for using the DRTA is to foster the student’s independence when reading. It engages students in an active process where they must use their reasoning abilities and their own ideas” (p. 252).

The hyphen in Directed Reading-Thinking Activity is intended to symbolize the interdependence of the two terms, “Reading” and “Thinking,” because in order to be a good reader, one must also think. Unfortunately, the link between the two has been lost for some students as evidenced in their replies to teachers’ questions about what they have “read.”

Teacher: “Alright, who can tell me about the section in the book you were to read last night.”

Students: Deafening silence, eyes looking at floor or at non-existent nit on sweater.

Teacher: “Didn’t you all read your assignment?”

Students: “Yeah, I read it.” “Me, too.” “I read it twice.”

Teacher: “Hmmmm, well, it looks like we need to learn how to read and think about what we’re reading.” (Appropriate groans from some class members–“oh, no!  Not thinking!?”)

As a teacher (of elementary, middle & high school, AND college), I have experienced some variation on this exchange more times than I would like to remember. It is important to keep in mind that although as educators, we feel frustrated that our students have not thought about what they are reading (thus neither comprehending nor remembering), their frustration must be far greater than ours (even if they appear to hide it well). Using the DR-TA approach is not a panacea in the mathematics classroom nor in any other content area classroom, but it can make a difference in the ability of students to read, think, understand, and remember what they have read in their textbooks and other written materials. Used effectively, it has the potential to equip readers with the abilities to: (1) determine purposes for reading; (2) extract, comprehend, and assimilate information; (3) examine reading material based upon purposes for reading; (4) suspend judgments; and (5) make decisions based upon information gleaned from reading (Tierney et al, 1990, p. 12).

The 4 steps in the DR-TA: Predict-Read-Confirm-Resolution

In the Prediction step, students reflect on what they think will be covered in the text. These predictions may be recorded on the board, on an overhead projector, or on chart paper. This step primes the pumps and gets students motivated to read by helping them set a purpose for what they are about to read.

In the Read step, students read from one point to another (usually a few paragraphs or pages), to look for the information that was discussed prior to reading.

In the Confirmation step, the teacher leads a brief discussion and reflection period, allowing students to compare their predictions with what was actually presented in the text. After this discussion and before reading further, if appropriate, the teacher begins the Predict-Read-Confirm cycle again. This cycle is repeated throughout the text.

Finally, the lesson closes with a Resolution at which time the text is summarized and evaluated both in terms of its verity and relevance.

Other types of DR-TAs are the “No Book DR-TA,” the “Table of Contents DR-TA,” the “Whole Book DR-TA,” and the “Chapter DR-TA.” They are intended to be used by students both inside and outside the mathematics classroom, beginning in the upper elementary grades and continuing throughout high school and post-secondary education. All of these DR-TA options are discussed in additional articles that are easily accessible. 

Source by Meggin McIntosh