Good News for Writers and Authors

We all need some good news, particularly those of us who write or are book authors. This is good news for writers and authors – new and veteran. Let’s start with this bit of good news: People are reading more. That means you have an audience and little reason to keep your writing to yourself. 

Here is some curated good news from trusted sources for writers. 

US Book Publishing Remains Resilient: Print and Ebook Sales Are Growing

Why Write Memoir Right Now

Writer’s Digest Best 2020 Writers’ Communities/Website

Publishers’ Weekly List of Virtual Trade Show Events

PW’s Podcasts offer diversity in genre and perspective 

The way we see it, the good news is there is a market for your book or writing AND you can write that memoir and have lots to tell during this pandemic AND you can find a community online that fits your needs as a writer AND you can attend those pricey trade shows without leaving home AND you can learn about the industry by virtue of podcasts. Ain’t that good news? 

Sick of Zoom Meetings? Tips to Make it Better

If you’re Zoom-ing all day for work, then Zoom-ing at night to catch up with family and friends or even for the sake of entertainment, chances are you’re a bit Zoom crazy. Here are a few tips to break the monotony and make the experience better. 

  • Turn off your mic when you feel antsy and turn on some music. Play one song that soothes you. Even if you play it for two minutes, play a song that refreshes your mind and spirit. 
  • Turn off your mic and camera and stretch in place by your work station. You can listen to the conference as you give your legs and body a break from sitting. 
  • Between Zoom calls, get up and exercise. If you can schedule a half hour of yoga stretches or a brisk walk in the neighborhood, do it. 
  • Use your lunch time to exercise and eat a healthy, energy-inducing lunch. 
  • Stay off of social media to avoid bad news or triggering emotional posts. Save social media for later when you can manage your emotional responses. 

Buy a good chair to support the long sitting. Switch up locations, if possible, to take those calls. And decompress after a day of those calls. 

We are all a bit weary but we need our incomes. So give yourself the gift of change and comfort as you adjust. 


7 Ways to Break Free While Staying Safe 

As colder weather approaches, we will all be left with the challenge of getting fresh air and seeking outdoor activities until this pandemic is over. We all need a few ways to break free, feel freer and do both without risking our own health and the health of others. We have some suggestions.

  1. Plan regular outdoor outings during times of day and to places with the least amount of people traffic. Find a bench somewhere and sit to read or people watch. Set a timer, if it helps and go back inside or to your safe space at home. 
  2. Find a local orchard to pick apples or pears or pumpkins. Wear a mask but distance yourself to sit on the grounds to soak up some sun, fresh air and a bit of freedom. 
  3. Rent a bike for a couple of hours. If affordable, schedule it a few times a month. 
  4. See if you can find an outdoor tai chi or yoga class to stretch your body and activate those endorphins – the happy hormone. 
  5. Get in your car or rent one to travel the countryside, watch the scenery and drive with the windows open. 
  6. Drive to a shopping mall, park your car in the rear, and sit with the windows open or pull out a folding chair to simply breathe and take in a change of scenery. 
  7. Go to and find a local outdoors group like Outdoor Afro and go for a walk on a hiking trail or even rafting on the river. 

The point of planning is to control your sense of well-being. Your physical freedom has a lot to do with your mental health. And if you need to visit a counselor or therapist, please do. 

You are not alone. Take care of all of you. 


A Few Ways to Share Your Coronavirus Lessons with Your Social Following

This coronavirus crisis has taught everybody something of value. Some of those lessons are worthy of sharing with your social media family and followers for many reasons. For example, sharing one lesson could bring comfort to someone else. Another good reason is it humanizes the experience. And, it is a great way to create an engaging, meaningful discussion. Here are a few questions you can answer then translate to social media posts. 

  1. Have you been cooking more since the beginning of the pandemic?
  2. Have you taken up a new hobby?
  3. Have you gained or lost weight?
  4. What books have you read?
  5. Have you tried something new? 
  6. Have you kicked a bad habit?
  7. Did you finish an ongoing project?
  8. Which movies and TV programs captured your attention?
  9. What have you learned about yourself?
  10. What have you learned about people?

These 10 questions can also be asked and answered by you and recorded in a special Covid-19 journal you can leave to family and friends or even share as a gift. We are all in this together. And this is a unique time in history. 


A Few Quotes to Inspire You as the Seasons Change 

This year has been unusual as though you needed a reminder. An unusual season requires encouragement and adaptability, both of which have been a challenge in 2020. Here are a few quotes to lift your head, keep you inspired, and to share with others on your social media feeds. 


“Even seasonal situations can bring with them lessons that last a lifetime. If the love doesn’t last, it prepares you for the one that will.”

― Mandy Hale


“There is a season for everything under the sun—even when we can’t see the sun.”

― Jared Brock


“A season of loneliness and isolation is when the caterpillar gets its wings. Remember that next time you feel alone.”

― Mandy Hale


“Though she be but little, she is fierce!”

― William Shakespeare


“Patience is power.

Patience is not an absence of action;

rather it is “timing”

it waits on the right time to act,

for the right principles

and in the right way.”

― Fulton J. Sheen 


“Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.”

― Roy T. Bennett


“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”

― Victor Hugo


“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”

― Marcus Aurelius


Stay encouraged and hopeful. This too shall pass. 

Genealogy and History Resources Everyone Can Use

Genealogy is history and history involves the exploration of family trees and, of course, people. Whether you are a history buff or someone researching your family history, these resources can help. We also think you will find them flat out interesting. 

Who is Nicka Smith? 

This is the online home for Nicka Smith, a photographer who is also a genealogy professional. Her blog posts, social media posts and show ProGen Live are all resources anyone would love. Visit her Black ProGen Live Youtube channel for over 100 videos that educate and inform. 

Beyond Kin

Beyond Kin is a database and site filled with information regarding the documentation of enslaved populations, which are difficult to trace for many reasons. Sign up for their webinars and follow them on social media to catch some of their fascinating information. 

The Slave Dwelling Project

This project is a wonderful project that seeks to introduce people to the day-to-day lives of enslaved people in the United States. Before Covid, they hosted overnight stays at slave dwellings across the country. Now, you can watch their videos, read their blog, and even invite the founder Joseph McGill to speak (Zoom) to your group online. 

Our Black Ancestry

OBA is one of the longest running portals for people interested in discovering their roots and learning more about the complicated aspects of tracing family. The site is a membership site but there are wonderful resources available for visitors. The Facebook group is filled with people willing to help others with their genealogy questions. 

The Slavery and Remembrance Project

This project is for those interested in learning about the preservation of slave burial sites, finding buried ancestors, museums and history. The various partners involved each offer great information for researchers and genealogy buffs. 


10 Inspirational Quotes by Black Business Leaders

August is Black Business Month. That will mean a lot of things to a lot of people. But we will deal with the inspiration to be found from those people who have been enterprising. Keep these quotes nearby for the encouragement or share them on a graphic or with some biological information about the business leader quoted. 

  1. “All business is personal… Make your friends before you need them.” — Robert L. Johnson
  2. “I am where I am because of the bridges that I crossed. Sojourner Truth was a bridge. Harriet Tubman was a bridge. Ida B. Wells was a bridge. Madame C. J. Walker was a bridge. Fannie Lou Hamer was a bridge.” — Oprah Winfrey
  3. “The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself—the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us—that’s where it’s at.” — Jesse Owens 
  4. “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” — Frederick Douglass
  5. Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” — Booker T. Washington
  6. “If you’re a competitive person, that stays with you. You don’t stop. You always look over your shoulder.” — Magic Johnson
  7. “You’re not obligated to win. You’re obligated to keep trying to do the best you can every day.” — Marian Wright Edelman
  8. “If we are going to be part of the solution, we have to engage the problems.” — Majora Carter
  9. “Have a vision. Be demanding.”
— Colin Powell
  10. “Trust yourself. Think for yourself. Act for yourself. Speak for yourself. Be yourself. Imitation is suicide.” — Marva Collins

These are certainly inspiring and motivational quotes. Maybe sending one a day to friends via an email or text message is another way to spread the message and share the love. 


August Observances to Share with Your Social Networks

Goodness, where has the time gone? We’re four months away from ending the year. Maybe that’s not a bad thing given the circumstances. But life goes on and there are things to celebrate like the following observances. 


  • American Artists Appreciation Month Link
  • American Indian Heritage Month Link  (See also November)
  • American History Essay Contest (8/1 – 12/15) 
  • Black Business Month
  • Boomers Making A Difference Month
  • National Read A Romance Novel Month
  • National Wellness Month Link
  • Read-A-Romance Month
  • What Will Be Your Legacy Month

Days in August

  • National Girlfriend’s Day: August 1
  • World Wide Web Day: August 1
  • American Family Day: August 2  Link  (First Sunday)
  • Friendship Day: August 2  Link (First Sunday)   
  • National Coloring Book Day: August 2  Link
  • National Kids’ Day: August 2 (First Sunday) Link
  • Sister’s Day: August 2 (First Sunday)
  • Book Lovers Day: August 9  Link
  • Smithsonian Day: August 10
  • Baby Boomers Recognition Day: August 17  Link 

If any or all of these observances resonate with you in some way, create interesting content with your social followings. You never know when you will make someone’s day with a meme or blog post. 


Volunteer Opportunities You Can Do Right from Home

The coronavirus crisis has given us all a different perspective on how we use our time. Some of us are realizing that we had more time to accomplish things than we previously thought. One of those things is volunteering, helping out without risking our health or the health of others. Here are a few volunteer opportunities that involve writing, researching and some fun that can be had right in your own home. 

NMAAHC’s Transcription Center Project. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is seeking volunteers to transcribe historical documents. Transcribers can live anywhere in the world and do. An immediate and ongoing need: Freedmen’s Bureau record transcription.  

Infinity Hearts is an ongoing memorial featuring people who have succumbed to the coronavirus and related illnesses. This site could use obituaries of those who have died from the disease. The owner, a black woman, had a desire to see people celebrated during these times when loved ones are limited in how they mourn and grieve. Use their contact form to inquire about volunteering or simply choose a plan (free) and contribute obituaries. Though IH is not a nonprofit, the significance of it is that it is a site that will enable people to find relatives for family trees as well as memorialize those people who basically died alone. 

Project Gutenberg – Founded in 1971, this may just be the virtual volunteering effort that started it all. The goal is to create the largest digital library, and so far they’ve amassed 59,000 free eBooks. Volunteer by donating eligible materials, transcribing books into a digital form, or proofreading others’ work.

AARP Local Volunteers – AARP has local, statewide and national initiatives that require volunteer service, some of those opportunities are virtual. Your local AARP also lists local volunteer jobs available. 

These are a few opportunities, but you can contact any of your local nonprofits and some for-profit businesses to volunteer your services. If you know of a H.S. or college student in need of volunteer service for their resumes, please note that there are sites like Do Something that have volunteer boards. 


10 Easy Summer Projects that Include Friends and Family

The pandemic has limited many of our usual summer activities but in some ways it has challenged us to be more creative. Summer is supposed to be fun time and time for gatherings. It can continue to be both with some social distancing and purpose that keeps us safe and connected. Here are 10 ways:

  1. Begin a genealogy “club” with friends who need a boost in creating their family trees. Facebook Groups and Messenger Rooms. Share family histories and resources. 
  2. Begin a genealogy “club” with family using the same tools as above but also include sharing photos, videos, and anything that helps you all tell your family’s unique story. 
  3. Introduce younger family to their history by creating digital or paper scrapbooks together. 
  4. Use a free, library-based app like Kanopy to watch movies (including documentaries) together and then host a Zoom or Messenger Rooms chat. 
  5. Screen share with Google Meets or Zoom to explore virtual museum exhibits together online. 
  6. Swap outdoor chores and fix-it needs. Good at gardening? Help a friend with theirs. Bad at grilling? Have your friend grill for you. Need your lawn mowed? Ask a family member to cut it. Know someone who needs minor house repairs? Go over and fix a few things. 
  7. Share lunch in the parking lot of a restaurant. Park next to a relative or friend, stay in your vehicle, eat lunch and chat it up. Tell restaurant management what you’re doing ahead of time so that you are not interrupted or harassed. 
  8. Go strawberry or peach or apple picking at a local farm. 
  9. Read bedtime stories to your little relatives or the small children of friends who live far away or who are practicing social distancing. 
  10. Host a weekly dance party via Zoom or Google Meets. It’s a great way to laugh and exercise and you can do it for as little time or as long as you like. 

We want you to have fun. We want you to be comfortable during this virus crisis. If you have an idea, please share in a comment. It would be deeply appreciated.