I am back on Soundcloud and am in the process of uploading audio poetry of the poems I’ve published to this blog. Follow me HEREand listen to the poems that you’ve already liked and loved. This is also my opportunity to introduce my voice to those of you who have never heard me speak.
Yes, I am shy and those of you who meet me in person will see for yourself. However, I was inspired to do this for two reasons:
a. I went through the recorder on my phone and noticed I had recorded poems that were just sitting there.
b. Because I have poems just sitting there I figured they aren’t doing any good. The least I can do is upload them and try reaching as many people as I can. Even if it’s just one person I hope that these pieces are a blessing to your life.
I have uploaded several but more are on the way. Like I said, I am uploading audio versions of all the poems I’ve published to this blog so it will take some time to get through them all. Consider this a virtual Open Mic Night ; )
There’s a funny story behind this post. My stomach was growling and I thought “Hmmm, what if there was a device where you could hook up to your body parts and see what’s going on in there??” Like, say your stomach hurts or you’re hungry or your leg is in pain, you could hook up to some technology screen type deal and see what is causing those changes. OK, you may already know but I mean in a way where you could see it .(medical genuis smarty pants lol) You can go to the doctor and already know what needs to be done. Anywho, that’s when I thought it would be fun to look at some inventors / inventions that we may not have known about.
The Pencil Sharpener
Also, known as The Love Sharpener, The Pencil Sharpener was patented by a black man named John Lee Love. John did not invent the pencil sharpener* but what he did invent would carry on to the same pencil sharpeners we use today. A carpenter in Fall River, Massachusetts, John invented several devices and in 1897, he patented a portable pencil sharpener known as the “Love Sharpener.” (*The first ever pencil sharpener was patented in France by mathematician Bernard Lassimone in 1828. A decade later another Frenchman, Therry des Estwaux, designed a conical-shaped device that, when a pencil was inserted and twisted, all sides of the pencil were whittled away at once and make the sharpening process much quicker.).
Heating Furnace — Ventilation System
Alice H. Parker, an African-American woman from Morristown, NJ developed, in 1919, an early concept of the modern home heating system. Her system gave birth to the thermostat and the forced air furnaces in most homes today, replacing what was then the most common method for heating – cutting and burning wood in fireplaces or stoves. Parker’s invention would be better known today as Central Heating.
What would you know, a black man invented the mailbox. Known as The Street Letter box back then, Philip Downing designed a metal box with four legs which he patented on October 27, 1891. He called his device a street letter box and it is the predecessor of today’s mailbox. (A fellow blogger wrote a post about Downing awhile back. Check it out here!)
The Sanitary Belt, The Walker, The Toilet Tissue Holder
Before pads and tampons menstrual huts were common where women would be separated from communities while on their cycle (known biblically as a time of uncleanliness). Later women began using cloth or rags which is where the term “she’s on the rag” came from. Common forms of protection rabbit skins, rags, menstrual aprons (aprons??) homemade knitted pads and eventually, the sanitary belt. I heard of the sanitary belt from my mom, otherwise I would not have a clue what this is. Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner, a black woman, had some pretty cool inventions, the Sanitary Belt being one of them. She also invented the walker and toilet tissue holder. Pretty neat. (Ladies, you can learn more about the evolution of the pad HERE.)
Thomas Elkins, a black man, invented a lot of things (to include an improved refrigerator). Known then as a Chamber Commode, the modern toilet was patented by Thomas Elkins on January 9, 1872. Elkins’ commode was a combination bureau, mirror, book-rack, washstand, table, easy chair, and chamber stool. (The flush toilet goes back to the 1500s but the idea failed to catch on until later).
The First “Perm”
Did you know that Perm is short for Permanent? The first concept of the perm was invented by a black woman named Marjorie Joyner. The granddaughter of slave owner and slave, Marjorie developed an invention called “The Permanent Waving Machine” which permed or straightened hair by wrapping it in rods. Later, a black man named Garret Morgan (inventor of the Traffic Signal and Gas Mask) invented our modern version of the perm by accident. In his tailor shop, Garrett was thinking of a solution he could use to polish the needles to a high gloss and stop them from scorching clothes. When Morgan doctored this liquid, he decided to test the effects of the liquid on dog’s hair and saw how the texture had smooth out. Later trying this on human hair, the relaxer was born. Delighted with his success, Morgan coined his hair division the G.A. Morgan Hair Refining Company. This Company was also responsible for the black hair oil dye and the curved tooth iron comb (to be used as a hot comb.)
Charles R. Drew was an African-American surgeon who pioneered methods of storing blood plasma for transfusion and organized the first large-scale blood bank in the U.S. Ironically, he died due to an accident that blocked blood flow to his heart (there’s a myth that he died at an all-white hospital among whites who refused to operate on him but this story cannot be verified. According to my research, Drew was treated at Alamance General Hospital, a facilities-poor “White” hospital. The White doctors at Alamance began work immediately but Drew’s injuries were so severe and his loss of blood so great that he could not be saved. It is possible that due his prominence he was treated better than most blacks were during the time but further research / insight is needed.)
Bessie Blount was a physical therapist who served during WWII. She invented an electrically driven feeding tube device that enabled wounded soldiers to consume a mouthful of food when biting down on a tube. At the time, it was hard to get a patent and she donated this invention to France. In 1951, she received a patent for a modified version from the U.S. called the portable receptacle holder, smaller tube that could be worn around the neck. However, many of Blount’s inventions are not very well known since she signed over her inventions to France.
This post calls out to those of you that are authors. I’m trying to open a dialogue and share my experiences in an effort to see if we have a commonality in our goals and how we get there. I am always torn on this blog to identify as an author who is selling books. That’s why I started it, but it has evolved into something much more.
I am someone that is extremely reluctant to blow my own horn. Building myself up is not one of my strong points. In fact, people who know me will tell you that I am the first to put myself down in order to diffuse others’ attempts to do so.
This past April marks three years since I jumped feet first into the self-publishing arena. Has it been all rainbows and unicorns? Not exactly. Have there been times when I’ve given up hope…
Recently, I was explaining the concept of an inciting moment to my five-year-old (he’s a bit young, but one might as well start early, right?), and it got me thinking about how critical the concept is.
Some writers may call it an inciting incident, and others have probably never heard of it, including the idea without any formal title or understanding of how it works, but the inciting moment is what happens to make the world of the story change. One of the many rocks dropped in the story-pond that set off a series of ripples. It’s the spark that jolts the story to life.
I didn’t plan on sharing this but as I was editing some mock-ups I thought it would be nice to share what I am doing.
I am not a professional photographer, and I don’t always have a chance to take professional images. Therefore, I love using free mock-up templates to create professional images of my books. I am learning Photoshop also because if I can master it, I can also start to create my own book covers! (OK, that’s a far way off but a sista can dream).
But, while I am finagling (am I the only one who thinks finagle is a funny word?) around with this, I decided to put together a quick tutorial on what I am doing for those of you who use Photoshop. It’s super easy and if you have Photoshop, you should be able to get started right away.
Note: I’m not a professional “Photoshopper” and have instead found my own way of editing mock-ups because this way is easier for me but there are lots of other ways to do this.
Get Photoshop. You can get Photoshop CC for as low as $10/month. For me it’s worth the money because I use mock-ups often. However, there is a free trial you can use for seven days if my memory serves correctly. http://www.adobe.com/ (There are also plenty of free ways to create 3D images. I use Photoshop because the quality of the images is top notch.)
Once you have Photoshop, find a free mock-up that you like. Be sure the license allows you to use it. Most of them do as long as you don’t try to sell the mock-up as your own. You can find some great ones at http://covervault.com/
Download a mock-up you like. I’m going to use this one.
Click on the zip file and double click on the Photoshop file to open it.
OK so you can pretty much change anything on here to make it your own. Eliminate the background, upload your own images, change colors, etc. But…
I’m just gonna show you how to change the book covers.
Go to the side panel here. Let’s start with the front book cover. Click on the arrow next to Front Book, scroll down to front cover and double click on the space where the front book cover is…right where my arrow is.
It will bring up the mock cover here..
File > Open > Find the cover (or image) you’d like to use on your computer and click on it….and
It will open in Photoshop. When it does, unlock it at the bottom. If you don’t unlock it, you cannot edit it.
Click on your cover and drag it to the mock layer.
This one has lots of special effects I don’t need. If ever you don’t want something in the image you can either delete the layer or hide it. Click on the eye next to the layers to hide them. I want to hide the mock-up text and other things…
If you did it correctly it should leave only your cover and look like this (below)…if you look at the layers next to where my marker is you will see that the eye is closed. This means I am hiding these layers so they don’t show.
As you can see, when you move your cover to the layer (see step seven) it will be too big. On your MAC click command T to highlight it to resize. On PC click ctrl T. Now just resize it to fit the space.
Save your resized cover. File > Save as (save it under a name you will recognize. You will need to remember where you saved it.)
Go back to the panel and right click in the space next to the front cover.
If you did it correctly, it should bring up the box below…where you see replace contents, click on that.
When the box opens, find your saved image from Step Ten and replace the mock image with your own.
And that’s it!
For the back cover follow the exact same steps:
Click on the arrow next to back cover.
Double click on back cover
File > Open > Choose the image for your back cover
If it’s locked, unlock it
Click and drag your cover to the mock layer (you can’t move it if it’s locked)
Hide any layers you don’t need/want
Resize image > Command T (MAC) or Ctrl T (PC)
File > Save as to your PC
Back to the panel, right click in the space next to the back cover > Replace contents
Find saved image > place
The last thing you will do when you have both the front and back cover done is to File > Save as > PNG
This is a guest post from Ben Taylor, a British freelance writer who spent several years living in Portugal and wrote a book about the experience. He now lives back in the UK, where he founded Home Working Club, a site dedicated to helping people explore freelance opportunities – in writing and various other fields.
5 Things I Learned About Marketing my First Book
Read on Amazon
I never intended to write a book.
It came about by accident, after I started a blog about moving to Portugal from the UK. While I won’t pretend that I didn’t hope people would read and enjoy the blog, I never had particularly big plans for it. I figured that, if nothing else, it was a good way to keep a journal of the experience.
However, after I’d been going for a year or so, the site got rather popular. It…