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text 2017-04-12 07:09
"Smashwords Questionnaire / Interview"

I asked a friend to come up with some questions for my 'Smashwords Interview' and these are what he came up with. I've written my answers to each of them. https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/reneepaule

 

You have written five books - one for children - and have a sixth in the pipeline on the human condition. What drives you to write?

 

What makes a flower grow, a heart beat or the sun shine? I don’t know the answers to these questions or to what drives me to write. I only know that I’m driven and that the ‘drive’ grows stronger with each book.

 

Many people who read your books are looking for answers yet your books provide none; isn’t this rather a contradiction to being a self-help book?

 

No it isn’t. If I provide answers to questions people have then some of them will listen to me and I may be wrong - it has never been my intention to become a ‘guru’. Self-help means just that; we need to help ourselves and not rely on others to find solutions for us - which leaves us none the wiser; our strength can only be found within. We must look for our own answers and I can only show you how I’m looking for mine. Having said that, I actually have no answers - just fewer and fewer questions and this has made my heart less heavy to lug around.

 

What age group are your books aimed at, if any?

 

When I wrote ‘On The Other Hand’ I thought my audience would be in my own age group (over 50s). I was surprised to discover that younger people like them very much too, so my answer is from around 15 or so upwards.

 

Why did you start to illustrate your books after ‘On the other hand’ and how did the idea of ‘Dilly’ come about?

 

I never thought about illustrating ‘On the Other Hand’. Quite frankly, I didn’t even know I had the ability to draw so it never occurred to me - I wasn’t artistic in my youth. When I was writing ‘Just Around the Bend’ an idea popped into my head of a ‘thought bubble thinking’ and I decided to draw it - it was just a bit of fun. From then on Dilly - a thought form that thinks - became a character in his own right and he was good at demonstrating points that I made in the text. I use ‘he’ when I talk about Dilly but I really don’t think of him as either masculine or feminine - it’s just for the sake of convenience.

 

You do your own illustrations; how do you decide what aspect to illustrate? Your earlier books have fewer illustrations than ‘Stepping out of time’, which has 27; one short of the previous two books put together. Why is this?

 

Sometimes the Dilly illustrations pop into my head before I’ve even written the point I want him to demonstrate, and sometimes the ‘point’ comes first; I have no hard or fast rules about this and let the illustrations develop as and when they want to. For this reason I can’t really answer the second part of this question. I can tell you however, that the images for ‘Stepping Out of Time’ came to me so quickly that I began to wonder whether my next book would be in comic strip format - as it turned out it was to be a children’s picture book.

 

Why did you write a children’s book and do you have plans to write more of them? Again, an idea just came to me and I shared it with a friend and we decided to write and illustrate this book together. Yes, I have plans - and ideas - for more. Our children need to learn to think independently (outside the proverbial box) as much as we do. They learn from us and will become the future leaders of our world, so it’s important that we teach them not to be afraid of it.

 

The latest book you are working on; is this in the same tone as your previous books; will it have more or less illustrations?

 

I don’t believe that my tone changes, so my answer to the first part of this question is ‘Yes’. To date, I’ve not yet made any illustrations for it or designed the cover, so I can’t answer the second part of this question yet.

 

Is there much more that you can write about on the human experience before you run out of ideas?

 

I’m far from short of ideas. If anything, there’s a problem writing them down fast enough before I forget. Because the genres of my books are ‘self-reflection’ and ‘observation’ it follows that my ideas will only run out when I do! But, who is this ‘I’?

 

If you had to sum up your books in a ‘Hollywood pitch’ for example, ‘Sci-fi Meets Supernatural’, how would you describe it?

 

‘Beds of Nails and Other Comfortable Places’.

 

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

 

I can’t answer that question - I may not be around.

 

Your books have no mantras to repeat, no exercises or meditations to perform and no means of tracking progress made; in fact, on the face of it there is nothing for the reader to do. How do your books work, how do they help people who read them to help themselves?

 

Oh but they do have a mantra to repeat - ‘Who am I?’ Ask it and keep asking it. There are three ‘do’s in this question and this ‘doing’ has got us into enough trouble already. There really is nothing to ‘do', as such. We make life so complicated when it should be simple. My books aim to help people to think differently and to let go of all that holds them back from being the best person they can be - from becoming a responsible and mindful person in society. I’m told that my books are both a mirror and a lens, and I believe that to be true. If my books teach anything at all then they teach us the truth about ourselves - steering us inwards - and this is all too often a difficult place to visit.

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text 2017-04-03 13:01
Charity - LIFT 4 Autism 2017
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LIFT 4 Autism Online Auction: Monday, April 24 - Friday, April 28
 

Autism. A mystery to some. A way of life for others.

 

A cause for all since it is now the fastest growing and most common disability in the US. 1 in every 68 children are diagnosed with Autism. Many of these kids will rely on their parents to some degree, depending on severity, all their lives, with estimated costs between 5 to 7 million dollars in services and care over their lifetime. Many of the services those living with Autism require are not covered by insurance. It is an expensive and difficult lifelong diagnosis to navigate.

 

Authors Ginger Scott and Kennedy Ryan started LIFT 4 Autism a few years ago as a charitable initiative rallying the romance reading community in April, which is Autism Awareness/Acceptance month.

 

All proceeds go to this year’s charitable partner Kulture City, who is doing amazing things for Autism families. Discover more about them at kulturecity.org. Specifically, LIFT will benefit Kulture City’s lifeBOKS program, which provides families with free kits to curtail wandering, a common and potentially life threatening challenge. Proceeds will also benefit Kulture City’s tablet program, which provides iPads to improve communication for non and limited verbal children on the spectrum to families who cannot afford them.

 

HOW WILL WE RAISE FUNDS?

 

  1. Online Auction, featuring many of your favorite romance authors!

Find the full list here: http://lift4autism.com/contact. If you are an author and want to donate, sign up here.

 

Browse all the amazing items up for bid here: charityauction.bid/lift4autism The auction will be LIVE and open for bidding Monday, April 24 - Friday, April 28.  

 

  1. 1-Click the YA Fantasy Anthology Ever In the After for 99¢
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  *All proceeds go to LIFT 4 Autism!  
 
  1. Buy LIFT Wear! (t-shirts, mugs, totes, etc...)

https://teespring.com/Lift2017 LFIT 2017 t-shirt

  1. Make a financial donation through the LIFT Campaign.

DONATE here: https://www.kulturecity.org/lovewithoutwords/lift-4-autism/#lwow-donate  

Don’t miss a thing this month!

*Subscribe to the LIFT mailing list at lift4autism.com.
 
*Follow us on Instagram:
*Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LIFT4Autism
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text 2017-04-01 15:29
Children's Book - 'The Frightened Little Flower Bud'

To self-publish ... or not to self-publish - decisions ... decisions.

 

I'm almost finished with this book. Co-written and illustrated with G R Hewitt, which has been fun. It's a lovely little 39 pager in full colour. Its messages are simple; don't believe everything you hear and don't allow fear to control your life. With these messages in mind the illustrations show the life cycle of a Goat's-beard plant (Tragopogon - for the botanically minded) so there are some lovely nature lessons in it too. Target audience - age 4-99.

 

 

 

All the best

 

Renée

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text 2017-03-03 03:21
The Southbourne Tax Group: How to Protect Your Identity and Assets

 

Tax Fraud Awareness

 

The IRS, taxpayers and tax preparers share a common enemy: identity thieves. We all have a part to play in the fight against tax-related identity theft. Your role starts by learning the mechanics and warning signs. From there, taxpayers can take proactive steps to protect their data online and at home.

 

Understand How Tax Fraud Happens

 

Dishonest individuals may steal taxpayers’ personal and financial information from sources outside the IRS, such as social media accounts where people tend to share too many details or bogus phishing emails that appear to come from the IRS or a bank. Once they obtain an unsuspecting taxpayer’s data, thieves may use it to file fraudulent federal and state income tax returns, claiming significant refunds.

 

Paperless e-filing facilitates these scams: Thieves submit returns electronically, based on falsified earnings, and receive refunds via mail or direct deposit. Sure, the IRS maintains records of wages and other types of taxable income reported by employers, but they don’t usually match these records to the information submitted electronically before issuing refund checks. By the time the IRS notifies a victim that it’s received another tax return in his or her name, the thief is long gone and has already cashed the refund check.

 

In addition to refund fraud, thieves may use stolen personal information to access existing bank accounts and withdraw funds — or open new ones without the taxpayer’s knowledge. Criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated and their ploys more complex, making identity theft harder to detect.

 

Recognize the Warning Signs

 

Taxpayers are the first line of defense against these scams. The IRS lists the following warning signs of tax-related identity theft:

 

Your electronic tax return is rejected. When the IRS rejects your tax return, it could mean that someone else has filed a fraudulent return using your Social Security number. Before jumping to conclusions, first check that the information entered on the tax return is correct. Were any numbers transposed? Did your college-age dependent claim a personal exemption on his or her tax return?

 

You’re asked to verify information on your tax return. The IRS holds suspicious tax returns and then sends letters to those taxpayers, asking them to verify certain information. This is especially likely to happen if you claim the Earned Income tax credit or the Additional Child tax credit, both of which have been targeted in refund frauds in previous tax years. If you didn’t file the tax return in question, it could mean that someone else has filed a fraudulent return using your Social Security number.

 

You receive tax forms from an unknown employer. Watch out if you receive income information, such as a W-2 or 1099 form, from a company that you didn’t do work for in 2016. Someone else may be using the phony forms to claim a fraudulent refund.

 

You receive a tax refund or transcript that you didn’t ask for. Identity thieves may test the validity of stolen personal information by sending paper refunds to your address, direct depositing refunds to your bank or requesting a transcript from the IRS. If these tests work, they may file a fraudulent return with your stolen data in the future.

 

You receive a mysterious prepaid debit card. Identity thieves sometimes use your name and address to create an account for a reloadable prepaid debit card that they later use to collect a fraudulent electronic refund.

 

Take Preventive Measures

 

You may wonder how many taxpayers file electronic vs. paper returns. “There are 150 million households that file federal and state tax returns involving trillions of dollars…. More than 90% of these tax returns are prepared on a laptop, desktop or even a smartphone — whether they’re done by an individual or a tax preparer. This is a massive amount of sensitive data that identity thieves would love to get access to.… With 150 million households, someone right now is clicking on an email link they shouldn’t, or skipping an important computer security update, leaving them vulnerable to hackers,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in a recent statement about the Security Summit Group. (See “IRS Creates Security Summit Group” above.)

 

How can you actively safeguard your personal data online and at home? Here are four simple ways to thwart tax-related identity theft:

 

  1. Keep your computer secure. Simple, cost-effective security measures add up. For example, use updated security software that offers firewalls, virus and malware protection and file encryption. Be stingy with personal information, giving it out only over encrypted websites with “https” in the web address. Also back up computer files regularly and use strong passwords (with a combination of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols).
  2. Avoid phishing and malware scams. Be leery of emails you receive from unknown sources. Never open attachments unless you trust the sender and know what’s being sent. Don’t install software from unfamiliar websites or disable pop-up blockers.
  3. Protect personal information. Treat personal information like cash. Don’t carry around your Social Security card in your wallet or purse. Be careful what you share on social media — identity thieves can exploit information about new car or home purchases, past addresses, vacations and even your children and grandchildren. Keep old tax returns in a safe location and shred them before trashing.
  4. Watch out for scammers who impersonate IRS agents. IRS impersonators typically demand payment and threaten to arrest victims who fail to ante up. The Federal Trade Commission recently issued an alert about police raids on illegal telemarketing operations in India that led to the indictment of dozens of IRS impersonators. Remember: The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment, nor will they call about taxes you owe without first mailing you a bill.

 

Another simple way to prevent someone from filing a fraudulent return is simply to file your return as soon as possible. The IRS begins processing tax returns on January 23. If you file a tax return before would-be fraudsters do, their refund claims are more likely to be rejected for filing under a duplicate Social Security number.

 

Join the Fight

 

The deadline for filing your 2016 return is fast approaching. The IRS expects more than 70% of taxpayers to receive a refund for 2016, and it’s on high alert for refund fraud and other tax-related identity theft schemes. You can help the IRS in its efforts to fight tax fraud by watching for these warning signs and safeguarding your personal and financial information.

 

Additional resources for business accounting tips are available here

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url 2017-01-31 11:50
Cross cultural communications: How to understand and adapt your behaviours?

 

Businesses have gone multinational and there is a huge shift in the way of doing business across the globe with the advent of online and international business. The workplaces of today have rapidly grown and become vast. Expatriates and people doing business across borders should be proactive and well informed about the culture of the people they are interacting with. A clear understanding of the cultures and knowing some basic or frequently used words can help in communicating effectively.

 

Modern technology and internet have made international transactions simple and reduced international trade complications to a great extent. More people are promoting businesses regularly as new markets have opened up for business across all cultures and geographical locations. Technology has also made it possible to facilitate easy conversations between people through language translation software and language conversion dictionaries. Cross Cultural Communication Trainings available online gives clear insights to appropriate ways to behave and communicate among cross cultures.  Electronic communication has made communication and networking as easy as working with someone in the neighbourhood or next town.

 

Why would someone limit himself by working with a location that has lesser demand and workforce rather than a location that has greater demand and can have easy access to most knowledgeable people in the entire world or the highest quality resources?

 

A multicultural workplace brings a lot of communication challenges. There are some cultural differences between employees located in various regions or organizations speak the same language. For example: English speakers in the US have differences in accent, spelling and pronunciation. Communication can be optimized between such cultures if these cultural differences are considered. People should have a mutual understanding of communicating with cultures to reap the benefits of a diverse workplace. An organizational work culture that is common to people of all cultures is being adopted by a majority of companies across the globe. Effective cross-cultural communication starts with a basic understanding of cultural diversity.  This can start by knowing the basic differences between cultures that are totally from our culture.

 

Better communication with individuals and groups who totally differ from our culture should be analysed carefully by paying attention to every detail. Below mentioned are some of the aspects to be considered while communicating among cross cultures:

 

Greetings and physical contact: This can become critical if a basic study and understanding of cultures is not present. For example, kissing a business associate with one peck on each cheek is an acceptable greeting in Paris but the same will not be acceptable in gulf countries. A firm handshake that is widely accepted in the U.S which is not recognized in all other cultures.

 

Ambiguity: The ways of seeing, thinking and interpreting are different in different cultures. There is a possibility of misunderstanding where languages are different and similar words can have two different or sometimes opposite meanings in different languages and cultures.

 

Attitude of Acceptance and Flexibility: Some people tend to void exposure or experience of the host culture as this might not be favourable for their culture or due to an attitude of introversion. This results in developing a closed mindset and learn and ignorance to learn and adapt to the new culture which will give rise to cultural shock and spoiling of business relationships.

 

Ethnocentrism: Assuming that own groups culture is right and moral. Considering other cultures as inferior can spoil and bring an end to a business relationship even before it starts. It is often an unconscious behaviour which is realised after reacting. It is always necessary to consider respecting a totally opposite culture or establishing a path that builds a favourable climate among such cultures. Cross Cultural Awareness Training conducted by people who have a practical experience of dealing with different cultures can be very helpful with practical approaches.

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