RAY BRADBURY JUST BEFORE DEATH

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http://www.shadowteams.com
/Beth Wareham

Too long for twitter, too short for WordPress but so beautifully said. Thank you, Ray.

…When I read about butterflies, I realized that they are a metaphor for the totality of the universe. How is any of this possible? How did any of this happen? From the formation of a galaxy to the wings of a monarch! No one truly knows the answers. It is all such a great mystery.

– “The Last Thing Ray Bradbury Wrote Before His Death”

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8 TIPS ON CHOOSING AN EDITORIAL BRAIN, PREFERABLY USED

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http://www.shadowteams.com

/Beth Wareham

I’m a writer but I make the lion share of my income editing and ghost writing. Writing is easy: Editing is not.

This is not something anyone says often, I know. Who wants to give credit to your tormentor, the editor, anyway? Because, if you have the right editor, the one who gets you and your story, you have a brain to push off of that is irreplaceable in your work. That second brain will, if it’s doing its job right, keep you from looking like a fool. He or she might also take your writing from good to great.

You want an experienced editor, of books, who understands tension, character, plot, arc, and resolution. You’ve wandered off of the blog path and this book writing road is full of lions, tigers and bears.

Here’s what I know about good editing. Perhaps the next time you interview or consider hiring one, think about the things I think about before I take on a job.

1.Great editors use the Socratic method. You want as many questions in your margins as those margins can hold.

2. Great editors understand denotation versus connotation in words. Word choice is key.

3. Grammar. If they don’t know it and don’t respect it, you have a reader and not an editor. Know the difference.

4. Great editors respect that the work is yours. I once knew an author with sticky notes all over her house that said “this book is mine, not Maria’s” because of the sheer egomaniacal nature of the editor. You hear too many ‘I I I’s” in the conversation, drop back and get more information on this person.

5. Don’t be fooled by great long lists of famous books an editor edited. Hell, I edited Gone with the Wind but all it really meant was I had to rejacket it. But technically, and I have the piece of paper, I was the “editor.” Now that’s just rubbish.

6. Hire freelance editors before submitting your work to agents or a larger publishing house because the sad facts are 1) they will not buy it if it isn’t perfect and ready to go and 2) referring back to #1, few publishing companies edit books anymore.

7. If you are submitting a perfect-ready-to-go manuscript in mid-season (try July, August, and September), publishing companies pay more for properties to fill out their annual list of books and hit their income projections. You get bigger advances later in the year. (That’s just a friendly editor tip, not a tip about an editor.)

8. Ask your editor what the most powerful tool they have in their editorial arsenal and if they don’t say “cutting,” think about choosing another editor. Editors are supposed to make your work read fast and tight. If they can’t do that, they can’t do much of anything.

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A PERFECT DINNER FOR ONE, AFTER A DAY OF SHEER HELL

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www.shadowteams.com

/Beth Wareham

As a working woman, I have some bitches of days. It starts at 6 a.m. and goes until 7 p.m., if I’m lucky. Two things have always struck me about these “hell” days: a) how long it takes me to detox from the sheer misery of it and b) how hard it is to sleep when I do.

Oh, don’t get me wrong; I’m not giving up my open-ended Ambien prescription (and no, you can’t have my doctor’s name) but I wanted to figure out a more natural way to come down a little before sleep.

If I didn’t “come down” a little before taking the Ambien, I found I woke up the next day with clenched teeth, the same angry thoughts, and only a sense of having been asleep. Sounds like John McCain, right?

So once again, I took my mangy self in hand and said, “practice what you preach, Green Smoothie woman.” I knew all the ingredients of a smoothie that activated the calming elements within the body. And, since I don’t believe in an all liquid diet (we’re not babies, for goodness sake), I decided to heal myself with this dinner.

Absolutely every ingredient below will relax you. Eat it slowly and savor. Your boss can’t get you now. Nor can that customer.

You are alone with your dinner, RELAXING. Before popping that Ambien, of course.

The only thing I’ve left out that is truly relaxing is dark chocolate, but I know you all can find that on your own.

THE END OF SHEER HELL DINNER
1 Turkey Burger
1 Gumby Green Smoothie

Turkey Burger

1/2 pound ground turkey
1 egg white
Dash Worcestershire sauce
salt
pepper
Pinch of ground sage or 1 leaf, chopped fine (optional)

Additions: onion, red onion, whole wheat bun, fresh cucumber slices, fresh carrot slices, mustard, ketchup, lettuce leaves

1. Separate the egg white and whip with a fork or hand held blender until the eggs whites have thickened in texture.

2. Pour the egg into the ground turkey and mix in the Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and sage.

3. Cook in an oiled flying pan over medium-high heat until the desired level of doneness is reached.

4. Dress your burger to your pleasure.

Gumby Green Smoothie

5 kiwi fruits, peeled and cut into large pieces
1/2 avocado, pit removed and flesh scooped out
1 cup coconut water
2 cups baby spinach leaves
2 cups chamomile, lavender or decaffeinated green tea, room temperature

1. Add the prepared kiwi to the blender along with the avocado. Pulse until broken down.

2. Add the coconut water and pulse until smooth.

3. Put in the spinach and tea or herbal infusion and blend, dropping ice cubes through the top until the desired consistence is reached.

I have a few other ideas of how you can feel good. They are here in SKINNY GREEN SMOOTHIES. Click on the title and for under $5 bucks, you are on your way to two months of smoothie recipes. That should be enough, no???

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8 Ways to Create Tension in Writing or HOW TO DO THE DANGLE

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/Beth Wareham

Tension in a book is often why we turn a page, that endless sense of WTF IS GONNA HAPPEN! The really good writers have an instinct for taking you to the edge, throwing you off and bringing you back up again to stand refreshed, marveling at the view. Corporate entertainment wonks call this the “twist” but it’s merely a good way to write: keep everyone on a dangle.

How to do the dangle? Below are a few simple tricks I’ve learned over the years to keep readers wanting to read onward. You’ll have to ask them if any of it worked.

But here they are. Try some in your writing. See what might work for you:

1. End a sentence with a question of sorts. I don’t mean a question with a big old “?” at the end, I mean a question like “will Patty have sex with the giant hot black man standing in front of her…” That’s the moment I’d break the chapter and make the reader wait.

2. Alluding to dark pasts. I love this one. A completely random character suddenly gets full use by remarking upon a secret buried in a hero or heroine’s past. Just try and tell the reader at one point what that past was. This is why we have sticky notes.

3. Creating a scene and leave the resolution off. Say “how was she to know that _____ was in her past, but perhaps her future as well?”

4. Start a scene in mid-action (Hillary Mantel is a GENIUS at this) and the reader is entranced trying to figure out what’s happening when. Finish the action and then go back and start the beginning of it as a flash back. Page-turning catnip.

5. Paragraph breaks: Use paragraphs breaks like you are a creating a trail of crumbs and each break is a step forward to pick the next one off the ground. The first sentence of the next paragraph pulls them so ….spread it out:

“He found the receipts from Wichita Falls in the pocket of his yellow short sleeved shirt. His shoes, socks and pants appeared unsullied, but the plastic protector inside his pocket of receipts had been crumpled, clawed at even. Jean knew he was cheating on her.”

6. WORD CHOICE: Chose tense words. For instance, “Walter stood in line, hoping he’s soon get to the window.”

“Walter stood in line, sweet meandering down his spine, as he waited to get to the window and buy his ride towards freedom.”

The words “sweat” and “ride towards freedom” suggest a tension you want the reader to feel, not just that he’s trying to buy a bus ticket. Someone’s chasing him. Use every moment you have to keep the mood of the book right and that means WORD CHOICE.

7. Text reads faster when sentences are short and text reads slower when sentences are longer. Use it to your advantage and vary the lengths frequently to keep the reader’s attention. For instance:

“Peter slammed it down. For thirty years, he had kept the will secret from the family but after the chaos, the loss, the blood, the ICU, the whispered forced words of his dying mother, the will meant nothing any more, nothing in the face of eternity without the one person who loved him no matter what.”

You see, one short one, one long one. Easy!

8. Dare to dangle. If there is one thing that kills a book quickly, it is a fear of being audacious, a fear of shock and awe. Dangle your reader over a ledge, give him a ride, take her flying, let the kid go down the slide faster than he ever thought possible. Work the tension of life and death into your manuscript because that is the tension we know, that is the tension we live with ever day.

Tension is the human condition. It will feel very familiar to your reader and they will like reading it.

Now go write.

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6 WAYS TO MAKE SKINNY GREEN SMOOTHIES MORE LIKE MILKSHAKES

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http://www.shadowteams.com
/Beth Wareham

People are getting a little wacky with the authenticity demands on green smoothies. I feel bad about it because I am never going to eat whirled up raw cabbage. Same goes with nettles. True of turnip greens. No.Can.Do

I’m sorry I’m not “greens diverse” but my baby spinach and kale have to do. These things have to be as close to heaven as I can get them or I just won’t drink the thing down. It also has to be cold and very thick to trick my being into not thinking it’s some healthy lawn juice.

Here are some ideas for ever creamier Green Smoothies:

1. Nut butters: peanut, cashew and almond butter are all wonderful in a green smoothie. Pair with a coconut base and you will always be right. (How simple is that?)

2. Refrigerated Coconut Milk: Leave a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. Open and remove the thick white solids settled at the bottom of the can. Add to the smoothie and use use the rest o the milk for another purpose.

3. Frozen fruit: Find frozen fruit with no sugar added for your green smoothies. Because the fruit is ice cold, you won’t need to add ice cubes and your drink will be much creamier and thicker.

4. 100% Fruit: I stir in a tablespoon of 100% fruit (with no added sugar) after I finish whirling the smoothie. It jacks up the flavor and thickens the drink.

5. Presoaked Chia Seeds: Chia seeds hold moisture so you can change their flavor willy nilly. So, soak them in extra exotic juice and throw them in the smoothie AFTER you blend. They become a different kind of ingredient.

6. Melted dark chocolate: It takes seconds in a microwave and a minute on the stovetop but allows you to put top quality, high fat dark chocolate into your drinks. Heaven.

To buy Skinny Green Smoothies, click here: Skinny Green Smoothies

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8 WAYS TO JACK UP YOUR GREEN SMOOTHIES

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www.shadowteams.com
/Beth Wareham

I’ve edited or promoted three editions of the Joy of Cooking as well as Bobby Flay, Danielle Boulud, Mark Bittman, Dr Mark Hyman, etc, and have probably written and edited 25 more cookbooks. What I see, unilaterally, with every new eating trend or innovation is that it dies as the flavor dies. People just need interesting things to eat to make life interesting. Food is one of the simplest ways to cheer someone up. So, make it taste good.

Too many green smoothies taste like the front yard. Too many smoothie advocates are so used to that green/lemon tartness they don’t want other flavor, but my bet is that you do. We are not woodland animals, at least not now. We have more sophisticated palates than the #greensmoothie people give us credit for.

The following are 10 ways to jack up the flavors of you drinks. It may add 30 seconds to 2 minutes to your preparation time, but your smoothie will be jacked and the best in the yard.

1. Melt 1 – 2 ounce fine dark chocolate with high fat content in a double boiler. Add to the smoothie just before you add the ice. Blend and then blend in extra ice to compensate for heat in the chocolate. MILKSHAKE TIME.

2. Grill fruits. That’s right, a slightly charred peach or apricot transforms a smoothie.

3. Use frozen red grapes. This is a perfect summer move and changes the temperature and texture of the smoothie. It will also bring that great red grape health to the drinker.

4. In a small dry frying pan over medium heat, stir your Ceylon cinnamon and turmeric (anti-inflammatory giants) for 1 to 2 minutes or until highly fragrant. Add to smoothie before you add the ice to compensate for the heat. You just may need a few extra cubes.

5. Use flavored teas that accentuate the main ingredient of your smoothie. Instead of adding lemon, use a lemon-flavored tea. If you are making a chocolate smoothie, you can add a complementary flavor such as a raspberry or orange tea as your base liquid.

6. Grow fresh herbs you cannot find in your local grocery. Thai basil is amazing in green smoothies, so is fresh lemongrass, chamomile and verbena. If you can’t find it, grow it.

7. Add liquid homeopathic drops such as valerian for sleepiness or passionflower for insomnia and pain. These drops are sold with or without alcohol, which is moot given how little you will use. Just make sure it tastes good to you and is a remedy that will assist with any issues you have from sleeplessness to anxiety and inflammation.

8. Make your own almond milk – here’s a great recipe http://bit.ly/UgRmxQ and your own cashew milk with this recipe here http://bit.ly/1iUJRav

And of course, ALL the recipes are in here: Skinny Green Smoothies – just click on the title to buy.

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Book Promotions and War

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www.shadowteams.com

/Beth Wareham

I have nothing against The New York Times. I have nothing against the former New York Times reporter Judy Miller either, except both helped drive the United States into the stupidest war we have ever known. (Not that any have been that great, save the Hitler one.)

During that glorious period of American history known as “Shock and Awe,” Judy Miller wrote a book called “Germs,” pinning the recent mailings of ricin to Middle Eastern terrorists. The book’s editor was the famous Alice Mayhew at Simon and Schuster. There was little to question in the bonafides of these two women.

The New York Times and Simon & Schuster did their work as good capitalists and sold the HELL out of that book. Internal Times emails promoted the book to staffers and announced Judy’s latest television appearances. In retrospect, the two companies were working together in a symphony of misinformation worthy of Goebbels.

This was a kind of a “shock and awe” publishing and there was only one problem: the entire ricin premise was false. The New York Times embraced Judy Miller’s assumptions about the poison and helped pave the way to that sad moment when Colin Powell faced the U.N. What a shit show it was.

Later, The New York Times would excoriate Judy in print, turning their back on her the day she was released from prison for not revealing her sources. The New York Times had given Judy full reign and support to promote her germ theory: Now Maureen Dowd was allowed to guillotine her in a column unlike any ever seen in the paper’s history.

Now, Judy has joined forces with the formidable Alice Mayhew again. Judy wants “corrections” to the “narrative.” I say the only thing anyone should be looking for here is redemption, redemption for the piles of dead that litter the Middle East.

Come on, journalism, stop failing us. Stop your narcissism and do what is best for your country. You are also in a kind of sacred service and from where I sit, Judy and The New York Times broke their vows.

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WRITING CHAOS, WRITING CALM

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www.shadowteams.com

/Beth Wareham

A week ago, the block around the corner blew up. The blast was huge, rattled the dishes and sent everyone in the neighborhood running out front of their houses. We looked up for the planes but this was no 9/11 redo: Skies were blue and clear. We saw absolutely nothing and more importantly, heard nothing. Later, when I was told two young men were missing, I knew that silence was the sound of the dead.

Then the fire started and the neighborhood roared. At least 50 sirens moved towards 2nd Avenue, sounds growing louder and louder as ladder trucks came in from other parts of the city. People were burned and appeared to be dying. Two young men would not be found for many days. One was on a date, the other was a busboy. Neither were over 25.

Writing about a bomb blast is certainly easier than writing about that moment of silence that comes after great tragedy, that moment when the world makes no sound except to say: Look at this horrible horrible thing. Look what has happened. I always hear a cosmic disgust in that silence, God’s profound impatience that we don’t take more care of one another. After all, these boys died over a small hole in a gas line.

How to write that silence? I struggle. I once saw many bodies taken from the water and that same otherworldly quiet soaked everything. I heard the disgust in the air there too. The why. The how. The lack of care that led to this place and this moment and this scene. I could describe the victims, the noise of the boat going over, but the silence eluded me on the page then as well.

I’ve finally realized that silence is too big for me. I cannot capture the silence of the dead any more than I can know the mind of God.

But I tell you what, I am going to keep trying. That’s who writers are: People trying to understand that silence and put words to the meaning we know is there.

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BRAIN BOMB GREEN SMOOTHIE…..for the forgetful set

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www.shadowteams.com

/Beth Wareham

My biggest problem is the shit I forget. The stuff I remember I pretty much have in hand. But somewhere in my brain are a whole bunch of unaddressed sticky notes and I need to take care of them.

Reclaiming memory is a way for me to 1) be a better person 2) be a better writer 3) inject more healthy foods into my diet 4) not be so fat and 5) remember what had happened to me, because it is important for identity, spirituality and understanding of the long strange trip its been.

What did I do about it all this forgetting? Not much at first. I lay around on the couch ingesting chemicals and THINKING about it a lot. Then, I was standing in K-Mart and called a roll of paper towels “hair clips” and knew it was time to get myself in hand.

My regime for remembrance? Three things I do everyday, no matter what. Though these 3 things seems small, it has changed every aspect of my life:

1. 20 minutes of stretching, yoga, etc
2. 20 minutes of meditation and breath control
3. A big honking smoothie

When the noise left, my brain settled back down into my body. It didn’t matter how crazy anyone around me was, I was focused, amused and on track. How you ask? My three moves above.

I learned that a little memory work a day made me feel like a super hero. I knew how I felt about things again. My values and sensibilities came forward again. I felt good. It felt focused and most importantly, centered.

Try it for a week. Tell me to go to hell if you don’t feel better. But I swear, these simple changes will work on your unconscious – why does this food taste like a petroleum product? Why is everyone in this bar screaming? You just float away from the unpleasant, more toxic elements of life.

Here’s my gift of beginning for you. Everyday you get up and begin again. Tomorrow, do it with a Brain Bomb and begin to remember who you are.

BRAIN BOMB GREEN SMOOTHIE

The brain is made of good fats such as Omega 3 and 6 and needs to be fed. Coconut oil assists in making a glucose the brain must have to function and blueberries are full of phytonutrients that flush out toxins. Chia seeds have omega fats and dark chocolate is full of flavonoids that improve blood vessel function. And finally, the superstar spinach, a super green that prevents DNA damage and slows the effects of dementia on the brain.

Have you ever heard of a pill doing such things?

1/2 avocado, pitted and flesh scooped out
1/4 cup coconut oil, highest quality available
1 cup fresh blueberries or frozen, no-sugar added
2 teaspoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons dark chocolate cocoa powder
2 cups spinach
Water as needed
Ice

1. Put the avocado, coconut, blueberries, and chia together and process.

2. Add the chocolate, spinach and water and process, dropping ice through the top to create cool and thickness.

NOTE: For a really sophisticated Brain Bomb, melt 2 ounces of high fat content fine unsweetened baking chocolate. Let it cool somewhat before adding.

If you’d like more recipes, click here: SKINNY GREEN SMOOTHIES and whirl away.

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