Amanda Thrasher, Article, books, Cereal Authors, Children's story, childrens stories, educators, Fiction, Life, Literary, parents, publishing, Sharing, Social media

What was your proudest professional moment?

Many of us belong to groups including social media groups. Often added without our knowledge (at least I am, so I’m sure you are too), some groups I know nothing about the subject matter at all, and yet there I am, added. I won’t lie; I spend very little time socializing online, socializing period. I’m not necessarily an unsocial person, but like most people these days I’m spread pretty thin, and I’m incredibly busy. Between my family, personal writing time, and work, spare time is a real issue. But recently a social media group sent out a question that ended up in my inbox, and it caught my attention. It was a great question, which made me stop, read it, and think.

What was your proudest professional moment?

I thought about that question for several minutes. We all have proud personal moments, kids and family rising to the top of the list. But the proudest professional moment, I hadn’t given it much thought till right then.

I think on personal, professional level, having Barnes and Noble Small Press Division, NY, at one-time purchasing three of my titles, little author, and a small press was a huge professional moment for me. They don’t stay there long, store category buyers list, and it’s not the same as .com. line. That was a huge accomplishment at the time, knowing we have great titles with sales under their belts, large author platforms, that have been declined over and over again for the category buyer store purchase. That ranked pretty high for me, as an author, as a proud professional moment. Starting a business with my business partner, a press founded by authors, in a competitive industry and personally being invited to discuss our company with our print managers at LSI/Ingram in TN was huge. Touring the plant, negotiating a contract that was feasible for us as a company and beneficial for our authors was also a proud professional moment. But one of the proudest moments I can remember, professionally, was the day I received a letter from a Site Director, Jeremy McNair, for one of the after-school programs that he managed at an elementary school on behalf of another organization. I had been asked to conduct a month-long workshop with multiple sites. Listed as one of my locations the letter stated the following:

Dear Amanda,

My name is Jeremy McNair, and I am the Site Director for the YMCA program at Butler Elementary School. This past Monday, you came and spoke to my students about your book and the writing processes behind them. The past two days since then have been completely filled with the kids telling me how much they learned and enjoyed your presentation. I wish I could take the time to tell you every story, but I’ve typed up several of the letters that they’ve written to you and copied them to the end of this email. Your drive and passion were well received and noted by all the children and staff, and I know that your impact will resonate in a huge way in all of their lives.

Thank you so much for your dedication to your craft, but even more than that, thank you for sharing it with the children at Butler. They were left truly inspired.


Jeremy McNair

This touched me in such a way, as did the letters from the students below (read them, and you’ll see what I mean, precious) that it reminded me of why authors/writers do what we do. Why we share our work, spend time, and encourage our future young writers to tap into and use their imagination to create beautiful future works. Over the years I’ve participated, completed, and accomplished many things that other people would be proud of, but this to this day ranks as one of my proudest professional moments.

Letters from the students below (they’re in a laminate paper for protection) but click on the image to enlarge and read.

Amanda M Thrasher Website

Article, author, books, Cereal Authors, JD Holiday, Writing Process

Text-To-Speech: An Editing Tool

           Text-To-Speech: An Editing Tool by JD Holiday

Reading apps are not just for you to read Ebooks. Text-to-Speech software or apps, TTS, are intuitive apps that read to you. This is a good way to proofread and spot then easily correct mistakes in your own manuscripts, articles and school papers for anyone not just people with dyslexia.

Of course, some of you might know this already but for those of you who don’t, this can be a stroke of luck. Imagine listening to your own words read back to you before anyone else has read it. For me, hearing my own words read to me was a treat.

BUT there was a great benefit. I was able to hear any mistakes and fix them easily. Now, my main problem is switching words, a problem caused by dyslexia. I might type where or were for here or there. OR, what for that, or and for can. Really. It is a mystery to me even. It’s a problem that has to be weeded out of my manuscripts. So Text-to-Speech software is just what I needed.

I tried a few Text-to-Speech apps and found that Voice Reading (Read Aloud) by Microsoft Word worked the best for me. Microsoft developed this text-to-speech software to help people with dyslexia as well as editing. This app reads to you from these formats: EPUB, PDF, DOC, DOCX, TXT in either a male or female voice. It’s not perfect. It some cases, the borders are not aligned and you can’t move forward without clicking to the next page, which I found annoying at times, and the read voices are not all the natural.

Screenshot (15)
This is how I edited. I set the Read Aloud app to one side, and the manuscript to the other. When I hear a mistake, I stop the app and fix the problem.

Before you start looking for a text-to-speech app though, look on your devices to see if they have them as part of the operating system. I know iphones, androids, and some tablets already have some versions of a Text-to-Speech on them.

Last note:  I did try the Natural Readers free app without success. I found that their free text-to-speech app posts an ad to buy their other versions on just about every page. It flashes up and you have to delete it every time to continue the app. It also would sometimes malfunction when you tried to get it to go back a page or two.

So the FREE Voice Reading (Read Aloud) by Microsoft is worth tryingFind out more about the Voice Reading (Read Aloud) by Microsoft Word at:

©JD Holiday 2018

Character Quotes, Dellani Oakes

Character Quotes from A Tisket A Tasket by Dellani

character-quotes-imageA Tisket A Tasket is book 4 in my Miacle, Mississippi series.

You really liked my cake?” Jordan asked.

No. Hated every bite. That’s why I had four slices,” Brian teased.

Her playful smack with a pillow was hardly a surprise. That was Jordan’s way of expressing irritation. Sometimes, the attacks were much more violent and playful. This time, at least, she recognized that he was teasing.

Four? Hope it doesn’t give you a bellyache.”

Not a chance. Not when my baby made it.”

Oh, please—gag me with a spoon!”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from Driving Blind by Dellani

character-quotes-imageI dated a girl back home who was vegan. Of course, she didn’t share that fact with me until we went out to a steak and seafood place. She whined the whole time that it was cruel to eat meat and called me a murderous carnivore,” Ax said.

Oh, my!” Zenobia put her hand over her mouth.

So I ordered her the surf and turf when she went to the bathroom and left her with the check.”

That was so mean!”

Yeah, well I didn’t like being called a murderous carnivore in public. Loudly, I might add.”

That was rude of her. I would probably have done the same thing you did.” She considered a moment. “No, I would have ordered that and shoved her face in it. Then walked out.”

Believe me, I was tempted. She knew the name of the restaurant before we went. Wouldn’t that be your cue to say, By the way, I’m a veganous herbivore?”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from Playground by Dellani

playground-front“Are you prepared to grant this petition, Lord Sazabo?”

He shifted his enormous, boulder like body, looking very uncomfortable. “I am. Conditionally.”

Lena frowned, her body stiffening with suppressed anger “There can be no conditions placed, you twice damned lanthanum lump! I’ve seen it, it must be. It is the only way.”

“You have said many times that what you see can be altered by our actions, isn’t that so?”

Lena nodded. “What you’re cleverly leaving out is the second part of that statement, rock boy.” She was being purposely inflammatory, and Wil could only wonder why. “But, when more than one vision is seen with variables and the same outcome, then….”

“Then that is the way of things.” Sazabo didn’t look happy.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan – Part 11 by Dellani


Fiddlestix asks to see the cyber warriors on the video feed. Alarmed, she sees that they are getting updates from their controller. Insisting that she be taken to their location, she wonders why the area wasn’t better protection. Sadly, it was, and all the men are dead.

The cyber warrior was inside, working the consoles quickly. He paid no attention to them. Deacon aimed and fired at the creature’s head. His bullet ricocheted off the skull casing, narrowly missing Fiddlestix. The cyber soldier turned slowly, eyeing him with a bland expression. Smiling cruelly, it bared sharp, metallic teeth, advancing on Deacon slowly, haltingly. It was then that Fiddlestix noticed it was damaged. The dead men had not died without a fight. The creature could hardly move. Cyber-hydraulic fluid leaked from a half dozen wounds. A puddle had gathered underneath him.

With a flick of her thumb, Fiddlestix’ communicator went back on. “Kaz,” she spoke sharply. “Initiate Shut Down Code Three Three Alpha.”

There was no response. The warrior continued to advance. “Dammit! Kaz!” It was then she heard the gunfire outside.

The thump of a heavy shoulder mounted cyber cannon was distinctive. She heard screaming over her headpiece and knew the others were in trouble. A wet ripping sound filled her ears. Turning toward the sound, she felt sick.

“Master Sergeant!” It was Harmony. “Kaz is down.”

“Coming! Deacon!” She motioned for him to follow her.

The cyber soldier couldn’t maneuver easily. It slipped in its own fluid, moving at less than half its normal speed.

“He’ll keep. We need that computer!”

She slid to a halt at the corner, glancing around to see what lay beyond. One cyber warrior was down, obviously disabled. The other stood over Kaz’ limp form, firing on the rest of the group. Pocked with bullet holes, he kept fighting as if nothing troubled him.

Fiddlestix ran up to him while he was turned the other direction, distracted by one of Deacon’s men. Sliding the cyber blade out of her arm, she stabbed up and under the metal casing that surrounded his chest.

“Harmony, activate the code!”

Harmony held Kaz’ computer in both hands. He didn’t hesitate, but looked at her in surprise. “I’m not coded to it, Master Sergeant.”

“I lied,” she replied tersely.

The cyber warrior had drawn a bead on Deacon’s man, lowering his heavy shoulder thumper to fire. His movement slowed to a stop. He shut down, falling face first to the ground.

The warrior who had been following Deacon stumbled around the corner. He didn’t fire his weapons as he searched for the best target. Without being told, Harmony pointed the computer at him and pressed he initiation code. It didn’t work.

“Stix!” his voice caught as the warrior looked his way.

“Initiate Shut Down Code Three Two Delta.” Nothing happened.

“Shit! It’s being jammed.” Taking the scanner from Harmony’s limp fingers, she jumped over the downed warrior, landing nearly at the feet of the other one. He was bleeding out his cyber fluid slowly. She decided to see if she could speed it up. Her cyber blade slid neatly into his knee joint, severing the plastic artery. His left knee collapsed and he went down.

Fiddlestix tried the code again, but it did no good. This called for good old fashioned brute force. Raising her cyber arm, she hammered the face plate of the downed warrior. He tried to fight her, but by this time, half of Deacon’s force had him surrounded. All of them were armed with brutal knives, stabbing at unprotected areas of his body.

Deacon took up a heavy gun from one of the other cyber soldiers. With all his strength and body weight, he swung at the cyber man’s head, smashing the face plate with one brutal blow. Jasper fired at point blank range into the creature’s face, blowing its head off. With a cry like a wounded animal, it fell to the floor. Blood and blue cyber fluid flowed out of his body, pooling into dark, murky purple puddles.

“Fall back,” Fiddlestix bellowed.

Dragging Kaz and the other wounded with them, they regrouped in the computer room, barricading the door.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes, Dellani Oakes

Character Quotes from The Ninja Tattoo by Dellani

cropped-the-ninja-tattoo-by-dellani-oakes-200.jpg“Boys,” Vivica said sternly. “Stop it. If we have to be around one another all night, you’re going to have to get along. I refuse to be cast in the role of mother.”

“If you are, can I be the daddy?” Jed flashed a lopsided grin at her, hopping up from the table when Teague took a swing at him.

“One daddy’s enough,” Vivica gave Teague a lingering kiss, picked up her dishes and strutted into the kitchen.

“Holy, Mother of God,” Jed breathed when she was gone. “Teague, I love you like a brother, but I wish I’d seen her first!”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from Next Go Round by Dellani

character-quotes-image“Don’t make it easy, Roxi. Make me work for it. A man appreciates putting a little effort into his courtship.”

“Should I frown and cry and throw things at you when you get too fresh?”

“I said make me work, not dodge projectiles. I want to charm and fineness you.”

“I’ll be coy and alluring, play hard to get—”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from Bank on Love by Dellani

character-quotes-image“Do I have something on my face?” He wiped with the back of his hand.

“No. Sorry. I just—why are you here?”

“I brought lunch.”

“I mean—do you know what I’m asking?” She squinted, hoping she didn’t have to supply words, because there weren’t any.

He touched her cheek. “It felt like the right time. In case you haven’t noticed, Miss Masgay, I happen to like you—just a little bit.” He held his finger and thumb an inch or so apart, then let them drift further apart. “For awhile now.”

“I noticed.” She did the same thing with her fingers. “A little bit.”

“Go out with me,” he blurted. Blushing slightly, he dropped his chin. “Way to make it sound like an order…. Would you, Violet Masgay, agree to go out with me tonight?”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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