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February Newsletter: More good news, new coral reefs,, & a some fun!

Our newsletter provides monthly updates on the latest projects supported by A Little Help co, the links to news headlines from around the world, jokes, riddles, and more!

Our monthly newsletter will keep you up-to-date on the latest 'good' news from around the globe that will help restore your faith in humanity. We scour the internet for fascinating technology or scientific advancements, and celebrate a new artist, writer, or small business owner in The Spotlight section. KJ's Corner will offer news and updates from our resident author, KJ Davis on her latest project. Finally, The Funnies will end your monthly literary treat with a little bit of fun for your day.

Why do we offer this monthly newsletter?

With the overwhelming sea of media and depressing headlines, our newsletter offers a small reprieve while still offering you global highlights and humor for your day.

Subscribe to our email list or become a supporting member to receive a special copy of the newsletter sent straight to your email inbox with a special "VIP" section.

Table of Contents


Good News

Good news is hard to come by. There's plenty of news outlets, media sources and news broadcasts to blanket the entire planet, but most of the time its biased and emotionally charged. Take a moment to relax and click on the links below to read about 'good news' from around the globe...


Exciting Announcement: Congratulations to our Monthly Member Award drawing, Stefanie Harper. Along with a month of VIP status on our website, Stefanie has won the special prize of having her name mentioned in KJ Davis' first novel in the Aether Star Chronicle series! Be sure to subscribe to our website for your chance at the next drawing, held at the end of each month.


Links to various 'good news' websites offer stories, anecdotes, interviews, or videos highlights below that are sure to brighten your day and restore a bit of your 'faith in humanity'.


Tech News

Marine Biologists discover a HUGE new coral reef filled with 'underwater roses'!

The folks at Good News pass on this amazing scientific discovery off the coast of Tahiti: a massive new coral collection that's almost 2 miles long and 200 feet wide!


The Spotlight: Indie Author Community

January's Spotlight on writing & small business is an interview with business owner, Jess Kotzer and her amazing writer's group, the Indie Author Community.

First, I would like to start with an introduction for our visitors. Could you tell us a little about yourself? What part of the world are you from? What are your hobbies or interests? Quirks? Favorite winter drink? 😊

Greetings from the North. I’m Jess from Toronto, and I love to write and socialize with other writers as much as possible. Quirks? I'm soft spoken and shy, so my filthy sense of humor can cause a good startle.

Now on to the juicy details! What inspired you to become a self-published author? How/when did you start out your writing journey?

I published my first book in 2015, after years of struggling with chronic Lyme and finally succeeding at getting into remission. I had always wanted to write deeply poetic fiction, but my heart was in nutrition, holistic medicine, anatomy, and all the health-focused obsessions that contributed to my recovery. So I postponed the artsy writing to create a book and content on a subject I felt needed more attention at the time.

What do you like/love about writing? What do you hate/loathe/procrastinate intentionally to avoid in the writing process?

Writing is my therapy. I don’t mean that it’s soothing; it’s quite tumultuous. But I learn about myself through writing in a way I can’t find anywhere else. I’m an introvert but closeted performer, and writing is where I unhinge to perform.

What are your favorite subjects to write about? Where do you get your inspiration from?

I have an eclectic taste so this is a tough question. My current WIP is a mix of dark satire, social commentary, and deadpan humor…but it also has notes of gentle maternal wisdom inspired by a decade of self-help binge-reading. Bret Easton Ellis’ style of writing (American Psycho) inspired the satirical elements in my book, Women Who Run With The Wolves inspired the kinder parts. Living life in the age of TMI (too much information) inspired the rest.

Do you find writing nonfiction to be more or less challenging than writing fiction?

Nonfiction is a gazillion percent easier for me.

My fiction has been in progress for years. Meanwhile, I recently created a nonfiction indie publishing guide, made a cover, and threw it up online over a weekend. What the heck? I’m desperate for every line in my fiction to be a piece of art. I feel like it's because my soul is in it.

My nonfiction books, on the other hand, have thus far been resource tools to pass on the knowledge I’ve learned through my trade or research. The vulnerability factor isn’t there in the same way.

Let's discuss your outlook on the next generation of writers. What are some tips, tricks, or advice you would like to share? Maybe some insight that you've learned from your own journey as a self-published author?

Just start. Get the words down as fast as you can move your pen. I like stream of consciousness writing as a way to clear the garbage out of my head and get to the good stuff in those moments of ‘accidental genius’.

And when you’ve hit a roadblock, take a break to seek support, whether through productive research, coaching, friends, nature, or whatever else replenishes your creative energy.

Are there any surprises or hidden secrets new authors need to know about? Anything that surprised you when you started publishing?

That indie guide I recently wrote is pretty much a manual to my past self on just this. Indies don’t need to become writers, editors, designers, producers, distributors, marketers, and promoters, but these are the seven publishing processes we should all understand at a high level so that we at least know when and who to hire.

When did you publish your first book? How long does it take to get a book published? Are there any specific areas a new author should be mindful of?

It depends. Some authors write a book a month. I put my indie guide to self-publishing together over a weekend, but already had months of research writing on my blog to draw from. Then there’s my dusty old fiction manuscript that I have worked at for years. I think the point is to write good books people will enjoy, and do it as fast as you can while remaining sane.

We live in an age of consumerism, where authors and creators are fighting to give away their books for next to nothing. Often, it’s a race to the bottom. Be mindful of reality vs. expectations. The more people who know and like you, the better chance your books will have getting seen, purchased, read, and reviewed. That’s why I want 2022 to be the year of collaborative list-building for us indies! It’s nice to have others vouch for us in genuine ways, and often a more sound strategy for building our own tribes than other faceless promotional strategies.

Let’s talk about one of your more recent projects: The Self Pub-Hub social group. What was your inspiration for this? Can you tell us more about it? Is it open to the public or just for writers connected with the group?

You know that dusty old manuscript I’ve been working on for years? I finished it! My editor is line-editing it as we speak. It probably would have kept collecting dust, though, had I not found an accountability tribe. So I sort of poked around on Facebook to see if anyone else wanted to connect over Zoom and the rest is history.

Are there any special events coming up in the group, or in the world of writing-in-general that you would like to mention?

Collaborative networking is something I’m planning on exploring with the community over the next few months. I’ll be running strategy workshops that I want every indie to walk away from with some serious breakthrough moments with their marketing strategies.

We also have more guests lined up for a lineup of free workshops and Q&As. I’ll be reaching out to speakers consistently to get even more brains in the think tank.

Finally, can you let our visitors know if there are other projects you have in the works or books that are slated to be published in the next year?

Here’s a little secret. The Indie Author Guide To Self-Publishing is available now for free here. I’ll be splitting this up into mini books (which is why I haven’t announced it yet), but what the heck! Here’s the boxed set of my newbie guide to the seven publishing processes I mentioned earlier: writing, editing, design, production, distribution, marketing, and promotion

To wrap up our interview, can you give any new aspiring writers out there reading this your thoughts, encouragement, or advice about following their dreams to become a self-published author?

Just enjoy life. Make sure there's food on the table. Work hard, persevere and find your tribe—of other authors and readers alike

Thank you for your time today. I hope you had as much fun answering these questions as our visitors will be following along!


KJ's Corner

Author Side Quests...

In one of my favorite past time games, Dungeons & Dragons, your character comes across side quests on occasion. These additional tasks usually end up having you wander off the beaten path or help out a local merchant for a little extra gold. This month I find myself going off the paved road towards publishing to work on a small side project.

Part of being an aspiring author is the gathering of knowledge and acting like a sponge when I'm around other, accomplished authors. Some of the bits of wisdoms I've gleaned recently is that almost every successful book release has offered some sort of reader magnet. Something to both encourage and thank the author's readers for purchasing their book on the release date. It's also a helpful way to build a loyal audience that will come back for the next book in the series. These first reader gifts could be memorabilia for a nonfiction author writing about WWI, or a children's coloring book to go along with the fantasy novel for a fiction author.

For me, I have decided to work on this side quest for the next month. It will be unveiled a month prior to my official release date with the hope that it will enrich my reader's experience of the Aether Star Chronicles series. Anything 'extra' is always a fun little surprise, be it extra sprinkles on your ice-cream sundae or an extra larger tip for that hard working server at the restaurant.

This supplemental gift will accompany my first novel as my way of saying "Thank You" to all those who have stayed with me from the beginning. Your encouragement and support have been the fuel to my writer's furnace, especially during times when those nasty 'doubties' creep in with more imposter syndrome symptoms.

By now you are probably itching to know what this special add-on is, but you'll have to wait a bit longer. Once my quest has completed, and the editor gives me a thumbs up, I'll offer my loyal followers a little sneak peak. Until then, stay warm my friends and family. And have a wonderful February!


The Funnies


Monthly Riddle: Each month we will post a curious conundrum to tickle your brain cells. The answer for each monthly riddle will be posted in the following month's newsletter.

January's Riddle Answer: Age

February's Riddle:

What lives in winter, dies in summer, and grows with its roots upward?




Have a Wonderful Day!

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