Busting a Myth.

The gravitational force behind my writing including strategic communication is none other than the century old fundamental known as ‘Reading.’ Many would deem this as their ‘habeas corpus.’ At the risk of sounding platitudinous and notwithstanding the fact that there are other fundamentals at work here, it would be an anomaly if, I didn’t mention them but in order to avoid digression, I choose to stay the course.

In my quest to stay current within my genre and not too long ago, I succumbed to the myth that reading other authors would have a detrimental effect on my own creativity, that I would end up adopting other author styles in my writing and ultimately risk losing my own voice. Hence, I stopped reading fiction altogether. But my insatiable appetite for information didn’t allow me to let up so easily and instead, I retorted to reading non-fiction and devoured volume after volume in my hopes of elevating my pitch.

But, I soon realized that communication is a two-way process. Let me reiterate, it means to receive ideas and allowing those, in turn, to reflect in your communiqué. Ergo, in reading other authors these two activities became self-evident.

Having busted the myth. But not in its entirety, perhaps one would question the former statement. It may even come across as contradictory. Let me elucidate, if one continues to re-read the same work at some point it is my humble opinion a writer’s own identity may become embedded in his or her research.But reading across genres even if it means to step out of your comfort zone will help stimulate new ideas besides proving to be inspirational.

“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”

– Victor Hugo

Thus an inference here would be that reading is just not the receiving and absorption of ideas but more so it is complete only when those ideas are formulated into relevant action, which to illustrate further should translate into the dictum ‘Reading a lot equals to Writing a lot.’

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‘Growing a thicker skin.’

The title outlines, a common metaphor within the service industry and serves as an appropriate prelude. Pragmatically, I lay a lot of emphasis on politeness, as one can never be reprimanded for being too polite. When a child accompanied or unaccompanied displays politeness, then nothing brings more joy to the heart. The words ‘thank you’, ‘please’ and ‘have a nice day’ are nothing short of a miracle, healing the most dented of souls.

In introspection, on more than one occasion, I can recall when politeness saved my day. Politeness is perhaps another way of infusing communications with an agenda underpinning the vision of the organization.

The field of communication is wide-ranging and politeness, in my opinion, is another channel of fusing the best message underpinning the vision of the organization as well as a methodology of achieving one’s goals.

Depending on the nature of an organization, strategic communications can range from marketing to policy wherein politeness needs to be embedded firmly within the fabric of all communication. This will help build the street credibility of the organization’s reputation.

From a tactical perspective, taking something as ordinary as Politeness and interjecting it with strategic consistency and coordination as a branding initiative across all communication channels internally and externally, will help achieve positive outcomes in conflict resolutions, loyalty programs and cost reduction among others.

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Light Rail

A growing and welcoming phenomenon in the GCC of late, is the introduction of light rail, an environmentally responsible effort on the part of the governing authorities and a significant service, essential for the healthy development of a city.

As always, Dubai led by the vision of His Highness Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Makhtoom has been in the forefront in introducing the latest in technology. This is evident in the practical and appealing design of its tram service, complimented by state-of-the-art facilities. and the extensive network of the best track rails. Plus the ready availability of quality equipment meets the needs of its growing clientele, who have come to call this cosmopolitan hub, their home.

During my years as a transit personnel, one of the most common safety-related errors that I have seen occur, is not to know whose ‘right of way’ it is? This is a fine example of unawareness, as more and more transportation agencies around the world are realizing that the knowledge of sharing the road with public vehicles, has to become part of the driver learning process.

While collisions with cars are the most common form of traffic accidents, cyclists and pedestrians are the group most at risk of death during tram collisions. Cyclists may experience a loss of control if bicycle tires get jammed in a tramway track. I have noticed, reducing measures in the vehicle design and in the traffic areas, especially at and near tram stops, were taken into consideration when planning the system. This has inherently reduced the risk of potential injuries.

Since the habitants of this world-class city, come from all walks of life and backgrounds, this in itself brings with it unique transportation challenges. One would imagine that the element of ‘common sense’ would and should prevail under such circumstances as riding on this tram service or, importantly, sharing the road with this public service transport.

However, as the RTA prepares to meet the challenges of effectively serving the needs of its growing commuters, who have increasingly come to expect and depend on nothing short of the best in service from the public transportation service.

Nevertheless, there would always be certain operational issues that commonly tend to be overlooked, such as the passenger and vehicle safety imperatives.

In my opinion, a conscious effort needs to be made by the concerned authorities to take the residents of Dubai through an induction process which effectively shares the vision and mission of the transportation system. It will help users in better understanding and sharing the responsibilities and make them aware of what is expected of them. The successful systems had always been those that have implemented the three Ps: Private-Public-Partnership.

Its induction is an on-going process to highlight, delegate and implement ‘safe practices’, essential to the success of the organizational structure.

This program or process when implemented, will reduce the number of untoward occurrences, serve as an educational aid, create awareness of responsibilities not to the commuters alone. It takes into its fold, the pedestrians, cyclists and motorists on sharing the road with a display of safe and responsible practices.

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Public Buses

This is in continuation of series of articles written by me to address the looming gaps in child safety on public transportation. Injury risks are different around the world, but all children, whether rich or poor have the right to grow up healthy and safe.

Families with young children are a permanent transit reality. Taking children to medical appointments, daycare and grocery store are a fact in the world we live in, and will continue to be so as long as there are people who don’t own cars.

 Arguably, buses are the most common mode of surface transit that frequent city roads and streets in their essential role of transporting dependent passengers to their respective destinations.

Lately, one see’s state-of-the-art vehicles with comfortable seating, equipped with innovative security and commuter-friendly aides. This is a big milestone to achieve when one compares these vehicles to what was available twenty years ago.

I would like to compliment the manufacturers and to the transport authorities around the world for investing in such modern-day vehicles, which address customer requirements.

But at the same time, it would be a great help if companies also took interest in ‘preventive measures’. Recently, I had the opportunity to ride on the Dubai public bus service. In my years as a transit operator, I have seen this lack of awareness when riding with children more than I would care to mention here.

Parents, unintentionally put their precious cargo in harms way under false pretense, allowing children to stand close to the front of the bus, or on seats. Even worse, let them run in the bus unattended while the bus is in motion – a nightmare for health and safety departments anywhere.

What parents should try to understand is an emergency application of the brake pedal, an unavoidable sharp turn of the vehicle, could prove disastrous for the children, scaring them with a terrible memory for life, let alone the physical injuries.

Most people who take public transport may recall the bus operator’s constant reminders asking passengers to stand well behind the safety line of the bus.

This line has a multi-purpose: It not only prevents children from falling and hurting themselves against the front of the bus; but also provides the bus operator a clear-line-of-sight of the foot-path or his ‘blind spot’ to avoid moving into other vehicles’ sharing the road.

Another significant element in avoiding injury or accident would be the Training of the Personnel that operate these million-Dirham-machines.

Often, the lack of continuous professional training is grossly evident in operating personnel which organizations seem to ignore. Continuous training is imperative and, has proven over time, is the leading tool in preventing injury and ensuring safety.

Standard operating procedure (SOP), continue to be enhanced across all industries the world-over. Huge funds are allocated in multi-billion-dollar organizations towards the on-going development of man-power, to better serve the needs of their customers and to provide more efficient and reliable service by adopting innovative procedures and policies.

Surface transportation seems to be lacking in these developments and, unfortunately, it is a phenomenon seen across many countries.

Most transit systems, for example, require children to be removed from the strollers or prams and strollers to be folded during the ride. Yet, many major transit agencies don’t even mention a stroller/pram policy on their websites – let alone in the posted, print materials on their vehicles.

Perhaps, the RTA will look into a clear, well-publicized, and consistently applied policy regarding travelling with children.

In addition to explaining the Safety requirements that influence specific policies, RTA may consider providing more general safety information for both children and parents.

 If so desired, it is also possible for the RTA to publish their own safety records, as well as, valuable tips for riding safely with children.

I hope this article is taken in the spirit in which it was written. A constructive, positive and un-biased feedback on the potential opportunities for improving service.

 A.Lawati is a retired Transit Operator from Canada and has written several Children’s books. His latest book is about teaching children ‘Safety’ when taking public transport.

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Dubai Metro

Having worked for a transit body in the West has given me a deep insight into the day-to-day operational challenges of Transit Systems. While operational procedures may vary on a global scale, there is always an element of commonality that presents problems to even the most efficient and organized commissions.

There are some issues that I would like to address but the one that takes precedence is safety, especially Child Safety.

This is a huge issue which often bogs down many transit systems around the world and a lot more needs to be done before all systems can assure absolute safety for children. I have often witnessed parents committing safety-related errors under the pretence of a fun-filled experience for the child, totally ignoring the necessary safety guidelines.

Recently, I had the pleasure of taking the Dubai Metro, my first since moving to Dubai. Although I was only on for a few stops, I couldn’t help notice the safety gaps the system needs to address – not only generally, but particularly towards Child Safety.

Indeed, the Dubai authorities have spared no expense in the planning and execution of this state-of-the-art system. No doubt, the automated trains narrow down the margin of error to an acceptable level. The station barriers, an essential tool for the safety of passengers, are still on the wish-list of transit agencies around the world.

The spotlessly clean and tastefully designed facilities are in keeping with the Dubai image of a world-class city.

However, in the Children’s Safety area, much needs attention. Since the trains are packed to the brim, it increases the chance of mishaps or accidents on board. Hence, ‘frequency’, perhaps, needs to be looked at.

Perhaps, there is a need to designate ‘parents with children’ seating area; and also, quite importantly, a place to stow away strollers or baby carriages. Given there is a first-class with perks available, implementation of more safety features will be truly helpful.

With visible and approachable security personnel around, one feels quite safe to take the Dubai Metro. Besides them and, of course, the well-informed Ticket Collector, it seems there is no one available for any kind of general information, if required, or to assist customers with children.

Dubai strives to ‘be the best’ in offering facilities that are apparent by its airline, hotels, housing, hospitals, overall infrastructure and above all, its attitude. Perhaps, the concerned authorities may take greater cognizance of improving further the ‘Child Safety’ practices by adding to their menu:

a)      Visible indoor/outdoor signage in the stations

b)      Accessible, trained customer-oriented personnel/staff

c)      ‘Child Safety’ awareness campaign, educating parents on the subject.

 

Lawati is a retired Train Operator from Canada and has written and published several children’s books. His latest book is about teaching children ‘Safety’ when taking public transport.

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In the news.

My latest book gets a mention on Brian Henry’s popular blog. Click on the link to read more…

http://quick-brown-fox-canada.blogspot.ae/…/two-new-books-d…

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A picture says a thousand words.

Blend storytelling with art and what you get as a result is a unique literary form and that’s exactly what A. Lawati did. ‘A Day on the TTC’ is a children’s picture book, a great guide for teaching children the importance of safety when taking public transit. A. Lawati is a retired subway train operator and this is his first of a series of four books. A picture book is a combination of illustrations and text that both work beautifully together to get the message across, especially so to a younger audience, as a younger more fresh mind responds more promptly if instructed through this perfect unison of art & literature.

Lawati’s book educates and inspires young keen minds as parents often make safety related errors which while seemingly is a harmless decision to allow their children to have a good time riding the train, bus or streetcar. But what parents don’t realize is that one emergency application of the brake pedal or an unavoidable sharp turn could prove disastrous for their children or end up leaving a terrible experience in their memories for life. Long before they can read, children respond to images in an effort to place themselves and the others in their lives into the world around them. ‘A Day on the TTC’ involves children with wonderful, eye-catching illustrations that beg to be explored.

This picture book isn’t just for young children, older children are often more motivated to read picture books than books without illustrations because they find them engaging and easier to read. ‘A Day on the TTC’ enables children to explore safety on public transportation within their own imagination and make connections to the guiding principles presented and other lessons that are depicted in this book. One feature that stands out in his book is that it helps children connect with its content thanks to the pictures that make this book more real to them. The Illustrations in this book use a variety of techniques to convey mood and tone as well as character and plot. They reflect people, objects, and situations familiar to children, which in turn help’s children validate their emotions and experiences. The process of making an emotional connection helps a child learn faster and digest the topic as well as grasping it better. A story about safety on public transport with illustrations teaches kids a lot about how to behave in a safe manner when out and about. It helps them learn valuable things about safety when they’re either by themselves or even when attended. Illustrations in Lawati’s book introduce children to new ideas about safety on public transport and things they didn’t know before.

Exploration of the illustrations uncovers new facts about how children should be careful in certain movements when they are outdoors. Lawati’s book successfully creates awareness of safety amongst children and commuters. It also sheds light on the responsible job functions of transit employees that come from diverse backgrounds with the help of a fun to read story supported by colorful and appealing illustrations. Lawati is presently working on a sequel to “A Day on the TTC” as part of his four book series. Blend storytelling with art and what you get as a result is a unique literary form and that’s exactly what A. Lawati did. ‘A Day on the TTC’ is a children’s picture book, a great guide for teaching children the importance of safety when taking public transit. A. Lawati is a retired subway train operator and this is his first of a series of four books. A picture book is a combination of illustrations and text that both work beautifully together to get the message across, especially so to a younger audience, as a younger more fresh mind responds more promptly if instructed through this perfect unison of art & literature.

Lawati’s book educates and inspires young keen minds as parents often make safety related errors which while seemingly is a harmless decision to allow their children to have a good time riding the train, bus or streetcar. But what parents don’t realize is that one emergency application of the brake pedal or an unavoidable sharp turn could prove disastrous for their children or end up leaving a terrible experience in their memories for life. Long before they can read, children respond to images in an effort to place themselves and the others in their lives into the world around them. ‘A Day on the TTC’ involves children with wonderful, eye-catching illustrations that beg to be explored. This picture book isn’t just for young children, older children are often more motivated to read picture books than books without illustrations because they find them engaging and easier to read. ‘A Day on the TTC’ enables children to explore safety on public transportation within their own imagination and make connections to the guiding principles presented and other lessons that are depicted in this book. One feature that stands out in his book is that it helps children connect with its content thanks to the pictures that make this book more real to them. The Illustrations in this book use a variety of techniques to convey mood and tone as well as character and plot. They reflect people, objects, and situations familiar to children, which in turn help’s children validate their emotions and experiences. The process of making an emotional connection helps a child learn faster and digest the topic as well as grasping it better. A story about safety on public transport with illustrations teaches kids a lot about how to behave in a safe manner when out and about. It helps them learn valuable things about safety when they’re either by themselves or even when attended. Illustrations in Lawati’s book introduce children to new ideas about safety on public transport and things they didn’t know before. Exploration of the illustrations uncovers new facts about how children should be careful in certain movements when they are outdoors.

Lawati’s book successfully creates awareness of safety amongst children and commuters. It also sheds light on the responsible job functions of transit employees that come from diverse backgrounds with the help of a fun to read story supported by colorful and appealing illustrations. Lawati is presently working on a sequel to “A Day on the TTC” as part of his four book series.

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The importance of illustrated books.

As we grow older, we start to forget how much illustrated books and the read-aloud experience affected our younger selves, how certain well illustrated books helped shape us into who we are today. Ilustrated books are important because childhood is important. Illustrated books enable even the busiest of us to enjoy a good story in just a few minutes. In a world where so much is rushed, illustrated books encourage us to slow down and savor. With the help of appealing Illustration’s, books help inspire today’s young people into becoming tomorrow’s leaders. Thus illustrated books can help create a lifelong love of reading.
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The Great Literary Blog Hop

I was recently given this exciting opportunity to join the Great – Literary -Blog -Hop by the wonderful Caroline Kaiser. Before working as a freelance editor, Caroline was an antiques appraiser and cataloguer of glass, ceramics, and silver at a Toronto auction house for nearly 14 years. She has channelled her expertise in the antiques field into editing and ghostwriting for appraisers. She is also the author of a number of feature articles on 19th-century pottery that were published in Antiques and Collectibles Trader magazine. To learn more about Caroline please visit http://www.carolinekaisereditor.com/.

As part of the blog hop,  I’m required to answer four questions and they are as follows:

1. What are you working on/writing?

I have recently finished writing a chapter book for middle graders about a young Asian Star Tortoise in Yosemite Park, who impulsively accepts  a challenge to race from the Cottontail Clan of rabbits. The rabbits, who are distant cousins of the hares, have been twitching for a rematch ever since the legendary  race where the tortoise outsmarted the hare. Set in the harsh yet rich landscape of Yosemite, this fun to read 9,000-word adventure  story, is a retelling of an original fable with a few new twists.

This story has a double narrative structure, a story within a story. My audience  of middle graders will enjoy this story because it has action, suspense and humor. It serves as an educating aid for the developing minds of my readers and it addresses everyday issues like bullying, patience, friendship and tolerance for others.

2. How does your work/writing differ from others in its genre?

I like to write about engaging subject matters for children and adults while spinning my story around a moral. My writing reflects my personality and my values.

3. Why do you write what you do?

Writing allows me to be myself like any true love would do. I love telling a story that finds a connection with my readers. This is my great escape into a world of anonymity, adventure, romance and thrill.

4. How does your writing process work?

It begins with an idea that gets me excited. I then throw the idea at the mercy of my selected group of dedicated feedback givers, which comprise of family and friends. Once through their critical examination, I am further prompted to play with it. Than begins the process of outlining and thus begins the writing process.

I write best when I allow my mind to wander and my ideas time to process. I’m often at my creative best when working out in the gym or on a morning stroll.

I now give the stage to my participating blogger:

Firdosi Wharton-Ali has enjoyed an illustrious career as a screenwriter: Without a good script, there is really little chance of crafting a memorable movie! Firdosi has honed her craft, first academically and then with real world film experience. Part of UCLA’s inaugural class in the Certification in Screenwriting Program, Firdosi also taught in that program. With an undergraduate degree in Political Science from UCLA, she opted against law school in favor of film school. She was one of 22 students (applicants numbered close to 1000) to graduate in her class from the prestigious UCLA School of Theater, Film, Television, and Digital Media in 1999. Upon graduating, she optioned a script to Mark Morgan (Executive Producer of the Twilight movies). She optioned materials to Baltimore/Spring Creek (Barry Levinson) and sold an original idea to Oliver Hudson through his production company, The Workshed. She completed a re-write on IN THE MIX for Usher and for producer, Bill Borden, creator of the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL franchise for Disney. These projects were in addition to the projects she contributed to through PREDAWN PRODUCTIONS, where she worked for several years for Ron Bass as a Development Executive/Screenwriter. Ron Bass is the most prolific screenwriter in the history of the craft with over 160 scripts sold and a box office of over 3 billion dollars. Ron and Firdosi sold an original idea entitled THE YOUNGER WOMAN to UNIVERSAL for Reese Witherspoon to star and are currently shopping a script called RUMMY KARMA. Rummy Karma is a dramatic comedy about three generations of Indian women. She sold a script to WIND DANCER FILMS (ROSEANNE, HOME IMPROVEMENT) while writing an original pilot for TEEN NICK with TOMMY LYNCH (Kids Incorporated, The Troop) Currently, she heads up her own production company, PARADISE SEVEN PICTURES, in Las Vegas, Nevada and has her first feature, to be shot in Las Vegas 2014, SUN CITY, in active development.

For more on Ms Wharton Ali, please visit: http://paradisesevenpictures.wordpress.com/

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16TH FREE “DEAR LUCKY AGENT” CONTEST: MIDDLE GRADE FICTION

This is a recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. Here’s the deal: With every contest, the details are essentially the same, but the niche itself changes—meaning each contest is focused around a specific category or two. So if you’re writing middle grade fiction, this 16th contest is for you! (The contest is live through EOD, Wednesday, July 30, 2014.)

WHY YOU SHOULD GET EXCITED

After a previous “Dear Lucky Agent” contest, the agent judge, Tamar Rydzinski (The Laura Dail Literary Agency), signed one of the three contest winners. After Tamar signed the writer, she went on to sell two of that writer’s books! How cool! That’s why these contests are not to missed if you have an eligible submission.

HOW TO SUBMIT

E-mail entries to dearluckyagent16@gmail.com. Please paste everything. No attachments.

WHAT TO SUBMIT

The first 150-200 words of your unpublished, completed book-length work of middle grade fiction. You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also, submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with each entry.

Please note: To be eligible to submit, you must mention this contest twice through any any social-media. Please provide a social-media link or Twitter handle or screenshot or blog post URL, etc., with your official e-mailed entry so the judge and I can verify eligibility. Some previous entrants could not be considered because they skipped this step! Simply spread the word twice through any means and give us a way to verify you did; a tinyURL for this link/contest for you to easily use is http://tinyurl.com/pwbds3q. An easy way to notify me of your sharing is to include my Twitter handle @chucksambuchino at the end of your mention(s) if using Twitter. If we’re friends on FB, tag me in the mention. And if you are going to solely use Twitter as your 2 times, please wait 1 day between mentions to spread out the notices, rather than simply tweeting twice back to back. Thanks. (Please note that simply tweeting me does not count. You have to include the contest URL with your mention; that’s the point.)

Here is a sample tweet you can use (feel free to tweak): New FREE contest for writers of middle grade fictionhttp://tinyurl.com/pwbds3q Judged by agent @petejknapp - via @chucksambuchino

WHAT IS ELIGIBLE?

Middle grade fiction. The agent judge did not choose to exclude any subgenre, so everything is fair game.

CONTEST DETAILS

  1. This contest will be live through the end of July 30, 2014, PST. Winners notified by e-mail within approximately three weeks of end of contest. Winners announced on the blog thereafter.
  2. To enter, submit the first 150-200 words of your book. Shorter or longer entries will not be considered. Keep it within word count range please.
  3. You can submit as many times as you wish. You can submit even if you submitted to other contests in the past, but please note that past winners cannot win again. All that said, you are urged to only submit your best work.
  4. The contest is open to everyone of all ages, save those employees, officers and directors of GLA’s publisher, F+W Media, Inc.
  5. By e-mailing your entry, you are submitting an entry for consideration in this contest and thereby agreeing to the terms written here as well as any terms possibly added by me in the “Comments” section of this blog post. (If you have questions or concerns, write me personally at chuck.sambuchino (at) fwmedia.com. The Gmail account above is for submissions, not questions.)

PRIZES!!!

Top 3 winners all get: 1) A critique of the first 10 double-spaced pages of your work, by your agent judge. 2) A free one-year subscription to WritersMarket.com ($50 value)!

Good Luck.

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