Monday, October 3, 2011

Remembering Harry Whittington

Well,  I'm pulling an 8 hour Saturday on the new novel, all but the mini-break I am taking to write this post. My work as a sales consultant aside from being a wife, mother and daughter consumes most of my hours. Writing is very hard work when you strive to do a solid job and then you're still not sure.

I have been reminiscing about my mentor, Harry Whittingon, a master of pulp novels, westerns, screenplays, romance novels and more. I hope you are with me in spirit today, Harry, because I could use your fortitude!

Harry was a full time author and wrote as a means to feed his family. That's a tough job in any era. Just the pressure of being the breadwinner is enough to squash the creative process. It's hard to believe 22 years have passed since we worked together.

I just did an internet search and found a picture that I took of Harry. See above. I took that picture when I was writing for a local beach paper! I was surprised to see it and it made me go on a hunt for the article I wrote. Naturally, I have my clippings stored in boxes and my first search didn't produce the article and I haven't the time to continue the hunt til another weekend.
The website does a nice job of reprinting Harry's bio from his Black Lizard books.

Anyway, I'll save my Harry stories for a book tour once I'm done with "St. Blair: Children of the Night." I've got to get back to writing.

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Marquel" on the Shelves of Turnrow Books in Greenwood, MS

I took this picture last summer while visiting our daughter who worked on the movie "The Help." I love the fact that the movie is based on a bestselling novel. The film was shot on location in the small southern town of Greenwood, MS. Blair lived there from July to November and I had the chance to make 2 trips up to see her. Turnrow Books was a hub for many of the cast and crew to grab a bite and something to read during the long breaks in a town with no movie theater.
My novel is pictured in the middle of the store shelf.  I'm not the best marketer of myself, I do a much better job for my clients, but I am getting better. I was very appreciative Turnrow stocked "Marquel."
As we travel more, I am making a solid effort to visit independent booksellers and also promote my work. With the closure of many units of  larger bookstore chains, I feel the smaller stores will have a better survival rate. Call me naive, but I think the more unique the store, the more likely the public will drift in, especially with the big guys absent.
Just a week ago my husband and I drove to a very quaint Micanopy, Florida to "antique." We love going to antique shops/malls and eating in local diners and I am always on the hunt for vintage novels by my mentor, Harry Whittington, but more to come on that subject.
Anyway, where is your favorite bookstore? What makes it special? I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Film Mom at the film festival

I attended and volunteered for the Sunscreen Film Festival this past weekend and much to my surprise, the films I did get to see, weren't as interesting as prior years. But I didn't get to many. Our daughter Blair The Moviechic actually made very good connections at the Sunscreen Film Festival 2 years ago and has since worked for Harbinger Pictures/Dreamworks on "The Help."

She did all the hard work, networking, staying in touch and landing the job. It's not an easy business to break into if you are timid. Blair is not. She is constantly meeting new people in various aspects of the industry and trying new jobs and braved moving to make it happen. Her short film, "Relative Eternity" will be entered into festivals in the latter part of 2011 and 2012.

So I began to ponder what we learned from our earlier research of film schools, UCLA and USC. They stress that the filmmaker's main job is to tell a great story. Many film hopefuls are not writers but visionaries. Like many parents, I thought film school were focused on the technical aspects of production, camera technique, special effects, but in truth, those processes don't mean a thing if you don't have a solid marketable story and that's where the hard work comes in!

Take the block of short films I had the chance to view this weekend, I disappointed at the "lack" of conclusion in many of the comedy shorts. I was spoiled by the quality I saw 2 years ago. The films I saw this year reminded me of the "rushed" but talented films of the "48 Hour Film Competition" we crewed as volunteers for Blair's production. It's understandable that a 48 Hour project would have a less than perfect story, but a festival entry in my view, has to be more.

Now, I do appreciate the filmmaking process and heart that goes behind the shortest of films, but I feel the tweaks these films needed would likely have been stressed through several viewings by family and friends. Afterall, we all spend money to watch entertainment and some quality feedback would go along way in making a promising movie a great short.

The take away for me:
  • Lottery stories are overdone and I don't challenge anyone to prove me wrong!
  • Don't bring a baby/cute kid or dog into a story without telling us where they went?
  • I don't like dance remixes and I definitely don't like movie remixes. Example: one story was basically the "pina cola song" in a non-musical video with few scenes changed around.
  • Don't go high quality on the intro if the story doesn't match. I was swept away by the opening of one film only to be bored by the final product.
  • Do make sure you have good sound quality. My favorite film was hard to hear.
Ok, I'm just a fan of films, so give me stories to rave about and I'll glad do so.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kindle vs. Nook sales

I am very new to e-publishing. My Nook sales over the last 10 weeks are about 91 total sales and Kindle is only 3?

Now in fairness to Kindle, I just got started a couple of weeks ago. I do know that I can only in list 2 categories for Kindle searches and the Nook I can list in 5 categories, so the opportunities to be found are greater on the Nook. I have to say, this is the most exciting time to be a writer. My nephew, Erik Williams, is doing fabulous with the various short stories and novels he sells. He is really my inspiration. Please look for the link to his blog "Drunken Monkeys and Angry Penguins" to learn more.

What I am now preparing to do is determine my best strategies to write more. I am much disciplined in my sales and marketing job. Now I need to focus the limited spare time I have to write. Since I write in both fiction and non-fiction genres, I am trying to determine how to reach both audiences.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Visiting the Moviechic

Blair and Aries Spears of Mad TV
Just got back from Los Angeles and visiting our film maker daughter, Blair. We stayed at her place for a few days while she spent the first part of the week house sitting at the opposite end of the city. We love LA and I think we helped the economy by eating out and parking!
  1. Here's an overview: Got in on Friday evening around midnight 3/26 and had a late snack at Norms somewhere in South LA, a local diner/dive, but not the Guy Fieri kind. Saturday hubby had to go to Hooters to watch the Gators. The Burbank Hooters has a Gator alum section, so we had a good time, though the Gator's lost. Bummer. We later went to the Bookstar on Ventura which is an old movie theatre that Barnes and Noble has converted to a bookstore. Loved it! I always open my book on the Nook sample display.
  2. Sunday we slept in, we were time-challenged from the 3 hour difference. We all had pedicures in the UCLA area and just relaxed. Blair and I had manicures as well. There is place called Top Shoes that is in the college area that has great deals on shoes, so this was my 2nd annual visit to the store. :) Later we went to The Ivy and had a late brunch. We were cautious of where to park and read all the signs before we got out and walked to the restaurant. But we still ended up with a $65 ticket, though we don't know why?
  3. Monday was an early morning at "The Price's Right." We were to be there at 8:30 am. We parked at The Grove shopping mall around 7 am, a beautiful center, but expensive. We didn't think to get validation at one of the stores and spent $24 to park. It took 3 to 4 hours for all potential contestant to get interviewed. We didn't make the cut, but regardless, it would go much faster if they processed everyone as they arrived. It was fun to watch and I would go again someday if they sped up the procedures. We met a lady who had made it to the Showcase Showdown the week prior and lost. Contestants aren't allowed to play again for 10 years, but her husband was there to try out. We ate later at Maria's Italian and I was bummed they were out of eggplant, so I wasn't in the mood to have more than a few meatballs and a side salad.
  4. Tuesday we moved into the Best Western on Sunset and loved the nearby restaurants and comedy clubs in walking distance. We decided to go to Rodeo Dr. during the morning and walk around. I was looking for a shop I had gone to before, but it had moved. So we treated ourselves to The Blvd restaurant at the Beverly Wilshire and noshed on some delightful breads and Blair had the Sea Bass and Tom and I had salads. YUM! That evening we walked to the LePetit Four and had a beautiful cool evening dining outside as the they surrounded the tables in towering heaters. I had a Cobb salad and a wonderful layered apple dessert and coffee. Tom and Blair had ?? I don't remember. We strolled to Book Soup and glanced at the offerings. Loved the design of the store. It has its own unique system of categorizing the books.
  5. Wednesday was Blair's day to get her hair colored and cut, Tom also got a cut as I sat and read "The Help" on my Kindle. Since Blair's hair was an hour process, Tom and I strolled and got coffee. All the Starbucks and Coffee Bean's in LA are just packed with electronically-focused patrons sipping and surfing the web. We ate at the Saddle Ranch which Blair tells us will be featured in a reality show and we went down the street afterward to Tom Arnold's gig at the Laugh Factory and also saw Aries Spears of Mad TV and (well, just Max Amini, but I gotten give him a plug). Anyway, we sat in the front row and Blair is younger looking than her 20s, so it was interesting to say the least. Naturally, we got picked on for bringing our kid to the show and naturally Blair was the center of many of Aries jokes, as he made her well aware of how we brought her into the world. It was all good fun and fully expected. Afterward we walked to Mel's Diner for a milkshake nightcap before heading back to the hotel. The Best Western has breakfast included in the hotel offerings, so we started our day with coffee, fruit and cereal each morning.
  6. Thursday we went to the Craig Ferguson show and that was less time consuming than The Price's Right. We parked at The Grove again, but smartly got our parking validated, which brought the cost down to $10. Paul Giamatti was Ferguson's guest, promoting his new movie "Win-Win." I am a big Giamatti fan, so it was a treat. I was also on a mission to deliver a gift to Ferguson that my 75 year old mother wanted him to have. I wasn't able to accomplish an interaction with the Scot, so I left it in the studio, hoping he would receive it. My mother is feature on Youtube segment: "Nana Loves Craig." She has a major major MAJOR crush on Craig Ferguson. Thursday night we went to Casa Bianca with Blair's friends the Yuan twins (currently doing a stint on "Rules of Engagement") and Frank (the a television show editer). We enjoyed anti-pasta salad, pizza and cannolis. It was so nice to meet some of our daughter's friends. They are all so helpful and generous. The twins are making a slasher short film, Blair has just begun editing her dramatic short that Frank is also producing and they are all looking for projects for the future. It's truly a project-based business.
  7. Friday we moved out of the Best Western and went to the Urth Cafe for lunch. The only celebrity sighting we had was Chris Farley's brother (who was in line with us). What great food!! I had a chicken curry sandwich that was my favorite meal of the trip. We then went to the Landmark Theater to see "Win-Win." LA movie theater's rock! I just loved picking out our seats before going in and the cleanliness of the theatre, the sound quality and comfortable seats. The movie was great and afterward we drove to the Santa Monica Pier for our final evening in California. We ate a Bubba Gump's since most of the pier restaurants were closing. Afterward, we went to Blair's for a few hours of napping before our morning flight Saturday. We had time to sleep on the flight. Now we're home and back to work. We miss our daughter, but we'll be back soon! We still didn't hike to the Hollywood sign or catch any plays and of course, we'll have to go out when Blair's film "Relative Eternity" is released!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

You are the C.E.O. of your family finances!

I spent the better part of Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday and Sunday evening working on our taxes. I am not a Turbo Tax filer. It's okay if you are in the bracket to get it processed free, but I don't see why I should pay to upload my tax return to the government when I can mail it in for a few postage stamps.

Even if you are getting a refund, there isn't a big delay in I.R.S. processing.

I learned taxes by taking the H.R. Block tax course many years ago as we had family members in the business. I actually worked a season or two doing taxes at Sears and I have been doing our personal return ever since.

This helped me learn so much about how to plan for the next tax year. I am no Suze Orman, but I do listen to Suze and Clark Howard. My husband and I each take ownership of various projects, he handles insurance and household repairs, I'm finance and groceries. I cook, he does the dishes, etc.

And we didn't agree on our family finances when we first go married. We had credit card debt and separate accounts to start and now many years later we are a great team! We tithe, save, plan and do our best to steward everything, right down to recycling most of our household trash and donating things to help others in need.

At first my husband was annoyed at all the swapping and trading and giving things back and forth that my family did. We grew up children of divorce and had to make due with less, so there is hardly a visit even today my siblings don't bring something to the other a garage sale or cleaning out their closets.

And I think family's need to embrace that they should run their households like a business and take a hard look at where they are spending and how to grow their family empire! Yes, I said empire. Look it up, it's about wealth controlled by families and businesses. It's not about greed, it's about helping your child(ren) and your children's children and beyond.

Each time I sit down to pay the bills, save on a purchase or put receipts aside for the upcoming tax year, I do so knowing I am helping our family get and stay strong. The economy has tested many, but it's also helped people pool their resources and get back to basics.

Even if you are unemployed and rebuilding your life, what is your strategy to make a "comeback"?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Internet Ads That Target Your Interests

OK, I sell advertising for a living and I was just watching a news story that discusses new tools for search engines who send you ads or place ads on sites where you shop or read blogs, etc. The funny thing is, I honestly believe most consumers won't click on these ads.

Today's consumer isn't enticed by content links that could contain a virus that will shut their computer down. We've all experienced some pop up that took over or loaded viruses on the home or work computer. Most of these were clicked on by mistake and taught a lesson to stay away from links. PERIOD!

Instead we search for what we want. It's all about the organic search. It's just like SMS text advertising. People opt in what is of interest and if they get a text from a provider that they didn't contact they opt out immediately. We don't waste time.

I text with my kids and on rare occasion, a client. I don't want to text anyone else. I have a Facebook that says I don't Facebook, but I have it to see family members photos as they ask me to take a look. I don't want all the clutter of a Facebook and I'm not interested in seeing everyone's friends photos and reading the chatter. Just send me an email and I'm up to date.

I love TWITTER! It's fast. It's short. It's fun. I don't want to converse, I want to share and observe. I guess what I'm saying is the challenge of the internet's future is how to create the TIVO experience for the web.

I don't TIVO either, but my friends swear by it. They love the shows it chooses based on their interests. I would rather HULU. The internet ads are trying to do for the consumer what TIVO does, but we don't trust clicking outside the box. The organic search box or outside the website we're reviewing.

So I think the web has a long way to go. The engine(s) who can keep the pirates out and develop an adware/virus-free experience, guaranteed, will be the king or queen of content/ad sales. May the best company win.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Belated Grief

If you think about it, death is not just about the end of a physical life, but the end of any number of important happenings, relationships, careers, abilities and more.

While we were visiting with friends a discussion came up about adult children who (had lost a parent while they were just a child) were expected to "get over it" in a few months and basically not talk about the sadness or loss. These small children were to go on as though things were fine when they had lost a mom or dad. Not only did the death and lack of grieving frame their future, but it also never went away. Just talking about it would bring that person back to the moment.

It made me think about many friends and family members who have suffered something devastating and how they too were expected to just move on quickly. While it's not healthy to dwell on the past, and I'm not a mental health professional, I think there is something to be said for belated grieving.

It seems that when you watch shows like Celebrity Rehab or Biggest Loser or any number of programs that involve change, the concurrent theme is resolving the source of the pain. Whether it was the death of a parent, child, sibling spouse/partner, the loss of a marriage, job, home, the past revealing of a sexual preference or possible gender change, the suffering of abuse, oppression/persecution or bullying it would seem that it's never too late to seek help.

Though you may have moved on and even managed to enjoy success, it would seem that inner peace might warrant some counseling consideration.

Someone once told me that if you hold in your emotions too long the problem will surface again in strange ways. And I saw how this happened to someone I know well. She had kept an abuse from her family and later became an obsessive complusive hand washer. Again, I'm not a professional, but it seemed the obsessive complusive disorder developed as she held on to this secret and how dirty it made her feel. Over time the OCD became more managable as she revealed the pain of abuse. This sounds oversimplified, but we're talking years of healing.

So my prayer for you is that you find loving support or be that loving support for someone.

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's almost lent...

A client and fellow Catholic asked me what I would be giving up for lent and I said, "well, it's sometimes harder to do something, than it is to give something up."

To explain, if you were to spend 40 days biting your tongue each time you wanted to say something negative and force yourself to say something positive, that would be an example of "doing something" verses giving up soda or candy.

So as we approach Fat Tuesday, I am going to try again to work on the positive. They say it takes 21 days to change a habit, so I have 40.

God bless you as you examine the sacrifices or changes you hope to make during the lenten season. May you find inner peace and joy through the journey.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Johno got your message!

A very good friend and I lost an equally special friend more than 5 years ago, a fellow rep that we knew best as Johno. She and I were always reassuring Johno that we had his back and he equally had ours.

It's hard to put into words the spiritual bond that develops when co-workers experience difficult times together and rise above them. We were a work family. Siblings in sales. We competed with each other, celebrated achievements, cried at each others personal struggles and cheered each other on daily.

When Johno passed away suddenly several years ago, his close friends never stopped talking with him. We would admit that yes, while on a drive to an appointment or drinking our morning coffee, we'd chat with Johno. Most of still have his obit in our car, on a mirror at home or in our wallet. He's become a patron-saint-in-the-making for sales professionals.

And funny thing, he never had enough confidence in himself though he was extremely talented. He was the kind of person sales managers loved to rib and he could dish it out, too. But an hour later he'd wonder if there was a hidden meaning to the jesting and that's when he'd call me or one of his other buddies.

So today was special. I had just left a meeting with one of Johno's favorite clients. As I was driving to my next stop I just got the feeling Johno wanted me to call someone for him. I left a message and wouldn't you know it, she had been talking to Johno for the past 2 days on her drives. She called me and after catching up on our work she told me how the timing was amazing. And I said, "well, I guess Johno wanted you to know he heard you."

We always knew when he needed us, but now-a-days he's always there in spirit when we need him.

Monday, February 28, 2011

21 Ebook sales so far!

OK, I am thrilled at my first venture into the ebook platform. Thank you Nook readers for giving me a chance to share my work with you, "Thrift Shopping..."

I must confess my nephew, Erik Williams inspired me to get back in the game. He is a prolific writer of ebooks, chapbooks, novellas and novels. See the link for his Drunken Monkeys and Angry Pengiuns blog. We have such a creative family, my sister Ellen Williams has 2 books in print "Radioface" and "Godopossum: Printed Words" and our youngest just finished shooting her first professional short film, see link to "Relative Eternity" and our eldest daughter is auditioning for several films right now.

More to come...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Remember when black nail polish was tacky?

Sorry, unless you are a middle school student, Elivra, Morticia Addams, a Dungeons and Dragons fanatic, a goth loner or a bored junkie (at least that's what I saw on Celebrity Rehab), black nail polish isn't fashionable.

Can I get an amen from Tim Gunn? Likely not.

A little black dress belongs in every woman's wardrobe, but a bottle of black nail polish should only be used to repair scuffed accessories, car dents, scratched appliances and the like. Chipped nail polish looks bad in any color, but black polish looks as bad as broken teeth. Well, that's extreme, but you get the point.

Ok, maybe you think I should have something better to do than obssess about nail polish and I would agree, but that's what happens when I get writer's block.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thank you Survivor & American Idol !

I am not going to waste a lot of time discussing this, but I am happy to say American Idol is much better for having Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. Finally, it's about the talent and not the judges!

The antics of Paula, Simon, and Ellen are done. Thank you Simon, best of luck on the X Factor, you've raked us all over the coals for too long. I really like seeing less of Ryan Seacrest, too. He's nice, but less is more. I stopped watching after Adam Lambert lost.

To Steven Tyler, you are sunshine, fun and I want to give you a hug.

As for Survivor: Mark Burnett, how did it take so long to figure out there is more to the game than puzzles? Redemption Island is going to mix it up and now you have professional Survivor's Boston Rob and Russell to stir the pot. Quite frankly, I would like to challenge the producers to a puzzle-less season! Every season could be called Survivor, Puzzle Island.

Make them knit, crochet or build something with some basic Craftsman Tools! Imbed or carve clues into some of the trees. Leave a sealed basket or cans of food (heck give them a can opener, talk about product placement, Spaghettios and Kitchenaid) instead of an immunity idol in the woods for someone to get fat. Give them walkie talkies to spy or record the other tribe. Make the contestants show their knowledge of basic survival skills like how to dress a wound without the medical crew, but stop the repetition!!

I haven't watch all the Survivor series as I just get puzzled-out, but you have me for awhile as for American Idol, keep me entertained!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Text To Self

So as hubby and I were walking around Westshore Mall Saturday after having lunch with family, I noticed the sets of chairs in middle isle where shoppee's sit while waiting for their shopper mates.

I wasn't in the mood to shop, I just wanted to walk and people watch, so I decided to take a seat while Tom shopped for new sneakers. I was fixated on an elderly woman who sat across from me. She appeared to be OCD. She took a pack of Newport cigarettes out of her bag and examined one cigarette and looked it over and then put it in her mouth and I was sure she was going to light it and then she put it back in the pack and started the process again. She did this about 5 times and then started combing her shoulder length thin straight hair. At one point she looked directly at me and I thought I was caught staring, but then she seemed to see past me. She had pale gray eyes, wore thick Aviator biofocals and her white athletic socks were slipped into broken sandals. Wearing a white tank top and shorts she eventually she got up and shuffled away. I thought she was gone and then a while later she circled back through. So I got inspired.

I wanted to write some ideas I have for the novel and I only had my cellphone with me so I thought, I can write a text to myself in the "drafts" section and get some work done.

I was amazed at the development of my plot. I've been struggling for weeks trying to work through some challenges and here I was typing on a cellphone that requires me to hit the key 3 to 4 times to get a single letter to spell each word and the ideas flowed. I felt such a sense of accomplishment and I couldn't wait to get to my computer and get to work.

Meat Meltdown

This weekend was interesting and odd. We started Friday night at my brother and sister-in-laws for some grilling and chilling. Chilling in a sense that we were huddled around a small fire and it was about 40+ degrees outside. I am getting colder as I get older and I'm not trying to rhyme, really.

Anyway, we all brought lots of meat and you'd think we were all cave people the way we chowed on ribs, chicken, steak and sausage. It felt like a "Man vs. Food" episode and I was definitely protein intoxicated by the time we headed home with a Tupperware full of more grilled leftovers. I did make cauliflower soup and my sister-in-law made some rice, mac and cheese, asparagus and spaghetti squash, but it was hardly touched.

It sounds like I ate a side of beef, but in fact I ate a half rack of babyback ribs, a half chicken breast and several slices of sausage. Saturday I woke with a familair dizziness and started to think that maybe my Meniere's Disease is aggravated by too much protein. I had 2 glasses of white wine Friday, and that hasn't been a problem prior, so I am making a mental note of this.

I figured I could balance my inner ear crystals with a procedure the doctors at Tampa Bay Hearing and Balance taught me. When I reclined and turned on my side, it was obvious that the crystals were the issue, but how did they get out of balance? When I looked up reasons for ear crystals to dislodge the reasons mostly described jarring physical movement of which I hadn't any.

So in my own estimation, the dietary stress seemed to have been the only thing that made sense? When I first was diagnosed this past Summer I had just lost about 10 pounds on a high protein diet. It was a dramatic physical change, as I hadn't been able to lose weight any other way and I also used fat burners. The result was 10 pounds off and the complications of Meniere's Disease.

I have also discovered that when I eat lots of fruits, salads, high fiber cereals, Greek yogurts and plenty of no-sodium water, I have few problems.

So I am definitely curbing the protein for a while and continuing to track what makes me experience the loud inner ear ringing and occasional dizziness.

And by the way, when you balance your crystals several times over a few days, everything gets back to normal. It's not a long term problem. Thank God!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl Tweets

Ok, I am in the middle of paperwork, helping the daughters with writing projects, writing some on the novel and I need to review final ad copy for my clients so I am just going to write a brief blog entry.

Being that yesterday was Super Bowl weekend, hubby and I went to the neighbor's house as we have done almost every year since we moved in to our current home. Jim and his sons are great guys and they host a potluck byob with pool table in the garage and big screen in the small living room and people gathered inside and outside pregame and post. Watching the Super Bowl this year, I had the Blackberry on and I just had to watch the tweets fly from all the advertising people I follow. I decided to join in and it really made the game more enjoyable. I can't say the halftime show or commercials were as exciting as some years, but the fact that I could talk and watch live comments during the game was a twreat. I tweet these days on advertising and small business trends, but I think I am going to tune in for the Oscars with the Blackberry this year and see what the red carpet has to say!!

My favorite Superbowl commercials were the VW Darth/Passat and Bettle, plus the Audi blueblood prison escape! Loved these! Nothing else stood out for me. Lots of good products but way too many themes were rehashed for the beer and chips brands.

Well, gotta run.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Working through the script process

This is a brief post. It's very late. Went to help my mother with her groceries and such today and then we went to dinner with friends. Got home afterward to read a new edit of Blair's short film script, "Relative Eternity."

Anyway, my husband and I both read it in different rooms, made notes and did a Skype session to go over recommendations individually and then all 3 of us got on to go over the changes. It was a 3 hour session and now I need to call it a night. We feel very privileged to be included in the process. If you would like to support this indie project check out:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Nook Readers, Here I Come!

Well, I uploaded my first mini Nook ebook, "Thrift shopping, couponing, and other techniques your mother shared with you, but you chose to ignore." This is was originally published in 2004 when our oldest daughter went to college. Anyone who reads it will get enough tips to make back more than the .99 cent purchase price.
I had to get started somewhere and this was one of the vendors I met at the Writer's Digest Conference. Now I don't want this to divert from my novel sales with non-fiction, but I am happy to be putting my work out there.
Hubby and I just got back from Bible study this evening and I'm loving the book of Genesis. It's my favorite book of the Bible. Most would say they prefer the New Testament, but I find the stories of Abraham, Issac, Jacob and Joseph fascinating. I also like the Book of Ruth and Tobit, too. Anyway, tomorrow is Friday and I'm looking forward to working on my novel this weekend!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Thank you, Skype!

Ok, we are empty-nesters and Skype is one of my favorite inventions in recent history. Having a daughter living away from home, I am so thrilled to grab 15 or 20 minutes to video chat and SEE and HEAR MY CHILD!

We have lost several friends recently through illness and unfortunate circumstances and it made me appreciate this internet tool even more. We should all stop and take the time to make phone calls, write cards/emails/Facebook and Skype with loved ones regularly. If you are thinking of someone, contact them now.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Church Clothes

We went to mass this morning and I was thinking about an article I read about a priest who felt parishioners should dress up for church. I have always had mixed feelings about dressing up for the sake of appearing the way others would expect a church goer to dress.

As a Catholic, I have always viewed my faith as a personal relationship with God and while I give to Caesar what is Caesar's by dressing up for work during the week day, I feel that dressing casual for church is more about being comfortable with God.

God the Father wants his children to come home to their church community and feel welcome in their surroundings. I would feel like a phony dressing up like I was going to a party when I go to mass. God knows me well. He knows I love him and when I come to visit his house, I come in a fashion that he is familiar with.

And, he knows you and if you dress up, then that is the right thing for you to do. We should worry less about what others wear and just be happy to enjoy time together in prayer.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Writer's Digest Pitch Slam

I haven't been to a writer's conference in many years and I decided to go to Writer's Digest Conference in New York Jan 21 -23 when I got an opted-in email in November.

The weather was bitter cold. I didn't pay attention to the exact temperatures, however being a Floridian, any city that has snow piled up on the sidewalks is a foreign land. I borrowed a winter coat and real gloves from my sister-in-law, bought some cheap mittens and knit hats at Target in December for layers and being a scarfaholic, I was as prepared for a fashionable freeze.

The main reason I went was for the "Pitch Slam" featuring about 55 literary agents who are looking for new talent and titles. I figured this was a great opportunity to see how agents would view my latest novel. You had 90 seconds to pitch and 90 seconds to answer questions before a bell would ring and you'd have to move on.

I have heard of speed dating and this speed pitching is like selling. So I thought of this as presenting and a positive response would be a close of sorts. Though I know in publishing the deal takes forever!

Anyway, the crowd wasn't as loud and ego-driven as the sales conventions I have attended. And I was surprised to see so many people in charcoal and black attire. I felt like I didn't get the memo. I was wearing a lime green three quarter length knit top with jeans and exercise sneakers and everyone else looked like they were going to a job interview. But hey, someone's got to stand out and why not the heavy blonde Florida author.

I don't know why, but I just couldn't seem to bond with the attendees. We talked polite, but I would soon regret hearing one man's intergalatic pitch. I didn't want to know about the imperial force and the fall of the dynasty and such. I just wanted to hear the guest speakers and meet the agents

The good news: 4 out of 5 agents liked my pitch. The bad news: they liked the latter half of the book more than beginning. Not sure how that's going to work in the scheme of things.

I also learned the term "steampunk." Just Google the term steampunk, its the opposite of cyberpunk and both are futuristic young adult themes but one with Victorian steam powered periods and the other with more advanced technology.

So in my spare time, I am now trying to get my writer/platform building/time-crunched mind in gear. Thank you to my nephew Erik Williams, horror author (see his blogspot) and Writer's Digest for inspiring me!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bridging the Gap

Well I got this brainstorm that I am going to try a lot of new things this year and I saw this "Learn to play bridge" ad in the local paper and thought, why not? I would really like to have a retro party with friends dressed 50's style and set up the card tables and have martinis and play bridge...

Well, I called and got the specifics and they finished with "you get an instruction book, as well." And I'm thinking, no way. I don't want to read about bridge, I just want to learn to play by trial and error. This sounds like work. It's not like I'm not looking to be in the "World Series of Bridge." I just want to have fun. I had also emailed a bunch of people I thought might want to learn, too and nothing.

So I gave the guy my number and just told him to let me know when they are doing a summer session so I can drag the husband along. I don't mind going alone, but he's more likely to read the book and then he can tell me about it. I hate instruction manuals and such, reading is for pleasure, so I'm just going to put bridge down lower on the list.

But it reminded me of the time I cold-called this woman who owns an Oriental mart and restaurant and I wanted to buy the Mahjong game she had in stock if I could find a place to learn how to play, to which she told me that I should go online to learn. Which is my next least favorite thing, online and video games! She said her group would never tolerate a beginner. She was irritated at the thought of a newcomer trying to join a serious pack of Mahjong-ers.

Whatever happened to the simple phrase, "I'll teach you."

Monday, January 3, 2011

Reaching your inner-diva

I took my mother Saturday to Kohl's so she could spend her Kohl's Kash before it expired. We used the wheelchair this time, which meant we would get around the WHOLE store and she could push the wheelchair when she wanted to walk and stretch her legs.

Now my mother knows how to tap into her inner-diva, I don't mean diva as in prima donna, but a woman of distinguished taste. She doesn't look distinguished as she lives on a tight fixed income and wears her favorite Wal-mart blue denim skirt with assorted blouses and comfortable corduroy black loafer slippers everywhere, but she could if the financial resources presented themselves.

This is a woman who has and does subscribe to Vanity Fair, Vogue, Elle, People, Southern Living, Guideposts and more. She could be a reporter for just about any media organization as she has a vast cross-section of fashion, Hollywood and current political knowledge. Politics concern her, but fashion and Hollywood are her passion. She raised us on Rona Barrett's Hollywood, Silver Screen, and got my older brother hooked on Famous Monster's From Filmland at 10 and she has never been west of Louisiana. She is currently obsessed with Craig Ferguson and her bucket list includes going to his show and shaking his hand on the same day.

During our shopping adventure she was very interested in all things Vera Wang. She wanted to look at what the women's wear line looked like. She bought herself a $40 hot pink bag (her signature color) with her gift cards and managed to find some equally pink and pink-patterned knit tops and was totally disappointed that Kohl's didn't stock skirts. I did concur.

There must be a market for retail skirts. She doesn't shop online, so it's always disappointing that we can't find stores where she can look and touch and try on the patterns she likes. I may attempt to make one for her.

Anyway, she inspires me with her outlook on quality. She has always said it is better to have a finely made garment than several cheap ones. As a young woman, she looked like Grace Kelley and she hasn't mentally aged past 50. She refuses to do what "old people" do. She would much rather talk about Lady Gaga than Lawrence Welk. In fact, she likes Lady Gaga quite a bit. She told me that Lady Gaga was a good person, because she cares about her dad.

So I find myself borrowing her fashion magazines, tabloids and random gourmet publications to view the world from her eyes and I like what I see. I feel her inner-Holly-Go-Lightly as I thumb through the bold designer ads and society pages and I can see her having Breakfast At Tiffany's.