Thursday, July 19, 2018


































EXTREME ADRENALINE RUSH 


Let me set this straight.  I like massages.  But not with snakes.

While watching the Ellen Degeneres show, I learned about this strange practice called snake massage.

We're talking about a 550 pound, 6 foot long python wriggling across your naked skin.

We're talking about being tense because the snake squeezes your body.

And we're talking extreme adrenaline rush.

Pythons are the snake of choice.  Though they are not venomous, it takes time to feel relaxed getting a snake massage. 

The snake is washed and is well-fed (that's good to know) and its mouth is taped (also good to know) before it's draped over your torso and face and put to task.  Sometimes big and small snakes are used at the same time to achieve a graduation in pressure.  For some people, getting a snake massage provides a psychological release such as confronting a fear and wiping away stress.  For others, it relieves tension in a way that human hands can't.

I'm all for being different.  Different is good.

I love reading different kinds of genres:  nonfiction, novels, picture books, and books written in French.

I love traveling to different countries.

I enjoy different languages.  Parlez-vous fran├žais?

I like trying different kinds of foods.
While in Spain, my daughter got me to try mussels and octopus.

I did not try bull's tail.

I love working on different picture book projects and trying unconventional book marketing approaches.

And I've tried different kinds of massages.  Deep tissue massage is not for me, but a Swedish massage is soothing and helps relax tight muscles.  I'd love to try a hot stone massage.  According to Healthline.com, it relieves muscle pain, reduces stress, promotes sleep, and may boost immunity.

Snake massages sound intriguing.  They are inexpensive, costing about $45 for 90-minutes.  That's a bargain.  The average price for a massage is $60 an hour.

But I can barely look at a snake, much less have one slithering over my body.  I don't need an adrenaline rush—no matter what people say about them or how good it makes them feel.  Even my massage therapist has no interest in snakes rubbing her face and neck.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not against snake massages.  They are probably perfect for the adventuresome.  But having a 500-pound python massage my skin—no thanksssss.

✌ and 



Thursday, July 5, 2018


SIGN ME UP FOR SURVIVOR 


My husband and I are fans of the television show Survivor.

We have been watching the show for since Season Two.  That's 35 seasons of Outwit, Outplay, Outlast.  I enjoy getting to know the tribe members and seeing how they strategize.

I would love to a contestant if it weren't for...

missing my husband,

missing my cat,

missing my daily writing,

having sand on my body

having to live in a bathing suit for 39 days

being hot

being cold

being wet

the snakes and bugs

sleeping on the ground

no covers,

no pillow,

not being able to blow my hair dry

not having bathroom facilities

not being able to brush my teeth.

Now, I could go barefoot.  I could eat rice and coconuts for every meal. 

I could compete well at challenges (after all, I've faced the challenges of writing a book, getting it published, and promoting it)

...as long as they didn't include swimming, throwing balls, mud, and being blindfolded.

I tell my husband I could be on Survivor.  He tells me I wouldn't survive a few hours.

"You couldn't even survive the boat ride to the island!"

I forgot I get motion sickness.

"But I can do puzzle challenges.  I like rice and coconuts."

"Rice for 39 days?  What about your nightly treat of ice cream?  Daily coffee?"

Then he throws in, "What about Ozzie?"

I would worry about our cat.  Jim would only feed him dry kibbles (Jim hates the smell of canned kitty meat and Ozzie is a lover of wet-food).

So, maybe it's not a good idea.  It's probably better to live vicariously through the contestants in the comfort of my house and keep my challenges confined to the writing world.

Winning a million dollars and being the sole survivor would be nice,

but I'm a fan of being sandless, warm, and dry.


and





Thursday, June 21, 2018


 BOSSOME SHOES 


I am not a salesperson.  

I'm a shy, introverted writer.  When my book was published, I had to become an aggressive, in your face, pushy bookseller. 

And, I hated it.  But I did it.  

My goal was to get my books into several local gift shops.  I dressed in nice clothes, applied lipstick and mascara, and put on my boots.   

Real bossome shoes.

Wearing boots gave me a good two more inches in height (I'm only 5' 3") which offered me the opportunity to look people square in the eye rather than having them look down at me.

Most of the time, shop owners listened to my spiel as they flipped through the pages of Maggie.  Some bought a few copies, others turned it down claiming they could not make enough money on the book. 

On one occasion when I was trying to sell my book, the owner chatted with a customer.  She did not acknowledge or welcome me.   

I walked from room to room to pass the time.  

I looked through the clothing, the shoes, and the games, toys and books. 

I checked on the manager again.  Still talking.  

I felt awkward, ready to saddle up and get me and my 2" boots out of Dodge*.  

But on my way to the door, the owner thanked her customer and then greeted me.  

Whoa.  All of the sudden it was show time.  

I approached the counter, looked her in the eye and gave a brief summary of the book, described how it was inspired by a local rescue dog, and explained why it would be a good fit for her customers...all along thinking she's not (literally) buying this.  

But...she wanted several copies!  

I don't always make a sale, but sometimes I'm successful.  I placed some of my books in local shops by:
  •    Calling shops and telling them about my book 
  •    Making an appointment with the manager 
  •    Explaining why the book would be good for customers
  •    Showing up for the meeting with extra copies of my book 
  •    Bringing copies of reviews and a sell sheet
  •    Insisting on selling the books, not consigning them
  •    Bringing Maggie bookmarks 
  •    Striving to be patient and courteous 
  •    Trying to be positive and upbeat  
  •    Taking interest in the manager's business vision    
Every time I load my books in the car to drive to a local business, I get the jitters.  Man, I wish I didn't have to do this book selling thing.   

I don't want to do this book selling thing.

I REALLY DON'T WANT TO DO THIS BOOK SELLING THING. 

Then I put on my boots.  

 YEE HAW! 

I'm working bossome from my head down to my toes.


*The phrase 'get the hell out of Dodge' originated from the television show Gunsmoke, which took place in Dodge City, Kansas.

The Maggie Project is published twice a month

✌ and 

Sunday, June 10, 2018



BEING BOLD 

They're big.  They're beautiful.  And they're bold.

As colorful and impressive as this guy was, I didn't want to get near him.  

He's loud.  REALLY LOUD.  And he means business, or should I say he's looking for business. 

On a visit to Spain with my family, we explored a section of Retiro Park in Madrid where scads of peacocks and peahens live.  We found the birds on steps, in flowers, in bushes, on hilltops.  It was like a peacock paradise.  Magical.

They totally owned the place.  

Bold birds.  

Upon returning to the states, I discovered more peacocks, this time in the news...

"PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Philadelphia Zoo officials hope to recapture four peacocks that escaped and caused a traffic jam on a major highway.
The officials on Thursday will work with police after the birds took a stroll along Interstate 76 around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. State police arrived and shut down two lanes of traffic on the highway, causing backups for miles.
Police say they managed to get the birds off the highway, but they were unable to capture them. Zoo officials say the peacocks went to roost for the night.
The zoo says the flock roams freely on its grounds, and it is cared for by veterinary staff. The zoo says the birds sometime venture past its gates, but they normally return home on their own."
They didn't.

These stately birds remind me that when it comes to writing, I must be bold—   
to admit my work needs revision, 
to put a manuscript aside when the story is not working, 
to submit manuscript,
to face a possible rejection,  
to edit, edit, edit because the first, second, and third drafts are never good enough, 
to ignore the ambiguous replies that say this work is not a good fit.


I must be bold...
because quitting is not an option.  

If I want to succeed at publishing, I must find my inner-peacock.









Tuesday, May 29, 2018




SAY DISAPPOINTMENT AIN'T SO 

I have a confession to make.  

After my book was published, I was disappointed.   

At first, I felt on top of the world.  I couldn't believe my manuscript was going to be a book.  This feeling was an indescribable high after travelling the incredibly difficult road to publication.  But within a months, disappointment sailed in like clouds gathering before a storm. 

I wasn't upset with the way my book turned out.  Disappointment came in the guise of rejection (as if I hadn't had enough rejection before my book was published)  Surprisingly, this rejection came from family members.    
It was shocking for me.  Though I wished otherwise, I found some relatives less supportive than I had expected.  These family members did call or email me.  They did not come to book signings.  They did not buy the book or even read it.  So, I found myself grieving because I felt let down. 

Behind the smile I felt sad and angry.  I wished things could have been better, that my loved ones would understand and care more.  However, the lack of support could be due to complicated dynamics, jealously, or just plain ignorance.

I know, I know, we can't change our people.  We are the ones who must change when we are faced with this kind of rejection.  

Here's what I did to ease the hurt:     
  • Recognized and accepted that this was another form of rejection   
  • Talked about my feelings with others  
  • Released the pain through forgiveness
  • Shielded myself by limiting contact with unsupportive people 
  • Immersed myself in new projects

Though it is incredibly painful and mind-boggling, being rejected by family can be common.  A fellow writer once told me that her mother didn't read her newly published book.  It's comforting (and sad) to know I'm not alone.

After a while, I figured I had to move forward and not dwell upon the negativity because it drained my creative energy.  

thought about the neighbors who inquired about my book.  I remembered the friends who bought my book and the young fans who showed up at the signings.  I tried to concentrate on all of the good things about publishing a book, the wonderful lessons it teaches and the joy it brings to young readers.  When I focused on the positive, the hurt of rejection softened and slowly, the clouds of disappointment drifted away.






















My biggest supporters, my husband and daughter♥

The Maggie Project is published twice a month

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Promoting Maggie

I said it before and I'll say it again.  Marketing a children's story book is amazingly difficult, especially for first-time authors. We compete with best-selling authors and celebrities whose well-known names gets people excited about buying their books. Likewise, established children's authors have already built a fan base. Nonfiction authors have it easier, too.  People buy these books because they want or need to learn something.

Newby authors like me will try just about anything to sell a book.  We search the Internet for solutions and try them all.  Some suggestions work, some don't.  A lot of authors, seasoned and newcomers rely on Facebook to spread the word about their books.  With Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, I had very little results.  But I didn't give up.  For me, it seems Pinterest works best.

I created several boards that reflect who I am and what I like.  One of my favorite boards is Inspirational Quotes. For this board, I design my own pins.  Creating pins help drive people to my website. Here's how to do it:

  • Search the Internet for free images or photos.
  • Copy them into a Word doc.
  • Search the Internet for engaging quotes that relate to writing and inspire people.
  • Insert the quotes with fancy fonts onto the photo.
  • Add the title of the book and the personal website. 
  • Upload the pin to a board on Pinterest.


In about two months, I've noticed a lot of impressions and engagements.  People are saving my pins to their boards, which is one of my goals.  Some Pinterest followers click on my website link.  And ultimately, this brings people to my homepage where they can take a look at my book.

Statistics have shown that Pinterest has quadripled pageviews to my website.  However, there have not yet been many sales.  It's like the old adage, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. So...I've been trying to figure out how to entice people to buy my book.  That took re-designing the landing page in warm inviting colors, adding explanations why the book is an important read, giving a list of its awards, and offering gifts that come with a purchase.

Time will tell how successful Pinterest will be.  So far, there's been terrific interest in my pins.  That makes me feel proud.  And the work continues.  The hardest thing is to do is to remember that it takes time and patience to market a book.




Sunday, April 22, 2018

10 Ways to Teach Your Kid to be Unique


As early as kindergarten, our children feel pressured to conform and live up to the expectations of those around them.  The pressure to conform to the status quo is a challenge that follows them into adulthood.   

Every parent wants their kids to be accepted and affirmed socially, but they also want their kids to be unique, to feel free to be who they are.  Being different is a wonderful thing. Teaching your kids to embrace who they are by showing them their qualities are unique is valuable lesson you can give.

The way that your kids perceive themselves will impact them for the rest of their lives. Here are tips to help kids appreciate their uniqueness: 

  • Teach your kids that the things that make them different from everybody else are the things they should be proud of.  
  • Praise their unique talents, their gifts and special abilities.
  • Teach them that different is not wrong. Tell them if everyone is doing it, talking about it, liking it, than it is not necessarily right. 
  • Show your kids that being different is a strength. Tell them about people like Rosa Parks, Charles Darwin, Christopher Columbus, Mozart, Picasso, Indira Gandhi, or even the Beatles.  
  • Read books about being special or unique to your child.
  • Become fans of their passions.
  • Attend their events.
  • Support their hobbies by supplying tools and materials or by signing them up for classes. 
  • Listen to your child and give them time to share.
  • Expose them to a variety of sports, classes, and events to help them discover what they like.
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