Two newly published poems

I've had several poems published over the last couple of months. I wrote the first in response to one of Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides Wednesday prompts. I think it's the first one of his I ever responded to. The prompt asked us to: "...write a box poem. This poem is either about a box or includes a box somewhere in the poem (or title). Don’t be afraid to poem outside the box this week (sorry, I had to say it)." Thank you Editor Ted Badger for including my poem in your Lucidity Poetry Journal International (a venue for understandable verse). Things in Boxes He left a black canvas box filled with his music recordings next to his bed, the cassette tapes neatly packed in order of performance. And on his closet shelf we found a cardboard box filled with little games, cars, toys, 1984 Olympic souvenirs, and Russian buttons and buckles his uncle brought back for him. He fit these favorite things together like an intricate puzzle, before he left his body for u … [Read more...]

3,141 total views, 2 views today

What’s a platform anyway?

A few weeks ago I was a panel member at a writer’s conference workshop. The subject was building a platform. Today, I’d like to share a few points that we made at the workshop. But first, here’s my go-to person for all things writer-ly, Jane Friedman, who tells us what platforms are and are not: "What editors and agents typically mean by platform They’re looking for someone with visibility and authority who has proven reach to a target audience. Let’s break this down further. Visibility. Who knows you? Who is aware of your work? Where does your work regularly appear? How many people see it? How does it spread? Where does it spread? What communities are you a part of? Who do you influence? Where do you make waves? Authority. What’s your credibility? What are your credentials? (This is particularly important for nonfiction writers; it is less important for fiction writers, though it can play a role. Just take a look at any graduate of the Iowa MFA program.) Prov … [Read more...]

3,876 total views, 2 views today

More bragging

Even though I've bragged all over Facebook and Twitter I thought I'd do a little bragging here as well. The reason is that my memoir Leaving the Hall Light On is a finalist in the memoir, autobiography, biography category of the Independent Author Network's book-of-the-year award. And I've never been a finalist before. I'll know the outcome on August 15; however, being a finalist is all good as far as I'm concerned. The whole idea for submitting my book was to get it out there some more. So many people have told me how much they've benefitted from reading it that I'm always looking for ways to inspire more people to read it. Take a look yourselves. There's a sample on the right sidebar of this blog. Otherwise, my August has started with a bang. I'm back at my consulting job for one more month, and then I'll be free to go back to my full-time writing life. I can't wait. I also look forward to this job being finished so I can tell you what more I've learned about writing and … [Read more...]

7,213 total views, 4 views today

Introducing social media expert, Frances Caballo

Knowing our way around the social media is absolutely necessary to all authors. I’ve spent a lot of time on my computer socializing and marketing with my virtual friends and networks – probably much more than I can afford to do and still call myself a writer. As such I’m so pleased to introduce social media expert, Frances Caballo, and her new book, Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers Who Want to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write. WOW – Women on Writing launched Frances Caballo’s blog tour on April 7. How great to have her here on Choices for her last tour stop. Please go to http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/search?updated-max=2014-04-09T00:00:00-07:00&max-results=7&start=14&by-date=false to read WOW’s Renee Roberson’s interview with Frances and for a list of her previous blog tour stops. Any information you can glean from Frances’ social media expertise is well worth your time. Today Frances talks about Twitter. Thank … [Read more...]

9,089 total views, 2 views today

Twitter at its best

I’ve been listening to Scott Simon’s distinctive voice on NPR’s “Weekend Edition” for years. After reading this article I know he also has a distinctive, elegant, and loving voice via Twitter. For those of us who haven’t yet found a way to take full advantage of Twitter, read Simon’s tweets about the last days of his mother’s life. After reading them myself, I had to share this article with you. Here’s the link if you want to read the entire Los Angeles Times article. You can also listen to Simon's words on the NPR site.   latimes.com NPR's Scott Simon: A vigil for his dying mother, tweeted with love By Matt Pearce This post has been updated, as indicated below. 6:18 PM PDT, July 29, 2013 Scott Simon, a radio host for NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” gave his mother, Patricia Simon Newman Gilband, a very public farewell. Gilband appeared with her son on NPR in 2008, when the pair bantered as she shared stories from her life in Chicago. “Well, I think the thing I have l … [Read more...]

2,152 total views, no views today

My WriteGirl poem

There’s still time to buy a poem for as little as $5.00 and support WriteGirl, a creative writing and mentoring organization for teen girls. With only twenty-three days to go in this first campaign, WriteGirl wants to reach a goal of $30,000 to continue to offer writing mentors and creative writing workshops for more than 300 girls next season (October 2012 and June 2014). So far $6,635 has been raised. For my $5.00 contribution to the WriteGirl Poetry Drive, I received a short poem written by Guadalupe, a 15-year old WriteGirl teen. ONE OF MANY A blissful feeling of belonging A passage of time Forever captured in my mind Only a few to witness Not only the ride, But the love All forgot But I remembered I think it’s lovely and well worth the $5.00 contribution. Don’t you? If so, I hope you’ll contribute and receive your own poem. Here’s the link again http://www.indiegogo.com/WriteGirl-POETRY-Drive You can also find this campaign on Facebookand Twitter. So … [Read more...]

2,338 total views, 4 views today

Another rant – this must be my rant week

So I’m frustrated. I am in the running for a prize at the My Gutsy Story contest site. Up until yesterday another contender and I kept taking the lead back and forth, but now I’m seven votes behind. I’ve sent out two group emails, posted the contest info all over the place on Facebook, tweeted about it, other folks have tweeted about it, and just today created an event to ask people to over there to vote. And out of all that I have forty-five votes. I need seven right now just to tie the first place guy. And I would think that wouldn’t be so hard to do. Don’t people respond to requests like this anymore? Is this going to make me lose some of my FB friends and make me seem like a pest? It really isn’t pesty, I don’t think. Just a simple request: Click on a link, look on the right sidebar, find the Polling place, and click on my name. Should be a piece of cake. I can’t even get my family to do it. So now I’m at a loss as to how to draw folks in and to click where I’ve a … [Read more...]

3,684 total views, no views today

Birthday post mortem or how I’m moving forward

Just about a year ago – on Mother’s Day and near my last birthday – I achieved a huge goal. My memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, A Mother’s Memoir of Living with her Son’s Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide, was published. In it I tell the steps I took in living with the loss of my son. First and foremost I chose to live and take care of myself as a woman, wife, mother, writer. In hopes that my story will inspire others to find ways to survive their own tragic experiences, I’ve devoted most of this last year marketing my book. I have become increasingly more engaged in social networking, through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, I had a blog tour through Women on Writing (WOW), radio interviews, and many speaking and book signing engagements. I’ve also embarked on a whole new writing career – writing for the Huffington Post That’s Fit and Healthy Living columns, the Naturally Savvy website as its over sixty expert, PsychAlive, a website that focuses on suici … [Read more...]

4,192 total views, 2 views today

The Independent Author Network

I recently joined The Independent Authors Network and I think it is paying off already in turns of book sales and reach. I recommend it to my author friends out there who have stagnating sales rankings, and who don’t get a lot of marketing coverage. Now I think tweeting about my IAN involvement is a necessary part of my marketing work. Here are few bits of information about the network. But I suggest you click here to find out more and to determine whether it’s something you’d like to do. And if you decide to join, click here. In the words of The Independent Author Network: Q. What is The Independent Author Network? A. The Independent Author Network is a group of like minded authors who are self published or published by a small indie press. The group is open to authors who are active social networkers at sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. The group works together to support and promote each other online. Q. How does I.A.N. work? A. Members are asked to T … [Read more...]

3,457 total views, no views today

Challenges and writing work update

Yesterday and today’s assignments for the April platform challenge were to accomplish things I had already done – build a Facebook profile and give myself a Twitter name. I also have a Facebook author page. So I was ahead of the game there. However, Robert Lee Brewer is always very generous with his helpful hints. I’ll give you the links to Day 3 and Day 4 here and you can visit both sites if you’re interested in learning more. I feel that I know very little about how to use Twitter so I can use all the help I can get. I have, however, heard that Re-Tweets are golden. I had two yesterday that got to thousands of followers. I guess I’m doing something right. I’m also keeping up with my goal of writing 1000 words on my novel a week, and I'm now writing a poem a day for Robert Lee Brewer’s other April challenge. The prompts are always interesting. Today’s was: take the phrase 100% (blank), replace the blank with a word, make that the title of your poem, and then write a poem. So far … [Read more...]

5,372 total views, no views today

Social network and novel work updates

Social Network Update I’ve now joined BranchOut and Pinterest – as if I needed more social network connections than I already have, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads. I really don’t know what BranchOut is all about and Pinterest is even more of a riddle. A recent pin on my Pinterest for the home board According to their websites: BranchOut makes it easy to search for jobs and see inside connections in your network. Our quick tour will help you discover BranchOut's powerful features. Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. I haven’t really worked with BranchOut yet because I haven’t been actively looking for a job – but of course one never knows. … [Read more...]

8,212 total views, no views today

Blatant bragging

This book is getting lots of kudos As of today my memoir has twenty-two reviews up on Amazon. Twenty are five-star, and even though they wrote terrific reviews, two people gave the book only four-stars. Really what’s up with that? But rather than complaining I’m just going to shout out Hip, Hip Hooray. I am just so thrilled with the response and with people’s reaction to the story and the writing in my book. Never in my wildest dreams did I think people would react so well to my words. A friend told me last night that she was just going to read my book to support me, and she found once she opened it she couldn’t put it down. She kept raving about it. Now I couldn’t ask for more than that. Plus, when I asked her to post a review, she posted almost immediately. That’s a true friend. I thank her so much. So, if you’re reading this and you’ve read my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, please post a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and/or … [Read more...]

2,899 total views, 4 views today

Is my marketing program beginning to pay off?

So, it looks like there’s been a little movement in my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, Amazon sales ranking this week. It went down from as high as in the one millions to the 700,000s earlier this week, and back up to the one millions again and down to the 300,000s today. Does that mean two books have sold? I have no clue what those numbers mean. But hopefully all that has been going on in the last few weeks has spurred some sales: my talk at the American Association of University Women in mid November, Marla Miller (Marketing the Muse) highlighting my platform earlier this week and posting my July 19, 2010 blog piece about my journey to getting published yesterday, my showcase on The Hamilton Gallery with links to Amazon for book purchases, and another five-star review up on Amazon yesterday. It’s really been a yeasty time. Plus I’ve had more and more Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter connections, and I look forward to a piece about my work and book in a future issue of the Did … [Read more...]

4,209 total views, no views today

November sunset

As the sun sets on November I'll share a wonderful sunset photo my husband took from the end of the Manhattan Beach pier and a twitter-length poem for autumn. Autumn Isolation I like that as the trees rustle outside, stripping in the sunlight, I can’t hear their sway I can’t hear their song. [Published on Twitter and at unFold Magazine on September 21, 2011] … [Read more...]

3,306 total views, no views today

String Bridge by Jessica Bell – a sneak peek

Tomorrow I'll be interviewing Jessica Bell about her debut novel, String Bridge, and I'll post my review of it. But I wanted to give you a sneak peek today because I am so in awe of this author. Not only is she a marvelous writer and poet - I also reviewed her poetry book, Twisted Velvet Chain, a few months ago, but so astute at marketing. Her goal was to be number one on Amazon on November 11, and she got pretty darn close. She asked all her friends and writing colleagues to post information about String Bridge on their blogs that day and also got them to post a link to Amazon from their Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook accounts, inundating everyone - in my mind a totally brilliant move. She also created a twenty-day blog tour that started on November 1, the day Lucky Press (my publisher too) released her book. Many, many people were very happy to participate - including me. You can bet that I've learned a huge lesson from Jessica. I already knew it takes a lot of work to … [Read more...]

2,826 total views, no views today

Midweek Work Progress Report

This week has been very productive. I’ve sent off my second piece for the PsychAlive website, and I got word from the editor that it’s ready to go live. The piece is called “Comforting Those Who Grieve.” I’m still awaiting word from my Savvy Over 60 editor about when my November piece for them will be up. I also started working on a piece for a new blog I’m interested in called, Heartache to Healing, founded by grief coach, author, and speaker, JoAnne Funch. Hopefully, the piece will be good enough that I’ll be allowed to contribute there once in a while as well. And I started working on my speech that I’m scheduled to make on November 19 for our local chapter of the American Association of University Women. It was suggested I talk about the mental health and suicide prevention services available in our area. I’ll do that and expand the speech to tell my story of healing after my son’s suicide that I describe in my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. And surprise, surprise, I … [Read more...]

3,519 total views, no views today

If you Like me, what’s the point?

My memoir book cover photo by Madison Poulter There is a thread going on, on LinkedIn that goes like this: I’ll like your fan page and Amazon book page if you like mine. So I’ve been responding to a lot of those requests, and now I'm up over twenty-five new likes in just the last week. But, I wonder what’s the point? Do these new likes translate into book sales? So far, I don’t think so. A few people that I've met through my social networks have said my book is on their list, but I haven’t seen a bump in my Amazon rankings as a result. So with all this social media networking – over 900 Facebook friends, over 400 Facebook fans, almost 250 LinkedIn connections, and a constantly growing list of Twitter followers, I wonder where it is all getting me. And I find that keeping up all the connections is a lot of work. Okay, I won’t be so down about it all. I’m only into this marketing game about six months. I’ve got to give it more time. Plus the fact that my book is a hard sell – li … [Read more...]

2,213 total views, no views today

Published Twitter-length poems

I was so busy during the month of June with the WOW blog tour, I didn’t get a chance to post my two Twitter length poems that "unFold" magazine published. Here they are: Riding the Waves [June 13, 2011] Hummingbirds are skinny-dipping in my garden pool, bouncing off the fountain, surfing the surrounding leaves. Since He Left His Toothbrush [June 15, 2011] He recited Byron’s words yet we’ll go no more a roving by the light of the moon as a final fare thee well, but she knew he’d be back. To read more of these fun and challenging 140-character or less poems go to: http://unfoldmag.wordpress.com/ And I’m happy to say, "unFold" will publish one more of my new short poems in the Fall. … [Read more...]

2,179 total views, no views today

Learning to compartmentalize

Someone on Twitter recently asked me what the hardest thing I had to do while writing my memoir. And I responded – keeping the tears from smearing the words on the page. Then, I had to concentrate on the writing and now on the marketing, leaving any emotions I have about Paul’s death outside the scope of my work. So, I have become a master of compartmentalization. Now besides being a mother whose son died by suicide, I’m a survivor. I’m a strong woman. I’m an advocate for erasing the stigma of mental illness, of putting a face on suicide, of telling my story so others can know it’s possible to heal after the death of a child. Next Tuesday I have another radio interview where I’ll be asked to discuss Paul’s and my story – how can I get through that on the radio? The other parts of the interview won’t be as hard. But going through what we went through especially during his years with bipolar disorder will be gut wrenching. I hope I won't fall apart. And next Saturday I’ll be rea … [Read more...]

2,017 total views, no views today