Sunday, September 28, 2008

CRS Disease

I had this great title for today's blog. I could riff on it and really impress people...if only I could remember what it was...sigh.

I sat down at my desk, window open, breeze blowing, settled a throw across my lap, pulled out my keyboard tray, pulled up my software and...the dogs started barking and carrying on outside. It's early Sunday morning. I don't like to let my dogs bark any time but especially when others may be sleeping. So, I holler out the window-yes, I know, who can sleep with me adding to the mix-but the dogs of course did not listen. What was I going to do to them from upstairs? So I had to push the keyboard tray in, pull off the throw, run down the stairs, go through the kitchen and out on the deck where the dogs sat wagging their tails. Needless to say I was miffed. I let them in, came back up, resettled in and poof- I have no idea what that great title was or what I was going to blog about...

My father calls it middle-aged CRS disease...(Can't Remember Stuff)

I'm sure the idea will come back to me-in the dead of night-when I'm tired and then I'll think-huh- it wasn't that good of an idea to begin with... :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I'll be there for you

It's Sunday and I'm thinking about ethics. Mine are strong and to some people's thinking-too puritanical-ridiculous in today's world. I mention this because on one of my writer's loops a new author asked about publicity. She was told to go on the social networking sites and make a page, then contact groups of readers. Reader groups are simply people who ban together and make friends because they all like to read. She was told to make "friends" with the people in her group-then let them know she had a book coming out-when and where. She was told her new "friends" would buy her book-out of loyalty I suppose. I don't know. This doesn't feel right to me--to extend your hand in friendship with the pure purpose of selling something. Seems wrong to me. But others say-this is how it's done. It's called networking. It's called building a community. It's called public relations. I call it fraud. Friends, real friends are people you come to know through shared experiences. Shared interests. Friends bond to promote each other, to make lives better. I guess some would say the above example is helping each other-one likes to read, the other sells them a good book and both win. Perhaps, but to me that's not friendship. It's capitalism.

Don't get me wrong. I believe there is a place for advertising, a place for public relations. Consumers can't buy your stories unless they know your name and they know your work. Which is why I have a website and a blog. I'm more than happy to talk business or stories-I LOVE to talk stories. But I promise you, should I ever call you friend, its because you really are one.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Virtual Book Tours

This week I read an interesting blog ( . Morgan invited Angela Wilson to talk about professional on line book tours.

Angela Wilson is an author, freelance Web content director and Book Blog Editor for Pop Syndicate, a pop culture site with more than 8,000 hits per day. Each week, Pop Syndicate hosts authors on virtual tour.

I am always interested in new ways of promotion. Angela says in this series of short blogs that even virtual tours are time consuming and take work. Reading over what she advises should happen for a book tour, I agree. Sounds like a lot of work. But then I realized that there is lag time between books. So there is time to produce a short essay, or a character interview, etc. every once in a while-not all at once. Save these up and that part of the book tour will be ready. Then there's the research that goes into picking the right that takes time and recommendations from friends. Again- some advance leg work-say five to ten minutes a day-spread out well in advance might ease the pain.

The real cringer for me was when Angela suggested you keep an Excel file with all the numbers and results of hits, etc. so you know which blog or site really worked and which didn't. Sounds like good advice-but I know myself too well- by that point I'll have my nose into another story...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

September Movie Review

Instead of writing diligently on my current work-in-progress, I ran off to see a movie. It wasn't the title that drew me--"Bottle Shock." Nor was it's impressive lack of a PR campaign. No, dear readers, it was the very fact that this movie had both Alan Rickman and Bill Pullman in it. Be still my little heart!!! (So what if these guys are older, the humor, pathos and just plain fun of watching them on screen was good enough to make me cry-more! More!)

I'm not going to tell you about the story. The story didn't matter. What matter was Bill Pullman playing a man with a dream, who attempted to make it come true against all odds and darn near failed. A man with a hippie son who was brilliant and lazy all at once.

Then there was Alan Rickman- the movie is worth the price of admission simply for the thirty second scene when Alan Rickman's character bites into a piece of extra crispy Kentucky Fried Chicken...

Oh, the pure joy of sitting in a movie theater- watching two of my favorite actors on the same screen. Yeah, I can't wait for it to come out on video so I can add it to my collection. Bravo!

Monday, September 1, 2008

A True Love Story

Yesterday I had the privilege and the honor of witnessing a real life love story. There was no music…no big white dress…no flowers, no cake, no party. Instead I went with my grandmother to see my grandfather as he struggles for every breath in a nursing home. On September 5th 2008, they will be married seventy years. Right now he is doing his best to survive long enough to see that date.
We walked into his room, a small cinderblock room with a curtain partition for a second man and his family. There was music playing from behind the curtain.
Grandpa’s face lit up when he saw Grandma. “I knew you were coming.”
Grandma asked, “How did you know?”
“You told me. My sweetheart.” Grandma cupped his face, kissed his mouth, stroked his chest then sat down and took his hand. They talked about being together forever. Grandpa would close his eyes and smile as Grandma told the tale of their first date. How there was an early snow storm. The snow was up to the hubcaps. Grandma lived with her parents in what she called a shack way out in the country. Her parents had just moved to the area and stayed in the shack looking for a house to buy. Grandma said she watched for him by the window. Her mother shook her head and said he wouldn’t come.
“But I did come,” Grandpa said, interrupting. His speech was slow and deliberate as he struggled for each breath.
“You did come,” Grandma smiled and patted his hand. “I knew you would.”
She told us he arrived looking so handsome in a suit with a black felt hat and spats!
Grandpa opened his lovely deep blue eyes and smiled. “I knew what I wanted.”
“And you got it,” Grandma said, patting his hand. “You got it.”
Grandpa and Grandma grew up in the depression. With very little education, they worked hard together to create a comfortable living. It wasn’t easy. It’s never easy. There were disagreements, but Grandma tells us Grandpa never swore. He refused to fight. He said there is no fight if the second person doesn’t argue. He is a gentle man who lived through a terrible childhood-as did Grandma. Things were different then. But they found each other and loved each other in spite of it all-doing their best. Nope they aren’t perfect. But there is love and forgiveness and trying. Neither wanted anything else. Love was enough in their relationship, enough to keep them together.
Grandpa hasn’t been well for nearly twenty years. Grandma has cared for him-sometimes over done- to keep him with her. She said it was her privilege. But at age 91, after one too many strokes he now has a very high fever and pneumonia. Grandma can no longer care for him at home. So, they made the hard decision not to run any further tests, not to put him on a feeding tube, but to tuck him up safe in the little room with the yellow painted cinder block walls. Where big strong men can lift him when needed and young nurses can see to his comfort.
They don’t talk about their upcoming anniversary. Grandpa isn’t making promises to hang in any more…but he calls her sweetheart…and kisses and squeezes her hand and you can see in his deep blue eyes his joy, his privilege and his hope to be there on that day. To tell Grandma… We made it.