Writing Wednesday/ When Production Goes Wrong

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Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

 

Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my journey to publication, marketing and publishing again. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.

 

Production Gone Wrong

A few months ago I started receiving request from book reviewers and also had a few requests from non profits to donate copies of my first book Bristol boyz Stomp. I was excited because until then either myself, or my publicist requested reviews.

My publisher sent me a shipment of books and I sent them out to the reviewers and non profits. I also sent a few copies to social media friends.

Bristol boyz first shipment

Last weekend I was invited to attend an event at an assisted living facility and was also asked to sign copies of my book.

While at the event my 14-year-old granddaughter was proud to show an elderly resident where her picture was in the book. Her picture wasn’t there. Other photos were missing too. We quickly went through the other books and each one of them was defective. I was so embarrassed. So many copies had been given out. Were the defective copies being sold at book stores, Amazon, Walmart? I was so angry.

If you cant say nice say it in french

I worked so hard on that book. I had it professionally edited three times. My publisher had it edited again. How could this have happened? Was it bad karma because I refuse to review badly or unedited books?

Perhaps it was one irresponsible worker at my publisher or one person at the printing facility. Was it my fault for not checking the books before I sent them out? I assumed they would be exactly the same as every other shipment I received.

My marketing rep and my publisher promised to make it right immediately and I was grateful for that but can it ever be made right? I love my publisher and this was the first issue I have had with them in three-years. They are handling it professionally doing their best to make me feel better but oh how I wish they would go back to the old printer and quality assurance.

Lesson learned: Check everything and never assume anything. As writers we work so hard to earn our credibility. It’s bad enough when we make our own mistakes but when someone else is responsible for the error it can be crushing to our confidence. I most certainly will never send another book out without checking it first. I should at least have Louie check it for me, he is the best editor…

Bristol boyz stomp Louie

If you received one of those copies I am so sorry. Consider it a collector’s item, there are only fifty copies out there (I hope and pray.) If you would like a corrected copy please let me know.

Please help me feel better and tell me, has anything like this ever happened to you? What was your most embarrassing editing or non-editing error?

Keep writing,

Doreen

Quotes Start writing

I would love to connect with you here too:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bristol-boyzStomp/113804488656243

http://www.twitter.com/doreenb8

 

 

 

 

 

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Caregiving and Stress

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Caregiving and Stress 

Nearly ten-million adult children over the age of fifty are caring for their aging parents. With ten-thousand people turning 65 every day and with the trend expected to continue through the year 2020 the numbers are expected to skyrocket and so will the stress.

More and more women are willing to take a financial hit to care for their aging parents. I left my job for eighteen-months to care for my mother-in- law and most recently have been caring for my father long distance. Leaving my job and family in Philadelphia and traveling to Florida to help my mother care for my father is stressful, it takes a lot of planning and I couldn’t do it without a lot of help and good information.

“I’m pleased to partner with Midlife Boulevard to bring you this important public service information about National Family Caregivers Month.”

Midlife Blvd badge

My friends at Midlife Boulevard have been an online lifeline, full of inspiration as well as valuable information throughout my father’s illness.

It is important to build a network when you are caring for a family member, especially long distance. Enlist neighbors, church members and friends. They may be willing to pick up groceries, do home repairs or provide meals. Ask friends and family members that are not in the area to make scheduled calls, send cards and handwritten notes and care packages. Many people want to help and if you are like me, when someone offers it is so hard to say yes and then tell them what you need. You need to accept whatever help, is offered.

If you are considering hiring outside help, ask everyone in your network online and in real life for recommendations. Even if you can only hire someone for a few hours a week, those few hours will give you peace of mind.

 

Another way to alleviate stress before it happens is to create a list of where things are in the house in case of an emergency. You want to list the location of the electric panel, the water shut- off valve, have an emergency contact list that includes family to be called (in order) doctors, plumber, electrician, preferred hospital,  medications, location of extra keys, pets names and schedules etc… It is a lot of work but in an emergency this information will be priceless.

The most important thing you can do for your loved one as their caregiver is to take care of yourself. Accept or ask for help so you can rest, get out for a walk or just to get out and have lunch with a friend.

My Parents in Florida

While caregiving it is easy to get lost in the business. Remember to sit with your loved one and just be. Watch an old movie, listen to their favorite music with them and reminisce.  These are the memories that will matter most to you.

Another valuable resource for me has been the community of caregivers and experts put together by AARP aarp.org/caregiving.

 

http://youtu.be/Ggjc8u_1ccc     Spoon feeding caregiving video

 

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And the lie was…

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Yesterday I played along with a group of other bloggers in a game of 5 truths and a lie.

Today is the day to fess up and reveal the lie.

I cannot wait to see if I guessed any of the other bloggers lies correctly.

1. My husband and I were married and had our reception at the Jersey Shore, illegally. We did not have a marriage license. The last day it was possible to pick up our license I was stuck in the worst traffic in Philadelphia and then a guy ran into the back of my car. I didn’t make it to the clerks office in time.

SAMSUNG DIGIMAX A503

We went ahead with the fake wedding and made it official eight-days later with some very special witnesses. These little munchkin’s kept our secret, until now.

Second wedding with the baby parade

2. I had my first child when I was seventeen. This is true. I got married when I was sixteen because my older boyfriend was going in the service and I wanted to go with him. Exactly nine-months after our wedding my daughter was born.  I loved being a mom then and I still do. Being a grandmother is amazing.

 

3. One of my best friends is one of the Jersey Housewives.

 

Jersey Houswives 2

 

A few of you guessed correctly. This one is the lie. I did meet one of the Jersey housewives, we exchanged books and follow each other on social media. She is not one of my best friends, yet:) 

4. I have thirteen grandchildren. Oh yes I do! I have been over-blessed and still have a son that isn’t married yet and another son that wants more. Their ages range from 19-4. My oldest daughter, the one I had at seventeen, made me a grandmother when she was twenty-one and I was thirty-eight. When Allyson was three-years-old my younger brother was murdered. A few months later two of my daughters and my daughter-in-law were expecting. Sitting on the porch with Allyson I asked her how I got  so lucky to be having three new grandbabies at once. She smiled and told me Uncle David was going to keep sending me babies from Heaven until I wasn’t sad anymore.  Oh how I love that girl and she was right. Our family had a population explosion and it only recently slowed down.

 

5. I ride a Harley.

48249_4432869015482_120507747_oDaytona Biker Girl

I do. I prefer to just ride with my husband because Philly isn’t motorcycle friendly.  Florida is more my speed because I am not a fan of being cold. I am thinking about getting a cute trike to ride around on when we are in Florida.

 

6. My husband brought home a homeless woman one night and she lived with us for nearly three years. This is true. Sophie was eighty-years-old and homeless. I tell her story in my next book The Stranger in My Recliner. It will be out next year.

Now you know more about me than you did yesterday. What surprised you the most?

 

 

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5 Truths and a Lie…

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5 Truths and a Lie

One of my favorite things about blogging is getting to know so many fabulous people. Today we are writing 5 truths about ourselves and one lie. How well do you know me? Can you guess the lie?

 

1. My husband and I were married and had our reception at the Jersey Shore, illegally. We did not have a marriage license.

SAMSUNG DIGIMAX A503

2. I had my first child when I was seventeen.

 

3. One of my best friends is one of the Jersey Housewives.

Jersey Houswives 2

 

4 I have thirteen grandchildren.

 

5. I ride a Harley.

Harley pen and box

 

6. My husband brought home a homeless woman one night and she lived with us for nearly three years.

 

Good Luck!

 

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Writing Wednesday/ Writing Memoir

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WRITING WEDNESDAY

Typewriter Pink

 

Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my journey to publication, marketing and publishing again. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.

 

Writing Memoir

Most of us believe our lives are boring but the truth is everyone does have a story to tell. We all have that one thing that happened in our lives that changed our course in either a positive or negative way.

What exactly is a memoir? Let’s start with what it is not. It is not an autobiography which is the story of your entire lifetime. Unless you are somebody famous that has many accomplishments to your credit readers will not be interested in your entire life. It also is not a biography, which is also the story of an entire lifetime.

What a memoir is, finally clicked with me when my editor said, imagine someone is taking a walk around the block and they see your house and walk up to look into your large picture window. This day happened to be the day that “it” happened. The “it” is what changed or altered the course of your life for either the good or the bad.  What would that person, who is walking by your house, see? Whatever it is that the person would see is the place you start your memoir. After the “it” event there should be some brief back story, the resolution and how you arrived there and a bit about where you are now.

Quotes Just Write Dont worry

A memoir is about an event, an incident, something that changed you in a positive or a negative way. It explains how you dealt with the “it,” The author questions what happened, tells the lessons learned and where you went from that moment on.

The memoir can be written in first person from the author’s point of view. It can also be told as Narrative nonfiction which is written like fiction-in story form.

There is little dialogue.

The reader should learn something and their life should also be affected in some way.

Memoirs should never be about revenge and should not be a book length rant.

They are between 90,000 and 100,000 words.

When writing nonfiction it helps to start with an outline.

Make a list of any research you will need to do

If you are writing nonfiction, you need to write the truth. Real names and places should be used unless using them will cause great harm. If you are planning on using fake names and places consider telling your story as fiction, instead of non-fiction.

If it happened to you, it is your story,  you own it and have every right to tell it in your own way.

Pic of Maya Angelou quote Writing

An outline starts with a brief description of your story. The description should include the beginning, the middle and the end in a concise three paragraph’s. Next, write a paragraph or two on each chapter. Name your chapters and choose a title for your memoir. Nothing is written in stone, this is just the starting point.

I find it helps to have some photo’s and personal items that remind me of the time period I am writing about on my desk.

While writing The Stranger in My Recliner I kept a photo of Sophie, a few Peppermint Patties and a can of peas, all of which reminded me of her.

Once your outline is finished the next step is to write your proposal.  Once your proposal is written you will have a solid foundation to write your book.

Happy Writing,

Doreen

Quote A professional writer is

 

 

 

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Hell and Sons.

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Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments post and link back to our host Mrs. 4444 at Half-Past Kissin’ Time.

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It’s not too late to join in on the fun and we would love to have you!

On Tuesday in the Philadelphia suburbs it was sunny and 67-degrees, it was beautiful. On Thursday it was barely 40 degrees and they were talking a wet mixture of white stuff. Driving home from work was a mess. So of course we are going down the shore on Sunday.

My favorite TV show obsessions are out of control. Kurt Sutter (the writer /creator of Sons of Anarchy) is definitely going to win a few awards. I did not see this coming:

RAVE: Sons of Anarchy: Finally, finally, finally Jax knows the truth about who murdered Tara! After Abel spent all day scratching himself with a fork to blame it on Gemma to get her in trouble with the school (seriously, how smart/scary is this 5-year-old?!?) Jax decided to get to the bottom of what was bothering his son and told him the truth about his “two mommies.” Now Abel knows Wendy is his “first mommy,” and asked if that’s why “grandma killed my second mommy so my first mommy can be with me.” Cue Jax’s bewildered expression, and the credits roll. Next Tuesday needs to get here now!

sons of anarchy jax and able

Hell on Wheels is back after a three week hiatus.  I cannot believe there are only 2 more shows left this season but thrilled the show was picked up for another season.  I am a history buff but I had no idea how brutally the Mormons fought against slavery. Today we would call their actions back then terroristic.

Hell on Wheels pic

The Stranger in My Recliner will be sent off to the publisher next week. I cannot wait to share Sophie’s story with everyone. Wish me luck!

Did you know November is National caregivers month? I had no idea.

I am going to make a real effort to get the bulk of my Christmas and other Holiday shopping done before Thanksgiving. I hope I am not paving the road to Hell with my intentions. Have you started?

 

My favorite quote this week:

Fear does not stop death, it stops life! Isn’t that the truth?

Have a blessed weekend,

Doreen

 

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Writing Wednesday/Writing Past Insecurities

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Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

On Wednesdays I like to share information I picked up along my journey to being published, marketing my first book, editing and preparing to be published again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then…

If you like the information I hope you will share it!

Writing Past Insecurities

Do your palms get sweaty when someone ask if they can read what you are working on, does the thought of submitting a query letter to an agent give you insomnia, have you been polishing a novel for three years, how about the fear of rejection does that make you nauseous? Or worse yet what if nobody wants to read your work.

Every creative soul is at one time or another, in their life plagued with insecurities. It isn’t always a bad thing. If we didn’t fear failure would our writing be any good?  It would be boring and uninspired.

Confidence and fear live together in our heads and we need to get along with both of them. Fear fuels our creativity.

It’s when those insecurities prevent us from moving forward, submitting our work or even cause us to give up writing altogether that we need to make some changes. It makes sense to be afraid to cross railroad tracks when we see a train coming- it makes no sense to be afraid to submit an article to a magazine, a book to an agent or a guest post to another blogger.

Try writing down the answers to these questions:

  •  If you could not be afraid of anything for twenty-four-hours what would you do?
  •  What specifically are you afraid of when it comes to your writing?
  •  What is the worst thing that can happen when it comes to your writing?
  •  What is the absolute best, dream quality thing that you can imagine happening regarding your writing?
  •  What would you tell another writer, a friend who was feeling insecure about their writing skills?

Happy not unhappy poster

Has something specific happened to damage your confidence? Your writing will never, ever be liked by everyone. If you want to be a writer there is no way around rejection. It happens and it happens often. I received 93 rejection letters for Bristol boyz Stomp, fifteen requests for partial reads, nine-requests for full reads and six offers.

A few months ago I submitted (donated) a short story for an anthology. The letter I received said my writing wasn’t quite ready for publishing. My feelings were hurt for two-minutes and I resubmitted the story to a magazine and they bought it.

 

Quotes Just Write Dont worry

 

What can you do to keep your insecurities from becoming unhealthy?

Do not compare yourself to other writers, ever.

Being prepared is a great way to keep insecurities in check. Work comfortable, have everything you need when you sit down to write, pens, paper, research information and of course coffee, tea or snacks.

When you look better, you always feel better.

Friend supportive, kind people and be a supportive kind friend.

Don’t over think your writing but learn your craft. Join writers groups, attend conferences and workshops.

Quotes Believe in yourself

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Happy Witch, A Happy Ending and a Real American Horror Story…

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Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments post and link back to our host Mrs. 4444 at Half-Past Kissin’ Time.

Friday Fragments Summer logo

It’s not too late to join in on the fun and we would love to have you!

 

 

I have been the lamest blogger lately. Hopefully that will end very soon. I have less than 20 pages left to edit on The Stranger in My Recliner. I see the light at the end of the tunnel and can feel the relief. I am looking forward to finally updating my website and adding some new features to my blog.

Thank goodness the annoying elections are over. In our house we are half satisfied and half terrified. I suppose we will have a week of peace before they start with the commercials for the next election. How did your state do? Are you happy or disgusted?

It is time to start thinking about a foreword writer and some people to write blurbs for The Stranger in My Recliner [an intimate look at the homeless and mental health epidemic in America.] Who do you think would be someone good to ask, famous psychiatrists, psychologists, politicians, actors or actresses that work for one or both of these causes? Do you have any suggestions? A field I haven’t thought of that might apply? My wish list: Dr. V, Glenn Close and John Huntsman.

Dr.V

 

My appearance on The Wis Lit Show…

http://wissahickontv.pegcentral.com/player.php?video=8cee817809f0d56eb8410c699fdc209d

This show is done in a high school. The kids were amazing, very professional!

Last weekend while I was sleeping, somebody side swiped my car and just took off without a care. The damage was, of course just short of the deductible. This is the 3rd time this year. WTHeck?

Lesson learned at our house this week: Don’t hire a plumber to paint your house because the results will be sh*#ty.

We had a great time visiting the Happy Witch’s House at Linvilla Orchards with our granddaughters, Morgan, Avery and Peyton.

 

Happy Witch 1Happy Wich 2Happy witch 3Happy witch 4Happy Witch

 

 

We had a happy ending to a scary news story in Philadelphia. A young woman was abducted and missing for 2 days. They found her in Maryland. Thank God they found her when they did because it was not going to end well. The guy is evil.

Another story, yesterday from our neighboring county, and I’m sure this will be a national story by next week, a mother and her boyfriend in the presence of the boyfriend’s wife [oh my is all I can say] beat a 3-year-old little boy to death because he wouldn’t eat his breakfast. The details are worse than the worst horror film. The DA already announced he would be seeking the death penalty. I cannot seem to shake the sadness I feel for that poor baby and his 6-year-old brother who was also abused and now is safely with other relatives.

Have a blessed weekend,

Doreen

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Writing Wednesday/ Elevator Speeches &Pitches

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Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Wednesdays I like to share information I picked up along my journey to being published, marketing my first book, editing and preparing to be published again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then…

 

If you like the information I hope you will share it!

 

It is also the first Wednesday of the month and that means it is time to meet with my favorite support group. Every writer needs a support group and one of my favorites (yeah I need several) is the Insecure Writers Support Group [ #IWSG. ] If you need a place to share your insecurities, ask questions or perhaps you have something positive to share with your fellow writers then this is the place for you…

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com

InsecureWritersSupportGroup3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elevator Speeches/Pitches

 

At a recent workshop, one of the presenters challenged us to stand up and give a 30-second elevator speech or pitch on our writing, business etc…

I volunteered and my speech was awful. It was time to come up with a new one.

Imagine stepping on the elevator at a large writers or blogging conference and standing next to you is one of the best literary agents in the business. It would be normal to feel tongue tied and nervous but these opportunities are few and far between so you should be prepared.

An elevator speech is a 30-60 second summary of your book or your blog. The point of the speech or pitch is NOT to sell anything; the point is to get the recipient to want to know more, to start a conversation with you and to ask you for your contact information.

Have you ever stumbled for words when someone asks you what you do, what do you blog about, what is your book about? I have and it always leaves me feeling so unprofessional.

Coming up with 30-60 seconds that answers who, what, when, why and where is not easy. As uncomfortable as it can be you must practice it out loud until your pitch feels and sounds natural not rehearsed. You also want to have two or three versions so you can adjust for the audience and practice, practice and practice.

Keep in mind that 9 out of ten times while you are trying to sell someone they are not listening to you. They are trying to come up with a way to sell something to you, so you have about 5 seconds to make enough of an impact so they actually listen to you.

Quotes Leave Sparkle

A few tips:

Don’t give spoilers

Don’t go into plots or characters

Give the title and genre

Be enthusiastic

What do you offer?

Present a call to action towards the end

End with a question that requires more than a yes or no to answer

Avoid buzzwords ex: out of the box, streamline, awesome etc…

Try to come up with a word or a phrase that will help the recipient remember your name and the title of your book or blog.

Practice, practice and practice

And finally, smile and be prepared to answer follow-up questions after you give your speech.

Quotes the more creativity you use

Do you have an elevator speech and if so do you have any tips?

If you give me your best pitch in 140 characters and your twitter user name I will tweet them out throughout the month.

Happy Writing,

Doreen

 

 

 

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My First Scary Story,The Dolls…

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I wrote this story last year as a guest post, part of a challenge to write something out of my comfort zone.

 

The Dolls

Jillian, my youngest daughter was supposed to be napping. She was 4-years old and not much of a talker, so I was relieved to hear her having a, “real conversation.”

At first I thought she was talking to her dolls or her stuffed animals, but when I asked her who she was talking to, she replied, “My friend Mary.” I asked her what Mary had to say and her response was, “She said she used to sleep in my room and she left all of her toys in my closet. She said I could have them.”

adriana

 

I waited until Jillian was out of the room and ran to look inside the closet. I didn’t see any toys in there.

Later on, during the process of redoing my daughter’s room, the painter called me upstairs to tell me he found a false wall in the closet and wanted to know if I wanted him to remove the wall. What we found was a toy box full of toys from the late 1800’s. We did research and found that Mary was born in and then died in that house in 1980, the year Jillian was born. The house remained empty until we moved there in 1983.

A few years later, I had great tickets to see Kenny Rogers in Philadelphia. I completely lost my mind and spent ninety-dollars on a pair of jeans. That was a lot of money in 1985. Those jeans did wonders for my post “three babies” body. When I woke from a nap, I took the jeans, my blouse and a cashmere sweater and hung them on the back of my closet door and I went to take a shower.

Kenny Rogers This Woman 1984        http://youtu.be/eLVdjM58jMA

Kenny Rogers

Afterwards, I dried off and reached for my clothes, but the jeans were gone. I frantically searched every inch of the house but couldn’t find them. No one could have moved them. I was alone and my sister took the kids to stay with her earlier that day.

Three years later, I was going to another concert. I was running late from work and had no idea what I would wear. I opened my closet and hanging on the back of the door was my missing jeans, tags still attached.

Many years later, I injured my knee and had to have surgery. I was on bed rest and so bored, so my daughter hooked her Nintendo game up to my TV and taught me how to play. I woke up so early the next morning that it was still dark outside. At the end of my bed, in front of the TV, I saw smoke. I thought maybe I was dreaming so I sat up in bed. I was frantically rubbing my eyes and the smoke turned into an elderly woman. Still thinking I was foggy from sleeping, I just grabbed the remote from my end table, and switched from the Nintendo game back to TV and found an old movie to put on. I buried my face in the pillow and went back to sleep.

Ghost mist

When my kids were older, I became a foster mom. One night, the three month old baby we were caring for was sound asleep in Jillian’s old crib in her old room, when her biological mother came for a visit. She was late, but I told her she could go up and have a peak. The next thing we knew the woman flew down the steps. I swear her feet did not hit one step on the way down. “Who is that old woman in the room with the baby,” she screamed. My kids and I looked at each other and then looked at her.

After my kids grew up, got married, and left home, I remarried and moved in with my new husband. Our granddaughter, Adriana was visiting, so I set her up on the floor of my office with crayons, colored paper, coloring books and a bowl of M&M’s, so I could write.

Adriana at Cinderella

 

She asked, “Can we close this closet door?”

“Why do you want the door shut,” I asked her.

“I’m tired of listening to the people talking in there.”

Right before I shut the closet door I looked in and to the right. Yep, there they were, standing tall and proud on the shelf at the back of the closet, eight porcelain dolls, two of them, Mary’s.

Dolls

This is a true story. I am working on part 2…

 

390859_274508582663966_597047721_n

_________________

Doreen McGettigan is the author of Bristol Boyz Stomp, the true story of the random road rage murder of her brother, musician David Albert. Her next book, The Stranger in My Recliner, also a nonfiction story of the homeless woman her husband brought home one night. Sophie stayed with them for nearly three years. That book will be out in 2015.

Doreen and John live in Delaware County, Pa. (Philadelphia) Together they have 5 grown children (2 more in Heaven) and 13 grandchildren. Their lives are not boring.

 

 

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  • Friday Fragments: Episode #329 November 28, 2014
    Depending on your political affiliations, you may think that the original American Thanksgiving is nothing to celebrate. Thankfully, though, Friday Fragments have nothing to do with politics; we're just here to unload the random bits from our weeks that didn't make it into posts.Welcome.***Oh, yes, I did change from my nice, warm, fall Friday Fragments […]