Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia’

Writing Conferences…

A-to-Z ROAD TRIP

Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my journey from writing to publication, marketing and writing 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. If you have any tips please share them with us in the comment section.

 

Preparing for a Writers Conference

As writers one of the best investments we can make in our business/career is to attend as many conferences and workshops as we can afford. To get the most out of our investment we need to be prepared.

Have you followed all of the presenters, agents, the event itself and other attendees on social media? Learn as much as you can about each of them. You might be able to pick up a conversation starter that can break the ice. They might even remember something witty that you tweeted.

Bring plenty of business cards, pens and a notebook. When someone hands you a business card jot a note on the back of it, something to help you remember who the person was.  Do not bring written pitches to hand out.

pen and box

Prepare your pitch. Can you describe your manuscript in two to three sentences? Describe yourself and your book in ninety-seconds? This is the single most important thing you can do for yourself. Prepare that pitch and practice, practice, practice.

Dress appropriately. Agents and editors are professionals and they are looking for professional writers. You don’t have to suit up but I would say wear your best business casual.

Workshops Kara and Emily

Don’t monopolize an agents time. Everyone is there to meet them. They will not remember you favorably if you are a conversation hog. They want to meet everyone. Keep the ninety-second rule in mind and practice!

No matter where you are in your writing process there is always something to learn. Take the time to listen.

Relax, smile, socialize, make new writer friends and have fun!

Quote writer quote about haters

Who is going to the Philadelphia Writer’s Conference?

http://pwcwriters.org/why-the-philadelphia-writers-conference/2015-workshops-and-events/

I hope to see you there!

Happy Writing,

Doreen

The Stranger in My Recliner has a cover. It’s almost a real book!

Sophie Book Cover

 

 

 

Finally…

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!

Finally! The weather is a perfect 72 degrees, this morning. It feels like spring.

My granddaughter, Adriana Jean is 6-years-old today. She has brought so much joy and fun into our family. Six is so grown-up but she will always be the baby in her family. Her big brother Dominic will be 13 in two-weeks and her sister Allyson will be 20 in September. OMGoodness I am going to have a 20-year-old granddaughter, yikes!

Adriana Lost tooth

She lost her first baby tooth and was thrilled to find dollars under her pillow. I like her tooth fairy. Mine left a nickel and a pack of Trident.

I finally received the mock-up of the book cover for The Stranger in My Recliner. It is growing on me. Now I am anxiously waiting on the release date. I cannot wait to share Sophie’s story with everyone. What do you think of the cover?

Sophie Book Cover

What is going on in Texas? I have been praying for my friends and relatives who are dealing with flooding and no power and it is still raining. My uncle who lives in Texas had a 20-pound-racoon fall through his roof at 4:00 this morning. I hope his week gets better, he needs some sun.

Two weeks from today is finally the start of the Philadelphia Writer’s Conference. I haven’t attended for a few years now so I am really looking forward to listening and learning but most importantly I am looking forward to hanging out with some of my favorite writers. So excited!

And one week after that is finally our annual family beach vacation.

Of course I am hoping, finally for some kind of good news from the surgeon I am seeing on Tuesday about my pelvic congestion. I am praying for a non-invasive fix. I don’t want to miss the conference or the beach. Please think good thoughts for me.

TV has been pretty boring this week. I have new guilty pleasures. Married-The First Year-ended last week and one of the couples said they won’t be backL. ‘Arranged’ is a strange one but I am fascinated by the craziness and Married at First Sight has me hooked too. I am really rooting for these couples. These two are ending next week but Sunday is finally the season premiere of Halt and Catch Fire. This show kind of picks up where, Mad Men left off. It took a couple of episodes to get hooked but I love it now.

Halt and Catch Fire 1

I am finally, back to working on book #3, The Father’s Pain. This one may be my last nonfiction for awhile. I am looking forward to making some stuff upJ

This weekend will finally be quiet for us.  We need to rest-up. What are you up to?

Have a blessed weekend,

Doreen

Quote live each day the best

Girlfriends, Showers and Horses…

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 new logo

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

Just when I started to have a glimmer of hope that my Phillies might be turning a corner and starting to click because they won six games in a row they went and lost two games. It’s a bit too early to be looking forward to the Eagles and Tim Tebow so maybe tonight…

Phillies ball

Did you watch the Madmen finale? It took me until the next morning to get it. I think it was because I was so sad to see it end.

We started to watch Halt and Catch Fire and by the 3rd episode we were hooked. The 2nd season starts next week, can’t wait.

https://youtu.be/qJN2JN3_N_4

The past few years I have volunteered to wrap up the gift baskets for fun charity event, The Girlfriend Gala. It is an annual celebration of our girlfriends and a fundraiser. The host of the Happy Hour Radio Show, author, speaker and friend, Annmarie Kelly founded the annual celebration several years ago. When I first attended the event I was brand new to this county and only barely knew two people at the event. This year I knew almost everyone and still met four amazing women that I hope will become good friends before next year. Do you have an event in your area that celebrates girlfriends?

Gift Bags for Gala Gift Baskets for Gala

This year’s benefactor was the Phil*Hanna Fund, which was started by another friend, Pam Mariani. The fund was started to memorialize Pam’s mother Philomena and her birth mother, Hanna. The fund is a semi-annual scholarship for a non-traditional nursing student at Delaware County Community College.

The comedy portion of the event was provided by elder attorney, brand new author, speaker and friend the hysterical Cathy Sikorski. If you are looking for something different, (and very funny for a change) to read check out Cathy’s book, Showering with Nana.

http://www.amazon.com/Showering-With-Nana-Confessions-Caregiver/dp/0692440410

Author Cathy Sikorski Cover

What a difference a few years can make. I was so homesick and lonely and here I am blessed with the best girlfriends a woman could ask for.

This weekend I am going to attend the Devon Horse Show for the first-time as an adult with the most fabulous girlfriends. Yikes, I really need a hat. What do you have planned for this holiday weekend?

Have a fabulous and blessed weekend,

Doreen

 

 

Mad Fragments…

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 logo

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

During the month of April I participated in and was a helper with the A-Z Blogging Challenge. I planned on posting my Friday Fragments during the month too but the best intentions…

A to Z Survivor Badge

There was a terrible Amtrak train crash not far from us, in Philadelphia. The train was coming from Washington D.C. and headed to N.Y.C. Apparently the engineer took a radical curve at 106 mph. The limit is 50 mph for that curve. Eight people lost their lives and more than one-hundred were injured, some critically. I know so many people that take that train, often so it was terrifying. The two people I knew that happened to be riding that night are okay, thank God.

When my favorite weather woman said it was going to be a pollen-tsunami, she wasn’t kidding. My eyes are so itchy and red. I take Allegra but am going to have to try something else because it just isn’t working anymore.

Pollen

I had a health scare, actually it is still happening. Something was ‘falling out of me’ and it was extremely painful. My primary doctor gave me an antibiotic, called it pelvic prolapsed and sent me to a gyn. The nurse-practitioner stopped the exam and was leaving the room. I asked her to say something and she said she needed to get the doctor because she had no idea what it was. I panicked. Of course I did. The doctor came in and introduced himself and proceeded to examine (push on, press and prod whatever was bulging causing me to see stars.) He had no idea. I insisted he tell me something so he said, “I think you are going to be fine. It might be varicose veins.” I needed to see a gyn-urologist as soon as possible. The soonest appointment I could get was June 10. I went to the ER. They admitted me, treated the pain ran a bunch of tests and said it was indeed pelvic congestion, (Varicose veins in the pelvic area.) I won’t see the vein doctor till June 2 so I am home resting as much as possible. I will most likely have an embolization done, soon I hope.

Never a dull moment.

The Stranger in My Recliner is in production. The art department told me I would have cover mock-ups by the end of the month. This book is finally going to be born. I am so excited and cannot wait to share Sophie’s story with everyone. I am hoping it at least starts a few conversations about ending homelessness. The synopsis is up there under books. I need to have a list of reviewers by the end of the month. If you are interested in a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, please e-mail me and give me your address and let me know if you prefer paperback or digital copy. Thank you!

We are a little more than a month away from our crazy, fun annual beach week with all of our kids and grandkids. I am praying my health crisis doesn’t ruin it for us.

Beach Chairs

Is it spring in your neighborhood yet? We are bouncing between the 80’s and the 50’s. It is SO much better than 20J

Are you watching Madmen? What do you think?

Madmen

I am obsessed lately with Arranged, Married at First Sight and Newlyweds, the First Year. I just find these shows fascinating. What are you watching?

Have a blessed weekend,

Doreen

The Caregiver…

I belong to a writer’s group, Lower Buck’s creative Explorers. It is such an inspiring and talented group. The latest published author in our group is, Maria Casale. I had the privilege of listening to her read excerpts from her new novel The Caregiver as she wrote, rewrote and edited. Maria’s writing is lyrical, just beautiful. I am looking forward to reading the ‘finished’ product.

The Author:

Author Maria Casale

The Book:

Author book Caregiver

When Lillian Thomas is hired to care for cantankerous, bedridden Ellen Wilmot, it is Ellen’s beautiful, strangely familiar old house that immediately claims her devotion. But when Ellen’s daughter and granddaughter come to stay, Lillian finds herself drawn into the family’s loves, lies and resentments. And she faces a terrible choice…. The Caregiver is a story of mothers and daughters, the perils of obsession and what it means to be “the help.”

The Interview:

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Oklahoma, so when I was little I said “Hey!” instead of “Hi,” but I mostly grew up in Trenton, New Jersey.

Did you grow up in a home that promoted reading or writing?

Yes, my parents both loved to read.  My mother always had a book in her hand—even when she shouldn’t have had a hand free for it.  She had an elaborate system for reading while washing dishes.  She really fostered my love of reading and always gave me books—when I grew up and had to choose my own books I found it kind of overwhelming at first.  My parents were also very conscious of writing and very tough critics: when I had to write my first book report in fourth grade my father told me that the correct way to learn to do this was to read the New York Times Book Review section.  He was serious!

New York Times Book Review

Have you always wanted to write a book?

Maybe, in a vague kind of way.  I have always loved books.  If I had to choose between being a reader and being a writer, reader would definitely win.

For a long time I didn’t really think of myself as someone who could write a book.  When I was younger I wrote poetry.  I came in second in a school poetry contest and decided that was it.  I figured even someone who came in first had very little chance of making a life as a poet.  The person who came in second better just give up!  I really stopped writing then other than for school or work.  When I started writing a lot again in my thirties, I wrote a bunch of interconnected short stories, and then I got the idea for The Caregiver, and finished the first draft in ninety days.

Do you have any pre-writing rituals?

I can write anywhere, any time.  I just need a really nice pen and a spiral notebook (I’m a lefty so I need to write on something that lays flat in the middle).  When I don’t feel like writing I buy new pens and notebooks to coax myself.

sword pen

Did you map your story before writing or did you just let it flow?

The Caregiver was a let it flow project—I definitely found out what was going to happen as I went along.  I’ve written other projects with a little more mapping out ahead of time—just loose outlines, basically.  I don’t think I’m ever going to be one of those writers with story boards and reverse outlining and so forth.  That isn’t fun for me, and I know if I’m not having fun I won’t do it.  So I stick with a level of (dis)organization that lets me feel like writing is an adventure.

Do you have a dedicated writing space?

No.  I’ve made a pretty conscious choice to make writing portable.  Coffee shops, libraries, my dining room table, my bed—as long as I have a notebook, pen and sometimes my laptop, I’m good to go.

Do you have a day job?

Yes, and it requires me to write horrible, passive-voice bureaucratese!  I sometimes think this is some kind of special torture designed for novelists, or maybe just lovers of strong verbs.  I have great coworkers, though.

What are you writing now?

I’m working on a couple of projects at once, which happens fairly often (see disorganization, above).  My primary project is a novel called Snow Angel, about three cousins whose mothers are three sisters.  I’m interested in how patterns repeat and change down the generations.  And there are some family secrets, and a dead body.

What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Irish Breakfast tea.

Tea 2

Your guilty TV pleasure?

X-Files reruns and Downton Abbey.

The Caregiver is available in paperback or Kindle format from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Caregiver-Maria-Theresa-Casale/dp/1502420953/ref=sr_1_29_twi_2_pap?ie=UTF8&qid=1427819023&sr=8-29&keywords=caregiver

Maria blogs about reading and writing at http://bookwormrrriot.com/

Thank you Maria and thank you for reading,

Doreen

 

 

Victim…

Today’s post is part of the annual A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. Each day of April (except Sunday,) we write a post corresponding with that day’s letter of the alphabet. For more information on the challenge and its creator visit:

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

a-z 2015 V

My theme for this years’ A-Z Challenge is An Intimate Look at the Homeless and Mental Health Epidemic in America which just happens to be the subtitle of my next book, The Stranger in My Recliner. The book is the true story of Sophie.  She was the eighty-year-old homeless woman that my husband brought home one night. She lived with us for nearly three –years. The book will be out this fall.

VICTIM

21-year-old, Daequon Norman is a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. He’s must use a wheelchair and has no verbal communication skills. Sometime during the first week of April Daequon’s mother, Nyia Parler walked him, in his wheel chair into the woods. She proceeded to dump him out of the wheel chair, cover him with a blanket and give him a bible. Then she turned her back and walked away. She went to Maryland to spend the week with her boyfriend.

Wheelchair in woods

On the night of April 10th, Fitzroy Anderson spotted two dear and followed them down a trail. He discovered Daequon and called 911.

Parler checked herself into the hospital in Maryland where she stayed for more than a week for an undisclosed …

Daequon remains in the hospital.

Parler was released from the hospital, arrested and extradited to Philadelphia where she was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment, neglect of a care-dependent person, unlawful restraint, kidnapping and false imprisonment.

She remains in jail unable to post 2.5 million dollars bail.

For a minute I felt sorry for the mother. Having a child with special needs is a 24/7 extremely difficult job with very little down time. The child does not ‘grow-up’ and go to college. There is no empty nest.

I have a grandson with special-needs. He is all I could think of when I read about what happened to Daequon. My daughter and son-in-law work very hard to keep a support system together and to keep their relationship strong. They amaze me.

Services and support were available to Nyia and her son. Actually receiving those services is a nightmare full of hoops to jump through. She made a choice not to do the jumping.

I don’t feel sorry for Nyia anymore. What do you think?

Thank you for reading,

Doreen

I’m one of Lisa’s Live Wires! Lisa is a challenge co-host Lisa Buie-Collard

A-Z 2015 Minion Badge

My fellow live wires:

Rhonda Albom –   Bob R. Milne –   Tamera Narayan –  Stephanie Faris –   Heather McCubbin –   Randi Lee

 

Blessing Bags…

Welcome to my blog and today’s post which is part of the annual A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. For more information on the challenge and its creator visit:

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

A to Z 2015 Badge

My theme this year is: An Intimate Look at the Homeless and Mental Health Epidemic in America, which is the subtitle of my next book, The Stranger In My Recliner.

Today’s Letter is:

a-z B

 

A-Z 2015 B header

My husband is a disabled veteran so we spend some time at the VA Hospital in Philadelphia. At any time of day or night homeless people, young, elderly, children and veterans can be seen walking in the middle of the roads that surround the hospital.

It is honestly frightening for me to catch a red light in that area. I am not trying to be mean or politically incorrect but the facts are some of them suffer from mental illness and are not taking their medication, some are addicted, some are desperate and almost all of them feel complete hopelessness which is heartbreaking.

My husband has no problem giving them money. I prefer handing out blessing bags. Sometimes those bags just hold a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bottle of water and at other times they hold more.

This is a simple thing we can all do to make another human being, someone who is down about as far as one can go feel a ray of hope if only for a few minutes.

If you frequently travel in an area like this you could keep several bags in your car. If you plan to go into an area for the purpose of delivering bags, bring a friend and be careful.

Item suggestions for Blessing Bags:

  • sandwiches
  • blankets
  • cookies
  • sleeping bags
  • energy bars
  • small pillows
  • snack crackers
  • towels
  • water
  • clothes
  • orange juice
  • laundry detergent
  • plasticware
  • tote bags
  • napkins
  • note pads/pens
  • dry shampoo
  • books
  • wipes
  • dog food/treats (many of them have pets)
  • tooth brushes/paste
  • sweaters/coats
  • hand sanitizer
  • advil/tylenol
  • brushes/combs
  • prepaid phones/cards

Can you think of any other items that would be useful?

Doreen

Quote Believe in HOPE

A-Z 2015 Minion Badge

 

Apartments not Jails…

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

A to Z 2015 Badge

My theme this year is: An Intimate Look at the Homeless and Mental Health Epidemic in America, which is the subtitle of my next book, The Stranger In My Recliner.

                                                                    Today’s Letter is:

a-z A

 

A-Z 2015 A Header

A couple of years ago my husband went out to a meeting and came home with an eighty-year-old homeless woman named Sophie. This woman spent the next two-and-a-half-years in our home and became part of our family.

He and I tried to help her and quickly realized that most organizations and referral systems that claim to ‘help’ the homeless actually do nothing to help anyone. They send those that need help from one referral agency to another.

hampster wheel photo

When I read about the state of Utah’s program, Apartments not Jail I was very curious. My favorite thing about the program is that it is working. Utah has reduced homelessness by more than seventy-eight-percent and is on track to eliminate homelessness in the state this year.

While Columbia South Carolina was telling its homeless population to move or get arrested; Hawaii’s State Rep was walking around smashing homeless people’s shopping carts with a sledgehammer; Philadelphia, Pa. was banning the feeding of the homeless and Raleigh, N.C. was asking religious groups to stop feeding the homeless the state of Utah under the leadership of then Governor John Huntsman realized that the cost of jailing or hospitalizing the homeless and or mentally ill was more expensive than simply providing them an apartment and a case worker. A caseworker that actually helped them to become self-sufficient, acquire services for mental health or addiction issues if needed or employment assistance. Utah’s model is now being used in several other states and I am going to do my best to make it happen in my state of Pennsylvania.

John Huntsman

John Huntsman

 

“Utah is on track to end homelessness by 2015. And it’s all down to one ingenious premise put forward by ex-state Governer Jon Huntsman eight years ago. Ending homelessness, said the one-time Republican leader candidate, could be achieved by giving those on the street one simple thing: a house.”

I encourage you to write, e-mail or call your state leaders and encourage them to bring this model to your state.

For my friends in other countries, does your country have a homeless problem?

Happy A-to-Z kick-off Day!!

Doreen

 

 

 

 

Stolen Joy…

As we drove down Market Street, in Philadelphia I asked my husband John, “Do you see any signs that we are in the holiday season?” He looked around as we drove past one Drexel University building after another and he said no, not one.

University of Pennsylvania had nothing, 30th Street Station, not a tree in sight.  City Hall did not have one decoration hanging. Not a menorah, wreath, Happy Kwanza, Blessed Solstice just nothing.

It has been disappearing a little more each year but it hasn’t been this noticeable to me until this year.

Philly skyline

I was excited and looking forward to driving into the city with John for his cousin’s wedding. It was a late afternoon service and the reception didn’t start until five-o’clock. We hadn’t been in the city at nighttime, together for ages and we looked forward to the people, the bustle, the traffic and the lights.

Those Holiday lights that add sparkle to a city that is trying to rebound from hard times. Shoppers that are breathing winds of hope and renewing the faith of struggling shop owners. The smiles on everyone’s face’s because it is impossible not to feel happy when you are caught up in such festive beauty, or is it?

Christmas 2013

If Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Merry Kwanza or Happy Solstice upsets you I feel sorry for you because you are miserable and unhappy. I worry about what mental health issue has caused you to be so offended by another person’s happiness and I am also angry with you.

More than that I am angry with myself because you and your rights have stolen my rights and with them my joy and I let you do it.

 

 

And the lie was…

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?

 

 

Shop Amazon

Subscribe/Follow
Enter your Email:
Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz