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My Life in Song…

My friend Ruth asked, “Want to do a sing-a-long with me on Friday? I am going to post a play list of 4 or 5 songs that represent my life as it is right now.” My brain healthy twist is [and believe me Ruth knows a thing or two about brain health] to find the YouTube versions of each song with lyrics on the screen so readers (singers) can read along as they sing and bathe their brains with an amazing bath of feel good chemicals but you may take any approach you like.”

Of course I want to participate…

So this is my life as it is today in song…

Music

Because there have been production delays with The Stranger In My Recliner that are out of my control and because I am having some health issues it feels like I am fighting for control. I made this my ring tone and I want to listen to the song instead of answering the phone:

https://youtu.be/sQhGnNEFtPk

Because on our first date we went to the beach, we were married on that beach, my stepson’s ashes are on that beach, we spend as much time as we can there and because this was our wedding song it is always on my playlist:

https://youtu.be/chZm_Dhj47Q

Music 3

This song is on my play list and I listen to it often because it reminds me how far I have come from being abused and bullied:

https://youtu.be/n43nACiVWpM

This is the song I listen to when I miss my younger brother, David (which is pretty much every day.) He was murdered in a random road rage attack when he was 26-years –old. He had a wife and a 13-month-old son. I also lost one of my best friends on my birthday last year, she was only 44. I also think of my husband’s son John who died of suicide at 17.

https://youtu.be/lLvFzLlQ3Js

 

That’s my playlist for today! Thanks for singing along.

For some brain games check out Ruth’s Cranium Crunches:

http://www.craniumcrunches.com

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Writing Wednesday is back…

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day.

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com

IWSG badge

Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

                                                            Wednesday is also, Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

April was a crazy busy writing month and personally. I am thrilled to report that I survived another A-to-Z Challenge! Now it’s May and it is time to get back to business, at least for a month before the lazy days of summer…

A-Z Challenge 2014 Survival badge

The Stranger in My Recliner is well into production. Editing is done and the art department promised me several covers to choose from by the end of the month. I am hoping the conceptual editors will be finished then too.

I received two early reviews, they were good, actually great and that was such a relief. I know I am not the only writer that gets stressed out asking for, waiting for and receiving reviews. Talk about neurotic.

I never asked for reviews of my first book, not even from my family. I had no idea you were supposed to ask. This time my publicist said eight weeks before the release date he will ask me for a list of reviewers.

So I am preparing that list. If you are interested in reviewing, The Stranger in My Recliner, doing an interview, cover reveal, blog post or whatever you can think of please e-mail me and let me know if you prefer a paperback or e copy and your address. Thank you so much in advance.

[doreenb8@verizon.net]

Getting Reviews for your Book

If an author has 25 Amazon reviews posted the day their book is released the critics will notice. Once thought to be meaningless, amateur reviews on Amazon are not only credible but relevant.

amazon_200x200Look for potential reviewers on Amazon’s Top Reviewers list — which you will find at http://www.amazon.com/review/top-reviewers — and target the people who regularly post reviews of books similar to yours.

With every review copy you send out you should also send a cover letter and a press release.

It is a good idea to keep track of your review requests using a spread sheet or something similar. Ask your reviewers to post their review on your release date. Send a reminder e-mail 30 days and then again a week before the release date.

Did you know that if your book is available for sale in brick and mortar stores you can request a New York Times Review? Chances may be slim but hey, if you don’t try…

New York Times Book Review

 

 

 

 

 

New York Times Book Review

620 Eigth Avenue, 5th Floor

New York, New York

The web site for the Midwest Book Review has a ton of great information on how too and where to ask for reviews.

How do you feel about paying for reviews? Personally it does not sound like a good idea to me.

Most of the books I read these days I’ve read about on blogs, and honestly they have all been good. How do you choose the books you read?

 http://www.midwestbookreview.com

Keep writing,

Doreen

The awesome co-hosts for the the May 6 posting of the IWSG will be Eva Solar, Melanie Schulz, Lisa-Buie Collard, and Stephen Tremp!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

http://www.twitter.com/doreenb8

 

 

 

 

 

Writing Wednesday and a much needed Support Group…

Insecure Writers Support Group

It is time for the monthly meeting of the Insecure Writers Support Group. We meet once a month on the first Wednesday. No matter where you are in your writing journey chances are you occasionally have feelings of insecurity. No worry’s, link up and find all of the support you could possibly ask for. If you are in a good place perhaps you have some inspiration to share let’s face it we all feel the need for a bit of support from our friends. For more information:

http://alexjcavenaugh.blogspot.com

InsecureWritersSupportGroup3

#IWSG

WritingWednesday/ Writing under Stress

Typewriter Pink

Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my writing journey and on 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. If you have any tips please share them with us…

~~

The fact that it is April Fools’ Day is fitting. Thinking I could work full-time and part-time, volunteer for several organizations, have my second book in production which requires me to be at my publishers’, editors, conceptual editors and the art-teams’ beckoned call and participate in the A-to-Z Challenge as a blogger and a volunteer, throw in a holiday and a visit from my mother before and after her cruise, might have been foolish but I can do it. Not only can I do it all I am hoping to work really well under pressure.

April Fools

If you have chosen to be a writer at some point you will find yourself with no choice but to write under pressure. We all struggle with balancing our families, jobs and our writing.

Prioritizing your writing time is a must. Groups like the IWSG, Friday Fragments, Writing Wednesday and challenges like the A-to-Z helped me in my early blogging days to set deadlines and stick to a schedule. What I didn’t expect were the lasting friendships and the supportive community I would find.

Before I sit down to write I do my best to take care of anything that might cause me to be distracted.  I make sure the pets, and me are fed, phone calls and e-mails have been returned and I have all of the supplies I need at my desk.

tea

I use a simple calendar/planner and a notebook to keep track of my freelance articles/blog posts, manuscript and marketing responsibilities. I don’t keep a separate calendar for the rest of my life. I keep it all together.

Do you prioritize your writing/blogging?

Happy Writing,

Doreen

 

 

 

 

#Keep Moving Forward Challenge…

Keep Moving Forward Challenge…

My friend and the facilitator of Bucks County Creative Explorers, Kelly wrote a blog post about being stuck. She wrote that she felt like her feet were stuck in concrete. That is exactly how I was feeling too.

I’ve enjoyed the challenge and hope Kelly will bring it back at the beginning of every season.

Kelly then posted this challenge. If you are feeling stuck too please join us. Let’s inspire each other to smash our concrete shoes.

CHALLENGE:

I will post an entry in the Keep Moving Forward Challenge every Thursday from now through March 2015. To join in on the journey, use the comment section to tell us about how you “kept moving forward” that week. Write about it on your own blog site (and include the link in the comments), make a video, and/or use the hashtag #KeepMovingForwardChallenge on the social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).

http://kellydeeny.com

Please make sure to use #KeepMovingForwardChallenge on social media so that we can comment, like, share, favorite, or retweet.

As usual my goals were pretty mighty this week. Life got in the way so I didn’t complete everything I wanted too.

I spent an afternoon with my nineteen-year-old, fifteen-year-old and five-year-old granddaughters. We went shopping for and found a beautiful prom dress, for Allyson (the nineteen-year-old.) I practiced making videos with the five-year-old. She is quite a director, oh my. I need SO much more practice.

I facilitate workshops for the Press Club and we had to cancel one in January due to weather. The make- up was last Saturday and this Saturday we have a regularly scheduled workshop. The committee, presenters and attendees are all having a really good time but it is time consuming. I never imagined I would enjoy teaching so much. Next month we have a writing workshop. This is the one I have been most looking forward to.

http://www.thepressclubpa.org

Although the workshops are taking up a lot of my time I did manage to write and post my A-to-Z April Blog Challenge Theme Reveal post and I wrote 2 ½ posts for the challenge. Only twenty-four more left to write. Are you participating in the challenge? I highly recommend it.

https://doreenmcgettigan.com/?p=5638

I finished my book cover questionnaire for The Stranger In My Recliner and received some great feedback on my back matter (text on the back of the book) from my writing friends at Bucks County Creative Explorers. So I guess you could say I finished a lot of ‘business’ writing this week.

Quote Keep Moving Forward

I still haven’t found a forward writer or blurb writers for the book. I haven’t tried very hard either. This goal needs to be #one next week.

All in all I feel like I have moved forward this week, slightly.

How about you?

Have a blessed week,

Doreen

A-to-Z Challenge Theme Reveal…

                                      A-to-Z  CHALLENGE THEME REVEAL

A-to-Z Theme Reveal banner

http://www.a-to-z challenge.com

I have to admit I am not ready for the challenge but I am never fully prepared. My post titles have been chosen and I am hoping to get several of them pre-written this week.  I am however beyond excited and cannot wait to discover what all of your themes are!

Once again I will be a minion for the challenge and am so proud to be one of Lisa’s Live Wires!

A-Z 2015 Minion Badge

My theme this year is An Intimate Look at the Homeless and Mental Health Epidemic in America which happens to be the subtitle of my next book, The Stranger in My Recliner. The book is the true story of, Sophie.  Sophie is the eighty-year-old homeless woman that my husband brought home one night. She lived with us for nearly three –years. The night that she walked through our front door changed me.

eye-crying

That book will be out later this year.

I decided this year’s posts will be on programs that actually help the homeless and the mentally ill, programs that don’t, when did homelessness become a problem and what or who caused it, famous homeless people, famous people that help the homeless and the mentally ill, what you can do that will help in a real way, excerpts from the book, the drain on emergency rooms and the justice system and a whole alphabet more…

I am looking forward to revisiting all of my old A-to-Z friends and making lots of new ones.

High Fives and Good Luck to all of the participants! Here we go!

Doreen

Rocket launch Gemini 4

 

 

Writing Wednesday/ Promotional Products

 

Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my writing journey and on 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. If you have any tips please share them with us…

Public Relations (PR) Part 5- Promotional Materials

The time to think about what promotional items you will need to promote your book/blog is when you are writing your marketing plan. Promotional materials can be part of your PR plan so remember you want whatever you choose to show you as an author and your book/blog in a good light. All of your products should coordinate. When ordering products remember to order enough for any conferences you are planning to attend, networking events, book signings and your launch party.

I custom created postcards for each location I had a book signing but I used the same colors so they all had a similar look.

It is easy to overspend on promotional items; they can be fun but try to stick with your budget.

Bookmarks photo

Product ideas:

Table cloths for book signings

Banners/ posters

Post cards

Letterhead

Business cards

Book markers

Pens

Key chains

T-shirts

Mugs

Note pads

Journals

There are many promotional material companies to choose from so do some comparison shopping. I have used and recommend Vista Print, Café Press and Moo. I have also used an independent local company and was happy with the convenience and the quality.

What products have you used to promote your book/blog/business?

Happy Writing,

Doreen

A to Z 2015 Badge

A-Z 2015 Minion Badge

 

 

Writing Wednesday/ PR Part 2/ Press Releases

WritingWednesday

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. If you have any tips to share please do…

Public Relations PR Part 2/ Press Releases

Just when you thought writing the book was the hard part you were told you had to write a synopsis, then an outline, a proposal and the hardest of all a query letter.  You finish all of those and breathe a big sigh of release only to find out you need to write marketing, advertising and PR plans and those include writing press releases and media pitches.

Writing is hard

If you have the budget to hire a professional to write and submit your press releases for you, they are well worth the money. If a professional isn’t in your budget no fears, you can write your own.

The fact that you wrote and published a book is not ‘newsworthy’ to most media outlets. They are looking for news that is of interest to their entire audience.

The main thing you have to remember when writing a press release is you are informing the audience of something important to them, you are not promoting your book (that would be considered advertising.) What expertise or insight have you gained from writing your book? If you wrote a book about your transition from the corporate world to owning a bakery perhaps your angle could be ‘the pros and cons of opening a small business in (name of town,) or tips on how to have a memorable celebration. The possibilities are endless but you should choose 2 or 3 and stick with them.

The second thing to remember is keep it concise and professional. Use simple words.

The third thing is to send it to the right place. Do the research. Make sure the publication is right for ‘your news.’ If it isn’t something their readers would be interested in, you are wasting your time and theirs.  My suggestion is to start small, think close to home. Your small hometown paper, magazine or newsletter is a great place to start. On most media websites you can find a place to submit press releases. Does your alma mater have a newspaper or newsletter, does your church? Once you have submitted to these local publications submit to 3 or 4 city papers closest to home. You can expand from there.

Newspaper photo

There are web based businesses that are promising to distribute your press release, for a fee. It is time consuming but you are better off looking up the publications and submitting to them yourself.

Do not submit press releases to the same publication more than once a month unless the news is really big.

Tips on format:

Your headline has to be fabulous and should be no more than 8 words. You only have about 15 words to grab an editor’s attention so the headline counts big-time.

Next you want to put your first choice for the date you want the release to be published. Most people put, For Immediate Release.

Next you want to write an introductory paragraph. Press releases are written in third person. If you are announcing a book event, mention that and the host and any other authors involved. Think hooking the reader here.

Next you want to go more into ‘the news of your release,’ answering the who, what, why, when and where questions. Remember you cannot ‘sell’ in a press release so don’t mention where your book can be purchased. You want the ‘news’ of the release to be so good that the reader will go look for your book.

A short bio comes next and then you want to list your contact information. Let the editor know what contact information you want published and what information you don’t want published. I usually list only an e-mail publicly. If it is for a book event you can list the phone number of the book store or wherever the event is being held.

When a publication does publish your press release, thank them, promote them and share on social media.

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Next week: PR part 3-TV and radio pitches.

 

 

 

 

What unique angle or area of expertise can you use to make your book, WIP or your blog newsworthy?

Happy writing,

Doreen

*** Before the angel of success arrives in your life, you should devote yourself to preparing your welcome for her. Polish your craft and strengthen your body to be fit so that you can do your job and enjoy success when it comes. Sharpen your mind and spirit so they are ready to face the challenges that accompany a visit from the angel of success. If you are not ready when the angel knocks, she will flee. And who knows when she will make it back around to your door again. Unknown ***

Angel pic

Will I see you here?

BAM-FB-coverhttp://midlifeboulevard.com

Or here?

A to Z 2015 Badgehttp://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

 

 

 

 

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