Posts Tagged ‘Homeless’

Its Release Day for The Stranger In My Recliner!

Its release day for The Stranger In My Recliner! I am overwhelmed and filled with gratitude for all of the kind words about Sophie’s story. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart!

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To Agent or Not…


Typewriter Pink

On Wednesday I like to share information I picked up on my path to publishing, marketing and preparing to publish again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.

To Agent or Not and How the Heck do you Find One…

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Media Kits…

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…

Media Kits

Once you become a published author you have no idea who may be stalking visiting your website. If a member of the media visits looking for information on you and/ or your book what will they find? Professional bloggers should have media kits too.

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Threat Level Elevated

One of my biggest complaints about VA medical centers is the unsafe feeling I have whenever I am in one. Am I crazy for thinking that here in United States any facility attached to our military should be the safest property in the country?

Weapons not permitted sign

Was Jack Nicolson’s character in A Few Good Men correct when he said, “We live in a world of walls and those walls need to be guarded by men with guns.” He went on to say, “You want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.”

Last week we had another attack on homeland military properties and four Marines and one Navy sailor lost their lives. These are no longer random attacks. The bodies are piling up and before more are added it is time we rethink the decision to unarm our armed services.

For the past nine-years whenever we pull up to the guardhouse at the VA Hospital in Philadelphia more often than not the sign on the post reads ‘Threat Level Elevated.’ There is a guard there who is either smoking, talking on a cell phone or sleeping. The sight would immediately cause me to feel overwhelmingly frightened. These guards aren’t even military which if you ask me is ridiculous. Is our nation that short of MP’s that we have to hire security guards to protect (or not) our armed forces, our veterans and their families?

Threat Level Elevated

Once past the guardhouse the parking garage is dark and unattended.

Inside the building the first thing I notice is the dingy, dirty floors, windows and walls. I don’t want to touch anything. The next thing I notice are homeless people sleeping on garbage bags filled with their belongings. Are they homeless veterans?

You never know who you will be riding in the elevator with. It could be a veteran fighting with his wife, someone having a severe PTSD episode or someone under the influence of something or all of the above.

I was thrilled last week when we pulled up to the guardhouse and were asked for ID, finally!

It lasted only a few days. Last night we drove up to and right past the guardhouse where the guard was sitting inside the house with his eyes on his phone. He never looked up as we drove past. My heart sank and my anxiety rose.

I want to know there is a man or woman on that wall, behind the camera or in the guard house protecting us, all of us.


What has more impact on our feeling of safety and security and what has more impact on someone with criminal intentions, a sign that says no weapons permitted past this point or a Marine in full uniform with a handgun on his hip?





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,


Quote live each day the best

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.


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?


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,


Writing Wednesday is back…

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

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.


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 — 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?

Keep writing,


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






A to Z Reflections…

A to Z Reflections

A-to-Z Reflection [2014]

This was my 4th year participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge and my second year to participate as a helper/minion.

I was really excited this year because the first year I participated I had a book coming out a few months after the challenge and this year I have a second book coming out in a few months. I was also excited because my 500th blog post happened during the challenge. I will be celebrating that milestone next week.

Originally I joined the challenge because April is a tough month for me. The anniversary of my brother’s murder and my step-sons suicide are on April 26 so my husband and I both try to stay as busy as possible, doing the most positive things during the month. No matter what we do that date is always painful for us.

This year, the month life threw more bad news our way. My stepson was diagnosed with stage III non Hodgkin’s lymphoma. We are hopeful and remaining positive. If you are the praying type we would appreciate your prayers.

While my husband was is Arizona with his son I had a medical emergency here in Philadelphia. I will be having a hysterectomy, soon.

I have to say that all of the bad news aside this was the least stressful challenge for me. Every year I swear I am going to pre-write my posts and every year I fail to do that. This year I did pre-write 7 posts and decided on all of my titles. It helped. I am still going to try to write all of the posts next year.

This year I had the least amount of visitors/comments. I commented on many more posts than I received. That was disappointing and unusual for the challenge.

All in all I am pretty proud of my participation this year. I handled all of my last minute book edits, spent a few days in the hospital, received sad news, dealt with frustrating issues at my day job, hosted a visit from my Mom and was only late with one post!

Cheers to all of my fellow A to Z’ers and a huge thank you to the challenge creator Arlee Bird:

And to all of the co-hosts and ambassadors;  Lisa Buie-Collard our Live Wire leader and to my fellow Live Wires!

Champagne toat for a to z

I’m looking forward to the road trip!

Thank you so much for reading along,


Zee End

Today’s post is my final in the 2015 annual A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. For more information on the challenge and its creator visit:

a-z 2015 Z

My theme this year was 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.

That book will be out later this year.

So; I decided this year’s challenge posts would 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 and a whole alphabet more…

Zee End

I thank you so much for following along this month with Sophie’s story. I hope her story inspires you to do something to help the homeless and or mentally ill in your community by writing letters to your community leaders, politicians and churches insisting on homes not hospitals or jails for the homeless.

If you have any suggestions or want to share what you have done please post on twitter using #sophieschallenge.

Happy May and thank you again for following along,


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

My fellow live wires:

Rhonda Albom – Bob R. MilneTamera NarayanStephanie FarisHeather McCubbin

*I am a day late because I was admitted to the hospital. I will be fine, cannot wait to get home!


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:

a-z 2015 Y

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.

An excerpt from The Stranger in My Recliner


I started to remind Sophie at 8:30 in the morning that she had to take a shower. She smiled and said she would take one later. You have to shower today, I told her again and again. After my own shower, I placed the plastic safety chair into the tub and put a towel on the seat, to make it softer for her to sit on and not as cold. I put four fresh towels on the counter and a wash cloth on the arm of the shower chair. A bath sheet worked better on the floor than the tiny bath mat so I folded the mat and put it in the hall closet. I lined up the mouthwash, baby powder, Q-tips and facial moisturizer on the sink, doubting she would use any of the products.

Q tips

I ran downstairs and into Sophie’s room and picked out an outfit for her to wear. I chose a pair of mint green linen pants and a cream colored tank and sweater set. If only I could talk her into wearing real shoes. The plastic slides she wore made me cringe. At least I was able to talk her into wearing socks so her feet wouldn’t get frostbite.  The socks with the slides looked absolutely ridiculous but that was a fight I chose not to start. Cream pumps or flats would be so cute with this outfit. Even white or cream sneakers would be adorable. She only had white and black socks. I chose the white. Would she ever wear knee-highs, I wondered. I wanted to throw away those stupid plastic shoes so badly. If she didn’t dig through our trash cans I could probably get away with throwing them out and letting her think she lost them. Right away I realized how mean that would be, or would it be? Plastic shoes cannot be healthy for your feet.

Her toenails were disgusting too. I tried to cut them for her once but she screamed so loud I had no choice but to stop. When people age their toe nails thicken and harden naturally. The thickening can also be caused by a fungus, other disease, a trauma and of course improper fitting shoes. In Sophie’s case it could have been all of these. I tried talking her into seeing a podiatrist but she wanted nothing to do with that idea. I could only imagine the screaming she would do and how embarrassed I would be.

Moving on, I quickly scrambled an egg and cooked it in the microwave for her. I generously buttered her soft toast and poured a large glass of apple juice and put everything on the dining room table for her. She begged me to let her eat in the recliner. It was another fight I chose not to start and I moved the meal to her end table and placed a dish towel on her lap.


I ran back upstairs to gather some laundry. “Dina, Dina” she shrieked. I yelled down to her asking her what she needed. “You forgot me peas in my eggies.” She whined.  I could not tell her we did not have any because I had enough canned peas in the cupboard to wait out Armageddon. Why did I think she would be okay without peas for that one day? I ran downstairs, opened a can of peas and drained the liquid off of them. I put a few spoonfuls of peas into a small bowl. I placed the bowl in the microwave. The smell of microwave eggs is bad enough first thing in the morning. Adding the smell of nasty canned peas and that slimy liquid they come in is so gross. The smell gets stuck in your nostrils and stays there. Taking the small bowl out of the microwave, lifting it with a paper towel, I walked over to the recliner. Carefully I scooped the peas from the bowl and piled them onto her plate.  I asked her to take her plate into the kitchen when she was finished eating. She smelled so badly I had to fight my gag reflex. I could not wait to get her into the shower.

peas in a can

I put a load of laundry into the washer adding extra Tide liquid and Downy fabric softener because I knew it would make the house smell better. It wouldn’t get to the root of the odor problem but for right then, I needed that putrid eggy, peas and urine smell to be gone.


Thank you for reading,


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. MilneTamera NarayanStephanie FarisHeather McCubbin


Realize Your Writing Dreams by Doreen McGettigan
Stranger In My Recliner book cover
Book - Bristol Boyz Stomp by Doreen McGettigan
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