Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Small Boy...A Large Lesson

A few weeks ago I had to prepare a short talk on finding sparks of holiness. As I pondered where those sparks may exist in the ordinary moments of life, I thought about the remarkable young people whose stories I’ve shared via this blog. It is in the resilience of children that I find these sparks…sparks that set my soul ablaze with hope for the future.

One such spark is 12-year-old Jake Olson. When Jake was one-year old he was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a condition that caused cancerous tumors to develop in both retinas. Jake’s left eye was removed, but with chemotherapy and radiation, doctors were able to save his right eye.

The cancer returned several times, and each time Jake beat it. However, in September 2009, the cancer returned for a ninth time, and this time the prognosis was grim. Jake was to lose his right eye, too. As ESPN’s Shelley Smith* reported, when asked by his mother how he was dealing with this, Jake replied, “This is just going to be a new stage of my life.”

Jake had a wish, however. What he longed to see one last time was a University of Southern California (USC) Trojans game. For Jake, football was his passion. He played center on his school’s football team, and the USC Trojans were his favorite team. His wish reached Trojan head coach, Pete Carroll.

In October, the Trojans invited Jake to practice. He was introduced to his favorite player, center Kris O’Dowd, and a bond was born. O’Dowd commented to Smith that he “felt a connection with him [Jake]…He gave us these words of wisdom. It’s amazing how a seventh-grader can make 100 guys dead quiet and just hear every word that comes out of his mouth….”

The Trojans gave Jake a lifetime of visual memories. “I got to sit next to Pete Carroll on the bus, which was awesome. I got to see them practice, which was awesome,” Jake said. “I got to go into the locker room and everyone was partying. It was just awesome.”

The night before surgery Jake attended a Trojans practice to get a last look at his “new teammates.” Coach Carroll made Jake promise that he would come back after his surgery Nov. 12.

On the day of surgery, the family sneaked O’Dowd into the hospital as “Uncle Kris.” When the nurse came to give Jake his IV, the young boy broke down. O’Dowd gave him a kiss on the head saying, “You’re the strongest kid I’ve ever known and keep being who you are and everything will work out.”

As Jake explained to Smith, “It wasn’t the fear of being blind; it was more like, all right, this is my last minute to see, last hours — that was the fear.”

Six days after the surgery, Jake fulfilled his promise. With the aid of a blind cane, he re-joined the Trojans at practice. Upon learning the team had lost to Stanford a few days earlier, Jake told them not to “feel bad. Guys, you lost, but we’ll get them next year and the year after that and year after that all right!”

View the video report on YouTube.

*Quotation reported in Shelley Smith’s article: USC Trojans’ No. 1 Fan ‘Fights On’ With Help From His Football Friends

Written for KidsTerrain.com. Reprinted with permission.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

She Speaks To Inspire

A few months ago I had the honor of writing this article about a most inspiring woman for Chic Galleria. Enjoy... - Rita

When dire circumstances touch our lives the effects can be pervasive, can test areas of our lives we never quite imagined could be shaken. When Laurie Zieber’s husband was forced to close down his construction business, reducing his workforce from fourteen full-time employees plus subcontractors to just himself, neither she nor Dan, nor their children were prepared for the struggles that lie ahead.

On the day that we let our workforce go we had fourteen jobs that were incomplete. Our boys put their lives on hold, came home and helped Dan finish every single job.” For the next six months, the Ziebers lived without income. “We lost everything. We were so exhausted and felt so beat up, I was afraid we would not recover.”

Laurie began to seek a support system to help them cope. “There were plenty of avenues of support and mentoring for alcoholics, drug addicts, overeaters, for victims of domestic abuse, or people suffering from depression or anorexia. But the only things available to us were predatory bankruptcy attorneys and very simple consumer credit counseling programs.”

What Laurie never anticipated either was that these events would test her faith. “I was frustrated about my faith life. I’d been involved with the church my whole life, but there was no power in my faith life. So, I set out on a course to find out why.”She calls this time her “Search and Destroy Mission.”

“I set out to understand what and why I believe what I do. My childhood that was filled with opportunity; my environment was wholesome, principled, with many examples of high morals and integrity. Yet, somehow I missed that I was valuable amidst all my opportunity. A person who is not confident of their value often becomes self-absorbed and that can lead to a sense of entitlement. I believe that we need to live our lives transparently in front of each other, especially where our faith is concerned.”

As Laurie reflected on her family circumstances she realized that while she had lost so much, the one thing she had not forfeited was her integrity. “A true sense of value doesn’t come from one’s achievements. A deep assurance of value doesn’t demand that others recognize it. We often mistake the person with the title, who stands at the front of the room, the person with the loudest voice to be a positive leader. But leadership can be found throughout the various levels the workplace, the church, in schools, in our families. We all have opportunities to teach and opportunities to learn.”

Laurie founded Draw Away Retreats, a cross between a spa weekend and a spiritual quest. It’s a place for women to “get away from the noise in their lives so that they can hear God. Not what other people have to tell them about God, but to hear Him for themselves regarding their purpose and mission.” The retreats are limited to groups of twenty so that each woman may truly “draw away from their fast moving, me-focused world.”

In her quest to help women find their voice, Laurie refined her own skills and gifts for communication, teaching, encouragement, and leadership. Together with Lucinda “Lu” Wormsbaker, Laurie created the Blog Talk Radio show She Speaks To Inspire, a gathering place where women share their hopes and dreams, solutions and victories.

“All of the guests have been fascinating, but one story does stand out. A woman contacted me having listened to two of our shows: one on the Shiloh Home of Hope For Women in Emporia, Kansas which offers a home and an opportunity for women in crisis to change the direction of their lives; the second show featured Tracy Mallory Radford, who has multiple sclerosis. This listener had learned enough about MS symptoms to recognize that a homeless woman she knew was actually exhibiting MS symptoms. The shelters were forcing her, along with her 5-year-old daughter, back on the street because her MS was being mistaken for drug use. As a result, one woman with MS and her daughter now have an opportunity to be loved and valued by the women of Shiloh.”

So what does the future hold for Laurie Zieber? Her husband, Dan, recently purchased a small chapel in Dennison, Texas. The couple is renovating “The Little Chapel That Could” as a center for She Speaks To Inspire mentoring programs. They will offer volunteer mentor relationships to assist adult women who desire to “get out of debt, learn to play an instrument, find a better job, be a better parent, find a dream, or rekindle a forgotten dream.” The program will also bring writers together with schools, where volunteer writers will help kids learn to develop their imagination and learn how to write a story. “Volunteer artists will help the kids illustrate the story and the kids will learn by participating in the publishing process. We created a publishing company, DaZiL, specifically to publish books for kids by kids.”

In January 2010, Laurie will launch the She Speaks To Inspire Radio Network which, together with The Little Chapel, will host a series of expert mentor self-sufficiency training programs for adults wanting assistance with life skills issues such as finance, business start-up and development guidance, parenting, and work/life balance concerns. “Facebook folks can follow the development of this program on the She Speaks To Inspire Presents The Little Chapel That Could page.”

She Speaks To Inspire can be heard live on Blog Talk Radio. (Check the web site for show time.) All shows are available in the archives at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/She-Speaks. To learn more about Laurie Zieber, visit her web site: http://www.lauriezieber.com.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My UK Interview With Bernie Ritchie

I had the pleasure of being interview by UK brand expert and SME business strategist Bernie Ritchie. Out meeting is testament to the power of social media marketing. We met through LinkedIn when I posted the book trailer for Painting The Invisible Man on one of LinkedIn's writing groups.

Bernie contacted me about the book trailer, and we struck up an online acquaintance. I became interested in reading her blog, posted some comments; Bernie was fascinated by my novel and how I use social media to get the word out about it.

I was thrilled when she asked to do an online interview, which was published on her web site, Management Sushi. Bernie also created a rather humorous, tongue-in-cheek video version of the interview.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Making A Difference...

In 2004 after Hurricane Charlie swept through Florida, seven-year-old Zach Bonner went door to door with his little red wagon to collect water, tarps, and other supplies. He collected 27 pick-up truckloads of supplies for those in need. Moved by the generosity of others, Zach founded the Little Red Wagon Foundation in 2005 to help underprivileged children.

In 2006 and 2007, Zach threw holiday parties for kids living in hurricane FEMA trailers and filled 2,000 backpacks with food, toiletries, candy, and toys for homeless children. Inspired by a documentary about Mildred Norman, the “Peace Pilgrim,” who walked 25,000 miles during the last 28 years of her life to spread her anti-war message, Zach decided to raise awareness by walking from his house to the White House. The 1,225-mile journey would be completed in three segments.

In 2007, Zach walked from his home in Tampa to Florida’s capitol building in Tallahassee. He raised $25,000 in 23 days. In 2008, he walked from Tallahassee to Atlanta to raise $17,000 for a Habitat for Humanity home. “Although I did not raise as much money, I think I raised a lot more awareness to the plight of homeless youth in our country,” Zach commented.

According to Ellen Bassuk, president of The National Center on Family Homelessness, approximately “1.5 million children are homeless in the USA at some point each year.” And it’s getting worse due to the “depth of the economic recession and the staggering numbers of housing foreclosures nationally.”

In 2009 Zach completed the last segment, a 668-mile trek from Atlanta to Washington. D.C. Upon his arrival in Washington, Zach met with Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss and spoke with several other U.S. Senators on Capitol Hill. While in D.C., Zach slept at the Sasha Bruce emergency shelter.

“He is a very unusual young man,” said Deborah Shore, executive director of Sasha Bruce Youthwork in Washington, D.C., which provides services for runaway and homeless teenagers, including a shelter.

In 2010, Zach is planning a coast-to-coast walk where he hopes to involve kids across the country. To learn more about Zach and how you can assist in his efforts, visit his web site, http://littleredwagonfoundation.com.

Written for KidsTerrain.com. Reprinted with permission.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

This Week on "Talk To Me..."

This week on "Talk To Me..."

Join in the conversation with author Melissa Foster as we discuss her novel, Megan's Way
Melissa is the Founder of The Women's Nest, an on-line social and support community for women. She writes an on-going column in Women Business Owners Magazine, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC.

About Megan's Way:

When Megan Taylor, a single mother and artist living on Cape Cod, receives the shocking news that her cancer has returned, she's faced with the most difficult decision she's ever had to make. The love she has for her daughter, Olivia, and her closest friends will be stretched and frayed.

Megan's illness reawakens the torment of her best friend, Holly Townsend, whose long-held secrets and years of betrayal come back to haunt her. How does one choose between a daughter and a life-long best friend? Can the secret she has been keeping be revealed after years of lying without destroying everyone in its wake?

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and talk to me...and Melissa! www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tonight on "Talk To Me..."

Tonight on "Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People"

This week on "Talk To Me..." Join in the conversation with psychologist and author Dr. Ron Breazeale. Ron's latest work, "Duct Tape Isn't Enough" a resilience-building training program to help individuals regain their sense of balance, productivity, and well-being as they address issues and needs related to life challenges.

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and talk to me...and Ron!

Can't tune in tonight? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tonight on "Talk To Me..."

Tonight on "Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People"

This week on Talk To Me...Nina Vecchi and Julie LePoer, founders of the Wachusett Vegan Society. “Our mission is to inform the community of the health benefits and world saving qualities of a plant-based diet.”

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and talk to me...and Julie and Nina!

Can't tune in tonight? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Join Us Today 9/24 Multi-Author Book Fair

Join me and a few dozen more authors today at the Hamilton-Wenham Public Library, 14 Union Street, for a terrific book expo. A chance to talk with authors about their work, pick up books for your reading pleasure, holiday gifts, etc. Event begins at 3:00 p.m. I'll be signing both Sweet Bitter Love and Painting the Invisible Man.

Stay for the reception for the keynote speaker -- which just happens to be me, ;-) -- at 6:45 p.m.
The keynote address begins at 7:30 p.m. Hope to see you there! Hamilton-Wenham Public Library, 14 Union Street, S. Hamilton, MA,

Friday, September 18, 2009

This week on "Talk To Me..."

My guest this week is author and Boston's Channel 7 investigative news reporter Hank Phillippi-Ryan. Winner of 26 EMMYs, and dozens of other regional, national and international honors for her hard-hitting investigations, Hank and I will be talking about her critically acclaimed Charlotte McNally mysteries: "Prime Time," "Face Time," and "Air Time."

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and talk to me...and Hank!

Can't tune in tonight? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Politics Aside, An Inspiring Message...

In 2001, KidsTerrain co-founder and president Maggie Moran wrote a book for children about finding one’s magic. The Magic In Me offers a simple, yet vital lesson for our children, helping them identify the talents and abilities that represent the magic in each child.

Eight years later in his address to the school children of our nation, President Obama said, “Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is.”

Now, aside putting all the political controversy, when you get right down to it, the message was a good one…and one I would think that every parent would, should, and ought to teach their children. The message was really quite simple: you’ll never know what you are good at (what your magic is) if you don’t try, if you don’t embrace the concept that failure is a necessary part of success.

No baseball player hits the ball every time; no ice skater executes a new jump perfectly at the start; no author writes a book from beginning to end in one take. A baseball player batting .333 (which is pretty darn good) is actually only hitting the ball 33% of the time. When a champion figure skater begins to learn a new jump, spin, or lift, he or she fall hundreds of times. And every author, every writer knows that rewriting is essential to honing a story.

“No one’s born being good at things. You become good at things through hard work,” the President reminded us. He also said that asking for help “is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something” and a willingness “to learn something new.”

Whether you agree with his politics or not, President Obama offered an inspiring message: To be the best that we can be, to pick ourselves up and keep moving forward when we stumble along life’s paths, and to encourage our children to discover and nurture their talents…their magic.

Written for KidsTerrain.com. Published here with permission.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

This Week On "Talk To Me..."

My guest this week is author Shane Joseph. His books include Redemption In Paradise and Fringe Dwellers. We'll be talking, too, about his latest work in progress, After The Flood.
Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and talk to me...and Shane.

Can't tune in tonight? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

All Eyes Are On Fabulously40 Featured Member

I had the honor of being a featured member on Fabulously 40 & Beyond. (Admittedly, I'm on the "beyond" side of things.) It was a unique interview; not the same old, same old. Here's a bite for you...

1. How did you start your career? Did you attend college immediately following high school? If so, did your parents expect you to go to college or did you attend on your own?

Much to my mother’s disappointment, I did not want to go to college because I hated high school. (She graduated from Syracuse University in the 1940s, a time when most women were not encouraged to get a college education.) But when my best friend was packing to leave for an out-of-state school, I decided to go, more because I did not want to be left behind. My mother was thrilled and my father agreed to pay for it, under the condition that I studied and got good grades.

I went for a last minute interview at Cazenovia College (then a 2-year program only). I joke that they accepted me more because I walked in with a blank check to pay full tuition, and not because of my grades, which were horrid.

At Cazenovia I met and studied under Dr. Dolly Weiss…she changed my life. Despite my mother’s remarkable strength and independence, she thought the women’s movement of the 1960s-early 1970s was just plain wrong. Little did my mother know, she herself was quite the feminist in how she lived her life. (Note: I define feminist here as a women living her life outside the defined cultural/traditional role of the times.)

Dr. Weiss helped me discover my intellectual capabilities and to see a woman’s place in the world was limitlessness. I stayed at Cazenovia only one year, then transferred to a 4-year program at Wells College, and continued on to graduate school.

Read the whole interview at Fabulously 40.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

"Powerful"...."Mesmerizing"... "Made me want to buy the book again..."

I had the pleasure to work with Laurie Zieber to create this book trailer for Painting The Invisible Man. Don't forget...I'll pay the shipping (USPS Media Mail only) when you buy direct from Reed Edwards with promo code: RITA

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Trim the "Fat"

When describing a scene, person, or "thing" in your writing, be specific. Telling the reader "the desk was made of wood" or "he didn't feel well (not good)" is weak writing. If the desk was made of wood, then tell us what kind of wood. A light-stained oak? Mahogany? Knotty pine? If your characters is ill, then tell us what ails him.

Go through your text and remove any weak nouns, verbs, and modifiers. Eliminate abstractions and replace them with concrete images. Help your readers visualize what is happening.

Cut any clichés, unless they are central to your character. If you use a metaphor or simile, create your own.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

About Press Releases - 1

A well-executed press release has an excellent chance of being picked up by a news organization. What can you do to increase your chances? Here are a few guidelines to follow.

Ask yourself this question: Is the information newsworthy? Of course your new business or product line is exciting to you. But how can you tweak the story to pique the interest of your newspaper’s readership? Be an objective observer of your news item.

When structuring your press release, remember the basics we learned in English 101: Who, What, When, Where Why, and How. This information should be in the first two paragraphs of your release. Make sure the first two sentences of your release are effective, as they are the most important.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

This Week On "Talk To Me..."

This week on "Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People"

My guest tonight is Lynn Tincher. Lynn is the author of the Paige Aldridge "Mind Bending" detective series, Afterthoughts, released earlier this year and Left in the Dark to be released in October, 2009. She also helps other new writers in their efforts to get published. Her eZine The Literary Lynnch Pen and website provides helpful tips and information.

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and talk to me...and Lynn!

Can't tune in Tuesday? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Featured Guest on She Speaks To Inspire...

Tonight, July 14, I will be the featured guest on Laurie Zieber's show, She Speaks To Inspire.

Tune in, join in the discussion. Show begins at 6:00 p.m. Eastern (that's 5:00 Texas time!) Call-in Number: (347) 539-5725. Here's the promo piece Laurie put together....

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

This Week on "Talk To Me..."

On Tuesday, July 14, my guest will be Laurie Zieber host of She Speaks 2 Inspire. (and I will be on her show at 6:00 p.m. same day!)

Laurie is also a columnist for "Fabulously 40 & Beyond," photographer, artist, and founder of Draw Away Ministries.


Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and talk to me...and Laurie!

Can't tune in Tuesday? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wake Up, America, Our Kids Are Dying...

A couple of nights ago I was awakened at 3:45 a.m. by a torrential rainstorm. After the intense thunder and lightening subsided, and still unable to get back to sleep, I turned on the television and began flipping through the channels. That mindless activity halted when my ears pricked up upon hearing an unfamiliar word: bullycide. Understanding instantly what the word meant — suicide as a result of bullying — I grabbed my eyeglasses so that I could watch the news report.

Later in the day, I spent a few hours researching the Internet for bullycide stories. Actually, when you Google "bullycide stories," the result reads "about 26,100 for bullycide stories." Eventually, I ended up on You Tube. I still get goosebumps thinking about the plethora of videos I discovered there. I’d like to bring two of the videos to your attention.

The first is a compelling news report by ABC’s Diane Sawyer. It begins with a scene from the old television show, Candid Camera, illustrating the evolution of behavior (the devolution, really) of two little girls towards one boy. The second is a music video tribute entitled Bullying In America. Watch this one alone first, then watch it again with your kids.

I’ve written on the topic of bullying a few times and under different buzzwords and terms: when eleven-year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover hung himself after enduring daily taunts at school about being gay (anti-gay bullying); and when the Megan Meier case first hit the news cycle (cyberbullying). I’ve even blogged about the adult extension of this abusive behavior (workplace bullying).

Well, I’m going to continue writing about bullying until this horrific problem wanes. It’s time we wake up to this insidious behavior that is killing our children.

Originally written for KidsTerrain. Reprinted with permission.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

This Week On "Talk To Me..."

This week on "Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People"

On Tuesday, July 7, I am featuring an Author's Roundtable. Guests include Robin Marvel, author of Awakening Consciousness A Girl's Guide and Awakening Consciousness A Boy's Guide; Jason Gehlert, author of Europa; Heather Whittaker, author of The Tazie Effect—10 Leadership Principles For New Leaders; and Geoffrey Zimmerman, author of Love Never Dies.

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and talk to me...and all the writers!

Can't tune in Tuesday? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Book Bloggers

With so many newspapers laying off their book editors or cutting their book review sections altogether, book bloggers are enjoying a heydey.

Authors looking to have their books reviewed should check out Book Blogs, a web site where members read books, blog about books, write books, and publicize books.

Like with anything, do your research. Don't just send books to anyone. Read the bloggers archived reviews. Be sure that the blogger is interested in your type of book...in other words, if you are a nonfiction writer, a YA (Young Adult) science fiction blogger may not be the best person to send your book to.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

This Week On "Talk To Me..."

On Tuesday, June 30, my guest is April Robins, celebrated writer of children's picture and story books designed for early readers. April also leads a very active online networking group of authors, writers and artists with over 1300 members called Red River Writers. Her goal for Red River Writers is to create a forum where she can make members aware of events, links or other items of interest to the members. She leads the discussion on several topics exploring the pros and cons of issues, organizes events for the group and encourages the newer members.

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and talk to me...and April!

Can't tune in Tuesday? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Saturday, June 20, 2009

This Week On "Talk To Me..."

On Tuesday, June 23, my guest is Mahala Bishop, author of Sunshine And Shadow: My Battle With Bipolar Disorder. Mahala became a victim of bipolar disorder in her fifties and uses her life experience, her writing ability and multitudes of notes from manic episodes to create this informational book.

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and talk to me...and Mahala!

Can't tune in Tuesday? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Scarlett O'Hara Effect

Most customers are like Scarlett O'Hara....they'll think about buying your product or contracting your service "tomorrow." Our tendency is to deliberate, postpone, and delay...so what is the most effective way to counterbalance this? Impose a deadline.

Inject a sense of urgency into your ads, sales presentations, and marketing messages. Whether the message is "Act fact! Only 2 books left!" or "Prices are going up at the end of the month," create a deadline or an incentive to motivate people to take action now!

P.S. Take advantage of our online savings! Save up to 20 % on all Reed Edwards publications through June 30! Order today! (Get the point?)!

Facebook friends get free shipping, too! Use promo code: Facebook

Twitter friends get free shipping, too! Use promo code: Twitter

LinkedIn friends get free shipping, too! Use promo code: LinkedIn

Saturday, June 13, 2009

This Week On "Talk To Me..."

On Tuesday, June 16, my guest is Pat Bertram, author of More Deaths Than One and A Spark Of Heavenly Fire.

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and talk to me...and Pat!

Can't tune in Tuesday? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Anorexia Rising In Middle-Aged Women

Grown women struggling with eating disorders is the latest, hidden national epidemic. While some adults may have initially developed their illness in their pre-teen or teenage years, clinicians are seeing a steady increase in eating disorders developed during adulthood.

For adult women, the triggers are often mid-life anxieties: divorce, children leaving home or “empty nest syndrome,” a chronically ill relative, the loss of a parent, or extreme loneliness.

Our youth-obsessed culture plays a role in determining our body image, too. In our society, aging is more difficult for women than it is for men. Thin is in, has been, and always will be. And being thin is a good thing. But being too thin is not.

According to a report by ABC News, experts believe between 1 million and 3 million middle-aged women in the U.S. have anorexia or bulimia, and 1 in 10 eating disorder patients is over age forty.

Just like with their teenage counterparts, there are signs to watch for in adults: an obsessive element to eating patterns, preoccupation with weight, high volume exercise.

If you or someone you love is battling an eating disorder and you don’t know where to turn, talk with your family physician. Your doctor will be able to guide you or your loved one to an eating disorders treatment center or program.

(Written for KidsTerrain)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

This Week on "Talk To Me..."

On Tuesday, June 9, my guest is Dinah Romig Mellin. Dinah is a fun-loving, Celtic fiddle player and artist. She teaches fiddle lessons; indulges in creative art projects from graphic arts to Fine Art. Printmaking is on the top of her list. She's a member of the Cape Cod Fiddlers and hosts the "Fiddle & The Harp" on WOMR 92.1 FM.

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and talk to me...and Dinah!

Can't tune in Tuesday? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Monday, June 1, 2009

And Here's Another!

Thanks to Missy's Book Nook for her lovely review of Painting The Invisible Man.

"I finished this book in less than two days....I just couldn't put it down....Rita Schiano truly has a gift for writing, and captures the characters and time frames perfectly. I am Italian, so that is another reason I enjoyed this story.Painting the Invisible Man is a true glimpse of the life of Anna and her family in the 1970's, her relationship with her father, mother and brother, and the grown-up Anna; ready to face her fears and live her life without boundaries.Read this book - you won't be disappointed. My Rating: Five Stars (Read full review here)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

This Week on "Talk To Me..."

On Tuesday, June 2, my guest is Christopher Seufert. Christopher Seufert runs Mooncusser Films LLC, specializing in both the production and distribution of documentaries, educational films, music videos, artist profiles, and corporate /promotional multimedia. He is also a sound recordist and photographer.

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and talk to me...and Christopher!

Can't tune in tonight? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Reviews Just Keep On Coming...

Here are the latest round of reviews for Painting The Invisible Man.

  • From Dan's Journal: "It’s interesting how Rita Schiano took a real life event involving her father and turned it into a wonderfully, charming story about one woman’s quest to find out the truth about her father’s murder. Anna Matteo, the main character in this story, discovers that her father was killed what may have a mob hit because of his gambling debts. The more she digs deeper into this long ago event, the closer she comes to the truth. “Painting The Invisible Man’ is a witty and pleasurable book." (Read full review here)

  • From LuxuryReading: "Rita Schiano creates a cast of multifaceted characters who are the backdrop to this first person tale of self discovery. Her liberal use of flashbacks create a sense of being “in Anne’s head” and living Anne’s life. In Painting the Invisible Man, Rita touches upon families, grief, loss, sexuality, and “coming of age”…all different parts of the human experience." (Read full review here)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

This Week On "Talk To Me..."

On Tuesday, May 26, my guest is Carola Dunn. She has authored 50 books, and we'll be talking about two of her latest: Manna from Hades, The Bloody Tower, Black Ship, and Sheer Folly.

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and talk to me...and Carola!

Can't tune in tonight? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Slew Of New Reviews!

It's been an exciting few weeks...A number of blogs and Internet book review sites have featured/reviewed my books.

Feature article on Chic Galleria:
Book Talk With J & J:
Review on BestsellersWorld
Review on ReviewYourBook.com
Even Sweet Bitter Love picked up a review after 12 years on the market on Wyns Reading Books!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

This Week on "Talk To Me..."

On Tuesday, May 12 my guest is Heather Hummel, author of Through Hazel Eyes and Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best at Any Age, co-authored with Valerie Ramsey.

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and talk to me...and Heather!

Can't tune in tonight? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Internal "Talk" What Characters Think

It's those internal conversations, those inner thoughts that often give the reader insight into your character's soul. There are two ways to approach this: the indirect thought and the direct thought.

With the indirect approach, the character's thought is more of an observational commentary. For example, if you are writing a story about a child waiting to be picked up at school, you might write: The boy worried that his mother may have forgotten him, or worse...she may have had a horrible car accident. This is an indirect character thought because you did not write the exact wording of the character's inner dialogue.

A direct character thought is written as internal dialogue. Some authors use italics to signal that the words are the character's thoughts. Using the above scenario, you might write: Billy sat on the steps outside the gymnasium. The schoolyard was quiet. Maybe Mom didn't see the note I left on the table. Or maybe she had one of her episodes. Last time that happened Dad yelled at her, said he didn't want her driving anymore.

When writing direct thoughts do not use quotation marks. A tag, such as he thought, is optional.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Radio Ads - Tip 3

Identify sound effects. Since radio listeners can't "see" the action, and since many sounds are similar, be sure you set up the scene properly with narration or dialogue. If you're selling kayaks, you don't want the flowing river sounding like water running in a toilet bowl!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

This Week On "Talk To Me..."

On Tuesday, April 28 my guest is Tom "Myerman" Myer, author of From Geek To Peak and owner of Triple Dog Dare Media, helping companies formulate coherent web strategies and social media (particularly Twitter) into the marketing bloodstream of his clients. Tom will be explaining to me just what Twitter is all about.

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and talk to me...and "myerman"!

Can't tune in today? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Sunday, April 19, 2009

This Week on "Talk To Me..."

On Tuesday, April 21 my guest is author Rebecca Lerwill who will be talking her her latest espionage thriller, The Acronym the highly anticipated sequel to her 2007 award-winning romantic suspense Relocating Mia.

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and talk to me...and Rebecca!

Can't tune in today? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Friday, April 10, 2009

From The Writer's Block...

Read your work out loud, particularly the dialogue. This is an excellent way to judge the nuances of rhythm and interpretation, or find odd-sounding modulations—cadences—that interrupt the flow of words in written text.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

From The Writer's Block...

Having a compelling storyline is critical to good novel writing. Your characters, however, are the nuts and bolts of your novel. Your characters must be vivid in the mind of the readers. A good character is complex, yet fathomable; dynamic and three-dimensional. Know your characters' backstory. Create a biography, a psychological profile. Do you homework.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

This Week On "Talk To Me..."

Tonight's guest is author M.J. Sullivan, author of Necessary Heartbreak, Book One in the When Time Forgets Trilogy.

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and Talk to me...and Mike!

Can't tune in tonight? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

About Press Releases - 2

A few days ago I talked about writing a well-executed press release. Here are a few more guidelines to follow.

Tell the audience that the information is intended for them and why they should continue to read it. Deal with the facts and avoid excessive use of adjectives and fancy language. Don’t sell. A release which tries to sell or advertise will be “permanently filed.” Be factual, not promotional.

Provide as much contact information as possible at the top of the release and at the end: Event date, individual to contact, address, phone, fax, email, web site address. If photos are available, say so. Make it as easy as possible for media representatives to do their jobs.

The headline must grab the attention of the editor. It should summarize the information in the press release, but in a way that is exciting and dynamic.

Use quotes. I find that editors respond to my press releases because I structured it like a news story. If an editor doesn’t have to assign a staff writer to rewrite a press release, they are more likely to print it.

Hire a professional writer. They know the score and generally have good contacts with editors. A little investment can go a long way.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

This Week On "Talk To Me..."

Tonight's guest is author Anne D. LeClaire. We'll be talking about Anne's latest and her first non-fiction book, "Listening Below The Noise." Anne LeClaire has written eight novels, including the critically acclaimed "Entering Normal" "The Lavender Hour" "Every Mother's Son" "Sideshow" and "Leaving Eden."

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and Talk to me...and Anne!

Can't tune in today? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Writing Tip

When I am trying to find the right word or I want to explore a concept, I employ word association by making a list. Here's an example the writer character in my book "Painting The Invisible Man" explored:

Family secrets. Family secrets are skeletons in the closet, are ‘ills that flesh are heir to.' I write this down. Secrets are hurtful. Secrets cause harm. Secrets wound. I add this to the page.

I need to heal that open wound once and for all. Maybe learning the truth is the salve I need. Salve. I write that down and continue the word association. A salve is an ointment. An ointment, a balm. A balm is an oil…an oil, an unction. An unction is an anointing. An anointing, a laying on of hands. A laying on of hands is a blessing. A blessing, a sanctification. To sanctify is to purify, to free from sin. Salve. Salvation.

"I’ll pray for your father, Anna, but he needs to repent first." Father Riccardi’s voice enters my thoughts. To be saved, one must first atone, I write. Atonement…redemption… deliverance… liberation.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

This Week On "Talk To Me..."

Tuesday, March 24 on "Talk To Me..." book marketing expert and radio talk show host Francine Silverman. Fran is editor/publisher of Book Promotion Newsletter, a bi-weekly ezine for authors of all genres, and author of Book Marketing from A-Z (Infinity Publishing 2005), a compilation of the best marketing strategies of 325 authors from all over the English-speaking world.

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and Talk to me...and Fran!

Can't tune in today? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

From The Writer's Block...

You, as a writer, must believe in what you write.
• What are your motives?
• What is your vision?
• What does your story say to the reader?

Every genre of writing answers questions and has moral value. Universal concepts can still have a unique shaping on content (setting, characters, idea) and form (election and arrangement of events).

Whatever your story’s genre, it has content and content requires structure or form to shape it. Story is about principles, not rules; about universal patterns, not formulas.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

This Week On "Talk To Me..."

Tune In Tonight!

8:30 p.m. Eastern
www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Tuesday, March 17 on "Talk To Me..." Carmen Shirkey, author of the romantic comedy, The List.

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and Talk to me...and Carmen!

Can't tune in today? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Friday, March 13, 2009

Understanding Screenwriting Terms — Part Two

(Note: If the term appears in ALL CAPS below, then it must be written in ALL CAPS in your script)

Montage: A series of images showing a theme, a contradiction, or the passage of time.

O.S. or O.C. Off-screen or Off-camera. This is the abbreviation sometimes seen next to the CHARACTER'S name before certain bits of dialog. It means the writer specifically wants the voice to come from somewhere unseen.

POV Point of View. The camera replaces the eyes (sometimes the ears) of a character, monster, machine, surveillance camera, etc. As a result, we get to see the world through the senses or sensory devices of an "other."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

This Week On "Talk To Me..."

Tune In Tonight!
8:30 p.m. Eastern
www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Tuesday, March 10 on "Talk To Me..." Annamaria Hemingway, writer, spiritual counselor and member of the International Association for Near-Death Studies."Practicing Conscious Living and Dying: Stories of the Eternal Continuum of Consciousness."

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and Talk to me...and Annamaria!

Can't tune in today? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Okay, your manuscript is done...

Okay, your manuscript is done...finally! Now, you can't wait to hop in your car and mail it off to all those editors whose names you've been collecting and coveting.
Stop! Wait...trust me on this.

Don't do anything for two weeks...and I mean it. During those two weeks, don't even think about reading your manuscript. Instead, return all those phone calls you've been screening, pay your bills, treat your honey to a great evening to make up for all the time you've ignored him or her while you've been writing.

Then, after those two weeks have passed, read a printed copy of your manuscript. Reading print copy rather than screen copy will allow you to see your work in a new light. And it will highlight those little mistakes and inconsistencies that were previously overlooked. Believe me when I tell you, they are there.

Once you've inputted those corrections, spend the money to make three more copies of your manuscript. Find three people who can and will read your manuscript and give you brutal, honest, unadulterated feedback. Give one to each on your list. Tell them to feel free to mark the copy, note comments, raise questions, and circle typos (trust me, there will be at least thirty more).

When the friend(s) are done, meet with them, individually. Put your ego and emotions aside and listen to their comments. This is your reading public. And their initial critique could mean the difference between a sale and a rejection.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Radio Ads - Tip 2

When there is a choice between a 30-second radio ad and a 60-second radio spot, opt for 60 seconds. You'll have twice as long to establish your "setting," sell your product, and repeat your phone number, three times. A 60-second radio spot does not cost that much more than a 30-second one.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

About Headlines

About Headlines
• Use them!
• One out of five people do not get beyond the headline to the body of the copy.
• A strong, enticing headline is the most important element of any marketing copy.
• Headlines should not be repetitive—the first paragraph should reinforce, not repeat, the feeling/message created in headline.
• A headline tells the reader what to expect. It also gives you, your company, and your web site an identity your prospective customer will remember.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Understanding Screenwriting Terms — Part One

(Note: If the term appears in ALL CAPS below, then it must be written in ALL CAPS in your script)

Beat: Many scripts will use the parenthetical "(beat)" to interrupt a line of dialog. A "beat" suggests the actor should pause a moment, in silence, before continuing the scene. "Beats" are often interchangeable with ellipses "..."

CLOSE ON is a shot description that strongly suggests a close-up on some object, action, or person (an expressive body part such as the face, or a fist).

FAVOR ON A particular character or action is highlighted or "favored" in a shot. The focus is basically centered on someone or something in particular. Use only when necessary.

MATCH CUT TO: A transition often used to compare two completely unrelated objects. For example CLOSE ON hands on the baluster of a staircase cuts to CLOSE ON hands on a set of jail bars.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Radio Ads - Tip 1

Establish name identification early and often. Don't lose your listening audience by bombarding them with all kinds of random details before making a point. It's what newspapers editors call "burying the lead."

In a radio spot where you have 30 or 60 seconds to deliver your message. Give the name of the company, product, service, freebie or whatever you're selling/offering early in the spot. Then repeat it at least three times.

Follow the advice of speechwriters:
1) Tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em.
2) Tell 'em.
3) Tell 'em what you just told 'em.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Shows in the "Talk To Me..." Archives

Didn't get a chance to tune in to "Talk To Me..." some weeks? Here are links to shows in the "Talk To Me..." archives. Simply click on the guest's name.

Dr Mardy Grothe, author of Oxymoronica, Never Let A Fool Kiss You Or A Kiss Fool You, Viva la Repartee, and I Never Metaphor I Didn't Like

Lisa Genova, author of the New York Times Bestseller, Still Alice.

Nationally syndicated television and radio easy home repair guru, Mrs. Fixit!

Bill Widmeier, owner of Alternatives For Health Wellness Center

Renee Giroux, producer of the BTR show "Coffee With An Author" and creator of the social media web site for book lovers, IJustFinished.com

Erica Ferencik, satirist and author of Cracks In The Foundation.


Dennis McCurdy, author of the newly released 52 Ways To Find A Way and Find A Way: A Guide To Getting The Most Out Of Life.

Carol Goodrow, founding editor of KidsRunning.Com and author/illustrator of Happy Feet, Healthy Food, Your Child's First Journal of Exercise and Healthy Eating, The Treasure of Health and Happiness, and Kids Running: Have Fun, Get Faster & Go Farther.

Actor Gary Galone, seen on Showtime’s “Brotherhood” “Law & Order” and in upcoming Martin Scorsese film “Ashecliffe.”

Young adult fantasy author Shawn Cormier.

Arlette Gaffrey author of A World of His Own: In The Land of the Creoles.

Attorney Jane Woodworth of the Law Office of Woodworth and Frisella will discuss her niche practice of corporate collections.

Doris Ann Bridgehouse, numerologist and holistic psychic.

Janina Chung, author of Far East of The Sun.

Denny Griffin, discussing his book Las Vegas and The Mob. The National Geographic Channel documentary Vegas Mafia was based largely on his book.


Artist Michelle DeMarco.

Latin guitar legend Eddie Benitez.

Catherine Paris, author of Modern Day Slavery: Human Trafficking Revealed.

Actor/writer/hurricane hunter Tom Barnes. Tom's books include: Hurricane Hunters, The Goring Collection, and Doc Holliday's Road to Tombstone.

Psychologist/author Ron Breazeale will be talking about the politics of fear versus the politics of hope, and the role of resilience.

Author and poet Tasha Halpert.

Musical duo Fiske and Herrera

Rebecca Lerwill, author of Relocating Mia.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

This Week on "Talk To Me..."

Tonight on "Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People"

Tonight's guest is Dr. Mardy Grothe, author of "Oxymoronica'" "Never let a Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You and "I Never Met A Metaphor I Didn't Like."

Tune in, Call in, Live! 347-327-9158 and Talk to me...and Dr. Mardy!

Can't tune in today? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Can't tune in today? This show, and all my interviews, are available in the archives. Simply go to Talk To Me...Conversations With Creative, Unconventional People. www.blogtalkradio.com/rita

Saturday, February 14, 2009

From The Writer's Block...

Give your prose pizazz by engaging the senses. Examine the sensory details in the scene. Give the reader more than visual description. Explore the sounds and smells in the environment, the textures. Examples: the rustle of leaves, the piping of an oriole, the gritty sand.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Eating Disorders..Ramping Up

First there was "thinspiration". . . and now we have "pro-ana" (pro-anorexia) and "pro-mia" (pro-bulimia)-- websites dedicated to promoting the idea that eating disorders "are a good thing."

This month, the National Eating Disorders Association's NEDAwareness Week, the largest eating disorders outreach effort in the country, is scheduled for February 22-28. The goal is to reach millions of people with messages of prevention, hope and recovery.

In support of NEDA's efforts, KidsTerrain is offering web site visitors a free viewing of its webinar, Teaching Body
Confidence
, presented by Rebecca Manley, founder of the Multiservice Eating Disorders Association, Inc. (MEDA). The free viewing is available through March 15.

One goal of companies and organizations such as KidsTerrain and NEDA, respectively, is to counter-balance the insidious message of pro-ana groups and organizations who state they "do not promote anorexia and acknowledge that anorexia is a real medical disorder." The point of their existence is to give anorexics "a place to turn to discuss their illness in a non-judgmental environment." In fairness, some sites do thinly (no pun intended) promote recovery. However, others dispute the prevailing medical consensus that anorexia nervosa and bulimia are complex illnesses rather than "lifestyle choices."More...

According to the experts at Walden Behavioral Care, eating disorders have transitioned from a passing fad affecting college co-eds into a variety of life-threatening diseases that can affect anyone.

If someone you love seems to be losing weight rapidly, taking extreme measures to avoid eating, has radically changed their eating behavior, is exercising obsessively -- all signs of eating disorder behavior--do something about it. Anorexia and bulimia are life-threatening diseases. Seek professional counseling immediately.

(Originally posted to KidsTerrain.com)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Lisa Genova on "Talk To Me..."

My guest on "Talk To Me..." Tuesday, February 10 is Lisa Genova, author of The New York Times Bestseller, Still Alice.

Lisa first appeared on "Talk To Me..." last February (2008), shortly after her self-published novel, Still Alice, hit the shelves. Since then, Lisa has been on an author's dream journey...from self-published author...to a six-figure auction book deal with Simon and Schuster...to the New York Times Bestseller list.

Join me ...and Lisa...as we discuss her remarkable year. The call-in number is 347-327-5198. Interview airs live on Blog Talk Radio, Tuesday. February 10, 2009 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Marketing Tips...

There's a marketing rule that you build your business first locally, then regionally, then nationally. Here are three steps to successful, small business local marketing:

1. Target your marketing efforts, beginning with the neighborhood level
2. Participate in community events and fundraisers to generate visibility and goodwill
3. Know your clientele. When possible, meet and greet your customers. Get to know them on a one-to-one basis.

Bonus tip: Share web site links with local and area businesses. This will increase search engine positioning for your web site.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

And Now A Word From Aristotle...

Okay...I'm a philosophy wonk...I admit it. But those early guys had a lot of good "stuff" (their word, not mine.

Aristotle’s Approach to Plot - The Basic Three-Act Structure

Act I: Beginning (Setup) -- introduce the reader to the setting, the main characters, and the situation (conflict) they find themselves in.

* Plot Point 1 is a situation (a first turning point) that drives the main character (protagonist) from their day-to-day life toward some different conflicting situation.
* Here, too, the main character is thrust into the dramatic situation
* The inciting incident at the end of the first act, complicates the story, ensuring life will never be the same again for the protagonist. This incident also raises the dramatic question that will be answered in Act III.

Act II: Middle (Confrontation) -- story develops through a series of complications and obstacles as the protagonist attempts to resolve the problem initiated by the first turning point. The character’s actions lead to a mini crisis and inevitably to an ultimate crisis—the Climax. As the story progresses, there is an overall rising tension as we approach the second turning point, or Climax. The second turning point is the scene or sequence in which the main tensions of the story are brought to their most intense point and the dramatic question answered.

* The resolution of the Climax is Plot Point 2.

Act III: End (Resolution) -- Climax and the loose ends of the story are resolved during the dénouement, when the story and the sub-plots are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved.

* Coward finds his courage, losers win; sinners lose; sinners are redeemed.

Monday, February 2, 2009

More From The Writer's Block...

Point to keep in mind:
Every genre of writing answers questions and has moral value.
Every book has Content (duh!), but Content requires structure or form to shape it.

STRUCTURE is the organization of these events.

Beginning – set up the story, get the reader’s attention, establish the situation/goal

Middle – conflicts (Growth/life lessons) that lead to crisis (need for change, action, decisions)

End – resolution: Works with stories that reflect back over periods of time

SET-UP - create a sense of unity. Lay undertones that guide the reader, set-up for what will happen or influence.

SPINE – another big event that motivates reader to achieve a goal; when the character becomes fully committed. Includes Conscious objective and Unconscious desire – (more powerful, durable – reaches down to innermost self.)

Catalyst - (a turning point, yes) sparks the reader’s goal, mission, need, problem, desire

Resolution - Climax

Saturday, January 31, 2009

From The Writer's Block...

Last summer, a friend who had read my novel Painting The Invisible Man offered this compliment: "I enjoy a writer who knows her way around a thesaurus."

Admittedly, at first, I prickled. And although I tried, I could not rein in my response. "I do in actuality have a very good command of language."

"I didn't mean that as an insult," she replied with just enough of a hurt-filled tone, I felt an immediate need to do penance.

Truth be told, I do rely on a thesaurus...and I proudly own a superb Thomas Y. Crowell Company edition of Roget's International Thesaurus. I use it as a trigger when I am trying to recall a word I know conveys just the right connotation. For example, I may want to describe the rather staid Englishman's reaction, not as prudish, but....(here's where I may turn to Monsieur Roget, for I know the better word exists, but at the moment it refuses to break through my middle-aged brain)...Ah, yes! The word I seek is not 'prudish,' but rather 'priggish'. A much better choice of word for a male character.

But, the use of a thesaurus merely to impress will more than likely render language that sounds pretentious or just plain wrong.

Use your thesaurus wisely and your writing will have substance and style.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Remember the KISS Principle

When writing radio ads, remember the KISS Principle — Keep It Simple Stu--- (you know the rest).

A radio spot flies by fast. It can't be reviewed or replayed at will. So, your radio ad is no place to recite a laundry list of product features or business blather. Your ad must grab the listener's attention, make a relevant offer, and generate a phone call or visit. Focus on one idea and drive it home.

When there's a choice between 30 seconds and 60 seconds, opt for 60 seconds. You'll have twice as long to establish your scene, sell your product, and repeat your phone number at least twice. And a 60-second spot doesn't cost much more than a 30 second one.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Support Your Local Independent Bookseller

During the past few weeks I've been visiting independent booksellers trying to drum up some book signings for Painting The Invisible Man. During the reconnaissance phase of my visit, I was struck every time by the owners and staff members depth of book knowledge and their remarkable attention to personal service.

So, before you buy that next book from Amazon.com, shop locally and support your local independent bookseller. If the book you want isn't already on their shelves, in almost every case they will order it for you.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

January 13 on "Talk To Me..." Erica Ferencik

My guest on "Talk To Me..." Tuesday, January 13 is satirist Erica Fenercik, author of Cracks In The Foundation.

After 39 years of digging for paydirt in Squamskootnocket, New York's famously feeble real estate market, Ginger has again struck...dirt. Her newest listing? A "starter" outhouse with water views of weed- choked Squamskootnocket Lake. With no closings in a year and the wolf at the door, Ginger will stop at nothing to seal a deal — she'll even team up with her 93-year-old Aunt Maxie Kanadoo ("the World's Oldest Living Realtor!") Meanwhile, Ginger's own badass, newly Wiccan daughter Harvest is eager to pitch in with a naked rite or two. Then there's Tandy Brickenhausen, the cleavage- wielding rival out to poach every listing in the greater Squamskootnocket Valley.

Will the outhouse find a buyer? Will Harvest's potions conjure a sale, or wake the dead? Will "the World's Oldest Living Realtor" retain her coveted title? Will somebody let the air out of Tandy's bra?

Cracks in the Foundation is a hilarious, dead-on send-up of the wild wild world of real estate, small towns, white zinfandel, black magic, outhouses and the American Dream.