Friday, December 28, 2007

How Do You Achieve Your Dreams?


“Every step I take brings me closer to the realization of my dreams."

This is the passage out of the new book by Judi Moreo called YOU ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH ACHIEVEMENT JOURNAL. I have the book and I am love love loving it. I can't wait to fill it out. But anyway, I am partaking of her virtual book tour and what I have to do is write about how I have achieved my dreams or how I am achieving them.

Of all the writing prompts I have ever gotten, this has to be the easiest because this year has been phenomenol for me, not to mention doing it as a boomer chick *grin*.

I have taken something that started from a phone call from a desperate author to help her promote her book and she would pay me MONEY for doing it into a booming virtual book tour business (we set a record in February with 13 or 14 authors going out).

Anyway, after I laughed my ass off because I'm not a publicist, I thought to myself, I kept thinking of what that money could buy (the greedy, poor little boomer chick that I am), so I took her up on her offer. I wasn't sure what she wanted me to do, only she wanted me to do for her book what I wrote about in an ebook I wrote called THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO PROMOTING & SELLING YOUR SELF-PUBLISHED EBOOK. Even though it's basically for self-publishers, the rules of the game are outlined in black and white and can be used for any kind of book.

I'm not even sure what happened after that point, but I had heard about virtual book tours and I thought why not represent authors doing these as this is what I did for my ebook and it sold copies right well. But, it wasn't just virtual book tours, per say; I wanted to incorporate SEO and other marketing tools in with these tours so that they would have tremendous online exposure and so that people could find these authors' books on the first page of Google for their certain set of key search words.

I know, technical stuff, but this stuff is what makes Pump Up stand out from the others, not to mention the lower prices while not sacrificing quality.

I knew what I wanted to do with Pump Up, but I had no idea it would require so much work. I calculated how many hours I put into this and it's about 80 hours a week. Do I sleep? Well, not by much because there is just so much to do.

But...it's all about achieving dreams.

Before 2001, I never even touched a computer. I had typing skills, but the computer? Not on your life. My son stayed on it 24/7, and I could not understand how he could sit there that long without getting a headache.

Well, I learned and, no, I don't get headaches, lol, because it's all part of my business and the more I work at perfecting that business, the more money I make.

Achieving your dreams can mean different things to people and to me, right now, it's about taking an online business and making a success of it. And, not to mention, enjoying the hell out of it in the meantime.

So, yes, Judi, I'm achieving my dreams tenfold. I wish you luck on your virtual book tour in January and I'll see you on the tour circuit!

Incidentally, if you would like to know how her tour got started, visit my marketing blog at http://www.bookmarketingbuzz.wordpress.com/ and the whole story is there...it's quite interesting.

If you would like to be a part of Judi's tour, visit her tour page here!

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Achieving Your Dreams Virtual Book Tour ’08 Where YOU Are the Star!

With 2007 behind us and 2008 on the horizon, it’s time to reflect on how we want the rest of our journey here on earth to go. Do we settle for letting life happen or do we take steps toward achieving our dreams? Do we think about it or do we DO it?

If you have watched the movie, “The Secret,” then you understand the power of affirmative thinking = affirmative action. Are you taking those steps in the right direction to enjoy life at its fullest – whether it’s through financial success, relationship bliss or perfect health?

On January 1, 2008, Judi Moreo, author of You Are More Than Enough Achievement Journal (Stephens Press, Dec. '07), will embark on a virtual book tour throughout the blogosphere, but it will involve YOU. She wants YOU to be the star in a campaign to let the world know how you are taking those steps in realizing your dreams.

If you would like to become involved in her ACHIEVE YOUR DREAMS VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ’08, here is how it works:

1. Repeat this passage from her book: “Every step I take brings me closer to the realization of my dreams” until you understand its powerful message.

2. Think about what steps you are taking to achieve your dreams and write about it. Your entry can be as long or as short as you’d like.
3. Post your message on your blog and give us the link so that we can post it on Judi's tour page at http://www.virtualbooktoursforauthors.blogspot.com/ (her tour page goes live tomorrow). Email us with your link at thewriterslife(at)yahoo.com.

4. When we receive your link, we will put it on our daily rounds of promotions, thus bringing you instant traffic, so get those links to us soon!

5. We only ask that you include the passage above before your blog post so that people will understand what you are doing.

6. We also ask that you include a jpeg copy of Judi’s book, You Are More Than Enough Achievement Journal, in your blog post. You can find her book cover at http://tinyurl.com/3cqa46 and link it to http://tinyurl.com/ywf67x.

7. All participants will be listed at Judi’s tour page at http://www.virtualbooktoursforauthors.blogspot.com/ when they come in, stating the date on which their blog post will appear and will remain there indefinitely.

That’s all there is to it! Hurry before time runs out. Become involved in a nationwide campaign to bring in 2008 with a bang and help others realize that dreams are not something that happens; dreams are something that YOU make happen. Let's make 2008 the year when you realize your dreams and make them happen. Share your stories and become involved in Judi Moreo's "Achieving Your Dreams Virtual Book Tour '08" where YOU are the star!
Judi's virtual book tour will be highly publicized including press releases and other promotions. Let us know what steps you are taking to achieve success and be read by thousands of Internet users!

Thank you,

Dorothy Thompson
CEO/Founder Pump Up Your Book Promotion
http://www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com/

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas shopping with a non-attitude

My daughter and I are going to try an experiment. After today, there are - uh, let's see - six shopping days until Christmas. If you are of the sane mind, you will have just about everything done - maybe a stop off at Dollar General for some stocking stuffers (CAUTION: DO NOT GO TO WALMART FOR REASONS THAT ARE SELF-EXPLANATORY) and maybe a jaunt over to Food Lion to pick up some macaroni noodles or eggnog, and well, maybe a stop off at Peebles to buy a gift certificate. All of these are perfectly sane things to do because you can't think of everything, but you have at least thought ahead to have your other Christmas shopping done. These are things that the ordinary sane person leaves for the last minute because it really doesn't require much thought nor fighting over the last remaining Nintendo WII and having the cops come and escort you out of the store.

No, you're sane. You're what I call enviable, too, because I don't know if you fit into that category, but I don't and I really don't know how to fit into that category. But, oh, I wish I did.

And it's not that I don't know better; I do. I just don't know how to plan something like CHRISTMAS SHOPPING weeks ahead. Even if I go in it KNOWING what it would be like a week before shopping (hell, I've gone Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve before, not that I'd do it again, but still...), that doesn't seem to make a bit of difference.

But...then...maybe I'm not sane.

Scary thought, but anyone who thinks going out shopping during the week before Christmas must have a few screws loose somewhere.

So, my daughter and I were sitting out there and she said, "Let's make this fun."

Fun to me means sitting home and catching up on promo, or setting up tour stops for my authors, or working on the website, or catching up on email. I wasn't sure how we could make this shopping trip beat something like what I could be doing otherwise.

But, then, we got to talking and I said, "Let's try an experiment. Let's not go in it with the attitude that we're going to hate the earth these people walk on. Let's go in with a non-attitude."

Can we do it? Can we walk out of this house with a perennial smile that won't come off? Can we stand in lines and not push and shove? Can we smile when someone whips the last remaining item we so had on our shopping list off the rack without even a second's thought that maybe someone else was just seconds from putting their fingers on the very item?

I'm not sure but I'm taking bets. Can an over the hill boomer chick make it through a 4-hour shopping trip in the city without getting an attitude?

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post. If I'm still alive.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Real or Artificial Tree?

This was one of the questions on a meme I found on a blog tonight...but can't give away the meme just yet because I'm going to post it in a future blog post, but one of the questions was whether you have a real or artificial tree and it reminded me of when I was a child and I first got a glimpse of one of these fake contraptions. I think it was more or less the same reaction I had when I saw a color TV for the first time - completely in awe. Here was a tree you could put up months ahead of Christmas and not worry about it burning your house down before Santa came down the chimney.

We never had a fake - err - artifical tree and except for the ones in the department stores, not many members of my family had one either. I'm not sure the reasoning as I've had one for years and years, but I think it has something to do with the smell - that pungent outdoorsy pine smell.

When I got married, I wanted a fake one so bad I could taste it. I didn't want to wait until a week before Christmas to put one up. I didn't care if it smelled or not, I wanted a fake one so I could start decorating early like everyone else.

But no...ex was from the old school and he wanted THE SMELL.

It took many, many years before I finally put my foot down and bought my very first fake Christmas tree. I was working in a department store and I bought the best one they had that every bit of my paycheck would cover. It was BEAUTIFUL.

I brought it home and ex looked at it, turned up his nose and walked away. Because things were heading down that long winding road to splitsville, I thought why make things worse and bought a can of pine spray. Wasn't the same.

But, I didn't care. I put that sucker up the first of December and marveled at the twinkling colored lights - how they twinkled and shone so bright.

I still have that tree and for some odd reason, I can't part with it. That had a lot of memories.

I don't know if I'll ever have a real tree again. The ones in front of Food Lion sure do look pretty, though.

So, what do you prefer? Real or fake?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Getting in the Christmas Spirit


Goodness, I haven't posted since Thanksgiving? Bad, bad boomer chick.

Lots and lots is going on. I'm halfway done with Christmas shopping (is anyone finished?) and I started my Christmas menu planning which will involve the feast, of course, but will include lots of cookies and gingerbread and fudge - yummy! That is, if I can find the time to cook everything.


Oh...I've got great plans at Pump Up which won't be announced until the January authors go out, so you'll have to sit tight until then, but it will include a way to help these authors sell books so it's waaaay cool. I'm working with my tour coordinators now on this and we're ever so excited.

Is anyone getting any snow? And...did this winter come in with a bang, unlike previous winters? Actually, winter hasn't even started and we saw our first snowflake a few days ago! It didn't last long..didn't even stick, but we've not even had a snowflake this early in years.

I loved snow as a kid and still do. We couldn't afford boots, so my grandmother wrapped plastic grocery bags around our shoes, put a rubber band at the top and we were good to go! I remember my aunt lived next door and I would plead for her to let me wear my uncle's fishing boots. Those suckers ran up your entire leg almost, but they were way less embarrassing than plastic bags!

Has anyone ever walked outside at night after snow has fallen? Isn't that the most beautiful sight you've ever seen? I remember one morning, very very early before the sun was out, I went outside to brush a walkway for my grandmother so that she could go to work and it was the most peaceful experience I've ever had in my entire life. The stars were out and everything was so quiet. It was like a real personal experience with nature...awesome. Of course, those bags around my feet didn't keep out the cold like my uncle's fishing boots so my feet were beet red and tingling when I got back in, but I'll never forget the experience...truly awesome.

Well, lots of work to catch up on...I hope the Christmas buying frenzy hasn't caught up on you yet and you can enjoy the beauty of the season. Have some eggnog on me. ;o)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gobble....Gobble....


Oh, gosh, it sure does feel good to chill today. I'm not going to think about work or anything. Wonder if I can pull that off? Heh.

BF is still in bed, but he's going to go to his sister's for a huge family meal he couldn't get out of, my daughter is over to her father's where she's got to cook for him and her brother BEFORE going to work...might I say she's not happy about that.

And, me?

Well, I really have no family to speak of except for my kids, so I'll be sitting home and, hopefully, decorating the tree. I'm going to see if I can't talk BF into helping me get into the attic before he leaves so I can get the decorations down before he leaves so I can at least get that out of the way.

I love Thanksgiving usually, but this one is kind of weird. Before today, I had it all planned. I knew everyone was going to be busy elsewhere and the first thing I thought of when I learned that was...I don't have to cook! Visions of kicking back, watching holiday movies, trimming the tree, and having the house to myself sounded delicious!

And...then...it's now Thanksgiving and, well, I'm thinking maybe the idea of doing those things sounded really good, but I don't think it's cutting it.

It's kind of quiet really.

And I'm starting to look back at what's happened lately - an ex-boyfriend died of cancer a few days ago and a young man of 31 who my daughter knew was drinking, ran his car off the road and killed himself just a day or two after that. I'm sure the families of both these guys aren't exactly having a Happy Thanksgiving either.

And it's kind of making me sad.

The ex-boyfriend was Mike Huether of Pungoteague. I had known Mike throughout high school, but never really got to know him. It wasn't until years later when I saw him again and I'm not really sure where it was or what happened, but we decided to go out on a date.

We had fun times, but it didn't work out. Two years down the road, we broke up and I never saw him again.

His death came as a surprise because I didn't even know he had cancer. He was only 52. Talk about a wake-up call.

Then, a couple of days ago, the son of the guy my daughter worked for had stopped off at this restaurant that his father owned and he was very drunk, so I hear. They tried sobering him up with pepsi, but they let him go out the door. It was only about 5 in the afternoon.

He was on the road going to his house when he went in a ditch, the truck overturned and he was tossed out into the field. He died on the way to the hospital. The guy was only 31.

Horrible, simply horrible.

So, it's kind of a sad Thanksgiving this year and being alone isn't helping.

I guess I'll go do some cleaning. Maybe I'll take a nice, hot shower and pull out a Christmas movie. Hope everyone is having a Happy Thanksgiving...and...can you save the drumstick for me?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!



I want to thank all the wonderful friends who have stopped by and visited with the Boomer Chick. May all of you have a Happy Thanksgiving and may you find it a day of abundance! Me? I'm stuffing my face full of turkey! Have a nice holiday everyone!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

And a Parakeet in a Pear Tree....

Okay, I got it. The 7 1/2 foot Donner Fir Walmart special. Comes with stand and in 3 easy-to-assemble pieces. Ahhh...

Right now, it's sitting in the box on my couch so the dog won't pee on it. Okay, Max has a territorial problem and we gotta watch it. He lifts one leg and he's going to be minus it.

I want to put it up, but it's involved. The corner where it goes year after year has my seven foot curio cabinet, a small park bench with assorted country dolls and a bird. And that's going to be a little problem.

The bird in question is a bit territorial himself. His cage sits in front of the picture window and he likes to chirp back at the other birds he hears beyond it. There's a berry tree where the birds congregate and we've let it grow up the side of the house so it can provide shade in the summer.

We move the bird and there's going to be hell to pay.

We did this last year, that's how I know. Because this is a rather small house, there isn't but so many places we can perch Floyd's humungous castle bird cage (he's very spoiled), so the only open spot was on top of the entertainment center in the living room. The only thing I hadn't counted on was that now Floyd can't see out the window unless he holds a magnifying glass up, which I doubt I can expect him to do because the damn bird doesn't even know how to say Polly, Wanna Cracker yet. Talent, he's a little short on.

But to make up for it, he has a voice that can carry into the next door neighbor's house especially if he hears someone stirring. Over by the window, he's pretty laid back keeping an eye out for his other feathered friends, and pretty much ignores us, but over on the entertainment center, HE SEES AND HEARS EVERYTHING.

Now, you would think this wouldn't be too much of a problem only if it's 4:00 in the morning and the dog gets out of bed (make that, my bed) to go pee, Floyd thinks it's time to get up. Throwing a towel or a blanket on him works to a point, but it takes him a long time to settle down.

So, now we have a problem where to perch Floyd this year. We tried the kitchen table but feathers in my cereal bowl wasn't cutting it.

And of course he couldn't bunk up with either of us because of all the racket he makes.

So, we have a slight problem. I guess I'll figure it out when the time comes.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Testing the Unknown Waters of Self-Publishing

Interesting story I just read in The Wall Street Journal about a man by the name of C. Ben Bosah from Ohio who believed so strongly in his wife's book, "Letters to My Sisters: Plain Truths and Straightforward Advice From a Gynecologist," that he decided to forgo finding an agent or publisher for it (claiming he wanted all the profit for himself) and self-published - to a tune of 15,398 copies and a debt of $40,000.

What makes this an unusual story and the reason why it ended up in The Wall Street Journal I suppose is that it shows what people will go through to get their books published with doing little homework on what really goes into the process.

It ain't easy.

I have a friend who had a book published (as did I) whose publisher went bankrupt; now all we've got to show for our efforts is a book with no home, no profit, and probably a book that will never see life again. While in my case, my co-authors and I are trying to ignore this ever happened, my friend is looking into all different ways of trying to get that book published again and self-publishing was something that was suggested to her.

There are many authors who have gone this route; although, it's not for the weak of heart. As was mentioned in the article, a distributor must be found, as well as a printer and everything else that is involved that the ordinary person might not know a thing about.

I have a friend, though, Theresa Chaze, who is going that route and she swears by it. Having started her own publishing business to publish her books, she has done her homework and will test the waters out soon.

My opinion of self-publishing is that it does create an attractive alternative to having your book published only after you have exhausted all other means of publishing. What I have found in setting up book tours is that often the self-published author is turned down by a prospective blog host simply by the method of publishing which I find ridiculous, but you can't fight city hall.

Like I told my friend who is looking into the different methods of publishing, start at the top. If you can't find anyone interested to take it on, self-publishing could be the way to go - ONLY if you've done your homework first and go in with your eyes peeled wide open. But, isn't that with any publisher?


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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sniffles Up the Ying Yang

I have a major vent. How many times have you come in contact with someone who is so filled with cold and yet they still parade around in public with their germ-infested self? Doesn't it make you want to scream at them?

When my kids were young and they were sick, I kept them home. Then, they implemented some kind of stupid rule where if kids missed a certain amount of days, they'd be suspended and I'm talking they only gave them maybe 4 or 5 days a semester to miss! I mean, one common cold could take them out for 3 days so that means they can't miss more than 2 more days the rest of the semester???

The workplace is no different. You miss a day and you have to have a doctor's note before you can come back, so what is the worker going to do? It's just a common cold; why see a doctor? So, not only do they miss a day of work, they have to pay a doctor bill, too?

I am ranting today because I am sitting here, trying to get work done and trying to fill better to go to Wally World to get a dang Christmas tree, and feeling like shit! I'm all stopped up, I can barely keep my eyes open, I can't breathe (oh, I mentioned that) and I'm feeling as if I've been thrown through the wringer and left outside to dry.

Okay, I'm being a baby, but I just can't function like this and it's all because a co-worker went to work sicker than a dog and spreading his germs all around. And of course, I was prime bait.

As soon as I saw him come in, I told the boss to let him go home but because he was short of help, he didn't let him go home although the guy could barely function! What freaking kind of world is this?

Well, I'll tell you this one thing. When I force myself to go into work tomorrow night, they all better watch out because I'm going to tell them all straight up that if ANYONE comes to work sick like that, I'M going home.

Okay, I feel a little better now that I got that off my chest, but don't you agree?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Happy Birthday, Becky!

Psss...come a little closer....

There now. That's good. I have a little secret I want to tell you. I know someone who has a birthday today and this is supposed to be a surprise so shhhhh don't let out a peep, but...

IT'S BECKY CAMARENO'S BIRTHDAY TODAY!!!!!

Becky is one of my tour coordinators at Pump Up Your Book Promotion and well we all can't be there in person to wish her a happy birthday, so we're gonna do this.

Everyone...go to http://www.rebecca2007.wordpress.com/ and wish her a Happy Birthday! Don't be shy...she won't bite!

And now...for Becky...here is a little Happy Birthday celebration for you...



Happy Birthday, Becky!!!!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Jingle Bells...Jingle Bells...

Jingle bells...jingle bells...anyone in the Christmas spirit yet? Okay, stop smirking. I'm sitting here watching a Christmas movie and the holiday cheer is contagious.

Actually, I've been thinking a lot about Christmas lately. And the first thing on the agenda is getting a new Christmas tree. I've had my old tree for nearly twenty years and it's time for an update!

Amanda was over from King George for a few days. Oh, you remember her. She lived with me for awhile, called me Mom, the whole shebang...then she moved on. Quite upset at the time but I'm good with it now.

So, she came over for a few days because her father is co-signing for her for a new Jeep Cherokee - the same kind as my daugher's only newer - and she wanted us all to do something Saturday night. I had waited on tables all day long and really wasn't in the mood, but the girl is relentless. I had so much work to do with the tours, but I just couldn't say no.

My daughter and I had planned to go to Salisbury to look at Christmas trees so I told Amanda that's what we'll do....shop for a tree and go out to Texas Road House afterwards.

It was a plan.

Our first stop was Target, and they had beautiful trees, but the price tag just wasn't in my budget, so we kept on. Our next stop was Boscov's in the mall. Now, Boscov's has an excellent Christmas section, but again, price tags were in the $200 - $400 range. Ouch.

We gave up on it and did a little shopping in the mall (got my son a sweatshirt from Hollister's and a couple of pair of boxers from Aeropostle), then headed out to Texas Road House where we dined on steak, baked potato, salad and all the rolls you could eat - ymmm.

So, no tree, but at least we have an idea what's out there.

This tree I have now has a little bit of history to it. I had just gotten a job at a department store and used my first paycheck to buy it. It was the most beautiful tree in stock. I remember paying about $80 for it but at that time, that was expensive. And, for someone who had to go to work to support the kids, I really couldn't afford it but it's lasted for almost twenty years. The tree stand has to be supported with a book, but the needles are all intact.

So, why a new one? I'm not sure except there's a certain kind of tree I'm looking for and it would look so good in here. The one I really want is $400 but I think that's kind of ridiculous to pay for something you're only going to use once a year.

Ah well...I'll keep you updated. Meanwhile...jingle bells...jingle bells...

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Haunted Vacation in the Smokies

Okay, I went, I saw, and I got frightened out of my skin. Who can ask for a better vacation than that?

The damn place was haunted. I'm serious, haunted. I picked up the scent the moment we walked in. Couldn't find a bedroom where I didn't get the heebie jeebies...traded bedrooms back and forth and still couldn't be happy. The best way I can say it felt was that it smelled like feet. Putrid smelly feet. I'm thinking the bedspreads were packed away for years and then when whoever it was bought the cabin to rent out, they figured they'd just unpack them and throw them on the bed...that's what it smelled like. Putrid smelly feet.

But, don't let this wonderful description of a wonderful vacation make you stop reading. Here, let me start at the beginning...

We didn't leave until about 8 that night. Figured we'd miss some of the heavy traffic. If anyone has ever been on I-64 before, you know what I mean. I break out in a sweat and I'm not even doing the driving. I never knew cars could go that fast.

Drove until 2, then stopped in a motel that didn't allow dogs. I live for danger. We threw a blanket over top of Skylar (our miniature sheltie) and flew in the side door. Let me tell you something about that dog. You can lay papers down and that damn dog won't go pee without being outside. Now, we're in a place that doesn't allow dogs and the dog has to go pee, so I'm casing the joint out through the sliding glass doors and seeing no one, I throw the dog on the leash and run outside. Thank God the dog can break records going to pee...out and back inside in less than 30 seconds.

Leaving the next morning was a little trickier. The maids were on the rampage cleaning rooms and eyeing anything suspicious. I knew the blanket on the dog trick wasn't going to work as her nose sticks out too far. So, one of the friends that my daughter took with us to drive had a huge plastic bag with a handle, so we threw the dog in the bag and made it look like she was luggage.

We made it to the van without anyone catching us and headed back out onto the open highway. We had stopped at Richmond, Virginia, and had quite a ways to go, but there was always a sense of adventure in the air when Skylar had to do her duty runs at the various rest stops. Who needs amusement parks when you have rest stops and they're all free?

I don't know if any of you have ever really fully enjoyed rest stops on the interstates, but man, they were like freaking parks. Picnic benches, bathrooms, pamphlets up the ying-yang...it just didn't get any better than that.

And the people. Omg, they were stopping us and asking about Skylar...what a great way to meet people.

Anyway, we made it to Pigeon Forge about 4 in the afternoon. I jumped in the back with Skylar and held her down while my daughter went inside to get the key. Well, it was kinda strange, but there are no keys! It's all buttons you push now! So, we got the code and went through the gate and up a few thousand hills and there were were. Rows of rows of cabins and all looked alike. Not quite what I had in mind because I really thought that if you were sneaking a dog into a cabin that didn't allow dogs, well, it had better be quite reclusive.

Danger. The name of the game.

As it was still daylight, we did the Skylar-in-the-bag thing again and headed inside. The look on my face would have brought you to tears. Well, it did me. It had 4 floors which sounded real neat on the website, but try walking'em. Not for the feint of heart who had one too many cheez whiz sandwiches while sitting on the computer day in and day out. The most excercise I got at home was getting up to get another cheez whiz sandwich, so you can imagine how many almost heart attacks I had while I was there just climbing to get anywhere. Not a good thing.

But, oh, don't even let me start complaining about where I was supposed to sleep. My daughter, son and friend all refused to let me sleep with them and I paid for the freaking vacation. Kids. Anyway, I chose a bedroom on the first floor which actually was the third floor. You know, after I got home, I got up to go to the bathroom and stopped at my bedroom door wondering whether to go up or down to go to the bathroom when it was actually right across from me! Just love those flashbacks.

So, anyway, I chose the bottom, or rather the third or was it the second, floor bedroom. But, I felt uneasy. This isn't going to work, I thought. It felt...well...eerie. I pleaded one more time for someone to let me sleep with them, but they reminded me of the hotel room where I kept them awake all night because they said I snored. Can you imagine that? Ungrateful kids.

So, I'm sitting there on the bed, looking around and I know this isn't going to do. I talked my daughter's friend into changing bedrooms with me and once I moved all my stuff from that floor to the floor above (I've given up remembering which floor), I sat on the bed and went "What's that smell?" It smelled like feet. I'm thinking it was the bedspread. Whoever owned the cabin must have had it stored away for years, then just plopped it on the bed. At over a grand for a cabin, you would think it would come with bedspreads that didn't smell like feet.

The first night, I was so tired, I nodded off but couldn't wait until morning. I still felt uneasy in the room. I woke up before the sun came up and said, "Thank God," and headed...uh...upstairs (remembering the floors is not easy to do) to make some coffee. I did get some fantastic shots of the sun rising over the mountains and I got to take Skylar out before anyone saw us, so that was good.

When everyone woke up, we did the tourist thing and rode around looking at mountains that all looked alike. We had rented a van which was nice to us, but not nice to the van because it just wasn't something you'd want to force up mountains. It made funny little sounds as if it were groaning, you know?

But we had fun. We stopped at Cade's Cove again and shot video...but word to the wise...make sure you pee before you leave because that road goes on forever!

Gatlinburg was hopping. I wanted to get out and watch people trample all over Skylar but my daughter nixed the idea. She's never ever fun.

But let me tell you something and this is why I say the place was haunted. That last night (now keep in mind I never touched the darn thing the whole time we were in there), we had just gotten back from picking up some pizza and walked in and we heard buzzing. We traced it back to MY bedroom...you know...the one where I had been sleeping for the last 2 or 3 days BY MYSELF. It was the clock alarm that had gone off by itself. Now why did it wait until our last night to do that is beyond me, but I'm thinking that whoever or whatever it was wanted us to leave and I was sure as shit I was going to do just that.

So, my daughter let me sleep in her room that night.

I can't say I had a terrible time, but I can say I should have picked another cabin because something did not want us there. Now, I am not a ghost hater believe me. As long as they are the friendly type, I don't mind sharing my cabin with them but when the hair rises the moment I walk in the door, that should have told me that this was going to be a loooong vacation.

I'll have pictures for you soon. Maybe there might be a ghost or two in them...booooooo.....

Friday, October 05, 2007

Smoky Mountain Cabins for the Goddesses

I am slowly going BONKERS. In exactly one week from Monday, I will be leaving and going to the Smokies to stay in some godforsaken cabin that is driving me nutso to find. Okay, here's the deal. Back in my day, if you rented a cabin, you were lucky to get inside plumbing.

Not now. Omg, there are even swimming pools INSIDE some of these things. And whole rooms with nothing but chairs and a huge 9 ft. screen and they're calling it media rooms. There are one bedrooms, two bedrooms, twenty-thousand bedrooms. There are mountain views, lake views, wood views, sky views. There are pet friendly and not pet friendly. They all come with pool tables, hot tubs, and in most of them foosball tables. Decks? There's not only one, but two and three and all of them have some kind of scenic view.

It will drive you apeshit.

We had a beautiful cabin last year. Absolutely breathtaking, but the thing is, we're now spoiled. We want something we've never seen before. Daughter wants the one with the pool inside and I want the one with the media room (just imagine chilling to a 9 foot screen!) and nowhere the 'twain shall meet.

The good thing is the ones with the pools are all taken. Granted that would have been mighty cool to jump in a pool in the middle of your house in the middle of fall when it's crisp and cool outside. Oh, they all have fireplaces, so all you have to do is jump in the pool and go warm yourself afterwards by the glowing embers of the fireplace. Does sound nice.

So, anyway, I'm like at the point where they are all looking the same and none are standing out as the perfect one. Now, this is what I like:


Is that like living like a goddess or what?

So, we're still looking, but between you and me, I vote for the media room. I'll let you know what we decide because it better be soon or this goddess is going to be heading for the funny farm for vacation.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

For Your Outside Viewing Pleasure...

Okay, so I'm looking for a cabin in the mountains for the kids and I to stay in when we do our yearly mountain retreat ritual and I come upon a cabin that has a 9 foot projection TV in the living room. Okay...this is good. An added treat since the last time, we didn't have one and maybe this will convince me to buy one at some date in the future when I'm rich and famous, so I go to google to find out just how much something like this will cost and I come upon this:




Can someone please tell me wtf this is? Okay, it's a TV outside, right? An inflatable TV outside? How does this work???

According to the website at http://www.smarthome.com/597512.html, it's an inflatable 12 foot TV that you can watch outside for just under $1,000. Tell me, why are the ones inside so much more and smaller? Is this one of those things that over the hill boomer chicks just can't quite comprehend or am I working so hard my brain cells have frozen?

Anyone know?

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

What's Your Background?

One of the most interesting things I have found lately is the morbid curiosity I have about what people have as the background on their computers (is it called screensavers?).

I have a boss at work who has his wife on his. Of course, we joke about it being as he's whipped, but are there psychological reasons as to why we have certain things there?

I mean, if we are on here 24/7 practically, shouldn't we be putting something up there we love to look at? Can you just imagine psychoanalyzing what people put up there?

Okay, it's almost 2 in the morning and I'm beat from this bronchitis thing that wants to rip my lungs out, but I'm curious as to what you guys put up there. Me? I have a beautiful picture of a cabin in the Smoky Mountains. I didn't take it...I stole it from somewhere, but that's besides the point. This particular picture..it's minutes until the sun goes down, the lights are on in the house, the cabin is a huge 2-story monster overlooking the lights in the city of Gatlinburg. Now you know why I stole it? It's be-au-ti-ful.

As for a psychological reason, I just like it. I'd love to own something like that one day but omg the prices on those things are nothing I could ever afford...but I can look at it and dream.

Okay, your turn. What's your background?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Blast from the Past & Living in the Now

I have a man in one of my writing groups whose life is about to change. Seems there was a court battle over custody of his granddaughters between him and his daughter and the daughter won. Tonight, he writes they are taking the girls tonight and he doesn't want to be alone.

What a terrible thing that must be for him.

My kids and I are tight. We've been through a heluva lot of things in our past, but the thing is, I have it in myself to put the past behind me. While it's hard to forgive those things that were done to my kids and myself by some of the members of my family, it's like it doesn't even matter anymore. My life now is different. My kids' lives are different. No longer do we search for a place in this world...we have claimed it and are living in the now.

Living in the now means you have finally come to the point of your life where everything seems to be following a pattern of peacefulness, productiveness and fruitfulness. If only I knew then what I know now, it might not have taken so long to get to where I am now.

Life is freaking great.

But, it wasn't so freaking great many years ago when my kids and I had no choice but to move in with an aunt I later dubbed psycho aunt.

The ex and I had broken up and PA (Psycho Aunt) asked us if we wanted to live with her. I refused at first because I didn't want to live with anyone. I just wanted my kids and I to go on with our lives and try to pick up the pieces as best we could.

Places to find within our budget was hard. We ended up going to live with PA until we could get on our feet. That was the worse decision I could have ever made, but other alternatives just weren't there.

PA had a daughter living with her. We'll call her PAD (Psycho Aunt Daughter). PAD resented us moving in and even though I was given instructions to pay 2/3 of the bills there because I had two kids, it didn't matter. PAD was out for more than that.

She was out for blood.

My daughter remembers one night when my son, daughter and I were going to sleep on the couch in the living room which was the only place we could sleep and we were talking quietly about the day's events at school when we hear "Shuddup!" coming from PAD's room. The girl was barely out of high school, yet she felt we were nothings to her. We were lowlife, I guess, because we didn't have a place to live and she did.

There were other things, too.

We lived there for 2 months and between PA taking the toothbrush holder off the wall and putting it behind her locked door because toothpaste had dripped on the sink to turning the gas off and putting a lock on it so that we would have no hot water (she would turn it back on when she got home), I look back and see what a bad decision it was to put my kids through this. But, we had no choice.

Choices in life are like golden threads of breath. When you're stuck with one choice and that choice isn't the best one in the world, what are you going to do?

Unfortunately, or fortunately, whichever way you look at it, I came home from work one day to find a piece of paper on the table telling us we had 24 hours to get out.

I look back at this and I know the reasons were that even though the thought of giving her niece and grand-neice and grand-nephew a place to call home even for a little while sounded good at the time, it really wasn't. Some people just can't live with others no matter how good the others are.

This trip down memory lane came because of a letter I received in the mail today from PA. It went on to say that if I didn't go to a lawyer's office in town to sign away my rights to her house which my grandmother had left us when she died, she won't be able to get aid to make repairs. I'm figuring that she tried to get help to fix it and they told her she had to own the house outright before it could be fixed by the county, free, of course.

When my grandmother died, the house was left to the grandchildren from what I understood. In this note, that's not how it was legally. The house actually, because no one could find my grandmother's will, to her three children - PA, my other aunt who died a few years ago and my mother who died when I was nineteen. So, my sister and I got my mother's share of the house.

According to PA, the house is falling apart and has been eaten by termites. She said the floor is falling in and the house might be condemned, so she has to get it fixed immediately.

What a dilemma.

Oh, wait there's more. She says that she has pictures of California she can give me (a bait, a bribe, or whatever you want to call it).

My aunt is 65. I'm not sure what she does for a living, but at the time I was living there, it wasn't much. Minimum wage work. I don't know what kind of income she has now but I'm sure it's miniscule. She basically has nothing and needs to get her home fixed so that she doesn't find herself on the streets.

Funny how life imitates itself.

I needed a place to stay and she threw my kids and I out, but yet, she's looking to me to help her have a place to stay which involves signing away my rights to the house.

I'm having a funny feeling PAD has something to do with this because without PAD's advice during the time we were there, my aunt would not have done that to my kids and I. PA was only 12 years older than I was and we were so close. PAD came between us and broke that bond.

So, I ask you, should I grab the pictures of California and use that as a bargaining tool and sign away the house to her or should I remember my pride and the times when she put my kids and I through holy hell and just ignore her requests?

What a decision.

Here is her note...

"Dear Dotti,

How are you and the kids?

I need your help. I haven't talked with you in so long. Neither
of us knows about each other's lives.

Anyway, when Caroline (my other aunt) passed away - 1/3 was her share of
the house. It passed to me 1/2 (of 1/3) and you 1/4 (of 1/3) and your
sister 1/4 (of 1/3). I've told your sister I don't have any money to give
you this time...but I will ask you both to sign over your shares because...the
house is in BAD shape. The termites took their toll at the tune of over
$1,000...(four years ago). Now the floors and walls are rotting.
Especially the FLOORS! I didn't know the extent until it was too
late. Vesseg can help me - but, I need to have the house in my name.
Actually, they may condemn the house! I'm not being dramatic...it's
terrible! I need to get this done SOON. The lawyer's office is
located (and she goes on to tell me exactly where it is). Please do this
for me.

P.S. I have some photos saved for you. Can we get
together?"

Okay, what's the verdict? Sign or not?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My Trip to See the American Idols

I haven't been able to blog about this what with tours going out in a week and I have a godawful nasty head cold which makes doing ANYTHING harder than it really is, but last Tuesday I had a chance to go to the American Idol LIVE concert. Let me tell you something...from a boomer babe's standpoint, that show ROCKED and it was ME doing the rocking!

My daughter and I had tickets like FOREVER and we were counting down the days. All winter long, we watched the contestants being eliminated...she would record it if either of us were working that night and then we'd party down in her bedroom, cheering on our favorites.

Okay, so I liked Sanjaya. I know that's not a popular choice, but let me explain. I thought he'd do real well for teenie-bopper sales. He reminded me a little of David Cassidy, not so much in the looks but how he could woo your heart if you were of that certain teenie-bopper age.

My daughter was rooting for Blake. She even got him to sign up on her Myspace as one of her friends. I tried to add him to my friends on my Myspace page and he never accepted...oh the woes of being a boomer chick and not a hip chick twenty-years younger.

So we were counting down the days until Sept. 18 arrived and when it did, we couldn't wait to drive those 2 hours to see them at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia.

The area brought back lots of memories. My ex was stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton when my daughter was conceived and then she was born in the neighboring town of Newport News. But, the Hampton Coliseum was where my ex and I took in many concerts. It was a blast from the past for sure and to be going back there again to see the American Idols in concert made it even more special.

Of course we got lost even with my daughter driving, but after cornering some man in McDonald's in Newport News to give us directions to the Coliseum after we passed it on the Interstate, we made it with a half hour to spare.

The general concensus of the people attending were mainly married couples, older couples and children. Not too many twenty-somethings. My daughter was slightly miffed, but hey, I was having a heluva time.

She bought a pepsi and I bought a cherry icee and we found our seats. Thirty rows back in the middle on the floor. It was excellent seating really; only, I found that floor seats aren't necessarily the best seats even as close as you get because NO ONE SITS and if you're in back of a rather tall man like I was, you had to stand as long as he was standing and you couldn't wait until he tired and sat down so you could, too. But, it was a blast...I didn't care...I was screaming louder than anyone and when I looked over and saw a granny screaming louder, that only provoked me to turn it up a notch or two.

Okay, here's the rundown:

Blake was FABULOUS. I heard he got a record deal, so I know what I'll be buying my daughter for Christmas. He still had that beebopping charm and I thought that when he and Chris did a beebopping duo, it brought the house down. As it turned out, this was Chris' home town so he had a lot of the audience screaming for him.

Sanjaya was so cute up there...he hasn't lost his "I don't care what you say; I'm going to have fun whether you like it or not" attitude.

Haley. Well, Haley wasn't one of my favorites, although she did a good job. I noticed the guy beside me standing up and taking pictures on his cell phone when she came on. His wife eyed him, but he didn't care. What Haley had going on for her was that she was just as seductive on stage as she was on TV. She had a little skirt with fringes and when the fringes would fly up, half her backside was hanging out. Something I really didn't want to see, haha.

LaKisha was excellent. I thought she had lost a little weight, but then the TV cameras put ten pounds on you, but she was really good.

Belinda, also, was excellent...that girl can belt it out.

Phil was OH SO EXCELLENT...I understand why he didn't make it as American Idol but that boy really needs a record contract. Love his country singing.

Chris Sligh...not sure if I spelled that last name right...well, I felt a little sorry for him because everyone was standing for everyone else, but when he came on, they all sat down. Not that he didn't do a good job, but I guess he wasn't everyone's favorite.

Gina. Omg, Gina. Why didn't I realize how great she was when we were voting for Blake? Another one that deserves a record contract.

And then...the winner of American Idol, Jordin Sparks, just took down the show.

It was awesome and I'd do it again.

I'll have pictures in another day or two as soon as I can figure out where my daughter put the file, but we got some really good shots.

And I can't wait for this season to start...

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Author Spotlight & Author Interview: Spiritual Romance Author Nick Oliva

We have a very special guest today at Boomer Chick! Nick Oliva, the author of ONLY MOMENTS, is here today to talk about this remarkable book and give us insight into his life in which he based this beautiful and inspirational story.

Hi, Nick, and welcome to Boomer Chick! That’s such an interesting title, ONLY MOMENTS. Why did you decide this name would be a perfect fit for your book?

Actually the original title was based on the Ahwahneechee Native American symbol that translated as the perpetual circle of time. Too many other books had time or circle in their title and the publisher thought that it would get lost among those titles, so I had to come up with another. It was difficult writing a book based on a certain title and theme and then having to change it. "Only Moments" captures the essence of the book and is probably a better title so the exercise was worth the brain cell damage, lol. Our lives are indeed just only moments; we are here only moments; the best times of our lives are only moments, and it does work well with the flashback moments of the book.

Also, as a note, the Ahwahneeche Circle of Time logo that I placed in the book was fabricated based on the original Indian symbol that the Curry Company who runs the concessions in Yosemite National Park refused to allow me to duplicate, even though the symbol was created by the Ahwahannee Native Americans not them. Perhaps if this book becomes popular and there is another run, they will change their mind and let me illustrate the original symbol. I would be happy if that occurred.

I know it’s fictional, but how much of your own life is inside those pages?

I realized that in order to take a stand one must make a stand and to not include my inner thoughts and personal experiences would be to short-change the reader and to play it safe just isn't my style. Some of the real life events never made it to the book because incredibly it just wasn't believable! The fiction is the essence of what occurred but the reality was even crazier. The meeting of Delphina (though a different name) on the beach was real, I still have the bell she gave me. The Hatchet Murders, the Zodiac Killer in the area, the young kids who knew of Charlie Manson, Jimmy's sleeping bag on fire, the Buick flying through the air-all that was true. Much more happened but the focus was on "Chris" and not just this escapade.

Some of the futuristic incidents such as Chris' and Angela's separation was a conglomeration of reality and fiction somewhat based on the breakup of my own first marriage . The New York experiences mirror my time spent there spending time all over the city for many years.

How hard was it to write the setting in 2020?

It took a lot of thinking, but it was fun! I took everyday things and imagined how much more easier I could make them in future and having the license of fiction I could make up an "integrated bio-chemical synthetic DNA enhanced Universal Com" that was the central CPU for his computer. The hardest thing was as the years went by things that I made up actually became a part of today's technology. I had to make them "a matter of fact" instead of incredible breakthroughs to have it all make sense. One of the things I underestimated was the power that the Internet would have on technology, as back in the early 90's it didn't really exist. My writing "the "Universal Com Highway" had to go once Al Gore coined "the information superhighway." I edited out many of the futuristic things as they were not driving the plot, but they were interesting concepts at the time.

I understand you flashback to the seventies. Was it hard to go from one era to the other? I know some writers have a hard time incorporating flashbacks into their books. How hard was that for you to do?

Actually I have a flashback within a flashback in this book. That one was fun to write. It is not that hard but the series of flashbacks that I chose for the main character Chris Vadia, were carefully thought out as I had to show his entire lifetime and I only wanted to use the extreme high or low points of his life-the heart pounding moments (there is a clue for you all).

The book has many hidden meanings and symbols. For example, Chris' name was selected as Christopher Columbus was the discoverer of the New World. There are many references hidden, and some not so hidden, such as the letter he writes to the love of his life on Columbus Day about exploring the "new world," and many other references. That sense of discovery is really re-discovery as there is nothing new in the universe, just our awareness of it. Many of us have forgotten and/or forsaken the core essence of who we were in our youth and our values and dreams and it is that re-discovery that the book focuses on and that commonality of re-evaluation that occurs when one reaches the point of middle age and the passing of the torch.
Other than keeping your years straight, it is difficult to remember that you are writing how the character speaks in the decade and when they are young you have to make them seem that way. As they get older the intellect grows and the voice has to reflect those years of experience. I made a conscious attempt to build the vocabulary of the characters as they progressed in years and experience. Whether it worked, only the readers feedback will tell if I was successful. The story centers around the unconditional devotion of a man and woman that works its way through the decades. The lesson of the book is hope through tragedy, happiness through love of the self.

I gotta tell you, I love California, having grown up there. Why did you choose California to be the setting when you flashbacked to the seventies?

The writing began with my Big Sur and California coastal highway trip at age 16. This juvenile escapade radically changed and redeveloped my core perspectives of life. The turning point of the book that alters time is the “rebroadcast” of the very first 1971 “The Midnite Special” television program from Los Angeles that I indeed did attend as a part of the studio audience, blue fringe jacket and all. That took place on my second trip in the summer of 1971 with a good friend, and a brand new Chevy Vega that blew up four times in Wakeeney, Kansas. I placed it in 1970 to create the alteration of time from the beach deck in Florida to the beachfront in California. There are other slight changes to accommodate a deceased artist (Janis Joplin) that I wanted to use in the finale. A previously written section described the huge outdoor concert called the Atlantic City Pop Festival that precluded Woodstock. I attended this in 1969, but edited that section out to streamline the reading and keep the essential plot moving. California was always "the promised land" in our culture probably due to the gold rush of the 1800's.

This is a story of soul mates; is it not?

First and foremost this a love story that shows unlimited devotion even after one mate dies. The story centers around the unconditional love of a man and woman that works its way through the decades. When we open up the first chapter, we already know Chris' wife is long gone and he has suffered greatly. The depression he allows himself to stay in for so long, changes as he begins to recount the past-though involuntarily. The setting of the future, it's technology and the human nature that rarely changes though the ages is explored during the exposition. The real fun begins when we go back to his youth.

Do you feel there is a “new awakening” of spirituality today?

I wish that there was, but I know that old school thought still prevails mightily in this age and there is no shortage of people willing to die or kill others for antiquated beliefs. To express sensible historic alternatives to the established and entrenched belief "systems" is akin to be called a traitor in this country with the penalty of death for not having faith in one's government. People want to be shown the way and can't be bothered figuring anything out on their own. Give them a light and they will follow it anywhere, and it is that blind faith that I challenge in the book. Great art comes from imperfection and like the ying and yang, there is always danger in beauty be it the cliffs of Big Sur and rocks below, the infatuation of human beauty, or the spiritual dogma entrenched by centuries of malicious emotional manipulation.

"They believed without doubt, without question." That quote comes up three times in the novel. That is quite a lot to write into a romance novel, but it is what life is all about if one wants to take the time to understand it's meaning and one's place in it.
My job here is to try and shed light and not give meaning. I can turn that light on, but I can't make you see. It is my hope that the reader understands that the message is to live life to it's fullest everyday! Don't expect life to treat you kindly and the "road" will be bumpy with potholes and dangerous curves, but it will take you places you have never been as long as you stay on it and that is the important part. Stay on it! Don't give up no matter what. Death is over-rated and the other side is an eternity. I know. I was there. Stay awhile and let time heal and be good to yourself and others and as the love of Chris' life tells him to remember that "Love is all there is. Never lose that gift." To me that is a rule to be guided by.
In your backstory on your website, having a near-death experience. Can you describe what you saw if anything after you had died?

To describe exactly what I "saw" is difficult. One doesn't "see" in the sense of seeing. Einstein's famous equation is E=MC squared, is the theorem that matter cannot be created nor destroyed. The soul is an essence of who we are. Like gravity, it cannot be measured, quantified, or reproduced, however we know it exists. It is the center of our being. We cannot make life. We can synthesize compounds, we can reproduce chemical bonds, but we cannot create life. A seed thousands of years old found from the pyramids planted, can sprout with water. We cannot reproduce that seed. The soul has energy with no specific mass. That energy must leave the body when the body can no longer sustain itself, therefore that energy must transform. This is where the metaphysical or inter-dimensional understandings take over. I can tell you, there was no St. Peter, there was no heaven, no hell, no judgement. It was a beautiful experience until I realized that I was fading into nothingness. At that point I asked for and received, a future vision of what would happen to my wife. That vision was extremely disturbing as I saw her in hysterics, crying and so emotionally distraught that I knew I had to fight to avoid becoming absorbed into the golden river that lay before me. I intend to write this experience in a non-fictional book, it is just very difficult to bring some of those memories up as they still to this day paralyze me mentally and make me very sad. Suffice to say that there were visions of many other things that I won't go into right now. So, I forced my way back once I made the decision or perhaps I should say I was "allowed" to make that decision. One must understand that I just came out of emergency surgery 2 days earlier and I was taken off the morphine/valium drip because my heart was stopping-that left me in extreme pain. I was in critical condition and wired to ICU's monitoring system. The cross-over was painless and took all of my pain away, so it was initially very wonderful. I knew I was going back to extreme pain but chose to do so in order to tell my wife and everyone else that it was okay to die. It wasn't something one should fear. I had to let them know in order that if I should die again while there in the hospital, they would understand and not be so forlorn. My devotion to my wife was the main impetus for me to return even though I knew I might be spending the rest of my life in pain on top of the severe diabetes that I have to deal with each day. Much of what I experienced mirrored my writing years ago, though not exactly, but the scenes were similar. Being such a skeptic that demands empirical evidence, I asked for the charts from ICU and was shown that I indeed had flatlined during the time that I went over at approximately 2 in the morning. That night after coming back I stood next to the bed waiting for them to come in with the defibulators and they did so a few minutes later and stopped in their tracks somewhat in shock looking at me. I told them I was alright, to put them down, as they almost seemed determined to use them on me from what their machines told them. That experience changed my mode of thinking immediately upon returning to the land of the living and despite the whatever attempts I've made to disprove it, it did happen.

And is it true that this is the very thing you had written about in this novel years before it happened?

Here is the story in a nutshell. The first Saturday in October 2003, I woke up and could not move my left leg at all. I had a fever over 102 and had my wife, Joan take me to the Emergency Room. It was there that I was diagnosed with a spinal infection, probably caused by cortisone injections. Dr. Derrick Duke -the man who saved Roy Horn’s life after Montecore, the tiger that had just about severed Mr. Horn’s head from his body accidentally at the Siegfried and Roy Show at the Mirage -was called in and he explained the severity of my situation. Far from routine, I would be fighting for my life.
I underwent a 5-hour emergency operation that and afterwards had Vancomycin intravenously pumped into my arm directly to my heart for the next eight weeks to fight off the spinal infection.
On the second day after the operation, while in critical condition, about 2 AM in the morning, still hooked up to the heart monitors in ICU, my heart stopped for 12 seconds. I experienced an out-of-body phenomena that catapulted me into another world. This happened twice while I was there. My experience was very similar to the fiction I had written in this book many years ago. Much like the character Chris, I came back with a different understanding and as I fought to come back to the living, the transition left me with a totally changed perspective. It was my life imitating my own art. I spent the next five weeks wired-up in the hospital.

In January of 2005, Dr. Duke operated on my neck and screwed a titanium butterfly on my cervical spine and I got the use of my right arm back.

In short, I recovered, although my left leg is still disabled from nerve damage that is more than likely permanent, I moved on with a new determination to get this book published among other things. This non-fictional subject matter will hopefully be the basis for my next book, to share the incredible things I’ve been through with my near death experience and how it showed me that the things I believed in, the core of my beliefs, were really right in line with what I went through. This reinforcement of my life’s search renewed the vigor of discovery within me and regardless of the medical problems that I face daily, I live life knowing what is to come and unafraid of death.

You have such an interesting story to tell, Nick. Your book sounds like one in which will open up a lot of peoples eyes. Can you tell us where we can purchase it?

Amazon.com: Only Moments: Books: Nick Oliva , Barnes and Noble.com, Your Books Cheap, Harvard Booksellers, Spotlight Books, Big Rock Media, The Book Depository or go to http://www.onlymomentsbook.com/ and hit the Links header.

Thank you for coming, Nick, and happy sales to you!

Thank you and I hope people enjoy the book! You can visit Nick’s home on the web at http://www.onlymoments.com/!

If you would like a chance to win a copy of ONLY MOMENTS, leave a comment below. All winners will be announced at http://www.virtualbooktoursforauthors.blogspot.com/ on Sept. 30. Good luck!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Historical Fiction Author Hazel Statham Visits Boomer Chick!

We have a very special guest today at Boomer Chick! Hazel Statham, author of the Georgian romance, DOMINIC! Hazel is on a virtual book tour hosted by Pump Up Your Book Promotion which makes her posting here doubly nice.

Hazel lives in Staffordshire, England. She started writing at fifteen and has written on and off ever since. She has always been fascinated by history and writes mainly in the Regency and Georgian eras, although she has been known to occasionally stray into Mediaeval times.

When she was a child, she often told herself stories and this just progressed to committing them to paper to entertain family and friends. However, there have been gaps in her writing years where marriage and employment intervened, but now that she no long works, she is able to return to her first love and devote her time to writing. She had her first two novels published in 2005.

She has been married to her husband Terry since 1969 and they have a grown daughter and beautiful grandson. Apart from reading and writing historical novels, her other ruling passion is animals and until recently, she was treasurer for an organisation that raised money for animal charities.

She currently shares her home with a lovely yellow Labrador named Lucy, who is her constant companion. Lucy is a real sweetie, but it’s not always easy working at the computer with a large Labrador trying to get on your knee!

You can visit her website at http://www.hazel-statham.co.uk/!

Welcome to Boomer Chick, Hazel! Can you tell us a little about yourself and your book, DOMINIC?

I live in the UK and have always been fascinated by history. I started writing many, many moons ago at the age of fifteen and have written on and off ever since. I write mainly in the Georgian and Regency eras and 'Dominic' is no exception as it is a Georgian Romance.

Dominic Blake, Earl of Vale, is a young man of privilega and breeding whose world is turned upside-down by Jack, a beautiful young girl in boys' clothing whom he finds sheltering on his doorstep after fleeing an attack by her brother. In turn, she becomes his pupil and his love and this is the story of their unconventional and delightful courtship.

As a fellow boomer chick, I’m curious, did you start later in life to write books or have you been writing all your life?

At fifteen, I had this compulsion to write and over the years nothing has changed. It is still a compulsion and even if my work was never published, I would write.

What do you feel has been the most challenging obstacle since you’ve been writing?

My own self-confidence. I wrote for pleasure with no thought of publication and it wasn't until the lecturer who headed the writing group at the local college badgered me into submitting that I finally agreed. You can imagine my delight when I was accepted.

I understand you live in the U.K. Why did you choose a U.S. publisher?

I do all my writing on the computer and it was to the internet that I turned when looking for a publisher. I wanted someone who would accept electronic submissions and sadly, there appeared to be none in the UK so I turned my attention to the USA. We visit the US quite often and it feels like a second home so it seemed the natural thing to do.

I’ve heard great things about Wings ePress. How have they been to work with?

They're a great company. Very professional and treat their authors well. My editor, Lorraine Stephens is a lovely lady.

What about an agent? Have you ever gone down that route?

I had an agent a few years ago but I heard many adverse comments about the agency and withdrew my work.

I’m always interested in why people choose a certain genre to write. Why did you choose Georgian romance?

I write about what I know and love. I have always had an empathy with the Regency and Georgian eras and it is to these I turn when I create my work. 'Dominic' is the prequal to 'My Dearest Friend', which will be available from Wings in January. However, both books stand alone and you don't need to read one to understand the other.

What about other books? Do you have other books in the process of being published?

I have 'My Dearest Friend' due out in January, 2008 and 'His Shadowed Heart' June, 2008. Both will be available from Wings ePress.

Thank you for coming, Hazel! Would you like to tell my readers where they can purchase your book, Dominic?

Yes, you can purchase it at http://www.wings-press.com/. 'Dominic' is available as both an ebook and paperback.

Thank you for coming, Hazel! If you would like a chance to win a copy of DOMINIC, leave a comment below. All winners will be announced at http://www.virtualbooktoursforauthors.blogspot.com/ on Sept. 30. Good luck!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: THE TRUTH, I'M TEN, I'M SMART AND I KNOW EVERYTHING!

THE TRUTH, I'm Ten, I'm Smart and I Know Everything!
Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Women, Girls 10 - 14
Lady Bug Press
13 978-1-889409-35-1
July 1, 2007

My new book, THE TRUTH, My Secret Diary, I'm Ten, I'm Smart and I Know Everything, is a delightful, humorous secret diary, written by a girl who is 10-11 years of age. She is wise and yet so innocent. She makes us cry and laugh and remember ourselves. Behind this very easy read is the psychological message to the women reading THE TRUTH that they can and must recapture the fire and passion of their girlhoods not only for themselves to flourish and be happy, but for the next generation to also have the gifts of good emotional and spiritual health.

Women love the book and so do girls, ages 10-14. Women find it a pure delight-a hot fudge sundae with a secret message inside and no weight gain, while girls recognize themselves and finally feel totally understood!

For more information, visit http://www.enchantedself.com/
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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Pump Up Your Book Promotion September Virtual Book Tours - Day 8 & FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY

Virtual book tours with Pump Up Your Book Promotion continues! All authors on tour in September will be giving away FREE copies of their books to a few lucky people who comment on their blog stops. Winners will be announced at www.virtualbooktoursforauthors.blogspot.com on September 30!

The following authors on tour and their tour stops today are:

Caridad Pineiro, author of the book, SOUTH BEACH CHICAS CATCH THEIR MAN, is appearing at The Debutante Ball at www.thedebutanteball.com!

Hazel Statham, author of the book, DOMINIC, is appearing at Publishing Secrets of Authors at www.publishingsecretsofauthors.blogspot.com!

Dwayne G. Anderson, author of the book, PARTIALLY HUMAN, is appearing at Mary Emma’s Potpourri of Writing at http://www.maryemmallen.blogspot.com/!

Nick Oliva, author of the book, ONLY MOMENTS, is appearing at Share Your Hero at www.shareyourhero.blogspot.com!

Scott Zema, author of the book, THREE STEPS TO INVESTMENT SUCCESS: BUYING THE RIGHT ART, ANTIQUES, AND COLLECTIBLES at Plug Your Book at www.plugyourbook.blogspot.com!

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, author of the book, THE TRUTH: I’M TEN, I’M SMART AND I KNOW EVERYTHING! is appearing at Start at the Beginning at www.startatbeginning.blogspot.com!

Nikki Leigh, author of the book, LADY LIGHTKEEPER, is appearing at Muze’s Musings at www.muzesmusings.blogspot.com!

Dwayne G. Anderson, author of the book, PARTIALLY HUMAN, is appearing at Bad Guys and Villains at www.badguysandvillains.blogspot.com!

Nick Oliva, author of the book ONLY MOMENTS is appearing at The Book Connection at www.thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com!

Scott Zema, author of the book, THREE STEPS TO INVESTMENT SUCCESS: BUYING THE RIGHT ART, ANTIQUES, AND COLLECTIBLES, is appearing at Judge a Book by Its Cover at www.judgebookbycover.blogspot.com!

Caridad Pineiro, author of the book SOUTH BEACH CHICAS CATCH THEIR MAN is appearing at The Writer's Life at www.thewriterslife.blogspot.com!

ADDED BONUS!!!

Kim Baccellia, author of the book, EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA, makes a special appearance at Beyond the Books at www.beyondthebooks.authorsabode.com!

All authors (with the exception of Kim Baccellia) will be giving away free copies of their books to a few lucky readers who comment on their blog stops. Don't miss out on this opportunity to win free books!

These virtual book tours are brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion at www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Catching Up - Pump Up Virtual Book Tours - and Change in Vacation Plans

It's been awhile since I posted about personal stuff what with the tours going on, but I've got a few minutes to catch you all up on what's going on in my neck of the woods.

Before I get into the personal stuff, I have to say that Pump Up Your Book Promotion is going fantastically. I've just hired Cheryl Malandrinos of The Book Connection to help me with tours because it's gotten crazy! She's a marvelous person to work with and I know she's going to do just fine.

I signed up an interesting fellow the other day named Dennis N. Griffin (www.authorsden.com/dennisngriffin) . He's so interesting! He wrote a book about organized crime called CULOTTA - THE LIFE OF A CHICAGO CRIMINAL (Hunting Press, July '07). His publisher is sending out books to me to hand out to blog hosts (incidentally, if anyone wants to interview him on your blog, leave me a comment below and I'll get back with you) and I can't wait to get them to read myself! The story is, he's an investigator who wrote a book about this Mafia person, Frank Cullotta, and the crazy part is, now Frank is one of his business partners! I can't wait to see how that happened. Dennis will be touring in November so keep checking http://www.virtualbooktoursforauthors.blogspot.com/ for his virtual book tour page. Quite an exciting client, to say the least.

I also signed up a great interracial erotic romance author by the name of Nadia Aiden (http://www.nadiaaiden.com/) who wrote the book ENTHRALLED: ARES & CANDACE: THE DIVINE SERIES - BOOK ONE (iUniverse, Sept. '07). I'm seeing Nadia come up on a lot of google alerts so already she's out there promoting...a major kudos for Nadia! She will be touring in October.

I also just signed up Nicola Beaumont (http://www.inicola.net/), a great regency romance author who wrote the book THE RESURRECTION OF LADY SOMERSET (Wild Rose Press, Sept. '07).

So, we're looking at a full lineup in October with the following authors:

Mayra Calvani
Shobhan Bantwal
Steven M. Reilly
Nicola Beaumont
PG Forte
L. Diane Wolfe
Nadia Aidan

And two more authors are pending.

Busy, busy.

On the home front, I think I've given up on finding another house. Why don't people like dogs, I ask you? Of course, I see their reasoning, but they're good doggies! Ah well...the search is still on.

The California trip has been postponed to the spring. Lots of reasons and I'm wondering if one of them isn't psychological being as it will be a trip back in time and I'm wondering if I'm ready for it.

Anyway, instead, we're going back to the Smokies the third week of October! Now, you all KNOW how much I love the Smokies and would LOVE to live there, so this will be a great trip. Just have to find the cabin of our dreams which is on the agenda tonight before I go to bed.

I guess that's all I have to report for now....y'all be good, now, ya hear?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Professional Art, Collectibles and Antiques Appraiser Scott Zema Talks Nonfiction and Why Author Branding is Important

We have a special guest author today by the name of Scott Zema, author of the book, THREE STEPS TO INVESTMENT SUCCESS: BUYING THE RIGHT ART, ANTIQUES, AND COLLECTIBLES here with us at Boomer Chick!

Scott Zema is a professional appraiser certified by the International Society of Appraisers and has been in practice for twenty years. Based in the Pacific Northwest, he has a national clientele. He has actively promoted the appraisal profession and includes among his clients the University of Washington, museums, local municipalities, corporations, and numerous other institutional clients, as well as numerous private clients of high net worth.

You can visit his website at http://www.arklimitedpublishing.com/.

Hi, Scott, and welcome to Boomer Chick. That’s a very impressive bio. Why did you choose the appraisal profession?

Hello! I chose the appraisal profession because it afforded me the opportunity to make a good living utilizing my passion for art and antiques and to use little except my brain to bring in the bucks. Consultancy is a good way to make a living.

It’s obvious why you decided to include what you know about the appraisal profession in your new book, THREE STEPS TO INVESTMENT SUCCESS. Do you find this is an example of author branding and do you believe that authors need to create some kind of platform before writing a nonfiction book on a topic where they know much about?

It sure can't hurt! It may be unfashionably 'politically correct' in this day and age, but give me the true expert every time over the loud mouthed amateur. Whenever an experienced professional offers me advice about something which is at their core of experience and knowledge, accumulated over a long period of time and tested on a daily basis, no matter what their profession, I'm always all ears. They know what they are talking about!

I know your book is close to your heart. What kind of message do you want to convey to anyone who might buy it?

Pay attention to what you buy, learn about what you are spending your money on, or don't be disappointed when I come calling and tell you your art collection is worthless. Actually, good advice for any investment of your time and money, and that is directly, and simply, my point and message in this book.

In what ways have you expressed your expertise in the appraisal business as regards to public personal appearances (in other words, have you spoken in public)?

I have on occasion spoken in public, both to general audiences and to members of my profession.
Do you find nonfiction easier to write than fiction in your own perspective?

For this book, yes. Fiction is more art than substance and requires polish and show. Sober prose can stand in for artifice, although in this book I have tried to leaven things with humorous and instructive stories to relieve the text and instruct the general reader more easily.

Do you feel that authors who cross-genre often are not taken seriously?

Depends.

Your book is self-published. Why did you choose to self-publish? Did you try mainstream publishers first or did you decide to do it your own way?

I tried mainstream agents and one publisher, was told I had writing talent, but found that a combination of bias against the topic and a lack of interest in this specialized area--even sans any submittal on my part--seemed to doom the effort. Keep in mind that except for one feeble effort published in the early 1980's, I believe that this book is truly the only book on the topic of art, antiques, and collectibles investment in the whole corpus of published literature.

After a fairly short period of dealing with rejection, I thought--what the hey--all the tools for self publishing and promotion already exist in the computer. Not only that, but assuming as an unpublished author I managed to land a contract through an agent for a book, my compensation for that initial contract would probably be in the low thousands of dollars (I make that in a few days as an appraiser), I would be in bed with several partners and have to jump through their hoops, and would receive fractional compensation on any copies sold.

In your own perspective, what’s the best thing about self-publishing?

See above!

Any last words?

If you have any interest in buying art or antiques, you would be foolish not to read what I have to say as an experienced industry insider!

Thank you for coming, Scott! Can you tell my readers where they might pick up a copy of your book?

You bet. http://www.arklimitedappraisals.com/ is where its at!

Now's the time to win a copy of Scott's book! Leave a comment and you'll be put in the pot to receive a free copy. Winners will be announced at our blog at http://www.virtualbooktoursforauthors.blogspot.com/ on September 30.

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