Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Boomer Babe Grace Reddick Visits Boomer Chick!

I have a special guest today! Boomer babe Grace Reddick, author of the delightful children’s book, ASHLEY’S UNFORGETTABLE SUMMER, joins us at Boomer Chick in her final days of her virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion! I asked Grace to stop by and tell my fellow boomers what it was like being an author from a boomer’s standpoint. If you’d like to find out more about this talented author, visit her website at www.grace4books.com. Enjoy and take it away, Grace!

It was during my early married years that I began to journal. I had a strong desire as well as a need to release the emotions that were bottled up inside me, waiting to be set free. If you could step inside my heart, you would feel the emotional roller coaster ride that thrust me forward making me the person that I have become.

Every story is unique, but what makes mine so different is that it was happening to me.

My journaling, my lifeline, was all I had to keep me in touch with reality.

Journaling was also most gratifying. I soon realized that the more I wrote, the more I desired to write.

The words seemed to flow from my heart and leap onto the paper before me. What an awesome experience this turned out to be. I began to write poetry, and here again, this was another expression from my heart. My poetry was published in the weekly local paper. Soon people began asking me to write special things for them. This was truly an honor.

As I began to write in my journal each day, I found it to be increasingly intriguing. I believe, looking back on it now, that this was the beginning of my desire to write beyond myself.

A story began to buzz around in my head as I pondered the thought of writing a novel. I was a stay at home mom, so I had plenty of time to write. I wrote fifteen chapters and put it aside, never to be picked up again.

I submitted an essay for children once, just for the fun of it. However, after recieving great reviews, I decided I could write a complete story for children. And I did just that, then I wrote another.

I did not have any experience in writing, no training, no direction and had no clue what I was doing.

I did go to the library and look up publishers, and began sending one of my stories out, just as it was.

Oh my goodness, if you could only see how terrible it was, I'm sure that you would die laughing.

I was so naive. I pressed forward on my excitement. And yes, as you might know, I did receive many rejections, although I couldn't understand why. I did not have an editor, who needs them, did not have an agent, what was that? I had a good story, wasn't that good enough?

Unfortunately for the writing world, I put all of my writing aside. I honestly don't know why. I do know that timing is very important in your life, and perhaps this was not my time.

After completing the children's book that I am currently rewriting, I will be writing on personal experiences. But I will always write children's books. I have a lot to say, and no, I do not think that my time is running out. I'm just getting started.

I resumed my writing about two years ago. Boy did I have a lot to learn. Here I am, a grandmother, a young one I might add. Venturing out to achieve fame and fortune, I began to rewrite one of my original stories. Much to my surprise, I did not know anything about the writing industry. I searched online for anything or anyone that could offer any suggestions. I continued to write while doing this, and needless to say, I had to once again, rewrite. I did this a lot because I had to learn as I went along. I found all of this to be very frustrating. It seemed that I needed people, like an editor, and an illustrator.

I joined writing groups to get info, went to several authors websites. I found out they put lots of good information there.

Finally, I was ready to publish. I chose a paid vanity publisher because I wanted desperately to get my book out there. After all, I have another one on the way. Xlibris was my choice, and yes it was expensive. In my opinion, too expensive. Each additional thing I felt I needed, just seemingly decreased my wallet. Golly, is this what publishing is all about? I should have compared publishers and possibly taken a few different steps toward stardom. But hey, I'll get there non the less.

ATTENTION: This book spotlight is being brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion. As a special promotion for Grace's book, A SPECIAL SUMMER, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour or $25 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky person who comments. Leave a comment below to have a chance to win one of these prizes! For more stops on Grace's blog tour, visit www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Kid After My Own Heart

This is an old video, but I have fallen in love with this kid...



Kids. You know she makes good points, doesn't she?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Suddenly Single

I really really try to avoid putting my personal life online like this, but I figured it's nothing to be ashamed about and, after all, shit happens...but...I'm suddenly single again.

So I guess I can start writing about how fun it is being over the hill and single, right?

Well, this is a weird time right now. Instead of crying and moping around, I'm...

SPENDING.

And that's not a really good thing when you're minus a paycheck and something in my brain is just not registering it. I guess it comes with being over the hill, right?

Some people get a makeover, some don't eat, some eat a lot, but me...I spend.

Spending is my single natural high because it's nothing worse than seeing families out your door doing family things and it make you feel even more...alone.

But I have a theory about being alone. Being alone is scarier when you're not alone. Once you're thrown into that situation, it's not really all that bad.

Take yesterday, for instance. I've hated my bedspread for years and I just decided I was going to treat myself with a new one. Once the bedroom got rearranged and the new bedspread with the skirt and the pillow shams and the accent pillows were all neatly in place, the room took on a "my" feel instead of an "our" feel.

It took me back to my teenage years when I had a bedroom all to myself and I could decorate it with whatever or however I wanted. It felt really damn good, unbelievably damn good.

I love my bedroom now.

I won't sleep in it just yet, but I love it.

I don't know if it's my age or what, but being single actually isn't too darn bad. I'll let you know if I'm singing the same tune when house payment rolls around...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

How NOT to Get a Date





What people will do to get a date. I have to admit, I've not had to resort to that to find a date back when I needed that sort of thing, but I do admit I've had dates who made Jack the Ripper seem like a cub scout on best behavior.

I've told this story before but back in the day when the ex left and I found myself back out in the dating trenches again, I did resort to a certain blind date that taught me a thing or two about human behavior.

I was working at a department story (my first husband-less job) and one of my young co-workers decided that her dad and I should hook up. I was ready. I would take anyone at that point. I was down in the dumps as far as self-esteem went and the fact that she told me he had one leg didn't deter me one bit. I figured hey, it's just a date and it would be over in a couple of hours and I needed practice. With one leg, how harmless could he be?

He knocks on the door and it wasn't the fact that he had one leg - I was prepared for that - but it was something about him that really didn't sit right with me. I got in my side of the car, he got in his and we headed for a seafood restaurant about five miles away.

So far, it's going okay but it was the endless chatter about gallstones - or kidney stones - that I think did it for me. He said he had been to the doctor and he almost didn't make it for our date because the doctor told him they could erupt at any time.

So I ask him what do I do if that happens?

He says, "Oh, you don't have to do anything. I go to the bathroom and let them out."

So we get to the restaurant and I remembered my horoscope the day before that said, "You are going out to a restaurant. Do not sit by a window."

Well, hell, who listens to horoscopes so we let the waitress sit us by a window. Besides, I like living dangerously.

The whole time we are sitting there, he's talking about his wife. I don't really mind because I sure as hell weren't interested in him and hey it was a free dinner.

About the time our entree was ready, I look up only to see 3 plates of food fall off a server's tray. And into my lap.

I guess that was the part about not sitting by the window.

After I cleaned myself up and listened to more about his wife, it was time to leave. I didn't even kiss him goodnight. He didn't notice. I heard later that he and his wife got back together so I was very happy for him.

But it goes to show you how far people will go to find someone to love them. He was reacting out of rebound and I was looking for a free dinner, both reasons not to step out into the dating world without a full set of armor.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Political Insanity





That George Bush...you can't blame him for trying.

So what's up with Obama and Hillary? The last I heard she was on TV totally gushing over the second man she probably ever hated. Don't get me wrong. I would love for her to be on the democratic ticket with Senator Obama simply because it would draw the democratic vote but, hey, I'm not into politics all that much so what do I know?

But..this year is different. We've already accomplished one major victory - this is the first time a black man has made it all the way to the democratic presidential hopeful for the White House and if Obama accepts Hillary as his running mate and he wins, the first time a woman became vice-president of the United States. History in the making. And the Boomer Chick is still around to see it.

My family were Democrats. Hell, my grandmother's favorite slogan was "damn yankees!" so I guess I'm a product of a confederate democrat. My grandmother...now that's a woman they needed in the white house. Take from the rich and give to the poor. And that's what I'm seeing is wrong with the Republican party. It's all about how rich they can get and not about how much money they can spare from their own pocket to help the poor. God knows they try - or they say they do. I don't know.

As I was watching the primaries, I was like a ping pong ball getting a good work out - going one way for Obama and the other way for Hillary. But since Obama won the democratic ticket, wouldn't it be neat if he chose Hillary as his running mate? Now that's a reality show the whole U.S. of A. would watch. Just think of the ratings, you television executives.

And I have a great idea. How about we do away with all this political insanity and put all the political incumbents in front of Simon, Paula and Randy and let the U.S. of A. decide who would make a better president by having them do stand-up comedy or magic tricks? Sure, they all give good speeches, but what would they do if they actually had to do something that required talent?

Oh wait, talent has nothing to do with being president.

Ha...I've got tours to work on...yak at you later...

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

One Minute Maniacal Meanderings: Bikers & Backpacks


When bikers go on road trips that go just down the street and back, what in the hell are they carrying in those cumbersome backpacks? Change of clothes? Toothbrush? Books? Fishing pole? Kidnap victims?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Birthdays and Beaches

Yesterday was my son's 25th birthday, but we celebrated tonight with a feast to fit a king. Steamed shrimp, barbecued ribs, barbecued chicken, barbecued pork, baked beans, cole slaw, applesauce and cornbread, topped off with ice-cream and cake that my daughter made earlier as dessert.

The picture to the top left is the party scene before the party. A thunderstorm rolled through about 9 tonight so most of this stuff is sitting on the floor, lol, but that's the way it looked out the sliding glass doors off the living room.









Here's a better picture:



















After we ate, my daughter had this fantastic idea of walking along the beach, so I got a few pics while we were there...it was early evening by that time and getting ready to thunderstorm at that, so we had the beach all to ourselves...



















Here are the kids walking along the shoreline...



















Now this story gets even better. I was trying to find shells to put in my netting thingee on my deck and started walking. We walked a good ways when I saw a beautiful stretch of sand with actual dunes. This place used to have dunes so high that they had to build steps over them so you could get from your car to the beach without messing them up, but over the years, the storms have leveled them. But, this place we found, there were still a few dunes left. There was a sign that said do not walk on dunes so we eased in back of the signs and found...this...



















Paradise. We walked through the grasses and I took a few more pictures...keep in mind not too many people have seen this as it's strictly off limits but...there was no one around...and well I had a camera and the worse that could happen would be for them to come out and tell us we couldn't go back there and you know me...




















This is an actual dune. A freaking actual dune. You just don't see them anymore here because of the storms taking them all away and, yet, here was a perfect dune, hidden away from everyone...preserved...I walked further and there was a beautiful body of water and I even found a couple of piping plovers! Omg, piping plovers! These birds were near extinction at one time and I got them on film! The piping plover picture is right after this one...




































Aren't they the cutest things you ever saw? And this last one is the walk back...that's my son...I don't know who enjoyed his birthday more...him...or me. ;o)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

SPECIAL GUEST AUTHOR: BOOMER CHICK PHYLLIS ZIMBLER MILLER

I have a special boomer chick guest today! Phyllis Zimbler Miller is one of my clients at Pump Up Your Book Promotion and I asked her if she would write something special for my Boomer Chick blog today to help promote her virtual book tour this month. She loved the idea because "although I'm the co-author of a nonfiction published book, this is my first novel and I actually self-published because, as my 60th birthday approached, I said, 'heck with waiting for others to say yes to me. I'm too old to wait around.'

I am finding that the older one gets, the more one starts thinking about the time issue and it's not any different for boomer chicks who need to get their books out there before they deem themselves 'too late.' Phyllis would like to tell you how it's thanks to being a boomer chick that she even got her book published in the first place. Take it away, Phyllis...

It’s thanks to my being a boomer chick that my book MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL is now available through Amazon. The s
tory of how this happened may encourage some of you reading this guest blog to get off your fanny and follow your own dream:

Thirty-eight years ago in May 1970 I became a new Mrs. Lieutenant – the wife of a second lieutenant on active duty in the U.S. Army – when I went with my husband to Ft. Knox , Kentucky , for him to attend Armor Officers Basic.

As most of you will remember, this was the time of the Vietnam War and, days before on May 4, the Ohio National Guard had shot and killed four Kent State University students during an anti-Vietnam War protest. Four days earlier, on April 30th, Nixon had announced an incursion into Vietnam ’s neighbor Cambodia .

As a newly married Jewish woman from outside Chicago , the world of the army was alien to me. Yet, due to the times as well as the specific women I met during the nine weeks of Armor Officers Basic, I had a very unique experience.

Almost 20 years ago I told the story of this unique experience to two female producers, and they optioned the story for a possible film. They took the story “around town” ( Hollywood ), and then came back to me and said: “People don’t get the story. You’ll have to write the book first.” By the time I had written the first draft of the book, the two producers had moved on to other projects.

Thus began years of rewriting and rewriting, learning to be a novelist instead of a journalist. Because, of course, this story had to be fictionalized to both add dramatic structure as well as protect identities.

And all through these last 20 years, women who read a version of the manuscript liked the story, while agents and editors at publishing houses said “no way.” One editor said that the story was no longer relevant because there was no longer any racial prejudice in the U.S. Another editor rejected the manuscript sight unseen because she said the women couldn’t meet through their husbands – they would have to meet at their mutual place of work, such as a law firm.

And a successful literary agent who had been the wife of an officer liked the manuscript but said: “I won’t be able to convince editors in New York to buy the project.”

My friend Loretta Savery has believed in this book for many years. One day this past December she forwarded an email from an acquaintance: “I’m tired of waiting for people to say yes to my novel. I’m publishing my book through a print-on-demand (POD) publisher.”

Now I knew what POD meant because my business partner Susan Chodakiewitz had been bugging me for the last few months to do this. And at that moment I had an epiphany – I said to myself: “I’m going to be 60 in March. Heck, I’m not waiting any longer for someone to say yes.”

And I also knew no matter what I’d have to do the marketing myself because that’s what Rabbi Karen L. Fox and I had to do in 1992 when Perigee published our Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION. Thus days later I was off and running, choosing BookSurge – Amazon’s print-on-demand unit.

And then, totally unrelated, a month later MRS. LIEUTENANT was a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Through another one of those aha moments, I realized something about AmazonConnect – the ability for authors to have a blog on Amazon. And I was now off and running even faster, reading book after book about online marketing and online book promotion.

Fast forward to Sunday, April 13, when my husband and I were invited to dinner at the home of a friend. I had only given the final approval to the book on Thursday, April 10, although everyone had been bugging me to say yes and not worry if there were still one typo.

At 6:30 p.m. on April 13 when my friend opened her house door, I was greeted with a cry of “Surprise – Happy Birthday!” Even though I had a small suspicion (my younger daughter Yael that morning in yoga had uncharacteristically urged me to shave my legs), I was overwhelmed. My sister and my 83-year-old mother had flown in from Chicago , close army friends from when we were stationed in Munich were there from Phoenix , a dear friend drove in from Palm Springs , and there were so many LA people!

And the most surprising “guest” of all – 40 COPIES OF MRS. LIEUTENANT! Where did they come from? Turns out my older daughter Rachel, who produced this party, had been in cahoots with BookSurge. (My BookSurge publishing rep had told me that the presses were down as an explanation of why I didn’t yet even have the newest proof of the book.)

Anyway, I’m a pretty happy camper at the moment even though I’m now running even faster doing book promotion. Of course, I’m lucky that BookSurge recommended Pump Up Your Book Promotion for a virtual book tour. Working with Dorothy has been a delight! And, again, I’m so thrilled to be a guest blogger on Boomer Chick because MRS. LIEUTENANT is about us boomer chicks. Long may we prosper!

The moral of my story: If you’re waiting for someone to say yes to you for whatever it is, at this age look around and see if, instead, you can say yes to yourself!

P.S. To stroll down memory lane, check out original 1970 army documents on my website at www.mrslieutenant.com.

Editor's Note: Phyllis is on a virtual book tour with her book, MRS. LIEUTENANT. As part of her promotional campaign with us at Pump Up Your Book Promotion, we are giving away special prizes if you leave a comment on her tour stops. If you are a published author, you can win a FREE virtual book tour. If you are not published, you can win a $20 Amazon Gift Certificate. Leave a comment below and you could win one of these great prizes!

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Trail Blazing

Today was absolutely beautiful. First day of tours and they went very smoothly, so I rewarded myself with a walk down a nature trail here on Chincoteague Island. What was so unique about this place is that not many people (except for Chincoteagers) know about this place. It wasn't run down with tourists (not yet anyway; it might be a bit early) and as a matter of fact, we only saw 3 people the entire time we were there - an elderly couple leaving, a woman jogger and a man who told us Skylar sounded like a pig. Okay, she did sound like a pig with all the grunting and groaning she was doing...that dog just can't hang...but I recognized the guy as the one who always rides around town on this scooter. Well he was sitting on one of the benches and he said that he was overlooking the same pond that he used to go ice skating as a kid many, many years ago.

After we walked the trail, we found a wonderful barbecue place called Woody's. Let me tell you this place is seriously smoking some of the best barbecue pork you'd ever tasted. It's right in front of one of the campgrounds and perfect for the campers as they don't have to walk far to get something other than McDonald's and tastes a lot better, too.

After that, my daughter had to go to work so I decided my fun wasn't over and walked the dogs down the dock. Now, I was hearing this rustling in the grasses and I didn't know what in the heck it was, but there were millions of these miniature looking crabs running all over the place and my question is...are they miniature crabs, or rather baby crabs or something else? I can't forget to ask someone around here who knows their local crustaceans.

After I put the dogs back in the condo, I grabbed BF's bike and headed to town. My goal was to get to town and come back, but I only made it to the carnival grounds, which still wasn't bad for the first time on a bike for that distance. Let me tell you, my behind was so sore, I couldn't sit down.

Needless to say, I crashed on the loveseat and just now woke up. It's good for you, though, and I'm going to repeat it tomorrow.

I did take some pictures while I was trailblazing, though, so I think I'll share...enjoy!

This is me with Skylar standing on the foot bridge.



You can see the path to the left. My daughter thought this tree almost falling over would make a good picture so I snapped it.


A better pic of the trail...it was so serene...

My daughter...you know I was really surprised there were only a couple of mosquitoes...Chincoteague is known for having the largest mosquitoes in the country! Might be too early just yet.



And finally, Skylar, the pig-grunting dog who was so damn glad her trailblazing day was over! See her laughing?