Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Waiting Game

I had hoped to have "How to Promote Your Book on a Shoestring Budget" out by September 1. I have not posted a blog recently because I am just waiting for my books now. I have signed off on the proof, we agreed upon a price, and I ordered my first batch. Now I just have to wait for them to get here! I will post when they are here and when NovelMaker has them up on their site -- until then, I am just enduring the wait!

I hope everyone has a happy Labor Day!

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Another Braid Donated to Locks of Love

Those of you who have gotten used to me having a long braid running down my back will have to get used to me with short hair as I donated another braid to Locks of Love this week. I traditionally have done this around my December birthday, but I have some book signings coming up at an out-door festival soon, so I decided now was the time to cut my hair!

I wrote an article around Christmas several years ago on the subject of donating hair which was published in the Westview and in Christian Activities. If you'd like to know more, read "The Gift of the Magi."

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Publishing Agreement Signed!



I signed a publishing deal today!

How to Promote Your Book on a Shoestring Budget, will be published by Darden & Associates through NovelMaker, and printed and distributed by NovelMaker. The reason Darden & Associates will show up as publisher is... I already had everything, including the ISBN number and bar code. Since the ISBN and bar code are registered to Darden & Associates, we remain the technical publishers. However, NovelMaker will do everything for me from printing to distribution, getting me on Amazon.com, and putting the book in their own book store, doing fulfillment, etc.

I am not having to pay a fee for a "publishing plan" where the publishing company charges me an arm and a leg for doing things I can do or already have done myself at a fraction of the cost, but I am getting the support, placement, and fulfillment I could not easily do on my own! And my books will cost slightly less per book to print, since they are a smaller size, so I will be able to offer a slightly lower price per book! I am a happy camper!

More details coming as we firm them up! WooHoo!

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Monday, August 11, 2008

2008 Edition of The Mayberry Poem - A Tribute to Mayberry Accepting Poems


Christian Activities Publications is accepting submissions for the 2008 edition of The Mayberry Poem - A Tribute to Mayberry.

Send your poem of 28 lines or less about any character or theme from "The Andy Griffith Show" to: books@christianactivities.com. The deadline for submissions is August 21.

Visit The Mayberry Poem - A Tribute to Mayberry for more information.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mayberry Days Book Signings




My new book, How to Promote Your Book on a Shoestring Budget, better be out by the end of September because I have set up some book signings in Mt. Airy, North Carolina for both the Mayberry Poetry books and How to Promote Your Book.


I will blog more later when the details are all firmed up, but this is what I have so far:
Book Signings at Mayberry on Main, Mt. Airy, NC
126 N. Main Street
(across from Snappy Lunch)
Mount Airy, NC 27030
Phone: 336-719-0405
Thursday, September 25: 7 to 8 PM
Friday, September 26: 11 AM to noon; 6 PM to 7 PM
Saturday, September 27: After the parade to noon; 5:30 PM to 7 PM.

If you live in the area, why not come by and say hi???

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

The High Cost of Doggie Adoptions



A couple of years ago when my precious Papillon turned 11, I began to think about adding another Pap to the family. Miss Katy has been the BEST little companion I could ever have hoped for, and I don't want to wait until she's gone to try to "replace" her. She can NEVER be replaced. But it would be nice to grow to love another dog who will already be here on the sad day I loose my Katy, and it would be nice for Miss Katy to have a friend her size. There is enough love in our home to make sure a new papillon never lacks for loving care or companionship.

Due to financial constraints, purchasing a Papillon is out of the question right now. I have to work a second job as it is to support Christian Activities, so a couple of years ago someone suggested I look into finding a rescue dog. I began to Google "Papillon rescue," and I found several organizations devoted to helping these lovely small dogs find good homes. Wonderful, right? Not so much.

Adopting a dog is not far removed from adopting a child! First, you must realize, the dog is probably already in a foster home, being carefully observed and cared for during this difficult transitional period. So you can rest assured your new addition is getting the finest care while you go through the adoption process... and a process it is!

The first thing you must do is read several pages of documents, tips, explanations, and FAQs explaining the process. Then you must fill out the application. You must provide references, preferably your neighbors -- who WILL be contacted. You must pay an adoption fee, typically several hundred dollars! You must have at least one in-home visit with your entire family present. You need a fenced in back yard, and in many cases it is required that you have a COMPANION Papillon to help the adoptee adapt! And, if you make it this far, you are instructed not to take it personally if the doggie social worker does not think you are a match, after you have jumped through all the hoops!

After reviewing three such rescue sites online, I decided I would NOT be one of the eager adoptive families jumping through all those hoops. I began to put the word out at my vet and through some Yahoo groups that I was looking for a Pap to adopt.

Last week I got my hopes up when my vet called me about a 9-year-old male Papillon who needed a home. I eagerly called the number and talked to the nicest woman who said she would email me some information. Imagine my disappointment when I learned this 9-year-old dog who needs a good home, would require me to read multiple documents, provide references, endure in-home visits, and would cost $395.

The $395 wasn't the issue, because I understand some dogs cost more and some less to house and care for during the time a permanent home is being awaited, but the other criteria were deal breakers. I emailed the woman back and told her that if I ran such an agency, I did not know what changes I would make, because I truly do understand why they feel they must be careful. However, I told her I thought the forms and visits were too intrusive, and that I would not be jumping through all those hoops to get a DOG, even one as special as a papillon!

Don't get me wrong. Miss Katy is part of my family. As a single woman, much of the time she IS my ONLY family! But someone needs a reality check if they think placing a pet requires in-home visits, phone calls to neighbors, in addition to the $395 adoption fee.

So, if anyone in Tennessee or an adjoining state knows of a Papillon within DRIVING DISTANCE that needs a good home, I would like to adopt another sweet companion. I don't care if it's male or female, pet-quality or show-quality, spayed or neutered, young or middle-aged, as long as it is in good health, housebroken (if it's an older dog), and good with other dogs. I have a fenced in back yard, no children, a gentle, 13-year-old companion Pap, and a great relationship with a local animal hospital which I would be GLAD to provide as a reference. I will provide a safe and loving home, a good vet, walks in the park, daily treats, many kisses, and the added bonus of having my business in my home, so the "pack" remains together virtually 24/7.

However, I must warn you in advance, I will NOT be filling out an application, providing the names and phone numbers of my neighbors, allowing you to come check out my house and family, flying a dog anywhere, in addition to forking over several hundred dollars to adopt or rescue a dog!

Also see:  
Pet Nazis: Turning Dogs into Dogma

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Christian Sword Swallower on "America's Got Talent"

My friend Dan Meyer is a sword swallower. That's not all he is; he's a juggler, fire eater, writer, musician, horse lover, social networker, husband, friend, and Christian. You can read a devotional Dan wrote at "Swallowing My Pride."

Dan has one of the best online social networks I have ever seen, so I asked him to send in his top-ten list of tips to include in my book How to Promote Your Book on a Shoestring Budget which he graciously did. His tips are excellent!

Now Dan is competing on this summer's "America's Got Talent," and he was just selected as one of eight Wildcard Acts, to be voted on by America during the next week! Here's the link to vote for Sword Swallower Dan Meyer on America's Got Talent...

http://www.nbc.com/Americas_Got_Talent/vote/register.shtml

Online voting: Out of eight Wildcard Acts, you can vote for the one you feel should be included in the top 40 going to the finals of "America's Got Talent". To vote for YOUR favorite Wildcard Act, please visit www.NBC.com/AmericasGotTalent or www.NBC.com/AGT .

The online vote opens at 11:00pm ET on Thursday, August 7, 2008, and ends at 4:00pm EST (5pm CST) on Friday, August 15, 2008.

Any legal resident of the US, 13-years-of-age or older with a valid e-mail address may vote online for one of the 8 “America’s Got Talent” Wildcard Acts who you believe should be one of the 40 final acts competing for the grand prize. Voting is limited to TEN (10) votes per e-mail address!

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Back to Square One!


It is like being back at square one again! Well, not really, but still....


I am still in the process of negotiating with a new publisher, but things are taking a bit longer than I anticipated, because I am having to reformat my text, side bars, and graphics in hopes of going with a slightly-smaller, less expensive book size.

And since I am having to go back in to reformat, why, of course I am going back in to the text as well, adding, tweaking and updating! I am not making any big changes, but if I can save a little on the cost per book, and make some small improvements to the text, I might as well take advantage of it! Reformatting it myself saves me the cost of hiring someone else to do my layout.

If I have done all this reformatting and decide NOT to go with the new publisher, I will be VERY ticked with myself. I am still not even sure I am going with them, because they need to see the book in its new, improved, tighter, reformatted state to tell me what the cost per book will be. I will let you know my final decision as well as the name of the publisher as soon as the decision is made, whether I go with them or not. Until then... back to reformatting!

LINKS:
How to Promote Your Book on a Shoestring Budget web site
Promote Your Book MySpace page
PromoteYourBook Yahoo Group


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Friday, August 1, 2008

Who's Guarding the Gate?

Newsweek reported earlier this year that Christian dating web site BigChurch.com is owned by Penthouse Media Group Inc. According to the article, Penthouse, founded in 1965 by Bob Guccione, was acquired in 2004 by a group of investors led by entrepreneur Marc Bell. Penthouse acquired social-network giant Various, Inc. for $500 million in cash and stock. Its subsidiaries now include a number of online dating sites—from BigChurch.com to Bondage.com. From www.christianactivities.com/

Talking to my friend Dan Meyer, sword swallower and the social networking guru who brought this story to my attention, Dan commented he had noticed that one or two of the Christian sites had "more or less 'standard' options for Religion," including atheist, agnostic, etc. and that he thought those were "kind of strange options for Christian sites."

It makes you wonder -- who really owns the Christian sites and networks? Is it enough to flock to a site or network just because it says "Christian," or do we as Christians need to do our homework on who really OWNS these "Christian" sites before we sign up and make them our home?


Permit me a brief tangent. The other day I walked into Macy's, and right at the entrance was a metal column with four nearly life-sized posters on each side promoting the new Estee Lauder fragrance, "Sensuous." Each poster featured different semi-nude young women in
black panties and white blouses, left unbuttoned and gaping open. Their chests were visible from neck to navel, with little left to the imagination. Macy's is not a Christian business, but we have allowed advertising to go unchecked to where now young boys must walk past soft porn posters to get in to shop at a mainstream retailer. (One poster is shown here.)

In the 1950s Playtex began the first bra and girdle advertising on television, but the bras were modeled on plastic bust forms. It was not until the 1990s that television allowed bras to be shown on live models. From http://findarticles.com Now the live models don't even have to have bras on and are barely covered! Look how far we have allowed the gates to crumble in the past few years!

Does it matter who owns the business if they provide a good service? Not if you don't mind soft porn in stores where you shop and on the web sites you and your children patronize and support. And if we can tolerate being unequally yoked, and turn a blind eye to semi-nude women, it won't be long before the blouses come completely off.

If we have allowed those gates to crumble into such ruin, imagine what we will allow to get past us and past our children by frequenting web sites, dating services, and social networks owned and operated by pornographers. The same kind of soft-porn ads as the Estee Lauder ad above are already online on mainstream discussion boards, web sites, and networks. If the "Christian" sites are not owned and operated by Christians, the same kind of content will most assuredly find its way there, because the bottom line is profit, not salvation.

So, who's guarding the gate in your home, your neighborhood, and your community?

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