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Friday, December 12, 2014

Great Holiday Gift!

Please remember that the gift of a book is one that gives forever and ever.  "The Amazing Canine Adventures of Harry Spotter" can introduce children to the plight of rescued dogs and encourage compassion and understanding.



Younger children can be read to and those eight and over can enjoy it on their own.  Someone, however, needs to be Harry's "voice" and do the BEST dog voice they can do!

Twenty present of all profits are donated to "Almost Home Dog Rescue of New Jersey" - the group that rescued my precious Harry.  I want so desperately to help them.  They do good work.




The book is available on Amazon.com, but if you contact me via this blog, I will send you a signed copy and a free custom bookmark! (Free shipping)


Who EVER has enough books????  I mean, seriously....


Sunday, December 7, 2014

She's gone


My Sister Died

 

My sister died a year ago this month and my life opened up.

You’re thinking what an odd thing that is to say.  But you see, there was a wall of silence in our house as far back as I can remember.  It was just there.  It was something that was sensed, feared and respected.

The wall got thicker after my parents divorced when I was twelve.  My older sisters were already grown and out on their own.  I lived in my mother’s silent house.  I could not get past that wall, even if I tried.  Sometimes, in great frustration, I did try.  But the silence was stronger than I.

I, too, went out on my own.  I made mistakes and struggled a lot.  I married and had a child.   My family, such as it was and it was not close but distant and chilly, shallow and cautious, drifted away. I moved to many different places, trying to find myself, trying to save a marriage, trying to raise a disabled child, trying to finish college and always working, working, working.

My sister sent me a letter, informing me that my mother had passed away.  One of our brief and infrequent communications.  One day soon after, I was seized with the notion to find my father.  At age forty, I had not seen him since the day he walked out of that silent house.  He was living in Florida.  He had a wife.  We spoke on the phone and arranged a visit.

There was a picture of my father and his new wife in their bedroom.  In it, my father was very young, much younger than I ever knew him to be.  They were at the beach and the style of his current wife’s hair was clearly outdated as was her swimsuit.  This photo was taken a very long time ago, possibly in the 1940’s, which would mean it was taken before I was born.

In my brazen adulthood and naiveté, I mentioned this.  What I got was a heated denial.  No, no, that was taken in the late 60’s.  My silent upbringing in my silent house had trained me well.  I did not laugh and I did not argue, but I knew it was a lie.  The visit didn’t go so well, there were awkward silences and flashes of anger, palpable tension in the air.  It was the wall.  It was here, too.  But I had figured out what it was made of.  It was obvious from the old photograph.  My father had been cheating on my mother for decades.  Worse yet, the “other woman” was my father’s best friend’s wife.  They worked together in my father’s business.  He not only cheated on my mother, but on his friend and on all of the children.  My mother was not a stupid woman, she probably knew but buried her fury in silence just as he buried his guilt and shame. And the wall of silence was built.  That disastrous meeting was twenty years ago.

When my sister died, my niece reached out to me.  She is a grown woman. Indeed, I have three beautiful grown nieces, a nephew and a small gaggle of grand nieces and nephews.  We emailed.  We connected on Facebook, all of us.  My nieces were well acquainted with the wall of silence and we were determined to break it down.  Pictures were posted that brought back a veritable deluge of memories and, sadly, sometimes no memory at all.  I could recognize myself at a moment in the past with my mother or sisters and have no recollection of the day or occasion.  Times and places were forgotten, faces were recalled. There were many tears but also smiles.  We found our common ground. We are all liberals and we all love dogs and cats.  We seem to also share a certain wry sense of humor. 

Suddenly, I had a family. Now I have a reason to buy greeting cards for birthdays and holidays. As mundane and cliché as it sounds, I have pictures on my hallway walls of people I’ve missed and children I haven’t met yet. Like thousands of other homes, my home has the same ordinary display.  But for me, it is extraordinary and gives me great pleasure.  My daughter has cousins who bear a physical resemblance and she already has travel plans to visit them.  We did it, we finally broke down that great wall of silence that trapped my parents and was carefully protected by my siblings.  So now you understand, don’t you?

My sister died one year ago this month and my life opened up.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Don't know much about history.....

No, that isn't true.  What is true is that I am electronically challenged.  I am trying to put together something I can put up on YouTube about "The Amazing Canine Adventures of Harry Spotter."

It is recommended for starters that you try a power point presentation.  Ok, I've done some power points.   So I had some fun with that - I like playing with pictures and fonts, etc.  THAT was easy.  But, I had to match each slide with a script.  Then I had to figure out how to make a slide show and time each slide.  After a little trial and error, I figured that out.

The hard part will be recording audio.  Although it really shouldn't be that terrible, everything is built in to this computer.  Makes things easy, right?   I have no idea, I've never done this.  I would love to have some music softly in the background, but I will worry about that later.  First I have my script - now I have a timed slide show - so next I have to actually record.

I don't know if the slides will show on the screen while recording.  I certainly hope so, otherwise it's like being blind.  How will I know when to move on?  How will I guarantee total silence around me - I could almost bet that my husband will find THAT moment when he ABSOLUTELY HAS to tell me something.  Harry will bark.  Sirens will wail outside.  I will have to sneeze.  I'm going to take a day to think about this, to assimilate it into my consciousness and own it.  Then, by gosh, I will DO it!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Would you read my book? It took me years to write....

Will you take a look?
("Paperback Writer"  Lennon/McCartney)


I'm a terrible salesman.  I have no confidence when forced to self promote. 

We went to the "Dogfest" - and sold a few books.  I was apologetic each time.  "Are you sure?"  Having someone read your work, even if it is a children's book, is like giving them a piece of you.  Here it is, here is my heart, now you can examine it, rip it apart and stomp all over it, as you wish.   It's painful and frightening.  I guess I just can't stand the thought of rejection.

When writing - going through the so-called "creative process" -  your own emotions and self worth take a beating.  You alternate between feeling that what you do is okay, to sometimes better than okay, to complete, worthless crap.  The pendulum swings high and low.  And it continues even when the work is done. 



I get these emails from Kindle and Goodreads about what to do to market your book.  I've done all the things they recommend.  He's on Facebook, he's on Twitter, I'm on Goodreads, Harry has his own blog. (http://www.harryspottersblog.blogspot.com) The only thing I haven't done is a video because I don't know how but I intend to learn.  I had to practically pull teeth to get the guy from our little community's "newspaper" to interview me.  He says "someone will call."  I bet they don't.  My bet is I will have to call again, be the squeaky wheel, the royal pain in the rear, a role I find horribly uncomfortable. 

My husband noticed that I didn't have bags to put the books in.  So I looked up "bags" on the internet and found out that you have to buy huge quantities, huge, like thousands of them.  Sorry, Harry Spotter will have to go bagless.  Maybe the local Hallmark store has some little bags I can use.....

We have another dog event to attend in October.  Another opportunity to bare my soul and suffer the humiliation of people walking by, smiling, "Oh, Harry Spotter!  I love it!"  and not stopping.  Kids whose faces light up but their parents won't come near.  Free bookmark!  Signed copies!   Ugh.

There were some people at the previous dog event who already had the book.  They were very enthusiastic.  I missed my chance to ask them to write a review on Amazon.  That is one thing others can do to help Harry become a household name.  If you're happy and you know it, write a review

"The Amazing Canine Adventures of Harry Spotter" would be a wonderful gift for a kid in the 4th, 5th, 6th grade, anyone eight years old and up.  It's fun because it is told from Harry's point of view along with a narrator.   If kids read it out loud (or parents) they have to have a dog voice.  Teachers could use it and encourage kids to take different roles.

I suppose I will have to screw up the courage to ask business owners if I can have a meet and sell event.  They'll say "no."  But I have to do it anyway.  This is so against my nature. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

You gotta have friends....

"The Amazing Canine Adventures of Harry Spotter" has a facebook page.  He already has hundreds of "likes!"  Yikes!  That is a wonderful thing.  What would be really wonderful would be for all those people to buy the book, so that "Almost Home Dog Rescue of New Jersey" can have a decent donation and help more dogs be rescued, fostered and find forever homes! 

It's a fun summertime book that a parent can read to a child or a child, depending on reading level, can enjoy reading alone.  Older kids, tweens and young teens can learn about rescue dogs and gain some understanding as to why people rescue and adopt rather than purchase a "designer" dog.

Please help Harry to help others like himself.




(The "Ask the Author" app has been added to Goodreads, along with Harry's book.  Please feel free to visit)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Oh, isn't this amazing, it's my favorite part...

"The Amazing Canine Adventures of Harry Spotter" is available through Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

Follow Harry from his days as a lost stray to his rescue, foster and adoption to his forever family!

Told from his point of view (with the help of a  narrator) this book is perfect for older children, tweens and young teens.  Animal lovers of all ages should enjoy it, and it is a great book to read to younger children!  The book includes original illustrations. 

Twenty percent of all profits will be donated to "Almost Home Dog Rescue of New Jersey."

Harry also has his  own blog - http://www.harryspottersblog.blogspot.com.  His adventures continue there !

 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

It's a new day, it's a new life.....

It is done.  With the excellent assistance of my daughter and her artistic ability, a second book is finally done.  I am practically blind from having to submit the text and illustrations to specifications.  And that was the easy part.  

The really hard part was the cover.  I mean, really.  Really.  The instructions say "cover."  What is a cover?  It's the front, right?  Nowhere do they state, until you have already submitted something that is totally wrong, that the "cover" includes a spine and a back.  The "cover" is both front and back, all one big piece and must be submitted as such.  That means the back goes on the left and the front goes on the right and for me that was not an automatic, built in, instinctive reflex reaction.  The specifications for back and front are precise.  And my word program doesn't exactly match whatever program the "guide" uses because the tools I had to use were also not readily evident so, in my ignorance, it took me hours to finally (and accidentally) hit upon the key to filling blue rectangles with images.  I'm surprised I didn't have nightmares about blue rectangles. 

But now I am quite happy with the result.   Here it is - aimed at preteens and young teens, but hopefully anyone can enjoy it - whether reading to a smaller child or just for fun yourself.  It is not released yet but will be very soon.    Here is the cover:

 
 
"The Amazing Canine Adventures of Harry Spotter"
 
 
 
 

The real life adventures of a rescued dog from his days as a lost stray through his foster care and finally to his forever family!  It will be available through Amazon and Kindle.