Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Do I recommend a virtual book tour - you bet!

I’m so pleased to have had six hosts for my virtual book tour this month. It has been a wonderful challenge to create the content and interact with other book bloggers generously willing to promote my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On.

When my Dream of Things publisher, Mike O’Mary and I, created the tour to coincide with the release of the paperback and eBook editions, we offered tour hosts three options:

1.  Post a review of the book on your blog 
2.  Post a Q & A with me using up to six of the twelve   questions we provided
3.  Post a description of my book and conduct a contest to give away a free copy to one of the host’s followers.

We also suggested the hosts pick any tour date between October 1 and December 31 of this year.

I’m very pleased that during my virtual book tour stops my tour hosts have selected various versions of the options, including asking me to write blog posts to meet their own requirements.

Stop One: Angela Felsted’s My Poetry Place. Angela posted her book review along with my book trailer, synopsis, and purchase information. Angela is a writer, musician, and poet whom I first “met” through the Facebook page Poetry Pact. She has published several books of poetry and co-edited our Poetry Pact Volume 1 collection. Thank you, Angela, for your generous support of my book.

Stop Two: Linda Hoye’s A Slice of Life Writing. Linda asked me to answer four questions, and she posted information about my book. She has also added me on her list of Life Writers and hosted me during my first blog tour in June 2011. Linda is the author of Two Hearts: An Adoptee’s Journey Through Grief to Gratitude. I feel so fortunate to have Linda’s support.  

Stop Three: Jessica Bell's The Alliterative AllomorphJessica reposted her wonderful 5-star review of my book. Jessica, a writer, musician, and poet, is the author of the novel, String Bridge, and two books of poetry: Fabric and Twisted Velvet Chains. She also co-edits the quarterly Vine Leaves Literary Journal. Thank you Jessica. I am honored to be in your company.

Stop Four: Kathleen Pooler’s Memoir Writer’s Journey blog. Kathy chose to post a Q & A and a 5-star book review on Amazon and Goodreads, and she held a giveaway – the winner just announced this week. Kathy also tweeted endlessly about the post, creating lots of traffic and great comments. Kathy is a retired family nurse practitioner and now a writer working on her own memoir. I find her a non-stop public relations representative for all of her writing friends  a list I'm grateful to be on.  I cannot thank you enough, Kathy.  

Stop Five: Sharon Lippincott’s The Heart and Craft of Life Writing. Sharon asked me to write a post about poetry’s role in the creation of my memoir. She has generously posted a 5-star review of my memoir on Amazon, Goodreads, and the Story Circle Network. Sharon is a writing coach, author of The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing, and on the advisory board of NAMW, the site for today’s tour stop. Thank you, Sharon, for your support of my book. It is most valuable since you teach about the craft of lifewriting.

Stop Six: Linda Joy Myers’ National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW). I’ve had a year-long association with Linda Joy since my first book tour. I was a guest on two NAMW roundtables – one with Eleanor Vincent about writing to heal and the other with my publisher, Mike O’Mary, about finding a publisher after my first one quit and the no-cost/low-cost ways to promote a book. For today’s post, Linda Joy chose a Q & A. Linda Joy regularly holds workshops and roundtables, and she offers memoir coaching, editing, and manuscript evaluation. She is the author of The Power Of Memoir: How to Write Your Healing Story. I’m thrilled that Linda Joy and NAMW have championed my memoir.

I recommend a virtual book tour (blog tour) to all my writer friends. It provides more exposure for your books, it helps blog owners gain more traffic for their blogs, and it’s a great way to connect authors with new books. And hopefully, when all is said and done, you’ll find your book is selling at a much more rapid pace than ever before.

Stay tuned for more virtual book tour news in November.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A mitzvah is a good deed

We just came back from Scottsdale AZ where we attended the double Bat Mitzvah of my cousin’s twin granddaughters. I must say they did a terrific job reciting their assigned prayers, Torah readings, and what-being a-Bat Mitzvah-means-to-me-speeches, and they were definitely deserving of the dinner and dance carnival party in their honor at the end of the day.

However, what impressed me the most was their dedication to good work with animals. One of the girls who has already declared that she wants to be a veterinarian, raises funds for poorly treated dogs on the island of Puerto Rico. Since her father comes from Puerto Rico she was able to witness this first hand while visiting family there.

She says, “I’m donating medicine to a fund for an organization called Island Dog. It’s a program in Puerto Rico for neglected or abandoned animals. They help them survive…I’m trying to help them so that dogs and cats and animals can stay alive.”

Stray dogs at Dead Dog Beach

Her sister wants to protect police dogs that get into harm’s way while doing their jobs. Her charity is Vest-A-Dog, an organization that raises money to protect these dogs.

A vested police dog

She says, “What I’m trying to do is raise money to buy bulletproof and knife-proof vests for police dogs…those run around $1,000.…They’re putting their lives on the line for us, so I think the least we can do is to make their jobs safer.”

I am so happy that these sisters are so thoughtful and caring. They are actually thinking of donating some of their Bat Mitzvah money to their causes. Well, part of my gifts to them is a donation as well.

The sisters are indeed doing a mitzvah – the Hebrew word for good deed.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Get ready for the November PAD with Robert Lee Brewer

During the month of November I’ll be again participating in Robert Lee Brewer’s November Poem A Day (PAD) challenge. He’s changed it up a bit this year. He’s asked us to submit a 10 to 20-page chapbook contest in January with poems culled from those created during the November challenge. I’m going enter. And I encourage my poetry-writing readers to follow suit.

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert also sends a great poetry prompt every week on Wednesday (except during November and April PAD challenges). To rev up some interest, here are some of my prompt responses (and the link to his latest prompt.) Remember the poems below are mostly unedited.

Write a box poem. This poem is either about a box or includes a box somewhere in the poem (or title). Don’t be afraid to poem outside the box this week (sorry, I had to say it).
Things in Boxes
He left a black canvas box
filled with his music recordings
next to his bed,
the cassette tapes neatly packed
in order of performance.

And on his closet shelf
we found a cardboard box filled
with little games, cars, toys,
1984 Olympic souvenirs,
and Russian buttons and buckles
his uncle brought back for him.

He fit these favorite things
together like an intricate puzzle,
before he left his body
for us to put in a box
in the ground.

Write a dessert poem. The poem can be titled as a dessert. The main characters could be eating or waiting for dessert. Or dessert could just be hinted at in the poem. Of course, I’m expecting a variety of desserts to be mentioned. 

A friend once said,
“Life is short, eat dessert first.”
She must have had a premonition
an insight into her future
because not long after
she became ill
and died. Her life
stopped just when she should
have been eating all those
sweet cakes and pies.
I’ve never forgotten her
and her flair for
conjuring up the unknown
and enjoying the brief
life that she had.

Write the worst thing that’s ever happened to you. Simple as that.

Paul’s death thirteen years ago
 – simple as that.
a mother’s worst nightmare
to have a child die.
And that I’m here
to write about it
is truly a miracle.
Rest in peace, Paul
I’ll never forget
or stop loving you  
– simple as that.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Anybody else get a damaging and useless Amazon review?

I just have to write about this. I can’t help myself. Two days ago someone posted a 1-star review of my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On up on Amazon. Here is what he or she said:

I stopped reading after 36 pages
I really wanted to like this book. The premise was interesting, "A Mother's Memoir of Living with Her Son's Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide." But the author's discussion of bipolar disorder seemed more personal opinion than actual facts and not much was actually SAID in the first 36 pages despite countless little "stories" and two poems...Honestly it was a struggle to even get as far as I did.”

Why would Amazon even allow this review to post? How could a review of 36 pages be valid and useful? I would think Amazon would want to interest people in buying their products rather than dissuading them. In allowing this review they do their company a huge disservice and of course make this author very angry.

One of the people who commented on this review said:

“What's next - writing a "review" based on what you read on the jacket cover? The cover photo? Maybe just the title? Please don't waste other people's time and try to sway opinion when you are not informed enough to actually have an opinion.”

Another person wrote:

“This is a very good book and I mean NOTHING was left out or sugar coated about her story. A memoir is not a medical dictionary. It was written in her thoughts, feelings and experiences as it should have been.” 

I thank these people for their comments. They are right on. And I thank all the people who have written 5-star reviews – 57 out of 77 reviews to date, giving my book an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars. They actually read the book and must have found some interesting material in it. 

I’d love some reaction to this post. Have any of you had similar experiences? Please let me know.