Free book promo: A Convenient Date

If you are looking for a free ecopy of A Convenient Date, the search is over. For a limited time, I’m offering a free ebook copy to those who sign up for my newsletter.

Book jacket info….

Two years after the unexpected death of her husband, Kaitlyn Reid’s life is improving. Her relentless devotion to helping the less fortunate provides a welcome distraction from the emptiness and sorrow.

Just as life begins to feel stable, her world is turned upside down. She receives an unexpected email from her attorney informing her that she is being sued by a woman claiming to be the mother of her deceased husband’s son. A son she knew nothing about…

Reeling from the news, Kaitlyn happens to meet Rick Santos. Rick is a recently divorced financier that has relocated from the San Francisco Bay area. Unaware of her personal turmoil, Rick proposes they become each other’s ‘convenient date.’

Vulnerable, but with nothing to lose, she accepts.

Will she trust her heart to Rick? Will she allow him to serve as her ballast during her times of crisis? Or will she run, fearing a future resembling the dark torment of her past?

A Convenient Date is about discovering real love and the realization that doing the right thing isn’t discretionary or convenient. It may ruin Kaitlyn, but truth and honesty is the only path that will give her the freedom she needs to live again.

Strong, smart, sexy. Is there a convenient date waiting for you?

Important dates for self-published authors or independent publishers

I love Draft2Digital. Seriously. They make my life as an author and owner of an imprint so easy. For readers who don’t know, I have books published under mainstream house (McGraw-Hill) and my own imprint (faster sales, higher royalty). It also means that while I “go direct” for some channels (think B&N and Amazon) for the highest royalty), I also use draft2digital as an aggregator for all the other distribution companies, such as itunes, Tolino, Kobo and the like.

Why do you care? Because I received this email from D2D that gave me the highlights of all the deadline/closure dates for the majors. I had no idea. If you aren’t on the mailing list, you may not have or know this info either. It’s worth checking out.

If you are publishing new books or making changes
during this holiday season, there could be delays.
For best results, submit your requests no later than December 11th to make sure they’ll be live by Christmas.

Hi Sarah,

We just wanted to give you a quick reminder about how the Christmas holiday will impact scheduled publishing with our various vendors, as well as our office hours for the holiday.

Christmas falls on Monday this year, so our offices will be closed both Monday, December 25, and Tuesday, December 26. Normal office hours will resume on Wednesday, December 27.

Our offices will also be closed on Monday, January 1 in observance of the New Year.

We expect that the flurry of pre-Christmas releases and the special holiday hours at our partner stores will result in some delays. If possible, plan ahead and submit any changes or listing requests by December 11th to ensure the changes get published before the break.
We have received additional details directly from several of our partners:

APPLE
Apple’s publishing systems will be experiencing additional delays from mid-December through early January. To help you in planning release dates around this period you may use the following schedule:

  • Release dates from December 17 to 31 have a delivery deadline of Monday, December 11.
  • Release dates from January 1 to 8 have a delivery deadline of Friday, December 15.

All submissions must be submitted prior to midnight (PST) on the dates above.


BARNES & NOBLE
Book submissions and metadata changes supplied to Barnes & Noble from Draft2Digital are processed the next business day.

B&N will be closed December 24 (1pm EST) & 25, and December 31 (1pm EST) through January 1.

No files will process during those windows, and there will be no direct support. Also during this time you may experience review slowdowns, and slowdowns following those dates as B&N deals with backlog.


KOBO
Kobo will have only limited support from December 18th thru January 8th. They ask that you only upload important and non-deferrable imports during that time. Kobo’s publishing system will be down entirely from December 22nd through December 27th, and from December 29th until January 2nd. During this time we will not be able to submit any new books or changes. We recommend getting everything to them by December 11th.


SCRIBD
Scribd have announced limited support over the break (which greatly restricts how much our Customer Support can assist you with problems at their stores). Scribd support will be closed from December 25th through January 1st.


AMAZON
We anticipate that Amazon will be closed on December 25 and January 1. To ensure against potential delays in file review and other processing, we recommend submitting your books prior to December 11th.Due to the volume of submissions during the holiday season, we expect other vendors will take longer than usual to implement changes and to publish new works. However, there are no confirmed or planned publishing delays.


Preorders scheduled during these periods will go live as expected, provided we get the final manuscripts in and approved before the cutoff date of December 11th. We highly recommend getting us the final earlier that week to make sure it gets through review.

Happy Holidays,
The Draft2Digital Team

Draft2Digital, 5629 SE 67th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73135, United States

Email Marketing by ActiveCampaign

The billionaire’s secret weapon

Once, when I was giving a writers presentation to a group of high school students, I was asked by a teacher what process I follow for writing my books. “Is there one thing, or set of things you do prior to starting to write?”

“Yes, there is,” I responded. “I pray.” That was it, pure and simple. I didn’t even elaborate on what I pray for (which, btw, is clarity, the ability to write what’s in my head etc. and have it be congruent with my ideals and thoughts etc). You should have seen the look on this woman’s face. You would have thought I was advocating a new drug inhalation process for the illegal, not legal type. The irony of it all, was this was a parochial school, the place I where I actually felt safe giving this answer.

Over the years, the irony of the prayer-before-the-big-event thing has intrigued me. I’ve grown up with images of Madonna and her backup-dancers holding hands in a group prayer before a concert. Big football players kneel or bow their heads prior to kick-off, asking for health, strong hands and probably a win. Why then, I ask, is the big deal with saying a prayer (albeit silently) before a big meeting or when starting a sculpture or writing a book?

quote

slightly obvious. I actually prefer Roger’s quote, which he used for years with consultants (who wouldn’t shut up). “You can’t learn anything while you are talking.” I would have used that but I didn’t have the time to create a pretty picture with quotes.

I have long prayed when considering what clients to take on and which ones to pass.  I’ve said prayers before presentations in front of groups large and small, interviews with the press, before I’ve gone on television shows, prior to pitching the venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. In fact, pretty much any event of significance I’ve invoked my right to call above to the Almighty (or as Roger says: “whatever is out there in the Universe that’s listening”).

Ironically, I’ve been much more lax about praying on the personal front, but that too, is another story. It seems that when it comes to career, my red-phone bat line has been in constant use. It turns out, I’m not alone in this. Over the last two years, I’ve been interviewing 3 dozen hundred millionaires and billionaires that haven’t spoken to the press about their rise from poverty (nearly all) to a financially secure point in life. One of the common threads is faith (in self or God). Another thread is prayer. Even the few who claim atheism state they still say a prayer (to the universal energy that exists).

This call-to-arms as I’ve come to think of it, is a plea for all the thoughts, energy and desire built within to come to the forefront when it’s needed in exactly the right way, be it for that winning touchdown or the closing of the million dollar home sale.

Prayer circles aren’t as weird as they sound

Going back to the football scenario, where a bunch of men are on the field, eyes closed and heads bent—it’s a normal scene is it not? They are in a circle…a literal prayer circle. If this came up in casual conversation, can you even imagine the derision the topic would instill, not to mention the analogies to other sects, cults and who-knows-what off-shoots of beheading chickens and dancing around a bonfire.

Yet for athletes and Madonna, it’s done and accepted, business as usual. (I would, just once, love to have seen Ballmer hold out his hand at the executive round table, bow his head and say whatever prayer that man would have said –although I imagine it would have involved a strong desire for the stock price to go above 100 for a picosecond. Just once).

Going back to me and the writing process, or business for that matter, yes, I pray, but it is not done lightly or by rote. I won’t pray if I don’t feel worthy of an answer. Ergo, if I have a lesson to teach and I’ve not adequately prepared, I feel it’s morally wrong to ask some higher power to bail me out. Conversely, if I’ve done my part, studied, prepared my outline, readied the lesson and I still feel uncomfortable, then I know this means I’m missing something. A piece of the puzzle isn’t quite right in the grooves. It is then that I pray fervently to understand what direction I must go, what I must change and how I must communicate the message—assuming that my message is right in the first place. I can’t tell you how many times this very thing has happened, and when I’m on stage, I’ve had words, phrases or examples come to mind that I’d previously not thought of or considered, and it made all the difference in the world.

One billionaire, a seventy-ish man now retired and living in Colorado, used to be the president of one of the largest commercial real estate companies in the country. In his “retirement,” he still owns three different entities in different industries. When I asked him how he makes many of his decisions, he was unapologetic when he said he prays.

“Yes, I listen to my advisors and I read the numbers, but most of the time, hiring people and making big business decisions doesn’t rely on numbers or resumes,” he said. “Those can be manipulated and represented in ways that won’t tell you what will truly happen six months, a year or five years out.” For that, he relies on a higher power.

And this blog? Do I pray before writing a blog? No, not usually, and honestly, my level of seriousness regarding my blog writing (and Instagram and Facebook accounts) ebb and flow with my mood. Sometimes I simply like a picture that’s interesting, fun or humorous. I’ve noticed that when it comes to thoughts of making a person’s day brighter, uplifting myself (or others) in some way, then yes, I actually do say a prayer to understand what I should write or post. The reward is often immediate and strong, producing positive feedback or responses.

Even those who don’t believe in a universal God or super being, the notion of universal “Karma” is alive and well. In other words, what comes around goes around, so it’s better to be on the safe side than send out evil vibes. If this holds true, then one could argue that prayers can only help, and never hurt, so “What’s there to lose?” (As my husband often asks). “It’s not hurting anyone and can only help.”

Keep that in mind the next time you could use a little clarity, support, wisdom or overall confidence. It’s free, there’s nothing to lose, and it can only help. Those are three mantras I can live by.

Being a Dream Coach

I’d like to pretend I’m on those people that wakes in the middle of the night with a  bolt of inspiration and ten months later, I’ve whipped out a best-selling novel or creating the next health bar. Dream to inspiration to success, in three easy steps like the original 1978 Guinsu knife infomercials.

A few mornings ago, I woke, not with a new idea about a book, but a new vocation. It’s called A Dream Coach. Know that a dream coach is? My job definition for a Dream Coach is a person who listens to my dreams, my desires and my aspirations, then pushes back, refines and focuses my dream into something tangible. This is radically different from a Life Coach, who would require I live in a world of reality, and that defies the point. This isn’t reality, it’s my dream.

Not Found Here


Early on, I accused my husband of killing my dream(s). Know how? By not “supporting” it. I expected him to read and re-read every page of my crappy first manuscript, offering advice and tips in a constructive thoughtful manner that would embolden our relationship and of whom I’d then applaud in the front matter of my book (without my husband, this wouldn’t have been possible type of thing).

This was not to be. Rog is not Stephen King’s wife, retrieved a draft copy of Carrie from the trash when King thought it wasn’t good enough for print and encouraged him to keep after it. My husband would just say “there goes one more tree.”

The Dream Coach

I’d like someone with a confessional ear (non-judgmental), patient (I can talk about my dream 3x a wk if I want to), who is  forceful (after hearing my dream for the fourth time, shut me up and tell me to get going), and directed (project manage me/check in with my progress) and of course, fun (knows when to stop and get my chocolate ice cream). I don’t really want a dream killer to tell me the dream will take too long, is silly, outrageously expensive and in short, a waste of time. My dream coach would tell me a)I can do it, b) I will do it, c) I can learn the skills necessary to accomplish my dream, and d) I’d have fun along the way.

Me, Myself and my dream coach

I explain all of this to Roger, who looks like I’ve slipped a drug in his Coke, for he gives me this quasi-delusional look that asks “are we really having this conversation?” I instantly know there will never be a ‘right time’ for this conversation, at least not with him. I consider my alternatives… sibling, mom, friend…knowing why the coaching relationship won’t work before I ask the question. Each of these individuals are already convoluted with preconceived notions, roles and opinions about me, my life and my role therein that might take away from the dream at hand.

The only other person(s) in my life are peers from my professional world: fellow dreamers who believe the word “no” is two letters put together in a meaningless way. Those people who have one finger for the opinions of others. Individuals who act, and don’t whine.

Thinking back, I ask myself ‘have I ever shared my dreams with others in this category?’ Absolutely. In fact, the last time was in December, right after I ‘dreamt’ up the idea to launch a new business site. I shared my dream, got the feedback it might work, received inputs on what I might include and what things I should leave out. The following week, I created the site and launched it, making it publicly available.

From dream to delivery in eight days flat.

“That’s not really a dream,” Roger tells me. “That was an idea that you ran with. You skip right over the whole dreaming part.”

Am I really?

He shakes his head, disgusted he’s even having to tell me this. “I’ve been with you 15 years. You don’t have time dream. You just do. You just like the idea of dreaming because it sounds romantic.”

Huh. I’ll go dream about it…but I still like the notion of being someone’s Dream Coach. I might not need one, but I like to think I can motivate and inspire when others are negative, like the little brown raincloud in Winnie the Pooh. I’ll hang the sign on my door…Dream Coach In. Payment due when dream realized.

The Writer’s Bible: schedules that work

This is my evening writing spot:
on bed, classic 80’s movie playing for background
noise and cat. Can you name the movie?

Discipline is what makes a writer. It means staying in when the weather is nice, waking up early when the kids are asleep, skipping a ski day at college to get in eight hours of writing. But you’re there…you are willing to do all these things.

In the last 20 years I’ve learned that crafting a schedule that works is harder than actually writing, because it continually changes. Writing schedules during college are different (school, study, sleep, social),  and this is dramatically different from a full-time job with no kids, which doesn’t translate to any job (or no job) with children.

College schedule

Write in between study breaks.
After class, hit the library, take 10 minutes and re-read your outline, or your last chapter. Set the timer for 15 minutes minimum. That’s it. Then stop, do your homework. Why this order? Because you have put your dream first. It’ motivating. It’s inspiring, and this inspiration will encourage you to study more intensively, ignore the hot guy who’s eyeing you and get back to writing.

Career Writing

I couldn’t focus on writing before work until I’d had several books published. I was too tired to do it after work, usually because I had more take-home office materials that left me more time. The best time for me to write? When the rest of the world is on the Internet (not kidding. Just ask Jupiter Research).
3 PM in the afternoon.
Studies show this is when the brain needs a break. Assuming you have the right location (and vocation), set the timer and go. Short break is 15-20 or 30 max. Apply the same methodology. You will find the same sense of motivation as with college, but this environment lends itself to the benefits of creativity. I found that problem solving was made easier…my mind switched from dull to sharp. I was happier, because I worked on my dream. I was getting one step closer with each sentence and each paragraph. In a week, you can have a chapter.
Friday night.
Hit the gym and then go home and get after your dream. Even if you do this two Friday nights, while your peers are spending money and preparing for a night of carbo-loading, you are geared up for a serious progress over the next two days.
Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday is a “free day,” so it’s yours to plan. I will relate a my own experiences. When I exercise first, shower and then sit down to write, I’m so relaxed that after about 30 minutes, my body wants to sleep, not write. Because of this, I will write first, take a break to exercise, then go back.
Sunday.
During my many years in the career world, I traveled for 70% of the time. I didn’t bother write until I got on the plane. I prepared to write by reading my present work or other materials, so the minute I was cleared to open my laptop, and got after it. I found that writing on a plane can deliver a book in just a few months.

Writing with a Family

Marriage didn’t change my writing in the least. In fact, it improved my output. Rog is as determined and disciplined in his own life as I am–who else would work a full time job, play a college sport and get his graduate degree in 13 months. Compared to him, I’m a complete slacker.
Never, EVER, prioritize yourself over your children.
From day one–to now–I never opened my laptop when my kids were home. This only changed when my oldest daughter hit 1st grade (this year), and I’d sit by her with my computer as she did her homework. When she’s done, I’m done.
Morning.
I love nothing more than waking when the house is quiet. Going back to patterns I set in college, I get in at least 15 minutes–sometimes only 5!–but it’s starts me off right.
Naps.
Boy, is this the best time ever. It’s a no-brainer with one kid but harder with 2 kids.
Rotation. I found that Rog and I got testy when we didn’t have our “me-time.” Because of our personalities, this ‘me-time’ usually involved either physical activity (him hockey, me lots of things), we’d rotate. Not kidding you. This is what it looked like for the first 5 years–not it’s only slightly modified.

  • Saturday outing. At least 2 Saturdays a month (usually rotating) Dad would, and still does, take the girls for an outing by himself. The park. The zoo. The library. Whatever. Two hours was more than enough for me to crank out a nice set of pages. I’ll be honest. Sometimes I just napped. Don’t tell.
  • Sunday morning. Same thing as above, but this was on the opposite weekends. It was also nice because Rog could then mix in his own personal activities and be satisfied as well.
  • Evenings. I can’t get quality/quiet time until the kids are down. This has varied with age. Since they stay up later with each passing year, it’s gotten more challenging, because I wind down. I don’t push it now, but if they get to bed 9 latest-which is quite late, I will still get 2 solid ours in.

When you add all the hours up, it’s @2.5 hrs in the am, and 4-8 each weekend. Even without any strange evening slots, I’ve got 6.5-10 hours a week. That’s nearly 40 hours a month. A ton!

Time to create a novel.

Boy, isn’t this the most over-asked question. Authors are reluctant to say–why, I’m not sure, but I guess it’s because there is no “right” answer. If you say 3 months, it comes across as an egotistical lie (unless you’re Stephen King who says he writes 20 pages a day). If you say 6 months, then you suck. Reality is you write the framework, front to end. Then you go and add ‘layers.’ One might be narrative. Another description. Another character depth, and so on. This means another 7-11 times, but it’s here and there. Nothing like the first.

Here’s my answer. I go by hours. It takes me, on average, 20 hours to write 50 pages. That means in 1-3 months, I can have a book completed. The subsequent re-writes vary dramatically, but it’s another 2-3 months. So a completed, agent-ready book is 5-6 months, and it also includes a proof-reading period so the basics are caught–only a few days.

There it is. It’s achievable. It’s straightforward. It’s bloody time consuming, but you can do it.

Naked writing and emotional artifacts

Oberon hand-crafted. have 1
for my tablet as well. love red.
got this for the Chinese dragon
theme as my first action-adv
book is set in China

10:27, Saturday, Feb 2. Transcribing from my journal, verbatim.

8 months from my last journal entry.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved rising when the house is quiet, endowed with the freedom to walk the halls in 100% solitude, no expectations and no chores. No obligations and all the ability to digest all the is around me without judgment or rush.

write first, then transcribe.

There is something alive and magical and living about my fingers pressed against the metal casing of my pen, the movement and glide of the pen tip across and up and down the smooth page. The energy from my body, my heartfelt emotions course to and through the inanimate
device, the process as revealing as being naked in the shower. it isn’t safe, the way typing on my laptop is safe, with the fingers rapping out the words in staccato hits.

In this format, I see myself in the straight lines of the l’s and the f’s and know that I only write that way when I’m trying to be strong. I notice the chopped off ends of my y’s, q’s, j’s and g’s, and it saddens me, for I immediately know that when I’m happy, the bottom curls are wide and round, like a palm scooping up water from a clear, slow-moving stream.

Our log-pole craftsman’s father
made this. end from bullet.

The way I write in my journal is far more significant than what I write. When I periodically decide to review these leather-bound, emotional artifacts, I instantly see myself for who I was at the time of writing. Bulbous, round letters written in blue ink was from my 14 year old ‘full-of’me’ self. My d’s and snowman-belly round 8s revealed I was all that. Small, tight, almost unintelligible scribbles from my 13-year-old self returned all the harshness I associated with being the object of scorn as I felt tall and gawky, my teeth in the full metal jacket of brace and my chest barely able to sustain the smallest cup size available for a person of my height.

Rifle shirt clip, the trigger depresses the
ink cartridge

What a difference a birthday, a summer, a visit with the orthodontist and gaining five pounds made.
The future reader of my journal may wonder a the transformation of both writing and attitude, but I won’t. I knew it from a single glance at my penmanship.

Today’s writing means struggling, resigned determination. Some words are slanted, others upright, the dual of battling emotions alive, the match unfinished, watching me, myself and I circling one another in an arena full of fear. Fear that all the emotions of my brother’s death, the ones I’ve so safely shut inside my emotional chest of drawers will start to appear on this page, in my m’s or truncated s’s.

My hand is cramped now, the strain of keeping it in physically hurting me, the words not so legible. Even so, I feel victorious. I moved pass just staring at the keeper of my past emotions to allowing myself to feel new ones. The thought alone has arched the curve on my S’s, and I know I’m feeling better.

Don’t Kill me…Yet

“Tell me when your leg heals,” Lucas politely requests. Why, I’m thinking, because you’re going to send me on the next exotic film location? “Because I’m gonna put out a hit on you. You’ve never been so productive.”

Ge-ross. Can I just have a nice, robust
woman w/some curves so I don’t have to
look at a dude’s dude?

Nice. (Note to self: this is what broken bones get you. more work, not less).

So here I am, taking a random break, which is not so random, according to the latest Internet statistics. Did you know that most of us lackies stop at noon, three in the afternoon then 11 pm at night to surf and generally waste time, and that there being addicted to the Internet is now classified as a addiction disorder? True story.  Empowered with this information, I’ve jumped from my non-Catholic self guilt and self-loathing to feeling down right normal.

I’ve spent the entire morning on the phone with my literary agent out of New York, who told me I have not one, but three books on my hands, and I have to figure that out (translation; make your existing shorter, backfill for the other two). Then he told me I have to cut 50 pages out of my current fiction book, and if I can’t figure out a way to do that, I will have to pay $100/hour for a “strategic editor” to chop for me. That’s like telling a southern cook to lay off the butter. Who can do that, really?

Then as I’m transitioning from the call with him (his name is Peter by the way. A former London-based fleet-street reporter turned bestselling author, Columbia school professor and concurrent literary agent, who, by the way, is married to an opera singer and plays jazz professional in his spare time), I’m waiting to get on the phone with a former CEO of a global 500 firm.

what I need to cleanse my
brain: happy-time fizzy water.
calorie free and no bulges in the
wrong spots

What do I do? I surf the Internet. What do I find? Well, this horrid photo assaulted my sense, for it literally jumped out at me from the health.com website and I almost swallowed my tongue. Do you see what I’m seeing, or was I in a particularly bad place?  You know, my brother always liked big girls (he called them Romanesque, but let me tell you, he liked them nice and fleshy) and after being mentally scarred with this image, no wonder. Who wants to see a skinny white chick with what looks like a mans package?! I may never recover.

So I had to wash my brain with a quick prayer and a bottle of Perrier before I could ask a 77 yr giant of business his best words of wisdom. I have to save some for the book, but he told me that he was acclaimed for his ability to “read people quickly,” …”be decisive.”

Sure, I want to be a part of the next generation of leaders, so I’m going to take his advice and be more decisive than I already think I am. Next time Lucas (or anyone) tells me he wants to put a hit on me, I’ll decisively tell him not to kill me…yet. I’ve got things to do, like surfing the Internet.

New Year Non-Resolutions

Can we exhale a collective sigh now that the first few days of resolution-making-and-breaking is past? Seriously. The time between Christmas and New Year’s is nothing more than a bloaty, farty five day period of self loathing..or is it just me, and did share a bit too much information?

Lets all have an 80’s revival shall we?

So it is that I have put the Ki-Bosh on the resolution making insanity. I think there is a better approach.

1. Don’t make a resolution. Set a GOAL. Goals have a start and an end point, like a race. The gun bangs, one runs over the finish line. The end. Goal accomplished. Resolutions are lame…and ambiguous. I had a 15 year resolution to lose the extra 15 pounds. It didn’t happen until my brother died. Then my body did the job for me. I suck. I should have set a goal and actually done it.

2. Use the reverse-psychology approach to achieving your goal. Tell yourself the exact opposite of what you really want, and then more than likely, you’ll hit your target. Case in point: me. Back in the day (and I’m talking, way back) I’d say, I’m going to go carb-free, (e.g. give up bread and potatoes).

What do you know, pretty soon I’m mowing down toast with butter and jam morning, noon and night because I was already feeling deprived. Now I say “self, I can have the entire fresh-baked loaf of homemade bread anytime I want.” And since I’ve given myself permission, I have no desire. I know. I’m messed up, but I don’t have time for shrinks, and besides, I’d rather go buy myself another ring with the money I save.

3. Try the non-resolution-resolution. NIKE taught me all I know about getting what I want and it was this:

Don’t think. Don’t pontificate. Just do it. Ignore Oprah’s advice and that of “The Secret” to ‘put it out there’ (by verbalizing our intent). Forget. That. NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR IT, shouting or otherwise. Stop talking about running the marathon. Just train, finish the race and then tell people (along with your sticker as proof for the disbelieving).

I’m so happy that I’ve followed my own advice because I really didn’t want to write this blog, but then I set a goal to start at the new year, gave myself permission to delay it until the 5th, and then as I crawled into bed, I opened my laptop, bypassed my email and cranked this out.

Whew. I feel so much better. I just nailed my first new years non-resolution.

Need a sales boost? Try Career Days (at school)

On a whim, I looked at the comments of this blog and was embarrassed that quite a few had been posted from July and prior that I’d never seen. eek. One very good question was about getting into schools, and while the comment was from an author, Cyndy Etler, I know that other professionals have seriously benefitted from spending an hour or two at a career day. It may work for you, your sales/revenue and your career. Here’s how.

What is it?
prgrsvimghttp://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.4898256714665288&w=207&h=207&c=8&pid=3.1&qlt=90&rm=2Career Day is a one-day event common in most elementary, junior, senior high schools and colleges around the world. Pre-college, the teachers and administrator’s, but also members of the PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) reach out to the parents of students that can spare some time to educate students on possible career choices. Activities included in the day vary from school to school. The youngest I’ve seen is 5th grade (10 year olds) and it goes up from there. Sessions are typically 40 minutes.

Who does it?
Doctors, authors, pilots, firefighters–you name it. Individuals who appear to have interesting careers. Admittedly, I’ve not run into any accountants, but hey, accounting is a serious profession, so why not?

Does it pay?
Nope. Free.

Why do it?
A few reasons.

  • Networking. You get to meet all the other administrators, parents and other speakers (who prob use accountants).
  • Sales. Dentists need new referrals. See above. For an author (like one of my alter egos), kids regularly purchase my books after I speak, but I am very careful not to “pitch” my book– rather– I keep it to the business of writing and what being an author is all about. That said, if I’m asked to talk about being a movie producer, then it’s all film clips and talking about living in the LA world- which is weird anyway.
  • Pride. This means for your kid(s) who think you have a cool profession. This gets serious points on the home front.
  • Referrals– and by this I mean-inter-school referrals. The kids are usually asked to “rate the speaker” and if you are good, then you will get referrals to other schools. I suppose one could eventually make a living from doing this, and it sure beats the heck out of cold-calling.

Fall–now–is the time. Career days are usually organized in the fall.

Music for Writing

I’ve recently started using our sound system which we spent way too much money and time on 10 yrs ago to install, and to be honest, didn’t get hooked up for a decade due to a little, ah, shall we say, “marital dispute.” In other words, after all the thousands it took, Rog flamed out at the ten-yard line, which I figured was going to be less than $1,500 to finish up.

Of course, he knew better, and I fought him for a decade (a long time of worthless arguing that a) I was wrong about and b) I’ll never get back). But let’s not dwell on my issues. Let’s move on to the salient points.

Where, might you ask, did this need to be spent? (I know I’m digressing, but for my male readers who generally relate with Roger, and the female readers who share my pain, I’m exposing more of the bloody guts of our relationship).
1- he was afraid of the cost of the panels, which we have in most rooms of every floor
2- he was convinced we needed another receiver, and a stack of electronics, so avoidance was the best policy in his mind and
3- he simply couldn’t justify spending money on a ‘discretionary expense.’

Well, in the end, he was right. The panels are $400 a pop that Rog got for $325 through smart Internet shopping. We compromised. Well, actually, I compromised. I gave up a panel in one bathroom, but stood firm on having one in the two bathrooms where I soak my bones in the tubs. The stack of components was painful- about $10K, which Rog was able to cut down to about $8K thanks to his diligent shopping ways, so he was right all along. (By the way, have I ever told you that Roger’s nickname for me is “rainman,” because he says I think money rains from above. Rude isn’t he?)

One of the beautiful things that all that money bought was a type of component that allows every sort of media known at this time. It’s wide and flat, and can stream, play and store it all, from my SD card which takes me seconds to load songs, or switch to my iphone or whatever else I have going on. But the very best part, hands down, is the Internet radio feature.

Internet radio means thousands of channels in all genres. I point the remote, select a genre, then up comes a list of hundreds or thousands of channels. I’m not really down with bluegrass, but up with dance, and quite a few sub genres. It’s crazy when I find a Paris-based country station, when a DJ is talking in a language I can’t understand, then proceeds to play Taylor Switch. Likewise, I’m grooving out DJ Krush, and then a German-speaking DJ hops on and the only words I understand is the name of the group and the song. The upside is that I feel like I’m getting language lessons while I get grooving music.

All this backstory to tell you that I’ve zoned in on 6 channels (for now) and one in particular is writing, and it’s Ambient. The other words for this are Chillout, and I’m telling you what, about a quarter of the songs I have on CDs already, the others are new. When I hear a song I don’t have I Shazam it on my iphone and bam, a click of a credit card later, I have it on my system.

My favorite of all 202 Ambient stations is this one 1.FM Chillout Lounge. You can listen on any system you have.

A few of the songs I love are as follows (I should create another tab, but I have to give something up on my home page until then..)

updated 4/28/13
Come a Little Closer- Ambassadeurs
Central Reservation- Beth Orton (remix)
What the sun sees- people like you and me- Gloria
Turbulence- radio edit (ft lil john)- Turbulence
Inside your mind- Color in Rhythm Stimulate Mind Freedom
Steamworks- by the Presents- Beams
Take me Away- Chill Central
You are the One- Chill Central
Blood of Eden- US remastered- Peter Gabriel
Walk Tall- Sugar Tax- OMD
Sun Goes Down- no Silence- ATB
Scaffold- Coyote Remix) Chillout Lounge 3, Downtempo grooves
Rupture (Hylton Mix), Bedroom Escapades, Vol 1- Harry Vincent
Always (Ashley Beedle’s) Best of Bent- BEnt
Jumiera Drive- Dubai Chill Lounge Vol. 2
Flipside- Chill Out Experience- Paradise Found
Girl and the Sea- by the presets- Beams
Miami Sunset- (feat Duality) by Invisible Sounds (Sunn Jellie Remix)

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