Friday, August 30, 2013

The Journey, The Lesson and Getting it Right

I like to inspire others. Life is a journey loaded with lessons. If we don't learn the lessons, we get to repeat them until we learn. So many people don't understand that basic concept, and I have certainly fouled up enough to express understanding. I am writing this blog today though to say to others that the journey is beautiful even when it's wrought with challenge and sometimes pain. But you have to sit back and figure it out: am I going to repeat the same mistake over and over again or am I going to learn, reflect and change course?

In a sense this is also a love letter to the man that I have compromised my own value system and repeatedly made the same mistake -- always with the same outcome. Love is not enough. And sometimes you have to sit back and realize that doing the same thing over and over again will always give you the same outcome. So today I did something painful. I decided to change the outcome.

Doing what I had done over and over again; forgiving the mistakes that maybe I should have held a stronger line on; repeatedly accepting the unacceptable; allowing myself to be treated as less than ... these are things that repeating and doing over and over got me nothing but compromise of who I am in this world and a whole lot of tears.

So, it's time to stand up straight. What do they say, straighten up and fly right? It's time to fly right. Even though the choice to stand on my own and eschew compromises that don't serve me is hard; it is the beginning of making different choices that will, in fact, produce different outcomes. Is it easy to change? No, it's hard and it means making a huge sacrifice. I might not get what my heart truly wants ... or maybe I will! Maybe in making the necessary change to produce a different outcome, I will receive the necessary change to indeed get what my heart wants. No, it will not be easy as I go through the process, but the road more traveled is the best road indeed. And I hope this message inspires others. Esteem yourself, quit repeating the same ole same ole; and find a new pathway to love, success and happiness.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Just Because You think it ...

Whenever I network, I swear I always have some tale to tell about someone who says something so darned inappropriate it blows my hair back and curls it, too. What is wrong with people? Didn't their mothers teach them the old adage, "if you don't have something nice to say don't say it all?" Today's offense comes from a writer who had zero capability to put a censor between her brain and mouth. We're having a perfectly nice meeting with my group, and she suddenly says how she investigated the group, and thought "what a greedy lady" to bring in business by forming a writers' group. She got the "Michelle stare" for sure. This after I specifically launched the meeting by telling the group our mission: to educate writers about the competitive publishing business so they can make informed choices, and to give first and share always" (which is an eWomen mantra). Our meetings are either led by myself or by a speaker who we invite in to talk about the writing craft of the business aspects. I know I should be a duck and let it roll off, but I am just astounded by the audacity of anyone to come participate in a FREE group and call me a "greedy lady" even if she took it back and justified it with "I'm on painkillers." The bottom line: people form impressions of you. If you're on pain killers, basic rule: stay home. You have no business going out in public. First impressions count. Bad impressions count. And just because you think something (right or wrong or indifferent) doesn't mean you should say it, especially when you don't even know the person you're making the comment about. And that my readers is a big, just saying!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Writers Who Mean Business

Are you a writer in the greater Sacramento area? I run a monthly writers' group titled Writers Who Mean Business. I wanted to blog about the group today. We have a meeting tonight that starts at 7pm at the Raley's on San Juan. I like to educate writers not just about craft, which is truly only 50 percent of the effort. The other 50 percent is the business side. Many writers are artists. They don't understand or "want" to understand that to publish a book requires a concerted business effort that involves public relations and marketing. The inner artist in them gets a little befuddled and offended to focus on business. The reality is that publishing is a business, period. It is a fun business, and I'm passionate about it; but it requires a business head. I started my writers' group to promote the business aspects of writing and help writers navigate the publishing world, which is diverse. If you would like to attend a meeting, it's free. All writers are welcome.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Chasing Butterflies

I love the sight
A child chasing a butterfly
fingers fluttering
wings out of grasp

I want to chase butterflies
A woman skipping, butterfly in sight
Leaping in the air
Hand open and almost ... almost touching

I want to capture the butterfly
In my open hand
Cup it in the cave of my heart
Gaze through like a peep hole to beauty

But the butterfly will get away

Maybe I won't capture the butterfly
Maybe I will open my hand instead
Hold it up to the sky
And wait for my butterfly

Yes, wait for my butterfly ...

~ Michelle Gamble

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Afternoon Musings

Decided to have some mindless fun and visited this place in the Palladio called Painted. I'm trying to decide if the painting looks good or like my 4th-grader painted it. I naturally don't care. It was really relaxing mindlessly painting it. For you wine lovers, Painted also serves a glass of wine with your artistic efforts. I don't drink very often so I didn't imbibe, but I did enjoy the relaxation. Apparently, few painters visit the studio on a Friday afternoon. I visited at lunch time. My companion in tow decided to stroll the Palladio and eventually draw ... out of boredom. I wasn't bored. I was happy and relaxed. I liked the distraction away from my daily stressors. Hobbies are like that -- they provide wonderful distractions. So while my "work of art" may be comparable to my 4th-grader's efforts, I'm still happy about it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Ridiculous Amount of "Buzz" About the Full Frontal on True Blood

Want to stir the media and fanfare for a show? Have a prominent and popular actor show his junk to America and beyond. Alexander Skarsgård aka Eric Northman on True Blood put it all out on display for the viewing public on the season finale. I have Google Alerts set to his name (I'm a fan), and bam! The press and fans went crazy. What is it about a guy showing off nature's blessing (yes, he's blessed), and we just can't stop talking about it. A woman shows her breasts. Who cares. A guy shows his junk, and here we go. Male nudity has always been this strange forbidden thing. We can look at naked women all we want -- and that's okay and business as usual. But a man shows us what's in the pants, and we just lose it. OMG! He's got a ... no! Penis! Who knew! Oh no wait! Did I say penis? The very word just causes an uproar. In other countries, nudity is no big deal. We come into the world in our birthday suits and guess what else? We leave this world in birthday suits. We all have bodies. We all have sex organs. Yet the shock and awe over seeing not a woman's body but a man's body just sends the Internet, media and fans into such a crazy reaction of fanfare it's just silly when you think about it. We're all adults here. We've all seen a naked man. Yet there is something highly forbidden about it. Well, at least in our Puritan-based nation there is. Get over it people! It's just a naked guy!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Understanding Self-Publishing

I have so many authors who show up and consider my company 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com) who are also considering self-publishing. First, I want to be direct that a self-published book can be really well-done if an author has experience in publishing and understands the requirements. The only problem is most authors do not understand publishing. They may understand the basic fundamentals of writing and editing, but production is often a question mark. And one thing I have found that nine out of 10 new authors definitely don't understand is the proofing process. Here is a common conversation:

"I am a professional writer, and I hired an editor," says author.
"You still need a professional proofreader," I reply.
"No, I am also an English professor and I'm POSITIVE there are no mistakes!"

I could actually send you to a few of my clients who made that kind of statement early in the process. They have now experienced the process, and they will emphatically tell you I was absolutely right. They could not have imagined the mistakes we found -- in fact, dozens of mistakes.

These same authors also believe they can do self-publishing on the cheap. Truth in storytelling: hiring professionals (which is required) to edit and design your book is going to be expensive no matter what you believe. White collar, educated professionals don't work for minimum wage -- and if they do, I would suggest you get what you pay for. Education and experience come at a price. Any seasoned professional costs money. If you self-publish and you want more than a mediocre book, you have to hire the best -- and the best costs money.

If you self-publish, how are you going to get your book into bookstores? Distributors (well, distributors that actually PAY you when they sell) do not take individual titles unless that title has a proven track record. Our distributor Baker and Taylor will not take a title without a sales track record. Authors also have to literally build their cases. To build a case, the author will have to write a marketing plan and submit that plan to Baker and Taylor, and it is very unlikely all of that effort will NOT produce results. You can use eBook distribution methods, but these methods don't distribute print books -- and print books still outsell eBook copies (although the gap is closing).

Then there is the issue of credibility with the mainstream reviewers. Self-published books still don't hold equal weight in their eyes. Many reviewers will only review print book copies, too. Without necessary book reviews, your book will not have exposure to your readership. Without exposure, your book will not sell on its own (no one knows about it).

And finally, please remember that self-published, traditionally published or hybrid published (3L is a hybrid publisher that crosses traditional with self-publishing), your book is a business. Writing a book is only 50 percent of the effort; the other 50 percent is marketing and promotion. Do you know how to promote your book, too?

If all of that smacks of "too much effort" then contact us! 3L Publishing can publish and promote your book, and you can literally sit back and watch (if that is your preference). We are also running a FALL SALE (see blog below). For more information, call 916-300-8012 or send an email to info@3LPublishing.com.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fall Publishing -- Sale

It's that time of year -- publishing sale time! We have marked down our book-publishing package prices for authors to get "cool" deals of the fall season.

Package prices are as follows:

PACKAGE #1 -- UP TO 150 PAGES (6 X 9 FORMAT PAGE COUNT)
$3,000

Editorial and Graphic

  • One draft edit and final proof
  • Back cover copy (marketing copy)
  • Cover design*
  • Interior design for 6 x 9 book size
  • Back-cover design
  • Pre-press preparation with the printer**
*Illustrations and photo costs not included
**Costs don't include printing fees

PACKAGE #2 -- UP TO 250 PAGES (6 X 9 FORMAT PAGE COUNT)
$4,000

Editorial
  • One draft edit and final proof
  • Back cover copy (marketing copy)
  • Cover design*
  • Interior design for 6 x 9 book size
  • Back-cover design
  • Pre-press preparation with the printer**
*Illustrations and photo costs not included
**Costs don't include printing fees

PACKAGE #3 -- UP TO 350 PAGES (6 X 9 FORMAT PAGE COUNT)
$4,500

Editorial
  • One draft edit and final proof
  • Back cover copy (marketing copy)
  • Cover design*
  • Interior design for 6 x 9 book size
  • Back-cover design
  • Pre-press preparation with the printer**
*Illustrations and photo costs not included
**Costs don't include printing fees

Payment Packages Available
$3,000 = 6 payments of $500
$4,000 = 8 payments of $500
$4,500 = 9 payments of $500

Offer expires Sept. 30, 2013. For more information or to start your publishing package, please send an email to info@3LPublishing.com or call 916-300-8012. You can send a sample chapter and summary of your book. 

Looking for the Best Blog Site

Blogging makes a great tool to market your business. Many free and paid services are available. I'm going to weigh in on my opinion based on observation and use of the tools.

Blogger -- I obviously prefer Blogger. I use it for this blog, and I have been satisfied with its capabilities for what I do. And that is key to the process. What are you going to do with it? Now video blogging has become a big deal, and many marketers have promoted its use as popular. I see many sites now use video blogging, too. For what I do, video blogging isn't key. So my use of the video feature isn't as critical. Most sites now offer that feature (more or less in capability). Blogger allows you to insert a video. The problem I found is that my iPhone capabilities make it nearly impossible to send a video to my computer (too much bandwidth is required). So if you do intend to video blog, it's more dependent on whether or not you have the video-making capabilities. Additionally, some blogs have the same restrictions on how long the video can be. Blogger does allow image insertion, which I do use. What I really like about Blogger is how you can add the story feature (to the right) that sorts stories by popularity. I think it adds an attractive and interesting capability to pull more readership for those stories. Comments can also be moderated and/or eliminated if they are inappropriate, and spam can be controlled. It connects to my social media. And of course like all blogs it features dynamic update.

Typepad -- this is a PAID service. I use it for one of my clients. It does more or less than Blogger. Its key difference is its connection to Technorati (a keyword service). I think it costs $19.95 a month (not sure though, because I don't pay for it). It also provides suggestion on keywords and/or connections to older posts (I like this). I'm not thrilled with the image feature that is a bit of a pain. And it offers conversion and uncovers code so programming types can play with it. Sometimes the programming pops up anyway, and I don't care for it. It does provide a great sorting features and categories you can self-create. This segments your blog and helps readers find specific topics under those categories like a table of contents.

Tumblr -- I have used Tumblr, which is the social media site of blogs. People follow you to read your blog. This service is free, but vastly different in how it acts like social media. Tumblr is known for its video capabilities, which are very cool. I like how the videos play on loops. The downside is you have to spend a lot of time trying to attract followers. In my case, I don't have that kind of time so my Tumblr site sits untended.

Monday, August 19, 2013

True Blood -- Season 6 Finale

Spoiler alert: some people hate spoilers so don't read this if you haven't seen the True Blood Season 6 Finale. Now I don't usually write spoilers, but hey! They made my favorite character Eric Northman catch fire in Sweden while he sunbathed. Many of you maybe wondering if he really died or not since we didn't actually see his demise into a pile of goo. I'm thinking our show's writers kept that window of possibility open that they did not kill off this immensely popular character played by the sexy Alexander Skarsgård.

As for the rest of the finale ... sorry fan boys and girls! Ugh, it was absolutely terrible. The six-month later shift felt wrong. It was more like what? What? And what? Sookie and Alcide? Really? When did that happen again? And I thought Eric had glamoured Alcide (season 5) into zero romantic interest in Sookie. Now Sam is mayor and Arlene owns Merlotts? What? Huh? And the most important question, why? Oh, and now we have a rapidly spreading Hep V virus. It has mutated, and now we're onto vampire zombies killing people in small towns ... huh?

True Blood couldn't have deviated so far off course if Alan Ball had remained in charge as head writer. I was already surprised by the show's tone this season. It had a palpable shift. It became more focused on action and treachery and magic than it did anything else. The show always had a personal tone and was more relationship-oriented in the past. As we got into Season 5 and then 6, it broadened. The stories also seemed to stay in the same place -- first at the Vampire Authority (prison) and then the vampire concentration camp. Keeping the vampires stagnant in one place bogged it down. And the other major error this season took its center character Sookie and made her no more important than say Jessica.

So in the end, my fierce passion for the show waned -- and with the apparent demise of my favorite vampire Eric Northman I won't be a returning fan next season. Sorry guys! Put Alan Ball back in charge of the storytelling (the savant of storytelling) and fix the show fast! How about we make this season all a dream! Here we go: it's Bill's bad trip on Lilith's blood.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

What Maisie Knew -- Movie Review (DVD)

Rating: ***1/2

Avid readers of my blog know I have a "thing" for Alexander Skarsgard of True Blood fame. So, pretty much any movie he stars in catches my attention. So I did a little research and looked up when What Maisie Knew was coming out (it passed right through the movie theaters). It got great reviews, so I figured putting down the $13 for the DVD would make a great evening of movie-watching. Down my money went and the DVD was popped into my trusty player. I already knew the storyline might be depressing, so I wasn't revved-up for some humorous foray into laughter land. Yes, readers this movie was a downer, but a really good downer (does that count?).

Our small child Maisie is trapped in the tug-of-war between her two extremely damaged parents. The movie is told from her point-of-view, which gives the sadness a greater palpability. The squabbling adults don't seem to notice this child or regard her like any normal parent should. But the "moment" of complete neglect comes when she is dropped off at her stepfather's restaurant, and her mother completely devoid of reality, fails to realize the man isn't working that night. She is then shuffled to a stranger's house and scared. If your heart doesn't just break for this child ... As a mother, I was absolutely astounded.

What Maisie knew actually delves into the deep emotions of flawed and damaged adults. As the mother cried and expressed her pain over the situation and the way she felt, I related (I just went through a divorce). Self-absorption, pain and neglect all swirl into a poignant movie where Julianne Moore gives one of her steady performances, and Alexander Skarsgard is so low key and sweet you want him to be your father, too. In fact, Mr. Skarsgard comes off so well you really do think he would make a terrific father in real life (he doesn't have kids). But it is the little girl whose stoic performance is authentic and beautifully done. It's a sad movie, but it's a great one worth seeing (if you're in the mood).

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Morning Musings

Up with the chick-a-dees and the Facebook in-box where I receive these messages from hapless guys who can't spell. What's up with the inability to spell? Now I realize there are those who shorten phrases in text. U know ... and then there is R U ... makes me think of Toys'R'Us. Yet there are those out there who literally cannot spell. I'm not talking sort'a can't spell. I'm talking barely using the alphabet. First, if you're a guy who messages a "publisher" who is also a writer, give this some consideration. Do you think someone who is all about spelling (I'm an editor, too) will appreciate the failure to attend spelling class. What does the ability to spell project? Think about it? In our digital-ease world, you realize that spelling and punctuation take center stage more than ever. You are projecting quite a bit of your "learned" ability in writing. A guy who can't spell the word "beautiful" (thank you for calling me that) isn't going to impress me even though he said something nice. Maybe to the average person who doesn't making a living off the English language this wouldn't be quite so unattractive ... or maybe not. To a professional editor and writer, well, it's bothersome. Next in line with I failed to attend spelling class is the failure to write literately. It comes off as (wait for it) ... illiterate. Again, who are you messaging? A literate woman. The extreme messages where the messenger failed to spell a single word correctly and then put together a sentence I can barely understand isn't a winner. Just remember "gang'o'mine," your spelling and writing abilities project something about you. Just saying ...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What is the No. #1 Way to Build Business?

I took a meeting yesterday with a newbie freelance writer who picked my brain. She wanted to know what she should do to build her career. As I went through the marketing "requirements," I literally stumbled on what is the No. #1 business-building technique. Can you guess what it is? Networking. As I explained the key components to building a marketing platform, I kept emphasizing networking. And within that context, I emphasized relationship building vs. tossing a card at someone and then talking non-stop about your company.

Here are two critical components to relationship-building:

Listening -- don't talk non-stop about your company. The best thing you can do is become a great listener. People love to talk about themselves. When you meet a potential customer or client, open your ears, listen and respond appropriately. The person will tell you all you need to know and then look for ...

How can I be of service? Once you establish a rapport with a prospect, ask for a coffee meeting (lunch meetings can add up cost-wise). Again, listen and look for where you can be of service to them. If that service is simply answering a question or concern, your job is done. In the process of relationship-building it's about the relationship.  The person you help will either give you work in the future (they like and trust you) or they might become a great source of referral. Either way it's a win-win.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Can You Believe ... Why yes I can!

So now I have to make fun of the "aging" ads on Facebook. Can you believe she's 80? How you can look 42... blah, blah, blah. I looked at today's picture and thought, "Yes, I do believe she's 80! With a really plastic-looking facelift." Now here is what is really bugging me about these ads. Facebook somewhere in my profile has determined these ads would work for me. So even though I have no interest in getting plastic surgery, every day I am subjected to various cosmetic enhancements advertisements along with the latest ones of the "men" who are "seniors" who would date me. Great! So even though I am nowhere near "senior" status, I apparently need plastic surgery and to date these great looking old guys. Is that all I'm supposed to care about on social media? Cosmetic surgery and dating old guys?

I assume Facebook has assumed I'm single since my status is blocked and no one knows if I'm single or in a relationship. And therefore as a "singleton" I'm "older," and I should make sure I maintain my looks artificially so the "older" guys will want me. Is that it? Love the real message in all of that. Do you think that social media advertises to men the other way around? I'm willing to bet not so much. And even deeper there is a societal message, too. You can't age gracefully. If you're over the age of 40 these days AND single, you surely must be senior, and therefore will want to date "senior" men. And there my friends is my rant for a Wednesday morning.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Why All Business Owners Need a Book

Ever thought of writing or having someone ghost write a book to support your business? Did you know a book is better than a brochure? Here are reasons why a book is better for business to create opportunities than any other tool you can develop:

  • A book makes you an expert
  • Experts earn credibility
  • Experts get asked to speak in front of groups
  • Experts even get PAID to speak in front of groups
  • Experts get asked to speak to the media
  • Media exposure gives you and your business exposure
  • Experts can do back-of-the-room sales with their book AND make MORE money
  • Audience members who see you speak will ask to meet and do potential business
  • People who see you in the media will contact you for business
  • A book is part of your marketing platform
  • People throw away brochures; they do NOT throw away a book. In fact, they will pass on your book versus throw it away
Do you want to know about my company 3L Publishing's Business Book in a Box package deal? For a flat fee based on the size of your book (page count), we offer a package that includes:
  • Content development and/or editing and proofing
  • Cover and back-cover design
  • Interior guts design
  • E-book conversion to Nook, Kindle and iBook
  • A completed perfect-bound book to be sold individually or in book stores
For more information on our business custom publishing programs, please call 916-300-8012. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Morning Coffee

Coffee meetings on Monday ... yes, got up early and actually got an early start to my day. Why is it we all resort to coffee meetings these days? It is as if Starbuck's was built just to provide a place for coffee meetings. No one ever suggest we meet at Denny's. Well, I take that back. I've had older clients actually suggest Denny's. The coffee and food at Denny's is awful. Thank goodness I do business with an older demographic. My next question is, of course, why coffee meetings? I do have a theory. Want to hear it? Of course you do (wink). I think it's because coffee is cheaper than lunch or the old martini meeting standby. (Remember when people actually smoked and drank alcohol to do business?) Lunch meetings can get pricey. Coffee, though, isn't cheap these days. I can get a flavored coffee and maybe a scone -- all for $10. Wow! Wait! Did you say $10? Yes, just for coffee and a scone. Isn't that ridiculous? Next it's going to be $20 for a gum ball. Ha! And that's your morning rant.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Elysium - Movie Review

Rating: **1/2

Set in 2154, the movie Elysium is another future doom's day movie where the Earth is over-populated, trashed, and in ruins. Only the very rich get to live in luxury on a space station aka a "habitat" called Elysium. The movie takes an extreme look at a world full of have-nots whose populace gazes upon another world full of the "haves" who have abandoned them. Not only does Elysium offer its "citizens" nothing but the very best, but also they have the best medical technology that saves lives -- and here is where the plot falls apart for me. It made zero sense that Elysium politicians would not share this revolutionary technology with the rest of the planet below. But it then again, without this plot device the movie would simply become, "I want to live there not here." And who wouldn't want to live in paradise compared to what Earth has become. I kept wondering, where did they find such great sets? The squalor was well done.

While I found Elysium engaging and well-paced, I wasn't impressed with the story per se. As noted, the medical angle made no sense. The story centers on Max, played by Matt Damon, who was raised in a convent and falls in love with Frey, who reads stories of Elysium to him. The young kids develop a bond that continues into adulthood. When Max is radiated in a job-related accident he has five days to live, which creates the urgency to get up to Elysium and be cured. His sickness precipitates the need for this exoskeleton fitting that I found rather obtrusive, and I kept thinking Matt Damon looked awkward in it (a distraction vs. a nice prop piece). In the meantime, we have the cold and proper head of Homeland Security on Elysium played viciously by Jody Foster who instigates a coup to bring down the government and place herself in power. This situation erupts when Max inadvertently ends up with the "keys-to-the-kingdom" information in his head. At the risk of giving away spoilers, all I will say is this is another action-driven popcorn flick that if you're in the mood for decent entertainment on a Friday night, go for it.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Quality Inn, South Lake Tahoe -- Bad! Bad! Bad!

When your room sucks, leave! We ended
up playing games at Squaw Valley.
Let me qualify my little review of this grimy hotel. First, I do believe you get what you pay for. However, if I pay $60 then I feel I invited a fleabag hotel experience. If I pay $110 my feelings change in proportion to the dollars invested. Most hotels that charge over $100 usually offer a decent experience. I (unfortunately) booked my room at the Quality Inn on south shore Lake Tahoe (3838 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe) via Hotels.com (which is not good because they don't have a good cancellation policy). The exterior looked fine, and the rooms appeared nice. Upon arrival, I was still satisfied. The exterior looked good. The lobby was nice with a granite fireplace. All good.

Then we went to our room. Uh-oh! The rooms were not remodeled or updated and the wallpaper looked circa 1980. Dated wallpaper isn't a problem unless it's smudged in dirt. Okay, and then the bedspreads were also dingy and looked updated maybe 15 years ago. Okay we're in the '90's at least. Not too thrilled with my room, I decided to take my daughter for a swim and visit in the hot tub. We head outside game to enjoy some relaxation ... but now the word "uh-ho" applies again. The hot tub looked like a cesspool with chips and gashes in the walls with an ancient jet pump that gurgles and gasps on its last engine. Okay, let's swim ... um no not that either. The water line of the pool has left behind what looks like dirt and grime from the occupants and no cleaning efforts. All right, we're going to abandon the swimming efforts and head back inside. After many jokes about the potential for bed bugs, we go to sleep.

The next day we wake up and decide it's time for a shower. After careful study of the hot/cold situation, we attempt to turn the shower on to hot water. Well, okay here we go again "uh-oh" ... no hot water. Wait. Wait. Wait. Twist, turn, and struggle -- no hot water. Upon realizing that my three-day stay would involve no showers, my frustration and disgust piqued. The bad news: it was booked through Hotels.com (third-party vendor) and now my hope of a refund is fading. Maybe if the Quality Inn reads my scathing review, they will realize the error of their ways, disenfranchise these owners (LOL) and give me my money back!

One note: And this is for my mother (who reads this blog). "Don't they know you have a blog?" LOL ... aptly put! Aptly put!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Quit Waiting and Start Doing

Do you ever feel like all you ever do is wait for things to happen? Wait for your life to change. Wait for your personal or professional life to fall into place. This last year, I feel like all I keep doing is waiting and waiting for change. I keep waiting for my business 3L Publishing to go to the next level of success.  I keep waiting for my lover to be with me. I keep waiting and waiting. The frustration mounting each day as only trickles of success happen. It's time to stop waiting and start doing! Change is about taking action and making changes not waiting, wondering and hoping. In my book Second Bloom, I emphasize the need to take action. Action is the cornerstone to success.

Establish your vision! What is your vision? Do you know? Stop and really visualize it. Meditate on that vision. You have to first know what you're heading toward (both personally and professionally).

Vision #1: To exceed my gross income and make first $10K a month followed by incremental increases until it's a solid $20K a month. To create high-quality products that consistently improve and sell in the marketplace. To grow the company solidly by 20-30 percent annually. To be fiscally conservative and reinvest in the company so it can grow and prosper -- and the entire staff is fulfilled, appreciated, valued and earns a great income.

Vision #2: To create a true, loving partnership with my lover where communication is honest, consistent and ongoing -- and to never allow my personal boundaries to be violated. To not be taken advantage of or taken for granted but to be loved wholly and completely and give love wholly and completely. To give and receive in a balanced, loving way. And create a successful, loving family.

To achieve these visions, you must take steps and take actions to make it happen.

Step 1: Set Goals
Step 2: Work toward those goals even if its in baby steps
Step 3: Work those goals daily

Making and keeping goals will propel you forward. Creating your vision(s) and then working toward them through positive, thoughtful actions will bring about change. Each day, I will work toward my two visions. And I will keep you posted on the results.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Why I Haven't Blogged about My Favorite Show

As many of my followers know, I love the HBO series True Blood; but many of you may have noticed I am not doing episode reviews this season. A friend of mine was watching an episode with me and made a comment that completely cemented why the show hasn't captivated my interest as much this season -- Sookie. He said, "Isn't the show supposed to revolve around her? It's all about vampires." I affirmed, "Yes, it's supposed to center on her." In the beginning, the show did, in fact, center on Sookie. After about the fourth season, it lost its focus.

This season's storyline with Warlow was intriguing with the fairy/vampire hybrid and ability to walk in the sun. The Sookie/Warlow romance became just about 1/4 of the show and took a backseat to the Vampire "Internment Camp" story line that became the primary story that affected everything else. In fact, we saw more of Bill and the internment camp scenarios than anything else. When Sookie and Warlow had sex it wasn't even developed enough for us to believe Sookie had strong feelings for him. I kind of thought it came almost out of the blue. This criticism shows the importance of sexual tension and build-up. Remember, the show creators built up the Eric/Sookie romance over three seasons, so when they finally did the "wild thing" fans were just applauding. "It's about time," was the collective sigh. When Sookie decided to have sex with Warlow, it was more like, "What? Really?" No build-up, no sexual tension = who cares? And, "Oh, man Sookie you're too easy." LOL

Monday, August 5, 2013

Personal Value and Worth

I see a lot of women both personally and professionally devalue their skills or worth. I am guilty, too. We project our value through our self-confidence -- and this goes to our personal and professional lives. Over the years, I've seen women entrepreneurs act pleased to essentially make a small income. I remember one woman glowed over the idea she had grossed $500 in one month -- and this was her full-time business. I remember marveling over the idea that $500 would maybe pay my SMUD bill. Yet she felt validated to make so little money and literally work for pennies on the dollar. Why do we value so little about ourselves?

I know that professionally I value myself. I have always put up high standards. I know our products at 3L Publishing stand head and shoulders above the rest. Where I have failed to value myself is in my personal life. My former boyfriend constantly encourages me to value who I am. Of course, we're still very close. He values me. He once told me (and I thought it was an interesting way to think about it) that he didn't mind that we still went out all the time to do things. I suggested this might crimp his ability to get a date. He replied, "It never hurts to have a beautiful woman on your arm." I smiled.

Why if he values my very presence with him do I not value myself? I need to value who I am. I need to transfer the same self-confidence I have in business to my personal life. And if you're a woman and you perhaps do value yourself personally, but you don't professionally and you don't make the kind of money you deserve, then reverse this thought. Have the self-confidence you need to succeed.

Here are some ideas to help build confidence:

  • Wake up every day and say something positive to yourself in the mirror. Perhaps you might say, "I am worth it!" that's a good start.
  • Find a mantra to affirm your value and self-worth. Use that mantra on a daily basis. "I am a worthy, smart and beautiful woman, and any man is lucky to have me. I expect to be treated with respect, kindness and love." or "I am a worthy, smart and resourceful woman, anyone who works with me is lucky. I treat everyone with respect and I expect to be treated the same."
  • Assert your worth. If someone mistreats you then assert your worth. You don't have to be a doormat. You can say how you feel as long as you don't assign blame.
None of these ideas will stick unless you feel it inside, which is why the mirror exercise is useful. Feel it inside and then you will exude it to the outside world, too.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday Morning Musings

It's Friday and time to go skipping through the long grass aka I am not serious. When I don't feel serious I don't want to be all vanilla and ramble about business. But alas one must stick to topic and write something at least remotely useful. I need to network more. If I networked more I would get more business, which equals BONUS. And the best part, my observations of human behavior would produce many amusing yarns to spin. Of course, my only goal is to make you laugh. The general population always produces humor. People watching is a great source of entertainment. So onward ... here is an entertaining reality. Do you know people will line up for free ice cream but if you give away free books  people will actually turn it down. Yes, it's true. Free ice cream works. Free books fails. Here is the truth about free. People assume that if something is free it must be junk (of course free ice cream couldn't be junk ... ice cream on a hot summer day is always good). If you think giving something away will help your cause I have generally found it doesn't help. Now ONE free giveaway can cause a stir. If I give ONE book away for free, people get excited. They compete over the one free thing. If that ice cream van had given out just one free ice cream the owners would have caused a riot. P.S., the ice cream was Ben & Jerry's so in all fairness. I mean I could compete over a good carton of Fudge Brownie Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Booth Duty

Booth duty :).
So, I'm sitting in my booth space at the Northwest Book Festival, and I'm with my friend Kirk who volunteered to help that day. People walk up to the booth and walk away. Kirk, who is new to sitting in a booth space, made some keen observations that I found amusing. First, we had many folks walk up the booth who clearly suffered from poverty -- and this is a political statement. What we found actually kind of strange when the say through their (how shall we say) "dental challenged" teeth that we should have the festival on the 1st of the month when they get "paid." It was Kirk who said, "Welfare pays at the beginning of the month." Paid? I thought paid meant you earned a "paycheck" ... you get "paid" for working (that is my fiscal conservative viewpoint). The other observation bemused Kirk. He said, "Why do people stand back, avoid eye contact, and look at the books?" I said, "Because it's like the used car salesman we all avoid." They don't want to be "sold" something. I can understand that one, too. The other people have what I call "lack of censorship" ... they say whatever pops into their heads regardless of its appropriateness. My favorite comment came from a writer who said, "So are you a 'professional' publisher'?" That one was annoying and rather stupid. I wanted to say, "No, we're unprofessional. See all these books and marketing materials -- ALL unprofessional." Instead my fork tongue produced, "As opposed to 'unprofessional'?" And the smart ass came out.