Speaking Engagements and Book Sales – A Logical Pairing
I’ve written about this before, but a recent activity made me think it’s worth repeating. As a writer, you want your books to be read—preferably by people who’ve purchased a copy. In addition to the usual advertising and promotion on social media and other online venues, if you engage in any form of public appearances or speaking, you have another possible platform for sales.
I was invited recently to travel to Reading, PA to speak to the World Affairs Council of Greater Reading on the need for stronger American diplomacy. I just happen to have written two books on American diplomacy, In the Line of Fire: American Diplomats in the Trenches and Ethical Dilemmas and the Practice of Diplomacy, so I decided to take a few copies of each with me, on the off chance some of the attendees might be interested. I was modest—as it turned out, far too modest—so I only took ten copies of each book. At the end of my presentation, when the announcement was made that I had books for sale, since lunch was over and we’d ended the question and answer session, I expected everyone to bolt for the door. Instead, I looked up and saw half of the one hundred or so people lined up waiting to purchase a copy.
The twenty books, each autographed by yours truly, were gone in ten minutes, and I spent another ten minutes giving out my name cards with a link to my Amazon Author page, for some thirty disappointed people.
Twenty books sold in ten minutes is probably not a record, but I’m not a best-selling author, and except for one person in the audience who had heard me speak a year ago in Chautauqua, NY, was completely unknown to the people attending that luncheon speech. But, they wanted my book. They wanted my autograph. And, a day after I got back home in Washington, DC, I even got an email from one attendee who had some additional questions and wanted my opinion of which of my fiction books he should consider buying.
So, here’s my advice; if you’re going somewhere to speak to a group, throw ten or fifteen copies of your books in a box and put them in the trunk of your car. You just might be surprised at what happens.
Recently I was at a social and noticed something that brought my attention to how people are so interested in talking about themselves - they don't listen or respond when someone makes a comment or shares a story. Even when they responded it was to bring the subject to their own story that was similar to the one telling the story. Of course, it is okay to share their own story, however, wouldn't you think they'd give the speaker acknowledgment of their story first? I would.
Dr. Willie White's religious Thoughts
The Sounds Of Summer
Summertime is a time of the year when the many joyful sounds are heard everywhere. There are many outdoor activities that fill the air with laughter; kids playing, backyard cookouts, neighbors mowing their lawns and playground activities all bring joyful sounds of the summer.
What is your favorite summertime activity? Is it attending a baseball game, playing soccer, or just getting together with family and friends for an evening of relaxation? Whatever your favorite activity is it adds to the joyous sounds of summer.
My favorite time of the summer is taking weekend trips to some small out of the way place, seeing the beauty and history of that town. Another activity is taking a trip to the ballgame and watching the Tigers play win or lose eating nachos with cheese and hot peppers as I do the wave.
Have you ever taken a leisurely drive through a neighborhood just looking at the many different arrays of flowers in the yards and what beauty they add to the homes and neighborhood overall? The beauty from the different array of flowers makes their own kind of melodious music.
Who can forget the neighborhood sound coming from a backyard swimming pool that is filled with laughter from kids and grownups enjoying the summertime fund? Then there is the smell of good food that is being enjoyed by all. There is nothing like a backyard barbecue.
The sounds of summer represent fun in the sun from every aspect; enjoy the summer.
In our relationships we always need to realize that truth, respect and communication are most important. A mates want full attention when they are sharing themselves with their mate.
John B. Rosenman
Baby Born From 20-Year-Old Frozen Embryo – What’s Next?
According to AOL Health, back in 2010, a “42-year-old woman gave birth to a baby that came from an embryo frozen 20 years ago.” Does this surprise you? Dr. Sherman Silber, a fertility expert said “this particular baby’s birth isn’t groundbreaking.” In fact, “it’s symbolic of a practice that is revolutionary and can change women’s [and men’s] lives.”
This is certainly the case with Rachel and Aaron Halbert, a white missionary couple who had trouble conceiving. Last year, after adopting two African-American children, Rachel gave birth to black triplets after ‘adopting’ leftover embryos from discarded IVF treatment. Please view the happy family members below:
Dr. Silber feels such cases are “no big deal. We have lots of babies born from embryos that have been frozen over 15 years earlier.” Nearly a million such embryos already exist in this country alone, and “There is no legitimate shelf life limit to frozen embryos or eggs or ovarian tissue for that matter.”
Pause for a moment and think of some of the implications. Of course, women such as cancer patients who need to delay childbearing can have their eggs or ovarian tissue frozen and later implanted. Perhaps twenty years hence when it is more convenient or physically possible, they can give birth to one or more infants.
Most of us already know this. But there are more implications that have long been the stuff of science fiction. I present just two of many possibilities below.
1. It’s All in the Family. Catherine Donaldson-Evans reports in AOL Health that “Some parents have even stored eggs and sperm for their children with health conditions that will make them infertile—meaning the kids will give birth to their half-brothers or sisters. A woman whose 7-year-old daughter had a medical problem rendering her infertile froze her eggs in 2007. In another case, a baby was born from 22-year-old frozen sperm.”
2. Fifteen years? Twenty years? Why limit ourselves? What about fifty years, a hundred, five hundred? What about a woman ‘adopting’ a one or five-thousand-year-old embryo and giving birth eventually to a healthy baby? Or three, five, or even ten?
Why not? Perhaps in the future, Science will be King. Doubtless, as the photo above shows, the field of frozen embryo development opens up many beautiful possibilities for enriching our lives. However, at the same time, it might lead to darker and troubling consequences.
Perhaps I’ll discuss that last subject in a future column. As for now, I’d like to close with a song from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, in which a man longs for the artificial womb he inhabited before birth. For some reason, it seems relevant here.
"Bottle of mine, it's you I've always wanted!
Bottle of mine, why was I ever decanted?
Skies are blue inside of you,
The weather's always fine;
For there ain't no Bottle in all the world
Like that dear little Bottle of mine."
Who? You know, this is just another one of those fancy names for Dove and Pigeon, but that's the way it is. Those guys who studied Latin and couldn't get anyone to pay any attention to them got even with all the rest of us, so, Columbidae is the way it is. These friends of ours have stout bodies and slender bills, some species having a Ceres - meaning wax - which covers the base of their bill, and they feed mostly on plants, fruits, and seeds. Although they are known worldwide, the greatest variety thrives in the Indomalaya and Australasia ecozones. Their nests are mostly flimsy of sticks and other debris assembled in trees, hedges, or even in the open on the ground. They lay one or two eggs at a time with both parents caring for the young, that caring time lasting from 7 to 28 days (I guess some are lazier than others). Unlike most birds, Doves and Pigeons of both sexes produce Crop Milk, that being a secretion from the lining of the crop of parent birds that is regurgitated to young birds. Young doves and pigeons are called "squabs". These birds, particularly the pigeon, were used admirably in WW 1 and WW 2. They were so respected 3 were given the first ever Dickin medal serving with Britain's Air Force, for rescuing an Air Force crew during WW 2. A Homing Pigeon, in WW 1 was also awarded a medal by France for his service in Verdun. Despite having lost one leg and being shot in the chest, Cher Ami managed to travel 25 miles to deliver a message that saved 194 men of the Lost Battalion of the 77th infantry division at Argon in 1918
Pigeons and doves are widely noted in many aspects of religion. They are also considered an important food source. In other areas of the world they are considered sacred and magic. They symbolize the soul and are also seen as a messenger between God and Man. Among the primal traditions of the world they are described as representing gentleness, innocence, timidity, peace and chastity, and in some areas, lustfulness.
In Egyptian, Mythology the Dove is associated with the Tree of Life. It also has a special affinity with the Olive, and to this day the image of a Dove carrying an olive branch is almost universally recognized as a symbol of peace. Except in Japan, where an ancient legend describes the Dove as a messenger of war and sacred to the god of war. However, a Dove bearing a sword is said to announce the cessation of a conflict.
Many stories throughout the ancient and modern times speak of the Dove with great respect and admiration.
Hall of Fame
Hello and welcome. When I started writing my mother’s story in 2013 I couldn’t have guessed the opportunities that would arise. The results of the latest being only a few weeks ago: but before I enlighten you to what has happened I wish to give you a brief background.
Last year I wrote an article that was requested by Boral (Bitumen and Oil Refineries (Australia) Limited) on my mother Patricia Evans who, in 1949, became the company’s first female accountant. She was profiled for their 70th anniversary in the December 2016 Boral News, pages 6 & 7, and you can access this magazine via http://www.suzanne-newnham.com/-blog/what-glass-ceiling. This article was an unexpected and wonderful diversion from my focus of writing my book on Mamma’s life. However, that was not to be the only diversion. During a trip to Central Australia in August last year another organisation, following a chance remark, requested more information. Arrival home saw an increase in research, including contacting companies, institutes and employers of multiple decades past.
Recently I received a letter stating ‘[Patricia Evans is] a pioneer in the predominantly male field of accounting’, and as a result she has been accepted into the Herstory Archive in the National Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame. A wonderful presentation followed on 25th June, which was coincidentally the 69th anniversary of Patricia becoming a Federal Accountant! On receiving the Award Mamma, did say that she wondered what all the fuss was about as she was a capable woman just doing a job and helping others. However, I observed that she appeared to allow herself to relish being the centre of all the attention!
So, why am I writing to tell you all this? It’s to share my excitement in the fabulous recognition of my mother – her determination, finding a way around the ‘glass ceiling’, and for being a lifelong inspiration to me and so many people with whom she has come in contact.
So, now it is back to my main project – interviewing, researching, day-dreaming, typing, discovering, followed by lots of retyping leading to the great creative process of continuing to write my next book – my mother’s story.
Until next month best wishes for recognising opportunities, being creative, and having fun. Happy writing.
Habits are what make us.
Several years have passed, and when we stand in yoga class, we notice our bend and how far we can reach our feet to the bottom with our hands. We are so close, but can’t reach the feet. Is it a habit? We are doing a dance class with footwork, and we miss a step or we have to pause and think about it. Is it the mind telling our foot which steps to take and pause because we may have a habit of doing it a certain way? We take the step, but on the wrong footstep. Is it just a habit? I feel it sometimes, yes, the mind tells us, almost talking to us. Right brain, tells left foot to step, and right brain tells left foot to step. The speed is what we move at. Almost like the mind is telling which foot to move at what speed. There is a pause cause the mind told us don’t make a mistake, don’t step on that foot, this is not the foot we need to step on. It is also a habit. Do we have habits like dwelling too much, or imagining things? Habits of moving, talking and listening to others in a certain way? An adult may have a habit of a child because he has not mastered the skills of something. Someone may have a habit of being careless or not having etiquettes. Someone could have a habit of laughing too much. Someone may notice a habit of having their finger near their mouth as they speak. There may be people who may not be consistent at something. A habit is what we have grown up with and what is instilled in our mind and our body, which makes us do things in a certain way. We are not able to change because we have been doing it in that behavioral for years and years. Habits are definitely what makes us who we are.
July 3, 2017 Copyright@ Vinita Singh
Vee Bee's Beauty Comments
Simply beauty is looking natural - using colors that match you as a person
Motherhood is a precious role we play so always remember your child is watching you - always!
August is the eighth month of the year (between July and September) in the Julian and Gregorian calendars and the fifth month to have the length of 31 days. In the Southern Hemisphere, August is the seasonal equivalent of February in the Northern Hemisphere.
AugustBirthstones: Peridot and Sardonyx
https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/ This reading Ape does Author spotlighting, click on the above address and visit him; he's the best
Amber Says Goodbye
By Marjorie Hembroff
Twelve-year-old, Amber Fieldale stood beside Mrs. Hobbs, Gran’s housekeeper and companion, in the family pew. Amber was an orphan and had lived with Gran since her parents’ had been killed in a car crash. Gran had been Amber’s legal guardian since she was six years old.
Ambers legs felt like jelly and she sat down with a thud. A shudder went through her, as her attention went from the black clad people to the oak coffin covered with white daisies and roses.
Mrs. Hobbs gave Amber’s hand an encouraging squeeze and smiled.
Amber turned her head to look out the window and into the surrounding hills. Her thoughts drifted to the night before. She had been standing beside Aunt Anne, Gran’s daughter, in the funeral parlor, as everyone had gathered to say their goodbyes in private. The coffin was open with Gran propped up against a white satin pillow surrounded by green satin. Gran looked at peace and like she would pop up any second to say something. Amber had shivered and bolted outside when Aunt Anne had asked her to kiss Gran one last time. The stars had twinkled in the dark sky, but one star had been brighter that the others. Was Gran looking down and watching over her? Goosebumps formed on Amber’s arms as she folded them over her chest and wished she had grabbed her coat.
The click of Aunt Anne’s heels on the wooden floor, as she walked down the aisle, brought Amber’s mind back to the present for a minute. Amber and Gran hadn’t seen Aunt Anne that often due to her busy schedule. Every few months there had been a whirlwind visit that had exhausted Gran. In between visits there had been phone calls and an occasional letter.
Aunt Anne was dabbing her eyes with a rumpled handkerchief. Her back was stiff and erect when she passed Amber. Aunt Anne was dressed in a dark gray pin striped suit with a black hat and a black veil concealing her dark brown eyes.
Amber’s gaze wandered to where Uncle Mathew, her mother’s younger brother, and his family sat. She had always looked forward to his visits. He was a kind, gentle man and told stories about the scrapes her mother and he had got into when they were kids. Uncle Mathew lived a quarter mile away and Amber played with her cousins frequently.
Amber’s thoughts drifted once more to the night before when she had tossed and turned all night. She had drifted from one dream to another. She smiled when she remembered the dream where she’d danced in the meadow with Gran.
Gran had been ill for several weeks and had been rushed to the hospital. On Amber’s last visit Gran had squeezed her hand before she drifted off to sleep. That night Gran had passed away and the following days were a blur.
Amber felt bewildered and gazed around the room as the minister’s voice droned on and on. Her thoughts drifted to happier days with Mrs. Hobbes and Gran. The little white cottage, in the village of Willow, felt empty now even though friends, relatives and neighbors stopped in every day to give their condolences.
Amber glanced across the aisle when she heard the tap, tap of Great Aunt Jo’s cane on the wooden floor. She was Gran’s younger sister and lived in the city. Amber gripped the seat of her pew so tightly that her knuckles were white. Great Aunt Jo wore an old fashioned black dress and her black veil covered her face giving her a mysterious look. She hadn’t visited for a long time, but wrote twice a year. Great Aunt Jo dabbed her eyes with a crumpled, lace edged hankie. She had criticised Amber for not crying and had said it wasn’t natural.
Amber had sobbed silently into her pillow last night. It had just been Mrs. Hobbs, Gran and her most of the time. When Great Aunt Jo had visited she had left in a huff and Amber felt relieved when she left because peace had been restored.
Amber’s thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the organ and shuffling feet as everyone stood up for the final hymn, How Great Thou Art, one of Gran’s favorites.
Amber stiffened as her uncles and cousins shouldered the coffin and marched down the aisle towards the door. In a few minutes she followed her family down the aisle behind the coffin. Outside the coffin was placed in the black hearse and everyone drifted to waiting vehicles.
Black threatening clouds formed overhead as Amber watched the coffin being lowered in the ground. She clinched her hands until her fingernails dug into her palms. She hung her head and shivered watching in disbelief. What now? Her life had been turned upside down in a few short days. Amber followed the others as they dumped clumps of earth and roses on the coffin. Tears filled her eyes as she stumbled along. Oh Gran, don’t leave me. Everyone had turned to leave as rain splattered on the ground, leaving circles in the dust. Amber stumbled and almost fell forward as tears blurred her vision, but someone grabbed her arm preventing her from falling.
Great Aunt Jo gripped her cane with her gnarled hands and gave Amber a stern look from under her veil. “Don’t make a public spectacle of yourself.”
Tears poured down Amber’s cheeks as she looked up at Great Aunt Jo. She should talk. Great Aunt Jo had been sniffling and dabbing her eyes all the way through the service. Now she was smiling and talking to everyone as if nothing had happened. How could she?
Then a gentle hand touched Amber’s shoulder, and she looked up to see Uncle Mathew standing beside her with a gentle twinkle in his blue eyes. “Let’s go to the house. Tomorrow is a fresh day.” He put his arm around Amber’s shoulders as they walked towards the car.
Ghost in the Attic
Bess sat on the wooden bench, in front of the metal tool shed, while Mr. Mars cleaned the lawnmower. “Do you think there are ghosts?”
Mr. Mars wiped his greasy hands on a rag. “Haven’t seen any.”
Bess laid her book to one side. “I heard noises in the attic. Megan and I are afraid to go up there.”
Mr. Mars chuckled. “Shall we look?”
They went in the back door, of the red brick apartment building, and up the back stairs. Bess followed Mr. Mars up the creaky uncarpeted stairs until they reached the attic door. There was a loud creak when he pushed the wooden door open and strolled into the dimly lit cluttered room.
“This room gives me the creeps,” Bess wrapped her arms around her chest as she peered into the shadowy corners “I’ve got goose bumps.”
The air was filled with the sound of shuffling feet and the constant rattling of the shutters when Mr. Mars crossed the room to pull the cord on the overhead light. The bare bulb bathed the room in a golden light, but didn’t reach the corners. “It’s time everything was cleaned out. Most of it is junk anyway. Will have to fix the windows and shutters. Could be the source of your noises.”
“Want help. It’s boring Megan is grounded and can’t even have company, “ Bess said as she looked around. “We always hear creaking and little footsteps.”
“Hmm.” Mr. Mars stroked his goatee. “Two will get the job done faster. Possibly find the source of your ghost.”
“Our apartment is one floor below and often hear noises at night,” Bess said, as she pulled out a box of old newspapers.
“Time for a bonfire,” Mr. Mars looked through another box of old magazines and books.
Bess rummaged through the books. “Can I keep them? Don’t throw them out. Here is an old copy of Grimes Fairy Tales.”
“Of course, you can have them,” Mr. Mars said, as he opened another box. “Why it’s full of old toys. Wonder who stashed these? There is a teddy bear on top.”
“They could be donated to someone. I’ll add the teddy bear to my collection” Bess said. “Hey, look at these albums.”
“Often wondered where those disappeared to,” Mr. Mars said. “The wife almost turned the apartment upside down searching for them.”
Bess knelt in front of the box of toys and pulled out two dusty teddy bears “Just need cleaning and cuddling.”
“Shall we continue?” Mr. Mars said. “No sign of your ghost though. Possibly tree branches scraping the windows. Was it windy when you heard the noise?”
“No, not always.” Bess set the books, teddies and albums to one side.
“A slight breeze makes those old shutters bang,” Mr. Mars pointed towards the ceiling. “Look there.”
“Look at what?” Bess asked as she looked upward.
“Follow me. I think that’s the source of your ghost,” Mr. Mars strode across the rough plank floor towards the window.
Bess looked up at the ceiling as a beam of sunlight peaked through. “What has that got to do with the noises?”
“See that nest in the exposed beams,” Mr. Mars said, pointing. “The window is broken and the wind makes the shutters bang and creak. Critters can get in.”
“Why yes,” Bess answered. “Is it a bird’s nest?”
“Don’t think so,” Mr. Mars said. “I will set up the step-ladder and we’ll have a look.”
“Can I look first,” Bess asked when the ladder was ready.
“You bet,” Mr. Mars said, as he steadied the ladder.
“How cute,” Bess said as she looked at the baby squirrels nestled together. “They wouldn’t make that much noise would they?”
“They run around at night and sleep during the day. Will get someone to fix the roof and window,” Mr. Mars said, as Bess climbed down.
“What will happen to the squirrels?” Bess asked as she sorted through a box of magazine clippings. “There are a lot of old recipes and pictures in this box. What do you want to do with them?”
“Will have to ask the wife,” Mr. Mars said. “Most will go into a bonfire. It’s a fire hazard up here. The squirrels will be relocated.”
They worked silently each lost in their own thoughts and soon had piles for donation, bonfire and keeping.
“Help push those old dressers against the wall. Someone might be able to use this old furniture. The wife donates items to needy folk,” Mr. Mars said, as he leaned an old oak mirror against the wall.
“Can I have the mirror and corner bookcase?” My shelves are overflowing,” Bess asked.
“Of course. You’ll need a place for those old books.” Mr. Mars said. “You have been a big help. Been putting this job off for months now. Glad it’s done.”
“Won’t Megan be surprised when she learns the source of our ghost,” Bess said, as she headed down the narrow stairs.
Independence Day commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 4 July 1776 at Philadelphia, PA. The signers knew that document granting them independence from the dictatorial rule of Great Britain might also be their death sentence. They were few in number, scattered, had few arms and less training in the art of war, yet they put their signatures and their lives, their families, their destiny on that parchment. So against all reason and odds, that declaration told the world that the newly formed United Colonies are, and of the right to be independent and free states, therefore, the importance of the 4th of July is that it marks the birth of the USA. The people had enough of British domination and existing at the pleasure of a king they didn't know who considered them indentured servants.
The first real celebration took place on 8 July in Philadelphia, where the Continental Congress was meeting, then from the tower of Independence Hall, known then as the State House, the Declaration of Independence was read and the Liberty Bell rang, loud and clear to mark the time. The British Coat o Arms was removed, there was a parade, with cannons booming. Fearing repercussions of what lay ahead, the people still cheered knowing that a new nation sprang to life. In 1788 a more elaborate celebration was held after the new Constitution had been ratified.
From 1776 to 1788 horrible fighting, deaths, bankruptcies of many signers, families torn apart, farms destroyed. When all was said and done salutes were fired, bells sounded, flags were flown, windows were decorated in red, white and blue, and there were special services held in many churches.
On the 4th of July we should cherish that original dream for which many have died to re-declare our independence from all the evils depressing our Nation to this very day.