MEET CAROL GRAHAM

Carol Graham is one of my most favourite people on Facebook. She works tirelessly for other authors and her radio show is heard all over the world. It was one of the nicest radio interviews I’ve ever done, such a lovely friendly lady. Carol has not had an easy time of it but she’s a survivor.

CAROL GRAHAM

Carol Graham has survived the challenges of major illnesses, devastating personal losses and financial ruin more than once, yet has refused to become a victim.

She writes for several monthly columns in various publications.  She has been published in many anthologies including a best-seller.  In 2015, Carol received the Woman of Impact Award from Focus on Women Magazine and Author of the Year for her memoir, Battered Hope.

Carol hosts a bi-weekly show “Never Ever Give Up Hope,” is an international keynote speaker, jewelry store owner and a certified health coach.  Carol has five grandchildren and has rescued over 30 dogs.

How did Carol come to write her autobiography? It’s a delightful story.

Writing a memoir, when it means dredging up painful memories you have buried for decades, is never easy. However, putting pen to paper changed my life forever.

When my daughter turned sixteen, she went on a trip for fourteen days and asked us to take care of her new puppy, a miniature Dachshund. This little guy’s name was Louis Vuitton and he was one smart fellow.

My husband and I were sitting in the living room when we heard an awful commotion upstairs followed by the thump-thumping of something heavy being dragged down the stairs.  I peeked around the corner and saw this little six-month-old puppy with short legs laboriously dragging his large, hard-sided Louis Vuitton carrier down fourteen stairs.

sneaky-dachshund

He glanced at us, wagged his tail and scurried back up the stairs. “What do you think he is doing?” We sat in amazement as one by one he dragged his worldly possessions down those stairs. First his blankie, then his bowl, his bone, ball and his sweater. Wait! There’s something else! One last trip – his leash.

What happened next caused us to sit on the sofa with our mouths hanging open. He took each item and placed them into the carrier. This was not easy as the carrier was considerably taller than he was – please remember he is a miniature Dachshund with very short legs.

After he finished packing his “suitcase,” he attempted to jump inside. It took several tries but he made it. Oh, my goodness he wasn’t done yet. Once inside, he got the zipper between his teeth and with all the strength he could muster, he pulled the zipper closed, laid down and went to sleep.

The message was abundantly clear. He wanted to go see his mommy. He had seen her pack her suitcase and go away. He must do the same so he could find her. He stayed there all night and when I unzipped the carrier in the morning, he was elated believing he had arrived – but mommy was not there. He was still at Gramma’s house. After lots of cuddles, I had a great idea to start making notes of his escapades.

After two weeks, I had completed Louie’s journal written from HIS perspective and it was hilarious. For Christmas that year, I turned this journal into a hardbound book. When my daughter saw her gift, she laughed and cried at the same time. I will never forget the staccato words she spoke, “Mom, NOW will….you…… write…… your…… story?” She began a campaign and no matter what excuse I gave her, she squelched it until I finally said “Yes!” just to make her stop!

It was inevitable. I had to do it. No excuses. No delays. It took almost ten years to complete. Thus, began my therapeutic journey to visit places I never wanted to go to again. Twelve chapters with twelve major traumas. Although a survivor of numerous situations that would make most people roll over and quit, I never regarded myself as a victim – only as a victor.

Battered Hope front cover

Battered Hope is written as a novel – opening as a mystery and continuing by making the reader wonder if the author will survive.

Publishing Battered Hope changed my life. It opened doors to international speaking engagements and my talk show, Never Ever Give Up Hope, now heard in over 140 countries which ranks number one in Google search results for the message of hope.

http://amzn.to/1wEwEsN

I owe it all to a little dog, Louis Vuitton.

Everyone makes choices — some good, some not so good. The difficulty is learning to live with them. Author, Carol Graham learned the long term effects of one bad choice that led her life into a downward spiral. Her sharpest memories were shrouded in darkness and no amount of hope in the future could change the past. She wanted to find her reset button but the only thing she could do was to put one foot in front of the other and continue, hoping each cloud had a silver lining. It is not a story of an abusive or sordid childhood but one of mistakes, poor choices and circumstances as an adult that developed into a series of major losses in physical, financial and emotional arenas. Her story of triumph shows incredible strength, tenacity and sheer determination to become successful against all odds.

You can connect with Carol here.

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TRAVEL  – AMSTERDAM

In May of this year DH and I spent a week in Vienna, and after only half a day I fell in love with the city. It’s absolutely beautiful and steeped in history.

VIENNA HOTEL

We stayed at the Erzherzog Rainer Hotel and I was thrilled to discover it had an interesting history as well. It’s located in the heart of the Freihausviertel also home to many small shops and was established in 1813 by Leopold Nedomansky who was the court supplier for picture frames. The appointment was quite an honour, except the nobles were lousy at paying their bills so he thought about businesses which demanded immediate payment – restaurants and lodgings. He went ahead and built a hotel, but was savvy enough to realize he needed a patron to give it a bit of class. He flattered Archduke Rainer by naming the hotel after him and he was on the road to success. – I’ve always said it’s ‘who you know’.

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The same family owned it for 80 years before selling it to another family of hoteliers, but in that time it has been used as lodgings for the top German soldiers during the Second World War, and if I remember Hedda Hopper and a couple of other famous people have also stayed there. And now, of course, there’s me too.

HISTORY

Now you must all have heard that behind every great man there is a woman – or preferably in front if the truth be known. In this case, as poor old George was catapulted onto the throne, the woman, lady behind, beside and in front of him was his wife, Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, a Scottish lass who had married the Prince several years before.

GLAMIS CASTLE

She was brought up in this little shack north of the English border.

RED CHEEKED BIT

I’ve shared the opening pages of the Amie series here, now it’s time for the three memoirs. My first one, Walking over Eggshells sold all of 37 copies in the initial twelve months after it was published – before I found out I had to tell people about it – I had this belief that people would magically find it all by themselves!

 https://www.books2read.com/u/md7Py3

The first time I tried to leave home, I was three years old. Not that I could have told you that at the time, but many years later, while looking at some childhood photos, I asked my mother what age I was when I wore the red hat and coat. “Three,” she replied, and I remember quite clearly putting them on for my first intended escape into the outside world.

It was a cold, overcast day in a quiet suburb of Dublin at the beginning of the fifties. We were in the lounge, and my mother was sitting by the fire listening to the radio. I walked quietly to the door, hoping she wouldn’t notice, but as I reached up towards the door handle, she reminded me in her cold, hard voice not to let the cold air in from the hallway. I opened the door just wide enough to squeeze through and pulled it shut behind me.

I dived under my bed and pulled out a small brown, cardboard suitcase. I’d thought about this departure for some time and had already made a mental list of what I would need on the journey to my new life. I packed three Noddy books, my favourite doll, a comb and a clean pair of underpants. I struggled into my coat and hat and I was ready to run away.

Quietly, I crept back along the hallway to the front door and gazed up at the door latch. It was way above my head.

“And where do you think you’re going?” My mother stood in the lounge doorway, her arms folded across her chest and she looked furious. Having got this far, there was no turning back.

“I’m leaving home,” I squeaked.

“Oh, really? And where are you going?”

“I’m, uh …” I knew exactly where I was going. I’d thought about it very carefully, but I was not about to tell my mother. She would know where I was and maybe, just maybe, come and try to bring me back.

“Little girls who want to leave home should be tall enough to reach the doorknob. If you go, then don’t bother coming back. I never want to see you again. I don’t want you. You’re nothing but a nuisance. I wanted a good little girl who would do as she was told, not a bad, bad little girl like you.” My mother went back into the lounge and slammed the door.

I blinked back the tears. Why couldn’t my mother love me? I tried so hard to be good. Earlier that morning I had broken a glass full of milk. It had slipped out of my hands and crashed to the floor.

“Look what you’ve done now!” screamed my mother.

“I’m sorry, Mummy, it fell,” I burst into tears.

“Clear it up right now!”

“Yes, yes, but please don’t be cross with me, please. I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” I was shaking as I looked at the mess on the floor. The milk was slowly disappearing under the stove.

“You never give me any reason to like you. You’re always saying ‘sorry.’ If you really meant it, you wouldn’t do the same thing again and again and again. You said ‘sorry’ when you broke my best cup. I suppose that just fell, too? Don’t say ‘sorry.’ ‘Sorry’ doesn’t mean anything to you.”

As soon as my mother had gone back into the lounge, I dragged a chair from the kitchen, climbed up and opened the front door. I jammed the suitcase in the gap and returned the chair to its place in the kitchen. Then, as quickly as I could, I grabbed the case and ran down the front driveway.

Till next week, take care.

 

BookBub Events

Tanya asked me to share some thoughts on getting a BookBub promo.

T. R. Robinson Publications

fullsizeoutput_15fNo doubt many fellow authors, as well as readers, will have heard of BookBub and how any book included in one of its events appears to, always, do well on the day and after. It therefore seemed appropriate to ask someone who has succeeded in getting a book included in such an event to share their experience. Lucinda E Clarke has kindly agreed to do so. This is a guest post by her.

Guest Post by author Lucinda E Clarke

I am very flattered Tanya has asked me to write about BookBub promotions as I’m not sure I’m the best person as there are several people who have been accepted many times and they have only bestowed the honour on me twice, but I’ll do my best to give you some idea how my promotions went.

I first heard about this particular group by reading other blogs and understood they…

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Meet Kathleen Gage

Kathleen is one of those people who can obviously sell stuff and that makes her a hero in my eyes. A guest post with authors in mind look out for some great tips on boosting your book sales. Every one of her books was reached a #1 on Amazon.

Kathleen

Authors: Piggyback off trending authors and stories to gain visibility

As an author, you not only have to write your book, you must take responsibility for marketing and promotions.

Now, more than ever, you need to find creative ways to get in front of your readers. It takes more, much more, today than in the past to do so.

Early on in my writing career, a popular way to gain visibility was with media releases.  Another was with radio interviews, but often it required going into the station.

These are still viable strategies, but today there’s more available for authors who are proactive in their marketing.

Social media, blogging, podcast shows, joint venture partnerships, affiliate marketing and online article directories offer multiple options in one’s marketing.

Where Have Other Authors Appeared?

A quick Google search on authors who write in a similar genre as you will bring up ample listings of where you can target your message. For example, with my upcoming memoir, my readers also enjoy the works of Cheryl Strayed, Lisa Nichols, Elizabeth Gilbert and Janet Attwood.

By using the search term “Cheryl Strayed blog postings” (or any of the other authors) there are countless listings of where Cheryl has either guest posted or been featured. All of these are potential locations for me to have my work featured.

Although the research is time intensive, the results are worth their weight in gold. The information is put in a spreadsheet to keep it organized.

Hiring a VA (virtual assistant) to do this type of research frees up your time to write your posts, interview and put your efforts into the activities only you can do.

For anywhere from $10 – $20 an hour for a VA’s time, you can get quite a long list of potential locations to have your writings featured.

Breaking Stories

Another way to gain lots of visibility is by piggybacking from breaking stories through the process of newsjacking.

According to the official site for Newsjacking, “It is the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story and generating tons of media coverage and social media engagement.”

That’s quite a mouthful to basically say, “Newsjacking is a way to utilize trends in the media to enhance traffic to various locations including your social media channels and your blog posts.”

Finding Trends

Trending stories are as close as Twitter, Google, and virtually any search engine.

According to David Meerman Scott, who wrote the book on Newsjacking, “When there is news in your marketplace reporters and analysts are looking for experts to comment on the story. Newsjacking gets you media attention.”

As a story develops in real time, potential clients may be interested in what’s happening moment by moment.

With the ability to post real time on blogs, videos and social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram utilize trending stories to increase your authority positioning.

Specifics to Finding Trends

A simple Google search with the key words, “Trending news stories” will bring up lots of listings where you can position your message. Every major news outlet stays on top of trends. You can also go to Twitter and find out what is trending for Twitter users.

For example, if you own a company that provides disaster relief insurance, there are plenty of current events that you could use to inform consumers.

There is so much going on locally and nationally, you won’t have to do more than a quick Google search to find plenty of opportunity to educate the public on various aspects of disaster relief and preparedness.

More than simply promoting your products and services, educate the public on how to prepare for disasters. This positions you as an authority and “go to” resource.

Book Launches Benefit from Newsjacking

Book launches are ideal for trending topics and newsjacking.  Also look for any holidays or celebration days you might be able to position a story around. As you get closer to your launch, check for hot trends.

During your launch, keep an eye out for anything trending that would allow for your book to have a connection to. This is newsjacking at its best.

Gaining visibility for your book is an ongoing process. One way to get the most for your efforts is to do something every single day to let potential readers know about your book. To learn powerhouse ways to do this, get my FREE report – Hit #1 on Amazon. Click here to access.

Kathleen Gage is the author of several books including, Power Up for Profits; The Smart Woman’s Guide to Online Marketing.

Kathleen works with successful entrepreneurs who are ready to quit playing small in order that they can get their signature message out in a BIG way through speaking, writing, information products and a targeted online presence.  www.PowerUpForProfits.com and www.themarketingmindset.com

Food for thought for many authors here and some new ideas. If, as I read somewhere a new book is uploaded to Amazon every 5 minutes, we all know that competition is getting harder by the day.

Thank you, Kathleen – and I hijacked your other book off your author page too. I watched the video and it looks as if your report will be mega helpful, I’m sure a lot of us have problems honing in on keywords, one of my biggest nightmares.

Years of Heartbreak

An interview with Literary Titan.

LITERARY TITAN

Lucinda E. Clarke Author Interview Lucinda E. Clarke Author Interview

Walking Over Eggshells is an autobiography about your life and how you survived growing up and living with mental abuse. What inspired you to put your experiences into a book?

Originally I never intended to publish my experiences of growing up, I wrote about my life solely for my children to explain my parenting skills, or lack of them and to give them a greater understanding of me as a person. I was aware of the effects of the fraught relationship I had with my mother but totally unaware of the cause. As I recount in the closing chapters, it was only after her death that quite by chance I read about Narcissistic personality disorder and my mother’s reactions, behaviour and responses ticked all the boxes. I was over 60 when she died and only then I learned that no matter what I’d done, I…

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OLD CANAL NEW KING

TRAVEL

This week I’m adding a few more pics of our trip on the Canal du Midi. I loved going in and out of the locks, and in one of them, you might be able to make out where are 3 in very quick succession in succession and it looks as if the boat coming downstream towards us was hanging in mid air!

It was amazing to see grass growing on the lock gate.

We were out on the boat for a couple of hours stopping off on the way back at a lochside cafe.

Being a Sunday night we assumed that there would be plenty of places to have our evening meal. We were wrong. We walked around the new – though it is hardly new now – part of town and finally found a fast food joint which was manned by a charming young man who used sign language and pictures of the meals he had on offer printed out on a plastic sheet.

The following morning we set off for home again.

HISTORY

George VI
By Bertram Park

As I mentioned last week poor George/Albert/Bertie had a bad stutter. He was also very shy and didn’t want to be king at all he’d not been expecting it – it was big brother’s job.

George was born in 1895 so may even have remembered great granny Queen Victoria and he was 41 when he had the throne thrust upon him. He wrote in his diary that he burst into tears. It was time to book the speech therapy lessons.

So moving on to George VI the family were at it again with all the name thingie. We know him as King George, but he was christened Albert, Frederick, Arthur, George and before he became king he was called Albert and Bertie to friends and family. So why I wonder did they decided to use his last name as king to make him King George? (And the littlest male heir we have now is also called George – I think someone should show them how to google names and see how many different ones there are).

I’ve since discovered that ‘the queen what I don’t like’ demanded the name Albert to offset the fact that George was born on December 14th, the day when ‘Dear Albert’ died.

THE ADD BREAK.

Here is the beginning of book 4 in the Amie series – Amie: Cut for Life. myBook.to/Amie4

“Oh, my God! It’s Amie! It’s Amie!” The shriek reverberated around the walls of the shopping mall, bouncing off the plate glass windows and echoing along the hall.

Amie froze in her tracks. The plastic shopping bags slipped out of her hands and slithered onto the floor. Was the voice referring to her? Had someone recognized her? Was it someone who knew her well? What was she going to say? How could she explain? What was worse, she could have sworn it was her mother’s voice. No, that wasn’t possible. Her parents were six thousand miles away, outside London. This was Johannesburg, South Africa, her mother wouldn’t be here. Would she?

“Now Mary, calm down, you’re imagining things. You know it’s not Amie. Amie’s gone.”

Still, Amie couldn’t move; she was riveted to the spot, she didn’t even dare turn round. The mannequins in the shop window peered sightlessly at her as she stared at the reflection in the glass. Her mother’s name was Mary. It was her mother. Here, just across the hallway. Hell!

“It’s only another girl who looks a little like Amie.” Her father’s voice wasn’t convincing and Amie could feel his eyes boring into the back of her head. Did he believe his daughter was standing only a few feet away? “Remember,” he continued, “you thought you saw her in Croydon shopping centre a few months ago. That wasn’t Amie either, just a girl who reminded you of her.”

“Let me just ask her Raymond, let me ask her …”

“No! You can’t go bothering people. There are millions of thirty-year-old girls with blonde hair all over the world. Come and sit down for a moment dear.”

Amie retrieved the bags off the floor, fumbling with stiff fingers to prevent dropping them a second time. She dithered, uncertain what to do. More than anything in the world she wanted to run to them, throw her arms wide open and tell them that yes, she was Amie, their daughter. She was alive; alive and well.

She shuffled over to a nearby bench and sat down as if needing to rearrange her packages. She didn’t have the strength to walk away, her legs felt like rubber and she was shaking from head to toe. She sensed movement behind and to her horror realised that her father was helping her mother to sit on the seat that backed on to the one Amie was occupying.

“Now don’t go getting yourself upset Mary. We’ll sit here a moment while you get your breath back, and then we’ll go upstairs to our room and have something stronger to calm you down.”

Her father was fussing like he always had throughout their forty odd years of marriage. If they were going upstairs, then they were staying here at the hotel that was part of the shopping complex. What was she going to do? It would be wonderful to talk to them, to feel her father’s arms around her, to comfort her mother. She could also find out what had happened to Samantha, her sister. Had she made it up with her husband Gerry, or was she now divorced? And what about Dean and baby Jade, her niece and nephew, how were they?

Mary Reynolds was weeping. It was tearing Amie apart at the seams. What was she going to do? What were the consequences if she told them she was still alive? Would it comfort them or cause them more pain? If she broke the imposed code of silence would her employers simply shut her up for good?

She leaned further forward and buried her head in the bag of underwear she’d just bought until she sensed them getting up from the bench. She counted twenty seconds before peeking behind her; they were heading for the hotel entrance. She would recognize her father’s upright figure anywhere and the particular way her mother walked, a kind of penguin waddle that had always made her and her sister laugh when they were small.

She clenched her fists around the shopping bags, took a big breath and made for the nearest exit. She needed to get back to the B & B where she was staying and consider her options. This was not a decision to be taken lightly and Amie was not known for making her mind up quickly. She had the uncanny knack of seeing problems from several angles all at the same time and needed space to process them.

Till next week, take care.