<![CDATA[Books By Deanna - BLOG: Selling Books]]>Mon, 22 May 2017 14:28:23 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Mini-Blog]]>Mon, 22 May 2017 11:21:10 GMThttp://booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books/mini-blog6141202Immigration. My opinion.
Part One: Embracing Diversity
    I’ve always had an interest in people from other countries and cultures. As a child, my favorite source was National Geographic, and my favorite books were by Kate Seredy, set in Hungary. My aunt’s husband was Hungarian, and another aunt married a Greek who taught me to recite the Greek alphabet. My Sunday school teacher, whom I adored, was from Holland. I begged her to teach me to “talk Dutch.”  I sewed ethnic costumes for my dolls and copied colored flags from Encyclopedia. When I registered for college I requested an international for a roommate. She turned out to be from Salt Lake City, but since I’d never been farther west than Chicago, it was just as exotic.
    As an adult, I filled our home with a variety of cultures. We had exchange students living with us for several years while the kids were growing up. They came from Japan, Spain, Venezuela, Columbia, Germany, France, Australia, Mexico, India, and probably other places I’ve forgotten. A Filipino family lived in our home for seven years; we looked after their education, and sent the boys to universities. They’ve all become proud and patriotic U.S. citizens and part of our family.
    When I worked in downtown Atlanta and rode the bus to the Marta station, I met a young man from an African country who was a student at Georgia State. We visited every day on the bus. My kids weren’t at all surprised to come home from school and see this ebony-skinned man sitting at the table eating their after-school brownies, while I folded laundry at the table. He stayed for supper.
We often hosted overnight guests as a hospital host family before Ronald McDonald Houses. Trucks and old cars from out of state were often in our driveway. We gave up our beds to the poor, worried families with sick children.
    My neighbors in the cul-de-sac in Sandy Springs, GA, would say, “NOW who’s at your house?” They called our house “The Klingel I-Hop,” and joked about putting a revolving door in our front door. I created international programs for Scouts and schools almost as a hobby, took Girl Scouts to Europe twice, and learned international folk dancing and needlework.
   I remember when Vietnamese immigrants regularly landed at Hartsfield with a look of wonderment that we greeted them with applause and handed them little flags. More tired, poor huddled masses. Years later I would write a biography of one of them.
   Retired here in the mountains we housed internationals who came here to work for the summer. They were mostly from Eastern European countries, where I hope to visit someday.
    My life has been enriched by the art, architecture, music, language, history, poetry, literature, clothing, and style that have come to our country from far-away places. Our nation has been blessed to have been a nation of immigrants. I love to meet diverse peoples and extend hospitality. I don’t do marches, boycotts, or protests; I just live it; the sharing excites me.
    But, I’ve learned there are times to shut to the door. I’ll tell you about that on the next mini blog.
<![CDATA[Mini-Blog]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 11:51:17 GMThttp://booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books/mini-blog1825929​Need-to-Know
​    When you’re a writer Need-to-Know is research. I’m on several writer loops on social media and not a day goes by without a writer asking how something is done, or what the symptoms would be from poisoning, or something technical about a car. There are dozens of responders, all with different answers and suggestions.
    When I need to know, I ask the experts. I don’t ask other writers who most likely don’t know the answer. It’s a waste of time and not reliable. When I talk to students in schools about research I tell them the best choice always being a first source. Go as close to the actual source as you can get.
   The internet does work in some cases. For instance, when writing about the Civil War era, I needed to know if Mason Jars were common or even in existence in 1861. I looked on the Mason Jar website under history and discovered they were common place, and were manufactured for five years before the war started. I consider the Mason Jar Company History to be a first source about their product. I learned games soldiers played using the internet on history sites and museum sites where careful curating ensures accuracy.
    When I needed to know what it was like to compete in triathlon, I talked to someone who competed. She gave me great details, not from rule books, but from the perspective of someone who had to abide by those rules, the difficulties, the good points, the safety, how it felt to have to be restrained by those rules, what happens when a competitor doesn’t abide by the rules. She gave me behind the scenes stresses, amusements, and the triumph of finishing the race. This was conversation, but it was most definitely research and was exactly what I needed to know to write about it.
    When I needed to know how to restore banged up cars, I didn’t ask writers, didn’t go to the internet, and didn’t go to the library. I went to someone who actually restores classic cars. In his driveway he showed me the tools he uses, what he calls them, how he uses them; he showed me the different compounds he uses, what they are for, how they smell, and how they are stored. I saw the before, during, and after of an old car. It took longer than an afternoon watching a YouTube on restoring classic cars. (I’m sure there must be one!) It took longer for certain,  but being next to a first source, listening to his passion about his hobby, smelling the caustic smells, following his hands at work, and watching his progress all became a part of the story I wanted to write.
    Whether you’re a writer, a student, or a curious person, when you want to know something, ask the person who’s been-there-done-that. First source is always the best choice when you have a need-to-know.
<![CDATA[Mini-Blog]]>Sun, 14 May 2017 23:46:33 GMThttp://booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books/mini-blog2833149​Jekyll Island…again?
190 lb Loggerhead Turtle in the Treatment Room
   I can hear it already. “Why did you go to Jekyll Island again?” So here’s the short and the long versions. I went to sell my book SPOKES about triathlon at the Turtle Crawl Triathlon.
  Long version: The Turtle Crawl Triathlon is an annual fundraiser for the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island. Since opening in 2007, the GSTC has rescued, healed and released 2500 animals including island wildlife in addition to sea turtles. This is the only sea turtle rehabilitation center in Georgia. Current patients include Green Sea Turtles, baby Terrapins, and two Loggerheads. One is adoptable for $50. Adopters receive updates on his care and progress and after release, reports from his tracking device.
   Visitors to the center can see the giant turtles in their tanks and view their activities on overhead mirrors. The hospital is enclosed in glass and visitors can observe the staff’s unique handling, precision surgery, gentle cleansing and healing of wounds, as well as routine care such as blood draws, weigh-ins, and vitamins.
   The island residents are tuned in to the importance of the turtles’ schedules. During spring months the Terrapins frequently cross the highway to get to the nesting areas in the marshes. Residents drive slowly and leave space between cars to enable traffic stops; flashers are on and drivers wait until the turtles are safely across.
   During the incubation period residents observe lights out on the beach and flag the nests for protection. Near the end of the period, volunteers baby sit the nests, watching for hatchlings to notify the center. Protective escorts help the hatchlings make their way to the water by protecting them from predators until they reach the sea. To date there are 7 nests noted and 19 eggs in the center hatchery.
  The sea turtles are endangered and live in hazardous conditions due in great part to human carelessness. But human caring has rescued twenty five so far this year, and daily traffic stops have protected many uncounted. Jekyll Island residents take pride in the care they give to the sea turtles and hope to educate visitors as well. The GSTC increases awareness of the turtles through education, rehabilitation, and research.
    So, I came to be part of the triathlon event, and sell my books. But, our daughter also lives in Brunswick. I loved visiting the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. Did I mention they have a wonderful gift shop? Dave played golf with our son-in-law? Mother’s Day brunch? I sold books.
<![CDATA[Mini-Blog]]>Thu, 11 May 2017 12:23:05 GMThttp://booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books/mini-blog9909929​Kids in Need of Vitamin N
Outdoor Classroom: Biloxi, MS
    Have you ever heard of a student being denied math class for inappropriate behavior? Anyone ever have to sit out a social studies class for not doing homework? Who has had recess taken away as a punishment?
    Recess is considered nonessential, something almost extra-curricular, that can be taken away or used as leverage.
    When expensive studies at universities and health care are undertaken by degreed personnel show that learning is enhanced by time spent outdoors, news reports seem to be astonished at the “new” findings. Mothers simply shrug and say, “I could have told you that.” Teachers have long noted that a trip outdoors destresses the entire classroom. Kids with behavioral problems are “different kids” in the out of doors. Fresh air invigorates the mind and puts some sunshine on perspective.
   The North American Association for Environmental Education is helping educators see the parallel between the quality of life and the quality of the environment. Natural learning for students has been the mantra of the National Wildlife Federation since the launch of Ranger Rick Magazine in 1967.
Many schools have park-like playgrounds with rocks to climb, gardens to tend, and environmental science projects taking place under the trees. Eco-Schools are being awarded with grants and funding. Schools that utilize outdoor classrooms see an improvement in their overall testing scores.
    The challenge for parents, teachers and educators today is the addictive quality of technology that vies for our time, interest, and attention. As a result, families as a whole are suffering from lack of Vitamin N…Nature.
    I’ve seen parents, who think they are hiking with their kids, on their cell phones, texting, sending photos of surroundings they’ve barely noticed. The examples we are setting doesn’t bode well for the next generation whose well-being is at stake. They aren’t being taught to get out and get fresh air, leave everything behind, destress, enjoy nature.
Here at the resort where I live, families come many miles to vacation together in the beautiful western North Carolina mountains. I see them sitting at the pool, scrolling. Adults in the shade with their lap tops on patio tables have brought their work along. Hiking, all but the littlest of them have cells in their hands. Last summer by the river with Buddy a little boy visited Buddy. The parents, ignoring him, were texting from under the trees. The little girl discovered a passion fruit flower curling around a sapling. “Look, Mom! What is this?” Mom looked up. “That’s nice, Shelby.” Another brother came running, “I want to see.” He looked at it and said, “I’ll take a picture of it. We can google it.” In an instant, the lesson was over. When they came into the river to see Buddy, I told them they’d seen a passion flower and they were so lucky to see it, because not many visitors do. “I bet I can find more,” the boy said, and he took off. The children moved on following the riffles and tumbling water. I told the little one still hugging Buddy that if he moved some of the flat stones under his feet, he would find something interesting. His parents called him and he moved on. I hope he gets to see a shiny mud puppy sometime.
    The purpose of the Little Beth Series I’ve written is to get the little ones outdoors and LOOKING! The backyard is the first science lab for little children. 
<![CDATA[Mini-Blog]]>Mon, 08 May 2017 11:03:05 GMThttp://booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books/mini-blog9510036No Time for God
Ethnic Neighborhood Catholic Church - Frackville, PA
    There was a time in our history when everything in our daily lives centered around God. I love to visit in our nation’s old cities like Chicago or Detroit or Philadelphia, and tour the old ethnic neighborhoods. And in the center of every neighborhood, a church or synagogue, often both, towers above the homes. The reason was because Sabbath services or attending Mass was the center of religious and social life. It’s what one did with family and friends.
Following World War II, with strong economics and employment, optimistic outlook and everything “modern”, the young and “enlightened,” now endowed with wheels, moved further away from the old folks and the old ways; the suburbs were created.
    That movement continues today, leaving beautiful old churches and synagogues standing forlorn and empty, some boarded up. The young and “enlightened” continue to move further away from the center of their faith.
    I’ve heard a lot of reasons why young families don’t go to Church. No time. Sunday is my only free time. It’s the only day I can sleep in. Our kids have soccer games on Sunday morning. It’s not relevant to who I am. It worked for my parents, but I don’t need it.  I can be Christian without sitting there with all the hypocrites. People who go to church are no better than me. I pray all the time, in my own way. I worship God in my kayak. In 4th grade a nun told us dogs didn’t go to heaven and that turned me off. I didn’t intend to leave the Church, I just stopped going, and now I can’t get started.  These are not reasons; these are excuses.
    But, really, why should we go to Church? Why be inconvenienced? Why should we give up something we want to do to go to Church? Can Christians seriously ask those questions?
    My mom used to say if I didn’t have time to do something it was because I was doing something else. Sure, everyone can pray by themselves. But, if you don’t have time to worship at church, do you really spend one hour, or forty-five minutes a week in prayer? Do you set aside fifteen minutes of your week to give totally to God?  Who are you kidding? It might be what you intend to do, but do you actually do it? Most people are too busy to set aside forty five minutes for prayer one time a week; isn’t that the reason they don’t go to a service? They don’t have time?
    It might be hard to start a new habit, but that’s what’s needed. Habits are started by doing something once. Then again. Blessed John Paul II says our intimate union with God is maintained and nourished by prayer. We must find time, we must make time, to be with the Lord in Prayer.
    Going to Mass, going to Sabbath, or a Church service, isn’t an old-fashioned idea. It’s not your father’s life. It must be yours. It’s what every person needs. It’s that time out you’re looking for. It’s the refreshment you long for. It’s the bare minimum requirement your Lord has asked for. If you can’t give Him the bare minimum requirement, what is it that you are doing that’s more important? Don’t tell me; tell God, why you don’t have time to make Him the center of your life.
<![CDATA[Mini-Blog]]>Thu, 04 May 2017 12:03:07 GMThttp://booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books/mini-blog1543970Writer's Block
​    People have asked me, “Do you get writer’s block?” Other writers have asked “Do you believe in writer’s block?” Students have asked, “What is this writer’s block I’ve heard about?” This is a frequent topic on email loops and websites of writers support groups. What To Do For Writers Block. A Cure for Writers Block. On and on.
    All creativity is cyclical and sometimes we aren’t as creative as other times. Whether you’re a novelist, a sculptor, a painter, or a hobbyist, some time periods you are more prolific than others. Writers sometimes refer to the uncreative time as writer’s block.  Some people think writers’ block is a fatal disease.
    I don’t think it’s even a setback. It’s a chance to breathe, learn, and get better at word craft. When your flow of words slows down, stop. Don’t force yourself. Writing is a craft. While I believe you have to work at it, practice, to become more accomplished, I don’t think writing should be forced. The best words flow freely and naturally. So just stop. And listen. Go to You Tube and listen to some great American orators speaking about anything. You don’t even have to understand the subject. Just listen to the flow of the words. Listen to poetry. I’m not a poet, but when I listen to poetry my prose is more fluent. Go for a walk and sing great lyrics for a song you’ll never write. These are all ways to get the words flowing again. You can call it writers’ block if you want. I call it opportunity to get better at whatever it is you write or craft. 
<![CDATA[May 1, 2017]]>Mon, 01 May 2017 13:20:50 GMThttp://booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books/may-01st-2017Who Remembers May Day?
A May Basket
    May Day was a much-anticipated day when I was a child. We planned and prepared for it. How would we make the basket? What would we put in it? And the biggest problem: WHO would we give it to?
   I made May Day baskets with construction paper, paper lace doilies, or wallpaper samples. Wallpaper samples, torn from the book, were the best; they were stiffer and had pretty designs already. Sometimes a rectangle could be slit on the corners and folded into an actual basket, then a handle added. The wallpaper made a good cone, to which a handle could be added. Imagine, if we’d had Elmer’s Glue in the 50s, how great these would have been! But we used mucilage or our own lumpy paste of flour and water. I remember a really nice one I made one time using a darning needle and yarn. I stitched it!  Baskets could be decorated with ribbons or crayon. We didn’t have glitter!
  Popcorn, penny candies, and flowers from the garden filled up the May Day baskets. I suppose if we’d had those tiny candy bars individually wrapped for Halloween, we would have used those. But, we didn’t have those. We popped our own popcorn. One year my friend Muggs had her mom make a batch of her famous Kettle Corn and she gave us all some to put in our baskets. Pansies were the early flower of choice in Michigan, often about the only flower blooming on May first, though I also remember violets being used. One year it snowed late and there were no flowers. I made carnations out of Kleenex and put them in the cone with popcorn.
   Usually the basket was delivered by hanging it on the doorknob. We’d ring the bell and hide in the bushes. We gave it to a friend, or someone we wanted to be a friend, old people, sick folks, and of course, “the boy” who hadn’t yet noticed he was selected to be “the special boy.”
  I remember making one for David Clark, the neighborhood bully. He was mean to the girls, said naughty things and stole. My mom couldn’t believe I wanted to take it to his house. I begged my brother to go with me on our bikes. I didn’t want anyone to see me or to know about it. I hated and feared this kid. I knew nobody had ever given him a May basket and probably never would. I decided that was what was wrong with him. If he had a May Day basket, maybe he’d be nice! It didn’t work out quite how I hoped.  I also remember making one for my first heart-throb, Richard Fox. I sat near him in class. He was the tallest kid in the class, which might have been intimidating except that he was so nice. He was nice to everyone, but especially us girls. He sang The Marine’s Hymn loudly and always said he would be a Marine when he grew up. I wasn’t sure exactly what a boyfriend was, but my Aunts and Grandmas always asked if I had a boyfriend. I decided if I had a friend who was a boy, it must be Richard Fox. He lived close to my friend Sandy, so she and I rigged a plan to get my May Day Basket to Richard’s door.
    Writing experts say “Write what you know.” I guess that’s what I was doing when I wrote the chapter May Day in Avery’s Crossroad. In his honest boy style, Avery wonders what May Day baskets are good for, why girls would like them. But he buys one anyway to give to Claire, because he thought it would please her. Though it’s near the end of book two, it’s the beginning of Avery’s awakening.
  Whatever happened to the May Day basket tradition?
<![CDATA[Mini-Blog]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:56:59 GMThttp://booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books/mini-blog4546830Celebrating the Indie Book Stores
Bookish Book Store in Cashiers, NC
      In the 1930s there were only 4,000 places you could by books in the United States. Fewer than 500 were actually bookstores. In the 40s, bookstores began to be more popular. During World War II with other commodities in short supply and available cash, people bought more books than ever. The popular Book-of-the-Month Club shipped its 100 millionth book in 1949. Consumers were catching on to the hobby that once belonged to the elite class in cities, and more middle class towns opened bookstores. Customers perused the shelves, read, visited friends at the book store, and savvy shopkeepers started book discussion groups to keep them coming in. Then came urban sprawl. The hardware store, the bakery and all the other special places on Main Street USA moved to the outskirts of town to nondescript strip malls, where they could be seen as new and modern. It was the 50s; new and modern were in vogue. Book stores held on, dust lay on the shelves and mildew crept across the fabric covers of favorite books, cherished by two generations or more. By the 60s, the pillars of business on Main Street were crumbling; the retail revolution had begun. Retire, sell, close, or move. Those were the limited options for the small business owners on small town main streets. The bookstores were in the shadows. When the 70s blew through, many small towns weren’t looking too healthy. Outside the towns the newly incorporated Wal-mart Stores, Inc., were bringing out shoppers who were learning a new past time, shopping. Families who spent evenings together at home reading, now had a new place to hang out, open long hours to accommodate shift workers. Avid readers discovered they could buy discounted books at their wonderful new Wal-mart Store. The small book stores lost their customers. Many closed their doors in the 80s. In the 90s, large chain bookstores made appearances in malls around the country boasting bigger is better, forcing the closure of even more small bookstores.  In 1996, when Oprah Winfrey began her popular book club on TV, there were 12,363 bookstores in America. Between 2000 and 2007, more than 1,000 bookstores closed. Today there are 10,800 independent bookstores in our country. Their largest competitors are no longer the large chains, many of whom have also closed. The largest competitors now are online sales. The surviving bookstores have gotten more aggressive, more out-front, more creative, and their health seems to have stabilized. Next Saturday is independent book store day called Indie Saturday, or Indie Book Day or Indie Go-Go Day. Whatever your local bookstore calls it, support it. They need the loyalty of every writer, reader and consumer. Find an Indie book store next Saturday and go buy a book. If you are near Elizabeth City, NC, come to Page After Page Bookstore. They have a special day planned with food, music and authors signing books and reading to children. I’ll be there. What Indie Bookstore will you visit, support and appreciate?
<![CDATA[Mini-Blog]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 11:09:31 GMThttp://booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books/mini-blog3877838​COMING OUT
A New Power Source
    Friends, Romans and Country Men, this is it. This is the week I’m coming out. Out of the closet, out of the cocoon, out of the last century. I’m about to become Thoroughly Modern Me. What happened in San Antonio should probably stay in San Antonio, but I’m about to admit to the whole sordid affair.
  I spent some time with the new Social Media Specialist for Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, my publisher. I’m doing things I never wanted to do. Using vulgar sounding words like “apps,” and “downloads,” and “hash tags.” I’ve learned my handle, now, so next time you ask me, I can give you my handle and you won’t have to call me by my name anymore.  My little pink telephone, which I’ve always referred to as my car phone because that’s where it stays, is now part of my body. And she’s officially my phone. That’s in case y’all need me 24/7. I’d advise you, though, if it’s really an emergency, call 911.
  You may get some unusual “notifications” from #Deanna this week. I’ve promised him I would practice and improve my proficiency this week. And I will…as soon as I can figure out how to mail them to you.  I do still have a stash of postage stamps should it come to that.
   By the end of the day today, Monday, I will be home in the mountains and I can begin my barrage of notifications to an unsuspecting cyber world. I’m not sure this affair will last. I’ll take full responsibility for the breakup. 
<![CDATA[Mini-Blog]]>Thu, 20 Apr 2017 12:58:00 GMThttp://booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books/mini-blog7947729​Understanding the Alamo
Remember the Alamo!
​    I’d seen the iconic pictures of The Alamo and of course, the John Wayne versions. So I was surprised to learn that The Alamo isn’t a little gray ancient stone façade with a little dome on top. That would be the church of the Franciscan mission, San Antonio de Valero, the oldest of San Antonio’s five missions built in 1750s. The mission was a large rectangular compound with walls surrounding houses, store houses, and places of work, and, of course, the little church, which still had no roof when the mission closed in 1793.
    The Spanish army, the Alamo Company, moved into the vacated mission, and gave it the new name.  In 1821, when Mexico declared its independence from Spain, the Mexican residents stayed put. By the time of the Texas Revolution in 1835, this compound was known as The Alamo. It was this large compound that the Texans defended, and died for the cause of Texas Liberty. Texas became the 28th state in 1845, and the arrival of the United States Army brought prosperity to the area. In 1850, the little church finally got a roof and the rounded parapet over the door was built by the Army, which used the barracks and the warehouses and created a depot.
    It’s interesting to see this famous antiquity sitting dead center in the middle of the modern busy city of San Antonio. I imagined it along the edge of the desert with cactuses. But, the Alamo compound was there before the city. As the town grew and prospered it grew outward from this compound that was once a walled mission. The city has done a wonderful job of preserving, maintaining, and protecting this structure while millions of Americans wander through it every day. Step into the damp musty enclosure and you walk into 260 years of history.
    If you’ve not seen this national treasure, put it on your must-see.