Better late than never, my 2008 novel Water Signs is now available on Kindle for $2.99. It’s been an interesting journey, navigating through this brave new media marketing world over the past six years. Although I haven’t actively promoted the book in a very long time, I recently realized that 1.) My network of contacts, friends and clients has dramatically increased thanks to platforms like Facebook and Twitter, providing a large new base of potential readers, and 2.) Now that I’ve completed two ghostwritten books and have a handle on social media projects for clients, I can make the time to (finally) finish Sea To Shining Sea.
One of the many benefits of being an independently published author is that you can never really penetrate your market; therefore, there are endless opportunities to reach new readers. And what better way to pave the way to sequel success than to have my audience fall in love with (or in many cases, all over again) Water Signs just before the sequel’s release?
Are you a veteran or know someone who is? Military Monday host John D. Gresham and I are looking for a few good men and women who’ve served our country in uniform to participate in a special Writestream Tuesday panel on November 11 from 1:05 – 1:55 p.m. Eastern.
John and I will co-host the episode and moderate the panel discussion. In addition to honoring our veterans for their service, we’ll also discuss the most pressing issues confronting them, including current military campaigns and policies. We’ll also highlight some worthy organizations that serve returning vets, so interested listeners can discover how to can translate their gratitude into meaningful support. During the panel discussion, we welcome your participation in the live chat and/or your phone calls at (347) 945-7246.
Please contact me if you’re a U.S. veteran and would like to be a part of Writestream Tuesday on November 11. Thanks!
Chances are, you’ve probably heard of Lyme disease. But did you know how truly insidious and complex it is to treat? Or how politicized the process of diagnosis and treatment has become — to the detriment of Lyme sufferers (often ostracized as hypochondriacs) and the dedicated doctors who care for them?
Enter my friend and client, Karen Franks. Karen and I reconnected on Facebook a few years ago, having originally met in high school (more than a few years ago ). She is truly one of the most decent, kind and caring people I’ve ever met, someone who always has a smile on her face no matter how difficult the circumstances.
Until she hired me recently to revamp her site, Karen’s Lyme Story, I had no idea how incredibly difficult her experience with Lyme disease has been. After decades of illness, she’s finally on the road to recovery, mainly due to her determination to find a doctor who could help her. Putting her experience to good use, Karen is now an advocate for Lyme patients, those who care for them, and the courageous medical professionals who treat them – often under a microscope used by skeptical medical colleagues and organizations.
On Tuesday, October 7 at 1 p.m. Eastern, Karen joins me live on Writestream to share her experience with Lyme disease, inform listeners about the complexity of Lyme and other tick-borne infections, and — as she says — help Lyme sufferers “hold on to hope.” Her journey to recovery has been fraught with a multitude of challenges – including finding a Lyme literate doctor with an effective treatment protocol – but Karen persisted and eventually overcame the odds.
Now that she’s made significant strides on the road to wellness, she’s focusing most of her attention on her advocacy work, with a stated goal of helping Lyme sufferers and their loved ones find the answers and the care they need. Part of this effort involves supporting legislation and enlightening the public and the medical community about Lyme disease.
Without giving away book spoilers, I’ll just note that life’s hardships often provide illumination and discernment in terms of relationships once considered genuine and true. In Snobby Girl, Maureen discusses friends who can’t find the motivation to pick up the phone and offer specific, meaningful help — like cooking a meal or cleaning the house. Yet, they’ll walk, walk, walk for the cure or click the “like” button on Facebook in support of whatever famous charity is posting. Or some will publicly ask for sympathy when they receive news of a friend’s cancer diagnosis, yet fail to provide that friend with practical assistance.
For example, Maureen notes in her book that previously innocuous tasks like slicing vegetables in preparation for a meal, or vacuuming the carpet add an element of danger for a cancer patient. Why? The chemo and radiation treatments take a toll on the body, rendering cancer fighters much more susceptible to cuts and bruises — and therefore, infections. Compounded by other symptoms like “chemo head,” fatigue, and nausea the everyday tasks we healthy people take for granted become difficult daily challenges. For many women coping with various female cancers, a friend who truly wants to help can best express that desire by cooking them a meal or two, offering to clean their house (or perhaps paying for a professional to do it), taking them out for some “retail therapy,” and/or driving them to a chemotherapy appointment when they’re feeling too exhausted to drive themselves.
And they ought to take the initiative to pick up the phone and offer specific help, versus the “Whatever I can do, just ask” platitude. Be proactive and use common sense. Life doesn’t stop for the person fighting cancer: laundry still needs to washed and folded, meals still must be cooked, pets still need to be fed and walked, lawns still need to be mowed, etc. etc. Whatever else you might do, please don’t treat your recently diagnosed friend like a leper. I was incredibly disappointed to discover there are people in the 21st century who actually believe cancer is contagious, and that many of Maureen’s so-called friends would actually move to a different pew in church (church!) to avoid sitting next to her! Unacceptable. And certainly un-Christian.
Yet when it comes to public declarations of “support,” these same folks will like, share, and post about how much they care about cancer on social media, along with photos of them walking for a cure.
I can definitely relate to Maureen’s experience, though (thanks to the grace of God) I’ve never dealt with a serious health issue. Many years ago, I worked for a non-profit in a health-related field. Among other things, my job involved organizing fundraisers and schmoozing the wealthy society ladies who donated money and time to these high-profile events. While I understand the need to raise money, it became evident to me rather quickly that these women were mostly concerned with having their pictures splashed all over the society page (with the camera capturing their best angle, of course), and attracting celebrity participants (with whom they could no doubt have a photo or two taken at the event).
Am I judging them for not caring about the patients this organization was serving? Of course not. I cannot get inside someone else’s heart and mind. But I can report that none of them to the best of my knowledge ever participated in actual programs this same charity conducted — programs involving interaction with real people suffering from the disease. I wonder now if any of these patients ever shared Maureen’s feelings.
While I applaud reputable charities for raising money for research and fully understand the need for fundraisers, my appeal here is that charity really does begin at home. By all means, walk for the cure. But if you want to take your charitable giving to the next level, why not donate your time by offering meaningful support to one woman coping with cancer (or any other debilitating disease)? For many people, it’s easy to write a check. Giving of your time and energy is a much bigger sacrifice but it also carries much more meaning for the person at the receiving end.
Call your friend and offer to do something specific and useful for her. We can’t help everyone but each of us can help someone. And that person will appreciate it more than they could ever express.
Getting to know Maureen personally has been an incredible experience. She’s one of the bravest, strongest, and most determined women I know. Are you coping with ovarian cancer or know someone who is? Please tune in to Writestream Tuesday on September 30 at 1 p.m. Eastern. During the interview, Maureen and I welcome your calls at (347) 945-7246.
Woo-hoo! Maureen Miles Bucci’s book, A Snobby Girl’s Guide to Dealing with Cancer, is now available on Create Space, soon to be available on Amazon.com (stay tuned). I’m very proud of my friend and client for her courageous stand against this insidious disease and her determination to achieve her dream of becoming an author.
If you or someone you care about is facing a battle with cancer, give them the gift of Snobby Girl. It’s filled with practical advice, humor, snark, and little-known information they won’t hear from their medical staff. I applaud Maureen for writing the book and know it’s going to help countless women to survive cancer with humor, grace, and style.