Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category
March came in like a lion this year; cold, rainy, windy and just plain ugly. While everyone around me complained, I reminded them that this was good, as it was a sure thing we would be blessed with nice weather at the end of March. Sure enough, we have had an amazing week of lovely warm sunny weather here on the west coast of Canada. This Easter weekend I have been for a walk on the beach three days in a row. So glad the theory works, every time.
Having four days off is wonderful, but to have four sunny days off on the “wet coast” is almost unheard of. It has been lovely. Everyone left work on Thursday in a happy mood. A satisfied client brought us orchids and a colleague provided Easter treats.
Besides going for walks on the beach, I have been meeting friends for tea and having coffee with hubby at various special places around town. Also enjoying the multitude of blooming daffodils and cherry trees in our neighborhood.
I have always loved the Easter season and the spirit of hope it evokes. Spring flowers are my favourite.
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, however you celebrated it.
May your days be filled with much sunshine, flowers and hope.
I took Friday off of work to attend an all day eWomen Network workshop called How to be a Best Selling Author & Treat your Book as a Business. It was well worth the time spent. The workshop was facilitated by two amazing speakers, Teresa de Grosbois and Charmaine Hammond, both published authors and international speakers. The energy in the room was vibrant with many opportunities to meet new people and network. A group I belong to, CWILL BC (Children’s’ Writers and Illustrators of BC) had a display table and I was able to showcase my books and hand out book marks.
My head was spinning with all the valuable information I collected. Here are a few things I learned that I would like to share:
- You can’t make yourself famous.
- You need to connect with influential people and have them talk about your book.
- You need to get in relationship with influential people but be appropriate.
- Be aware of the ‘premature ask’.
- Blog your book before publication to grow a following.
- Be part of a community of reciprocity.
- Be authentic from a place of love and it will come back to you.
- Give yourself permission to start sloppily, you have to learn as you go.
- Have a theme, do a series, be an expert in your field.
- You need endorsements in order to stand out.
- Find people to collaborate with.
- Systemize everything to keep yourself organized and save time.
- Never speak for free but sometimes it’s OK to speak for no fee.
- Look for in-kind sponsorship and recognize your sponsors constantly.
- Speaking engagements are the best way to get your book out there.
- Contact libraries, schools, women’s conferences, community service clubs, book clubs, alumni etc.
- Create events that rock!
- A website and a blog are a must and you should be on some social media sites.
- Create an author page on Amazon, connect it to your blog, twitter, Facebook etc.
- Publishers look to see if you have a platform already.
Teresa de Grosbois offers workshops through Wildfire Workshops, ignite your dreams. I have summarized her three points on how to create a word of mouth epidemic using the analogy of a wildfire:
- Spark: What is the problem you want to solve for the world?
- Fuel: How passionate are you to be authentic?
- Wind: The relationships that will help you are the wind to grow your fire. Be the wind in someone else’s fire.
I left with some great new ideas but also feeling good that I am already doing some of these things. I do feel I am part of a community of reciprocity through my blog. I have so much support from my blog followers and I so appreciate it. If there is anything I can ever do for any of you, please let me know.
I will leave you with this poster I found on Facebook. I’m sorry but I don’t remember who posted it originally.
Do you feel that you are part of a community of reciprocity?
I was invited to guest blog on Donna Martin’s On The Write Track site. Every Wednesday her theme is Writerly Wisdom. Today I wrote about not giving up on your dream to be a published writer. I hope you enjoy it.
Never Too Late To Become A Writer
A goal without a plan is just a dream.
Many of us dream of being a writer. After all we have tons of ideas. We spend years talking about it, fantasize signing our books, and envision people saying, “I read your book and loved it.” But there is always an excuse. We are too busy working, raising kids, keeping a house, volunteering, looking after grandchildren or aging parents; the list goes on. Then one day there is a bit more time and we say, “Now I’m too old to write a book. If only I had started years ago. It’s too late.” I have heard this many times.
I was one of those people. I had so many excuses for not sitting down and writing a book. I took writing courses and attended seminars, wrote a few short stories and submitted to the occasional contest, but the idea of writing a book was too daunting and I often felt I left it too late.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis
I have been having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit this year. My broken ankle has stopped me from doing the many activities I do at this time of year. My energy is low, a feeling I am unfamiliar with. Then the terrible news from Friday made me wish there would be no Christmas at all this year. My friend Niamh Clune wrote a meaningful poem in memory of those lives lost and posted it on her blog To all those whose hearts are bleeding… It says it all.
I felt like I was just going through the motions, that wonderful Christmas feeling just wasn’t there. And I am a total Christmasy person. My dear husband decorated my car with reindeer antlers and a Rudolf nose much to my delight. My coworker came in early on her day off and decorated our shared office to cheer me. These things helped but I still wasn’t in the spirit I usually am at this time of year.
Then this morning I opened up a blog post from another blogging friend, Jennifer Kiley wishing everyone Happy Chanukah, with this delightful video by the Maccabeats telling the story of Hanukkah.
And guess what? That wonderful Christmas feeling of love, joy and peace filled my heart. The Maccabeats saved my Christmas. Hope you enjoy them as well.
What does it take to get you in the holiday spirit?
In my last post I shared some interesting (or not) facts about me. I happened to mention that I was a Jane Austen groupie and dressed up as Jane Austen for Halloween sometimes. Here I am dressed as one of my favourite people.
I also recently had an article published in travelsthruhistory about a time when I visited Jane Austen’s house in Chawton. Another one of my dreams come true.
VISITING JANE AUSTEN ON A MOTORBIKE
By Darlene Foster
Our delightful visit to England included Yorkshire and North Wales. Viewing the countryside with its stone hedges and ancient castles was made even more enjoyable as we hurtled down narrow roads on a motorcycle.
We had one thing left to do before flying back to Canada; deliver the motorbike to its new owner in London. We travelled down from York, stopped for lunch at a pub in Cambridge overlooking the Thames and watched the rowers practice. As we rode towards London, I was puzzled when we didn’t turn off the M1 taking us into Guildford, but turned east. Soon I recognized signs for Alton, Strawberry Hill, Steventon and Chawton. We were on our way to visit my hero, Jane Austen! My dear husband had planned this as a surprise for me.
Here is a question often asked at job interviews: If you could have lunch with anyone, alive or not, who would that be? I would answer Jane Austen of course. What would your answer be?
I was sad to hear of the passing of Steven Covey last week. He was a man who influenced many individuals, including me. I often quote from his popular book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” in my job search workshops. Over at A Hopeful Sign a video is featured with Dr. Covey talking about The Eighth Habit. He states that voice is when your talent and your passion overlaps what the world needs as driven by conscience.
From A Hopeful Sign Video Story: Steven Covey http://ahopefulsign.com/
We honor the sudden passing of motivational speaker Steven Covey with a clip summarizing his “8th Habit”, something he called “finding one’s voice.” Mr. Covey was the popular and highly successful author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”
Olivia is a British Black Lab, and is registered with the Canadian Kennel Club as DGC (Dog Guide Canada) Lexis Olivia. This lively, friendly dog belongs to Gloria, a hearing impaired person who depends on Olivia for her safety, security, independence and companionship. Olivia is not her pet. She is a working dog, on shift 24/7, who takes her job seriously. She is a Hearing Ear Dog.
Olivia has been partnered with Gloria for 6 years. She came from the Dog Guide Canada school for dogs in Oakville, Ontario. The dogs come from DGC’s own breeding program, the SPCA and individual dog donations. They come in all shapes, sizes and breeds, to suit the needs of different individuals. They are all dependable, smart and loyal. The dogs go to foster homes when they are weaned from their mothers for about one year, and then return to the school for six months of intensive training to qualify to become a hearing ear dog. Approximately 25% of the dogs do not make it through the training but are found good homes as pets. Those that do make it are honoured with a nice graduation ceremony. This is not the end of the training though, as it continues for their entire working life.
Hearing impaired individuals in need of a dog, are flown to the school from all over Canada to meet the dogs and find one that would be compatible. Gloria knew the minute she met Olivia that she was the one. She then spent 18 days with Olivia, training together and getting to know one another, before they both returned to their home in Redcliff, Alberta.
Olivia gets up when Gloria does and stays by her side all day. She alerts her when the door bell rings, when someone knocks, and when the fax, phone, stove timer, microwave, alarm clock, smoke alarm, or security alarm go off. Once, when the battery in Gloria’s smoke alarm was getting weak and making a beeping sound, Olivia woke her up and insisted she leave the house. This amazing dog can understand some sign language and is trained to hear a baby cry. She goes everywhere with Gloria; shopping, restaurants, church, meetings, coffee shops and more. If some one calls out or the cell phone rings, she alerts Gloria. She currently goes to schools with Gloria to do presentations on Hearing Ear Dogs.
Gloria has been asked some crazy questions like, “Can your dog tell you if something is wrong with your car?” or “Does your dog sign to you what people say?”
Olivia is very friendly and not afraid of anything. Except once, during a visit to the zoo with the grandchildren, a brazen tiger stared right at the dog and Olivia shook uncontrollably. The only time she lost her cool. She can be a quite a clown and is always happy. At a birthday bowling party, she chased the ball down the lane, much to the amusement of everyone. She gets excited, but takes her job seriously.
During a recent visit, my grandsons tried to give her a treat but she wouldn’t take it. Olivia is trained not to take food from strangers. She gets Dairy Queen treats once in a while and loves Cheerios. She is often rewarded for good behaviour and for simply doing her job. Cheerios make a nice light snack and help prevent her from gaining weight. Olivia stood patiently in the backyard until Gloria gave her the go ahead signal to chew on her bone. My grandsons were most impressed with this hard working, clever dog.
Gloria is happy to have Olivia in her life. She said, “We all have choices. Life is what you make of it. You need to deal with what life hands you and carry on.” Being hearing impaired has not stopped her from living a full life; travelling, entertaining, spending time with her grandchildren and meeting with old friends like me. I was impressed with Olivia and inspired by Gloria.
For more information on Hearing Ear Dogs: http://www.dogguides.com/doghome.htm
Every now and then you read something that restores your faith in human nature. My blogging friend Maxi posted this on Maxi’s Comments March 19, 2012 and with her permission, I am reposting it on my blog. Everyone should read about this special person.
Tea Can Save A Life
A woman teeters on the edge of a cliff in Sydney, Australia. It’s called “The Gap.” A three-foot-fence is all that separates the jumper from death. Hopeless and helpless, she inches forward, than drops to the ground.
(two people stand at the fence of The Gap)
“You can’t just sit there and watch them,” Don sighs. “You gotta try and save them. It’s pretty simple.”
Some people think it’s grim, not Don. He used to sell life insurance, now he sells life. “It’s a gift,” he believes. Every day when he awakes, the elderly man shuffles to the second-story window, prays no one is at the cliff.
“He’s an angel,” beams Dianne Gaddin. “Most people would be too afraid to do anything, and would probably sooner turn away and run away. But he had the courage, and the charisma, and the care, and the magnetism to reach people who were coming to the end of their tether.”
Dianne likes to believe that Don was there when her daughter jumped from The Gap in 2005. He can’t remember, yet she feels comfort that Tracy felt his warmth at the end. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gap_%28Sydney%29
There was a time when Don climbed the fence to save a life. No more. He almost went over the cliff with a woman one day. She was hysterical, out of control; Don stood between her and the abyss below. Had she launched herself over the edge, he would have gone also.
Yet, he can’t save them all. The wind was strong on the day a teenager stood at the brink. As the old man offered tea and solace, the boy glanced up, it wasn’t enough. Just that quick he was gone. Don reached out, the boy’s hat landed in his open hand.
The “suicide angel” discovered the boy had lived next door years ago. His mother brought flowers to Don, grateful that he had tried. “If you couldn’t talk him out of it, no one could,” she sobbed.
There is no regret for those he can’t help, no lingering nightmares. Don does his best, accepts that no more can be done.
In 2006, the government awarded Don Ritchie with a Medal of the Order of Australia, a high civilian honor. It stands out on his living room wall, above a painting of sunshine; someone left it in the mailbox. The honor on the plaque reads: Ritchie “an angel that walks amongst us.”
Remember the woman at the start of this story? The ground beneath her body felt warm as she sat and gazed across the water; her purse was on the other side of the fence. Don convinced her to come to the house for tea; he and Moya dished up breakfast as they listened to her troubles.
The stranger was spent at the end of her tale, but felt much better. She decided to go home.
She returned a few months later with a bottle of champagne. Once a year she makes contact with the Ritchie’s to let them know that she is okay, happy with life.
Don Ritchie is a former Navy seaman, used to be busy, out and about, lunch with friends. His age and a constant battle with cancer have slowed him down. http://wentworth-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/honour-for-angel-of-the-gap/
The last I read, as of Feb. 2011 Don was still there reading … and watching.
May Your Glass Always Be Half Full
Read Maxi’s other great blog posts at http://maxiscomments.com/
Have you heard of any one special lately? Someone who is making a difference.
Have you discovered how having a cup of tea can make a difference?
Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier. Mother Teresa
I am proud to have my story, Good Hands, included in this inspiring publication.
Every Child is Entitled to Innocence will be the first publication of the newly- formed Orangeberry Publishing Group. Due to release on February 14th, profits from the sales of this e-book will be donated to Child Helpline International.
This is part of the forward to the book:
In 2010 more than 14.5 million children, or adults on behalf of children, contacted child helplines around the world.
Experiences collated from different child helplines reveal that children calling for assistance are often in need of shelter, medical, emotional support or guidance, are in need of support during a family crisis, during abuse (physical/emotional/sexual), in need of repatriation, or in need of support for school related problems.
On behalf of all of the child helpline counsellors across the globe who are there for children in need at all hours of the day and night, I would like to thank Dr Niamh Clune & Orangeberry Books for bringing this collection of stories about childhood together. These stories help remind us of the power of sharing our experiences, happy and sad alike. Every child who contacts a child helpline is reaching out, making sure their voices are heard, and that their problems do not go unnoticed and untreated. These stories do the same.
Nenita La Rose, Executive Director.
Says initiator of the project, Dr. Niamh Clune, “I met many writers through the Internet that experienced difficult childhoods yet have overcome their brutal beginnings. I wanted to make the first Orangeberry publication a celebration of creative imagination. This powerful friend of damaged children plays an essential role in an abused child’s recovery. Gathering this series of stories was a joy. Orangeberry Books has developed special, vibrant relationships with contributors and has forged many lasting friendships.
We encouraged happy stories that reflected the innocence of childhood when infants feel wrapped in the warmth of loving arms. We wanted to contrast these with the sad ones, making them stand out in relief against a bright backdrop. We felt this comparison would demonstrate, without explanation, what happens when innocence is stolen. In this book, the reader will find many wonderful, heart-warming stories; whilst the sad ones demonstrate the magnificence of the human spirit as it triumphs against all the odds.”
The e-book can be ordered from Amazon.com
Thank you Niamh for putting this project together and for including the story about my wonderful father who provided an innocent and memorable childhood for me.
“10 Laws on the Art of Joyful Living” by Zen teacher and brush artist Kaz Tanahashi
1. Your happiness is more important than anything else.
2. The happier you are, the more you can help others.
3. Smiling makes you happy.
4. The more relaxed you are, the happier you are.
5. A moment of meditation can help you refresh yourself.
6. The lower your expectations are, the happier you are.
7. Happiness attracts happiness.
8. The ultimate healing is to live joyfully at each moment.
9. The more fully you face your own death, the more joyous you become.
10. You can always improve your art of joyful living.
Thanks to Banyan Books for this wonderful list. I plan to copy it and hang it in my office to remind me everyday.
How else can we improve the art of joyful living?