How Small Publications Can Play A Big Role In Your Publicity Efforts …
I went to a fast food restaurant for dinner the other night. The guy ahead of me had just come home from Afghanistan. He was buying dinner for his son and himself. The total came to over $20.00. He didn’t have enough. They said they would give him a 10% military discount. Still not enough. He started deducting his order until he could afford it.
Then I saw a man who had heard this haggling hand him $100 bill and say, “Thanks for your service.”
The soldier teared up and said, “You don’t know how much this means to me.”
The man smiled and said, “You don’t know how much what you do means to me.”
I posted this story on Facebook and it has gotten nearly 100 likes and 10 shares. It shows that people really want to care about those who wage war in defense of our nation’s freedom. I’ll confess, I was moved to tears watching this happening. There is still hope for human compassion in the face of so much hate.
The soldier could have been a Trump-supporter, the donor a devout Democrat. It didn’t matter at this moment. At this moment, it was one man giving back to another who had given so much to him, so much for all of us.
So what do we do with the hope this engenders?
First, go and do likewise.
There are over two million soldiers in the US. The average income for a front-line private is less than $2,000 a month. Personal gifts (monetary or material) to military men and women you know or can meet is a great place to start. Rather than post a scathing remark against high government wages or benefits of non-US citizens, put your money where your mouth is. Cultivate a culture of caring for those who give so much to us.
Second, watch out for wounded warriors.
Mental health experts both in the military and in the civilian society desperately scramble to learn more about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and how to treat it. No solutions are at hand. We may think if the experts don’t even know what to do, how am I going to help? Well, it doesn’t take an expert to reach out and be a faithful friend. And that goes a long way toward healing.
Third, stop celebrating war.
Former 5-star General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower knew the cost of war, both on the soldiers who fight, the families left behind, and the society as a whole. He spoke passionately against the military-industrial establishment with these words:
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.” ― Dwight D. Eisenhower
Eisenhower knew better than perhaps anyone how to build a strong military. And he warned gravely that stockpiling weapons of mass destruction was no way to win a battle against enemy aggression. Building a strong military meant investing in the lives of our soldiers and our society as a whole.
“Never in my wildest dreams would I have seen this opportunity coming in my life.”
WHY? Because, many years ago if anyone would have told me I would have gotten entangled in a gambling addiction, begin recovery and maintain recovery 11-yrs let alone become a published author twice, and begin a writing and book marketing career? I would have laughed at them and say; “not in my lifetime!” But here I am! I attribute these wonderful abilities and blessings for both maintaining recovery and writing as beautiful “Gifts from GOD.”
It truly is the only way I can really describe where these opportunities came from. When we let Christ take over in our lives, you never know what blessings or surprises are right around the corner. Nor do we know where his path, his lovingly laid out path for us will go. However, I am sure enjoying the literary ride with my co-writer!
Wishing you all a very happy and blessed 4th week! ~Author and Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
A Note From Vance Johnson:
It’s taken me 55 years to find myself. Since I was a child, I wondered why, why am I on this earth. When I started chasing fame, fortune, accolades, and acceptance, I figured it out, or at least I thought I had. My goals, success, fame, and being at the TOP of whatever I pursued was my mission. I reached those goals …I stood on the sidelines at Super Bowl listening to the National Anthem, remembering when I was 9-yrs old, telling myself and everyone else “when I grow up, I’m going to play in the Super Bowl” I then heard voices in my head, “Vance, you’re too short, too small, and a wuss. You have a better chance of making it to the moon. “WATCH ME! I said.
So, I’m writing my story, Co-Authored by, Catherine Townsend-Lyon who has guided me to be open, tell all, and learning transparency as we write. It has been an eye-opening experience, to say the least. Also, this coming season NFL films is doing a special “NFL Presents” about my journey, my sobriety, and my ‘Passion.’
Another new blessing has come, as I am excited to have been contacted by another nationally known group, a Los Angeles-based production company that creates premium documentary content. The company is run by a multiple ‘Emmy Award Winning Executive Producer and partner’ Some of their clients and partners include Netflix, CNN, A&E, National Geographic, History, Discovery, AMC, Turner, Oxygen, and Travel Channel. I won’t disclose who they are just yet, not until after they let me know their thoughts on what type of project they would like to do, hopefully with me. We will keep you posted!
Once upon a time, a young man made his dreams and God-given seeds of athletics come to fruition through faith. There he was, a young man standing, looking in awe at the crowds in the stadium and getting ready to play his first Super Bowl in 1986 as a Denver Bronco. The game, Denver vs New York Giants.
“I felt like a little boy standing there with my oversized Super Bowl Jersey on as a Denver Bronco. It was hanging off of me. At that moment I was seeing the super bowl crowds through the eyes as that little boy way back when with the drive and big dreams to make it to the NFL.”
“This is a Memoir and The Legacy of a former NFL pro–#82 wide receiver of the Denver Broncos. A man “Wide Open and Standing Redeemed” ~Vance Edward Johnson.
Note From Catherine: We have made the one year mark in our writing journey thus far. Challenging? Yes, but the journey of two writers can never be rushed. With a few roadblocks here and there, some nervous transparency decisions, and openness, and a whole lot of phone calls and transcribing, we are getting closer to “The End.”
Vance, born in March 1963 has had an interesting unique life. Not just about his college and NFL football careers, nor him making it as an alternate on the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics track and field team. God put him through some trials and tribulations to test his faith, his real abilities …Called Real Life.
Here are some highlights from the book in progress thus far. We both welcome your comments and ideas.
Excerpt One – Partial Intro Page
“There I was, a 50-year-old man chained to a hospital bed. Now a washed up broke former NFL football pro. My life spiraled out of my control. As I came out of my coma after 26 days, seeing dark shadows walking in and around my room. Looking at me while chained to my bed. I knew then it was my time. Those shadows were going to take me. Then, God came into my room, showed me his amazing power at that moment when I woke up. He showed me it wasn’t my time. I heard him whisper, “Son, I have much bigger plans and a purpose for you in your life!”
In 2012 I was hurting. Hurting emotionally and physically. My mom took me to the hospital in Colorado where I was living at the time. Since my son Vaughn’s passing, I’d gone off the rails, just killing myself with alcohol and pills. I wasn’t well. When I arrived in the ER they began some tests, and my blood work was all over the place. Before I knew what was happening the doctors put me in an induced coma in hopes to save my life.
I remained in an induced coma for 26 days. My pastor came and prayed over me as my daughter, sister, and family began to say their goodbyes. No one thought I would make it. Neither did I. I was broken, exhausted physically, mentally, and was spiritually lost and bankrupt. Another of the lowest points in my life other than my son’s passing and my suicide attempt years before.
Now looking back, as I share my life with all of you, I wondered if this was how it was all going to end. All the trials and tribulations I had been through, the loss of my son, broken relationships, many shattered marriages, hurting my family with my addictions and selfishness. Many children with a variety of women and denied some of them out of more selfishness.
As I lay in that hospital bed, still having hallucinations and visions of dark shadows and figures walking in and out of my room. Is this Satans enemy circling my bed as if to take me with him when I passed from this world? They came every day, the fear, becoming so unbearable, but they never took me with them. As a matter of fact, here is when my healing and recovery was about to begin.
Take a walk with me, and I will share with you how a man so broken can be “Redeemed, Uncovered, and once again Standing In Grace!”
My College Track & Field card and some 1984 Olympic pics where I was alternate for the USA Team, in the Long Jump.
Excerpt Two ~ High School Memories
When I began High School from 1978-81 I was a pretty shy guy at the time. My struggles with math and science seemed to follow me from middle school and became even harder. I didn’t have many friends, except for my best friend Frank who was Mexican. He said when we got to high school that we weren’t allowed to be friends any longer because Mexican’s and Blacks didn’t get along at the high school we were going to attend in Tucson, Arizona.
I was sad about this, and it hit me deeply. At that time there was still so much racism happening, and I began to notice it more when I did get to high school and like Frank told me. We never hung out much after that though. I started to hang out with the athletes, began to focus on sports more and more. I ran track and loved long jumping. I played football and a little bit of basketball. I spent most of my time in the weight room doing leg exercises because I didn’t have the upper body strength like most of the other athletes.
Being shy also meant I didn’t date initially, I did have one girlfriend, but she broke my heart early in our relationship. She had gotten pregnant by an opposing athlete who was a competitor on track and field. I focused mainly on sports; I still struggled in school a little bit with science and math, although I thought it was fun to play around and experiment in science class!
I was pretty good with shop class; I believe it was because I had been “noticed.” Was this my first taste of being a little famous? Art was my favorite thing to do, my art teacher was my favorite person in the world and spent a lot of time with her. Had never knew she was dying of cancer the whole time she was teaching our class. When I learned about it it really broke my heart.
During my first year of football, I was scared, because I wasn’t a large or tremendous sized kid. I was also not very masculine as these days it’s what you call metrosexual. I had long hair, I didn’t date, and had only had one serious girlfriend Anna. I would not go out and party, ever. I didn’t drink, didn’t smoke cigarettes or weed; didn’t even hang out with “the crowd” or even my teammates after games. I ended up getting injured after my first year of high school football and thought I would not play again to be honest.
I thought I might be too fragile or not cut out for it. Later on, I guess that’s why I always made touchdowns because I didn’t like anyone to touch me or tackle me hard. In my second year, I was moved to varsity in track and field, being the fastest in the school, and in varsity football. I did try varsity basketball but I stunk at it, in fact, I sucked. All the while domestic issues at home were still very prevalent.
My father continuously put his hands on mother. Subtle, but I remember the cries and muffled arguments late at night. Sometimes I would hope that my dad wouldn’t make it home. Maybe if he stayed out philandering and drinking all night, he would feel more guilty than pissed off. Amazing how as a child for some reason I always blamed it all on me. That just made me more determined to excel. Thinking it would make my dad less mean or not hurt my mother like he did.
So, I threw myself even more heavily into sports. I won most of all the awards, but because I was so shy? I had my sister go up and get them for me and give the acceptance speech for me too! I would always wait outside because of being too timid, shy and had a little stutter. I couldn’t speak in public because I was very nervous in front of crowds. HA, HA look at what I do now speaking all over the country and in front of hundreds all the time! …
“I realized something today after listening to my Pastor. He spoke of a conversation he had with Elvis Presley’s brother, and how his brother really died. It wasn’t Drugs, it was Fame.
It wasn’t alcohol or drugs that nearly killed me, Fame and the enemy did! Alcohol & drugs was merely a way to cope with the diminishment of my fame. It was a way to tranquilize myself because I had no identity outside of my “ego” and that fame. The cheers, accolades, commercials, 3 Amigos, a Bronco. When it all stopped, so did I.
We look at all these famous people like “Idols and Icons, wanting to be like them. Not knowing they go home and drink, do drugs just to sleep, drugs to wake up, drink and drugs to perform. Because like me, they were made into someone they were not created God to be, ICONS, self-absorbed, believing all of the hype they read about themselves.
I could go on and on about how blind I was, even the world in its pursuit to chase fame, fortune, and evil pleasures. Let me close with this.
Whatever you do, even chasing Fame, Fortune, and Popularity, do it for his good pleasure and Gods glory. Seek first the kingdom, and all these things will be added!
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
I always enjoy sharing one of my favorite romance fiction authors and writers. I am also honored to call Rusty Blackwood a dear friend of mine and meeting several years ago through social media and became fast friends. She is an amazing author with books like,
“Such a talented writer that all her books should be on the NY Times Best Seller List!
Who says authors don’t interact with thier readers? Rusty sure does. Just as she enjoys sharing her process of writing a new book as well.”
So, I am privileged she asked and has given my readers another exclusive look and share a Sneak Peek Chapter of her new book coming out this fall titled; The Perils of Autumn. I know all my avid readers will love reading a good long juicy chapter to prepare you for this amazing new release this FALL …
Photo of Miss Blackwood by Miss Carson Doan ©2013 Carson Doan Photography, St. Catharines, ON.
The Perils of Autumn ~ Chapter 35
A Four Course Journey Through Hypocrisy
( This is a working cover only for The Perils of Autumn. Image courtesy of Google Images ©)
A Note From The Author, Rusty Blackwood:
“Hello Avid Readers. This chapter is fairly long but it helps to set the flow of the story. The chapter centers around a dinner party that Autumn gives with hopes of bringing Cyril and her mother closer together – as Autumn and Cyril are becoming close and Abigail (Autumn’s mother) who is not pleased with their relationship because he is so much older than her daughter. The housekeeper, Agnes – life long friend of Cyril’s – begins to show her true colors” …You may read another chapter from my Official Author Website Rusty Blackwood and make sure you sign up for my newsletter while there for this new fall release, news, and author events too!
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Saturday had arrived and with it growing anxiety for Autumn. She wondered at this for she had everything well planned, dinner would be at six, the menu had been decided, and the weather appeared favorable. Much of the meal would consist of items she and her mother had never consumed, but there was always a first time, and the selection was good. It would also be a feast for Cyril’s pallet, for the menu consisted of many of his favorite foods that he had not enjoyed in quite some time. There was not a doubt he would partake heavily. His assignment was the stocking of the bar which would be left to his choosing. Autumn’s mother did enjoy a nice sherry, or an after-dinner brandy, that of which Autumn had already informed Cyril, and she was certain he would include them in the lineup.
Noon had come and gone. Autumn couldn’t help noticing the cold shoulder she was receiving from Agnes whenever she entered the kitchen, but it was something the older woman must come to terms with, and Autumn was not about to ruin her expected pleasure over someone’s possible attempt at sabotage. She kept checking the time, noticing the hands on the clock seemed to speed faster with each look. Three o’clock finally loomed; it was time to adjourn to her suite. She had less than two hours to prepare for the planned festivities. After a final check in the kitchen, she trod to Cyril’s room to see if he was resting, but he was not there. He did say he was going to exercise Dan for a while; must be where he is. I do hope he’s watching the time, she thought with concern while climbing the stairs to her privacy. Now, what should I wear? She didn’t want to be over-dressed yet wanted to appear festive. It may be a simple dinner for four, but it was a most important one; she wanted everything to be just right, and that included her.
Her wardrobe had grown over time. It brought her comfort when opening her closet doors to find an actual selection within. Both she and her mother could now enjoy nicer clothes, as well as a wide variety. Her mind suddenly flashed to the days when it hadn’t been that way. There had always been clothing, but not always the nicest nor the most recent in style but at least they were clean. She smiled when realizing that sparseness was no longer the case for either of them. She had always admired her mother’s impeccable taste, the way she made a statement with the combination of simple items used with flair, creating her own look, and pulling it off with grace. Autumn’s style was different from her mother’s. It didn’t matter if something was not of the latest trend, in fact, the more flamboyant the better, and aside from wearing conservative riding habits, she fancied her own look with whatever took her eye at the time.
Before long she was attired in a mid-length, long sleeved, crushed velvet coat dress in royal blue, set off with a matching belt sporting a huge square chrome buckle. She wore chunky, three inch heeled knee-high boots of the same color and fabric of the dress, but what set them apart was a spattering of shinny chrome studs around the cuffs, and down the sides. To complete the look, she chose dangly silver hoop earrings. Her cheeks were adorned with a soft pink blush, dark auburn mascara complimented her thick, wispy lashes, and a bold crimson lip gloss finished the look. She decided to wear her shoulder-length hair loose and flowing, and as she stood before the full-length mirror she had to smile, feeling every inch the seventies girl that she was.
The limo, driven by a suit-clad William was Lexington bound to retrieve Abigail Leeves who was expecting its arrival at the time her daughter had given, and she would be ready. A feeling of nervousness touched her stomach, but she shrugged it off, knowing there was no need for such nonsense, and she would not have it. She had always faced uncertainty head on, and this would be no different. She held to her usual conservative look, consisting of a three-quarter sleeved teal linen dress with gold piping, flat heeled, mid-high charcoal leather dress boots, and matching gold necklace and earrings. Her fur trimmed, black shear ling coat fell just below her knees, and was set off by a black leather shoulder bag boasting an elegant gold chain. She struck a stylish figure that she hoped would make her daughter proud.
Back at the mansion Autumn’s nerves were beginning to get the better of her. Surely things will go as planned, she trustingly thought, picturing everything in her mind as vividly as if it were playing out before her. She couldn’t wait to taste the traditional English fare that had been planned for everyone’s enjoyment, certain her mother would feel the same. She has always encouraged new avenues to try, so this will be no different, but still her nerves encompassed her stomach, as she further thought, what time is it now? Realizing it was almost five, she rushed downstairs just in time to meet her dashing squire of the manor, looking dapper in a light grey pin striped suit over an open-collared apricot colored linen shirt, and in lieu of a necktie, he wore a large silk apricot pocket square tucked loosely in his lapel. It truly was his color, for it set off his silver hair perfectly.
Sweeping his dancing eyes over her, he exclaimed, “You look exquisite, my dear!”
“Thank you, Cyril; you’re not a bit shabby yourself!”
“I suppose one could say we are totally mod.”
“Mod was last decade, now we are considered groovy.”
“Then groovy we shall be. Care to cut a rug with me?”
Giggling like an adolescent, Autumn playfully slapped his right shoulder before throwing her arms around him. He grinned at her daring gestures all the while realizing how they affected him, kept him youthful, and wanting to play. However, he didn’t think it wise to appear disheveled when his guest arrived.
Straightening his suit coat, he said, “I so look forward to seeing your charming mother again. How has she been keeping since leaving hospital?”
It took Autumn but a second to clue into the mannerism Cyril was expecting, as she replied, “She’s feeling fine and doing much better, thank you for asking. The new medication Dr. Boxford ordered appears to be helping much better than the previous one. Possibly she had become immune to the prior dosage; that often happens in cases like hers, but her mobility is much improved, and her discomfort has lessened. She’s even walking without the aid of her cane. It is a great relief for both of us,” and letting her eyes again travel over him, she coyly confessed, “You, my elegant horse master, look wonderfully debonair. I just had to say that before my mother arrives.”
He bowed, while sweeping his right arm before him. “My sincere gratitude, Miss Autumn, your charming presence at my side on her arrival can only do me proud,” and sensing her sudden nervousness, he asked, “Are you excited?”
Autumn couldn’t believe the extent of her nervousness, she actually felt nauseous, certain her sweaty hands would slip from within his; that alone increased her anxiety. She took a deep breath, straightened her posture, and then walked hand in hand with him to answer the call of the doorbell now ringing out its usual refrain. The door opened to reveal Abigail Leeves, standing in wait.
Cyril graciously extended his right hand, as he stated, “Welcome to Landon Manor, Miss Leeves, and might I say how lovely you look. Do come in.”
Noticing the grip her daughter had on the Englishman’s left hand, Abigail was thankful he had reached out with his right, but she pleasantly smiled, and stepped into the opulent foyer as he helped remove her coat, and then hung it in the closet.
“It is a pleasure to see you again, Mr. Landon,” Abigail announced, “thank you for inviting me to dinner. I look forward to us becoming better acquainted,” and letting her eyes travel over her daughter, now standing on her own, she said, “You look stylish, my dear. I adore your outfit, it is typically you.”
Autumn said nothing, only smiled as if her mouth had become paralyzed in its present clown-like position while she walked aside Cyril and her mother toward the double parlor. As the trio entered the massive room, Agnes appeared through the dining room door, and appearing to ignore those present, went straight to the bar located at the far end of the room.
“Agnes,” Cyril called out, signaling her total lack of manners, “you remember Miss Abigail Leeves I assume? Do come and say hello. I shall tend to the drink orders directly.”
The sullen housekeeper moved toward the women, extending her hand to the elder of the two, stating, “Hello again, Miss Leeves, it is nice that you could attend our little soirée. I trust your journey was a comfortable one. William does try his best to avoid most bumps in the road,” and she smiled in a sinister way.
As Cyril escorted Abigail to a comfortable heather-toned wing chair, she replied, “It was fine, no bumps, just a smooth ride throughout its entirety. I must say what a pleasant man William is, a most delightful chap indeed.”
Escorting Autumn to a matching chair opposite her mother, Cyril said, “That is our William for you. He enjoys nothing better than a fine conversation. I trust he didn’t bore you with constant horse topics. He tends to forget that not everyone is as interested in them as he. May I offer you an appetizer, accompanied with an aperitif of your choice?”
Abigail looked amused but comfortable as she studied the colorful selections on the silver serving tray, and upon choosing one, she replied, “A glass of sherry would be nice, thank you. Regarding your inquiry concerning William and our conversation, he did not bore me in the least. I find the world of horse racing interesting actually. My daughter has tried explaining different aspects about it during our phone conversations; she is certainly taken with it ever since you taught her to ride. The pony you assigned her is a lovely one, very pretty.”
Autumn, now channeling a bobble head doll, moved her eyes between Cyril and her mother, before stating, “Cinnamon is hardly a pony, Momma, but rather a breed known as Morgan. A small horse – an Indian pony actually – though not a pony. It’s somewhat difficult to explain.”
The expression on Cyril’s face revealed amusement. He found it enlightening that Autumn was trying her best to explain something that she was still a novice about in many ways. He admired her forthrightness in doing her best to clarify things, but he surmised his help was required.
Pulling a chair aside Abigail, he explained, “The majority of horse breed at my stables is thoroughbred, or warm blood, horses bred for professional racing and show events such as open-hunter, show-jumping, and dressage, however I do keep a few different breeds for pleasure, such as Autumn’s mare Cinnamon, whose breed is Morgan. They are solid, tough horses, smaller than a thoroughbred in height and build, not nearly as hot blooded or high strung, but they are perfect for pleasure riding as well as teaching beginners to ride, such as your daughter, whom I understand had never sat on the back of a horse.”
Setting her half empty glass upon an adjacent table, Abigail replied, “We were never fortunate to be around horses I’m afraid, though I know my daughter has always had an affinity for them but we never lived where having one, even a pony, was possible. However, I am glad that she has been allowed to experience what she was denied throughout her formative years.”
Oh, Mother, must you make us sound like a welfare case? Autumn agonized in thought, doing her best to prevent her eyes from rolling as she continued to listen to the conversation.
Nodding his head in a receptive manner, Cyril remarked, “Yes, I am too, but it has been my pleasure to assist her by teaching her the basics, and she is a fast learner, picking up difficult aspects exceptionally fast.”
“Yes,” Abigail agreed, “that she is, always first to jump into the fray.” Oh, Mother, please, must you be so explicit? thought Autumn with growing annoyance fast boarding on embarrassment. She had to change the subject.
“I’m glad you had a good trip out here, Momma. I knew you would enjoy conversing with William, he is a most interesting dude, always has something delightful to say. Maybe after dinner you might like to have a tour of the stables; even meet Cinnamon — and Dapper Dan!”
“Excuse me, Dapper who?”
“Sir Dapper Dan. That is the official name of Cyril’s horse, a magnificent, dapple grey thoroughbred stallion that is a blue-ribbon winner in his field. Why he simply soars over hurdles, regardless of how high or difficult to maneuver. Then again a lot of that can be credited to Cyril’s exceptional horsemanship.”
The Englishman’s face suddenly reddened, he was actually blushing, as he stated, “Oh my, you must forgive your daughter’s enthusiasm, Miss Leeves, she is rather bias, however the credit she gives Dan is certainly well placed. He is both my stalwart friend, and my champion on the course. We have been together a very long time, and he never ceases to amaze me.”
“Yes, Momma, it was Dapper Dan that saved Cyril the day of his accident. The horse got down on his knees and eased himself upon his side as to allow Cyril to climb on his back, where he then brought him to the stables. It was a miraculous feat, a total gesture of love. I don’t know many humans who would go to that length for another.”
Looking amused, Abigail exclaimed, “My-my, you certainly do have a friend in your horse, Mr. Landon! I would very much like to meet this applauded steed. I must say you were a lucky man.”
“That I was and do call me Cyril. Mr. Landon seems so formal, and I always address my friends by their name.” “Then you must call me Abigail. I understand you own a Triple Crown winner. That must be thrilling, to say the least.”
“That it is, Abigail! Devil May Care won the Triple Crown in 1969, setting a record for speed along with it. Unfortunately, that coveted series is open to three-year-old contenders only, but nothing can ever erase the memories of his win. I am now hopeful for my newest three-year-old stallion, Fenn’s Fancy. He has what it takes, but it is also up to chance, so we shall see.”
Before another word could be spoken, Agnes, who had previously left the room immediately after acknowledging the company, returned to announce that dinner now awaited them in the dining room. Cyril stepped between Autumn and her mother, and offering an arm to each, accompanied them to the dining room with its emerald green damask walls, and highly polished, colonial-styled walnut table. Six deep maroon-cushioned chairs lined the table either side, capped off with a captain’s chair at each end.
The table, sporting a tapestry runner in maroon and gold, sat beneath a shallow but tasteful flower arrangement consisting of Baby’s Breath, Stephanotis, and trailing English Ivy. Crystal serving bowls lined each side of the runner, each offering an English staple from the designated menu. Autumn and Abigail were seated across from each other on the halfway mark of the table, and Cyril and Agnes took up residence in the captains’ chairs.
To Cyril’s right side, chilling in an ice-filled sterling bucket in its stand was a vintage bottle of champagne. Popping the cork, he walked around the table filling each crystal goblet located aside a gold embellished dinner plate, on which sat a green enameled salad bowl offering a traditional London salad, consisting of assorted greens, walnuts, and apples.
The meal progressed with conversation taking place wherever it seemed to fit. Everyone appeared to be enjoying the assorted flavors of each dish, until the bowl containing Toad in the Hole was passed to Abigail, who awkwardly hesitated, giving the impression she was not sure about what she was viewing.
Agnes was quick to notice. Swiftly wiping a maroon colored napkin across her mouth, she openly inquired, “Is there a problem, Miss Leeves?” It was obvious Abigail did not wish to make a scene, but the pungent look on her face openly revealed her displeasure.
“I am sorry, I don’t wish to seem impartial but …this dish looks as if it contains sausage.”
“It does!” Agnes blurted.
“One cannot make a proper Toad in the Hole without sausage. Why don’t you try it before you turn up your nose? You might find it to your liking instead of jeering at it like you’ve been offered poison.” Abigail sat in quandary, not certain what to say. Cyril could not believe the words emitting from his housekeeper’s mouth. He was totally appalled.
“How dare you speak to my guest in such a disgraceful manner, Agnes? I demand you explain yourself and apologize immediately.”
Autumn sat in disbelief yet knowing full well that the outburst was because of the woman’s growing animosity toward her and Cyril’s blossoming relationship, but she would not sit in silence while her mother was chastised because of it.
“I too am waiting for an explanation, Agnes. If my mother has hesitated to try something there must be a good reason; even if there wasn’t, it does not give you the right to speak to her like that.”
Abigail graciously blotted her mouth, before stating, “I am sorry. I certainly did not mean to cause such uproar, but I cannot eat sausage without it triggering a gallbladder attack. I have not been able to eat sausage since I was a child.”
“No mind, Abigail,” Cyril assured, “you need not explain. Agnes is the one who needs to do that, and if she cannot, she may excuse her presence from my table. Miss Autumn and I can serve the dessert and tea.”
Agnes found it hard to absorb that Cyril would speak to her in such fashion. It hurt, even though she had been wrong to use the tone that she had with Abigail, but she would not be spoken to in this manner, and she would not be banished from the table like an impertinent child.
She abruptly rose to her feet, and began walking toward the kitchen, but stopped, whirled around, and snapped, “I am the housekeeper here, Cyril, until you see fit to dismiss my service! I will clear the table and see to the dessert, but I will not join you!”
The look on Cyril’s face revealed total displeasure. He had always conducted himself with honor, respecting everyone around him, but he could not tolerate what was presently happening before his eyes.
He stood erect, extending each hand toward the women sitting at the table, and in a rather shaken voice, he said, “Would you both please accept my sincere apology I … I do not know what has gotten into her, I don’t understand it at all, any of it. In all the years that I have known her she has never lashed out like that. Abigail, I had Miss Autumn invite you here because she and I have grown close, and you and she are so very close that I want to know you better.
I held such anticipation for this dinner, having you here with me, in my manor at my table with Autumn and me. I hope to have many more dinners with you at this table … Please, I must excuse myself for a moment, if you will both indulge me.” Moving toward Autumn, he added, “Please top up your mother’s glass and keep her company ’till I return. I shan’t be long.”
It was plain to see that the proud Englishman was distraught and had to get out before he lost his composure. It was embarrassing to have an employee – though an old friend – conduct herself in such a disrespectful manner. He would not have it. She had not only spoken to Abigail in the unacceptable manner in which she had, but this was the mother of the woman he had fallen in love with, regardless of whether she had reservations about it or not. She had to be made to understand. He knew he must not be gone long; that would not be acceptable either, but what he had to say could not wait.
I am enjoying the creation of this novel immensely. The more the story grows the more in-depth it becomes. The characters are raw, bold, and pretentious, yet each carries a certain uniqueness that pulls you in and makes you want to know them more. ~Rusty Blackwood
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Romantic fiction author Rusty Blackwood, who chose her plume de nom by combining the colour of her russet hair with her husband’s great, great, Scottish grandmother’s maiden name, was born in St.Thomas, Ontario, Canada on October 5th, and grew up on her paternal grandfather’s farm in the County of Elgin, located in the south-western portion of the province of Ontario.
She acquired her love of literature while still in elementary school where she entered her original compositions into county fairs, school contests, and whatever venue allowed participants in the writing field. She has carried that love ever since and has put it to use many times since becoming a professional writer in 2001.
From the time of youth she has loved the Arts in their many unique forms and is a graduate with honors in Interior Decorating & Design. She spent many years on the south-western Ontario stage performing with her family’s country music band: The Midnight Ramblers, followed by the country – rock – blues band: ‘MIRAGE’ as an accomplished vocalist, bassist, and rhythm guitarist. She now resides in the cultural city of St. Catharines, Ontario.
Please visit her official website Rusty Blackwood – Bio/Contact for numerous reviews, author interview requests, and information on her work.
Happy Summer Reading Friends and Authors!
In just a few short weeks SUMMER will be here! Well, here in Arizona it has already has hit as I have been writing poolside in the mornings to get my dose of vitamin D before it hits 100 or over each day …Lol.
It is, however, a perfect time to generate some new excitement for your E-Books as readers will be hitting the beach, lake, pools as it is vacation time too and they love reading to relax. That makes it the right time to run a lower cost promo for e-books. There are many things you can do just as I am with e-books to help readers find your books on sale that don’t cost a thing.
And there are amazingly low-cost places to run ads for it too! You can even add your books to free sites and they offer a self-serve Author Interview to make you and your books shine with large readerships. Here is how I will set up my e-book promotion for my Memoir, “Addicted To Dimes” …
First: Make sure you have your e-book cost lowered a day or two before your promo starts. That way YOU know it is at the right price beforehand. You do this through your KDP vendor account. If you have a publisher, send the request to lower your e-book price a few weeks ahead of your promotion.
Second: All my authors know you need to have accounts on Facebook, Goodreads, and have an Amazon Author Page which is free and done through Author Central Amazon and at the bottom of your page, there is an area when you are in your author page to add an EVENT. Add your e-book promotion so readers on Amazon can know all about it. Next, do the same on your Facebook page.
Use the Create an Event setting and add an image, a title, and date of the event, and a description of your event: Summer E-Book Promotion! Invite all your FB friends and FB Group members and do posts and share the FB link to the event too! Now, go to your GoodReads account and sign in and add an Event Page there too.
You will have just set up FREE advertising of your e-book promotion on three different venues and it didn’t cost you a thing! Better changes of more SALES and BOOK REVIEWS! It’s just that simple. Here is my Facebook Event so you can see how it’s done! Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/218235278985328/
NOW, it is time for your e-book promo to some Free Book Sites to gain more exposure! My first go to place is Vinny of Awesome Gang – Where Awesome Book Readers Meet Awesome … Just click on “Submit Your Book” and fill out the form. They do give you a low-cost and free option to share the e-book you are going to have on sale. You can choose what works best. Another very low price option comes with nice Book Teaser/Banners to use when you promote the sale for only $10!!! Here is mine they made and you can get yours here: Author Shout Promo Teasers.
Now, hen you are done submitting your book on Awesomegang, then click here to submit a free self-serve Author Interview Submit An Author Interview and for even more FREE options click here Free Promotion for more book sites they are connected with and submit your sale and e-book there too AND you are DONE! Now use the links form your FB and GoodReads promos and promote them throughout your Social Media!
Your off and running with a free or low-cost promotion for your E-Book Sale and Like a Pro! … I wish you much success, reviews, and Sales!!
I happen to come across an interesting blog post over on “Writer UnBoxed” as I feel all authors and writers need to read this post. Since I do book promotions and literary consulting as my every day at home business, I could sure relate to this post! And I know many of you will too. As an author myself, I do know how hard it is to get our books into the hands of readers.
It took my first book a good year to catch fire with hours of listing and promoting it everywhere I could find. As we all know it does NOT happen overnight and we have to be diligent as it is why many writers hire me to promote their books and build a readership and I work on the social media side in building their following as well. There is no real recipe or guarantees. WHY?
Because there are several factors to consider. How well written is the book? What genre is the book? Is it a hard genre to promote? How popular is the author? Well, there are many ways to tackle these questions. But that will have to be another post for another day. But when you have been promoting your books hard? It is OK to take a breather every now and then as this weeks post and blog spotlight indicates. Here is a little of the Guest Post and I hope you will visit “Writer UnBoxed” as that is the MAIN Purpose for Spotlighting them! Lol.
HAPPY BOOK PROMOTING!
Writers get tired.
The process of writing, of editing, of writing some more, of editing some more, of searching for representation, of reworking the book yet again, of waiting so long to see your words in print that you forget you even wrote some of them, of publishing in its maddening and bountiful entirety… well, some days, it can feel like too much.
Every stage has its own ups and downs, but personally, I find the promotion stage both the most exciting and the most challenging. Many parts of the publishing process can feel out of your control. Partly that’s because they are. But promotion is different because, unlike other stages, it has the capacity to go on forever. The joy and terror of publishing in the social media age that once you have a book, you literally could be promoting it every minute of every day.
(Note to writers everywhere: do NOT promote your book every minute of every day.)
Right now, my latest book (published under a pseudonym, as regular readers know) has been out in paperback for a few months. Typically, this is when a publisher’s efforts to promote the book taper off and any further promotion is squarely in my hands.
A week or so ago I had a wonderful author and poet as my guest, Diane Lockward. She had written a couple amazing articles on her blog about the changes to GoodReads Giveaways as she was is pretty upset with GoodReads, as I am, taking away the paperback giveaways and joining with KDP in now using e-books for promos and now charging a pretty penny for the new plans!
“Goodreads Introduces New U.S. Giveaways Program–A More Powerful Book Marketing Tool for Authors and Publishers”
The problem is, they are now charging authors to do so with “pay to giveaway” plans. You can read the details and how it works here on GoodReads New Giveaway Program. Diane has been testing this new way and wasn’t happy with the results on GoodReads. She was going to test Facebook ads and I said I would SHARE that outcome and she has now tested FB and here is what she found in a new blog post!! I hope it helps all my author friends who may, like me, have trying to figure GoodReads new program out! Lol. ~ Catherine
“In my last post, I told you about my experience with an Amazon Giveaway. I have now completed my experimental Facebook Giveaway. Here are the details.”
I posted my Giveaway on Facebook on Friday morning, May 25. It ran until 7:00 PM EST on Wednesday, May 30. I posted it around 11:00 AM on my Timeline, the Terrapin page, and my author’s page. I also posted it in four groups I belong to. In addition, there were several Shares from most of these spaces. The ability to post in multiple areas on the site is a definite advantage to a Giveaway at Facebook. At Goodreads, you can post only on your own page, and Amazon posts it wherever they post Giveaways. I never even saw it on Amazon.
I asked people to enter the Giveaway by putting in a comment below the announcement. Most just entered their name or a note like “I’m in!” but quite a few posted lovely compliments! Unexpected bonus compliments!
Here are some of the compliments:
“I have the first book and love it.”
“Diane, your book sounds amazing!!”
“Love & use volume 1 all the time with my classes!”
“These guides are sensible, informed, clearly written, and stimulating. What more could a poet want?!”
“This looks fantastic.”
“I always recommend The Crafty Poet. It’s a great resource. Can’t wait to read Part II!”
“Your workshop books are a must for any practicing poet or teacher of poetry!”
These testimonials do not happen with Goodreads or Amazon. I felt real people out there wanting to win, not a sea of faceless strangers. This kind of response really put a smile on my face …
Here are the statistics:
The total number of entrants: 77 with the bulk of them appearing on my FB timeline, but also some in all the FB groups where I posted. I was happy with this number and suspect that it would have been higher if I hadn’t posted on a holiday weekend.
One winner: Was notified next day, book now in the mail!
Total Cost: the cost of one book which I had at home, one envelope, $3.19 postage!
The Facebook Giveaway is the least expensive. Much less expensive than Goodreads at $119.00 and less than half the Amazon one as well!
Big boost in sales? No, but that is common to all three Giveaways (and I can hope that some Facebook entrants will later hop on over to Amazon and hit the Buy button–in fact, I did have a few sales shortly after I announced the winner!).
Unexpected perks: 1) One person who saw my post on Facebook asked for a review copy so she could write a review for the paper she works for, 2) Another person asked if she could post my two earlier blog posts on her writing blog = more exposure!
My conclusion is that given the choice between a paid Giveaway at Goodreads, a low-cost one at Amazon, or a free one on Facebook, the best option is Facebook—by far.
Goodreads leads to more people entering, but on Facebook, you have the ability to reach additional people if you have a substantial list of friends. You can extend your reach by sharing to groups and pages on Facebook. You can also set your own time frame—I recommend just a few days as information goes through the feed so fast. Most of my responses came in the first two days.
And the cost is less than at Goodreads (by a lot) or at Amazon (by about $10). And you might get a few compliments! ~Diane Lockward, Poet, and Author