Why blog? And what the heck is a writer’s platform?

A few years ago, a friend made a comment which changed my life. “You really should write these stories down,” she said after laughing at one of my wild tales. This began a whole new adventure. The germ of an idea for a humorous non-fiction book about Boulder women was born. Editors suggested, I blog in order to build a writer’s platform. I had two problems. I didn’t know the definition of a blog or a writer’s platform.

When I first heard the word blog, I thought of McElligot’s Pool. Remember the dreamer who fished in a tiny pond and imagined an underwater world filled with sea creatures? I think one of the fish made the sound, “Blog.”

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My only experience with blogging came from the movie Julie and Julia, but I hadn’t seen it. By the time I looked up Julie Powell‘s blog, she had taken down most of her posts. Continue reading

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Two Jews and a Blonde or Partying in Downtown Los Angeles

After my daughter, Courtney’s phone interview with a California company, we booked a last minute trip. You never have to twist my arm to come to the land of sandy beaches, amazing seafood, and beautiful people.

I called my friend, Jan McCarthy, who lives in downtown Los Angeles. Luckily, she was in town since she hops between LA and Boulder. The last time we visited, we went clubbing. I made all kinds of new friends and had my first Red Bull! We call Jan The Mayor since she knows everyone.

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 Me, Courtney, Jan and Danny in her loft.

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 We started with a tour and a view from the top of the Eastern Building. Continue reading

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MEETING THE WILD CHILD!

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I had the pleasure of meeting blogger friend, Ted Strutz in Boulder last week! He traveled to Colorado with his daughter, Krista. Click over to his place to check out his photo essay!

Originally posted on TedBook:

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MEETING THE WILD CHILD!

Not quite what I was expecting.

Well, actually that’s not true; I knew she would be beautiful (I’ve seen her photo), I knew she would be fit (she skis, plays competitive tennis… and dances, as we all know), I knew she would be interesting (I’ve read her stories and know she is writing a novel), and I knew she was tough (she’s a survivor). So I was surprised she was so tiny… well petite or svelte might sound better.

I flew into Denver with my daughter Krista so she could visit with her best friend, an actor who was starring in the musical Animal Crackers at the Denver Center Theater Company.

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Actors!

An accomplished actor and veteran song & dance man, Michael Fitzpatrick was playing multiple roles, as were the rest of the cast of this madcap zany musical, which first appeared on Broadway in 1928…

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I can honestly say, my kids almost killed me.

Commemorating my children’s milestones has always included taking tons of photographs. I have boxes of them in the basement waiting to be assembled in albums. When they went to college, I framed and hung their first day of school pictures in our upstairs hall. I always smile when I see their eager young faces.

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To me, my children are a miracle and I am grateful. Not just because they are amazing, but because I was hospitalized with both of them.

Kelly was positioned face up and I went through horrible back labor. My body fought hard against giving birth to him. It was eighteen hours before I reached four centimeters effaced which is the golden measurement for receiving an epidural anesthetic. Once I could finally relax, I progressed quickly. When he crowned, I had nothing left, no energy at all. My doctor said I wasn’t pushing hard enough and he threatened to perform a Cesarean section. I begged him to give me another chance. I asked Danny to play the cassette tape I brought. Minutes later, Kelly was born to the sounds of Oingo Boingo. Danny filmed the birth. The mirror reflected the overhead fluorescents onto my hooha and the doctor pulled Kelly out of a heavenly white light.

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Hours later, I awoke to a crazy strong heart palpitation. Doctors and nurses rushed me to the cardiac care unit thinking I’d had a heart attack. Continue reading

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Pre-Podcast Jitters Pay Off

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I met Neville DeAngelou through blogging. He has a podcast on Blog Talk Radio called The Journey. In 2012, he read parts of my blog post about the ten little secrets to a happy marriage. I was thrilled. He has one of the most beautiful voices perfectly suited for radio. Back on April 15th, 2013, he emailed me with a request to come on his show. I responded with a nervous giggle, but never followed up with him. The very next day, I was pulled into the vortex that is breast cancer.

Flash forward one year. I’m back and living the Wild Life! Neville and I reconnected. He asked me to THREE shows for the Author’s Round Table Series. Sheesh! I had to catch my breath as my nerves set in. I agreed and chose Thursday, May 1st, to be recorded through Skype. I’d never Skyped. He wanted me to talk about my Boob Reports, secrets to a happy marriage, and give some blogging tips for a third show. *gulp*

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My daughter Courtney became violently ill on Tuesday afternoon. I picked her up from her apartment and drove her to Urgent Care. She convulsed her innard skinnards so hard, she tore her esophagus. Youch!

Dr. McDreamy, (with dimples no less) prescribed anti-nausea pills and a powerful antacid. Courtney came back to the house to recover. It was great timing for me since she helped me with Skype. I planned to postpone the interview if I developed any suspicious symptoms like puking my guts out. Her stomach upset must have been caused by contaminated food or I was extremely lucky.

The big day arrived and I hadn’t even looked at my old blog posts. Continue reading

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What I Learned at the Pike’s Peak Writer’s Conference

This is how I looked the day after the conference. I had so many new ideas my hair exploded!

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It is easy to be intimidated by conferences, pitches and critiques. The reason I signed up for the conference was to absorb new ideas and improve my craft. Since I’m only three years in, my sponge-like brain was ready to sop it all up.

From Chuck Wendig, I learned to “not care too much.” By that he means don’t get so wrapped up in one manuscript that you become afraid of rejections and are paralyzed. He is a great example of the opposite. He published his first novel, Blackbirds, only three years ago and cranks out books like some people bake cookies. Okay, not that fast, but he makes it look easy. Although that book crossed too many genres for traditional publishers, he has sold tens of thousands of copies. Long live Miriam Black! He has written books about writing for his beloved Penmonkeys along with a variety of fantasy novels. He blogs on TerribleMinds.com and his books can be found there as well.

Chuck Wendig and me

 

From Gail Carriger, I learned that writing can be like breathing. It is something we have to do in order to be happy. But sometimes we have to make choices. We can’t do it all. Gail had a career in archeology. Typing all day for work and writing her novel at night became too painful. She chose to write novels since it is her oxygen. She has a slew of humorous fantasy books on the New York Times and USA Today Best Seller lists, so I would say that was a very good choice! The first book of the Parasol Protectorate series called Soulless was published in 2009. She’s at GailCarriger.com and her books are here.

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From Jim C. Hines, I learned that we all have an opportunity to include diversity in our books. We can write characters of any race and sexual orientation, and can include strong women protagonists. We can give our readers someone other than white heterosexual males to root for. His first book Goldfish Dreams was published in 2009 and is told from a young woman’s point of view. Go Jim! He has written three fantasy series since then. He can be found JimCHines.com and his books can be found here.

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From Hank Phillipa Ryan, an investigative reporter for NBC’s Boston Affiliate, I learned to ask questions like, “Will anyone care? Do I care?” She encouraged us to work even when it’s hard since we’ll always feel a sense of accomplishment. She taught us that it’s never too late to start writing novels. She wrote her first book, Prime Time, after being a reporter for nearly forty years. It won an Agatha Award for best new novelist. Hank is my hero. She can be found at HankPhillipiRyan.com and her books are here.

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The theme I heard all weekend was, “Writer’s write.” Authors don’t get stuck on one book, they continue to stretch and grow and learn about their craft by producing many more. We all have a voice and whether it’s heard by a few or by thousands it is still important to just write it down.

Are you writing a book?

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On Top of the World! A Photo Essay

Forcing yourself out of your comfort zone can bring about personal growth and build confidence.

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It can be scary. You may become hesitant and cautious.

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There’s a point in the process when there’s no turning back.

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 The last few steps are the hardest. That’s what separates the winners from the losers. Continue reading

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Use Me and Abuse Me – Roxy Blog Hopping Edition

I hope you had a fabulous Easter. Roxy did!

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It’s party time and I’m inviting all of you to Use Me and Abuse Me! 

Bring ONE link to a story you’d like to share with my friends. Paste it in my comment section below. Then the fun begins! Click on a few links and “mingle” with the guests. Tell them, “Susie sent me,” and they should click back!

“Follow” a couple and you may “pick up” a few new subscribers.

If you leave a link, make sure to click on a few. You wouldn’t go to a party and fill a bag with appetizers and leave, so don’t leave a link and run. If you leave more than ONE link, you’ll end up in my spam filter. That is always so embarrassing for both of us.

Relax. Stay a while. Help yourself to the buffet. The bar is always open. The barista is making coffee drinks. DJ Kelly Smash is in the house, so don’t forget to DANCE!

Download his latest FREE music HERE!

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I am so fortunate and grateful to have met some hideous (awesome) friends through blogging. Brickhouse Chick and Kathryn McCullough tweeted my Open Letter link to @Freshly_Pressed and the editors FP’d it! Woohoo! I am still happy dancing.  Make sure to click on their links and check out their blogs! Brickhouse Chick always has something funny to share and Kathryn will give you a glimpse into her life in Ecuador. They are living (and virtual), proof that the blogging community here at WordPress is the very best. Thanks again girls! *muah*

If you ever read a Freshly Pressed worthy post, be sure to Tweet the editors at @Freshly_Pressed. It works!

Now click on some links and DANCE!

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An Open Letter to My Boobs

Dear Bionic Boobs,

I know you’ve been adjusting to your new digs since the reconstruction surgery seven months ago. I’ve protected you from wild elbows, supported you with a bra, and exercised you by smooshing you girls together. (Doctor’s orders.) You seem happy enough and pretty perky.

I do have some concerns.

One night, I looked down and you had wandered off to the sides of my chest. You left four inches between you two. I almost had a heart attack. I thought I’d torn something while vacuuming.  As you know, I’ve started wearing a sport’s bra to bed to corral you at night, so I don’t wake up and freak out.  I wish you girls would stick together.

Although you’re shaped like hamburger buns and aren’t huge by any means, you weigh more than my old boobs. In fact, you’re a little on the hefty side. The doctor suggested some exercises to build muscles in my back to keep from hunching over.

I thought I’d never need to wear a bra again, but apparently some of your sisters have sagged. I’ve been instructed to wear one when I’m active. Bummer. You’re a little wrinkly when you’re just hanging out, but I refuse to get a fat transfer. You’ll have to get used to that.

You look totally fake and I’m sure some people will stare and roll their eyes this summer. They’ll think I had a boob job. I can always wear this t-shirt. Continue reading

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Another Birthday. Thank God!

It’s my birthday! Last year, I looked forward to being a year older. I couldn’t understand why so many people loathe them when we all want to live a long life. That’s the goal, right? We all want to live to be 100! To get there, you have to attain all the numbers in between.

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Five days after my last birthday, I had a routine mammogram. I was shocked when I learned I needed an immediate ultrasound. I thought I may not see another birthday. After recovering fully from boobectomies and reconstructive surgery, I still can’t believe I was diagnosed with cancer. I have never gotten used to saying that word.

As I hunkered down with close friends and family to heal, I reassessed. I looked honestly at my life and how I was spending my time. Now I surround myself with people who enjoy my company and support me. I’m excited about my projects and am working hard. Yep. I’ve got another one in the works. I’m sending my book to a professional editor on Monday. Whew!

I don’t feel any different about my birthday this year. I’ve always felt that life is precious. I am grateful to have so many candles on my cake and I plan to add a lot more. I am not a woman who dreads being another year older. I’ve earned it!

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Last year’s birthday

There are things I can’t change such as my height, the fact that I will never be a pro tennis player or a rock star, or the fact that I had cancer. But I can be a redhead! I made an appointment and plan to get pampered on my birthday.

Last year, I wrote a list of ways to celebrate. Number 1. was getting together with family. I’m looking forward to a celebratory dinner with them once again, but afterward we’re going to DANCE!

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 This is from my rain dancing days with the photo bomber.

My ordeal was more positive than negative. I’ve learned a lot about myself. With adversity, and the gift of living another year, comes clarity. I know who I am, what I’m capable of, and where I’m going. That’s my birthday gift to myself.

Getting older is a very good thing! 

Do you look forward to your birthday?

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