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1. Madam: Milk Does Not Swing from a Tree

Note to My Most Stubborn Self

Madam Persnickety-Pants: You are in Europe. Henceforth into perpetuity, when ordering a latte while visiting here – you must come to understand there is only one kind of milk – it’s called MILK. It’s not 2%, fat free, almond, coconut or soy – just plain old, whole milk from the mature female of a brown-eyed bovine animal, not unlike what was served in Frankfurt, Milan and Rome, and to you when you were an unassuming, snot-nosed kid after playing in the dirt of Northern Indiana. So, stop asking for something new in your froth, because the subsequent disappointed pout is not becoming to a lady of your stature. Madam, here in Italy, MILK most certainly does not swing from a tree!

P.S. Milk Does Not Swing from a Tree, is a very good title for a picture book.

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2. A Writer’s Dream from Venice, Italy

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I’m just waking up on Giudecca Island to a volley of sights and sounds – a deliverance from the cathartic, but brooding history of Rome, from where we just came. Here, in Venice, I imagine I’m in a living painting, and an artist, with his paintbrush in hand, captures me peeking out my window – just now at the Hilton Molino Stucky, his studio across the way.

Outside, I hear the echoing serenade of tolling church bells, which I can pinpoint with my own eyes, to various steeples throughout the city that traipse along the river. Splashing waves steadily rise and fall onto green and blue algae-covered seawalls, looming directly below me, while power boats dot the landscape like steed on an aqua-colored field, gliding in various directions through the water carrying townspeople and holiday tourists about the city. And, in the foggy haze, we’re graced with this omnipotent view – and it occurs to me, I must be Dickens’ modern Venice in his “Italian Dream.”


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3. Two Truckers Lost Everything: Their Home Burned and Their Friend Died

A couple of years ago, when someone in my family was gravely ill, two dear friends from back home in Indiana, raced to pick me up in Chicago at the airport, and drive me several hours back to my hometown in Culver, IN – after working to get me to the hospital in the quickest way possible. They gave me their own car to drive that week (telling me there was no need to rent a car when they had one to spare), and later had me over for a special dinner – one they had clearly slaved over – on top of everything they already had done. Simple acts of kindness.

But this week, Anna and Donald Neher, two truckdrivers, got word that their home had burned while they were hauling a load in California. As if that devastating news wasn’t enough, they learned their dear friend, who was housesitting for them while they were away, had tragically died in the blaze. All I know is Anna and Don would give the shirts off their own backs, like any upstanding Midwesterner would, to anyone in need. This time – it’s Anna and Don who are in need, and I imagine I’m not the only beneficiary of their past kindness. The only real question is how can we help these, kind-hearted, and generous citizens, Anna and Don, get back on their feet while their hearts are so heavy-laden. This burden is too much to bear, both grappling with a death in their home, due to a fire, and during Christmastime.

Imagine everything they are going through. They’ve lost every material possession in the world. While they’ve lost so much, they still have friends like me who remember their past generosity, and they have their family and their community whom I know will want to rally around in support of them. At bare minimum, let’s get them funded so they can get some of the basic necessities they’ll need to start over again.

Watch news regarding the fire.

You can help by clicking here.

Sincerely,

Tonia Allen Gould
Just a friend, trying to help some friends, in their time of need

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4. when thought turns to hate

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What makes discussion great is when thought leaders’ advocate, debate, pontificate, commiserate, relate, educate and collaborate…until thought turns to spate, promotes hate, carries weight, problems accelerate, personal ideals dictate, ideas deflate, people turn irate. And, then it’s too late.

-TA Gould


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5. Would Your Child’s Teacher Enjoy Free Books?

This month, I am giving away Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore. Twenty-four autographed books will go to one special PK or K-5 teacher and her classroom. All you have to do is write individually on my Author’s Page on Facebook- not here in this post – why “your” teacher deserves the gift of books in his or her classroom. The story with the most likes on my wall gets the books. Contest ends 12/31. Who knows, I might even pay that class a visit sometime in 2015. Approximate retail value of the books is $500. Happy Holidays!

Tonia

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6. A Family Christmas Pictorial

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Underwood Family Farms. We found the tree!

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Come here, cute stuff! Let me squeeze the dickens out of you in front of a tree that isn’t ours.

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Sure dad. Park the care under big tree that overshadows the tree we picked out on top of our car.

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I cropped out the fact that both of my men are wearing shorts on a day we picked-out our Christmas tree. Note my chilly weather attire. In their defense, it was 73 degrees outside. I was burning up.

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As I was shooting this picture. Santa told Miles that I wanted a Cabbage Patch doll when I was a little girl. I reminded Santa yes, but it never came. Miles smiled.

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A big old wad of tangled lights. John can handle this. I’m not equipped.

What was in the 20-gallon storage bin, taking-up all that space in the garage, you ask?  One string of lights and three bows.  No shoes in sight.

What was in the 20-gallon storage bin (labeled “SHOES”) taking-up all that space in the garage, you ask? One string of lights and three bows. No shoes in sight.

You thought I was kidding, right?

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Found the tree skirt!

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What are these weird fake plants doing in the holiday decorations? Hmmm.

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He always looks like he’s waiting for me to leave the room so he can pee on the tree. He never does. But, I always think he will. Good doggie.

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Time for wine.

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Found another giant bin in the garage with one angel, one star and one string of lights. WHO puts this stuff away?

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I’m going to need more wine.

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You thought I lied about the peeing on the tree thing? There’s a dog just waiting for me to turn my back so he can snatch a chocolate. (Note the glass is almost empty.)

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The stockings are up! My husband asked me if I could iron the stockings. What? They are made of felt. No one irons felt. Wait. Do they?

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Me asking John to stand behind the tree while he was stringing the lights. Because he was in his boxers. No one needs to see that. P.S. That’s his annoyed face.

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“Here mom! Let me help you hang ornaments!” What a good son.

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After Miles helped hang one ornament.

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One of those is a crystal wedding present.

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It was a three glass of wine kind of night. #deckthehalls

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

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Where do all the ornament strings go? #ornamentgraveyard

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Time to focus.

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I love this Santa. He takes up too much room.

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Time for the star!

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7. Setting Up Christmas. A Moving Pictorial.

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Wait for it. There’s more.

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8. Compelling Reasons Why This Book Should Be in Your School Library

Children’s picture book Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore (written in rhyme) tells the adventurous story of Sam, a tenacious land and sea fiddler crab (complete with fiddle and bow) who finds himself on the sandy shores of an idyllic island named Corte Magore. This book teaches children about courage and tenacity; to stand up to bullying; and to fight for that they believe in, while also teaching them about the concept of “home” – all told in one big epic poem. This book is geared towards children ages 3-7.

As promised, here are compelling reasons this book should be in your school’s library:

The book is written in rhyme:
Rhyming verse aids in early-development learning and recall.

By playing with the short texts of rhymes, children explore the mechanics of the English language. They find out how language works and become familiar with the relationship between the 44 sounds of English and the 26 alphabet letters – information which helps them when they begin reading to decode the sounds that make up words. The value of this type of language-play with rhymes in early learning is both underestimated and undervalued.

The book utilizes many different poetic devices that can be difficult to teach like alliteration, point-of-view, stanza, meter, reputation, assonance, personification, and my personal favorite, Onomatopoeia, which utilizes words which imitate sound.. Poetic devices are used to take the reader to a different time or place and helps with imagery.

Poetry can follow a strict structure, or none at all, but many different types of poems use poetic devices. Poetic devices are tools that a poet can use to create rhythm, enhance a poem’s meaning, or intensify a mood or feeling. These devices help piece the poem together, much like a hammer and nails join planks of wood together.

Books Written in Prose May Be a Dying Art:

Authors like Seuss and Silverstein paved the way for poetry in children’s literature, yet it’s hard to find new children’s books today written in prose. Carol Hurst at http://www.Booksintheclassroom.com intimates why it’s best to not let this great art die.

…along came Shel Silverstein (Shel Silverstein’s website). He wrote poems about picking your nose and selling your baby sister and adults (some of them) winced and kids guffawed and kids’ poetry was changed forever. Now we’ve got the gamut of emotions and subjects in kids poetry. Poetry, of course, be it for child or adult (and the distinction is not always clear) is very much a matter of perception. Poems speak to the individual, even more than stories do, and some are not speaking to you — at least not right now. The rules of poetry selection are the same as for the selection of any kind of literary material that you’re going to use with your kids. It must speak to you as the living breathing adult you are before you can help it speak to kids. If it’s supposed to be funny, it should make you laugh or at least smile. If it’s supposed to be sad, it should choke you up a bit. If it’s a description of a thing or a feeling, it should help you see it or feel it in a new way.
So, which of all the books of poetry will you choose for your classroom? Every one you can afford.

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And, that’s all just a start. Tomorrow, you can expect to see me add to my list. Rather than saving this post as a draft, I think I’ll go ahead and publish it now.

As always, thanks for the ear!

Tonia


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9. A Personal Path to Growth Bestowed by a Nation of People

This week, I’m especially thankful – thankful I have a solid roof over my head and a home with windows and doors, and readily available food hand-picked from a market, proper medicine and supplies, running water and yes, definitely yes, flushing toilet facilities and a roll of paper always at an arm’s reach to me.

I’m equally thankful I’ve seen with my own eyes, through experiential and cultural travel, a part of the world along the Caribbean Coast, in developing Nicaragua – so now I know what it means to call myself truly fortunate.

I’m thankful for the opportunities, present and past, I’ve had bestowed upon me simply because I’m a red, white and blue, flag-waving American, and thankful to know I could, if I had to, live without surplus and modern conveniences, electricity and things that don’t really matter if it came down to instinctual survival. I am heartened and enlightened to know there are nations of people everywhere, especially in developing countries, that know far more about survival than many of us ever could. And, it is they that have much to show us on what that really means, and globally, we can each benefit from showcasing our cultural differences in a non-exploitative, educational way.

I’m thankful to know I can survive under dire circumstances because I’ve seen people, with my own eyes, who have literally nothing and yet maybe, in some ways, they have everything they could ever want and need, because they know how to live and thrive in some of the poorest conditions on the planet and still know what it means to be a part of a community and to love and support their families.

I’m thankful that I can now put my personal judgements and biases aside, because I’ve seen impoverished children, far more impoverished than I ever was growing up – living below the poverty line in Midwestern America. While many of the people I met may be lacking in opportunity, Nicaraguan children still smile and are happy, because they are each cared for by an entire village of people, and causes, who invest their hearts and souls into their wellbeing and care, despite economic conditions.

Mostly, I am thankful that I have stumbled upon the Finding Corte Magore project which has put me on a personal path to growth and the opportunity to work and mindshare with some of the smartest and caring people I can ever hope to know. I am thankful that we have “found” Corte Magore and that I have had the great pleasure of coming to know the Campbell family, and their beautiful, private island of Hog Cay, Nicaragua, and that I have personally earned their family’s trust and support in the Finding Corte Magore project. It’s a huge undertaking and I’m comforted to know, it will take our own village of incredible people, to raise this project to be everything it promises to be.

See you on Corte Magore!
The Finding Corte Magore Project
Coming Soon on Hog Cay, Nicaragua

Tonia Allen Gould

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10. The Finding Corte Magore Project, Live in Nicaragua

Day 1:
We woke-up in Managua, Nicaragua’s Capital. We had hoped to be on the future site of the Finding Corte Magore project today on Hog Cay, but our flight to Bluefields, Nicaragua cancelled due to a tropical depression that moved in. We took advantage of the rain delay and Team Finding Corte Magore hired a driver and we traversed our way to historical Grenada. We hit the streets and really got to be tourists on foot and from inside a horse carriage. The highlight of our day was spending time out on Lago Nicaragua and getting caught in the rain.

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11. A Dream Coming Closer to True from an Archery Mom

By Tonia Allen Gould, AKA: #ArcheryMom

Miles and his bowThere’s a common theme in my family and it has to do with all of us daring to dream BIG. Allowing our children the freedom to dream is a value my husband and I have instilled in our children, pretty much since childbirth. We believe that no one should ever squelch someone else’s dreams no matter how crazy and impossible the dream may sound. After all, I’m currently working on developing an entire 28-acre island along the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua for social good. Had I not dreamt the impossible, I wouldn’t be in throes of conquering my dream in such a magnificent way.

So, it comes as no surprise to me that my son, Miles, has a gargantuan dream of his own.  For the past two and half years, ever since he picked-up his first bow and arrows at a resort during my husband’s company picnic, Miles has dreamt of one day making it to the Olympics. Being good enough is only the half the battle for him. The trouble is, his bow is making his dream impossible–that is, unless compound bows are ever allowed into the Olympics alongside their counterparts, the recurve bow.

But, all that isn’t stopping Miles from going after his dreams. My twelve-year-old currently holds the California State Champion title in both indoor and outdoor archery in the compound bowman division. During this year’s California State Outdoor Championship, in Long Beach, Miles set a new California 30M state record held since 2009 of 355. Miles broke the record with a score of 356 out of 360.  It takes laser-sharp focus to shoot a nearly perfect score in a high-stakes tournament like that one.

Maybe there is hope on the horizon for the compound bowman. All his successes have taken Miles one step closer to his Olympic dream, because Miles has been invited by USA Archery, the archery governing body of the Olympics, to try-out for the Compound Junior Dream Team at a week-long selection camp held in Chula Vista, California.  Up until now, the Junior Dream Team consisted of 36 of the most skilled and promising Olympic-style archers in the country, all shooting recurve. But, recently, compound archers have been added to the program and Miles hopes to earn his spot on the team, as a compound bowman, and one step closer to his Olympic Dream.

Even if the compound bow never makes it into the Olympics, if selected to the Junior Dream Team (JDT), Miles will intensively train weeklong at the Olympic Training Center once a quarter with some of the best junior archers in the country.  Between training camps, JDT coaches and archers will continue to train together by utilizing video conferencing via the internet.

Shooting at Miles’ level takes a lot of practice.  He shoots an average of 100 arrows a day on a range safely set-up in his backyard sport court.  He has an accident-free history if you don’t count one broken window from an errant arrow. Miles is privately coached by two-time World Champion Compound Archer, John Norberg. He shoots a Hoyt Freestyle Compound Bow, 35 lbs., with 70% let-off.  He releases with a Carter Evolution Plus back tension release.  He uses PSA Radial X Weave Pro 100 arrows with Blazer vanes.

Here’s to dreaming big son!  Good luck this month at selection camp and keep dreaming, no matter what the outcome is this time around.

#GOTEAMMILES

Love, #ArcheryMom


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12. Where Autumn Never Comes

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On Saturday, a box arrived at my door, and I remembered that an old friend from back home in Indiana had recently asked me for my address. The package was fairly large and I pondered perfunctorily what could be inside; the box felt as light as air in my hands.

Curiously, I tore off the tape and peered inside. On top of a pile of various and vibrant shades of autumn leaves rested a note that read:

Tonia,

I read a post of yours about missing the fall leaves of the Midwest & I thought I could help with that! I hope these bring a smile to your face and you’ll enjoy them for a little while!

Love & Miss Ya!

Regina

One lone tear rolled down my cheek. I was surprised by how overcome I was with raw emotion. The gift was more thoughtful and meaningful than anything ever given me by a friend. It was a gift so powerful that it left me forever touched, because it was so simple. Regina knew I was a bit homesick for the Midwest and sent me a piece of HOME – vivid, reminiscent hues from my youth – all packaged up nicely and left waiting for me on my doorstep by the mailman on an average, sunny day in California.
Where Autumn never comes.

Regina’s gift is a reminder that giving isn’t about spending or going through the motions; giving is about getting personal and evoking feeling from the recipient as a result of the kindness of the gesture. If the gift is heartfelt, it will surely be richly treasured, in a way much like I felt about my wonderful, crisp pile of leaves.

As for me and my colorful treasures, I will discover fun ways to use them this fall. And, when autumn first turns to winter, I will seal them back up in Regina’s box and use them again for another reason in a different Autumn season.

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13. Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore Special Price for October!

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I’ve arranged a special hardcover book price for October. You can order an autographed book for $12.99 + shipping.

Stock up for the perfect holiday gift for that little loved one in your life.

Cheers!

Tonia Allen Gould


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14. She Will Die In Combat on Her Race Against Time

Camera poised and ready to shoot, I stand and wait as the Monarch paratroopers glide in, iridescently adorned in polka-dotted uniforms of orange and black. They’ve stormed my garden, scanning and probing it for flight fuel.

I zero in on one lone butterfly, fluttering overhead – her wings flapping hard against the late summer’s breeze, the full span of them glistening against midday’s high sun. She finally maneuvers low to navigate her perfect landing, descending onto the tip of the buttercup-shaped lantana where she sips her nectar, letting It nourish her before she takes flight again. In moments, recorded only by the click of my shutter, she drunkenly ascends and joins her airborne troop. I am saddened to know, in probably just a few short short weeks – she will die in combat – for she has always been on a race against time. Her brief lifespan was always destined to be fleeting, and so I feel special that she called upon me and that my garden was on her personal flight plan.

Tonia Allen Gould
©2014

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15. Today, I Snapped A Perfect Photo of an Endangered Species

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The Monarch butterfly only lives three weeks. I always feel special when I cross paths with any butterfly because they are so beautiful and here for such a short time on Earth. Incidentally, the Monarch are now an endangered species and that makes this picture even more special.The photos turned out great because she let me get right up next to her and take them.

The Monarch Butterfly is endangered. http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/monarch-butterfly


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16. Camarillo Hosts 5th Annual World Multicultural BookFest

The Fifth Annual Multicultural World BookFest will be held at the Camarillo Community Center on Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 10am-3pm.
I’ve been selected as one of the children’s book authors to present at the event at 11:00 AM, followed by book signings and readings.

• We will have six storytents representing: Asia; Africa; Latin America, North America, Europe, and Australia & New Zealand.

Location: Camarillo Community Center 1605 E. Burnley Street.
Take the 101fwy exit at Carmen Drive. Going north turn right @ light. Going south make 2 left turns; go over fwy. Continue on Carmen past City Hall to 4 way stop which is Burnley. Turn right then left into parking lot. Event will be inside the gated Community Center Room

Please join us for a day of books, readings, food trucks, fun and culture.

Hope to see you there!

Tonia Allen Gould/Author
Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore

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17. Need Trade Magazine and Children’s Picture Book Writer Reviews, Please

Barnes & Noble has accepted Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore in their online distribution network, but before it will be accepted in stores, the book needs trade magazine reviews and comments from other well-known writers in the genre. The children’s book market is highly competitive and sales go to children’s books that have these reviews. I am learning something new every day.

All that said, I need some help there, and I’m the first person to ask for help when I need it. I’m happy to return the favor and write a review for your children’s picture book, or in any way I can, really.

We’re almost there! It takes a community to build an author. And, I can’t thank you enough for your contributions to the success of my tale, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore!

Sincerely,

Tonia Allen Gould

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18. Plagiarism is Purloining. Or is It?

Originally posted on Tonia Allen Gould:

It’s good to have smart people in your corner.  Mentors can help you take your writing far, and I’m quick to lean on people for advice or to get help when I am stuck.  Like most writers, I get fixated on “what” I’m writing so often, I try to remember to consult with people from time-to-time about “how” I’m writing.  I’ve been having some ongoing dialogue with my former high school English and Journalism teacher, Vickie Benner, who read the first three Chapters of my new novel, When it Comes in Threes.  For some time, she and I have been discussing whether or not I should change the voice in my first draft of the book from an adult to a child’s narrative as suggested by someone I highly respect in the literary community.  When I finally decided to give the new voice a whirl, I discovered I was having much more fun writing the piece from a…

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19. Simplicity: Mixed Media Photography by Tonia Allen Gould

 

August 2014 Supermoon

glaze

Blue Super Moon

smoky moon

HopeRanchSunset Supermoon 2


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20. Yoohoo. Over Here! Notice Me, Will Ya?

It’s late and I haven’t yet pressed my tired head into my pillow, because I’ve not yet mustered the energy to wiggle my way beneath the covers where I get to enjoy Night #2 of Belgium linen sheets from Restoration Hardware. Well, there’s that, and admittedly I am feeling inert– thanks to Diesel the Cat, wedged so comfortable and close to me on top of the blankets, I haven’t the heart to remind him that he’s my daughter’s cat and I’m actually a dog person, and my dog would love to occupy the prime real estate on the bed next to me. Except the dog’s afraid of you, Cat.

So, on top of the covers I sit, while my husband snores (despite the snore gadget in his mouth and my swift punch in his arm to get him to roll over), rejoicing in the fact that I’ve finally found
time
(that’s a compressed paradox if I’ve ever heard one) to READ, errr…SKIM…mindlessly through newly pressed blog posts hoping to find clarity in my own blog dribble (a slow, steady stream of spit) as of late.

For months, this attention seeking first-time author has been trying to get you to notice one tiny-little-factoid.
H E L L O. Knock knock. I mean, come on. How obvious do I need to be? I wrote and published a WHOLE darn book over here.

I keep waiting for the clouds to part and to hear those glorious angels belting their angelic refrain in my absolute honor. But no one told me, at the very same time I published my book, so did one trillion other authors who dreamt too, their whole lives, of publishing a book.

So, despite feeling a tad bit sorry for myself, here’s what I’ve learned to date and actually it’s quite simple:

The fact is: Being an Author is not unique. That makes me not unique.

My book is Unique: But unless I get you to notice it, and share my terribly good news about it with every child on the planet, who cares? (Ok. I really don’t expect every child on the planet to read Samuel T. Moore or Corte Magore, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

One Trillion Other People are Trying to Get Your Attention in the Exact Same Way I am: So even as an experienced marketer, with 21 years in marketing under my belt, I will FAIL to get your attention. (I think that makes me suck as a marketer.)

The Reality is I’ve learned Absolutely Nothing About Marketing a Book: Because I may very well suck as a marketer. (Wait. We established that already.) #gluttonforpunishment

Good news though. After a pity party of one took place in my sole honor, and I somehow finally made my way under the covers without disturbing my daughter’s aging cat with a bonafide diagnosis of “Dementia”, I have both found both clarity and a greater lust for Belgium linen sheets:

•As a person with a never say die mentality and a fair amount of book sales already under her belt-given her first time authorship-I realize I need to continue to try new things to get you to notice me.

•I’m probably not going to sell many books to you on Twitter. Or Facebook. Or LinkedIn.

•But, WordPress is fair game. I’m going to politely ask you to go to Amazon and buy my book and DO IT NOW. Wait. Just kidding. That would be presumptuous and rude of me to bark an order like that. #Imightsuckatmarketing

•And fourthly, I need to be as creative in selling my book as I was to write it. I also need to check and see if “fourthly” is even a word. Clearly it should be, since it chronologically follows thirdly. I think most thoughts taper off by the third point to avoid looking at the dictionary to see if “fourthly” even exists. Think about it.

Anyhoo, I digress. Thanks for the ear, but that’s all the clarity I can muster-up in the wee hours for now. I’m tired and I’ve got to dislodge a demented cat from my ribcage.

Toodles.

Preponderance’s by Tonia.

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21. A Better Life for Yourself is Tangible and Within Your Reach

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I went into my first foster home when I was fifteen years old. Back then I knew a better life for myself was tangible and within my reach, I just had to reach out and grab it. Books taught me that. Books and teachers saved me.

~Tonia Allen Gould
the Finding Corte Magore project


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22. Being An Author Does Not Make Me Unique

…and Other 3:00 A.M. Preponderances.

It’s late and I’ve not yet mustered enough energy to wiggle my way beneath the covers where I get to enjoy Night #2 of Belgium linen sheets from Restoration Hardware. I’m restless. Feeling stuck. Inert. That could be thanks to Diesel the Cat; he’s wedged so comfortably and close to me on top of the blankets–I haven’t the heart to remind him that he’s my daughter’s cat and I’m actually a dog person. And my dog, Bogie, would love to occupy Diesel’s prime real estate on the bed next to me. Except the dog’s afraid of you, Cat-with-your-claws-still-in-tact, and maybe I am a little bit too.

And that’s not why I’m really feeling stuck.

I don’t often feel like this, so on top of the covers I sit, while my husband snores (despite the funny snore gizmo his dentist fitted for his mouth, coupled with my swift sock in his arm to get him to roll over). I’m both restless and rejoicing in the fact that I’ve finally found time (that’s a compressed paradox if I’ve ever heard one) to READ, errr…SKIM…mindlessly through newly pressed blog posts hoping to find clarity in my own lackluster writing as of late. My narrative dribble has been a slow, steady, stream of spit.

For months, like all other attention-seeking first-time authors, I have been trying to get you, the parents of my demographic, children aged 4-8 to notice one tiny little meteor of a factoid. H E L L O. Knock knock. I mean, come on! How obvious do I need to be? I wrote and published a WHOLE darn book over here. Doesn’t that account for something?

I’ve waited…and waited patiently in angst for the clouds to part and to hear those glorious angels belting their angelic refrain in my literary honor. But, the sky is quiet and dark. And, while my books are certainly selling, I somehow expected…I don’t know…more.

No one told me, at the very same time I published my book, so did one trillion other authors who dreamt too, their whole lives through, of publishing their FIRST book and that I would be competing for space on your child’s bookshelves, let alone their hearts and minds.

Okay. You got me. Maybe I am feeling just a tad bit sorry for myself. Maybe I have set my expectations way too high. Maybe I am questioning whether or not I’m doing anything right over here. For the consummate optimist, who forges ahead for the sake of sheer will and determination, that’s saying a lot about where my head is tonight. And since wallowing in wee-hour self pity is just plain silliness, and not my thang, I think we all can agree we’re glad that’s over.

I wouldn’t be me without some newfound clarity here. I do realize I have learned a thing or two about publishing a first book along the way. (Find the good, Tonia. Find the good.)

So here it goes:

Being an author, in and of itself, is no longer unique. Everyone’s an author these days, and I still have to figure out how to break out above the noise to get me and my book noticed. That’s a challenge. I like challenges.

My book is what makes me unique as an author. But unless I get you to notice it, and share my terribly good news about it with the world, my career is still in its infancy as an author. I like that. There’s no mad dash to the finish line here. I’ve been in a hurry my whole life. It’s okay to take things slow. And, thank goodness I still have a day job that warrants my attention at the bank on payday.

One trillion people are trying to get your attention in the exact same way I am: So even as an experienced marketer, with 21 years of marketing under my belt, I may still FAIL to get your attention. (Hopefully that doesn’t actually make me suck as a marketer.) When things aren’t working, it’s time to explore new things. I need to continue to try new things to get my demographic to notice me.

As a person with a never say die mentality and a fair amount of book sales already under her belt-given her first time authorship-I need to give myself a pat on the back and thank my supporters. I’ve accomplished more than most. I get to say I’m a published author, because there aren’t really one trillion authors who published a book at the same time as me.

I’m probably not going to sell many books to you on Twitter. Or Facebook. Or LinkedIn. Because everyone in the world is hocking a book through social media. If everyone is doing something the same way, then maybe we’re all doing it wrong. (But, WordPress is fair game. I’m going to politely ask you to go to Amazon and buy my book and DO IT NOW. Wait. Just kidding. That would be presumptuous and rude of me to bark an order like that.) #Imightsuckatmarketing

And sixthly, I need to be as creative in selling my book as I was to write it. I also need to check and see if “sixthly” is even a word. (Clearly it should be, since it chronologically eventually follows firstly, secondly, thirdly, etc.) I think most written thoughts taper off after the third point anyway to avoid checking to see if “fourthly” and so on even exists in the dictionary. But, I digress because I’m punchy and I’m anxious to enjoy these new sheets.

Anyway, thanks for the ear, but that’s all the clarity I can muster-up in the wee hours for now. I’m tired and I’ve got to dislodge a demented cat from my ribcage.

Toodles.

Preponderance’s by Tonia

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23. Indiana’s Autumn Leaves

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24. Weathered Barn Wood and a Rusty Railroad Tie

I am growing fond of the quiet, rustic nature that has become my morning. In solitude, I sit near a table made of old, weathered barn wood. My paperweight is a rusty railroad tie. The familiar scent of coffee seeps from a favorite mug near a classic book revisited, together with the nearby sound of water cascading from a fountain – the ritual consumes me. And, so it is. I now feel I can take on this day. -Tonia

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25. My Pre-Teen Boy is Now Eager to Do Chores

Step 1: Seriously restrict your pre-teen boy’s computer time for two weeks on Minecraft. Give him an allotted time, to be on the computer and don’t waiver. Step 2: After two weeks, ask him if he’d like to earn a half-hour more (if all his work is done). Step 3: When he exuberantly says YES – look around the house for things for him to do, and tell him to come back to you when he’s finished. Step 4: Walk around the house and review his handiwork. Applaud his effort if everything is completed and done well. Step 4: Give him the extra time he’s earned. (Set a timer!)

#eagertodochores

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