Your Time to Shine

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Soul Mate Author Gay Yellen sharing her extraordinary journey from high school Economics class to literary publication via Hollywood.

Here’s Gay!

gayyellen1Thanks, Joanne, for inviting me to share my Second Act, though my journey feels more like a full-on odyssey. But I’ll try to keep it to two.

First Act: I’ve always written. Dr. Seuss was an early influence, and I still write silly verse for fun. In high school I wrote my best poetry in Economics class, to the chagrin of my teacher. But my writing career didn’t begin until after I got Hollywood out of my system.

The need for change: Performing came naturally to me. After college I moved to L.A. and began an acting career. While I managed to get film and TV work, I hated the life (yes, it’s as tough as the stories you hear).

First Act, Part 2: I decided to apply to the Director’s Guild, which led to a job behind the camera as the Assistant to the Director of Production at The American Film Institute. I worked with thesis film students on their productions, helped cast actors, secure and manage location shooting, arrange with major studios to use their back lots for filming, their props, costumes, etc., and facilitated editing and post-production.

The need for change: I loved working at AFI, but the pay was meager.

Second Act, Part 1: A friend heard that a magazine needed a last-minute substitute to cover a story over the weekend. I jumped at it, even though I didn’t know a thing about the subject, or about magazines, for that matter. After I turned in the article, the magazine offered me an editing position. It paid much more than the AFI job, so I took it. In a couple of years, I moved to another magazine, where a series I wrote won a national journalism award.

Second Act, Part 2: A book! I helped write an international thriller, Five Minutes to Midnight, which was my first taste of book publishing. Soon after, I fell in love, married, and thought I was finally free to try my hand at a solo novel.

Second Act, Part 3: I’d just completed the first draft of The Body Business when my husband asked me for help with the advertising for his new national marketing firm. “Can you come up to the office this afternoon and tell me why my ads in The Wall Street Journal aren’t working?” he pleaded. “You’ve been in magazines, so you know about advertising.”

I tried to explain that editors don’t normally deal with the ad department, but he was my husband, so I went. Fifteen years later, after creating countless marketing pieces, ads, and even investment prospectuses, we sold the company, and I retired as its V.P. of client and media communications, and advertising.

Second Act, Part 4: Finally, I was free to do my own work. I dusted off the old rough draft of my book and discovered that it had become a period piece, with pay phones, typewriters and snail mail playing pivotal roles in the action. I updated it to the 21st Century, put it through a critique circle and found Soul Mate Publishing. The Body Business was published in 2014.

Where are you now?

I’m working furiously on the sequel to The Body Business, and there are other projects in queue. I’m happy to finally affirm that writing is no longer my first, second or tenth act. It’s what I do.

Affirmation

Work to be as good as you can at what you do, and believe that your time to shine will come.

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Blurb

A great career. Fantastic boyfriend. Samantha Newman has it all, until her best friend vanishes, and doubt creeps in. Forced to choose between the success she’s worked hard to achieve and the hidden truth behind it, she risks everything and discovers a dark secret that could destroy her life forever.

Where to find Gay…

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Joanne here!

What a whirlwind! If you ever run out of ideas for novels, consider writing your memoirs. Thank you for an entertaining and inspiring post.

Angels at AUTHORSdB

I’m always on the lookout for the “better angels of our nature,” so I wasn’t too surprised when I came across the angels at AUTHORSdB.

authorsdb1

These angels help all writers–aspiring, traditional, indie–increase their readership and flourish in the global marketplace.

What is surprising?

It’s FREE!

As one of 3000+ members, I can…

• List all my books and social media sites in one location.

• Receive tweets from AUTHORSdB when I’m trending in social media, launching a new book or have news to share.

• Have the opportunity to be featured on the TOP100 list and Author Spotlight.

• Appear in the weekly Featured Authors section.

• Enter my cover in the annual contest.

• Qualify for the VIP Blogger Award and increase my Google page rank.

Visit my page.

A Song’s Second Act

“You might want to shelve that manuscript…or song…or artwork.”

Many of us have heard that advice from well-meaning mentors. While it is often given with the best of intentions, sometimes that advice should be ignored. And if it has been followed, it should be revisited.

Serendipity can happen at any time. As it did with the following song.

***

In 1971, British-Kenyan folk singer Roger Whittaker hosted a radio programme in Great Britain. To increase ratings, he invited listeners to send their best poems or lyrics. Of the over one million entries received, Whittaker selected twenty-six. With the help of orchestra conductor Zack Lawrence, he recorded the songs and played them on the radio over a six-month period.

One of those poems was written by Ron A. Webster, a silversmith from Birmingham, England. Bittersweet and poignant, the lyrics became even more compelling when Lawrence added a French horn solo to the opening. The song was also featured on Whittaker’s 1971 album, “New World in the Morning,” but failed to reach the music charts.

Fast forward four years.

While traveling in Canada, the wife of a program director for a radio station in Atlanta, Georgia heard the four-year-old recording on the radio. Moved by the haunting lyrics describing a young British soldier’s anguish about going to war, she couldn’t get that song out of her head. When she returned to Atlanta, she asked her husband to play the song on the radio.

Listeners began calling the station for more information about the song and the recording artist. Soon after, “The Last Farewell,” made its way onto the charts. It became a Top 20 hit in 1975 and sold an estimated 11 million copies worldwide.

More interesting facts and statistics about “The Last Farewell”…

  • In 1976, Elvis Presley included the song on his album, From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee. When this version was released posthumously in 1984, it reached #48 in the United Kingdom.
  • Chet Atkins recorded an instrumental version on his 1986 album, Sweet Dreams.
  • AIK, a Swedish sports club, adopted the music together with alternate lyrics as their official anthem.

And most impressive of all, “The Last Farewell” became known as Roger Whittaker’s signature song and helped launch his career in the United States.

Hunting for Adventures

Welcome to my Second Acts series!

Today, we have Jodie Esch talking about a life jam-packed with adventures.

Here’s Jodie!

jodieeschAct 1— Schools, Schools & More Schools.

I appeared destined to become a teacher. Some people joked that I was born clutching a package of felt pens. I was the kind of child who constructed little classrooms around our house and dutifully instructed my baby brother and sister.

My Air Force family moved constantly. Vancouver Island, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec became my classrooms. Eventually, I took teacher training in Quebec and ventured out into the world of schools.

My college roommate and I decided we wanted to work together. In that era, there was a buffet of choices. We signed up for job interviews only in places that had access to skiing. Both of us landed jobs in Quebec City. This was our dream job because we skied every Wednesday night and every weekend.

Operating in a rather ‘abstract random’ style I then chose to work for the YWCA in Quebec City, studied Modern dance in Toronto and generally tried to find myself. I believed that the Canary Islands would be my next destination.

 But I was running out of money, so I headed to Canada’s Arctic where I taught Grade 2 and discovered my husband-to-be. However, I had only two years of teacher training, so the writing was on the wall.  Change careers or sign up for more education.

I decided to follow my dad’s mantra, “When in doubt, go back to school.” And so I did. I acquired graduate degrees and continued to teach. I worked at Simon Fraser University and Vancouver Community college.

In the fullness of time, I found my perfect elementary school on Vancouver Island. Perfect staff, perfect students, perfect parents. It was a stellar experience.

 But something was missing. Finally, I left school administration after a total of twelve years, loving the work but on the hunt for the next adventure.

Act 2—Looking Within

I dug deep and unearthed the lost link in the land of words. I decided to embrace fiction writing. I bought craft books, took classes, joined groups, entered contests, met with editors and agents and sent my work to publishing houses. And I continued to read and read. Very obsessive I know. But that has turned out to be my style.

I wrote and wrote, not really knowing what I was doing.  Everything was a thrilling venture. I tried romance, women’s fiction, romantic suspense and a middle grade novel. I finished all of these manuscripts, over a ten year period.

Finally I stumbled upon the Young Adult genre. Ah yes! I could utilize all the voices, all the drama, all of the compelling stories of my life with students.

And so, for your reading pleasure, I now have The Girlfriends Series –Best Friends Forever. (Available on Amazon). Less than a latte!

Book #1 Little White Lies

Book #2 Little White Pills

Book #3 Little White Magic (to be released at the end of Sept. 2013)

The moral of this story? It’s never too late to find what you’re looking for in your life. Embrace your own journey. You will discover what you want and need.

Thank you Joanne for inviting me to join your blog. I wish you all the best in your writing adventures.

Blurbs

LittleWhiteLies_CVR_MED

In Little White Lies, Book # 1 of the Girlfriends Series, eighth grader Rachel Scott finally has the perfect boyfriend. He’s good looking, athletic and wealthy. The only problem is he doesn’t actually exist. Rachel’s escape into her fantasy world worries her parents and they insist she meet with the school counselor. Frustrated with her life and without her best friend’s approval, Rachel heads down a dangerous path, looking for love in all the wrong places.

LittleWhitePills_CVR_MED

Tenth grader Steph Baxter has it all, perfect looks, perfect grades and a perfect life. She’s a model high school student and a member of the cheerleading squad. But in her quest for excellence, she makes dangerous choices. Soon her simple solution becomes a complex problem. Follow Steph and her best friend Rachel as they cope with Steph’s unexpected journey. Can Steph find support before it’s too late?

Where to find Jodie…

Website: http://www.JodieEsch.com

Author Page: http://bit.ly/JodieEschAmazonAuthorPage

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JodieEsch

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JodieEsch

Joanne here!

Thank you Jodie for sharing the adventures that have shaped your spectacular first and second acts. Best of luck with Book 3, Little White Magic.

A Journey of Self-Awareness

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Certified Life Coach Sandra Dawes talking about the experiences that have shaped her amazing life journey.

 Here’s Sandra!

Sandra Dawes 21897In my mid to late twenties I lived a very passive life. I lived to make others happy, often to the detriment of my own happiness. I was a constant people pleaser, a consequence of low self-esteem and self-confidence. In my heart, I didn’t feel like I was worthy of love, so I did whatever I thought I had to do to prove to the people in my life that I was worth the love I so badly needed from them. In doing this, I put my own dreams and desires on the backburner.

When my father died, my world shifted in ways I didn’t think were possible. While he had been diagnosed with cancer 6 years earlier, I thought he had beaten it. It came back with a vengeance in 2004 and he died on the operating table during hip replacement surgery. I wasn’t prepared for the consequences of my father’s passing. I was in denial that it was even a possibility! With all that happened after his death, I was left hopeless, believing that all that I had done for others was a complete waste of time and unsure if I was ever going to experience joy in my life again, or if I really ever knew what it meant!

It took years of self-help books and a journey of self-awareness to understand that I am the creator of the reality that I experience and that if I wanted different experiences, I needed to make changes in the way I lived my life. I now understand I am worthy of love and don’t need anyone to prove that to me. I just need to believe it in my own heart and love myself the way I wanted others to love me. Instead of allowing life to happen to me, I’m doing what I need to do to make things happen in my life. My self-esteem and self-confidence are stronger than they have ever been and I’m no longer afraid to step outside my comfort zone and try new things and put myself out there in ways that would have made my knees weak just a few years ago!

No matter how bad things may seem right now, or how impossible your dreams might look, the belief that anything is possible is a necessary requirement if you want to live a better life than the one you’re currently experiencing. Belief in your dreams, a plan to make them a reality and taking action each and every day towards making those dreams real, are important steps in living the life that you’ve dreamed about. You have to believe without a shadow of a doubt that you are worth all of the amazing things that you want for your life. Yes, there will be obstacles and challenges along the way, but when you want something bad enough; you can’t let anything deter you from your goals!

Wayne Dyer says “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” How do you want to experience life? Do you want to live your life believing that you have no control over your circumstances and live a mediocre, unfulfilling life, or do you want to experience life where anything is possible and you can achieve your heart’s desires as long as you are committed to do whatever it takes to make it happen? I’ve chosen to live my life without regret and pursue my passions to the fullest. It’s scary at times, but every milestone I encounter reminds me that it’s all worth it, and so am I!

Where to find Sandra…

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Joanne here!

Sandra, your clients are truly blessed to have such a caring and insightful coach in their lives. Thank you for sharing your triumphant story.

One Year on Twitter

17428103_sIt’s hard to believe a year has passed since I joined Twitter. Looking back, I can only shake my head at all the excuses I gave for resisting social media.

It would take too much time.

What if no one followed me?

What would I tweet?

All my fears were short-lived. I was hooked after the first day and was amazed by the number of Twitter-worthy topics that emerged. I always had something to contribute from my favorite quotations to posts and articles about writing to inspirational chats…

Over the past twelve months, I have tweeted almost every day and encountered a new set of friends and interests. I have participated in a number of chats, among them #SpiritChat, #PoCchat, #PFWchat, #InspireChat and #LeadfromWithin.

My numbers, to date…

6509 tweets | 2146 following | 2472 followers

Inspired by Intrigue Media

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Community building.

An unexpected perk from the workshop, “Attract and Engage Customers with Social Media,” offered by Intrigue Media.

In addition to delivering an excellent presentation chock-full of information about Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, Online Marketing Specialist Vanessa Young succeeded in creating a sense of community among the four participants.

Photographer. Lawyer. Furniture Store Manager. Writer. Under normal circumstances, we would never have connected, let alone supported each other on our respective journeys. But that’s exactly what happened yesterday evening in the warm, inviting house at the corner of Westmount and Speedvale in Guelph, Ontario.

As Vanessa outlined fifteen key points to social media success, she included personal anecdotes and examples. We also shared and felt comfortable enough to ask questions and solicit advice throughout the presentation. So much so, that we went thirty minutes overtime!

My favorite nuggets…

  • Diversify and connect the different social media tools.
  • Use contests, deals and giveaways to create more buzz. Several examples were shared, among them Amazon and Starbucks gift cards, free e-readers and book donations to a charity of choice. Contests centered on creating captions and slogans were highly recommended.
  • Post and share relevant content, with the emphasis on quality.
  •  Less is definitely more. Don’t annoy followers with too many posts. Vanessa recommends no more than three Facebook posts a day. Keep the messages short and sweet. Twitter has a built-in limit of 140 characters. For Facebook, keep the posts under 180 characters.
  • Keep the hashtags down to two per tweet.
  • Most important of all—Interact and engage with your friends and followers.

Driving home, so many possibilities whirled through my mind.

  • A Facebook contest to celebrate the launch of the book cover.
  • Caption contests for Isabella, the protagonist of Between Land and Sea.
  • Joining LinkedIn.
  • Revamping my website.

Molte grazie Vanessa Young & Intrigue Media!