Thursday, September 29, 2011

The More Things Change

The more things change the more they stay the same.

I spent years in a world where checking numbers was part of the program. And in numbers I mean sales. How much did I sell today eventually became how much did we sell today. Technology made it all worse. Those daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual reports that at one time were printed on the remnants of thousands of dead trees could now be accessed with a click of a computer key, not to mention in real time.

Tracking sales, looking for trends, twisting them and bending them for purposes good or bad is a necessary business skill whether you are in the sales department or finance. And if sales is your game and management your title it can be a downright obsession that too often can take the focus off doing something to make that needle move.

I don't live in that world anymore. But as I said the more things change the more they stay the same.

With my novel officially published and available for sale on Amazon, I once again have access to up to the minute sales reports. I can tell how many e-books are being sold versus print books. I will be able to see if a guest post on another blog or a radio interview has an impact on sales. I can spend my day staring at a computer screen trying to will a bigger number or I can go market my wares to potential new readers, better yet, write something new and create more product. Yes, the obsession has returned.

But this time it feels different.

Now on sale for your reading pleasure at

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On Sale Today, For Your Reading Pleasure

I am not a woman of few words, although Twitter has helped me in learning how to write in 140 characters or less. But today this will be brief. After countless hours, days, months and yes, years, of writing, dreaming, thinking, editing, trying it the traditional way, throwing that aside and editing again, this novel is out in the world. Technically it was available for sale yesterday, but for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is today's new Moon, I selected September 27 as my official launch date.

I like new Moons. I like ritual. I like superstition. Maybe it is the Greek in me. In any case, a new Moon is said to be a magical time of new beginnings when you can recharge intentions or set new ones out into the world. My intention to become a published author has been on many my new Moon lists over the years. It took a while and it certainly did not unfold the way I expected it to, but then what was I thinking? I'm really not a conventional kind of girl. Why would I have followed the established route? 

The print edition and the Kindle edition of The Secrets They Kept are available today on  There, I said it and I admit it feels a bit surreal. 

If you read fiction, I invite you to buy a copy.
If you like it, I invite you to give it a Like on Amazon.
If you really like it, recommend it to a friend. Tweet it. Facebook it.
If you really, really like it, write a review on Amazon.

Having not gone the traditional route there is no Big Six Marketing budget to drive attention to my novel. Just me and my intentions.

Which, by the way, is to spread the word as far as our viral, interconnected world will allow. 


Sunday, September 25, 2011


When you've been doing the same thing for a long time, you think you know a lot. Sometimes you think you know it all. Until that moment you decide to do something different. And you discover there is an awful lot you have yet to learn. That is the moment you become humbled.

Witness what happens on my guilty pleasure, Dancing With The Stars. Accomplished athletes are my favorite example. They excel in their particular sport. Now asked to move their body in a new manner and it doesn't look like they are as accomplished as they were. Or take the models. Stunningly beautiful when standing still, but asked to stretch their arms and legs while moving in rhythm to music and their image alters. They are beginners again,  faced with a new challenge, and if they are like me, humbled at all they didn't know.

I spent years selling and marketing other people's stuff. I  can make that look easy.  I always knew I could write, I just avoided it. But when I set my mind to really creating story, it came naturally. Yes, I was challenging myself but it was not borne of humility but of the fear of letting my voice be heard to more than my circle of friends.

But now, as I have learned the mechanics and pitfalls of digital files, upload my novel to the various outlets where The Secrets They Kept will be sold, try and figure out when it will be available in all places at the same time, as I start to tackle these new frontiers of letting people know it is there, I am humbled.
There is no other word. Humbled. Like a first grader who knows they are ready for more, but can't help but reflect back how easy Kindergarten was. I am in virgin territory.  And from that new humility I am challenged in a way that is at once terrifying and as alive as one can feel.

Do you think you know it all?
Or are you taking on new challenges that humble you, yet push you forward?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Trouble With Waiting

Ask me how I spent my Tuesday.


I had a few phone meetings. I tried to get past my writer's block on another article I'm writing. I had other projects to work on, book marketing prep to tackle.

But mostly I spent Tuesday waiting for the UPS guy. The one who had on his truck in NYC since 8:01AM in the morning the proof for my book. The hard copy so to speak, except the print version is in paperback.

Don't ask me how many times I checked the tracking number. Or how many times I asked the doorman if the UPS truck had arrived yet.  Let's just say it was like waiting for a pot of  water to boil.

I know better than to wait. I almost have to laugh at the Universe's sense of humor that at 7:15PM the book had not arrived. But that is still what I did. Wait. Anxious. Torturing myself with questions.

Is the color of the cover going to print correctly? Will all the type be in the right spot? These are the things a publishing house would have done if I had gone the traditional route. Why was I doing this myself, again? Am I going to read it one more time and be happy and satisfied or terrified that this is not ready for prime time? How many mistakes would I find? Will they be small enough to let it go? What makes me think I can write anyway? I have agonized over this other article, struggling to put words together that make sense like I have never written an article before. Who's going to want to read my story anyway?

This is what inhabits my mind when waiting. Every insecurity I have ever had comes creeping back in and could make one wonder, did she really spend all that money to work on herself, 'cause it doesn't sound like it's working. 

At 7:52PM the package arrived. The waiting over. My book is real. Tomorrow I read. And then I hit publish.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ready Or Not

Yesterday morning it was summer. Hot, humid, air-conditioning weather. By late afternoon, it was fall. Temperatures dropped severely on the island I call Manhattan and a jacket was needed.

I thought I was ready for fall until I found myself shivering on a street corner last night while thinking gloves and a scarf might have been a good idea. Suddenly I wanted to push the stop button, plead, no, not yet, just a few more weeks of warm weather, please. At least a few more days.

But that isn't how it works. Once things change, there is no going back. Yes, there will be another summer, but it won't look like, taste like, feel like this one. Now we move forward, writing the chapter called fall.

We live so much of our lives looking for things to change, wanting them to change, trying to make them change, waiting for them to change. And then when the change happens it's a big Uh Oh! Did I really think I was ready for this? I'm not so sure!

In the space of a week I will be pushing a series of buttons and my novel will be for sale. Just like that it will go from a work in progress to a work completed.  I will go from a writer to a published author. Whether I am ready or not,  I will be standing in a brand new place and just like this summer, there is no going back.

The Secrets They Kept will be available soon on,, iBookstore, and other select on line booksellers.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Love/Hate Relationship With September

I have this love/hate relationship with September. I always have. At my core I am a summer girl. Yes, I love autumn leaves and the first sign of a forsythia blooming in the spring.  A day spent skiing the Rockies after a fresh fallen snow will never fail to make me smile. But the summer is my season. And September's arrival says it's over. 

And then there is the other side of September that I do like. Fresh starts, clean blackboards, sharpened pencils and of course the excuse to buy new shoes.

There is a lot to love about September and a lot not to. 

September was the month my parents married. It was also the month my father died. Several of my nearest and dearest friends have birthdays that fall in September. And then there was that fateful Tuesday in 2001. 

You see where I am with this month. Vacillating between joyous anticipation and fear of the what ifs, now intensified with the news of new and credible terror threats.

I've reflected on this blog on September 11 before and perhaps I will every year. But this year it feels bigger. Maybe because it is ten full years. And so much has changed. Maybe because once again I am adding another item to the love September side and publishing my novel. 

I am torn. Between sadness in remembering and excitement for what's next.

My life was entirely different ten years ago. September 10, 2001 was the day I was officially promoted to Director of Sales for NY1 News. This was the job that was going to renew the love I had for my corporate life. And in the space of 24 hours the shine was gone. My new job seemed inconsequential as I walked the streets of a city coated in the ash of debris that was once the Twin Towers. I will never forget the eerie silence that set upon a city noted for its ability to never sleep as the souls of the thousands the tragedy took left this world. Nor the stories I read every day in the New York Times of the lives that were lost.

I cannot imagine what it was like to lose a husband or wife or child, a mother or father, but that did not exempt me from changing who I was and how I saw things. It was the beginning of a deep cellular shift in what I wanted my life to look like.

It did not take me long to become appalled as I witnessed how quickly the world forgot and our corporate dominated culture got back to what they considered the most important goal above all, making money at any cost. That brief moment of solidarity, of being joined together as a country seems in retrospect like a psychedelic drug experience.

I live my life with the belief that things happen with purpose. 9/11 tested me in that regard as did the death of my father in 1986. But how else to get past such a horror without looking for what good can be created in its aftermath? Tragedy does not befall to punish, but too often to wake us up and make us stop and look around. Sometimes we pay attention. Sometimes we go back to our old ways. 

I paid attention. I try and spend more time with the people I love. I take note on a daily basis of all I have to be grateful for. I look for what is right and not what is wrong. I empathize more. I choose more carefully who and what I let in my space. I am not as afraid to show my vulnerability. I am willing to go for my passion. I live all too aware of the fragility of time.

In the spring of 2002 I signed up for Sonia Pilcer's writing class at the West Side Y. I had said for years that I wanted writing to be my third career but until then had done very little about it. I can't say for sure I would have if not for the events of that previous September. As it happened it was in Sonia's class that my protagonist in The Secrets They Kept, Elena Poulous was born. 

So yes, I love September and I hate it. It is full of memories for me both painful and wonderful and all life defining. In all respects it is a pivotal month. In 1986 my life became defined as before and after my father died. In 2001 all of our lives became before and after 9/11. And now in 2011, for me it will be before and after The Secrets They Kept was published.

How has your life changed since September 11?

The Secrets They Kept will be released later this month and will be available in print and e-versions at on-line retailers everywhere.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pushing My Own Buttons

People pay me to push their buttons. That's why people hire a coach. So that someone else will make them do what they stop themselves from doing. Reaching higher. Stretching farther. Shaking things up. Refusing to settle for anything less than what they deserve. Pointing out what they already know but weren't willing to look at. Those things that make their insides turn upside down. 

I'm a professional when it comes to button pushing. But trust me, that does not make it any easier when I am pushing my own. In fact it may make it harder.

With the imminent release of The Secrets They Kept, my first novel, my buttons are being pushed. All those things I have worked on and worked through in my life are making cameo appearances on a daily basis. There are moments when I am literally shaking in my shoes. ( albeit as a member of my very large Greek family recently pointed out, some "styling shoes")

In fact some days it feels like it is 1989 and I am back in Rehoboth Beach on the boardwalk playing a game of Whac-a Mole. As soon as I have squashed one of those moles with that rubber mallet, another pops up. And it is only the prize at the end that keeps me playing.

But what I keep noticing through this process are those moments when I want to stop the train. Push the brake pedal to the floor and turn off the engine. In the back of my brain I hear this little voice that says to get out while you still can. You don't have to do this. Writing is exposing oneself for all the world to see. While my words may be fiction they are wrapped up in my truth, in how I see the world, the sorts of things that my everyday friends and acquaintances may not be privy to. You don't have to let them see.

You are choosing to self-publish. To self-publish is me taking a stand that my story is worth telling based on my standards, sans the "approval" of one of the big Six publishing houses.  You can go back to the safety of your old life. You can go and beg someone somewhere to give you a job selling advertising space again. You can go back to living with your biggest fear being of getting downsized. You can focus soley on your coaching practice. Or you can choose your fear, in my case of  being exposed and dare I say becoming an author with readers willing to pay for what I write.

As I said, I am a professional button pusher who believes you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. So I know what to say to myself and to do to get past this delightful combination of excitement and anxiety. Most days I listen. Some days I am a bad client.

Today I am listening. I asked myself how would it feel if I did literally stop the presses. The answer is awful.  And that is when I know I am doing what I am supposed to be doing, what I have to do. Pushing the right buttons.

Are you pushing your buttons or is someone else?
Are they the right buttons?