Tuesday, July 22, 2014

In the News: Weather and Housing

Now that I am in the real estate business, I tend to look at news about the housing market. In the Friday, July 18 edition of The Wall Street Journal, an article by Alan Zibel and Kris Hudson discussed how a stretch of wet weather in the south led home construction to temporarily decline in June.

I honestly never considered these things before I was involved in this industry. I'm starting to read magazines like Forbes and Kiplinger now too. Gosh, I sound like a grown up.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mailbox Monday - July 21

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Though I am waiting on two or three books to arrive, they haven't made it here yet. Here's what came in from my latest library trip.

MTV’s original VJs offer a behind-the-scenes oral history of the early years of MTV, 1981 to 1987, when it was exploding, reshaping the culture, and creating “the MTV generation.”

Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and Martha Quinn (along with the late J. J. Jackson) had front-row seats to a cultural revolution—and the hijinks of music stars like Adam Ant, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, and Duran Duran. Their worlds collided, of course: John Cougar invited Nina to a late-night “party” that proved to be a seduction attempt. Mark partied with David Lee Roth, who offered him cocaine and groupies. Aretha Franklin made chili for Alan. Bob Dylan whisked Martha off to Ireland in his private jet.

But while VJ has plenty of dish—secret romances, nude photographs, incoherent celebrities—it also reveals how four VJs grew up alongside MTV’s devoted viewers and became that generation’s trusted narrators. They tell the story of the ’80s, from the neon-colored drawstring pants to the Reagan administration, and offer a deeper understanding of how MTV changed our culture. Or as the VJs put it: “We’re the reason you have no attention span.”

I loved MTV growing up and the original VJs were on when I was growing up. It used to be a great channel.

Please note, I'm on vacation this week, so I won't respond to comments right away. If you want to see where I am, check out http://lauralittlehouseontheprairie.blogspot.com/2014/07/40-anniversary-little-house-cast-reunion.html

Friday, July 18, 2014

Interview with Jo Linsdell, Author of How to be Twittertastic

Jo Linsdell is  a best selling author and illustrator and internationally recognized marketing expert. She is also the founder and organizer of the annual online event "Promo Day" (www.PromoDay.info) and the Writers and Authors blog (http://WritersAndAuthors.blogspot.com). To find out more about Jo and her projects visit her website www.JoLinsdell.com.

What is your book about?

How to be Twittertastic is a writers and authors guide to the social media site Twitter. It covers a bit of everything from how to set up your account and personalise your profile to third party apps and getting the most leverage out of your tweets. It's also packed full of useful resources to help you make the most out of time and marketing efforts.

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the book?

I got the idea for the Writers and Authors Guide to Social Media series a while ago but as I was working on illustrating some children's picture books for clients and was also busy publishing a children's picture story book of my own (The Box) and so I didn't have time to develop the idea right away. 

A couple of months ago I decided that Twitter would be the topic of the first book in the series as it's the site I use that gains the best results. As soon as I had some free time I started brainstorming and plotting out a rough table of contents. It didn't take me long to know what I wanted to write.

What inspired you to write this particular book?

I'm a real social media junky and often get asked by other authors for tips on how to market their books online and build their author brand. When you have a passion that also happens to be in high demand it makes it easy to get inspired. 

This whole series is designed around the idea of making social media easy for authors to understand and to supply them with information and tips to help them get the most out of their time and efforts.

Social media is used by billions of people worldwide on a daily basis. Our audience is online and can be reached free of charge without us even having to leave our homes. Authors need to be taking advantage of this opportunity to connect with their readers and build their fan base. A lot of authors aren't using it because they don't know where to start. Others are using it but not making the most of it. I hope this series will help them build their online presence and give them some ideas for what and how to post.

How long did it take you to write your book?

A couple of weeks. The book is a quick read. I didn't want to keep repeating the same things over and over (I've seen others do that to bulk out a book and found it very annoying) and to be honest, there is only so much you can write about Twitter. The site is designed around the idea of clutter free, to the point, content. I wanted the book to be the same. 

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

I researched online using Twitter search to find examples to use in the book, and Google to find statistics, etc... As social media is one of my hobbies as well as a tool I use daily for marketing, I was already quite up to date on most of the details. I've also done several webinars on the topic and so already had a lot of notes to work from.

Who designed the cover?

I designed and made it myself using Adobe Illustrator. 

Where is the book available to purchase?

How to be Twittertastic is currently available in kindle format on all Amazon sites and will be out in print later this month.

Release date: 1st July 2014

Product Details: Kindle
File Size: 2191 KB
Print Length: 94 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

Purchasing links:

Facebook event page: 

Social Media Links:

The Word CAN’T Does Not Exist by Amber Neben, Author of When Shmack Happens

Have you ever been through a hard time in life? Ever wondered why bad things happen? Amber Neben has you covered. The 2x Olympic cyclist for Team USA knows a thing or two about shmack- her word for describing adversity that comes our way in life. Follow Amber’s journey as she overcomes major obstacles both on and off the bike-and encourages you to join her in developing the perseverance, patience, perspective, and power than only Christ can give us. Very few people may know or understand what road cycling is, but everyone knows what it means to be an Olympian. The champion road cyclist chronicles her disappointments and failures, as well as amazing comebacks and victories-while thrilling audiences along the way with gripping stories of faith and hope. After reading When Shmack Happens, you’ll feel equipped and encouraged to face life’s tough moments, and find yourself cheering for Amber to get back on the bike…one more time. Learn what it means to be a spiritual champion in God’s eyes.

Purchase at:
Amazon UK and Amazon EU

The Word CAN’T Does Not Exist
by Amber Neben

When I was in fifth grade, I played on an AYSO soccer league team, a competitive soccer league team, and whatever sport I could at school.  My younger sister played recreational soccer, too.  Think about the number of practices during the week and the number of games on the weekend.  Somebody had to pick my sister and I up from school, take us to and from soccer practice every evening, and then to every game on the weekend.  My mom, who was also working a full time job, always made it happen.

One Saturday as we were scrambling from one game to the next, I was trying to change uniforms in the car.  Out of my mouth came a sentence that started with, “I can’t…”  My mom was quick to point out that the word can’t did not exist.  My fifth grade brain proceeded to argue that it did exist, and it was a contraction for cannot.  I had seen the word in books.  It existed!  But my mom wouldn’t buy my argument.  Instead, she continued to tell me that there was no such thing as can’t or I can’t.  At the time, I thought she had lost it.  Now, I am thankful for the can do attitude she instilled into me.

When we get tested in life, it is normal and often easier to think about what we cannot do.  I don’t make enough money, I’m not smart enough, I’m not good enough, there is no way I can handle this challenge, or there is no way I could ever lose the weight or give up the addictive substance.  The doubts and the excuses come quickly, and the easier road to travel is the one that requires less work.  However, in those same challenging times, there are always things we CAN do.  And if we choose to focus on what we can do instead of what we cannot do, we will be one step closer to overcoming the obstacle in front of us.  It can be a tedious process, and it often takes some guts.  However, huge goals are achieved and huge obstacles are overcome one step at a time. 

Let me give you an example using my rehab from this crash:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4z_6qDX_Yh8 .  Afterwards, as I recovered in the trauma center, I was hurt and broken.  My iliac crest was shattered, my nose was busted, and I had two cracked ribs.  Miraculously, that was all.  Obviously, there were a lot of things, including riding a bike, I could not do.   However, instead of thinking about all of those things, I chose to focus on what I could do.  I could trust God had me in His mighty hands, and He would give me the strength I needed in the moment.  Then, I could even smile.  Ten hours later, I could stand up on crutches.  (It was hard, and it took me three attempts spread over six hours, but I eventually did it.)  Over the next few months, I still could not move normally nor do the things I wanted to do, but I didn’t allow my brain to get caught on the “can’ts.”  Instead, I always made an intentional effort to shift my focus to what I could do.  With each new day, I could take one step more than the day before.   Instead of being discouraged by my limitations or how far I still had to go, I was encouraged by the progress I was making from my ‘pavement zero’ moment after hitting the wall. 

Your attitude and your effort are always something you can control.  Regardless of the storm that is pounding you or the obstacle in front of you, try to always see those things you CAN do.  And if you have had a pavement zero moment, keep it in perspective.  Allow it to be your new reference point, and from this new start point, take responsibility for what you can.  Set the goal that seems impossible, but don’t get buried by all the can’ts that stand in between the goal and its achievement.  Then, as you do what you can, one step and day at a time, you will inch your way toward accomplishing what you thought you could not do! 

It takes patience and perseverance in addition to the perspective.  It’s hard.  It’s very hard.  I know.  Crashes, cancer and many other SHMACKs have happened to me.  But every time I was challenged, when I trusted in Christ’s strength and used it instead of my own, I could always step.  He always gave me something I could do.  I just had to be willing to look for it.

Oh… and even though you may not always think so, your kids are actually listening to you.  They may not understand it in the moment, but you ARE making a lasting impact in their lives. 

Amber Neben is a decorated international road cyclist with victories in 11 countries and multiple UCI Category 1 stage race wins. She is a 2x Olympian, 2x World Champion, 2x Pan American Champion and 2x National Champion. She holds a B.S. from The University of Nebraska and an M.S. from UC Irvine. Amber and her husband, Jason, reside in Lake Forest, CA. For information on speaking engagements or coaching visit amberneben.com.

When Shmack Happens Virtual Book Tour Schedule

July 7
Interview at The Book Connection
July 8
Book spotlight at As the Pages Turn
July 9
Book spotlight at Putting Words Down on Paper
July 10
Guest post at Beyond the Books
July 11
Book spotlight at Cheryl’s Book Nook
July 14
Book review at My Devotional Thoughts
July 15
Guest post at Literarily Speaking
July 16
First chapter reveal at Rebecca’s Writing Services
July 17
First chapter review at Cheryl’s Christian Book Connection
July 18
Guest post at The Busy Mom’s Daily
Interview at Blogcritics
July 21
July 22
Book spotlight at The Writer’s Life
July 23
Book review at I Hope You Dance
July 24
Book spotlight at Between the Covers
July 25
July 29
July 30
July 31
Book review at The Book Connection

Thursday, July 17, 2014

This Day in History: Disneyland Opens

On this day in 1955, Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California.

Walt Disney was a commercial artist before setting a small studio in Los Angeles to produce animated cartoons. Steamboat Willy, starring Mickey Mouse, became a national sensation. His first feature-length cartoon was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, followed by Pinocchio, Dumbo, and Bambi.

Walt Disney began designing the amusement park in the 1950s with the plan that it would be educational as well as entertaining for both adults and children. Work on Walt Disney World in Florida began in 1965, but Walt Disney died before it opened in 1971. Epcot Center, Disney-MGM Studios, and Animal Kingdom were added later to Walt Disney World.

For more information, you can visit http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/disneyland-opens

Do you have a special theme park you visit on vacation? What is your favorite Disney Park? Magic Kingdom is mine, but Epcot is a close second.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Diary of a Busy Mom: How the Heck Did I Used to Do It?

I have just one question to ask. How the heck did I used to do it? Work outside of the house, I mean. Gosh, I'm only three weeks into it and it seems like I'll never be able to juggle it all. 

Is it because I'm older now? Is it because I'm trying to hold onto book promotion work while starting up my real estate career? Is it because it's summer and the girls are home more? 

It's probably a combination of all those things. In the end, I know it will all come together. I'm highly organized, so I just need to stop and think about how to accomplish what I need to do each day. Say a prayer or two for me.