Monday, June 27, 2016

Mailbox Monday - June 27

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.

Happy Monday, everyone! We're gearing up for our annual trip to the Outer Banks. The pet sitters and house sitters are ready and I am looking forward to some down time. The whole family is coming down with us, so it will be a great time.

No books this week in my mailbox, but the hubby has ordered several to take with him. Here's what I'll be reading while I'm away:

  • Portrait of a Conspiracy by Donna Russo Morin
  • Deep Shadows by Vannetta Chapman
  • Anna's Healing by Vannetta Chapman
  • Joshua's Mission by Vannetta Chapman
  • A Loaded Gun by Jerome Charyn
  • The Strangers on Montague Street by Karen White
  • When Butterflies Came by Kimberley Griffiths Little
  • Iced Chiffon by Duffy Brown
  • While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax

What was in your mailbox last week?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Book Review: Real Estate Rules by Debbi DiMaggio

Maybe you're a new real estate agent looking for tips on how to create a successful career. Perhaps you're a seasoned agent who wants to bring her business to the next level. Maybe you just need some ideas on how to sell yourself.

Well, whatever you're looking for, you'll find it in Real Estate Rules!: 52 Ways to Achieve Success in Real Estate by Debbi DiMaggio.

Part of the Rules! books collection, DiMaggio shares the tips and tricks that secured her place in the top one percent of real estate agents nationwide. Broken down into four parts, this helpful guide has the power to transform your business. Empowering and informative, you won't be able to stop the ideas from coming once you've made it to the end of this book. You'll learn how to sell yourself, how to market properties, and get tips on working with clients and how to grow your business.

The adorable illustrations by Steve Hickner provide some light comic relief for what is a very serious subject: how to better position yourself for success in the real estate industry. As a REALTOR®, I truly appreciate DiMaggio's desire to help others succeed. It's evident in every word that she loves what she does.

Let Real Estate Rules! by Debbi DiMaggio inspire you to reach new heights in your real estate career.

Highly recommended!

Paperback: 134 pages
Publisher: Brigantine Media (April 4, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1938406540
ISBN-13: 978-1938406546

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Mailbox Monday - June 20

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.

Happy Monday, everyone! It's been a busy week of introducing people to their new homes and lots of personal decisions. My mind is filled to the point of exploding but, in many ways, it's also a relief.

The Lil' Diva and Lil' Princess are now 14 (soon to be 15) and 12 (turning 13 in November). My time remaining with my babies is limited. My in-laws are in declining health. As such, I've given up some volunteer commitments and might be giving up one more. My hectic work schedule has forced me to make some changes so I have more time to spend with the ones who matter most.

One other decision I made is to stop paying for my domain here and go back to a free blog. Since returning to work, I don't blog as much as I used to.

Originally, I was going to maintain just my Facebook page for The Busy Mom's Daily. Instead, I am going to do what all the organizations tell me not to do: combine my busy family life and my career into one blog: Busy REALTOR® Mom. I'm going to keep it a free blog and talk about things that are important for homeowners and buyers, in addition to all the stuff I talk about here: books, tips for busy moms, travel memories, and more. If the blog is successful, I'll probably buy a new domain, but that's not in the cards right now.

I hope you'll visit Busy REALTOR® Mom and like it just as much--if not better than--The Busy Mom's Daily.

Now, on to books. Here's what arrived in my mailbox last week. I hope you'll share some of yours too.

Author… storyteller… nice guy…

Award-winning author Mark Binder writes and performs in this upcoming fun audio book that engages young readers. Scheduled release date is September 16, 2016. You can find out more at

I'm part of Vannetta Chapman's street team this year. As such, I've received three books of hers to review so far. I'll be posting reviews at The Book Connection, Busy REALTOR® Mom, and Cheryl's Christian Book Connection soon. Thank goodness for summer vacations.

Life in Abney, Texas, is predictable and safe—until the night a massive solar flare wipes out all modern technology.

Shelby Sparks, novelist and single mom, had one goal: to provide for her diabetic son. In the wake of this global disaster, her mission hasn't changed. Only now, medication is a priceless commodity and the future resembles an apocalyptic nightmare.

Max Berkman and Shelby were once sweethearts, but he lost his chance at claiming her love years ago. When the abrupt loss of power ushers him into a leadership role, he rises to the occasion. But his highest priority—to keep Shelby and her son safe—could prove to be the biggest challenge of all.

As the brilliant northern lights give way to deep shadows, Max and Shelby's faith will be tested like never before. Only one rule remains: Find a way to survive.

* * *

In this first book in an eerily plausible dystopian series, a memorable cast of characters must navigate a familiar world thrown into chaos.

That's all from my corner of the world. Hope you all have a great week.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Let’s Start Talking About It by Debra Whittam, Author of Am I Going To Be Okay? Weathering the Storms of Mental Illness, Addiction and Grief

Title: Am I Going To Be Okay? Weathering the Storms of Mental Illness, Addiction and Grief

Author: Debra Whittam

Publisher: Turning Point International

Pages: 253

Genre: Memoir/Women’s Psychology/Applied Psychology

Am I Going To Be Okay? is an American story with a universal message. Ms. Whittam traces her history in the form of stories about her all too human, and sometimes unhinged family; she throws a rope to the little girl living there, and in adulthood, is able to pull her out to safety, bit by bit.

For More Information

  • Am I Going To Be Okay? Weathering the Storms of Mental Illness, Addiction and Grief is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Let's Start Talking About it by Debra Whittam

I am a first time author so, let’s starting talking about the two questions I am asked most often by nearly everyone concerning my having written a memoir/self-help book.  “How long did it take you to write the book?” and “Aren’t you worried about what family members will think?”

Really?  Are these questions that pertain to the author?  I think not.  What I sense is the people asking are only interested in the answer to see if THEY could do it.  So, let’s talk about this. 

How long did it take to write?  I wrote, on and off, for about three years.  The most difficult part was the edit, of course.  What I thought was going to be an easy, fairly simple week or two process to get my “shitty first draft,” as Anne LaMott calls it, to a final proof copy actually took six months.  Good thing my editor knew how to handle my impatience since she told me we would start going from the first draft to revisions.

Well, after the sixth ‘first’ draft I wanted to say ‘I’m done.’  But just in the nick of time she announced we were on to the revisions.  Ah yes, now we were getting somewhere!

After the revisions to the revisions, many times over, we moved on to the changes to the revisions.  We were now in month three.  Too late to turn back, yet, I hated the thought of reading one more word of what was once a beloved manuscript to me.  

Then, of course, we went from the changes to the changes to the changes.  Then finally, my friends, we were at the final manuscript!  Yea!  What joy. What bliss.  At final manuscript twelve I rebelled and said ‘NO!” 

This was just in time for the Final Proof copy.  The galley or advanced reader copy as it’s called.  Great.  After three final proof copies we have now officially gone to print! 

Oh my gosh.  How do people do this for a living?! 

So, do you see how my answering, to the unknowing questioner--it took three years to write the book--leaves me weak in the knees.  It’s not about me or what I went through. For heaven’s sake (!), it’s about them.  Of course it is. 

Question number two is more lengthy to explain, however, equally uninteresting to the one with the query.  Are they still listening as I explain that my first writing workshop was with Carol Henderson in Little Switzerland, NC where she explained to any of us thinking about writing creative non-fiction, memoir, to write as though everyone in the story has already died.  Or don’t do it at all.  That was a heady first bit of information for me as I already was sure I was the only who did not belong at the workshop.  I’m was a pretend ‘wanna be’ writer while everyone else was serious about it, better at it, etc. 

However, through the next three years of writing, I kept that thought firmly in the forefront of my mind as I traveled the road of writing; what I remembered, my perception of the things I saw, heard and how I was treated from littlehood onward.  

Is there any possibility that a family member will agree with my experience being true for them?  If, as they say, accuracy is based on perception, then every sibling in the same car having the same horrifying experience of riding with our drunk father at high rates of speed will invariably not have the same or even similar experiences as I did.  

We all have our own examples of being at the same dining room table with all the siblings and have a different narrative of what happened when someone spilled milk, triggering a major brawl which in turn lead to yelling, crying and sometimes people coming to blows.   

So do I answer to these random people, who I don’t even know, “Well, I can’t go to each person to make sure they are okay with it because blah, blah, blah.”   The person is already not listening.  No sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin would agree with what I had as my experience.  Parents would absolutely not agree.  So who ends up being the crazy one here?  And, how does anyone begin and end writing their memoir/ creative non-fiction narrative if they are, indeed, a Pleaser. 

Was and am I concerned with telling family stories that were always meant to be kept secret?  The point of my book is to see how insane it is to NOT talk about family member’s mental illness, their addictions, and the loss of a beloved through death or a relationship.  The impact on everyone in the family, especially the little ones watching the adults act like little monsters, is what creates the beginnings of chronic ‘IV drip’ of anxieties where little ones are sure of one of two things: either they did something wrong or there’s something wrong with them.  Those are the choices.  Silence and denial run the show and eventually become deadly in one form or another. 

So, my dear person with the questions, yes I considered everyone in the story.  Alive and not alive.  My experience is my truth.  If someone could have been in my shoes, at the same time, with the same experience, there might be a chance for some convergence of truth.  Doubt it, but maybe.  This memoir is a story of my life with my mom, entire family, but mainly her from my birth until her death, interwoven with the untreated mental illness, untreated addiction and unacknowledged grief that flows through everyone’s family tree.  We just don’t talk about it.  Any of it.  Until, of course, on someone’s death bed they sob out some essential bit of information that would’ve made everyone’s life different had they known it was NOT their fault.  Whatever ‘it' is. 

Answering these lame questions will become habit down the road and I will say, “Three years and, yes, I considered everyone.”  Let’s keep talking about it.

Debra Whittam is a licensed, practicing mental health therapist in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who specializes in addiction, anxiety and depression, grief and loss. Whittam is passionate about her work in all areas of her specialties, especially addiction. Working in a detox unit for over three years before beginning her own private practice, Whittam realized, while counseling patients in the life and death arena of the detox unit, how much the loss of a beloved through death or a relationship impacted those struggling with addiction.

In this memoir, Whittam skillfully infuses her memories, stories and professional insights to remind us that the most important relationship we will ever have is with ourselves. She splits her time between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York and Paris, France. Am I Going To Be Okay? Weathering the Storms of Mental Illness, Addiction and Grief is her first book. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Mailbox Monday - June 6

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.

Happy Monday! I hope life is treating you well. Things are great here, just very hectic.

School is almost over, which means dance recital and year end activities are pulling me in different directions. I also have numerous closings this month and another house I just sold last week.

At least life isn't boring.

Not a ton of reading going on, but I did get a chance to breeze through Real Estate Rules! by Debbi DiMaggio. My review will be coming soon.

Another new arrival in my mailbox:

I also picked up these Kindle freebies:

What was in the your mailbox?