Sunday, July 31, 2011

True Friendships on Twitter?

I just started tweeting on the long July 4th weekend and I already have several people that I am happy to call my friends.

Those acquaintances and loved ones who don’t tweet also don’t understand the idea of friends on Twitter. If I’m talking about it on the phone there’s sudden a long silence until I ask, “Are you still there?” In person, I get the strangest looks. Ah, well, sometimes we can’t understand something we haven’t experienced.

Here are some of the reasons why I believe it’s possible to have true friendships on Twitter:

· Some people say more in 140 words than most people say all day.

· What a person chooses to re-tweet tells you as much about them as what they say.

· People show kindness every day; re-tweet stuff that’s important to others, respond to sadness, mention their friends - just cuz.

· You’ll read the words “Thank you” on Twitter way more often than you’ll hear them in real life.

· You can easily find others of a like mind. When was the last time you could complain about the troubles of Indie publishing to someone you met in the grocery store?

· While we may have come to Twitter to promote something – in my case, a book – quite a few stay for another reason – the people and ideas you find within. After all, how hard is it to whip off a few promotional tweets and leave the Twittersphere? It’s extremely easy to just stop by, but many invest more than a few minutes a day.

· Following a link to a new blog can open up windows to the world you had never considered. Of course, you feel gratitude and closeness to the real life person who led you there and the real life person who wrote the glorious piece.

· Finally, when someone sends you a direct message telling you that you are a good person, that someone becomes your friend. No questions asked.

I know Twitter isn’t for everyone, but I’m thankful I bought John Locke’s book How I Sold a Million eBooks in 5 Months! It was his description of how to become a good tweeter than started me on my way. Thanks, John. I got so much more than a way to promote my book out of it.

Buy “Red Mojo Mama” here!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Following Your Dream

For years I knew I should be writing. It’s not that I’m a great writer. It’s that writing gives me the greatest, most consistent joy in life and when I’m joyful I spread that out into the world. When I’m writing, I do good things.

It took me years to begin to write seriously and many more years to find the type of writing that truly made me happy. For a long time, I thought that waiting so long to make my dream come true was a bad thing. Now, with the wisdom that comes with maturity, I realize that I just didn’t have that much to say early on.

In 2004, instead of looking for a job in my old career path that had lead me to making over $100K annually, I took a reporter’s position for $10 an hour. Really! I decided that I would finally commit to writing for a living no matter what it took. That led to a job a year later as the editor of another small paper – also pretty low pay.

What did I get out of taking what seemed like a step backwards to almost everyone I knew? I learned who I was as a writer. I found out I can write great editorials. I found out that I’m pretty prolific – at about 1000 words an hour. I found out I didn’t want to be a reporter anymore. Or an editor.

The next job I took, the one I currently have, I took on the theory that it was less stressful than management or the news biz, and I would therefore have more energy to write when I got home. Well…not so much. But in the past three years, I have finished two books. One I shelved voluntarily, because I just didn’t like the main character and the other, Red Mojo Mama, was a delight to write.

I fell in love with my main character, Lydia “Red” Talbot. She became so real to me that now I blog with her as my verbal sparing partner. She does the things I cannot do. She is the person I’m striving to be.

So, now, I’m a struggling writer with no retirement plan and an eye out for a more creative job. (No worries, my boss knows.) Would I change anything? Would I go back to the higher paying job? What about the powerful position of editor?

Straight up? No way. I’d rather be poor(ish because I know I’m not poor compared to so many others) than to not have pursued my dream. I have faith that someday, my books (two more in the works right now) will be bought and read. It’s actually more important to me that they are read. I want the world to know my characters. I want them to come alive.

So, if I had one piece of advice for other writers – anyone really – it would be FOLLOW YOUR DREAM. It’s really the only way to go.

What is your dream? What have you done to pursue it?

Buy “Red Mojo Mama” here!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Family – So Much More Than What You’re Born Into

A Sunday morning conversation between me and my imaginary friend and main character, Lydia “Red” Talbot.

Kathy: It was interesting watching two families blend at the wedding yesterday.

Red: Blend? You mean crash into each other, don’t you?

Kathy: (laughing) I know what you mean, but this time they seemed to be blending. There were several cute kids there and that always brings people together.

Red: I still regret that Mac and I didn’t have kids. I would have a family now if we had.

Kathy: Red, you have a huge family! Seriously, your trailer park people and half the town of Nuggetville!

Red: That park full of crazies? And the other half of Nuggetville hates me!

Kathy: Okay, so there are a few challenges in the park, but what about Joe and Bob? (Red’s face goes a bit pink) And Judy? Evelyn? Donnie?

Red: Alright, alright, I give. They are my family and I love them all.

Kathy: And then there’s your actual family that you’re related to – Geez.

Red: Are you saying I was just feeling sorry for myself? Are you telling me to quit whining?

Kathy: I’d never tell you to quit whining. You’re so good at it. Mom always told me to do what I good at. But really, that’s one of the things I loved about writing your life. How you build a family out of the life around you. I think people do that all the time, but don’t really realize it.

Red: Yeah, you’re probably right. I can count on Joe and the others as much or more than my blood relatives.

Kathy: Sure you can. Maybe Family really means the people you love that love you back. Remember, Under The Tuscan Sun?

Red: (smirking) Another movie we’ve watched 3 million times.

Kathy: Well…she is a writer, after all. Anyway, the story is about recovering herself by gathering a family to her - a mishmosh of people she met and fell in love with because of who they were instead of because she was obligated through birth. That’s Family.

Red: Kind of like me! I get it. Okay, not having kids doesn’t make me family-less. Happy now?

Kathy: Yes, except for one other thing.

Red: What? What is it now?

Kathy: You could always adopt!

Red stares off into space, considering the possibility and I go back to writing the next adventure in her life. We’re a pair, aren’t we? Can literary characters be part of your family? Hmmm…


Buy “Red Mojo Mama” here!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Love Those Redheads!

Watching the world stage, I’m often stuck by the shortage of redheads out there. That’s one reason I love being a redhead (admittedly with a little help). Redheads are noticed first and then given just a little bit of slack in anticipation of their much-discussed passion, which we really have in spades, by the way. When the world loves a redhead, it really, really loves her (or him). Famous redheads somehow go beyond normal fame – all the way to redheaded fame.

My female characters always have red hair. It just comes out that way. That why my main character in Red Mojo Mama, Lydia “Red” Talbot and I, (Kathy, her creator -geez I love saying that) were discussing righteous redheads last night. This is how the conversation went.

Red: I still think Lucille Ball is the greatest redhead of all time.

Kathy: That explains your VW’s name! I would have a hard time choosing between Katharine Hepburn, easily the spunkiest real-life actress ever and Maureen O’Hara, whose beauty knocked everyone’s socks off every time she was on screen – especially in “The Quiet Man”. You know, the movie with John Wayne.

Red: (rolling her eyes) What do you mean do I know the movie? I’ve watched that film with you 5 times in the last year. I know, I know – the rain scene in the ruins.

Kathy: Yep, you got it. Your turn.

Red: I’d have to go with some of the music greats – Bette Midler, Reba McEntire, Bonnie Raitt, Clay Aiken – does Pink count?

Kathy: Definitely not – she’s a blonde. So is Bette most of the time.

Red: Well, they’re totally redheads at heart and Bette was bright red in “Beaches” the best movie ever.

Kathy: (counting to 10) How about those Brits? Prince Harry, Sarah Ferguson, Queen Elizabeth I (and her papa Henry VIII – so much for red-headed passion), Winston Churchill, the Redgrave sisters and that actor from Twilight.

Red: Robert Pattinson! Ooh, baby! If we’re talking guys too – here’s a few: John Glenn, the son of Dr. Evil – Seth Green, TV Texas Ranger Chuck Norris, the Harry Potter friend – Rupert Grint, Ron Howard, Eric Stoltz ( hubba-hubba), Shaun White (Snowboarding King)

Kathy: How about Red Buttons, Red Skeleton, Danny Kaye and Mark Twain!

Red: All dead guys – you notice. And Mark Twain – I thought he had white hair.

Kathy: (my eyes were flaming by then) Dead doesn’t keep you from being a GREAT redhead and Mark Twain WAS a redhead before his hair went white.

Red: Okay, okay – calm down. Didn’t mean to diss your guys.

Kathy: (taking a deep breath) A few final entries - Ann-Margaret, Julia Roberts, Agnes Moorehead (the fiery Endora on Bewitched), Rene Russo, Rita Hayworth (Fred Astaire’s favorite dancing partner), Debra Messing, Joy Behar, Bill Walton, Susan Sarandon (sexiest older woman imaginable), Rihanna (canned color – but oh how red she can get!), Carrot Top, Bozo and Ronald McDonald (Oh, those clowns!)

Red: Wow! You can really do a summation. Ever think of becoming a lawyer?

Kathy: (laughing) No, Red. I don’t have any extra time after writing your life.

Red: Yeah! Get back to it will you? I’m getting a little sunburned on this cruise. Back at it girl.

So, I closed my eyes, turning off the voices in my head, re-opened them and hit the pages. That’s exactly what I’m going to do right now. But I will be thinking of my legacy as a redhead and trying to live up to it – everyday.

Who's your favorite redhead? We (Red and I) want to know - so tell us below!

Redheads! Buy “Red Mojo Mama” here!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Looking For Lula

Kathy: I just finished reading Smokin’ Seventeen by Janet Evanovich, the latest in the Stephanie Plum series. My reaction to it is – meh.

Red: You’re being much nicer than I would be.

Kathy: Well, the woman – Janet – has created a remarkable cast of characters and reading the books has been a hoot up until the last couple of books. The formula is showing…

Red: Yeah, it’s getting old. And what the heck has happened to Lula?

Kathy: For those of you that haven’t read the books, Lula is Stephanie’s African-American sidekick, a gun-toting, plus size former ‘ho with a mouth on her that won’t quit.

Red: Not so much this time out. Where’s the Lula I know and love? All her smart-ass seems to have up and left. Even Granny Mazur was a little subdued in Smokin.

Kathy: More about Gramma Mazur in a later post. Let’s stay on point. So, Lula is usually more than a little shocking. If it isn’t her skin-tight flamboyant clothes or her philosophies on life, it’s her attraction to all the wrong men or the volumes of food she can eat. Lula is hands-down my favorite Evanovich character, and that includes the two hot men Stephanie has hanging around, Joe Morelli and Ranger.

Red: Me, too – although I do get a little crazed for the boys!

Kathy: I’ve noticed. Down girl!

Red: Can’t help myself. My Joe and Stephanie’s Joe are kinda similar – except mine’s a tad bit older. And Ranger? Well, he literally smolders on the page.

Kathy: BACK to Lula…

Red: Okay, okay.

Kathy: …anyway – Janet, let’s bring Lula back full-force! Love her, miss her, want more of her!

Red: Janet – a plea from the other side. We, the characters who are created in the minds of novelists, want our rights! Let us speak! Hear our needs! We’re all behind Lula. Free Lula. Free Lula! Can you hear it – the roar of thousands of characters? There’s Jane Eyre and Sherlock Holmes raising their fists in the corner. And Holden Caulfield – looking a little morose. He’s bummed. What’s that you say, Holden? Free Lula? Yay, baby, free Lula!

Kathy: (looking askance at her own rowdy character) Are you through?

Red: I suppose so, but we gotta talk about Gramma Mazur.

Kathy: Later, Red, later.

All you Stephanie Plums might just want to buy my book! Here’s the link – just for you!

Stephanie Plums Fans Buy “Red Mojo Mama” here!

Sunday, July 10, 2011 Spreads the Love

Kathy: I’ll kickstart this discussion. Kickstart – get it? (blushing) How many times have you wished you could lend support to a starving artist? Be a benefactor to the next great author? Help someone become Steven Spielberg’s successor? What’s a financially challenged person to do? Well, I personally buy the greeting cards that painters create from their works of art. It’s usually about all I can afford. But I always feel like I’ve done SOMETHING to help out.

Red: Speak for yourself. Personally, I inherited a wad of money from Aunt Esther, so I can give freely.

Kathy: I hate to point this out, but you are a figment of my imagination and so are your bank accounts. Anyway, now, there’s another way I can help and so can you. is a website dedicated to helping artists of all persuasions to get their projects off the ground. There are any number of projects to pick from and you can donate whatever you can afford to a project you think is worthwhile.

Red: I would just like to point out that YOU made me real by writing about me. If it’s in print, it must be true!

Kathy: Not even close.

Red: You believe in Tom Hanks, don’t you?

Kathy: Yeah…because he’s a real person.

Red: Have you ever met him? Seen him in person?

Kathy: No, but he’s on TV and in films regularly.

Red: They can animate all that you know. If you haven’t seen him in person, you’re taking it on faith that he actually exists. Just like when your fans read about me they believe I exist – so I do.

Kathy: Uh…off topic. Let’s get back to the point. So, where was I? Oh, yeah. The project has to get enough donations to meet its budget, which might be $500 or $10,000 or whatever. Once it does, you’re charged and the project gets it’s funding.

Red: Sounds pretty cool. I’ll think I’ll contribute a couple grand to that chick who’s making the funky rainboots.

Kathy: (Rolling her eyes) It’s a fun way of contributing to the arts and becoming invested in someone else’s dream without having to be a Rockefeller.

Red: Yeah - one day, you may be able to say – I helped Ratfink Pollusa become the Pablo Picasso of the 21st century!

Kathy: Ratfink? Really? (shaking her head – refocusing) Interested? Just go to and see what I’m talking about. I’ll make a small donation today on behalf of Red. Poor, delusional girl.

Red: Hey! If I’m a delusion – I’m yours.

Buy “Red Mojo Mama” here!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Why Kevin James?

There are sure to be guys out there who don’t get why women want Kevin James in their lives. You should know in advance that I was brought to own understanding through the daily repetition of the words “There’s my husband” by my daughter for a couple of years during the height of “King of Queens.” There was no way I could personally lust after the man that she was sure would be my son-in-law, but I did start asking whether he had available male relatives after seeing the movie “Hitch.”

Will Smith is one very hot man, but Kevin, who on first glance couldn’t compete if Will walked around with a bag over his head, nearly stole the movie from big, bad Will. It was his klutzy, immovable love for a woman he could never have that moved women of all ages. Geez, we really wanted James to end up with the girl.

Kevin’s stocky, frankly manly body, coupled with those puppy dog eyes, and adorable pout could be the perfect man. He’s seriously not beautiful on any level, but he’s overwhelmingly attractive on many. He’s such a guy guy that the fact that many woman want to rescue him doesn’t diminish his manliness at all.

Somehow, we’d forgive the pizza cartons we know he’d leave on the coffee table regularly. We’d overlook the pile of clothes on the bathroom floor and the sizable paunch he’d rest his beer bottles on during the endless streams of football, hockey, basketball and baseball games (and their televised national drafts).

It’s the puppy dynamic - because a puppy is so adorable, we extend an automatic forgiveness level about 12 steps beyond your average full-grown dog. Same situation with Mr. KJ. Sure, there are some things we’d draw the line at, but it’s different for everyone and way beyond the norm for how we’d treat a regular guy. Even for what we’d forgive in Will Smith.

So, that’s why Kevin James. He’s not exactly an “every man”, but more of an “every woman’s man.”

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Red and Stephanie Plum Have A Lot in Common

Don’t tell Red (she’s napping right now, so maybe I’ll be able to pull this off without her input) – but if you want to know the truth, she often thinks to herself – “What would would Stephanie do?” That’s right, she and I both love Stephanie Plum and although Stephanie is a lot younger than either one of us, we wouldn’t mind following in her footsteps. Stephanie is really just a baby at 24 or so, but she tumbles through life, having the best time, in spite of her cars blowing up and people threatening her life.

It’s not all about how popular she is either. Thank you Janet Evanovich for creating a character, cute and lovable, but flawed. She’s usually struggling to keep her hair in place, always resisting the desire to sleep with men other than her boyfriend and always, always eating crap – donuts and fried chicken.

Yet, she survives and survives well. Her family’s insane and incredibly funny – from Gramma Mazur to her quietly tortured father. Joe Morelli and Ranger are hot as cheese-filled potato skins straight from the oven. It’s all good.

So, what does Red have in common with Stephanie?

· Well, she has two hot men in her life, too. Okay, so one’s a ghost.
· She’s young…ish. Well, she IS more than ten years older than Stephanie.
· Her hair’s always a challenge. Yeah, but men are attracted to that head of red.
· She’s cute, funny, fearless, a big-mouth and a smart-ass. That’s right! Yeah, Red and Stephanie really are a lot alike.

So, I guess it’s true – what a friend told me – my Red is a lot like Stephanie Plum! Hmmm…there are worse things to be.

All you Stephanie Plums might just want to buy my book! Here’s the link – just for you!

Stephanie Plums Fans Buy “Red Mojo Mama” here!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Writing for Bucks

Kathy: I’m posting this time with Red looking over my shoulder. Please!

Red: Well, you have me sitting in a chaise lounge on cruise ship right now (in the next novel – Red is An Attitude) so what else have I got to do?

Kathy (heavy sigh): Soak up a little sun while I tell the folks my theory on writing for sales versus writing for craft.

Red: Crap?

Kathy: No! C-R-A-F-T

Red: Geez, you don’t have to be like that! Go ahead – I’ll just lie here quietly.

Kathy: That will be the day. Anyway, I read a tweet from a writer yesterday saying she was all about craft, not sales. Basically, she was announcing she was above the new John Locke plan to sell books on Amazon. Really?

Red: You go girl! I hope you told her like it is.

Kathy (shaking off Red’s interjection): No, actually, I didn’t. I thought about it overnight and realized she’s totally bought into the whole publishing biz hype. Craft is all well and good – and who’s to say these books HAVEN’T been highly crafted anyway – but bottom-line: Craft doesn’t necessarily sell books.

That means readers never see your finely crafted words. So, sales are important, aren’t they?

Red: Right! Anyone with any brains could figure that one out.

Kathy: Thank you for your support, Red. Now, may I continue?

Red: You may.

Kathy: Secondly – if you’re a writer that has to support yourself in another way (until you manage to start selling books) you’ll relate to this one. You have to have time to write! At least, in any volume. I love to write – LOVE it. But I’m often too tired to do anything when I get home from work.

Red: I can relate.

Kathy: I would love to sit down and whip off a few pages, but really – even if I’m not too tired, I often have a hard time transitioning from the hard-core business side of my brain to the creative side.

Red: Hard core?

Kathy: You know what I mean. Anyway, so selling enough books to live modestly and write for a living – now that’s heaven on earth. THEN I’ll sit down and write the dozen or so books that are floating around in my head that the world would deem more literary.

Red: Just a dozen?

Kathy: In the meantime, I’m writing to entertain the masses. My hero – Janet Evanovich.

Red: Now, she can entertain.

Kathy: I’m just saying.

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Purchase my book - RED MOJO MAMA

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Heroine Tells It Like It Is

Hi, I’m Lydia. Most people call me Red. I’m the protag in Ms. Hall’s book – Red Mojo Mama. You can expect me to come along every once in awhile when I have something to say. Guess what? I have something to say.

As a journalist (okay, it may be for a tiny little community paper, but still) I’m sensing a trend here and it’s heartening. THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE FOR WRITERS IS SELF-PUBLISHING. Duh!

Ms. Hall recently purchased a Kindle and then received a promotional email from Amazon for John Locke’s book, How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months! She bought it and the world opened up for her. She’s a much happier person nowadays. Let’s just say – she’s getting her mojo back, too.

So, first Locke exposes how self-published authors have been ostracized and discounted – pure BS from the publishing industry– thereby validating Ms. Hall’s opinion on the subject and her self-esteem. No, she is not a vanity author – she’s a writer who finally got fed up with all the encouraging and wonderful REJECTIONS from agents and had the cojones to do something about it; like so many writers recently.

Then he lays a plan out that anyone with the ability to read could follow and - viola! We were in business. It’s work, okay – but its not digging ditches.

A writer friend of Kathy’s said, “You have to go on Twitter? Oh, then I couldn’t do it!” Really? Hmmm, maybe she’s a writer-wannabe. Or maybe she’s satisfied with possibly being discovered after her death? I’ll betcha Van Gogh, who sold 1 painting while he lived, would’a tweeted his ass off. (Sorry for the grammatical lapse – I tend to do that when I get passionate.)

Anyway, we are off and running now. Ms. Hall wants to laud John Locke for sharing his secrets with her fellow authors and I personally thank him, too. After all, when our book goes wild – the world will discover me!

Thanks – Lydia “Red” Talbot

Visit my website

Purchase my book - RED MOJO MAMA

Friday, July 1, 2011

Jennifer Aniston Has Definitely Found Her Mojo

Okay, let’s be brutally honest. Everyone has felt a little bad about Jennifer since Angelina stole Brad! Everyone.

We loved her. She was Rachel. All the men wanted to bed Rachel and all the women wanted to be Rachel. We were all stunned when that schmo Ross let her get away. Face it - we (the women who were rooting for Rachel) were a little amazed that she fell for the guy in the first place. But we bought into the relationship ultimately and went along for the ride.

Rachel – I mean Jennifer – then hooks up with Brad Pitt. The television uber-babe weds the hottest man in history – well, at least in the 90’s – and we all sat back and waited for the baby Brads and Jens to come along. Then along came Angelina and wham-o! Jennifer and Brad weren’t even on a break, for God’s sake!

Jennifer’s public – the world at large – watched with bated breath as she slipped into a May-December romance with John Mayer, landed the big guy Vince Vaughn (my personal favorite) and then dallied with Gerard Butler.

As each relationship failed, we felt sorry for her all over again. “Poor Jen. She’s just can’t make it last!” Funny thing, though – Jennifer never seemed that broken up by her break-ups. She bounced back – even from the Brad thing – with amazing grace.

We definitely don’t need to feel sorry for her anymore. She’s everywhere nowadays. She dating Justin Theroux and apparently thrilled about it – if you read the Yahoo headlines. She’s made a bazillion movies in the last couple of years – even got kudos for The Good Girl. Check out her bod in Just Go With It. Really? How annoying is it that she looks better than ever?

It’s not about men, either. She’s grown into herself. Jennifer Aniston has definitely got her mojo back.

Here’s my favorite Jen quote: “A relationship isn't going to make me survive. It's the cherry on top.”

Right on! You go girl!

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Purchase my book - RED MOJO MAMA

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