Archive for February, 2011

Book # 12 Has Just Been Published!

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

      May I extend a very special hello to all my readers!  I received in the mail yesterday my author’s copy of “33’s Theo,” my latest novel.  I finished writing it last Spring, and it just completed the publishing process at Red Lead Press. 

      I enjoyed writing the novel as much as I did because it brought back beautiful memories of Boston and Cape Cod, where I spent a wonderful summer many years ago, right before I entered my last year of college.  I had been given a special gift from my parents: a summer at Harvard Summer School, where I could take any courses that I liked.  I selected a course in Shakespearean tragedies and one in modern poetry.  Both professors were phenomenal, and the summer was awesome!

     At Harvard Summer School I made some wonderful friends from all over the country.  Most of my friends were women, but I did meet a very interesting man who was thirteen years my senior.  He was a highly intelligent electrical engineer and a  lovely person who owned and operated a ham radio.  One of his interests was communicating with others via the radio as ham radio owners and operators are prone to do.

     Since this fascinating friend of mine remained in my memory years later, when I decided to write “33’s Theo” last May, I based the charracter of Theodore Reiter on this friend from the 1960s, whom I never saw or heard from again after 1965.  The name is entirely different from the actual person, but the ham radio code, although not the same either, is not that far from the actual code, but, of course, cleverly camouflaged.

     The three great-grandchildren of Theodore, recently deceased at the beginning of the novel, are based upon my adorable grandchildren.  Therefore, if they seem realistically drawn, you’ll know why.  Ben Reiter is not based upon anyone I’ve ever known, but I must say that I enjoyed creating him.  Although I have two step-children, one of whom is the father of my grandchildren, neither of them is like Ben’s children, Teddi and Cal.  Also, although I have some really good friends, none of them is like Susan, the dearest friend of Shelly Lazar, the main character.

     Like me, Shelly is a retired schoolteacher.  We are the same age, and yes, we look alike, too.  Yet, although we are similar in personality, she is not completely modeled after me.  My characters may emerge as tintypes of people I know or even myself, but they soon develop into unique personalities.  I don’t know why or how this always happens, but it does.

      What I love about the novel is that it radiates hope and always “accentuates the positive” in life.  Shelly may be a retired schoolteacher, recently widowed, but she is still not out of the game of life.  There are still wonderful opportunities open to her, and, thank goodness, along with her dearest friend, Susan, she takes advantage of them.

     This is a book of substance, but it is also full of life, hope and is romantic as well.  Even though the protagonist is in her sixties, “33’s Theo” would be enjoyed by women and men of all ages.   It tells us that, even when life throws us a serious curve ball, it is up to us to keep going, living our lives and waiting for God’s blessings to ease the pain and make life more than worthwhile again.  The novel tells us over and over again in many different ways that we should never give up!

     In a few weeks, you can preview the book on www.Amazon.com and www.readleadbooks.com.  Since the book was just published, it takes a while before all the information is available for sale and previews online, but the good thing is that my book can be purchased, starting tomorrow and henceforth, every Monday through Friday, 9-5 by phone, at Red Lead Press: 1-800-834-1803.

     I am happy to have shared my excitement over the publishing of “33’s Theo.”  Now I am working on “A Stepmother’s Tale,” where I am drawing upon my own experience as a step-mom.  Although I am fortunate to have a wonderful step-son and an incredible step-daughter, the experience of being a step-parent has not been easy.  I’m sure that it has been quite challenging for them, too, to have a step-mother as well as a mother and a dad. 

     I’ve also learned a great deal from being the second wife of someone really special after having been the first wife of another man, whom I loved from the age of twenty-one, and then lost abruptly when he was just fifty-six.  Of course, true love never dies, and all of these emotions and experiences have given me a great deal of material to draw from.  It is therefore amazingly cathartic and therapeutic.  When I stop blogging tonight, I will be writing another chapter of this novel, based to a certain degree on my reality.

     Again, I encourage all of you to write.  Once writing becomes a part of your daily routine, you would be amazed at how good it makes you feel.  It is, not only a fantastic release, but also a constructive outlet for you, whatever walk of life you are in.  As my own teachers have told me when I was young, and as I have passed on to my own students, you don’t have to be financially successful or a celebrity to be called a writer.  All you have to do is express yourself through the written word   Yes, all you have to do is write.

     Feel free to tell me what you think.  Until the next blog,

Cheryl

Thank you for your webmail!

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Dear Readers,

       It has been a pleasure reading your mail, and although I cannot reply to every comment, I want you to know that I appreciate your interest and imput. 

        Since I began writing this blog in July, 2010, I have enjoyed it immensely.  Often, I work on blogs when I really should be doing some writing on a new project,  but it is well worth my effort if what I post is helpful and interesting to you, the readers.

      As an addendum to my two articles on retirement, I just want to say that I was gratified to see on the news the other day that there are retirement counselors that specialize in, not only preparing people monetarily for retirement, but emotionally and recreationally as well.  These people charge (what I consider) exorbitant amounts to do basically what I recommended in my articles, which, to me, is common sense. 

      They suggest that you analyze yourself and your interests before considering retirement.  They take hours getting to know you in order to help you when it is obvious that you know yourself, your aptitudes and favorite pastimes much better than anyone else. 

      They discussed fulfillment of your dreams, which I also mentioned in my articles on this subject.  What better way is there to fill your golden years than doing the honorable, lovely and often exciting things that you always wanted to do, but couldn’t when you were younger for various reasons?  For example, if you love to sing, invest in singing lessons or get a coach.  If you’ve always wanted to dance and never found the time, take lessons and participate in recitals.  Take guitar lessons or learn the flute.  Maybe, you would like to learn how to play the violin.  Just do what you will feel joyful doing.  You don’t have to become an expert at it.  Just enjoy it!

       If you’re like me and have always wanted to write a novel, just do it!  I have written twelve books in the last five years, and although it was very hard work, I thoroughly enjoyed it and profited from it, not so much financially so far, but certainly emotionally, psychologically and, yes, even spiritually.  Whatever beautiful, meaningful pursuits that you want to follow, find a way to do it when you retire. 

      In my opinion, the most healthful and motivating activities involve helping olther people.  When you give of yourself to others, it actually lessens your own burdens and fills you with positive emotions and agape love.  If you pursue only selfish activities, I believe that you get old and sick very fast. 

      All new activities that you attempt to do help you to build new brain cells to compensate for all those you lose every day after a certain age.  When you research something new, those brain cells keep increasing.  If you take courses, you keep building up those brain cells, too.  But if you are mentally stagnant, you keep losing them.  Just think about your quality of life if that happens.

       So think about it!  You may need a financial advisor, but the majority of you don’t need someone to tell you what you should do with your golden years.  Each one of you is the best judge of that!

      Best wishes, and I will post again soon.  Please let me know what you think.

Cheryl

Some Additional Ideas About Retirement

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

          Welcome to my website.  It has been almost two weeks since I have written a new post.  With all the winter storms and the necessities of everyday living, I did not find the time.  

          It is interesting to note that, when we are working and raising young children, there is a definite structure to our lives that must be followed.  However, as we get older and especially when we retire from our primary jobs, there is a decrease in the structural fabric of our lives and sadly, in some cases, very little structure at all.   To my way of thinking, when we get to that point, it is paramount to do something about our situation immediately.

          In previous posts I have discussed in detail my views on retirement, but I wanted to add to it today.  Since retirement, I have been busy writing and having my books published; learning how to market my books (and doing my best to follow the advice of those who are experienced in the publishing field); enjoying family life  and doing my best to learn more about the Bible with and without help from those much more scholarly than I.  Yet, I have to push myself quite a bit to pursue all my interests.

          I see some seniors who watch too much television and waste their time relaxing too much.  Of course, as we get older, some of us need to cut back a little.  Others, however, thrive on living a full life.  It is absolutely necessary to be totally aware of our physical condition and our capacity for work, stressful activities, etc.

            But if we are capable of doing it, we should find a hobby or interest that we truly enjoy and work at it during each day, establishing goals and making sure that we adhere to them.  Since we do not have a boss anymore, it is important to become our own boss.   I sometimes push myself a little too hard and at other times I go to the other extreme and take too much vacation time.  I find, however, that I cannot reach my goals unless I  achieve balance in my life, and that is what I attempt to do.       

          Marketing our books is not easy for writers.  It necessitates organization, hard work, planning, and if we get help from professionals, a good deal of financial investment as well.   It is important not to get carried away, but it is equally important not to do very little, either.  After all, we spend such an exorbitant amount of time, effort and, if we self-publish, money, to put our books into print that we certainly want to give our books exposure. 

          On cold wintry days, it is inviting to do very little, but those are the days that we should be communicating by phone, e-mail and sometimes even being old-fashioned and writing letters.  We  want to get our books into public libraries becasue we want to share the ideas we worked so hard to disseminate in our books.  We realize that some people in today’s economy cannot buy many books, so we want to make them accessible through our libraries.  We want to speak at schools, libraries and arrange book signings.  All of this planning takes time and effort.  It doesn’t get done by looking outside at the wintry landscape, watching a movie or calling a friend, (although there is a time for these activities, too).  Yes, it takes a great deal of self-discipline to be productive once we are retired from our primary profession, which, for me, was teaching English.

          So tonight I pushed myself to get up (after taking an unplanned nap while watching television) and go upstairs to my study to write this blog.  Now I am going to write another page or two of my new book.  Then I can relax again and go to sleep.  Am I a slavedriver to myself?  No, not really.  I just have to be tough with myself if I want to get anything done.

          I guess in the end, it’s what is most important to us.    I feel really good after I reach my goals for the day or the week.  It may take a little extra effort to work hard when sometimes, I feel that I don’t really have to, but it is completely worth the effort in the end.  Our dreams don’t come true if we just fantasize about them.   If these objectives are important enough to us and of merit to society, it is necessary to work hard to make them come true.  Otherwise, we accept mediocrity in ourselves, and that doesn’t help us or anyone else.  It isn’t even good for our health.

           In my opinion, then, if we don’t have the self-discipline to keep pushing ourselves, at least a little,  and finding the balance in our life between accomplishing the demands of everyday life, enjoying recreational activiities and pursuing our goals, it is not time to retire.  Perhaps, we should keep working. 

      Retirement isn’t easy, and it is not a panacea.   Like everything worthwhile in life, it is often a struggle in its own way, but like other struggles, through prayer, hard work and faith in God, we can win the battle.   We can find our own niche in life and prevail in the end. 

              I would love to hear your opinions on the subject.  Best wishes until my next blog, and be safe in tomorrow’s winter storm.

Cheryl