Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye, 2010!

     On this last day of 2010, I wonder how many lives were changed... forever? Was this a year you'll never forget?

      Somewhere... someone was diagnosed with cancer.  Somebody was killed in an automobile accident.  A young man contracted HIV.  Someone was fired from their job.  A teenage girl got pregnant.  Somewhere a wife found out her husband was cheating on her.  A teenager ran away from home.  A  family watched their house burn down.  A child's puppy was struck by a car.  A soldier was killed.  A boy had his heart broken. Someone lost their last dollar in a casino.  A man held his wife's hand in the Intensive Care Unit for the last time.  A grocery store clerk was held up at gun point.  A young woman miscarried. A man said goodbye to the grandfather who raised him. A child was abducted.  Somewhere, a heroin addict overdosed for the last time. An angry man murdered his wife. A woman found a lump in her breast. A man was sentenced to prison for the rest of his life. A drunk picked up his car keys...

     All these things happened somewhere in the world...to people just like me. Maybe right next door. Maybe right this minute. I am stunned. 

     Desperately searching for some glimmer of hope I realize that in this very same year...   A baby was born.  A young couple got married.  A lost kitten was found.  Proud parents watched their youngest child graduate from high school.  Someone got a promotion.  Another won the lottery.  A teenage boy bought his first car.  A young woman discovered that after years of trying, she was finally pregnant.  A doctor told a worried family that the operation was a success.  A young woman had flowers delivered to her door.  Two childhood friends took off on a trip to Greece.  A singer had a #1 hit.  A child was returned to his mother.  A mortgage application was approved.  A dentist informed a 5 year old that he didn't have any cavities, and a 10th grade girl was asked to the prom.  

I ponder the wonder of it all and I'm left with just one lingering thought.  I must have WAY too much time on my hands.

Happy New Year! May 2011 bring joy, happiness, peace and love! 



Thursday, December 30, 2010

Please Allow 4-6 Weeks For Delivery

I now realize that I have the power to make my life easier, happier and healthier without even leaving the comfort of my own living room. I can change my very destiny with just a TV, a telephone and a credit card.  Where did I get this power?  Infomercials. Don't laugh. Try watching one for just a few minutes. These glorified, blockbuster commercials are fascinating and addicting. See for yourself how these products have changed the lives of ordinary people like you and me.  Still not convinced?  Let a celebrity show you. Or a... 'doctor'.

From health and exercise, make-up and beauty, to cooking and cleaning, these ads of epic proportion will show you the way to a better life. You can awaken in the morning feeling completely rested after sleeping on a mattress specially designed by NASA.  Refreshed because thanks to your new breathing device, you didn't snore.  That knowing smile on your face shows that you have discovered both whiter teeth and the secret to true passion (no prescription necessary in Cuba, St. Croix or New Jersey).  

Looking into the streak free mirror (using only micro fiber cloths and plain water) you know you look marvelous.  Your skin is clear and you have a lot less wrinkles. You tanned in one hour, got thicker, softer hair and quickly removed all the split ends.  After showering you can remove unwanted hair from your legs, bikini zone, and upper lip with a disposable, battery operated device that can also trim shrubbery. Looking down, you raise your perfectly sculpted eyebrows. Is that a stain on the bedroom rug? No problem. Just clean it with your bottle of 'Carpet Psychic' to completely remove it right down to the padding underneath it.  Now that all of your furniture rests on plastic disks, you can move any piece across the room without needing physical therapy afterwards.

You roll out your personal Complete Home Gym In A Shoebox, conveniently stored under your bed and work out all of your major muscle groups in less than 3 minutes. You could afford those 3 low monthly payments of only $999 each, since you recently quit smoking in just seven days. With no cravings.

Oops!  It's time to go and pick up your great grandmother. How she loves being able to do her own shopping now that she has an Electric Granny Go-Cart. That company even did the paperwork for her, and threw in a handy shopping basket (some assembly required). The sun is shining brightly, but it doesn't bother you. You're wearing your polarized, glare and distortion free designer sunglasses worn by the cast of 'Friends' themselves. Fortunately after you accidentally dropped them last week while installing your virtually maintenance free gutter and downspout screens, you were able to borrow your neighbor's Eyeglass Cleaner/Polisher and Scratch Remover Pads. It was almost fun climbing up onto the roof with the new safety ladder. It really can be used in 1400 different positions and be kept in your wallet for easy storage. 

You wave at your sister as you drive by her house.  She smiles because she is effortlessly watering her lawn with a garden hose that never kinks and rolls up flat. She looks great, too. She recently lost 420 pounds while taking a pill that worked. Really worked. She knew it would. It cost $158 a bottle.  She's a new woman with a bright future. She completed an at home study course that not only taught her how to do her own taxes but how to purchase real estate for less than $5 down. She now owns half of Los Angeles. Oh no! Is that a ding in her new Porsche? Not to worry. She can borrow the bonus tool for popping out your own dents that came with the video and 400 page booklet, 'Why Pay A Professional When You Can DoIt Yourself?'  That kit sure came in handy last year when Uncle Phil suffered a heart attack and the doctor told him he needed bypass surgery. After reading chapter nine, Aunt Mae saved them tons of money by doing it herself using a sonic toothbrush and her food sealer (purchased separately). 

Thanks to infomercials, life is not only better, faster, easier, and cheaper, it's darn near perfect.  Guaranteed or your money back. Less shipping and handling, of course.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Plan

I've decided to make 2011 a great year. Why should I sit back and let Fate make all the decisions?

I'm 55 years old. My cardiologist told me last week:"Lisa, you already have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a pacemaker. You're overweight and out of shape. You don't exercise and you smoke cigarettes. I don't have to tell what lies ahead of you. But, you're still young enough to change the course of you life. Start TODAY!"

WOW. His words burned into my brain like the Ghost of Christmas Future. If I want to live long enough to dance at my grand-children's weddings I better do something.

1) Quit smoking. Sigh. I've quit so many times I should be an expert. Chantix works great, but the last time I took it, it gave me horrific nightmares. I guess that's better than a dreamless eternal nap. January 1, 2011 I will quit. For good this time.
2) Exercise. Groan. I will start an exercise program. Step aerobics works the best for me and I already have all the equipment. Get them out and dust them off.
3) Diet and lose weight. Scream. I am a carboholic. I only eat meat and vegetables to keep me alive so I can eat more cake. But... if I'm dead, there will never be any more cake. All right, already. Sob. Sniff.

Some might say that I'm biting of more than I can chew. Make too many New Year's Resolutions and you're bound to fail. I usually only make one, and I never succeed, so I might as well go for the gusto. It's about time that I stopped being my own worst enemy. Even tough it was kind of fun.

Here goes. Wish me luck!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Auld Lang Syne

Here it is. The end of 2010. It was a great year for me. I got to see my novel 'Passing Whispers' published, and I have a lot to be thankful for. A wonderful, loving family. Awesome friends. A great job. Good health. There's really not much more I could ask for.

But now it's time to think about New Year's Resolutions. Like most years before this one, I have a long list to choose from. I can't say I've ever succeeded though, or that it was fun trying. I guess the endeavor to improve yourself is always difficult, but worth the effort, however brief.

I really do need to quit smoking. For good. I don't have to tell you why, we all know the reasons. I need to start exercising. I'm probably in the worst physical shape of my life right now. I need to spend less time on Face Book and start writing again. Get into some kind of routine. Drag my lazy butt out of bed and go to church on Sundays. Sort though the 14,000 pics I have stored on my computer. I should learn to stick to a budget. Put some money away for my rapidly approaching old age. 
I guess my biggest obstacle is thinking there's always tomorrow. I'm going to run out of them someday.

Okay. I'm going to do it. Really.

Thank God I have one more week to lay around, eat, smoke and spend money I don't have. But then, that's it. Discipline. Routine. Organization. I will be envied by thousands of people like myself. "How does she do it?", they'll ask themselves. "My mother is such a great role model," my kids will say over and over again. My grandkids will write essays claiming I'm the person who they want to be like when they grow up. Yeah. I can see it now. Nice.


How many days do I have left?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas
to my family,
friends,
co-workers
and Readers!

May 2011 bring you 
peace, love and happiness.
Be safe!


Monday, December 20, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Best Book Trailer (Video) for 2010 (submission stage ends Dec. 15th 2010)

The Best Book Trailer (Video) for 2010 (submission stage ends Dec. 15th 2010)

The 'Passing Whispers' Book Trailer is in a contest! The cast worked so hard on it. I'd love to see them recognized for their effort. Won't you please take a moment each day until January 15th to vote for it? Click 'See All Entries' and vote (thumbs up sign) under 'Lisa Vance'. Thanks so much!

Ten Christmas's

Ten Christmas's from now
you won't remember how many lights you put up,
how many cards you got back,
or how many parties you were invited to.

It won't matter if it snowed on Christmas Eve,
or if anyone came late for Christmas dinner.
No one will recall how much time and money you spent shopping,
or how nicely you wrapped the gifts.

It won't be important anymore that your house
wasn't always neat and tidy when company stopped by to visit.
Ten Christmas's from now
you'll only remember baking cookies with the kids, 
drinking hot chocolate after Christmas Mass,
and stealing kisses under the mistletoe
with the one you love.
You'll still remember visiting old friends, reading Christmas
Stories to the children,
and calling your grandmother to tell her how much you loved the
afghan she crocheted for you.

When you close your eyes ten Christmas's from now
you'll still be smiling when you remember the looks on their faces
when your children woke up on Christmas morning
and discovered that Santa had eaten all the cookies they left out
for him.

Ten Christmas's from now the only memories you'll cherish
will be
the ones you hold in your heart.
The smiles, the laughter, the joy, the singing,
and the hugs.

Christmas is love.  
Fill your heart with it.

Happy Holidays to all my friends and Readers.
Here's hoping that 2011 will be a great year for all of us!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Guest Interview With Frances Pauli

I'm honored to have a guest author with me today. Please welcome Frances Pauli!



Tell us a bit about your latest book,
and what inspired you to write such a story.
Frances: My new release, 'Lords of Oak and Holly', is a holiday story about a
down-on-her-luck ice sculptor who ends up taking a commission from the
prince of winter. She's always loved the unpopular season, and falls
for its personification as well, but ends up caught in the middle of a
battle between him and his Summer counterpart.

I love myth, and this tale explores the idea of the Oak King and the
Holly King vying for supremacy as the seasons change. In the tale, the
cold season is feared, and the need for balance between the two is
misunderstood. Its a theme I enjoy, that dark and light are equally
needed.

What kind of promotions do you do for your books?
Frances: I'm still learning, but I enjoy guest blogging and virtual book tours
because I can meet a cross-section of readers and other authors and I
can provide content as well instead of just saying, Hey, buy my book.
I just can't bring myself to do that.
I know that self-promotion is really stressed right now, but I think
it's been overdone a lot, and in some places is really driving the
readers batty. Not a good thing for any reason. I post my releases and
news on Facebook and I'm looking into some purchased ads, but I can't
say what's working and what isn't at this point. I suspect the best
thing an author can do is write a better book the next time, and a
better one after that...to garner that elusive word of mouth that we
all want.

When did you start writing? Can you share an anecdote
 from your earliest writing years? 
Frances: I've been writing since they invented dirt. But seriously, regularly
writing for about five years now. I can't imagine not doing it, and
I've been known to take a day off and have to fight myself not to sit
in that chair and start typing.
An anecdote...hmmm. Well, back in High School a million years ago, I
sent a short story to the Writer's of the Future contest. For some
reason that round they put all my heroes on the judges panel, Andre
Norton, Anne McCaffrey, you name it. I can only pray they didn't
actually read the story. I recently did, and I'm still in hiding. Wow.
Thank heavens we get better with age/time, right?
 
Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most
and why?
Frances: I love my heroes, all of them. I have to. I fall in love every time I
write a book. It's probably why I write romance.
But my favorite characters are the sidekicks. I like quirky, odd side
characters that show up for no reason and take over large portions of
the book, or demand their own later. So far, I have an invisible best
friend, a gelatinous alien clutz and a barkeep who just wants her very
own fairy. It its weird, I'll probably do it.
 
How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review?
Have you ever gotten a bad review?
Frances: Define negative? :-) My first book got several reviews, and while they all rated it fairly
high, there were all these comments. You know, the ones that make you
feel like every little mistake, every flaw is exposed to the world.
They were certainly valid points---no book is perfect--but they still
stung even though all the reviewers also mentioned that they really
liked the book.
How did I handle it? How do you? You learn from it, write a better
story next time, shake it off and eat some chocolate...lots of
chocolate helps.
 
Do you have another book in the works? 
Would you like to tell the Readers about  
your current or future projects?
Frances: Oh boy, do I! I can't stop writing, remember? Right now Im working on
next years holiday stories. You see, the Summer prince has demanded I
tell his side of the story. I also have a bunch of releases coming up.
The first book in my urban fantasy trilogy, 'A Moth in Darkness', is due
out soon. Bring on the fairies! I also have a futuristic romance
coming, a supers romance, and book two in my Dimensional Hotel series,
Aspect Ratio for spring.
I'll also be starting book two of my free serial in January.
http://spaceslugserial.blogspot.com
book one is there as a free read.
 
Before we let you go, tell us five random things about yourself.
Frances: Random...hmmmm.
I have two children, toddlers
I love tarantulas and own a hairless dog
I play the ukulele
I make a mean meatloaf
and,
I may love the idea of space travel, but no way are you getting me off
this rock! (too scary)

Thanks so much for having me! You can keep in touch and find out more
about upcoming books at my website:
http://francespauli.com
or on my blog:
http://francespauli.blogspot.com
and on facebook. (links on both above pages)



Lords of Oak and Holly
Devine Destinies
Dec 15 2010

"Maris always loved winter, but she never dreamed
she'd actually meet Him..."

When her interpretation of a traditional holiday scene
loses Maris the annual ice sculpting competition,
her favorite season takes a turn toward dismal.
The rent is due, and her landlady won’t accept a fourth
place ribbon. So when the enigmatic, Lord Brayce,
arrives with a last minute commission, Maris jumps
at the chance. And as her host’s icy exterior begins to
melt away, Maris finds there is far more to him
than meets the eye, and his attentions leave her wishing
this particular job could last forever.
But when Brayce’s family arrives for the holiday,
Maris is plunged head over heels into a world of secrets
and an age old conflict between brothers.
Can an ordinary girl survive at the center of a battle
straight out of myth? And if her impossible suspicions
are correct, what are the odds that Maris can win
her prince?

Thank you, Frances! Good luck with your books!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

And the winner is...

The winner of the 'Passing Whispers Win A Kindle Contest' is...

Nicole Marris!

Congratulations, Nicole! She'll be reading my paranormal romance novel 'Passing Whispers' on her way down to Florida. Here's hoping she has a great time and enjoys the book, too!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pinch me!

I've been writing for ten years now and I can't tell you how many times my novel has been rejected. I often wondered if I'd EVER get anything published. My mother was a writer and no matter how many rejections she got, she never gave up. Her enthusiasm and faith were contagious, so I just kept at it. Not too many people get to see their their dream come true (my mother didn't), but I'm happy to report that TODAY... I will! Devine Destinies has released my first, paranormal romance novel 'Passing Whispers'!

It's thrilling. It's terrifying. I want to shout it from the rooftops. I want to hide under the covers. Yes, I'm a Gemini and always struggle with conflicting feelings. This could change my life forever if fate looks at me kindly, or it could be the biggest disappointment of my life, if fate is toying with me.

One of the best parts is that my kids are proud of me. I hope that I can inspire them the way my mother inspired me. I'm awestruck at how supportive friends, family and co-workers can be. Their words of encouragement pull me out of the fear and doubt that grips me even now. My grandson, Brandon (8 years old) is wild with anticipation.

My only regret is that my parents didn't live to see this. I know my mother is smiling down at me from Heaven and is doing everything she can to help me. My Dad would have been my biggest, toughest critic, but he would be proud and excited for me, too.

I'd like to thank my kids and my daughter-in-law, for their support and undying devotion. For never shaking their heads or rolling their eyes at my visions of becoming a writer. For jumping in and helping me make the book trailer. To my grandchildren (especially Brandon) for giving up time with me because I was busy writing. To my friends and co-workers who were always ready to hug me and shout "Woo Hoo" every step of the way. To Jay and Tina at Devine Destinies for giving me a chance.

And most importantly, I'd like to thank God for giving me a wild imagination, a strong will and a great sense of humor.

Buy the book: Devine Destinies
'Passing Whispers' by Lisa Anne Vance. Under 'New Releases'. Also available on Amazon.

See the book trailer: Passing Whispers

Read my Interview:


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An Interview!

I'm being interviewed by Deanna Wadsworth today. Join the fun. Make a comment or ask a question under the interview and you could win a copy of 'Passing Whispers' being released tomorrow! 

The Interview with Deanna Wadsworth 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Win a Kindle!



My novel 'Passing Whispers' will be released by Devine Destinies on December 1, 2010. To help celebrate the event, I am running a contest! Log onto YouTube anytime from December 1 to December 7, 2010  (creating an account is free and easy... takes only a minute) and make a comment under my 'Passing Whispers' book trailer. You will get one entry for every comment you make. On December 8, 2010, we'll pick a winner who will receive an Amazon Kindle and a free down-loadable copy of 'Passing Whispers'. Good luck!

BONUS! If you share the book trailer on your blog or Face Book Page, you get TWO additional entries every time you post it (no limit) between NOW and December 7th! Just let me know you did it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Getting Creative!

One good thing about getting older is that you have more time to explore your interests. I've discovered that making videos is as much fun as writing. Here's my first attempt at making a short book teaser for my upcoming novel 'Passing Whispers'. Using Windows Movie Maker, I was able to create and edit on my own.

Whatcha think?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

A Pittance of Time

Every day, a soldier is killed in the line of duty. He gave his life for his country, so that the rest of us would be safe and free. Every day, a soldier's wife is notified that her husband has been killed. Every day, a mother grieves for the son or daughter she lost in the military.

Veterans who made it home, silently suffer with memories of horrors most of us could not imagine. From wounds that cause pain every minute of the day.

Active military personnel spend years away from their families and friends. They miss out on so much. Holidays. Celebrations. Births of children.  Precious last moments with a dying loved one.

Often, they must live in horrendous conditions while they serve. Hostile weather. Sleeping in hard beds, or none at all. Sweating in sweltering heat.  Lousy food. Grueling marches. Constant anxiety.

Their families must go on without them until they come home. Comfort crying kids who miss their mommy or daddy. Worry every minute. Keep the home fires burning... alone. Try to make ends meet. 


On this day, let us remember those who keep us free and safe. Who make America the wonderful country it has always been. Thank a soldier and a veteran today. Smile and pray for them and their families.

God Bless America!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Official Book Trailer

It's been a total of nine months in the making... but the Official Book Trailer for 'Passing Whispers' is finally finished! It was a lot of work, very frustrating, nerve-wracking and stressful at times, but it was also the most fun I've ever had. The cast and crew were the best any director could hope for. Our video editor is a cinematic genius and a perfectionist.
Please... join me in viewing our master-piece! Feel free to post it wherever you want. If 'Passing Whispers' sells 200 E-Books in 60 days it will be printed in paper back. I'll need all the help I can get to make my dream come true. It will be released by Devine Destinies on December 1, 2010. Thanks guys! 

 Passing Whispers - The Official Book Trailer

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Very First Book Review!

 I'm really getting my feet wet now. Although I'm sure I'll get my share of bad book reviews, thank goodness my first one was good. 'Trick or Treat' was reviewed yesterday. Thank you, Marissa!


Sizzling Hot Books

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Trick or Treat

While anxiously waiting for my novel 'Passing Whispers' to be released on December 1, 2010 by Devine Destinies, I occupied myself by writing a short holiday romance story.
It will be released on October 31, 2010. Click on the book cover below. Check out New Releases or Holiday Stories and look for 'Trick or Treat' by Lisa Anne Vance.

In true romance writer form, let me tease you with this book trailer. Enjoy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Moving Right Along

The final edits for my novel 'Passing Whispers' are finished. The E-book will be released by Devine Destinies on December 1, 2010. If it sells 200 copies in 60 days it will be released as a paper back book in the spring. The book trailer should be ready for release sometime in the next few weeks. I'll post it as soon as it's ready. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Interviews

Devine Destinies, my publisher (I just love
saying that!) is interviewing me today on their Blog. Please stop by and leave a comment.
They will also be interviewing the main character
of my novel 'Passing Whispers' on August 9. Detective Endel Sorra is a ghost who has come back to help his wife get over his death. See you there!

 http://devinedestiniesrevealed.blogspot.com

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Happy Father's Day, Dad. I can't believe you've been gone for twenty-two years now. We had a great time while you were here though. Didn't we? How I miss our talks over coffee and donuts.

I hope you know what a wonderful father you were. We never had much money, but you had a knack for making things fun. I loved going to the park with you to watch the ducks. My love for the shore started the first time you took me to the beach. It was magical when you introduced me to the "sound of the ocean" when I put a seashell up to my ear. I may have hated it when you were over-protective, but looking back on it now, I never felt so safe. I knew you were looking out for me.

I think one of my best memories was the Christmas Eve you and I walked for miles looking for a Christmas tree on sale. We finally found one, right before they closed up shop. We pulled it back home on a sled through the snow. Just you and I. I'll never forget it, Daddy.

Thanks for all the things you taught me. I wish that you could see how great my kids turned out. They would have loved you. And my grandkids, too.

I wish my girls had a relationship with their father like we had. Or at least make the best of it. No matter what, I know they'll miss him when he's gone, and it will be too late.


Anyway, Happy Father's Day. I hope you're playing a game of golf somewhere in Hawaii. Say hello to Mom.

I miss you both. So much.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Passing Whispers The Making of the Book Trailer

While I'm waiting for the official book trailer to be produced and edited, I made a behind the scenes video of the MAKING of the book trailer. We learned a lot, but it was great fun! Enjoy! Feel free to leave a comment or share the link. Thanks!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Behind The Scenes - Passing Whispers

The past few months have been so exciting. In December I signed my first book contract with Devine Destinies. 'Passing Whispers' is a paranormal romance depicting the love between the two main characters, Kate and Endel Sorra. When Detective Sorra is killed in a convenience store robbery, the lives of his loved ones are shattered. One year later, his wife Kate is still consumed with bitterness and grief. Deciding to give away all the precious Christmas decorations they have collected over the years, Kate comes across the Snow Globe her husband had given to her the first year they were married. Endel stops her from smashing it against the wall and finds a way to come back to her. Over a two week period, he helps her to discover the truth about his death and other misconceptions that are ruining her life. Although it's breaking his heart, Endel nudges Kate into the loving arms of another man. He knows he can't stay and he wants to make sure Kate will be able to go on with her life without him.

There are a few tear-jerking moments, but there are also many light-hearted and humorous ones, as well. The Readers get to know Brian Morris, the co-worker Endel believes will make Kate a good husband someday. The Morris Family are wealthy socialites keeping many secrets.

In an attempt to publicize the novel, I decided to produce my own Book Trailer. Having absolutely no experience has never stopped me from doing anything before. I have always been detailed oriented and spent months preparing for the photo shoot. I wanted the trailer to bring my novel to life and give the viewer a glimpse of what was waiting for them if they purchased the book.

I was on a tight budget. I knew my daughter Christina would be perfect to play the part of Kate Sorra. She had an ex-boyfriend who was willing to play the part of Endel. An old friend of mine had a son who is an aspiring model. He enthusiastically agreed to play the part of Brian Morris. Another friend suggested a photographer who was willing to do the shoot for a simple credit at the end of the trailer. After quite a bit of scrambling, we put a wardrobe together and gathered all the needed props. I was able to talk a few local businesses into letting us use their properties as locations. To my delight, my son Joe, and daughter Lisa, offered to help as well.

We were forced to post-pone the original shooting day due to heavy snow. The new date was yesterday. It was a perfect day and it went off without a hitch. Well, maybe a few hitches, but not many. Although I had never met Len Romano (the photographer) and Walt Kohn (the man playing Brian Morris) before long, it felt as though I had known them forever.
Throughout the story, Endel Sorra is wearing the same outfit he was killed in. Black slacks, shoes, white dress shirt and leather coat. He was wearing the red tie Kate had given to him as a gift, loosely tied around his neck (she always though he looked so handsome that way).When Mike Eckman walked out of the bedroom dressed in the outfit I had described in the novel, I couldn't believe it. It was as though Endel Sorra had just walked out of the book itself. He was perfect!

My daughter Christina is beautiful, but I never realized what a wonderful and talented actress she was as well. Mike told me that he had no acting experience except for a small part in his fifth grade play at school. Maybe it was left-over chemistry from their prior romantic relationship... whatever it was... it was powerful. Their chemistry was more than I could have hoped for.

The first location was in the basement of my own condo. These shots would depict Kate as she sorted through her old Christmas decorations. She comes across the Snow Globe and is overcome, once again, with the agony of losing her husband. Before she can smash the globe against the wall, Endel finds a way to come back to her. They are over-joyed to be in each other's arms once again. The lighting in the basement was minimal, at best. We had to take many different shots using different timing speeds and degrees of flash to capture just the right one. We hid a flashlight at the bottom of the box where the snow globe was stored, so that it would look... magical... when she opened it. Hopefully, Len was able to get it. He worked so hard. He'll send me the pics this week and we'll choose our favorites. Once Len edits them, they'll go to the videographer (Mike Lizzio) who will put them altogether into a book trailer.

In the novel, the music box inside the snow globe plays 'I'll Be Home For Christmas' when the key is turned, and that song was also playing when Endel was shot. I decided to use that melody as the back ground music on the book trailer. I was able to locate the owner and lease the right to use it for three years. I found a gifted fifteen-year-old sax player and his mother Stacey, who is a talented pianist to record the music. Incredibly, Dustyn DeBernardo had been practicing that song for years. He had written his own rendition for his grandmother, who recently passed away. When I told them what song I wanted them to record, they were speechless. That melody meant more to them than anyone I could have hired. It was fate and luck that I found them.
Next, we drove to a vacant house to take shots of Kate and Endel decorating their house in Christmas's past. A local park was used to depict the couple enjoying time together. Very romantic.
After lunch, we headed to the sample condos of a near-by contractor. I wanted to use a sample home as they are typically vacant, clean, beautifully decorated, well-lighted, and spacious. There we shot pics of the couple on previous anniversaries and the last day of Endel's life. Many pics were taken of Kate to show how devastated she was after her husband's death. It was so sad!

Next, we visited Costantino's Funeral Home. Vic allowed us to film Kate grieving over Endel's flag-draped casket, holding a rose. She had laid her head on it, and was grabbing onto as much of the casket as she could. Very moving scene.

My daughter Lisa and I had found a tombstone in a local cemetery which, cropped just the right way, would appear to be Endel's. There were shots of Kate visiting him numerous times. The final, and most dramatic shot was of Brian Morris as he held Kate at Endel's grave. Unbenownst to them, Endel is standing in the back ground watching them. He wants Kate to go on... but it's breaking his heart to see her with another man. WOW.

While we were at the park and the sample home, we also took some shots depicting Kate as she begins a new relationship with Brian Morris. 

The kids really did bring my novel to life. The shoot was great fun. I'll never forget it. I can't wait until the trailer is finished so I can post it.

Just a peek... Shhh! I'm not supposed to post these yet!


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day, Mom

Hi Mom.
I can't believe that this will be my sixth Mother's Day without you. I miss you so much. Life goes on, but it's a lot harder without you here. I miss our talks over coffee. You were always such a good listener. I wish that you were here when I signed my book contract in December. I know that you always had the dream of becoming an author yourself, but it wasn't in the cards for you. You would have been my biggest fan and supporter. Your enthusiasm, determination and faith were contagious. I thank you for that.

I have two new grand-kids, Mom. They are so adorable. I wish they got a chance to meet you. And Brandon is getting so big. He inherited our wild imaginations. All three of my kids turned out so well. You would be proud of them, like I am.

You always had such a way of looking through the darkest of days and seeing the sunshine. I know you're with Daddy, and that's where you wanted to be. I'm happy for you. No matter how long you're gone, I'll never forget how special you both were.
 
I can't tell you how many times, even now, that I have the urge to pick up the phone and call you. Share a bit of wonderful news, or just cry on your shoulder over something insignificant that will pass.

How I wish I had to make time to run out to the store to buy you a Mother's Day Card. I'd try to find one that told you what a great Mom you were. How much I appreciate everything you ever did for me. That I am still realizing how many sacrifices you made to raise your seven kids. You taught me so much.

I just wanted you to know that, Mom. I love you.

Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Nurses' Week

This week is National Nurses' Week. It's a time to celebrate and thank the men and women who care for us and our loved ones during some of the most difficult and joyous times of our lives.

Being an RN myself for many years, and now a Nursing Supervisor, I have been privileged to witness many instances of caring and devotion. I don't think that the general public has any idea what it takes to be a nurse. Please allow me to explain.

School itself, is grueling. Many students must work full time jobs and raise families while trying to complete their education. Once grauduated, they must sit for State Boards and pass before they can work. Everyone has job related stress, but nurses have the fear of losing their hard earned licenses hanging over their heads every minute of the day. Even well meant advice to a neighbor who sought them out, can lead to a lawsuit.

Uncle Charlie can be convicted of a DUI and still have his job, but a nurse cannot. Any felony conviction will result in a nurse losing their license to practice.

Besides caring for her patients with their multitude of diagnoses, medications, treatments, tests, and results, she has to develop a care plan and discharge plan for each one of them. Every detail of her care must be documented. Both her employer and the State scrutinize her notes frequently. Added to her work load is the knowledge that although she is not a physician, she is still responsible for carrying out any and all orders written by the doctor which may be wrong. If any mistakes are made, she will be required to testify in Court, where her care of that patient will be torn apart by the patients' attorneys.

It's normal for every patient to believe that he is his nurses only patient and primary concern. But all of her other patients feel the same way. Today, patients expect and demand a high degree of care. Hospitals require the staff to deliver this care with speed, accuracy... and a smile. They insist that nothing is too much for a patient to ask for.

At the same time, each nurse is expected to keep up with the ever changing technology. She is required to earn a minimum amount of credits each and every year, as well as keep her expensive license current. Every hospital has mandatory classes she must attend annually. 

Frequently, I hear patients and their families complain that nurses are "unfeeling". They don't seem to realize that if their nurse allowed themselves to become emotionally attached, they would be unable to deliver the needed care at the moment it was necessary. How could she perform CPR and push life saving medications on the patient in room 108, if she focused on the fact that Mrs. Jones was a retired school teacher, with a devoted husband, three grieving children and 6 grandkids with another on the way? She must distance herself from the patient to a certain extent to be able to do what is necessary. There is a double-standard. Many times the patient requires care that can only be administered by an "uninvolved" person. They would be mortified if a close friend, family member or neighbor had to stick their fingers into their rectums to remove impacted stool. Would you ask your friendly mail carrier to check your episiotomy or administer a suppository to ease your hemorrhoids? No. You want and need someone to do it, who will not make you feel self-conscious. Nurses do things for patients that their own families can't or won't do for them. Nurses are human, too. They are called upon to see and smell things that would cause a normal person to wretch. But they are expected to do it, and act as though nothing is disgusting or out of the ordinary. Many nurses find other ways to show how much they care. They let patients sneak in young children and even pets to visit. They arrange baby showers, birthday and anniversay parties right in the hospital for patients who are too sick to go home. They bring in clothes for those who are in need. Don't be surprised to see a couple of nurses that cared for your mother at her funeral. Nurses do that sort of thing. They stay after their shift is over, off the clock, to sit with a dying patient or his family. One nurse I know, sat at a patients bedside and sang to him because he had no family or friends. She didn't want him to die alone. She sat there holding his hand until he was gone.

Add HIPPA to the stresses of nursing. No matter how distraught your family members are over you, and how much the nurses heart goes out to you, she is NOT allowed to discuss her patients with anyone. It's the law. She can be fined, fired and even have her license revoked for sharing personal information with anyone other than the patient. Yet, the family frequently retaliates to that news with anger and hostility.

Let's look at personal sacrifice. Nurses are required to work weekends and holidays. While most people are at home having a delicious Thanksgiving Dinner with their families, the nurses have left theirs to go to work. It's sad to hear the nurses on the telephone asking their kids if Santa came, how many Easter Eggs they found on the Hunt, or how they liked the fireworks display on the 4th of July. They have to give up so many special times and occasions with their families... because sickness never takes a holiday. They are nurses. Throughout my own kids lives, they thought holidays only came every other year.

No matter what is going on in the life of a nurse, she is expected to leave her problems at the door. She can't take the chance that her worries will interfere with her care. So what if her mother has just been diagnosed with cancer? If her husband may be cheating on her? If her teenagers are out drinking or maybe taking drugs? She has her patients to worry about this shift.

And what does the nurse get for her efforts? Free medical care for herself or her family? No. She pays every bit as much as anyone off the street. Free or reduced prices for prescription medicines? No. A great pension plan so that when she's old enough to retire she can do so without worry? No. Most nurses continue to work until they are in their late seventies. Bear in mind that a career frought with lifting, turning and assiting patients in and out of bed have left her with severe back pain. Not to mention foot pain from endless hours of standing on her feet. Yet, despite the constant pain from years of hard, laborous work, nurses work much longer than the average person. I can't tell you how many nurses I knew who worked until they suffered a stroke or a heart attack. Some while on the job.

Nurses do look out for one another. They donate vacation time to other nurses who need time off but have no time left of their own. They hold fund raisers for those who are suffering financial difficulties. They rally to the side of a fellow employee who has lost a loved one.

Yes, nurses are a special breed of angels. For most people, a nurse is the first person they see after they are born, and the last person they see before they die.

I want to take this opportunity to tell every nurse I know, how special she/he is. I want them to know that they have saved lives and helped patients to recover. Their touch will be felt by almost everyone at some point. Thank you, Angels Of Mercy, thank you. I pray that if you ever need it, another nurse will be at your side when you need them.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Speaking Of Worrying...

I have always been a worrier. I probably worried about the other babies in the nursery shortly after I was born.There's nothing I haven't worried about. My family and friends. Co-workers. Neighbors.  Patients and their families at my work. Celebrities. Politicians. Foreign governments. Global Warming.
Rain forests. Animals on the endangered species lists. Missing Children.

I worry about my own health and everyone else's. The Deficit. Our troops. The American Economy. Crime. The unemployed. Will there be Social Security when I'm old enough to retire? Violence in schools and bullies. Sex offenders. My Landlord. The guy who is installing the new windows in my complex. The girl who recently got evicted. The list goes on and on.

Sometimes I worry that I'm not worried enough. Or that I haven't worried about something I should have been worried about. It bothers me when I see other people who don't seem to be worried at all. I worry that their lack of worrying will cause future catastrophes. 

I wonder if I believe that worrying will prevent bad things from happening, or lessen the degree. Sort of like a Catholic's Purgatory. If you say enough prayers while you're living, you won't have to spend as much time in Purgatory after you die.

I worry that my anxieties might be a... problem. I suppose I could seek counciling or go on medication. But then I'd have to worry about making appointments, getting there and the adverse effects of anti-anxiety agents on my body.

Somebody has to do the worrying. Don't worry. I got your back!