Monday, December 31, 2012

Returning to the scene of the crime

I went home to Brockport, NY for Christmas with my husband and daughter.  Our Navy son was planning to meet us there as well, but scheduling didn't work out and we experienced our first Christmas without him. It was difficult and sad, but I kept reminding myself how fortunate I am and unlike the parents of Newtown, CT who will never see their precious babies again, I will see Zak in the not-too distant future.  I have nothing to complain about, I told myself.  But I'm a selfish brat and cried anyway.

I wanted a white Christmas and Santa delivered.  Eighteen inches fell, resulting in flight cancellations and airport nightmares.  On a positive note, it gave me two more days to walk through the snow and down the lane to visit my Dad's grave in the cemetery.

Returning to the scene of the crime is never wise, but then again, I've never been accused of being very smart.  I trudged through snow drifts up to my thighs and the walk that normally takes me ten or fifteen minutes took about thirty.  The walk up the cemetery hill was a bitch but I was rewarded by fairly shallow snow under the ancient pines.

After stopping to chat with Dad at his grave, I wandered down to the far corner to see if the old graves had ever been fixed.  The photo to the right is proof that I never earned enough money to fix them all.  As I took pictures, I was certain I heard the hum of an old Caddy driving up behind me.  I spun around, half expecting to see Aunt Elizabeth driving over the snow covered grass, aiming right for me.  My imagination is a powerful thing.  In spite of what I thought I'd heard, I was alone in the cemetery.

Or was I?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Great People

I met some great people last night at Wahoo's before, during and after the radio show.  Host Captain Bill Kelly made me feel like we've known each other for years and before I knew it, my ten minute segment grew to forty!  He's a humorous guy with a knack for putting others at ease.

His co-host last night was George Speerin, a retired fireman I've known for a couple of years.  Soft spoken and kind, George is an easy guy to like.  His lovely wife, Nancy Saxe, is our vet.  She comes to house for routine check-ups, shots, etc. and even Bear likes her.  That's saying something.

Then there's Joey Naples, a Guido from NY.  What a character!  He, too, has an easy way about him and is quick to laugh.  His son, Joey Naples, was also there.  Joey Squared.  Joe Jr. is a Broadway star.

The radio show was a good time.  We drank beer and laughed about hairy nuns, Catholic school beatings and confusion about various Catholic Sacraments.  All of the guys had been through Catholic school at one time, so they had no problem relating to the book.

Bill Kelly remembered reading about the walk across England Lauren and I did last June and we spent several minutes talking about it.  After the show went off the air, he said he'd like to have  Lauren and I on his show in about a month to talk about our Coast to Coast Walk!  How exciting.  I wonder how Lauren will react?

It got even better.  Joe Naples does a live radio show on Wednesday nights from Holiday Isle and offered to set up a book signing during his show.  He said he'll record a blurb that'll air for about a week before the event and then he'll have me on the show and I can do a book signing.  I really don't know what to expect, but I'm so honored by the offer.

These men do what they can to support and promote locals - businesses, musicians, artists and writers.  They support them all and I for one, and grateful for that support!

Thanks guys!  I appreciate all you do.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


It's available!  For those of you who asked for a paperback version of "Confessions", it's now available on

Here's the link:

I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Your Wish is My Command

Well, I did it!  Enough of you requested a traditional, paperback book that I bit the bullet and answered your call.  They're being printed as I type!

I spent several days reformatting the file to conform to Amazon's specifications in order to convert the e-book to a "real" book.  What a royal pain in the ass and I've no doubt several more grey hairs on my head as a reward for my work.  Miss Clairol is paying me a visit later today to help with that.

SO....within a week's time, you'll be able to order a paperback version of "Confessions" from A few words of warning:

 - the cover of the "real" book is different than that of the e-book because the photo I used didn't meet their printing standards.  I was unable to convert it/improve it, so I had to substitute the photo.  Since I had to change the photo, I changed the rest of the cover to mesh well with the new photo.  I like the result and hope you will too.

- I fear that when you search for "Confessions of a Catholic School Dropout", you'll get two results; the e-book and the paperback.  Please be careful when making your selection.  The e-book has a dark cover, it's the screen in the Confessional that separates sinner from priest.  The paperback is much lighter and the cover is the interior of a church, highlighting the stained glass windows.

 - This is what's bothering me the most.  The price of the paperback is $11.00.  No shit, that's a lot for a paperback!  Unlike with e-books, Amazon sets the minimum price an author can charge, based on the shipping channels the author wants to use, the size of the book, production and distribution costs.  The least Amazon will let me charge is $10.83 based on those variables.  I raised to an even $11.00, recognizing it's quite expensive, but because I'm self-publishing, self-marketing, self-producing, etc. my hands are tied by corporate Amazon.  Highway robbery, I'm afraid.

I hope everyone understands that the pricing is out of my control and you don't write letters to Santa suggesting he put me on the naughty list.  I'm doing the best I can here, people.

I did it!!!!

Monday, December 17, 2012


I realized that if I'm going to really market/sell the book, I simply have to produce some paperbacks because there are those of you who will never, no matter what, read an e-book.  I feel you.  I resisted the e-reader craze for years but caved about six months ago when Lauren and I were preparing to walk across England.  We both love to read but with the huge amount of stuff we had to carry on our backs each day, it didn't make sense to add the weight of books to our packs.  An e-reader was a no-brainer.

I'll be honest and admit I love the feel of a book in my hands.  I love the turn of a page, I dog-ear mine, and sometimes make notes in the margins.  I love the smell and feel of a traditional book and never imagined I could enjoy reading from a Kindle or a Nook.  I was wrong.  It's not the same experience as a traditional book, but its wonderful in a different sort of way.  I'll leave it to you to figure out.

Last week I began the long and tedious process of converting the e-book file of "Confessions" to the specifications for a file requires to produce a paperback book.  A colonoscopy might be more pleasant.  It's more than adjusting margins and line spacing, it requires specific formatting PER PARAGRAPH and it can't be done with a mark all sort of function.  It's painful and frustrating to the say the very least.

However, for those without the time and/or patience, Amazon's staff of wonderful editing elves will convert the file for me.  It will only cost a mere $245.  Really?  I'm sure they have an automated process that takes the e-book file, runs it through a macro and poof!  The paperback file is perfect, meeting their specifications to the T in less than five minutes.  I refuse to succumb to their scam and will plod on, converting this file word by word.

It's not that I'm cheap, it's a matter of principle.  Amazon is already taking their cut on the profit of sales from my book, why should I pay them more to convert the damn file?  The rat bastards are gonna charge me to produce, stock and deliver the paperback, gouging into my meager profits again.  I'll be damned if I give them another red cent.

Can you tell they've struck a nerve?

Oh well, 'tis the season for remembering how blessed we are and I truly am.  This exercise is simply a little learning experience and I'll get through it.  I do tell myself each day how fortunate I am to be able to do something I love on an island in the middle of paradise.  My family is healthy and happy, my children make me proud and my husband spoils me.  I couldn't ask for anything more.

To my friends and family who've already purchased the book, I sincerely thank you for your support.  It means more than you know.  To those who don't know what book I'm referring to, feel free to stream audio this Friday at 6pm from  I'm lucky enough to be a guest on Capt Bill Kelly's live radio show for a ten minute segment to promote "Confessions".

I promised to get a paperback out to you, so back to the editing I go!

Thursday, December 13, 2012


My Dad left this world five years ago.  Over the past couple of days, I've been wondering what he would think if he could read "Confessions".  I'd like to think he'd laugh, and he probably would during most of the Catholic School chapters (except Kindergarten), but he certainly wouldn't laugh during the high school and college ones.

This book contains more than one confession never shared with another person, not my best friend, not even my husband.  It makes me wonder how people will react.

The bottom line for me is I want readers to laugh!  We can't change the past and I'm too stubborn to learn from it, so my best option is to pour a glass of altar wine and laugh about it.

I hope you'll join me.


Tune into US1 Radio, 104.1FM at 8:05am today.  I'll be on the Morning Magazine with Bill Becker.  Tonight from 6:30 - 7:30, I'll be live at Snapper's for the Girl's Night Out Radio Show with Kim Chesher!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Here's a link to the interview on "Good Morning Florida Keys" with the lovely Jenna Stauffer.  Pour yourself a drink before you watch'll need it!YouTube link of TV Interview

Thank God for a sense of humor

I just finished watching the interview, it was televised at 7am and 8:30am today.  Um, well....I'm glad I have a sense of humor.

It's airing again tonight at 7pm, channels 19 and 87, if you're looking for a good laugh.  At my expense...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

If I knew then what I know now...

Today was my TV interview with Jenna Stauffer on WEYW.  She's a lovely lady, very nice and seemed genuinely interested in the book because she talked to me for several minutes after the interview.

I made some huge wardrobe mistakes that became abundantly apparent as soon as I saw myself on the screen, but it was too late to fix any of them.  At least I didn't flash nipple like Janet Jackson, but that probably would have been smarter than what I actually did.  Let me share what I learned in case you find yourself in the face of a TV camera:

 - Never wear your hair up, girls.  If you see my interview, you will see why this is something I wish someone had told me BEFORE today:

 - Wear a blouse with sleeves that go at least to your elbow.  TV makes even slim arms (not that I have them) look flabby and fat and when pressed against your side, they look mutantly huge

 - Keep your upper body poised over your thighs or knees, never lean back in your chair, even if sitting up straight.

I had my hair up, thinking I looked more professional and neat.  I wore a black top with cap sleeves.  Just wait til you see my arms.  I sat up straight but had my back pressed to the back of the chair.  I looked like a tick.  A big tick stuffed full of blood with a round tiny head.  I actually coughed and choked when I saw what I looked like on the monitor but it was too late.  Jenna assured me I looked fine. . . what else could she do?  Scream, "Oh my God, you're a human tick!"?

True to the message in my book, I have decided to laugh at my first TV appearance.  What else can I do?  Crying and bitching won't help - and I know this from personal experience because I tried it for a couple hours following the interview - so all I can do is laugh.  And drink.

I learned a lot about what not to do and even better, I didn't fart on air.  Huge accomplishment.

On to the next.  I have a radio interview Thursday on 104.1FM (Marathon) and then will be on the Girl's Night Out Radio Show (Islamorada) for a date yet to be determined.  At least I can "sound" thin on the radio.

Now, I have a truffle macaroni and cheese to get out of the oven.

Monday, December 10, 2012

TV Interview

I'm completely unprepared for the TV interview scheduled for tomorrow morning.  Completely unprepared.  I haven't given a moment's thought to what I'm going to say or what the hell I'm going to wear, for that matter.  I really need to step away from the computer and focus but I've adopted my parents' Catholic approach to the problem.  If I don't talk about it, it isn't happening.

If the saying that the camera adds ten pounds is true, then I'm screwed.  I've been eating everything in sight and even small children that get too close are in danger of being consumed.  I have nothing to blame it on, I've just been a freaking pig and now the world's gonna see it.

Actually, who am I kidding?  Who's really gonna see it?  Probably VERY few, so I shouldn't sweat it.  I wonder what the typical audience is for "Good Morning Key West"?  It can't be very big but I'm stressing a little just the same.

The host's name is Jenna Stauffer, an attractive woman who, of course, is quite thin.  Sitting next to a little stick person will only make my heifer-sized rear end look even bigger.  Perfect.  Why aren't there more chunky girls doing morning TV?  I need to be seated next to someone like that.

Wanna know my biggest fear about that interview?  Uncontrollable gas.  Yep, that's what I'm worried about.  No, it's not a problem I experience on a daily basis or even with regularity but I'm convinced that as soon as the camera turns on, I'm gonna blow the biggest fart experienced by man.  It would be really funny - if it happened to someone else.

I'm gonna go look in my closet and see if I have anything besides shorts and sweatpants big enough to accommodate my ass.  Tune in tomorrow to find out how the interview went...

Now the really hard work begins!

At times, I thought writing the book was hard.  Mostly, it wrote itself, although there were times I struggled because the matter at hand was uncomfortable and the memories associated with it were unwelcome.  But for the most part, it was a very enjoyable process and one I will likely do again.

But now the really hard work begins.  Marketing!!  Publicity!!  Exposure!!  No, not that kind of exposure, I've got that down.  I don't need help with that sort of exposure.

As a self-published author, I lack the backing of a publishing house.  I need to find creative and free ways to market my book, and that's a real challenge.

I can only pimp Confessions so many times on Facebook and through email before my family and friends decide to boycott me for annoying the shit of them.  I've already reached that point and the book's only been available for purchase for twelve days.  Now what?

I contacted local radio and TV shows, but I have to admit, I lack the pushy and boastful personal attributes necessary for those venues.  Stop laughing.  In spite of what you think, I don't have those skills.  I feel rather embarrassed calling a TV station and telling them they really need to interview me because this book is so freakin' amazing.  It makes me very uncomfortable.  However, by sheer dumb luck, I've managed to land one TV and one radio interview and am scared shitless that I'll forget how to talk or let out an enormous fart as soon as the cameras turn on.

So once those embarrassing events are behind me, then what?

I've contacted all of the libraries from Key Largo to Key West, but have been told they can't promote a particular author's work, especially one that their patrons would have to purchase (rather than check out).  Hello?  I can't afford to print the damn thing and then "donate" them to the library for people to read.  Not to sound like a total jerk, but wouldn't that defeat the purpose?  Who would anyone buy the book if they could check it out for free?  Call me crazy, but I really would like to make a little profit from the hard work I put into this project.

Since Good Morning America and the Today Show aren't beating down my doors for an interview, I'll push on.  Oprah hasn't called either...