The Super Power of Paying Attention

Taken from a speech I gave with Toastmasters

The Superpower of Paying Attention

I have ADD.

I have never been diagnosed with ADD, nor have I been to a doctor and been treated for it but I know down deep in my heart that I have it.

How do I know? Well, it’s hard for me to stay focused and I…oh my God did you see that new show on TV last night…oh look a squirrel…I saw a rock. 🙂

So, in order for me to rein in my ferris wheel, as Steve calls it, and get to the point, I try and study other speakers who seem to have a better grasp on their thoughts than I do.

One speaker I admire is Bill Clinton,

Now no matter what side of the political fence you mow your grass on, there is no denying that if you study Bill Clinton, you can’t help but wonder what makes this man so personable.

There is a warmth and a down home goodness in his words and mannerisms and I, as an aspiring motivational speaker, want to learn from him.

He has a superpower, and it’s not the one you’re thinking of, that has made him one of the greatest speakers of our time and he is certainly a man who knows how to win friends and influence people.

I have never been concerned about him one way or the other however I admire his public speaking skills and I wanted to delve further into what made this gentle and seemingly quiet man so powerful and charismatic.

So, what did I find out was the secret to his success? It’s simple: His legendary charisma stems from the full and undivided attention he gives to every single person he meets.

Paying attention may sound easy to do but most of us don’t apply our full focus when interacting with other people.

Most of us are so distracted and try to multi-task that it seems the ability to completely engage with another person, instead of their cell phone, has become an unusual trait.

Consider this, the average Smartphone user checks his device every six and a half minutes, or…that on average we give only one-third of our attention to the person we’re having a conversation with.

So someone who can completely and utterly pay attention to you is not only impressive but it’s rare.

How can we learn to completely give someone our undivided attention?

Well, there are certain things that studying speakers like Bill Clinton have taught me:

Attention is about empathy

When speaking to someone, look them in the eye and ask questions. Don’t always make everything about you, ask them about their life, and be genuinely concerned.

One thing I like to do is to keep a mental file on someone. It may sound silly and borderline creepy, but it shows the other person I was paying attention. So the next time I run into them, I can impress them by asking:

“How did your daughter make out on her driving test?”

“Did your son make the football team? I know how excited he was to join.”

“How did your mom’s surgery go? I hope she is okay.”

They will think to themselves, hey she really cares about me and guess what, I do.

Say these things with feeling and mean them.

 Attention can make the difference between a strong and a weak communicator

There is a difference between talking at people and talking to or with them.

Paying attention can be your secret weapon.

When someone approaches you after your speech, focus on them, listen, thank them for coming and make them feel like they are the only person in the room.

Remember the saying, they may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel. And that feeling…will have them coming back for more.

People can tell when you’re actually listening to them – and they love it

Everyone wants to be acknowledged. Learn to connect with people, look them in the eye and listen to what they have to say. Everyone has a story to tell and as a communicator, we often learn more by listening than we do by talking.

Showing concern and interest in another shows not only respect but also a love for human nature and when you are genuinely listening to someone, it makes them feel recognized. In turn, you feel good as well.

Eye contact matters

According to Psychology Today eye contact is the “strongest form of nonverbal communication.” It’s a commanding display of your attention.

After meeting someone for the first time, take their hand and make eye contact. After you leave and move on to the next person, look back at them and seal the deal.

That is powerful and that kind of acknowledgement leaves a lasting impression on someone.

You can improve your ability to pay attention

When it comes to paying attention, great practitioners aren’t born — they’re made.

One way to improve your ability to engage and communicate with others is through meditation. I do this myself every day.

Studies have shown that meditation can improve concentration and focus and gives us an increased ability to avoid distractions. Just as exercise can improve the body, meditation and mindfulness can build your attention muscle through regular training.

Using meditation can help you stay well balanced and can make you more effective in every aspect of your life.

So in conclusion, mediation has helped me in my quest to take over the world…oh look something shiny…

Lisa V. Proulx

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FREE Today Rock and Roll Romance LICK AND A PROMISE~Diary of a Rock Star Groupie

If you like rock stars (and who doesn’t) why not spend your summer with one!

It’s already hot outside during the day so let’s steam up our nights as well!

I am offering my eBook LICK AND A PROMISE~Diary of a Rock Star Groupie FREE today on Amazon!



Can one night turn into forever…

*For Mature Audiences Only*

During the era of Classic Rock, Poppy Bishop was a teenage runaway. At 18, she was in bed with the lead guitarist of one of the biggest bands in rock history. She went on to become Poppy Bleu, a “famous” groupie who bedded rock stars, their wives (and girlfriends) and became a junkie by the time she was 21. However, she never forgot her first rock star…and he never forgot her.

For over 20 years, Poppy Bleu was known in the rock and roll world as the best backstage lay and liked, loved and hated by some of the world’s biggest rock stars. Her story is one of sex, drugs, and rock and roll and how she went from groupie to junkie to author and became the love of a lead guitarist’s life who saved her from a life of ruin.

Excerpt…“He slowly placed me on his lap. We were now face to face. Oh man, did he smell good. I could have licked his face off right then and there. I was like a kid in a candy factory, a drunk in a liquor store…a groupie on a rock star’s lap. I could die now and be happy.”

Want more…here’s your link…Enjoy! 🙂

About Veronica

Veronica Moreau is the pen name of best-selling author Lisa V. Proulx.

As Veronica, she writes steamy romance  with a rock and roll edge.

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Look At Your Life Like A Garden

I love flowers. I love to look at them, to smell them, to touch them.

Although I love bouquets of them, I try not to pick them so the person who comes along after me, can enjoy them as well.

I have always had flowers in my life. A small garden on the side of the house or a row of flowers along a border or a fence.

And although roses are nice, I am a wildflower girl through and through.

As I have gotten older, I look at my life like a garden.

The big, tall sturdy ones in the back surrounding (and sometimes supporting) the smaller, more fragile ones in the front. In the middle there is a nice mixture of plump or fluffy ones to help round out my garden.


Sadly, what happens in your backyard garden happens in your life garden. Weeds will grow and try to overcome and strangle the flowers and you have no choice but to pull them from your ground.

Sometimes the weeds resemble flowers and you hate to pull them since they are nice and cozy in your garden but you know deep down inside, they have to go.

Other times the weeds aren’t really hurting anything, they are just taking up space and energy that could be put to better use.

Then there are the ones who have been there the longest. You hate to see them go but you have outgrown them and they are only keeping your garden from growing to its full potential.

I am at a point in my life where I feel that my garden is getting overcrowded. I feel pressured and stressed and am taking on too many weeds. It’s time once again to clear the clutter and start pulling up weeds.


I am surrounded by other people’s drama and problems, being pulled in this direction and that and being dragged into things that are none of my business.

I am taking on other people’s energy and it is wearing me down.

I am carrying around other people’s luggage because they can’t carry them on their own and believe me, they don’t pack light.

So, it’s time to start weeding my garden again and each time I get down in the dirt, feel the grit and grim between my fingers and start pulling them up, one by one, my garden starts to flourish once again.


Tips for weeding your garden of life

1. Never feel guilty about pulling up weeds. You may love them and care about them but you are not responsible for them to grow.

2. Don’t be someone else’s sounding board. It’s okay to listen to your friends and be there for them but when you are only being used as a way to vent, dump or drop off their problems, you will feel it, so walk away.

3. Don’t get involved in other people’s drama. Don’t let a fighting couple drag you in and force you to pick sides. Stay out of it and mind your own business.

4. Surround yourself with positive people. Stay away from people who bring you down, cut you down, don’t support your feelings and make you feel drained every time you are around them. We all know people like this so pull them from your garden.

5. It may be difficult to pull weeds from your garden but it must be done. Some will be stubborn and hard to pull but do it anyway. Others will come up easily as though the soil was ready to release them. Let them go.

Once your garden is weed free, know that it will not stay that way and you must enjoy the flowers while they are in bloom and when the weeds begin to grow again, pull them up as well.

Happy gardening! 🙂




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5 Things A Raccoon Taught Me About Life

I grew up on a 27 acre farm in Maryland and spent weekends at our larger farm in West Virginia. There, we had over 200 acres of mountains, a creek, a family (not our family) graveyard and all the wildlife you could handle.

My childhood was spent with mud pies, Barbie dolls, tire swings, and treehouses. We also rescued every animal that came into our yard.

My mother was Cherokee and said, “You never have to look for an animal, if he needs you, he will find you.”

This is how I grew up.

A few weeks ago, Steve called and said he was bringing me a present. In the background, I could hear alien like noises that didn’t sound like a handful of wildflowers (my favorite) a diamond ring or a box of chocolates. When I asked him what it was, he told to wait and see.

When he came home an hour later, he was carrying two baby raccoons, about three weeks old! They were squealing like banshees! I was terrified of these loud, wild animals until I got a closer look.

They were orphaned, hungry and about to be put down when Steve intervened.

I did all sorts of research about baby raccoon care so we started bottle feeding them with the intention of releasing them when they were 12-14 weeks old.


The next day, I was in love!

I knew they were wild animals and one could never really own a wild animal could they? I also knew that being wild, they may one day turn on me so I tried not to get too attached.

I made sure they were warm, had plenty of fresh water and I would hide food from them so they could learn how to forage on their own once they were released.

As the days went by, I would go out in the yard to check on them and find them high up in the trees and when they heard my voice, they would scurry down to “find” their breakfast that I had hidden on the nearby woodpile.

Now after a couple of months, they have a home in our back yard and our back porch. They have plenty of land to roam, plenty of fresh water and food and fruit trees galore! They are in paradise!



I had no idea that they would purr like kittens when you pet them or that they would chase a ball like a puppy. They love to be rolled on their backs and have their tummys tickled, just like a dog.

In watching these lovable little creatures, I have learned some lessons from them that I thought pertained to life in general.

5 Things A Racoon Taught Me About Life 

1. Climb High

Always reach for the highest branch and don’t be afraid to take a risk!

2. If You Fall Down~Get Back Up

Sure, you are going to fall down in life, but get up, shake it off and try again.

3. Be Curious

Never lose your sense of curiousity! Always be open to learn more, do more and be more adventurous!

4. Be Playful

Always find time to play! Life is to be enjoyed and every day should include some type of playtime. Why are kids the only ones who get to have recess? You are never too old to climb a tree.

5. Grapes Are Good

If there is one thing a raccoon likes to eat, it’s a grape! Eat healthy foods and take care of your body. Grapes are very filling and a delicious snack that you can eat anytime.

Lisa V. Proulx




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Have a Spring Fling with a ROCKSTAR for just .99 Cents!

With the winter blues still hanging around, wouldn’t it be nice to get all cozy and warm with a rockstar? I think it would be so here is what I’m gonna do!

For a Spring Fling…the month of April, my erotic rock and roll romance LICK AND A PROMISE~Diary of a Rock Star Groupie will be just .99 cents on Amazon! Yep, that’s right, just .99 cents!

So, what’s it all about you might ask, well I’ll tell ya:

When I was 17 I was in love, I mean in LOVE with a famous rock band and the lead guitarist had my heart! Oh yeah!

Long story short, this book is based on an actual experience I had with him and the adventure that followed after his wife kicked me off their property.

Written under my pen name…Veronica Moreau…



*For Mature Audiences Only*

During the era of Classic Rock, Poppy Bishop was a teenage runaway. At 18, she was in bed with the lead guitarist of one of the biggest bands in rock history. She went on to become Poppy Bleu, a “famous” groupie who bedded rock stars, their wives (and girlfriends) and became a junkie by the time she was 21. However, she never forgot her first rock star…and he never forgot her.

For over 20 years, Poppy Bleu was known in the rock and roll world as the best backstage lay and liked, loved and hated by some of the world’s biggest rock stars. Her story is one of sex, drugs, and rock and roll and how she went from groupie to junkie to author and became the love of a lead guitarist’s life who saved her from a life of ruin.

Excerpt…”He slowly placed me on his lap. We were now face to face. Oh man, did he smell good. I could have licked his face off right then and there. I was like a kid in a candy factory, a drunk in a liquor store…a groupie on a rock star’s lap. I could die now and be happy.”

What happy people are saying about this book!
“The story followed the path of a teen runaway into the rock world and drug addiction. The main character was drawn with stark realism. The reader roots for her ultimate victory even while loathing some of her actions. The story is gritty and painful but well worth the read. I read and write rock star romance and thoroughly enjoyed this story. “Flower Power“I love to read, I fly through books left and right. But I seriously couldn’t put the book down last night. I looked up and realized that I had to be to work in 3 hours. Not much on rock and roll nor drugs but this book pulled me in. Love the details you paint an excellent picture of the times and life. Thanks for the terrific read you are a talented author. Must ask will we be seeing more of Poppy?”

Flower Power
“Seriously skankalicious! I finished in 3 days Poppys wild ride kept me up at night! A Lick and a Promise brought back memories of my teenage fantasies. Looking forward to the next book and many more of Poppy’s adventures!”
Flower Power
“If you want a break from the norm and an escape to the glamorous and gritty world of rock and roll then you will enjoy this exciting tale of young Poppy Bleu. I read it in a week and couldn’t put it down. You can easily get hooked on this book about drugs, sex, rock concerts, rock gods, and one girl who was turned onto the scene by her old friend Peggy who moved in across the street when she was in junior high. Does it have a happy ending? You’ll just have to read to find out.”
Flower Power
“I couldn’t put the book down! I’m definitely a mom with little spare time to herself….but I made the time to finish this book in just a few days! Poppy’s journey keeps you entraced the entire time! I enjoyed trying to guess which rock stars the author was describing…it helped bring all of the characters to life. This is a great book which delivers its promise! It was hot to say the least! Great job Veronica! Can’t wait to read your future best sellers!”
Flower Power
“Buckle your seatbelts and prepare to be taken on the RIDE of your life folks! This book has explicit sex and it’s no hold barred~ don’t go looking for your normal girl meets boy romance here cause that’s not what this one is about! I think Lick and a Promise is an FANFREAKINGTASTIC read! I loved the “real” life aspects shown in the book! The drug addiction, married rock stars, twosomes, threesomes ~ well you get the picture!!!
Flower Power
Take a journey with Poppy as she recounts her youth and see if she ends up with her “Rock Star” and while on that journey see if you recognize some of the industries biggest stars during that era! I highly recommend you READ this book NOW!!!”
And a whole lot more…!!!
So why not have a Spring Fling of your own and check out LICK AND A PROMISE…and learn a few new groupie tricks on how to keep your own rockstar happy…trust me, your man will thank me! 😉
on Amazon Kindle
and in KDP Select




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Author Interview with Jeanne Kalogridis

Long before I was an author, I was a reader. I loved to read books on history and horror, celebrity bios and stories of witches and vampires.

One day while strolling through an old book store in a quaint and quiet part of downtown Frederick, Maryland, I found a book which changed my life.

It was “Covenant with the Vampire” written by Jeanne Kalogridis.


When I read:

“Mary has been asleep for hours now, in the old trundle bed my brother Stefan and I shared as children. Poor thing; she is so exhausted that the glow from the taper does not disturb her. How incongruous to see her lying there beside Stefan’s small ghost, surrounded by the artifacts of my childhood inside these crumbling, high-ceilinged stone walls. Their corridors awhisper with the shades of my ancestors, it is as if my present and past suddenly collided.”

I was swept away to the history and lore of medieval Romania to a time when Prince Vlad the Impaler ruled and I was hooked.

I could not put the book down. I mean, literally, the book was attached to my hands and I could do nothing more but read on and become captivated by the history, the romance and the bloodlust of Vlad and his sadistic relationship with his descendants.

After finishing the book, I took pen to paper and wrote Jeanne Kalogridis pouring my heart out to her. I was in awe of her talent and her melodic book and although I had aspirations of being a writer “one day” I knew that I could never, ever write anything as beautiful.

She was kind and gracious enough to respond and laughed having felt the same way when she read The Vampire Tapestry, a 1980 fantasy novel by Suzy McKee Charnas.

She encouraged me to “find my own voice” and to write what I loved. I took that advice to heart and began my journey as a writer.

I vowed that one day if I was ever in a position to help a writer, whether it be one just starting out on this wild and crazy ride or one who is established, that I would. She took the time to reach out to me and it showed me that no matter how successful a writer she was, we were all in this together.

I never forgot that.

Today, I am proud to say that I have gone on to become a best-selling author of nine books and Jeanne Kalogridis is still one of my all time favorite authors.

Her books carry you away to another time and you become enveloped in her words, the dark history of her stories and you forget everything around you.

I had the pleasure of talking to Jeanne recently and again, she was gracious enough to offer words of wisdom and advice to not only me but to all writers who take this journey.

Her words are golden and her advice invaluable for anyone wanting to be a writer…I advise you to take heed…


Jeanne Kalogridis

With your extensive education and background, how much research goes into writing your historical novels?

An obscene amount. I used to teach graduate students how to write a research paper, and I have a true addiction to research–I love knowing details. Generally, I’ll read 30-40 books about the time period and the character I think I might want to write about. I’ll read for a couple of months before I even think about sitting down and writing the story outline. And I make sure that the sources I use are reputable–I made a fairly big error in THE BORGIA BRIDE, mentioning chocolate in Italy in the year 1492–when, of course, chocolate came from the New World and wasn’t available in Europe in 1492. I got the information from a 1940-ish biography about Lucrezia Borgia. Turned out that the biography relied on other biographies that weren’t accurate. So now I stick with recent biographies and historical nonfiction written by modern historians who are looking at original sources from the time period I’m writing about.


There’s a phenomenon that scientists call “research rapture”–the more details one learns, the more details one wants to know. I’ve certainly got a bad case of it, because I also continue to do research during the writing of a novel. As an example of how detailed I like to get: I’m currently writing a novel about a young pickpocket in Renaissance Florence. I was thrilled when I discovered a street map from the period which showed where all the most infamous taverns in Florence were located, with some juicy gossip about each one. I don’t “make up” any details about a period, and a lot of things that seem as though they spring from my imagination are actually based on solid research.

How did you get involved in writing Novelizations for Star Trek?

First, let me clarify that novelizations involve turning a bare-bones script into a nice fat novel, so in this case, the script comes first, and the novel is written from the script, not vice-versa. In the case of STAR TREK, I wrote the novelizations while the script was being filmed, and actually got to go on the set and see stills that helped me visualize what the final result on the screen would look like. I didn’t get to see the film until it was released.

As to how I came to write the movie novelizations: Like many writers who were also STAR TREK fans, I noticed that there were TREK books coming out that involved original stories using the STAR TREK characters. So I wrote one–my first novel–and to my surprise, Pocket Books (the only publisher licensed to print TREK novels) bought it. Then I wrote another original book, then another…and one day I got a call from my editor asking me if I wanted to do the movie novelizations. I was thrilled speechless.

I wrote under the name J.M. Dillard (my maiden name) for STAR TREK. I used my married name of Kalogridis when I wrote my deliciously historical vampire trilogy THE DIARIES OF THE FAMILY DRACUL and, of course, my historical novels. (I’ll shamelessly promote the latter here: THE BORGIA BRIDE; I, MONA LISA; THE DEVIL’S QUEEN, THE SCARLET CONTESSA and THE INQUISITOR’S WIFE.)

What advice would you give a writer just starting out in the business?

Park your ego at the door and start developing a tough hide.

 Because you, and every other writer in this universe, needs to be edited. NO ONE just sits down one day and writes a perfect book by the seat of his or her pants. It simply doesn’t happen. Also, I think most of us come to writing thinking that we either “have it” or we don’t–that if an editor thinks that something needs changing in the book, then our entire book must be a failure. (At least, I was frightened by criticism because I thought it meant I was no good. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that a few people actually think ALL editors are wrong, and that their book is perfect as written. But I don’t run into those types very often.) It was so very hard for me to deal with being edited at first, but fortunately, I got used to it and now am eager to learn from constructive criticism (as long as they’re well read enough to know what they’re talking about.)


We all need to realize that writing is rewriting. It’s like masonry. You’re not going to construct a cathedral your first day on the job, but you can get there if you work at it. And if you’re not sweating, you’re not doing it right. There are a lot of techniques to learn, but the good news is that once you practice one technique a time or two, it becomes second nature and you don’t have to think about it again. Then it’s on to the next technique. Here’s how I did it: I read as many books on the craft of writing that I could, and with those in mind, reread my favorite authors to see how they used the techniques. Then I practiced using the techniques myself.

By the way, these so-called techniques aren’t something dreamed up by creative writing teachers. They’re distillations of what we readers want and expect from a satisfying story.

There are two things that make a writer; one of those things can’t be learned, but happily, the other can.

As Stephen King said, “First, be talented.” By that, I think he meant that some people are good with words and can produce an evocative sentence that’s nice to read or hear. Some people have the ability; some don’t. That can’t be taught.


However, storytelling can be taught. And it’s the hardest part of writing fiction. I don’t know of any first-time novelist who had complete mastery over plot, character, point of view, and heart (and if they’re out there, I hate them :)). I’m pretty much self-taught from books and thirty-two years in the industry (my first book was published in January 1982, and I’m now working on my 37th novel). I was clueless when I started out and made every “new writer” mistake possible. Unfortunately, most of my earliest books with those mistakes are in print still. But I’ve learned a lot and continue studying to get better and better; that attitude is essential for anyone who wants to get and keep a readership.

In sum: Separate your ego from your work. It isn’t about what’s best for you; it’s about what’s best for the story.

What are you working on now?

A historical novel set in Renaissance Florence called THE ORPHAN OF FLORENCE. My young female protagonist, Giovanna, survived by becoming a pickpocket (that was fun to research!) and so after writing many novels about the period’s upper classes, I get to have fun romping through the seedier parts of Florence. Giovanna gets involved with a mysterious benefactor who claims to be a powerful magician, but there’s much more to him than meets the eye. Young Lorenzo de’ Medici plays a prominent role. It’s set during the uneasy time of the Pazzi War, when Florence was in grave danger from powerful enemies. In essence, it’s a fast-paced thriller with a lot of twists.


 If you could spend one day with anyone, either living or dead, who would it be and why?

 The truth is, I’d want to spend it with my sisters, who’ve both passed away. But if we’re talking about famous characters from history, I’d have to say Lucrezia Borgia. I want to know whether her father, Pope Alexander VI, or her brother, Cesare, was the father of her illegitimate son. (A once-sealed papal bull declared that her child was the rightful heir to everything Pope Alexander owned–in essence, acknowledging the boy’s paternal bloodline.)



Bibliography of works

The Diaries of the Family Dracul

Covenant with the Vampire (1995)

Children of the Vampire (1996)

Lord of the Vampires (1997)


Specters (1991) (as J.M. Dillard)

The Burning Times (1997)

The Borgia Bride (2005)

I, Mona Lisa (2006) (UK title: Painting Mona Lisa)

The Devil’s Queen (2009)

The Scarlet Contessa: A Novel of the Italian Renaissance (2010)

The Inquisitor’s Wife (2013)

Movie Novelizations

The Fugitive (1993)

Bulletproof Monk (2003)

Star Trek: The Original Series

Mindshadow (1985)

Demons (1986)

Bloodthirst (1987)

The Lost Years (1989)

Recovery (1995)

Star Trek Movie Novelizations

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

Star Trek Generations (1994)

Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)

Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Possession (1996) (with Kathleen O’Malley)

Resistance (2007)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Emissary (1993)

Star Trek: Enterprise

Surak’s Soul (2003)

The Expanse (2003)

War of the Worlds

The Resurrection (1988)

Other books

Star Trek: Where No One Has Gone Before – A History in Pictures (1994)

Star Trek: The Next Generation Sketchbook – The Movie: Generations & First Contact (1998) (with John Eaves)

For more information about Jeanne Kalogridis







Thank you Jeanne for an amazing interview and for being my guest today! I wish you much love, happiness and success.

Also, thank you for being an inspiration to me and being so kind to an aspiring author many years ago. It helped me in ways you will never know!


“There is a reason why all things are as they are.”
― Bram Stoker, Dracula



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Why I Don’t Like Remakes of Old Movies

I grew up in the 1970’s. There were no cell phones, no cable TV, no video games and no Internet.

How on earth did we survive?

Well, I’ll tell you how. I grew up on a farm with tire swings, mud pies and barbie dolls. We lived life outside, we talked to one another and we were not caught up in the drama of reality shows and the “stars” that are created by them.

I loved watching movies too, I still do. I love the old black and white and sometimes sepia tones of the old movies. I love classics and I still believe that the old horror movies with Vincent Price are the best.

So why would someone want to remake these old movies? Is it because the kids today would find them too boring or old school? Or like Steve’s daughter says, “That’s from the old days!” Is it to bring a new generation of audience into their realm hoping to gain more followers?

I say let the kids see the oldies and give them the chance to enjoy them and decide for themselves.

Surely the writers of the world have not run out of ideas. Why recycle the ideas of others? Write new movies!

I have heard enough about the remakes of Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, The Omen, Bonnie and Clyde and so many other favorites of mine but what I found out recently blew me away.

Are they actually considering remaking my favorite horror movie of all time Rosemary’s Baby! What?!?!


This movie is brilliant, pure genius! How can you go wrong with a director like Roman Polanski, writers Ira Levin (novel), and Roman Polanski (screenplay) and stars such as Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes and Ruth Gordon.

I mean it was bad enough to remake (badly I might add) the horror classic “Carrie” by Stephen King. A movie that every teen girl, including myself, made us rethink our decision to go to our senior prom. It was the Jaws of our time!

Just when you thought it was safe to go to the prom…

It taught me about bullying and how we should be nice to the strange girl and not make fun of her in gym class. Well, actually I was always a pretty nice person in school but you get the point.

Stop remaking old movies! They cannot compare to the beauty of the originals.

Who could forget Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway racing down the dusty back roads as Foggy Mountain Breakdown played in the background. Or Gene Wilder as the sadistic, lovable chocolate maker or Gregory Peck as Damien Thorn’s father? What about Sissy Spacek as the bloodied prom queen?

The children of this generation will never know such joy.

But then again, most of them will never know the joy of a tire swing or a mud pie either.



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Need an online editor? Here’s one I found online!

Okay, I don’t have an editor, there I said it. I have nothing against editors of course, I have one for the newspaper I write for but I don’t have one for my books.

Yes, I should have one but as a starving artist, I can’t always afford a high-priced editor so I went searching for one online and this is one that I found.

It’s called ProWritingAid and it’s free or you can purchase it for $35 a year. I think that is a great bargain compared to what an real life editor can cost you!

ProWritingAid is your free online writing editor and personal writing coach. Of course it checks your grammar but it does much more to help you improve your writing:

  • Online grammar and spelling checker;
  • Online plagiarism checker;
  • Improve readability;
  • Find overused words;
  • Improve dull paragraph structure;
  • Find repeated words and phrases;
  • Check for consistency of spelling, hyphenation, and capitalization;
  • Eliminate clichés and redundancies;
  • Create a word cloud of your text;
  • Eliminate vague, abstract, and complex words from your writing.

With ProWritingAid you should be able to improve your writing in less than 5 minutes. The longer you spend, the more it will improve.

They provide 19 different free reports on your writing so a clear summary of the key results is important. Looking at the analysis you can quickly see what the key things are you need to improve.

I don’t work for this company but I am going to give it a go and see how it improves my writing. Let me know if you’ve tried it and what you think about it! Thanks! 🙂

As always, thanks so much for your love and support!


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Do You Read Your Reviews? Why it’s not always a good thing to do…

I have been a feature writer and columnist for my local newspaper, The Brunswick Citizen, for almost 14 years.

Before that, I was a columnist for The Mountain Xpress in Asheville, North Carolina, I have been a proofreader for The Loudoun Times Mirror in Leesburg, Virginia, I became a published author in 2004 and am now the author of nine books, four which have gone on to Best-Seller status.

My book WEEDMONKEY has been on the Amazon Best Seller list for months and I am listed in the Top 100 Best-Selling Authors on Amazon in Memoirs right up there with Chelsea Handler and Robert Wagner.

So, you would think I have zillions of reviews from people all over the world just loving my books. Right? Nope!

WEEDMONKEY  has 60 reviews and they are not all favorable. When I first became a writer and my books were online I was obsessed with reading each and every review. I would get excited, anxious and take everything someone said to heart.

Now, I don’t even read them and God forbid, I never reply to them.

For WEEDMONKEY, I get reviews like…”The book was written with a voice of a child” or “The story was not believable” and “It sounded like the author grew up in the hills of Kentucky”

Let me address these:

1. My mother began writing this book when I was a child and on her deathbed in 2006, she asked me to complete it for her. My mother had an 8th grade education and wanted the book to be told through the eyes of the child Virgie Hopkins so yes, the book has the voice of a child.

2. Oh the story is true, trust me, and can be verified through other family members who endured life in the coal mining camps during the Depression. I think it’s hard though for many young readers to actually believe that life could be that hard for someone but it was.

3. Uh, well yeah, it takes place in the hills of Kentucky and the people there were back woods, uneducated and some were hillbillies who said things like “fer” and “ain’t”…that’s just how they talked and these are NOT typos!

When I read a bad or mixed review, it hurts but I realize that I have chosen this crazy career of being a writer and this how I make my living. So yeah, it’s personal.

It’s easy to read a negative review and feel like you are in the wrong profession, your writing sucks, no one likes you and you should never write again and on and on and on…

Although reviews are great and oh so needed for an author, they are simply someone’s opinion of your work and in no way a reflection of your talent. Don’t give up!

Writers, actors, and artists of all types must have a thick skin in order to survive this business so I say stay strong and carry on!

My advice for handling negative reviews:

1. NEVER reply to a negative review! Ever! As much as you want to defend your “baby” don’t do it! It will come back to haunt you in the end. The only time I ever responded to a review was only once when the reader asked me a question and I answered it in the reply.

2. Eh, brush it off! You know you are a good writer and if your book is on the Best-Seller List you are doing something right.

3. Don’t take it to heart. I am a Pisces and a very sensitive person and it’s easy for me to be hurt by someone’s comments, esp when it is about a book I wrote for my mother who passed away in 2006. Yeah, it hurts, it stings and it sucks but you cannot take it personally.

4. Simply don’t read them. Get in the habit of just scrolling past them and don’t read them.

5. Keep writing no matter what! All great authors, actors, musicians were turned down a zillion times before they made it and they kept at it. Examples: Stephen King, Elvis and The Beatles.

WEEDMONKEY is a labor of love for me and I hope I did my mother proud.

I had no editor (nor could I afford one) I don’t have an agent or a traditional publisher but hey, it’s out there and I am so proud of it and of its success.

But when it comes to reviews, although I appreciate them and am grateful for them, I simply don’t read them any more.

Do you read your reviews?

I hope you get a chance to check out WEEDMONKEY and all of my other books, and enjoy it as well!


As always, thanks so much for your continued love and support! 🙂



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