Friday, April 25, 2014

Welcome Sue Silverman and a Guest Post: "The Daily Mirror: Looking at Celebrities - Seeing Ourselves"

Welcome Sue Silverman, author of the memoir, The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew, with a fascinating guest post.

The Daily Mirror: Looking at Celebrities – Seeing Ourselves

Kim Kardashian. Miley Cyrus. Justin Timberlake. How do celebrities achieve pop-culture status? What elevates a celebrity – or faux celebrity – to the Mt. Olympus of fame? We know their love lives, their likes and dislikes, their stays in rehab. They’re in People or on Entertainment Tonight. They are, for better or worse, a part of the zeitgeist.
These people are famous because we make them famous. But why? What do they mean to us?
Before Justin Bieber, Beyonce, Madonna, there was a celebrity who profoundly shaped my life. This is what I explore in my new memoir, The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew.
My Personal Father Figure
Pat Boone is (was) a 1960s pop-music idol, who sold millions of albums, often topping Elvis Presley on the Billboard charts, and had his own hit TV show. He was a squeaky-clean, wholesome singer, a family man and a Christian, at a time when rival Elvis was the “bad boy” of pop. Pat Boone’s trademark was his immaculate white-buck shoes; Elvis Presley’s was his sexy blue suedes. You would never see a mug shot of a disheveled Pat Boone being booked on a DUI charge. He was well known for drinking milk!
While I loved Pat Boone’s music, my crush on him went much deeper.
I wanted him to adopt me. Why? My Jewish father misloved me; Pat Boone offered a perfect antidote to my confusing and dangerous father.
Through Pat Boone, in this book, I examine my desire to pass as Christian – not only a reaction to my father – but also as a wish to belong, to fit into the WASPy suburb in which I lived. I wanted to flee my Russian Jewish heritage, and be like all my high-school friends. Pat Boone had four daughters, so, I told myself, surely he wouldn’t even notice if I suddenly appeared in his pew at church! If only he could confer upon me his magical, golden Pat Boone-ness, I’d meld into my surroundings. After all, don’t all teenagers want to resemble their friends?
A Pop-Culture Dream Come True
            In The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew, three separate encounters with Pat Boone frame my quest to belong to the dominant culture.
As I teenager, I first attended his TV show in Manhattan. Years later, now an adult living in Michigan, I attended a concert of his held in a mega-church. I barged backstage afterward to tell him what he meant to me all these years, how he offered me hope. He listened.
Not only that but, a year later, he invited me to attend a Christmas concert of his. Afterward, sitting together in his green room – and referring to how I survived my scary family – he said: “I see you as a flower growing up through concrete.”
            Although he obviously never adopted me, he did see me – if not literally as a daughter – then in a way my own father should have seen me, but hadn’t.
Celebrity as Metaphor
Whatever celebrity is currently #1 in streaming videos, it may be a result of actual talent. But, just as likely, it’s because that person’s image represents something deeper. Celebrities speak to an emptiness, a longing, which isn’t always filled in the “real” world, our real lives.
Since we don’t truly know these people, we make them into anything we want. We project our hopes and desires onto them.
            I’m sure that present-day idols have positive meaning for their fans, too. Who are some of your favorite celebrities? What do they embody? What do they mean to you?

Follow Sue Silverman as she continues on her blog tour through WOW - women on writing. Thank you Jodi Webb for setting up this tour stop here at All Things Audry! 

Meet Sue William Silverman:

Sue William Silverman’s new memoir is The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew. Her two other memoirs are Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual Addiction, which is also a Lifetime TV movie, and Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You, which won the Association of Writers and Writing Programs award in creative nonfiction. Her craft book is Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir.  As a professional speaker, Sue has appeared on The View, Anderson Cooper 360, and more.  She teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

The Pat Boone Fan Club: 
My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew

Gentile reader, and you, Jews, come too. Follow Sue William Silverman, a one-woman cultural mash-up, on her exploration of identity among the mishmash of American idols and ideals that confuse most of us—or should. Pat Boone is our first stop. Now a Tea Party darling, Boone once shone as a squeaky-clean pop music icon of normality, an antidote for Silverman’s own confusing and dangerous home, where being a Jew in a Christian school wasn’t easy, and being the daughter of the Anti-Boone was unspeakable. And yet somehow Silverman found her way, a “gefilte fish swimming upstream,” and found her voice, which in this searching, bracing, hilarious, and moving book tries to make sense of that most troubling American condition: belonging, but to what?
Picking apricots on a kibbutz, tramping cross-country in a loathed Volkswagen camper, appearing in a made-for-television version of her own life: Silverman is a bobby-soxer, a baby boomer, a hippy, a lefty, and a rebel with something to say to those of us—most of us—still wondering what to make of ourselves.  

Amazon link to The Pat Boone Fan Club:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Welcome David Kalish and a Guest Post: " My Shot Gun Wedding with Social Media"

Welcome David Kalish, author of a comedic novel, THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYTHING, with a humorous and, in fact, very realistic guest post on social media. And if you leave a comment, you can win a copy of THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYTHING!!!

My Shot Gun Wedding with Social Media 
By David Kalish
Successful authors, I once believed, focused on what they did best. They wrote. They rearranged words on the page. And once their first novel was accepted for publication, they’d pop the champagne, do a couple of book signings, and work full-bore on their second novel.
That was in my younger and more idealistic days—like, a year ago. My bubble was burst in spring 2013. At the time, WiDo, a small Utah-based publisher, was considering whether to take on my comedic novel, The Opposite of Everything. To be considered, WiDo asked me to submit a promotional blueprint, built around social media, detailing my plans for building an online presence. Creating buzz. What was my strategy for reaching out to reviewers? Garnering media coverage? What about my book tour?
Something inside me rebelled. Doesn’t the publisher do these things? Welcome to the reality of today’s book industry, several authors informed me – especially if the publisher is small and the author unknown. But I wasn’t sure where to even start. My online social presence up to that point consisted of a bare-bones Facebook page with few friends. Would I now become a publicist? For twelve years, as a reporter for The Associated Press, I scolded publicists to stop hounding me. I sometimes hung up the phone on them. Would I become what I once loathed?
I gritted my teeth. I googled “book promotion plans.” I cobbled one together and submitted it. A few weeks later, WiDo offered me a contract, which I signed.
Take it one step at a time, I reassured myself. A conversation with WiDo’s promotion manager stuck with me: “Do what you’re comfortable with.” It took time to process her advice. I reached out for help. As a technophobe, I was afraid to push the wrong button. A friend of my wife’s, a professional photographer, drove up from his home in Washington DC to help me construct my author Web site, using Wix, the free service. He shot dozens of promotional photos of me. I uploaded several to the Web site and others to my Facebook author page, which he helped me set up. Another friend taught me the Twitter ropes. I fumbled my way through Goodreads, setting up an Author account. Some things I learned by trial and error; others I reached out for help. The experience was exciting and humbling at the same time.
After setting everything up, I thought: What now? I had precisely zero Twitter followers, several dozen disengaged Facebook friends, and a Web site known to myself and few others. Do I post pithy quotes on Facebook? Do I Tweet my favorite ice cream flavors? Share baby photos? And how does this help sell books?
I had conversations with other WiDo authors. I went back to the promotion manager’s advice – do what I felt comfortable with. What I felt comfortable with was writing. That’s what I’ve done all my adult life. Why not apply skills from the part of my job I liked to the part that gave me the heebie jeebies?
Maybe I’d blog. Sounded like a good idea. A friend taught me how to use Tumblr. Naturally, my first blog post ever was entitled, “A Reluctant Blogger.” I wrote: “I’m probably the worst candidate in the world to start a blog. The last thing I want is to stand on a soap box. Until recently, my incoming Facebook invites went straight into the spam folder, and one of those invites was from my wife.”
I cultivated a wry style. I wrote about my experiences as a social newbie, my writing process. I ruminated over crabgrass that’s overtaken my lawn – the dearth of monarch butterflies this year. I shared my blogs on my Facebook page, which slowly grew friends, and got 30 or 40 hits if I was lucky.
In September, six months before my book launch, I hit a minor jackpot. I pitched the Times Union, the Albany capital region newspaper, to become part of its community blog site. After several back and forths, the paper’s blog boss invited me to join.
Today, my twice-a-week blog, entitled The Ruminator, attracts, on a good day, several hundred readers or more. A few months before the launch of my novel this March, I posted a popular four-part series – factual retellings of excerpts from my novel. My second post in that series drew 668 visits in one day. So far, since I started with the Times Union in September, I’ve amassed about 20,000 hits. After every post, I click obsessively to see how many hits I attract.
At the bottom of every blog post I include something to the effect: David Kalish is author of the new comedic novel, The Opposite of Everything, a finalist in the Somerset Fiction Awards. Click here for more info on his book tour. Whenever I mention my novel, it’s a clickable link to my author Web site, which lists my book tour as well as links to Amazon where the novel can be bought. I also post the blog on my Facebook pages, my Goodreads author page, LinkedIn, and Twitter. And I often email posts to a contact list of several dozen people not active in social media.
After my book was launched in March, I planted more and more mentions of my novel’s publication in my social networks. But since my blog goes out to newspaper readers, I hesitate to blatantly pitch my book here. Instead, I weave it into the context of posts. The blogs take a lot of work and time, but the rising numbers and readers’ comments keep me going, reminding me I’m on track to build a fan base.
Another fear I’ve confronted is public speaking. Until this spring, I’d never gone on a book tour, let alone organized one. But my first appearance, at a bookstore in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., met all my expectations, and exceeded them. Some eighty people showed up and the bookstore sold out its stock of 75 books. Now on the fourth leg of my book tour, I feel oddly comfortable reading from my book in public and answering questions.
Admittedly, I have much to learn. Since my novel is about a thyroid cancer survivor, based on me, I am donating a portion of my royalties to the Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association. I plan to host a panel at ThyCa’s annual conference next fall on how the therapeutic value of writing, and perhaps the group will let me sell books there.
I keep coming back to writing. I remind myself I’ve not strayed too far from that which I know. I know too that talking about my fears helps. And for that, I thank my blog readers, for several well-received posts have dealt with my awkward entry into social media. My readers have helped me talk through my fears.

You can do this. I repeat this to myself a lot. I’ve overcome most obstacles so far thrown my way. One day, for sure, I’ll finish my second novel. It will be easier to sell because of my first. By then I’ll have paved a rocky path through social media to the bookshelf, whether virtual or bricks-and-mortar. Between now and then, I’ll try not to grit my teeth too much. And hopefully sell a lot of books.

Thank you, David! Best of luck to you! 
Also, special thank you to Crystal J. Otto at WOW! Women on Writing for providing a stop on David Kalish's blog tour here on All Things Audry!
*** Comment to win a copy of THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYTHING!!!

More about David Kalish:
David Kalish left a career as a big city journalist and became a fiction writer, earning his MFA from Bennington College. His first novel, The Opposite of Everythingwas accepted for publication by WiDo Publishing, and he's working on a second novel entitled Stoner Hero, which he often writes in his head while walking his two dogs in a forest near his upstate New York home.

In addition to the longer form, his short fiction has been published in Temenos, Knock, Spectrum, and Poydras Review, his non-fiction in The Writer's Chronicle, and a short film of his, "Regular Guy," was selected into film festivals here and abroad. As a reporter at The Associated Press, his articles appeared in major newspapers such as Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune. He is currently working on a comedic theatre script for a Latin version of A Christmas Carol. He lives in Clifton Park, New York, with his wife, daughter, and two canaries, as well as those two dogs.

David’s Website:
David on Facebook:

The Opposite of Everything is a hilariously fast-paced first novel for David Kalish. When Brooklyn journalist Daniel Plotnick learns he has cancer, his fortunes fall faster than you can say Ten Plagues of Egypt. His wife can’t cope, his marriage ends in a showdown with police, and his father accidentally pushes him off the George Washington Bridge. 

Plotnick miraculously survives his terrifying plunge, and comes up with a zany plan to turn his life around: by doing the opposite of everything he did before.

In the darkly comedic tradition of Philip Roth and Lorrie Moore comes a new novel from author David Kalish, who draws us into a hilarious, off-kilter world where cancer tears apart relationships…and builds new ones.

Paperback:  191 PagesPublisher:  WiDo Publishing (February 17, 2014)ASIN:  B00IIUUSKGTwitter hashtag: #OEKalish

*** Comment to win a copy of THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYTHING!!!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Welcome Frances Caballo and a Guest Post: "Five Tips for Creating Your Author Platform"

Welcome Frances Caballo, author of Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers Who Want to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write.  I feel very enthusiastic about sharing today's guest post because it is an area in which I am desperately learning as much as I can. I know I will definitely put all "Five Tips for Creating Your Author Platform" to very good use!


Thank you to Renee Roberson, blog tour manager at Wow- Women on Writing for providing today's guest post as part of Frances Caballo's blog tour.

Five Tips for Creating Your Author Platform

We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media—
the question is how well we do it.
—Erik Qualman, How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business

Today we understand that social media marketing is an essential ingredient of our author marketing platform that we can't ignore. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are well rooted in our world, and networks such as Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr are no longer newbies.

Yet practically every day a new application or social network— RebelMouse, Pheed, LibraryThing, Write or Read, etc.— emerges, and it can boggle our minds and tax our energy.

But you needn’t worry about having to jump on the bandwagon of every shiny new innovation because there’s a basic tenet of marketing that still applies for author marketers: know your audience.

Audience is a marketing term that simply refers to the people for whom you've written your book. For example, did you write your last novel for the YA (young adult) market? Are your colorful books designed for children between the ages of three and six?

Did you write a historical novel about France for all the Francophiles in the world? Is your Hiking on the Edge of the World nonfiction book written with hard-core hikers in mind?

Knowing your audience enables you to hone your marketing efforts and focus your social media attention on those platforms where you are most likely to encounter your readers. It's easier to do than it may seem at first glance.

For example, if you write with young adults in mind, then you'll need to be on Twitter and Tumblr because that's where you're most likely to find that demographic.

If your target market is women who are fifty-plus in age, then you'll need a Facebook page. Did you write a book about dressing for success? Then you definitely need an active presence on LinkedIn as well as Pinterest.

If you write chick lit, you probably won’t want to spend too much time on Google+. Instead, you’ll want to focus your efforts on Facebook and Pinterest, where women dominate the user base.

Five Tips for Creating Your Author Platform
Here are five tips to get you started on your marketing platform.

  •  Your first step is to hire someone to build a WordPress website for you that includes a blog. Don’t use Vista Print for your website and don’t let someone talk you into using Joomla. WordPress is today’s go-to content management system for websites.
  • Decide who your audience is and study the demographics of each social media network to determine which ones you should be using.
  • Resist the temptation to embark on using four or five social media networks all at once. Start with one, get to know it, conquer it, and then move on to the next one.
  • Be consistent in your posting on social media networks and your blog. Write new blog posts at least once a week. Post a minimum of once daily on Facebook, twice daily on LinkedIn and four times a day on Twitter. Use a scheduling application to help you be consistent in your posting.
  • You will be known and followed based on the content you post. Make sure you post the best, most up-to-date content within your niche every day. Use the website or a curation application such to help you find the content you’re looking for.
What tips would you suggest to a newly published author?

Thank you Frances Caballo for sharing these helpful social media strategies! And, yes, developing a website has become my top priority. Also, I will be posting a review of AVOID MEDIA TIME SUCK here on All Things Audry in the near future. As I begin to read it, I am amazed how much time I actually waste on social media. Scheduling really is everything!  

About the Author: 
Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of  Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write, Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter, the San Francisco Writers Conference, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+. 

Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers Who Want to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write.

Synopsis: Social media is no longer an option for writers--it is a required element of every author’s platform. If you’ve been avoiding Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networks because you think tweeting and posting will take large chunks of time out of your day and leave you with little time to write, think again. Using social media to market your books doesn’t need to be time-consuming. And with the four-step formula you’ll find in this book, it won’t be.

Whether you’re a seasoned or a newbie social media user, this book will introduce you to posting schedules, timesaving applications and content-rich websites that will help you economize the time you spend using social media to promote your books. You will learn:
  • How to create and perfect your author platform.
  • Where great content exists on the Internet and how you can use it to further your brand within your niche.
  • The importance of being social and applications that make this task easy and fun.
  • Tools that enable you to track and measure your success so you can better understand the return on investment of your valuable time.
  • Which tools prevent you from accessing the Internet when the time comes to sit and write that next book.
  • Exercises for introverted writers to help you feel comfortable on the social web.
Frances Caballo is hosting a book giveaway for Avoid Social Media Time Suck on Goodreads during the month of April.


I'm standing atop my virtual author platform here to share with you my novels:


A wedding, a broken engagement and plenty of kick off your shoes fun!

Spring-fling low rate of $5.99 on KINDLE and NOOK


An affair, an epic car accident and a basket of delicious deceptions!

Yummy read at $5.99 on KINDLE and NOOK