Thursday, December 20, 2012

My 6th Christmas

I was thinking this morning, as I awoke, of the Christmas when I was 6 years old. We lived in South Oak Cliff on Ewing St. in Dallas. It was a rental house (my parents did not own a house for some years to come). A man at our church had 3 bikes that were all mangled - at least one in a traffic accident. He gave them to my dad, and my dad worked in the basement of my grandmother's house (just two doors down the street) to make two complete bicycles out of three. He did it, too; and by Christmastime. I don't remember any other gift that Christmas, but I cannot forget the bike. I got one (blue) and Weldon got the other (red) - this was long before James was born.

Here's the thing about the bikes. They were both 26-inches. The only way I could get on was to stand on the porch with the bike beside it.  I could barely reach the pedal with my toe when it was at the bottom of the cycle. Getting off was a wonder, too, if I wasn't near the porch. I don't ever remember falling, but then I tend to forget negative things anyway. We had those bikes for many years, until Junior High School when we got 10-speed bikes that were brand new. I have a picture of the old bike somewhere. When you look at it, you wonder how I ever managed to ride it.

But what I remember most about that bike and that Christmas is my dad. Probably in the poverty camp, not college-educated (not even a high school diploma), but he was very gifted with his hands, his head and his heart. He was an elder in his church until he passed away because he was so wise. He didn't ever say much, a word here or there. He was rough on the outside, but he loved his boys and his wife with immeasurable love.

To this day, I never face a problem of any kind or in any place, that I don't find myself thinking, "What would my dad do? What would he say? How would he react? What tool would he use?"

Excuse me, I'm going to go find that picture......

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Great Help for Marketing Books

I finally finished writing my first book, Victory Ground. What a chore, but what a fabulous feeling also. I chose to self-publish through CreateSpace. My wife, the graphics artist, did all this step. What a great help she was, too. Now the big question: how to market my book? I am very new at all this, and the questions inside the big question are many, to say the least.

So Judy came across an ebook (I would say a treasure!) available through Kindle that has become my new Bible when it comes to marketing. It is Shelley Hitz's book, Marketing Your Book on Amazon. Every chapter is packed with helpful ideas, some I am not ready to use just yet, but some that are immediately invaluable.

For instance, the Amazon website for my book is very long (two lines of type, at least). It makes it difficult to tell people, or to show it on FaceBook, for instance. Well, Shelley has a number of suggestions how to shorten the URL to something quite manageable. That was a great help to me.

And again, Judy is preparing the book as an ebook for those who like to read online. The problem: some of my friends want an autographed copy, even on an ebook. Shelley to the rescue again. She has a chapter called Digitally Autographing Your Kindle eBooks. Talk about timely! It is the perfect chapter.

So all in all, if you are thinking about self-publishing (and that is so easy nowadays), then you must get Shelley's ebook to help with your marketing. Go ahead and get it, you'll thank me later.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Judy and her sisters sing!

Judy and her sisters sing at her dad's 90th birthday celebration.