Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Eve ...

I don't celebrate Easter religiously but as with every holiday, I have fond memories of when I was a kid and the anticipation that holidays brought and the cute tasks in which I participated: baking cookies, dyeing eggs.

And so yesterday, Easter Eve, upon seeing images in my Facebook feeds of egg-dyeing events about to take place, I was feeling a little nostalgic.

There was a time when I loved cellophane Easter grass, but only the green. Yellow and pink offended me. I was a very literal child.

Thinking back, the thing I loved most about cellophane grass was that, invariably, some jelly beans sank through it to the bottom of my Easter baskets, so even when it looked like all the treats were gone, I usually found a few stray beans after the fact.

Now, though, I see cellophane Easter grass and lament the extra burden to landfills. I am such a killjoy grownup.

Also, I've never been a huge fan of bright colors. I'm more about muted shades. So it didn't take a lot of thought to decide that this year's Easter grass would be played by the part of kraft paper put through my shredder.

For color, wine seemed the most likely choice. I looked up how to use wine to dye eggs. One site provided a recipe of water and vinegar and wine – OK, makes sense – then instructed that the egg cooking happen in a non-metal pot.

Um, what?

Non-metal pot?

So I should use what? A cardboard pot? A hologram pot?

I presume the author's point was that glass or ceramic was in order, but I don't own a glass or ceramic pot.

So I found another recipe, which amounted to: boil the eggs in wine.


I checked the color every so often then turned off the heat and let them cool in the wine a bit and then I used two spoons to lift them out of the liquid, let it drain a bit, then transfer them to a wire rack set over some paper towels.

When they were dry, I set them in my kraft-paper-filled silver dish, more nest than basket.

And I shan't eat them, of course, but I will crack one open at some point to see what happened inside.

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Friday, March 11, 2016

In Search Of Authors In Search Of A Book Coach And/Or Editor ...

I really enjoy working with clients who are working on books, at every stage.

I really enjoy helping people talk through their projects, and I really enjoy helping them work through the nuts and bolts of editing and proofreading and formatting. I've helped clients self-publish directly to Amazon and I've helped clients who were working with self-publishing companies in addition to editing manuscripts that were published traditionally.

My work with Dr. Starla Fitch began with a referral. Starla was in need of someone who could format her manuscript to her self-publisher's very exacting standards. And I was happy to tackle that for her. But along the way, I spied instances in which I saw opportunities to make improvements, which I suggested. Starla was a dream client and very receptive, and so we ended up working together until Remedy for Burnout: 7 Prescriptions Doctors Use to Find Meaning in Medicine arrived in the world.

As the publication date drew near and our work was wrapping up, Starla wrote this to our mutual friend:

Just wanted to let you know that when Beth read over the interior layout proof of my book, I decided she could also be a pathologist or a diagnostic radiologist or a forensic investigator. She can see things that the average person cannot. And, it is going to make my book a better read for my clients, which is awesome. Thanks again for the referral.

Another client, Richard Greene of Clarus Advisors, wrote Building Value: The 5 Keys for Achieving Success.

His recommendation of my work on LinkedIn reads:

"Not only did Beth do an excellent job editing the book, but her ideas to make it better were invaluable.

She beat every deadline and provided encouragement when it was most needed. I do not think I could have made a better decision in hiring a professional editor.

If you need an editor, I highly recommend contacting Beth."

And I was honored to be one of the editors of the New York Times' and international best seller The Last Lecture.

My dear – and dearly missed – friend Jeff Zaslow was kind to include me in the Acknowledgements but what he inscribed in my copy of the book truly touches my heart:

"I am completely grateful to you for the advice, editing, cheerleading, and creative input you gave for this book.

I remember being unsure of where this was going and I appreciated your clear-eyed skill at pointing me the right way. This book is better because of you."

I was very touched to read that that the night he wrote it. It didn't dawn on me until years later that his inscription is the book-coaching recommendation to end all book-coaching recommendations.

I've edited titles of fiction, business, and wellness, too.

Do you have a book project that's ready for its close-up? Or do you know someone who does?

Please do leave a comment or contact me through my web site or share this post on Twitter and Facebook.

If you need someone to help you get your book project moving in earnest, I'm here. Let’s talk about what’s holding you back. Let’s talk through the areas that you feel aren’t working. Let’s work on an outline and a writing schedule so you can put into the world the things you most want to convey. Or, let's talk about your challenges with the nuts and bolts of writing. Or your need for editing. Or formatting. Or proofreading. Or self-publishing.

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Tuesday, March 08, 2016

The Sound Of Recognition ...

When I was young, my folks went on business trips and my mom's mom babysat. I remember her liking to watch "60 Minutes" and I also remember thinking "60 Minutes" seemed like the most boring show in the world.

And then I grew up. And I watched "60 Minutes" for a good long time, until the Lara Logan mess about Benghazi, and then I stopped.

But I had also started watching "CBS Sunday Morning" and my love of that remains.

So a few weeks ago, I was plopped on my couch, remote in hand, and I arrived at a segment about songwriter Diane Warren (you can watch it here). About three minutes into the segment, this appeared on screen:

And I felt it in my chest, the sense of "that's where I belong."

I love being in a studio. I love being behind a mic. Singing will probably always scare the bejeezus out of me, at least a little, but that fear falls away after a take or two when I'm behind a mic. Mind you,
I am far from a great singer but as Angelo once wrote to me, about a different endeavor: "Just do it because it's fun."


To date, I've just been playing around with existing tracks, which are fun yet limiting. I have to sing in the same key at the same tempo and hit notes in exactly the same way. Finding suitable songs is a challenge.

What I would really love to do is work with a musician or a band or an arranger and work up songs that suit my voice, my range, my ideal keys.

I've found a studio. I popped by a few weeks back to check it out.

I haven't yet found extra cash to pay for studio time.

But if thoughts become things, well, then, Universe, I'm thinking. I'm writing. Work your logistical magic, please. I'm not about to quit my day job, but I'll be happy to get back into a studio at night.

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Thursday, March 03, 2016

I, Pundit ...

I am a politics junkie.

I have zero intention of every running for office but almost everyone I follow on Twitter is a reporter or news source. So all day, every day, I click on stories and read and repost.

By the time my beloved Rachel Maddow appears on my tee-vee machine, I'm up to speed on most of the day's headlines. When she teases a segment, odds are good that I know what's coming up next.

This presidential-election cycle is, as my friend Angelo would say, banana-crazy-pants, and so, if it's possible, I'm consuming even more political stories than ever before.

And I'll admit that I wavered for a while between Hillary and Bernie. I could see merits of both campaigns. But then Hillary enlisted Chelsea to stump for her and, well, that didn't go well. The scale tipped for Bernie.

But the other day I realized that it's not a scale. It's a seesaw.

And Trump – well, Drumpf, really – is firmly planted on one side at this point. And Hillary, for all of her accomplishments, is too centrist, in my view, too Obama-like in her policies. And while I think President Obama has done a remarkable job as president, especially given that the Republican response to every. single. thing. he's tried to do has been "No.", well, if we elect someone Obama-esque for the next go-’round, we're going to get more of the same.

Meanwhile, Senator Sanders is far to the left. Too far, some would say. Au contraire! He's as far to the left as Drumpf is to the right.

And on a seesaw, that means balance. Secretary Clinton is too near the fulcrum.

Yesterday, my brain felt the need to illustrate this. Because I like making silly images on my computer.

Mind you, I will gladly vote for Hillary if she's the Democratic nominee. It's beyond time for a woman in the Oval Office. But for now, my money's on Bernie.