Posted in Cats, Monday blogs, Older cats

Saying Goodbye to Oliver

Saturday was a very sad day for me. I had to say goodbye to my 17-year old cat, Oliver after a week of seeing him decline from kidney disease. Oliver was diagnosed two years ago with Chronic Kidney Disease. He held up well until August when his physical showed a weight loss of three pounds, down from fifteen pounds to eleven, and his blood work confirmed that he was now in Stage 4 of the disease. A few months before that, he had begun yowling early in the morning. I’ve heard that senior cats do that sometimes, but looking back, I think it was part of his illness.

Last week, Oliver began to lose weight even more rapidly especially in his hind legs that were now so weak he had difficulty walking down the hall to his water bowl, climbing up on my bed, or on the table in the outside enclosed room where he liked to sunbathe. I was boiling him chicken every day and feeding him in bed. He would meow to let me know when he needed to be lifted up. Otherwise, he was very quiet. He would hardly purr when I petted him and would no longer sleep near my pillow where he used to sleep every night. He appeared listless and depressed. His beautiful blue eyes had sunk into his face. His fur was dull, and he hardly cleaned himself. I recognized all these signs as the dehydration he was suffering from by his failing kidneys. It brought back memories of my cat, Benny, who at eight-years old suffered kidney failure and went into a coma. My mother and I had been treating him with sub-q fluid injections under the skin, but he was not responding. I raced home from work that day when she called me to tell me he was in a coma and carried him wrapped in a blanket on my lap to the vets where he was helped along to Rainbow Bridge. The vet told me he was on his way already, but at least I got to spend the end with him. I vowed to do the same with Oliver if it came to that, but I wouldn’t let it go that far.

I was lucky to have a vet come to my house to check Oliver. She was compassionate and visited us every day to give him fluids and help make him comfortable. Friday night, she explained to me that Oliver wasn’t going to recover and that it was up to me when I was ready to say goodbye to him. At this point, he was barely making it around the house. He was not having a quality of life. The following day, I had to work. A few hours after I started, my husband called to tell me that Oliver had gone behind the headboard of my bed. I knew that hiding in a dark place was a sign that a cat was preparing to die. I rushed home and contacted my vet. When she came over, she helped me take Oliver out of his hiding place. She told me he was letting me know he was ready, so it would be easier for me to make my decision to let him go in peace.

We placed Oliver on his cat bed outside on the patio where he’d loved to sit and sun himself, and the vet administered a sedative to relax him. I stood by him brushing, kissing, and talking to him. When she gave the dose that would send him to Rainbow Bridge, she let me have some moments alone with him and then took out a kit where she made a set of paw prints and clipped some fur. Although I’d buried my other cats, I’d decided to have Oliver cremated, and she said she would take care of this for us but that it would take about three weeks to get his ashes.  I had also purchased a pretty urn in which to store them because I knew the time was arriving when I would need it. I planned to keep it in my room where he always stayed waiting for me when I got home from work and when he slept with me with his paw on my pillow, and I would stroke his handsome chest.

That’s the story of how I said goodbye to Oliver, but there’s more to his story than that. Oliver was a special cat to many people, and he appeared in two articles I wrote for Catster.com. The following is how Oliver came to us as a senior cat of 13 and how he gave us four and a half wonderful years. http://www.catster.com/lifestyle/what-i-learned-senior-citizen-cat-adoption.

The second article is one that won me an award from Hartz in the Cat Writers Association contest. http://www.catster.com/lifestyle/brush-your-cat-for-bonding-beauty-and-better-health

I also wrote a story last year called, The Path to Rainbow Bridge, in which a Siamese cat is the one of the main characters. Many of my cats are featured in this tale, and I am offering the eBook copy free from Monday, November 6 to Friday, November 10, to those who have lost their own beloved pets.

In addition to these articles and that story, I also feature a Siamese cat in my Cobble Cove mystery series. Sneaky the library cat is based on Oliver. I have also included a Siamese of the same name in my upcoming standalone mystery, Reason to Die, which will be published by Solstice Publishing and am currently writing the first book of another cozy mystery series that I plan to dedicate to Oliver.

To end this post, here’s a poem I wrote for my sweet Oliver:

Ode to Oliver

There’s a spot next to my pillow that’s bare.

Oliver always used to sleep there.

He loved me to stroke his chest.

Of all my cats, he was one of the best.

He was a handsome Siamese cat.

There was no doubt about that.

Although we only had him four years,

I can’t help shedding so many tears.

His favorite spot was his cat bed.

It’s so hard to believe he’s dead.

He did such cute things in the past,

like fishing in his water bowl where he made quite a splash.

He loved to be brushed,

and his fur was so lush.

His loud voice in the morning was my alarm clock,

Losing him is still a shock.

But he’s out of pain now on Rainbow Bridge waiting for me

with my other special cats who one day I will see.

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Posted in Authors, Monday blogs, Writing

Indie Author Day at the Bellmore Memorial Library

It was my pleasure to attend the Indie Author Day at the Bellmore Memorial Library on Saturday, October 14.  The day consisted of speakers, panelists, and authors who interacted with the local community. There was also publishing workshop videos streaming in the Meeting Room throughout the event.

The morning schedule included presentations by three speakers in the library’s community room outside of which snacks, water, and handouts were provided. The first speaker, Dina Santorelli, author of thriller and suspense novels who earned a degree in Creative Writing from Hofstra University, spoke about her experience as a self-published author and her success with her book, Baby Grand.  Santorelli explained how she made the decision to self-publish after having signed with an agent and attempting to sell her book to a traditional publisher. She chose to go the Indie author route to have more control over the production and marketing of her book. Although she had to invest her own money in cover designers and editors, Santorelli was able to sell 100 copies of her book in the first month after it was released and has currently sold tens of thousands of books. She described some misconceptions about self-publishing and explained how most sales of books today are from Amazon eBooks. She said that social  media, particularly twitter, is of utmost importance to authors for them to be discovered by a world-wide audience.

The second speaker was Ellen Meister, author of Dorothy Parker Drank Here, Farewell Dorothy Parker, and other contemporary works. Meister gave suggestions on how to hook a literary agent. She pointed out the advantages of signing with one and gave an overview of what agents did for authors. She also offered tips on what authors should do before they query an agent including the type of research about the agent they should do and where to find the information. She then described the parts of the query letter and what happens if an agent is interested in an author’s query.

The final speaker of the morning was Jan Kardys, literary agent and founder of the Unicorn Writers Conference whose experience working with a large number of traditional publishing houses allowed her to offer her clients creative and unique opportunities to attract a large publisher. She gave examples of how she helped one of her clients build a platform and a brand for herself. She also stressed the importance of social media especially Facebook and Linkedin. She discussed popular resources for writers to help them locate information about agents and publishers, and she also spoke about the importance of copyrighting one’s work. She recommended meetup groups and networking with other writers.

Following a brief break, the program continued with panels of local authors on topics that included, “Telling Our Stories and Those of Others;” “Writing Fiction,” and “Writing for Children.”

Me with my friend and fellow author, Lisa Diaz Meyer, in Author Alley at the Bellmore Memorial Library

In addition to the speakers and panelists, other authors sold their books at tables on the main floor of the library in “Author’s Alley.” There were also giveaways and raffles, and the community had a chance to speak directly to local authors about their unique experiences whether they self-published, published with a small Indie publisher, or published traditionally with a larger publisher.

Me standing by my poster behind my table at the Indie Author Fair. I enjoyed chatting with readers and other local authors attending the event.

The Reference Librarian who helped organize the Bellmore Library’s first ever Indie Author event was Martha DiVittorio. She did a wonderful job selecting speakers, panelists, and local authors. The event was well attended, informative, and a great success.

Posted in Cats, Monday blogs

Take Your Cat to the Vet Day – Better Late Than Never

I had meant to post this on National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day which was August 22nd. However, just like taking your cat for a checkup, I thought it would be best to post this late than never. Part of the reason it took me so long to share the following press release and accompanying graphic is that my own 17-year old cat, Oliver, has been ill. After his annual exam and blood work, we learned that his kidneys have deteriorated since last year. Although I was upset to hear this news and even canceled our family vacation to stay home and care for him, I was glad to learn of this problem because, like most cats, Oliver hid it well. Now that I am aware of his condition, I can take measures to at least slow down his kidney disease (renal disease is a chronic condition and is common in aging cats) with a prescription diet and lots of water. He is already enjoying his new Catit Flower Fountain and, while he doesn’t eat his Royal Canin renal support cat food exclusively, he is eating some of it on a regular basis.

Even if you didn’t participate in National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day, it’s not too late. I am happy to finally share information about this important call to action to owners and lovers of felines everywhere.

CARRIE ANN INABA JOINS ROYAL CANIN TO RALLY CAT OWNERS TO SEE THE VET THIS YEAR

AS PART OF A NATIONAL TAKE YOUR CAT TO THE VET DAY CAMPAIGN
More than half of owners do not take their cat to vet for regular checkups 

ST. CHARLES, Mo., (August 3, 2017) – No one can question our love of cats (and cat memes), but that love isn’t translating into visits to the vet. While 92 percent of cat owners agree that their cat’s health is important to them, only 41 percent take their cat to the vet for regular checkups, according to a new survey from Royal Canin, a pet nutrition company.[1] In fact, only one cat is seen by a veterinarian for every five dogs, despite the fact that 10 million more cats are owned in the United States.[2]

“We know our cats are smart and expressive, never hesitating to let us know how they feel about every situation,” joked Carrie Ann Inaba, choreographer, host, owner of three cats and founder of The Animal Project Foundation. “So it may be easy to forget that they cannot always communicate to us about their hidden health issues. That’s why I’m proud to partner with Royal Canin this year for National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day on August 22 to encourage cat owners everywhere to take time to support your cat’s health.”

Joining the brand in urging more attention to preventive veterinary care for cats are the American Association of Feline PractitionersCATalyst CouncilThe International Cat Association and the Cat Fanciers’ Association.


To help cat lovers everywhere get involved in National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day, Royal Canin is asking cat owners to share a photo of their beloved feline and/or tips to a successful, stress-free vet visit, using the hashtag #Cat2VetDay. For every share, Royal Canin will donate $5* to Frankie’s Friends.

“Our goal with this year’s program is to rally cat owners, veterinarians, industry partners and even celebrities together to shine the spotlight on the importance of veterinary care for cats,” explained Kamie Eckert, president of Royal Canin USA. “While the gap in preventive veterinary care between dogs and cats in the U.S. continues to be a concern, the great news is that it can be addressed.”

Veterinary visits should not be limited to treating an illness or pain. Preventive care through annual or semi-annual visits is critical to a cat’s overall health and well-being. Veterinarians can learn important details about a cat’s medical history and behaviors, monitor body weight, ensure vaccinations are current and discuss nutrition, the number one topic cat owners are interested in talking to a vet about, according to Royal Canin’s survey. Royal Canin offers nutrition options for every stage of a cat’s age, lifestyle, and breed, which are essential to protecting the health and well-being of every cat.

“Cats provide us with much more than companionship,” said Jane Brunt, DVM, Executive Director of the CATalyst Council and owner of Cat Hospital at Towson in Maryland. “Their natural curiosity and playfulness make us laugh. And even though they express their love with purrs, meows, and rubs, they are very good at hiding when they’re sick or in pain. This is why it is so important to take your cat to the veterinarian for routine wellness exams: to help reveal possible masked ailments and to make informed decisions about care that may prevent issues before they occur.”

In an effort to increase the frequency of preventive visits to the veterinarian by cat owners, Royal Canin sought to better understand why the number of veterinary visits for cats has fallen by 30 percent since 2001.[3] Some of the eye-opening findings include:

  • 68 percent of cat owners feel that cats are healthier than dogs.
  • When asked why cat owners don’t take their cat to the vet more often, financial burden is the primary reason (40 percent), while 31 percent of people responded it’s because they believe their cat doesn’t need to go.
  • Two-thirds (66 percent) say they would take their cat more often to the vet if it was easier to do so.
  • Men are actually more likely to be found at the vet’s office than women. Thirty-four percent of male cat owners visit the vet more than once per year, compared to just one in four women (26 percent).

The survey also revealed a major barrier for cat owners is the stigma associated with taking time away from work to care for pets. Seventy percent of people wish their employers would give them time off to care for their pets. So it’s not surprising to learn that more than half (55 percent) would consider telling a white lie to their boss about why they had to miss work if the reason was related to their cat.

“Employers play a critical role in creating an environment that supports responsible pet ownership,” said Eckert. “And your employees will appreciate it if you make this part of your company’s perks. We found that 71 percent of people have a more favorable opinion of their employers who offer pet-related incentives. It’s just one reason we continue to explore programs that allow our associates to use paid time off to assist in caring for their pet.”

According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, there are several things cat owners can do to make visits to the veterinarian more stress-free:

  • Understand your cat’s behavior. The veterinarian’s office is unfamiliar and has sights, sounds, and smells that can cause your cat to feel anxious or fearful. Cover their carrier with a towel to help block the sight of other animals and dampen the unfamiliar sounds. Respect your cat’s need for time to acclimate to the new environment.
  • Help your cat become comfortable with the carrier. Place the carrier in a room at home where your cat most of their time and equip it with familiar soft bedding as well as special toys.
  • Get the best carrier for your cat. Secure, stable, hard-sided carriers that open from the top and the front, and can also be taken apart in the middle, are best for your cat.
  • Take your cat to a Cat Friendly Practice®. These veterinary practices have made specific changes to decrease the stress and provide a more calming environment for you and your cat.
  • Keep peace in a multi-cat household. Leave the returning cat in the carrier for a few minutes to see how all your cats react to unfamiliar smells, and separate if there are signs of tension.

For more information and tips on stress-free vet visits for cat owners and cats or to learn more about Royal Canin visit www.royalcanin.com/Cat2VetDay. You can also join the conversation on social media by using hashtag #Cat2VetDay.


ABOUT Royal Canin USA

Royal Canin USA is a leader in science-based cat and dog health nutrition. Founded by a veterinarian in 1968, Royal Canin has more than 40 years of experience in delivering individualized nutritional solutions. In collaboration with an expert team of nutritionists, breeders and veterinarians from around the world, Royal Canin places cats and dogs at the central point of the innovation process. The Royal Canin product line offers a range of diets based on size, age, breed, lifestyle and therapeutic requirements. Royal Canin diets are available at veterinary hospitals and pet specialty stores nationwide. Royal Canin is a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated. To learn more about Royal Canin, visit www.royalcanin.com and “LIKE” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/royalcanin.us.

ABOUT American Association of Feline Practitioners
The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) improves the health and welfare of cats by supporting high standards of practice, continuing education and scientific investigation. The AAFP has a long-standing reputation and track record in the veterinary community for facilitating high standards of practice and publishes guidelines for practice excellence which are available to veterinarians at the AAFP website. Over the years, the AAFP has encouraged veterinarians to continuously re-evaluate preconceived notions of practice strategies in an effort to advance the quality of feline medicine practiced. Launched in 2012, the Cat Friendly Practice®(CFP) program was created to improve the treatment, handling, and overall healthcare provided to cats. Its purpose is to equip veterinary practices with the tools and resources to reduce stress associated with the visit and elevate the standard of care provided to cats. Find more information at www.catvets.com.

ABOUT CATalyst Council

The CATalyst Council brings together people and organizations to transform the health, welfare and value of companion cats. By fostering connections and collaboration throughout the pet industry, animal care, and animal welfare organizations, the CATalyst Council seeks to make a tangible and positive impact on the health and wellbeing of our feline family members. The CATalyst Council strives toward a future where cats are appreciated, loved, and well cared for, and the human-feline bond is celebrated. More information about the CATalyst Council is available at www.catalystcouncil.org.

ABOUT Frankie’s Friends

Founded in 1999, Frankie’s Friends is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to finding cures and saving pets with cancer and other life-threatening conditions. Frankie’s Friends’ primary goal is to provide lifesaving and life-enhancing emergency or specialty care for pets whose families cannot afford the full cost of treatment. Frankie’s Friends is unique in the world of pet welfare organizations as it works to provide a supportive hand to families in the months and years after they bring that new pet home. We have all been there, rushing our pet to the emergency room with a life-threatening condition. For many, the cost of the care is beyond reach. That is where Frankie’s Friends comes in to help. Frankie’s Friends assists families who demonstrate substantial financial need and whose pets, with treatment, have a good prognosis for return to a good quality of life. To learn more visitwww.frankiesfriends.org.

ABOUT The International Cat Association

TICAÒ, The International Cat AssociationÒ is the world’s largest genetic registry of pedigreed and household pet cats, the first and now the world’s largest–registry to allow household cats of unknown ancestry to compete for the same titles and awards as pedigreed cats. The responsible breeding of pedigreed cats preserves the distinct characteristics of individual pedigreed breeds and ensures the continuation of predictable physical and behavioral traits for future generations. TICA and its members work together to promote the preservation of pedigreed cats and the health and welfare of ALL domestic cats through education, responsible cat ownership, and proper care to the owners of millions of cats in 104 countries worldwide. TICA currently recognizes 71 breeds of cats. Wherever you are, you’re in TICA’s World. Fabulous felines, fun, and friendships. To learn about TICAwww.tica.org.

ABOUT Cat Fanciers’ Association

The Cat Fanciers’ Association, Inc. (CFA) was founded in 1906 as a not-for-profit association of member clubs and is the world’s largest registry of pedigreed cats. CFA’s mission is to preserve and promote the pedigreed breeds of cats and to enhance the well-being of ALL cats. CFA promotes education, responsible cat ownership and proper care to the owners of millions of cats worldwide. CFA and its affiliate clubs work nationally with local shelters to help humanely reduce homeless and feral cat populations and to encourage voluntary neuter/spay of pet cats. To learn more about the Cat Fanciers’ Association, the pedigreed breeds of cats, or to find the nearest CFA cat show, visit the web site at www.cfa.org.

Contact:
Marissa Eifert, FleishmanHillard – Marissa.Eifert@fleishman.com, 314-982-1739

Also, check out this article about how pets improve your health: https://www.positivehealthwellness.com/fitness/need-know-pets-improving-health/

Posted in Books, Monday blogs

My Author Talk at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library

On Thursday night, June 22, I presented an author talk at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library on Long Island. The program, sponsored by their Friends of the Library group, was part of their summer reading events. It was my eighth library appearance, and I will be speaking again at my home library, Hicksville, on August 18.

After being introduced by Jeannine Sharkey, a librarian at Plainview, I further introduced myself and spoke about how I started writing, my books including my Cobble Cove mystery series that include A Stone’s Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and my latest, Written in Stone, published April 2017 by Solstice Publishing.

The Lawrence C. Lobaugh, Jr. Memorial Award for Journalism Award I received for my writing on the Post Pioneer.

I explained that since I was a young girl, I’d always loved reading, writing, telling stories, and cats. My love of books brought me to the field of librarianship in which I’ve worked for 25 years. My love of cats started me writing articles for pet magazines such as Cat Fancy after I graduated from the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island where I majored in English and Library and Information Science and also wrote for the student newspaper, The Pioneer, for which I received a journalism award for my feature writing.

I shared the history of my first published story and novel. My first published story was a mystery in the Cat Crimes Through Time anthology called Stitches in Time and was a time travel tale that involved Betsy Ross’s cat. In 2008, I self-published Cloudy Rainbow, my first novel, that was a romance with some paranormal elements and a cat named after my beloved Floppy who passed away that year at 15.

After Cloudy Rainbow, I told the audience that I stopped writing for a time while my daughter was young and I focused on my full-time library position. In 2015, after a patron who’d read my book persuaded me to write another, I took advantage of my library’s new Gale Courses online database to take several publishing courses and ease my way back into writing. Two months later, writing in the early morning before work, I had completed the first draft of what was to become the first Cobble Cove mystery, A Stone’s Throw. I sold that book to a small publisher, Limitless Publishing, and it was published in November 2015.

Not initially intending A Stone’s Throw to become a series or a cozy mystery, I decided to continue the story of a librarian, Alicia and a newspaper reporter, John McKinney, in the small, fictional upstate town of Cobble Cove, New York with a second book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place. I changed publishers at this time to Solstice Publishing who now have published the three books in the series and also several of my short stories in anthologies of various genres including fantasy, science fiction, horror, and romance.

In February 2017, I related that I also published a romantic comedy novella, When Jack Trumps Ace, and my story, Saving Snow White, appears in the latest anthology from Solstice, That Summer Day, that was published just a few days before my talk on June 21.

I pointed out that all my books and stories include at least one cat and sometimes a dog. The Cobble Cove mysteries feature a Siamese library cat, Sneaky, and Fido, a golden retriever.  The audience found it amusing when I explained that Sneaky has his own blog where he “scoops the shelves of cat litterature” and where he has interviewed a variety of other cat characters. His blog can be found at https://sneakylibrarycat.wordpress.com. I also created a Facebook group called Cobble Cove Character Chat that is hosted by a different character from the series each month and where group members can enter a monthly contest for prizes that range from Amazon gift certificates to copies of books.

Although I had some technical difficulties with my Powerpoint slideshow, I was able to display some of my book covers and the newspaper articles that were written upon their releases. I also read some excerpts from my mysteries and the blurbs of my stories. In addition, I played the book trailers, short clips, to each of the Cobble Cove novels.

I ended my talk with information about my future publishing plans. I am currently querying agents for my psychological thriller, Sea Scope, and have completed a standalone mystery, Reason to Die, that I hope to edit and submit for publication in a few months. I may also start the fourth Cobble Cove mystery soon.

When I asked for audience questions, one guest wanted to know why I like cats so much. I explained that I like other animals but am especially fond of cats because they have unique natures, are quite intelligent, and can intuitively sense when you are sad and need comforting. I am far from alone in this interest for felines, as they are often characters in books, art, and online videos that go viral.

The evening wrapped up with a raffle for an autographed copy of Written in Stone. The winner posed for a photo with me.

Posted in Monday blogs

The Best Day Trips Can be Booked with a Library Card

Jericho and Hicksville Library staff and patrons that went on the “Long Island by Land and Sea tour” conducted by Carole Lucca (Photo by Vladimir Reyes)

I recently took a library trip called “Long Island by Land and Sea.” While the itinerary included locations within a two hour’s drive, I and my fellow travelers visited a variety of places including the Peconic River Herb Farm and the Raphael Winery. The final stop was a lighthouse tour aboard the Peconic Star Express out of Greenport. There was also time for a bit of shopping and lunch in between.

Our tour guide on the trip was Carole Lucca of All Around Long Island Tours. I was not surprised at how informative and friendly she was because I had gone on a previous library tour that she led to the Hamptons. Some of the interesting tidbits she shared included the fact that Suffolk County has ten townships while Nassau County only has three along with two cities – Glen Cove and Long Beach. We traveled through both Brookhaven Township and Riverhead Township during the trip.  She also pointed out that Martha Clara Vineyards was owned by the Entenmann’s of the famous bakery.

The gift shop at the Peconic River Herb Farm includes a variety of gardening and souvenir merchandise
My friend and library co-worker Teresa and I in front of the Peconic River.

We arrived at the Peconic River Herb Farm in the late morning. The sun was shining, and it was the perfect temperature for a relaxing stroll around this lovely garden center. After picking up a few souvenirs in the quaint gift shop, many of us meandered down to the river where we took photos by the water.

Seating that overlooks the Raphael Winery’s vineyard.
Our group sampled four wines with cheese and bread.

A short drive away was the Raphael Winery where we were treated to tastings of four wines on their comfortable patio overlooking the grape vines. Along with our drinks, we were served bread and samples of cheese. While we partook of the refreshments, the winery’s owner, Julie Petrocelli Vergari, filled us in on the history of the winery and winemaking. She explained that Raphael was family-owned and spoke about the process of turning grapes into wine and the fact that Long Island wines have a lower alcohol level than California wines because of the lesser number of sunny days during the year. Afterward, guests were invited to shop at Raphael’s gift shop or purchase their own bottle of wine at a tour discount.

Me standing by the Peconic Star Express before our lighthouse tour.

Following our pleasant time at the winery, we headed to Greenport where we were to board the Peconic Star Express for our lighthouse tour. Before boarding the ship, we took a break for lunch. A few people including myself chose to eat at Claudio’s a well-known restaurant in town not far from the dock and then walk through the village for some shopping.

The first lighthouse we viewed was the Long Beach Bar Lighthouse, more commonly known as “Bug Lighthouse.” (photos by Vladimir Reyes)

The day had turned overcast when we met by the dock to start our lighthouse tour and; although it was cold on the water, passengers had an option to stay inside and just go out on deck or aboveboard for photos when we passed the lighthouses. The first lighthouse we saw was the Long Beach Bar Lighthouse, commonly known as Bug Light. According to our Captain, this offshore lighthouse can be toured by appointment and is automated so does not have a keeper. Our next stop was the Orient Point Lighthouse which is also unmanned and is currently for sale for around $250,000. The captain told us we were in a dangerous body of water because of the rocks in the area.

The Fire Island Lighthouse

When we arrived at the Fire Island Lighthouse near Plum Island, our captain informed us that it played a role in the first battle of the Revolutionary War. This lighthouse includes an oil house next to it and New York City rocks around it.

One of the seals swimming in the water near Race Rock Lighthouse (photo by Vladimir Reyes)

We continued on to Great Gull Island which we learned serves as a nesting area for terns. Race Rock Lighthouse, by Fishers Island,  attracts seals. We were even able to view a few as they poked their heads out of the water near the rocks. Race Rock Light is an active lighthouse noted for its foghorn that sounds 24/7. It is also automated and, like the Orient Point Lighthouse, is also up for sale. The last lighthouse we viewed was Little Gull Lighthouse. We then made our way back to Greenport where photographer  Vladimir Reyes took shots of our group. After dropping off passengers from the Jericho Library, we headed back to the parking area that serves as the drop-off for the Hicksville passengers. It was a long day but a very enjoyable one, and everyone was already talking about signing up for the next trip.

The library group after disembarking from the lighthouse tour. (Photo by Vladimir Reyes)

 

Posted in Conference, Monday blogs

A Librarian and Author’s Day at BookExpo America

It started on a clear Friday morning, the 2nd day of June, as I boarded an early train to Penn Station along with my friend and fellow Long Island author, Lisa Diaz Meyer, and her son and husband who were also on their way to BookExpo in New York City. Lisa was exhibiting her three wonderful dark-fiction collections while I was representing my library. Although, as a librarian and author I’d been to other local library and book-related conferences, this was my first time at BEA.

Lisa Diaz Meyer, my friend and fellow Long Island author, at her booth at BookExpo

Walking through the glass doors of the Javitz Center, I noticed the huge signs of publishers and booksellers such as Simon & Schuster, Ingram, Publisher’s Weekly, etc. People in business attire were walking around with coffee cups and conference schedules, their registration badges hanging around their necks identifying them as librarians, authors, editors, and others involved in the book world. Spanning four floors and including conference rooms, stages, and exhibitor booths, most of the action took place on the main level. That’s where Lisa set up her table with the other Indie authors. She had been exhibiting since Wednesday and planned to remain for BookCon which took over on the weekend.

Meeting Michael Connelly, a fellow member of International Thriller Writers, was the highlight of my day.

When I received my badge for the day, I was interested to see that it advertised Michael Connelly. As a librarian, I was familiar with the appeal of his books to thriller lovers. One of my patrons who once received books at home when she was homebound was a particular fan of his, and I always had a hard time keeping up with her request for his titles. When I learned he would be appearing at a booth that afternoon to sign copies of The Late Show, his latest release, I thought of Mrs. Nelson and knew she would love to receive her own autographed copy of this book. I made a point to attend the signing and, although the line was long, I managed to get the book, meet Michael in person, and even have a photo taken with him. It was the highlight of my day.

During BookExpo, I also attended the library programs that previewed upcoming summer and fall titles. At many of these, I was able to receive advanced reader copies of these popular forthcoming books. Since I order the fiction and mystery titles for my public library, I found these sessions very informative and knew they would help me select the most anticipated novels for my community. In addition, since we are starting an adult summer reading program this year, some of the ARC’s and exhibitor giveaways can be used as door prizes for our closing event.

Besides the signing with Michael Connelly, there were two other pleasantly unexpected events that happened to me at BookExpo. The first was discovering the Librarian’s Lounge, an oasis hidden away in the far corner of the main floor. Sponsored by Publishers Weekly and open only to librarians, this wonderful area featured food and refreshments throughout the day along with authors and book signings. In the morning, there were bagels and spreads with coffee; and, later in the day, a sweet treat of ice cream and cookies for tired librarians in need of a pick-me-up from the long day of walking around the conference center. During this afternoon break, several authors were also present to sign copies of their books.

The second nice surprise was the number of cat items for sale. At a conference for book people, I actually should’ve expected this. I picked up a black cat tote and a shirt as souvenirs and nabbed a free copy of a Grumpy Cat book.

At the close of the conference day, toting twice as many bags as I’d entered with, my friends and I headed to Penn Station for the train back to Long Island. Unfortunately, it was rush hour, no taxis were available, and the conference shuttle was nowhere in sight. We ended up walking, and I was glad I’d taken the advice of my co-workers and director and brought along a rolling suitcase and comfortable shoes. The day was still pleasant, one of the best of the season so far, so the trek to the station was an enjoyable end to a great day.

 

 

Posted in Monday blogs, Solstice Publishing

Teaching the Ins (and Outs) of Indie Publishing

I’m designing a course on Indie Publishing that I hope to teach as an adult education class at my local high school. I spoke to the continuing education program director recently, and she was enthusiastic about adding this type of class to their offerings. This won’t be my first time teaching a course, but my first one teaching a class on this subject. As a librarian, I’ve given small group instruction on various topics involving databases and computers. But now that I’ve had over two years of experience in the Indie Publishing field, I thought I would share that information with my community.

The class will be geared toward publishing with an Indie publisher, although I will briefly cover Indie self-publishing and publishing with a large publisher. The reason I chose to focus on publishing with an Indie Publisher is that I have had experience publishing my own books with two Indie publishers, but I also self-published my first with a self-publishing company. I have not yet published with a large publisher, but I am currently querying agents with one of my manuscripts in the hope of doing so one day.

Below is the blurb for the class and an outline of what I’m proposing. The outline will be developed further as I research and organize the class this summer. If you’re an author, editor, or publisher with knowledge of the Indie field, I welcome your feedback on this post. The class will be scheduled in Fall 2017 as a one and a half hour evening session. If it is well received, I may expand on it or teach multiple sessions next spring. I will have access to an Internet computer on which I plan to show websites and possibly create a photoshop presentation.  I will also distribute handouts.

How to Publish Your Book with an Indie Publisher

Have you written a book but had no luck finding a publisher? Is your manuscript turning “yellow” as you try to figure out what to do with it? Are you considering starting a writing project but afraid of being rejected before you even begin? If your answer to any of these questions is “yes,” you will benefit from taking this course.

Note: This class will only cover fiction writing. Most Indie Publishers are not interested in non-fiction.

Course Outline

  1. What is an Indie Publisher and how do you locate one?
  2. How to submit and query an Indie Publisher
  3. The role of Social Media in Indie Publishing
  4. Signing a Contract with an Indie Publisher
  5. Promoting Your Published Book with an Indie Publisher
  6. Beyond Indie Publishing – A look at Self-publishing and the Big 5 Publishers
  7. Q&A