Sunday, March 30, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
I am very susceptible to outside influences. I think the pioneers had it easy because there were no advertising people to tell them that it wasn’t okay to have dry skin, body odor, and bleeding from the ears. And psychological symptoms are the worst.
Psychology classes in college were really bad for me. I studied agoraphobia and suddenly decided I wasn’t lazy, I was just afraid to leave the house. I found out that I had an inferiority complex … but at least mine was a bigger inferiority complex than anyone else’s. I realized that there was something wrong with me because I didn’t hate my parents. And when I signed up for “Abnormal Psychology”, my family talked me into dropping the class after only one session. Good call there.
But not too long ago, I was reading a psychology book and discovered something that really rang true. It’s called the Impostor Phenomenon. It’s where you think that everything you’ve accomplished is an accident. That your success is just a fluke, and that, at any minute, your house of cards may fall and everyone will see that you’re not really any good at anything. Or they’ll see you in your junior high school underwear – oh wait, I think that’s a different fear.
And so, once again, I’m working on my positive affirmations.
“Christee, good job on that seminar.” My friend patted me on the back. I choked back the urge to say, “You have incredibly low standards.” Instead I nodded and smiled.
A construction worker whistled and I did not immediately look behind me to see whom he was admiring. I just nodded and smiled. (Okay, honestly, behind me was a college student with hair that was too big and a shirt that was too small. But I ignored that fact.)
My mother told me, “Well, your last column was a little better.” I took it for what it was worth, nodded and smiled.
I acknowledged the fact that I can actually know things without having a framed certificate to say that I know them. Just because my degree doesn’t say “BS in Customer Service”, doesn’t mean that I don’t know the right way to treat a guest in my home. Because it doesn’t say “Master of Fine Talking”, doesn’t mean I can’t speak without spitting on someone. And, even though I don’t have a degree in Office Management, I can actually survive an entire day in an office environment without a single call to 911.
And so, I am working to overcome my Impostor Phenomenon. Next week I’ll start working on that restless leg thing.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Today I'm thrilled to be able to present information on an intriguing book. And the neat thing about this book is that its background is equally interesting.
Enter Dee Owen, a delightful woman who has created this legacy to Marjorie Owen, who passed away in 2004. For most people, that would be the end of their publishing dreams. But with Dee's help, Marjorie's dream has taken flight now with the publication of Ladies of Class.
Let's start with the book and the author:
Although her life before working is somewhat sketchy, her career, as a major London department store clothing buyer, was long and interesting. Members of the Royal family were amongst some of her more famous clients. Marjorie found time to write many short stories and four novels ranging from romance to mystery. She did not attempt to publish any of her writings. We can only surmise that she wrote for the joy and did not wish to seek any recognition or fame.
LADIES OF CLASS WRITTEN BY MARJORIE OWEN
Publisher: Vintage Romance Publishing
Release Date: March 15, 2008
Marjorie Grace Patricia Bridget Owen was born on September 11th 1911 in England and endured the bombardment of World War II. As far as we know, she was born out-of-wedlock with an Irish Lord for a father and a Russian princess as her mother.
Marjorie passed away on March 28th 2004, after a very full life, at the age of ninety-three.
How did this book happen?
Mum had told Mike that she had written a couple of stories and let him read them some years ago. She expressed no interest in having them published at that time. He was never aware of the amount that she had written until she passed away.
Mike, being an only child and having no aunts or uncles, is the sole heir to Marjorie’s estate. He discovered the box full of Mum’s writings on clearing her flat in England and took them back to the USA.
As an avid reader Dee (daughter-in-law) became fascinated with Mum’s stories and books. All her writings were hand written on legal size paper or note books and on both sides of the paper. Dee began reading some of the short stories (there are fifty plus).
After reading a few, she was hooked and decided to attempt, the monumental task of transcribing them to computer. Mum’s writing was not the easiest to read, however, Dee had set herself the challenge and was going to follow through.
At first, her husband Mike assisted her with the ‘translation’ of Mum’s hand writing. At times they became frustrated with each other and Mum. After a couple of stories, Dee became an expert, reading Mum’s writing and even improving her own typing skills and speed.
As yet, Dee has not completed the task, with a few more stories to go and two novels, after three years of work. Dee decided to see if her opinion about Mum’s writing skills were correct and began submitting several of the short stories for publishing.
Several of Mum’s stories were accepted for publishing by online magazines and were published without pay. But exposure is important. A small success spurred Dee to try for bigger things. The first book of Mum’s is to be published in March 2008. “Ladies of Class” by Vintage Romance Publishing.
Both Dee and Mike are thrilled and hope that the book will be a success and lead to further books and stories being published. Their blog for Mum’s writings is http://marjo-mumswritings.blogspot.com and website is http://pangirl.tripod.com
In the book Ladies of Class, Richard Hayward’s promotion and move from the big city life to the sleepy town of Burshill, England, has been shattered. Sir John Bury needs a murder solved. Clues take him from Burshill to California, Paris and London and back in time.
As the story progresses the plot thickens. Richard Hayward's reputation as the youngest officer to be promoted to Detective Chief Inspector precedes him. Richard hoped his recent transfer and move to Burshill would allow him a quiet convalescence from a broken leg.
But his peace was soon to be shattered by a phone call from Sir John Bury, the Chief Constable. A murder had been committed that night and Richard's ability to solve crimes, in spite of his unconventional methods, were needed before his duties officially began.
The results of his investigations and travels, in search of clues and answers to the apparently senseless murders are surprising. Several ladies of a particular ‘class’ become part of the inquiry.
As the facts begin to unfold, they not only amaze Richard, himself and the community of Burshill, but extends all the way to the top brass of Scotland Yard. In the face of adversity, Richard manages to outwit the criminal and emerges triumphant.
Laura Clayton’s last day on earth was as ordinary as any other, right up to the few moments before she came to her messy end.
The only unusual thing about it was that she awoke to brilliant sunshine dancing on the bedroom window. March had been a spiteful month, not only coming like a lion but roaring its way through with no let up in the constant rain and lashing gales. It seemed to have no intention of going out like a lamb, but on this Saturday, the 31st, it finally relented.
“I don’t believe it!” Laura said aloud, scrambling into a housecoat and hurrying to look out at the phenomenon. But it was true and everything in the garden, which yesterday had looked dreary and sullen, was nodding and smiling and perking up in the unaccustomed brightness and warmth…
…When Julia opened the door to let her out, she uttered an exclamation. “Good grief, Laura! Look at that!”
To their equal surprise, a dense fog surrounded them, thick and impenetrable as a London pea-souper. Totally unexpected.
"Must have been all that glorious sun we’ve had today,” Laura commented. The lunchtime cloud had soon gone away.
“You can’t go home in this. It’s horrible. Oh, why on earth did George have to get his rotten bronchitis tonight? He’d have escorted you back.”
“Stop clucking, Julia. It’s only a five-minute walk away, for goodness sake. I’m a big girl now and not likely to get lost.”
Julia wasn’t happy about it but Laura insisted; she went off with a cheery “Goodnight,” and was immediately swallowed up in the fog. She kept to the paths which were as familiar to her as her own garden, but she found the silence more eerie than she would have imagined. Even distant traffic noises were hushed and she felt completely isolated in a strange world. She pushed doggedly on and without any trouble found herself turning onto the path, lined with tall trees, which would lead her out almost opposite her own house.
Suddenly, surprisingly, a figure stepped out from behind one of the great horse-chestnuts and stood in front of her. Laura wasn’t of a nervous disposition but she was startled. Then, coming face to face with the apparition, she recognized it.
“Oh, it’s you!” said Laura.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Marjorie Grace Patricia Bridget Owen (1911-2004)
Let's find out a little more background on Dee and how she made Mum's book a reality:
Tell us about yourself – where you are from, how you got started writing, what you do when you are not writing (or anything you want our readers to know)...
Mike's Mum passed away at the grand old age of 93. Mum, Mike and I
are British. However, Mike & I have lived in the United States for
close to twenty five years, Bahamas for two years and are currently
residents of Panama, Central America. Mum loved to visit America
up to her mid eighties, in particular California, Hollywood being one of
her favorite places. As the years went on, Mum found the long
journey from England to USA too much.
Mum wrote for her own pleasure, told no one and never
sort to be published as far as we know. When we found all her
hand written books and stories three years ago, my mission began.
I love to read. And it was a challenge reading, or should I say
translating Mum's handwriting. With Mike's help I 'broke the
code' and began typing all of Mum's works. This lead to Mike asking
me what I was going to do with all of them. So I said, “get them
published.” Simple to say, but not so simple to do especially when
you are not an author and have no clue as to how to do it or
where to start. But here we are ready for Mum's first book
to come out in print and two of her short stories already in
Tell us more about Mum's writings.
Mum has written four books. Two are murder mystery and two
As far as I can tell from all of Mum's writings, she wrote the murder
mystery books from her love of mystery, who done it, and the
challenge of solving the mystery. The romance books might have
been inspired from her own, somewhat tragic romantic life. This
I understand from little snippets of information she would
impart when alive, her only diary, and possible reference in some
of her short stories.
I believe Mum just loved to write and it was a diversion from
her busy work life. Mum was the head buyer of maternity cloths
at a major department store in central London.
So, how are you marketing this book?
Being a novice to the business, I have joined Yahoo book and
promotional groups. I have a blog for Mum's writings and Mike
and I have recently started working on a website. I have hosted
author's book tours on my blog and asked for my links to be put on
blogs and websites.
Do you sell through a website?
That is one of the things I plan to do, once Mike and I have
made the website, which is a learning phase, as all of it is.
Are there more books to come?
Mum's second murder mystery book is a sequel to the first.
If the first sells, I would like for the second to be published.
Depending on the success, I may look into the possibilities
of a 'ghost writer'.
How can we find out more?
Dee, thank you so much for joining us today and for making this wonderful woman's dreams come true. We look forward to seeing more of Mum's writings in the future!
Sunday, March 9, 2008
A humor inventory is the process of reminding yourself of the stuff that’s funny to you. Sort of a spelunking mission to rediscover your sense of humor. Here’s how the process works for me.
First, I read the newspaper. No, not the depressing stuff -- mainly the headlines, unusual stories, and ads. I find headlines that make me giggle like these:
- Blizzard Hits Four States. One is Missing.
- Lawyer to Offer Poor Free Advice
- Grandmother of eight makes hole in one
- Police begin campaign to run down jaywalkers
- Squad helps dog bite victim
- Two sisters reunite after eighteen years at checkout counter
- Something went wrong in jet crash, experts say
Advertising has its own brand of humor:
- Classified ad: Dog, faded brown, three legs, one ear missing, blind left eye, broken tail, recently neutered. Answers to the name Lucky.
- For sale: an antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and large drawers.
- Dinner Special -- Turkey $2.35; Chicken or Beef $2.25; Children $2.00.
- Now is your chance to have your ears pierced and get an extra pair to take home, too.
- We do not tear your clothing with machinery. We do it carefully by hand.
- Tired of cleaning yourself? Let me do it.
- Dog for sale: Eats anything and is fond of children.
- Stock up and save. Limit: one.
- Man, honest. Will take anything.
- Man wanted to work in dynamite factory. Must be willing to travel.
- Illiterate? Write today for free help.
- And now, the Superstore--unequaled in size, unmatched in variety, unrivaled inconvenience.
I often enjoy the acerbic humor of bumper stickers. It’s the mailboxes I take out while reading them that I don’t enjoy:
- As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in schools.
- I still miss my ex-husband, but my aim is getting better.
- My Hockey Mom can beat up your Soccer Mom
- If you can read this, I can slam on my brakes and sue you!
- Chaos. Panic. Disorder. My work here is done.
- Jesus is coming. Everybody look busy.
I also find examples of humor in unexpected places. Like statements taken from medical reports:
- By the time he was admitted, his rapid heart rate had stopped and he was feeling better.
- Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.
- On the second day the knee was better and on the third day it had completely disappeared.
- The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.
- Discharge status: Alive, but without permission.
- The patient has no past history of suicides.
These are the sorts of things that jumpstart my sense of humor. Well, these and a cheap box of wine. But these have fewer calories.