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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Interview with National Brewing Expert Dick Cantwell on His New Book




Dick Cantwell, a three-time winner of Brewpub of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival® and a renowned brewer, shares his insights on the surging popularity of craft beers in a new book, Brewing Eclectic IPA: Pushing The Boundaries of India Pale Ale (Brewers Publications; June 4, 2018; Hardcover $19.95;176 pages; ISBN: 978-1-938469-46-6). Media Connect is proudly promoting this book to the news media.

Among the most well-respected and experienced craft brewers in the world, Cantwell explores the history, trends, and recipes behind the most popular style of craft beer. He provides scores of tips and methods for the beer-curious to concoct a delectable brew and shares the story of how and why the proliferation of American IPA came to be.

“There’s no mistaking that we are living in the heyday of IPA,” declares Cantwell. “Brewers are using a wide range of ingredients, from cocoa nibs, coffee, fruits, and vegetables, to spices, herbs, and even wood, to push the boundaries of the style.”

Dozens of recipes are contained in Brewing Eclectic IPA, including recipes for IPA with fruits, herbs, spices, coffees, chocolates and other flavorful sources.

“Craft brewers continue pushing the envelope of flavors, adopting new and unusual ingredients that expand the boundaries of classic beer styles while at the same time demonstrating reverence for the beers that have come before them,” writes Cantwell. “This willingness to take risks has driven the growth of craft beer, as people have gradually rediscovered flavor and rejected blandness in their food and drink choices over the past few decades.”
The Brewers Association reports that IPA, the leading craft style, is now the third most popular style of all beers. Brewing Eclectic IPA resourcefully provides a chart that shows how dozens of fruits can be utilized to craft a delicious IPA. It describes how the fruit should be used (i.e. pureed, juiced, and chopped), and shares each fruit’s attributes, and recommends what it can be combined with. Similar charts show a list of vegetables, herbs, botanicals, spices, and a list of chocolate, coffee and tea forms that can be utilized in brewing the perfect IPA.

The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts.
Here’s an interview with Dick Cantwell:
1.   What inspired you to write Brewing Eclectic IPA?
Brewers Publications (BP) contacted me a while back with the idea that BP would publish a series of books on IPA, each devoted to a different style-type. Of all the types available—English, American, Double/Imperial, Session, Black, White and Belgian, I chose Eclectic since it sounded like the most fun, as well as the one best suited to me. I’ve always tried to be an innovative brewer, exploring new ingredients and techniques to make delicious beers, and IPA is most often what I drink. It gave me a chance to do some research on what’s been going on out there, and to develop some new ideas of my own.

2.   What’s the biggest takeaway from the book?
As popular as IPA is, and as much interest as there is in innovation and the kinds of flavor combinations one finds, not just in beer but in cooking and other food products, the opportunity to conceive flavors that go together for both subjective and scientifically quantifiable reasons, this is a book that should appeal not just to brewers but to more general readers as well.

3.   Why do you believe India Pale Ale (IPA) has become the most popular style of craft beer? How is it experiencing a revolution of flavor?
On an awful lot of beer menus, IPAs are the best beer on offer. They provide brewers the opportunity to show their chops—to show that they know what they’re doing in the brewhouse, and that they’re tapped into the latest and most interesting hop varieties available. With all the fruity new hop varieties being grown around the world, whole new styles and sub-styles have emerged, showing off juiciness and interesting combinations with fruit, herbs, wood, and sour aging.

4.   Where do you see additional growth for the beer industry?
It’s really all across the board, from attracting people who haven’t been craft beer drinkers with entry level ales and lagers that offer more flavor and enjoyment than the industrial beers they’re accustomed to, onward to aficionados perennially interested in whatever’s new. That puts pressure on brewers both to remember they’ve got a varied audience for their beers and to keep putting out new beers with new ideas.

5.   In order to differentiate themselves, brewers are introducing and experimenting with additional ingredients and brewing techniques. How do they go about doing that?
A lot of the time it just occurs to them that a particular specialty ingredient lends itself to a certain style: it plays off malt and hops in a way that either harmonizes with the base beer, or surprises the drinker with interpretive contrast. Sometimes a particular hop variety is so reminiscent of a particular fruit or herb that it just cries out to be combined with. Some combinations are just a natural, and others are unnatural—yet delicious.

6.   Could IPA, as the leading craft style, eventually become bigger than American lagers and light lagers?
I’d love to say yes, but I don’t think IPAs are for absolutely everyone. If they were, in fact, I’m not sure there would be enough interesting hops to go around. There’s no question that they’re continuing to grow in popularity, and that the brewers who make those light lagers are getting in on the action with the formerly craft brands they’ve acquired.

7.   Your book shares dozens of recipes from some of the nation’s top brewers. Which are some of your favorites?
At Magnolia we’re gradually brewing some of the recipes to try out on our customers. Hot Guava Monster (a guava habaƱero double IPA) was very popular recently. I love both rosemary and juniper in IPA. The jasmine IPA I brewed at Elysian has always been a favorite of mine, and while as a federal licensee we’re not allowed to make beer with any THC in it from cannabis, we did recently did do an IPA using non-psychoactive cannabis terpenes.

8. In 2004, you received the Brewers Association’s Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing. Tell us a little about that and what you and your fellow winning brewers have accomplished in achieving that honor – and how you rose up to be among the most well-respected and experienced craft brewers of today?
It was a great and unexpected honor to receive Russell’s award in San Diego that year. Looking back on it I feel it’s been something that’s kept me going, innovating and putting it all on the line as my career has developed. And it’s a pretty prestigious group, recognizing the lifetimes of achievement of many of craft brewing’s pioneers and chief inventors. Those who have been given the award are also well-known for sharing everything they know with pretty much anyone who asks for help. It’s how we all got where we are, and it’s one of the open secrets of our industry.

9. Your book is the first one dedicated to India Pale Ales that are brewed and fermented using flavorful ingredients that don’t adhere to the German Reinheitsgebot. Why is that significant?
We are fortunate in the world outside of Germany not to have to worry about the constraints of the Reinheitsegebot. The hoops German brewers have to jump through in order to call what they produce “bier” are incredible, and incredibly arcane. These days, of course, German craft brewers are brewing IPAs and other adventurous styles and risking the opprobrium of having what they make called something else. I think they’ll get over it.

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”

Friday, May 25, 2018

How Do Authors Manage Their Social Media?




The following nine resources should be a big help to you. Most are free; some charge a fee. Check them out to see which one meets your needs on scheduling your posts and managing your level of engagement.

HOOTSUITE

COSCHEDULE

TWUFFER

TWEETDECK

SOCIAL OOMPH

BUFFER

SPROUT SOCIAL

DLVR.IT

IFTTT

POST PLANNER

HUBSPOT SOCIAL INBOX

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Why Your Blog Posts Receive Scant Traffic



Ever wonder why some blog posts draw a lot more traffic than others?

Though there are many, many factors for why one post gets read more than others, one thing is true:  It begins with a strong headline.

If your blog headline is uninteresting, not newsy or controversial, not offering something of value, or void of a key word or phrase that would appeal to your target reader, no one will open up the blog post.  They’ll see the headline and stop there.  No click. No action.  No nothing.

Which headlines will provoke or get one’s attention?

·        Make a promise.
·        Solve a problem or highlight what’s wrong.
·        Declare something big.
·        Ask an inviting question.
·        Reference sex, politics, money, religion, or celebrities.
·        Create intrigue and mystery.
·        State a shocking fact.
·        Share a secret.
·        Expose something.

A good blog won’t get read, shared, or engaged if the headline is dull or lacks impact.  It is just not enough to craft a cool blog or a compelling message – competition for readers has never been greater and people are more distracted than ever.

If your blog headline isn’t a screamer, opt out for one that reads like the front page of a newspaper.

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Interview with author D. Durand Hall



The Memoirs of a Hoodstar: American’s Nightmare- Young, Black & Misunderstood


1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
The state of the African American community inspired me to write this book. Growing up in a single parent home in the inner city created what seemed like insurmountable odds for my personal success. Our community was strife with the same old realities of prostitution, severe drug use, poverty, crime and gangs. We were young, poor, angry and often very desperate for a change. Those factors somehow combined to create a volatile generation of young, black men that would capture the country's attention with nightly news reports of gun and gang violence. From that moment on there was a clear divide between us, the angry young black men, and the rest of society. I wrote this book as an open letter expressing the dreams, failures, pains and successes of this group of men. I wrote this book to show the world these men are not the pariahs of society but the actual sons of the very society that created them. We were not "domestic terrorists" just misguided capitalists who did not see our opportunity in the society in which we lived. We are American fathers, husbands, sons and uncles. Despite what the mass media and the politicians told the world we are actually HUMANS who want for our children the same thing everyone else desired for their families.

2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?
This book is about the human struggle for survival in a world that sees you as marginal, even undesirable. Anyone who relates to the human struggle for survival will be an audience for this book. But more specifically, any person who has personally dealt with the inner-city struggle, the judicial system or the penal system will relate to this story. There are over 2 million Americans in the penal system in this country so not only will they see a story of hope in this book perhaps even their friends and families will see a light of hope from this tale.

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting  thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down?
I hope this book leaves the reader with a sense of hope. Hope for the ones that may not see any sign of hope for their own futures; hope for the son who seems lost in a life of crime and violence; hope for the child who feels he has no chance at a successful life; hope for a community under relentless attack from their own government; hope for the child who does not know his imprisoned parent; hope for the wife who loves a man imprisoned; hope for life.

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
For my fellow authors I offer a few words of wisdom. First, This industry prints MILLIONS books every year from authors of every genre. Your book is only one. Second, the marketing of your project is just as important as the content if you wish to sell books and not just write as a personal hobby. Authors need to allocate a good portion of their resources specifically for marketing to ensure the book reaches its target audience. You may have discovered the cure to cancer but if no one knows about it, know one will benefit. Lastly, it takes a team of good partners to make a book successful. A lot of authors, myself included, are somewhat recluse while creating our woks. It gives us more time to focus and less distraction while in creative mode but you will need the help of good, competent professionals to make your book a successful novel. 

5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
My experience writing this novel has shown me several trends about the book industry. Hard copy print is a dying medium. We live in an information age were information is transmitted in milliseconds. Consumers have become accustomed to reading information from their digital gadgets. The demands for our personal time and the pace in which information is transmitted has altered how we read. Very few people have the time to sit still and read a novel. Now consumers want to read their novels, business books from their iPhones, cell phones, tablets or laptops computers. I see an ever-increasing demand in the eBook market, as well as digital. This is creating a demand for new ways to market books. The old ways of book signings, book shows, etc. are being replaced with mass texts, emails and Facebook live moments. Authors must figure out new ways to reach and interact with their audiences.

6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
Writing this book created a myriad of challenges for me personally. First, since I am a member of the very community I wrote about I struggled with all the emotions that arose while touching on these very sensitive issues. As a child I had family members who struggled with substance abuse so that topic was very personal to me. I grew up poor in the inner city, so I struggled with that issue while writing this book. My family experienced the loss of two family members, both young black males, at the hands of local police officers so that created some unforeseen emotion for me while I wrote this novel. The mass incarceration of millions of young black males created mixed feelings for me. While I understood why society seen the actions and behaviors of these young men as completely unacceptable, I also knew the history and understood the desperation of these men. I was angry yet saddened, if that makes any sense. Lastly, just learning the "business" side of this industry was a challenge. Like most novices I expected to write a book, sell millions of copies, appear on the Jimmy Kimmel show, sell millions of copies and make the NY Times best seller list - all on my first book. Then I learned the reality: this is a business that requires a lot of resources and a lot of personal hustle to succeed. All of my dreams are still possible, but it will take a lot more than just writing a good book. It is a business.

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
We are living in very peculiar times right now in the U.S. Every night we are seeing news reports of conflicts between the races. Every day we see nightly news reports of another innocent victim of police violence. The incarceration rate in the U.S. is higher than any other nation in the world. Why? What is going on with the social fabric of America? Why are these kids so upset they are killing other students in mass shootings at school? What is the appeal of street gangs to our kids? The issues are no longer limited to the inner city. These issues have bled out to our suburban communities all over the country. “Memoirs of a Hoodstar” answers some of these questions for the reader. “Memoirs of a Hoodstar” enlightens the reader to the hopes, dreams, ambitions, disappointments, pains of an entire segment of the population that may not have the attention of the national politicians but certainly has heavy influence over the youth in our society. If we want to understand some of the issues, we must first understand the very people who must deal with them daily. For $20, my book can help the reader understand.

D. Durand Hall is an African American businessman and rehabilitated citizen. During his incarceration, he studied over seven hundred books to understand the legal and cultural ramifications of imprisonment on African American men and their families. As founder and CEO of Urban Multimedia Communications, LLC, he is now committed to creating platforms that inform and promote the minority struggle to the world. For more info, see: www.memoirsofahoodstar.com

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”

An Homage To Bookstores



Independent bookstores are undergoing a happy resurgence and yet they are precariously endangered.  There’s a book that serves as a celebration of independent bookstores everywhere and for all those who love books:  Footnotes From the World’s Greatest Bookstores by Bob Eckstein.

The introduction from Eckstern says it all:

“Bookstores are emotional places both for their patrons and for the employees.  They are built on the sweat and tears of hardworking people, each bookshelf lined with the life work of hundreds of artists.  Each of those books represent endless hours of grind and toil.  Often the bookstore owner and employees are also writers.  Is there a space with more fulfilled or unfulfilled dreams?

“The bookstore is also a hangout, a place of solace, a community center, and a venue for cultural entertainment.  There are many who absolutely live for bookstores and even those who aspire to live in a bookstore, with some bookstores providing a place to sleep in exchange for work.  What other type of store does that?  The relationship between bookstores and their customers is give-and-take, reliant on loyalty and generosity.  Customers work on the honor system and should be applauded-bookstores can be taken advantage of, dispensing free expertise and human contact only to have their place of business used as a catalog for online shopping, or a library, or simply a restroom.  Bookshop owners and employees are a very patient group.”

Eckstein, a New Yorker cartoonist, gathered the untold stories from 75 of the world’s most renowned bookstores – past and present – and provided evocative color illustrations of each shop.  He literally shows a portrait of our lifelong love affair with books and the indie bookshops that sell them to us.  His renderings cherish these sanctuaries for learning, dreaming, escaping – each one a unique, character-filled home to the community it serves.

Some of the stores featured include:
·         Scribner’s Bookstore, NYC, 1913-1989.
·         Strand Book Store, NYC, 1927-Present.
·         Brattle Book Shop, Boston, 1925-Present.
·         Grolier Poetry Book Shop, Cambridge, MA, 1927-Present.
·         Powell’s Books, Portland, Oregon, 1971-Present.
·         Moracan Book Shop, Bethlehem, PA, 1745-Present.
·         Books & Books, South Florida, 1982-Present.
·         Giovanni’s Room, Philadelphia, 1973-Present.

“The real problem with the book business is that smart people have gotten too busy to read,” wrote Garrison Keillor in the foreword.  “You know it’s true.  When my bookstores goes under,  I will at last have time to pick up a book, sit down, and read it for hour after hour.  That’s the good life.  I’ll walk into your bookstore, dear reader, and stand over the fiction table and glance at the waves, read the first paragraphs and the jacket flaps of fifteen novels, pick two, go to the counter, commiserate with you about the sad state of the world, and go home and read.  I look forward to that.”


Book Factoids

·         L. Ron Hubbard is the most published author in history, according to The Guinness Book of World Records.  He released 1,084 books, 29 of which were novels.

·         Is book publishing the domain of women?  An AP survey found that nearly 80% of the novels purchased are by women.  The majority of literary agents, and book editors are women as well. 

·         Robert Byrne, in his 1968 book, Writing Rackets, claimed only 560 of the 182,505 fiction manuscripts submitted to US publishers each year in the late 1960s were accepted.  That’s one out of every 364.

·         A little over 70 years ago – in – 1947 – Doubleday became the largest U.S. Publisher, selling more than 30 million copies annually. Penguin Random House is the largest book publisher today.

·         Authors with 100 million-plus copies sold include James Patterson, J.K. Rowling, Jeffrey Archer, Mary Higgins Clark, Nora Roberts, Anne Rice, Janet Dailey, and E.L. James, among others.

·         There are many one-hit wonders, writers who penned amazing breakthrough books that garnered critical acclaim and great sales figures, but who would never come close to that success again.  Coming to mind are James Redfield (Celestine Prophesy), Charles Frazier (Cold Mountain), James Walter (Bridges of Madison County), and Xavier Hollander (The Happy Hooker).  Why didn’t they repeat their success?


Source:  An Insider’s Guide to Publishing:  Historical Perspectives on the Publishing Business by David Comfort (Writer’s Digest:  2013).

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Interview With The Author Michelle Staubach Grimes




Daughter of NFL Hall-of-Famer Pens Children’s Book On The Pursuit Of Stardom & Meaning Of Friendship


Michelle Staubach Grimes grew up in a household where she saw firsthand how hard work and sacrifice needs to be made to achieve success -- or even stardom. Her dad is a legendary Heisman Trophy winner, a two-time Super Bowl champion, and a member of the National Football League Hall of Fame, Roger Staubach.

In Michelle’s newest book, Pidge Takes the Stage, the second in a children’s book series, our young female hero decides to audition for the school musical along with her canine buddy, Maverick.  Not everyone thinks Pidge can learn to sing or that Maverick can be trained, but Pidge believes.  Through their theatrical escapades, Pidge discovers that singing requires hard work, and that Maverick might not be ready for his stage debut after all. By the end, Pidge understands that being a star is all a matter of perspective, and that unconditional love matters more than fame.

Michelle, who wrote and created the series, joined forces with illustrator Bill DeOre. He enjoyed a 34-year career as a nationally syndicated editorial and sports cartoonist for the Dallas Morning News.

She says she learned all about commitment to hard work from her dad who would tirelessly practice basic fundamentals, even many years into an illustrious career.

The late Pat Conroy, a best-selling author who wrote several acclaimed novels that were turned into Oscar-nominated films, The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini, said this of Michelle’s book:

Where is Pidge? is a book for the ages.  I know of no American writer who didn’t fall in love with language by hearing children’s books read to us by our parents.  Michelle’s book is charming, funny and delightful.  It is so full of family love that you’ll want to buy it for every child you know.  It has the look, feel, and smell of a classic about it.”
                       
1.      Michelle, what inspired you to create a children’s book series? Writing this series evolved for me from years of journaling. Years ago, I began attending the Barbara Bush Foundation Celebration of Reading Event in Dallas, which focuses on the importance of literacy, and I always left inspired to write. That led me to enroll in the SMU Creative Writing Continuing Education Program and I fell in love with creative writing. However, the program was not directed at writing books for children.  After drafting a novel, I began writing the story of Pidge at my kitchen table in a spiral notebook and couldn’t stop. To my surprise, my voice flowed naturally on the pages and I realized it was my core story. And there began my entry into the world of writing for children. I loved writing the first Pidge story and sharing the story with children, so it was natural for me to write a second book and create a series. I am currently writing the third Pidge book and hope to write many more.

2.      In the newest book, Pidge Takes the Stage, what happens to our young heroine? Pidge decides to try out for the school musical, along with her canine buddy Maverick. However, she must learn to sing and to train Maverick. She learns that singing is not easy, and well, Maverick is not a good listener.  In the end, Pidge learns to sing after hard work. But Maverick is a different story. Maverick is a complete disaster at the audition. Pidge realizes that her hard work paid off for her singing, but she must accept and love Maverick for who he is, and that he’s not destined for fame in the theater.

3.      As Pidge discovers being a star requires a lot of hard work, what message do you hope to convey to others? When I share the story with children at schools or book events, I always address the hard work Pidge dedicated to her singing lessons. And I tell the kids – her hard work paid off. She was ultimately granted a role in the school musical.  I talk to the kids about hard work and how I know going to school every day is tough. But that is how we power through life. We have to work hard whether it be at school, in our job, exercising to stay healthy, in our sport, with our musical instrument, etc. – and in the long run the effort will pay off.

4.      The story is also about conquering your fears, reaching for your dreams, trying something new, believing in yourself, not giving up, and being perseverant.  How can parents inculcate such values into their children? First and foremost by example.  We can preach to our kids all day, but they must witness us following our dreams, trying new things, and persevering in tough times.  For example, if our child comes to us and wants to give up – that is the perfect time to talk to him or her about the ramifications of giving up, and then give him or her true-life examples of not giving up.  We, as parents, have to live a fulfilling life if we expect our kids to live a fulfilling life. And that also means that we have to let our children fail.  Maybe after the long talk about not giving up, the child gives up the next day and quits their team. We may not agree with our child, but we also have to let them make their own decisions at the appropriate age and suffer the consequences.

5.      How do we show others love for who they are? We show love for others for who they are by telling them how important they are to us. Simple compliments throughout the day let those we love know we care.  We have to be careful about critiquing or implying we want them to do something different – because then we are not accepting them for who they are.

6.      You teamed up with a nationally syndicated editorial and sports cartoonist Bill De Ore, who worked for the Dallas Morning News for 34 years.  What was it like to collaborate with him? It was fabulous. Since we collaborated, I was able to express to Bill my visions of Pidge, the dog, and certain family members. Then I let him go to work. He would show me his sketches throughout the process and ask my opinion. However, rarely did I suggest any changes. He’s been drawing his entire life and his work is spectacular. I’m blessed that he brought my characters to life just as I imagined.

7.      In Pidge Takes the Stage, the teacher says to her young, eager student:  “But it takes a lot of unspectacular preparation to get spectacular results.”  That’s actually a quote from your dad, the legendary Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Roger Staubach.  Tell us what he meant by that. I asked my dad one day to describe to me what it was like, in the summer, at training camp for the Dallas Cowboys -- and that is the quote he gave me. It really describes life for all of us.  The day-to-day grind for almost anyone is unspectacular – whether you are an athlete, writer, lawyer, painter, etc.  There is a lot of repetition in any type of work. But that repetition can create spectacular results if you work hard. And for my dad the day in day out of training camp was lifting weights, running, learning plays, and throwing the ball over and over. These were all unspectacular activities. But the spectacular results came on game day when he threw a beautiful touchdown pass or when he became the MVP of a Super Bowl.  It’s a great talking point with kids. I often talk to kids about how I know school can be tough and maybe they are struggling with learning to read or write, but with practice, which is unspectacular, they will then get spectacular results.

8.      How can we, as parents, help validate children’s feelings and emotions? We as parents must talk to our children and reaffirm our love for them.  As parents we may not agree or understand their emotions, but to our child it’s their “truth.”  We must listen to our children and not judge. Just because we validate their feelings, doesn’t mean we agree, but it’s very important to the child to know they are loved and their voice matters. And siblings need to care for one another. Siblings must tell their siblings they love them or remember to thank a sibling for help on homework, or whatever it may be.

9.      Your books also contribute to building literacy.  I understand you worked with Barbara Bush’s organization to promote literacy.  What did you learn from her? Where do I start? She was an amazing woman on a mission to increase literacy, and she cared deeply for those who didn’t have access to education. First, she started these fabulous literacy events called the “Celebration of Reading” to raise money for literacy and to educate those who attended the events about the literacy crisis. I began attending the events many years ago in Dallas, and I must admit, I was surprised to learn how many people were illiterate. After the first event, I was a changed person and began working more closely with the Barbara Bush Foundation to increase literacy rates. It’s very important to me to continue to work closely with literacy organizations. Secondly, after attending the “Celebration of Reading” events, I was inspired to follow my dream, to write, which led me to enroll in the SMU Continuing Education Program for Creative Writing.

10.  You teach the power of gratitude in your books.  Why is it such an important value that we need to be reminded of it? Gratitude makes the world a better place. There is so much negativity in the world, and we need to create more positive energy.  It’s so easy to go about our day with our heads down and not even notice those around us, especially those that have made our life better.  We need to keep our heads high and thank those who have made a difference in our lives. And by reminding ourselves daily about all the great things in our life, we in turn are ultimately more at peace, I believe.

For more information, please consult: www.whereispidge.com.
Please note: This author is a client for the public relations firm that I work for.

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource