Annette Langer was interviewed by Kathryn Williams, a Southfield, Michigan writer, who featured a story about Annette in the June 2, 2013 edition of Detroit Healthy Living. In the article, Williams tells Annette’s story and promotes both of her books; Healing through Humor: Change Your Focus, Change Your Life and A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the World: Diary of a Fearless Travel Agent. You can read the article in The Examiner.
Websites. We create them, nurture them, and sometimes want to kill them when something doesn’t work. I was trying to post a California Writers Club “Authors Spotlight” date to my website Events page, but the stupid site kept dropping the date. I tried everything I could think of, but the date just wouldn’t post. I finally gave up and called the dreaded Help Desk. (I hate Tech Support.)
“Please let him speak English,” I whispered to myself while the phone rang. A cheery voice greeted me belonging to Laura in Arizona, the most terrific tech support person I’ve ever encountered. After several attempts, she skillfully resolved the issue. Then I mentioned another problem I had uploading an image to one of my pages. I’d uploaded others successfully but this one just wouldn’t. Laura and I tried several times to capture it but to no avail. Finally, she gave me her e-mail address so I could send her the image to work on locally.
While she scanned my site, she gasped, “Oh, my God!” You wrote Healing through Humor? I was going through some difficult times and someone gave me your book as a gift. It helped me so much! I can’t believe I’m talking to you!”
I thanked her profusely and ended the call, saying I’d give her a super rating on the customer satisfaction survey for the web site host.
After completing and transmitting the survey data, I also e-mailed these survey comments to her: “Laura was beyond wonderful! She stayed with me while I struggled to correct the problems. She patiently answered my questions and resolved every issue. She’s creative and talented, and I think you should give her a raise! You’re so lucky to have her!”
Within minutes, Laura e-mailed back saying, “Thank you so incredibly much for your kind words! Thank you for your book as well! You’ve definitely touched my life. E-mail me anytime you have questions with anything at all! I’d love to help you. Have a wonderful night!”
I love Tech Support!
Annette Langer was featured in an April 26, 2012 CNN iReport for her volunteer work at the Pleasanton Police Department. The article also describes her writing successes and book in progress: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-781423
I was assigned as historian for our Tri-Valley Branch of the California Writers Club. I wondered just how old one had to be to be named “historian” but figured they knew what they were doing. My uncertainty was mollified when I read the job description. The duties were described as “maintaining the archive of documents, programs, licenses, and related materials for a historical record of the club’s activities over time.” A board member assured me there’d be a lot of “wiggle room” for creative input, and that appealed to me.
I reviewed the materials already housed in the one-inch binder. It contained the CWC history, charter, and bylaws. That section was followed by various awards and proclamations received. After that were records of several board meetings as well as copies of our branch’s newsletters, publicity announcements, and meeting highlights.
I thought about the “wiggle room” she’d mentioned, and my brain started storming. Very soon, the monster came to life. It’s a nice monster, though, one whose pages document our membership growth, our events, and our achievements, both individual and as a writers’ club. The one-inch file has now morphed into a heavy 3
My first name is not an especially difficult one to spell, or so I thought. It’s just one “A,” two “N”s, and two “E”s separated by two “T”s. Easy-peasy, right? But believe me, it’s been misspelled as Anita, Antoinette, Antonia, Annetta, and even Arlene. I found out when traveling to Egypt that the hieroglyphic equivalent of my name translates simply to the phonetic “Anet.” Certainly the ancient Egyptians can be forgiven for dropping a vowel or couple of consonants here and there. After all, they built the Pyramids with manual labor, and losing extra baggage along the way easily can be understood.
Perhaps the most blatant misspelling of my name, however, came in the form of a valentine I received from a boy in grade school. It was addressed in a childish scrawl to “Dear Antenna.” While this faux pas occurred more than fifty years ago, I still remember it, and so may your readers.
The lesson to be learned here is this: If something is important enough to send/submit/hope-to-be-published, double-check your facts and triple check your spelling. That’s why staffers’ names are listed in a newspaper or magazine’s masthead. A prospective editor or publisher may just assume your work contains other inaccuracies if you didn’t take the time to verify the spelling of the recipient’s name. It could mean the difference between getting your piece considered for publication and losing the chance entirely.
Happy Valentine’s Day, all the same!
Two CWC Tri-Valley members are off to a great start, celebrating first success of a new year. Patricia Bacon and Annette Langer were published in volume 7 of Fox and Quill, www.foxandquill.com, an online newsletter for writers.
Actually, my only claim to fame in this regard is being the reservationist for the monthly California Writers Club, Tri-Valley Branch meetings. And Catherine Coulter just happens to be the guest speaker for our October 15, 2011, event. Since our meetings are open to the public, my e-mail address is the best way for people to get in touch with me in order to reserve a place for themselves. So, thank you, Catherine and your webmaster, for giving me a plug (well, my e-mail address anyway).
We really do have something in common, though. Quoting from her web site, Catherine “has a reputation for telling jokes, believing the publishing business is too crazy not to laugh.” I wholeheartedly agree. So even though I have absolutely no other connection to Catherine Coulter, it was more than nice to see my name mentioned on the Web site of such a prolific author!
Please make it a point to come by at 1:30pm on October 15 to the Four Points Sheraton in Pleasanton, California, our new meeting site. Don’t forget, the reservation deadline is October 11. Take the opportunity to hear Catherine speak and perhaps buy one of her books (or one of mine. Why not? I’ll be there as well, after all. And publicity is publicity!
My book manuscript was finished finally. Now all I needed was an eye-catching book cover. The perfect choice for Healing through Humor: Change Your Focus, Change Your Life! was an oil painting I’d owned for over 35 years. It pictured a seated clown listening to his own heart with a stethoscope, a medical book open on his lap. I’d simply photograph it and e-mail it to my publisher to use as my cover image. Was I surprised to learn that while I owned the painting, I didn’t own the rights to reproduce it! I’d paid a lot of money for that huge painting. Who sez I can’t use it? Well, copyright law, that’s who.
Nolo.com, the do-it-yourself legal guides creator, advises that, “,any original work – whether text, visual art, photos, or music – is protected by copyright law. You may not reproduce it without permission from the copyright owner. Giving credit or thanks to the copyright owner does not change that; you are not allowed to reprint,the work without the owner’s authorization.”
So I began the search for the elusive artist, Robert Owen, who I was sure was probably dead by now. I checked the Internet but all I could find were sites advertising his paintings with no direct contact information for him. I finally found an art dealer who wrote back with a phone number for the artist’s agent – his daughter. (He’s alive!) After explaining what I needed, she said she’d ask him. A week later she e-mailed me, saying simply “Bob says it’s okay.” I asked what he’d charge, and she responded, “No charge for using the picture – per Bob. Just send two books, one for me and one for my dad.”
I still needed his written permission, of course, but now it’s completely legal!
They say bringing reading material to the hospital helps to fill the days, but I didn’t want to read after my recent spinal surgery. I wanted to write about nurses who administered medications at regular intervals, even waking me during the night to take my sleeping pill. My struggle to untangle my hospital gown from the bazillion tubes connected to me ended suddenly when I stared down at my hand now holding the end of the drainage tube I’d pulled out. My vivid dream about the movie Groundhog Day starred, not Bill Murray, but me. But the details of these adventures escaped my memory like dissipating smoke.
In my lingering stupor, I misdialed several times from the bedside telephone, trying unsuccessfully to remember the phone number for my ride home. I’d forgotten it was stored in my cell phone tucked right inside my purse.
Now home, I wear a cervical collar for six weeks and an electronic bone stimulator for six months to ensure successful disc fusion. It’s impossible to bathe while wearing all that gear. I’d briefly slip off the collar and the pads attached to the bone stimulator while placing a Safeway produce bag over my head on the mornings I didn’t shampoo my hair. Using a shower cap never occurred to me. The drug fog continued.
Trying to keep track of all the meds became another challenge. I’d cut the pills in half because I had a sword swallower’s sore throat at first. But there were so many pill and vitamin halves that they just became a Technicolor blur of half-circles.
This piece seemed so much more organized and interesting when it was still in my head. The lesson here is to not write anything important until your mind clears of the drugs. This isn’t that important.
Jamuna Advani had her submission “Something Happened that Day” published in Story Circle Network in March issue 2011. She has announced her book, Land of the Dancing Deer, is now available at www.lulu.com and www.amazon.com.
Annette Langer has both her books: Healing through Humor: Change Your Focus, Change Your Life! and A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the World now in eBook format on www.Smashwords.com. Her travel story “Cross-Culture or Cross Dressing?” was published in the March issue of www.FoxandQuill.com. Her story “Crime Fighter” has been selected to appear in Chicken Soup of the Soul: Inspirations for the Young at Heart, scheduled for release August 23, 2011.
Nancy O’Connell has a book, Looking for Maji, under contract with Peachtree Publishers.