My Life in Review – The Traveling Midori

I have been a member of a group on Facebook for almost a year now. It is a group of people who are enamored with Midoris, and to celebrate the year anniversary of the group and to promote friendship, one of the members came up with the idea of traveling Midoris. The concept behind the group was that there would x number of groups – depending upon the number of interested parties – and each group would have its own hand-made Midori. This Midori would take a year-long trip to be documented by each member of each group as they, in turn hosted the Midori for a week in their lives.

I think the group ended up with approximately ten groups of ten people. These Midoris are traveling worldwide at this very moment, and to me, that is exciting. I am part of the Pioneer Dorian group and I am experiencing my week right now! Each of these Midoris have been hand-crafted by the members of the group and are works of art in their own right. Each person hosting the Midori is encouraged to document their life and add a little of themselves to the book, giving each book its own unique history. It will take a year for each Midori to complete its journey. At that time, the books will be assigned to a new group and begin a new year of travel.

It is very interesting to flip through the pages and see what other’s have chosen to leave of themselves. Some of the participants are artists, some are writers, some lead busy lives, and some lead quiet lives. The journey of each book is also being documented on Instagram with the hashtags #travelingdori #pioneerdorian and others, each representing the name of the group’s Midori. You’ll find us on Twitter and on Facebook in the Traveling Dori group.

This is my story:

I received a package in the mail on Saturday, June 7, 2014. I wasn’t expecting the package as we are not warned ahead of time. It is a surprise for each of us when the Midori will arrive. Even as I opened the envelope, and peered inside, I was still not certain what I was seeing. It was when I pulled out a leather sleeve and looked inside that I realized I was the next recipient of the Pioneer Dorian. As I sat down and began to thumb through the different books, I was taken by surprise by the artistic talents of the person before me. It gave me pause, and I began to picture what I might leave behind for the next person.

Where the person before me was surely a free spirit – drawing and writing in a random fashion – I am not. I shall leave my mark upon the Pioneer Dorian in a much different way – a way that speaks to me, as the next recipient of this piece of history will no doubt do. I will decorate my pages with stickers and washi tape. I will add a ribbon marker to mark my place, pink, as that is my favorite color.

While some are whimsical, I am not. If I contribute art, my mark will be a carefully thought-out Zentangle with precise lines made with intention.

As I turn the pages of this wonderful book, this traveling Midori, I will bring order to it for the short time it is with me – then, I shall send it forward where it will be transformed once again.

I hope you enjoyed the story and enjoy the pictures of the traveling Pioneer Dorian – next stop – Georgia, USA!

Top Ten Best-Ever Healthy Weight-Loss Tips by Elle Eriksson (Media Blitz, Giveaway)

 

 

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Top Ten Best Ever Weight Loss TipsTitle: Top Ten Best-Ever Healthy Weight-Loss Tips

Author: Elle Eriksson, RHN
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 122
Genre: Health and Wellness
Format: Kindle

We all know that being slim does not always mean being healthy. In Top Ten Best-Ever Healthy Weight-Loss Tips, Elle Eriksson offers you sensible, effective ways to shed those unwanted pounds while improving overall health and wellbeing.

Blending personal wisdom with professional training and experience, Elle shares her insight and provides strategies for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Also included in these top ten tips is “a little food for thought” as the author explores some of today’s concerns around food quality and production.

With a variety of options for all body types, Elle guides you toward successful weight loss, using a whole-foods diet and realistic steps to attaining an active, balanced lifestyle. This easy-to-use guide includes a 21-Day Food/Weight/Fitness Journal along with real-life weight-loss success story.

Elle Eriksson, RHN, is a registered holistic nutritionist, nutritional  consultant, urban gardener, and cooking instructor. In her passionate concern for both the planet and animal welfare, she incorporates these issues into her down-to-earth approach to food, health, and weight loss. Elle lives with her family in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Purchase Top Ten Best-Ever Healthy Weight-Loss Tips in these formats:

 
Kindle
Hardcover
Paperback

 

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

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Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour by Donna Huber

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With so many books being completed each day and our there on the market, how do you make sure your book gets out there to your audience? You arrange a book tour, AND who better to help you out than someone who has been blogging and participating and even arranging virtual book tours! Meet Donna Huber, my friend from Girl Who Blogs.

Donna has written a short book on the secrets to being successful with a blog tour. It is a great book and a very informative one. If you have any questions, please comment and Donna will be back to answer them.

Donna was kind enough to write about blog touring. Thanks Donna!

When to Do a Blog Tour

I am part of several author groups and in all of them I’ve seen authors ask when was the best time to run a blog tour for their book. It is a good question to ask since tours can be very time consuming, particularly in the preparations, and if the author hires a company, it can be costly. In truth, a tour can be scheduled whenever.

My one rule for timing a blog tour – have a buy link available. A lot of book buyers are impulse buyers and tours do get books sold. Also, readers who follow tours are seeing a lot of books. You don’t want to rely on their memory to make sales.

While you can do a tour whenever, the type and duration of the tour may vary depending on the author’s objective. Let’s take a look at some times an author might want to do a tour and what kind of tour would work best.

Book Launch

Blog tours as part of the book’s launch is probably the most popular. For indie authors, the launch is flexible, which is great for the author who is planning their own tour. Getting a book ready for publication is a lot of work and can be stressful. If the author is handling their own formatting and submitting their book to retailers, they may not have the time to plan a tour at the same time.

For my ebook, Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour, I went with a soft launch and then followed up with a tour a month later. It gave me time to get my ebook listed at most retailers and time to write up the guest posts. Also, it gave bloggers the opportunity to read the book and get their reviews ready.

I recommend for a book launch to go big and showy. An author will want to have a great giveaway prize and line up at least a few big bloggers. A 15 – 21 stop tour works best for book launches.todolist

Sale Events and Holidays

Pairing a tour with a holiday or special promotion can boost sales. The tour doesn’t have to be long or overly involved. If the author is short on time, an excerpt tour would be a great idea. It saves time because guest posts and interviews aren’t required, though providing a few “extra goodies” does help. For an example of an excerpt tour, check out the one I organized for Terri Morgan’s Playing the Genetic Lottery (http://www.girl-who-reads.com/2013/02/free-ebook-excerpt-tour.html)

Introducing the Next Book

For authors who write series they often go with cover reveals for introducing the next book coming out. While cover reveals are easy for the author, bloggers and readers are growing tired of them. A new angle needs to be found. I recommend a short tour for the previous books in the series that also reveals the cover of the next book. While picking up a few reviews, the tour should focus on guest posts, interviews, and excerpts. Look for bloggers who have already reviewed the book(s) to take part. A good giveaway for this kind of tour is previous books in the series.

billboardA tour can be a great way to promote a book. A blog tour can be done any time, but authors should take care to allow enough time for proper planning. Also, continually touring, even virtually, grows tiring for both the author and the reader. To avoid tour burnout, reserve blog tours for events. Instead, schedule 2 – 3 blog appearances each month to keep your name in front of readers.

Purchase Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour on Amazon:

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She's b-a-c-k…from life's distractions, family drama, medical appointments, and shopping

I’ve been kind of missing in action lately, but I’m back. Hope there is someone out there that noticed, after all, we all like to know we’ve been missed.

My husband has been suffering with a neck injury with different diagnosis coming in from a chiropractor, a PCP, a doctor of physical medicine, and now a physical therapist. One was insistent that cracking the neck and back was going to fix it. While I didn’t agree with the method, I was willing to support my husband’s choice to try non-evasive first (although in my opinion, that constitutes evasive). With that treatment ending and the symptoms worsening, we then took it to the next level and medical doctors. We know there is arthritis in his neck, but none of this was explaining the numbness and pain radiating down his arm.

After x-rays and an MRI, we are now in physical therapy and at least things are beginning to make sense. The therapist was able to isolate the nerve causing the pain and some interesting things have begun to happen. Hopefully, improvements will follow. Seems between the two of us, we’ve been making a few too many trips into New Orleans to Ochsner.

Physical therapy is proving to be quite the interesting journey. Luckily, we found a wonderful therapist who doesn’t mind being asked questions and explaining everything going on. I have been known to irritate even the nicest of doctors with my questions. I never left the “why” stage behind. She would do something and I’d ask what she was doing, why she was doing it, and what she hoped the outcome would be. I was very impressed because she is very open with us. She is also confident that the nerve is not permanently damaged and she can restore what has been damaged through treatment. After three months of horrible pain, it is nice to see Hubby finding some relief. The physical therapist also uses dry needling and that is interesting.

I only have one comment. If that is how women act when they are PMSing, geez, no wonder we get on everyone’s last nerve!

Our latest trip into New Orleans this week was for follow-up blood work and an ultra-sound for me. The numbers having to do with my liver and gall bladder were elevated. I have two rare blood disorders and have blood work done every six months to monitor my elevated red cell count and platelet count. Those numbers are elevated, but within the same high range they have been for a year. I have to admit that if I get another tech that hurts me the way this one did, I’m calling for someone new. I have a huge bruise on my arm. She stuck me and then moved the needle around for a while (which, by the way I could feel) before she managed to hit the vein. I don’t watch, but I could feel it and it hurt. I told Hubby he needs to be my advocate next time and instead of watching, needs to stop them. He said had she moved it one more time, he had decided that he was going to stop her and call for someone new.

On the bright side, I did a little shopping this month and bought some cool stuff. I’ll be sharing those goodies throughout the week. First up are my little books from May Designs. I have recently returned to journaling and a pretty book is always enticing and I love these. I also have one for the Facebook group 360/30. The group gives a month’s worth of thought-provoking prompts at the beginning of each month. And I use the third for my medical records.

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Don’t you just love them?

 

And where do you put such pretty little books? Well – in a pretty little pouch. I found these cute Hadaki bags on-line. It came in a set of two, one of which was the perfect size for my little books, along with a pretty colored pen for each book. You’ll come to notice I’m more than a little obsessed with pretty pouches. I have amassed quite a collection through the years and I love mixing them up and using them for different purposes. One can never have too much pretty pretty.

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I even received a cute pink lollipop!
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I decided to leave the pretty green ribbon that held them together. I cut it and tied a piece to each zipper.
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The colors are so bright and cheerful.
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I even used the pretty pink envelope that came inside. I hole punched it to fit my planner and then used one of my Martha Stewart punches to make the cute top design, then added stickers.
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Even the inside lining is pretty.

I recently found a couple of shopping apps and I’ve been trying them out. You receive a list of items each week and if you purchase any of them, you can earn money back. It isn’t always items I use, but I’ve managed to rack up about $4 for just buying what I already buy. One is Checkout 51 and the second is Ibotta. I think they are available for both iPhone and Android.

I also use Grocery IQ as my grocery list app. It is connected with Coupon.com and I was able to utilize a few coupons there as well. One was for antiperspirants. It’s no secret that I love my Secret – unscented that is. When I sweat I do not want to smell like baby powder sweat, or citrus sweat. Anyone else with me? Well, being Southern I suspect that if I am invited on a picnic – and sweat – those in attendance will sniffing the air to see who smells like the Ambrosia (with a twist of sweat.) My new deodorant, thanks to a coupon, is Secret Citrus (I kid you not!) I truly just do NOT want to smell like something when I sweat. The best case scenario would be to not smell, but do you really want to smell like Spring – with a touch of sweat? Who thinks up these fragrances? We truly need to have a sit down with them – and soon.

We had a little family drama this week as well. If you follow my blog, you know that I adore my German shepherds. Ryka never darts out in front of the truck when we come through the gate, but this time she did. I had just closed one gate after Hubby came through and was starting to close the second when I looked up and saw Ryka start to cross in front of him. It happened so fast. The truck bumper hit and flipped her and then she rolled to a stop as Hubby did, right against the tire.

I did what any good Southern lady would do. I let out a blood curdling scream. Jamie Curtis in Halloween doesn’t have anything on me! I think I frightened Ryka more than getting hit by the truck did, but thankfully, she got up and walked away. I still shudder when I think about it. I was quite upset the entire afternoon and that night I spent about an hour just cuddling and playing and rubbing them before I came inside.

I was always concerned about Calypso because she insists on running down the drive in front of the truck and escorting us to the garage. Before the truck, we had a suburban and we could at least see her ears as she galloped along. The truck is so high, she would have to be a horse to be seen. Ryka always lagged behind and this was completely out of character for her. As they say, “All’s good in Hollywood,” at least momentarily.

There were loads more adventures and family drama this week, but I’ll save that for another day. As always, thanks for taking the time to visit here and I wish you a wonderful weekend. I have a book giveaway, so if you love a good romance, be sure and leave a comment there. The book is Waiting on You and the link is: https://mylifeonestoryatatime.com/2014/04/05/waiting-on-you-by-kristan-higgins-review-giveaway/

Thanks for visiting!

 

 

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Stephen Downing is Dead by Dan Goss Anderson (Media Blitz)

cover44712-smallFresh out of law school, Owen didn’t expect that his first case in the territory of Arizona would be a murder trial, where he would be called to defend a Mexican national accused of killing a respected townsperson. Nor did he expect to have such intense feelings for the victim’s wife. Owen’s new neighbors in this new town don’t have much love for their Mexican neighbors, so he’s on his own to prove his client’s innocence. Who really did murder Stephen Downing?

Stephen Downing is Dead is a “whodunit” mystery set in 1905, the final days of the wild western frontier, but the national tensions between Anglos and Mexicans in the border areas will feel familiar to readers today. An early reviewer called it “…an engrossing historical fiction set in Arizona territory beginning in the rough and tumble days of the early 1900’s.”

Dan Goss Anderson is a man of the desert. He grew up mostly in the southwest, and completed a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing at the University of Arizona. In his forties, he enrolled in law school and became a public defender. He now lives in southern Arizona, where he writes fiction and practices law. He is available for guest columns and interviews (I’ve included potential topics and questions at the end of the email.)

Peer Publishing is a small, independent press owned by Anderson and distributed through Ingram Book Distributors.

Book Title: Stephen Downing Is Dead

Author: Dan Goss Anderson

Author Bio:

Dan Goss Anderson grew up mostly in the desert southwest. After a stint in the military, he worked odd jobs until finally returning to school to study creative writing. After completing a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing, Dan went on to teach college writing courses while freelancing for various magazines. In his forties, he once again returned to school, this time to study law, and became a public defender. He now lives in southern Arizona, where he divides his time between fiction writing and the practice of law.

Cover copy:

Territorial Court, Arizona, 1905

Fledgling defense attorney Owen Bartlett understands that this murder trial, against a seasoned prosecutor, is way over his head. Having come west to leave his past behind, he planned to build a new life in this wild, open land. But with only a law degree from the Boston YMCA and no courtroom experience, he has been roped into defending a man accused of murder. Now he faces a jury of ranchers, storekeepers, miners—men with little love for Mexicans like Owen’s client, Miguel Cordero. If he fails, Miguel will hang.

Behind Owen is Miguel’s wife, Gabby, her future too in Owen’s hands. In the rear of the courtroom, the widow Eva Downing listens, her heart in her throat with the secret knowledge that the wrong person has been accused of murdering her husband. She does not yet know, or care, that this young defense attorney from Boston has already fallen for her.

Stephen Downing is Dead follows the trajectory of three intertwined lives, each shaped by the killing of Stephen Downing and by the trial of his accused murderer. It’s the story of the search for a redemption that seems always just out of reach, a tale of cowardice, ambition, and real love at the dawn of the modern American west.

Publish Date: February, 2014 (hardcover); June, 2013 (trade paper and ebook)

Publisher: Peer Publishing

Genre:  Historical Mystery/Fiction

Number of pages: 278

Book Price: Trade Paper $14.95, Hardcover $23.99

ISBN: Hardcover 978-0-9892009-2-9, Trade Paper 978-0-9892009-0-5, eBook 978-0-9892009-1-2

Retail links:

http://www.amazon.com/Stephen-Downing-Dead-Goss-Anderson-ebook/dp/B00D3WHDT8

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stephen-downing-is-dead-dan-goss-anderson/1115464997

http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780989200929

Web links:

https://www.facebook.com/StephenDowningisDead

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18008393-stephen-downing-is-dead

https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/show/id/44712

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40 Bags/40 Days Declutter Charity Challenge

For the last few years, I have participated in a challenge that I first saw introduced by the lovely Sarah over at Clover Lane. It’s called the “40 Bags in 40 Days challenge” and the idea is to rid your home of unneeded and unwanted “stuff” by filling a bag every day during the 40 days of Lent. By the end, you will have donated/sold/tossed 40 BAGS of clutter.

I have to admit that the first year I did this challenge, I was a bit overwhelmed. Sarah suggests writing down 40 different areas of your home that you want to focus on during the challenge, and that was definitely helpful for me. I broke things down into very small categories and even dedicated one day to just cleaning out file drawers {not even my whole desk}. Following that daily plan of one small area at a time made things much more manageable. Also, instead of trying to fill an entire big garbage bag each day, I would focus on grocery size bags for the small projects. In the end, I had collected 21 black garbage bags/boxes and 19 grocery bags of STUFF we didn’t need. Some went into the recycling bin, some went to our garage sale, and some went to charities.

As much as I enjoy the decluttering process of this challenge, I think the part that I love most is finding new charities to contribute to. Having “too much stuff” is a blessing we take for granted sometimes. There are people that would do anything to have shoes without holes, dress clothes appropriate enough for a job interview, pots and pans to make meals at home, toys for their children to play with, glasses to see with, etc. And if we have extras of these things lying around, unused, why not give them to people who need them?! Use this challenge and every day of Lent {regardless of your religion} to give back to your community. To give to people in need. To do something good with all those blessings you take for granted.

This year, I plan to use my 40 Bags/40 Days list a little differently. Instead of listing 40 areas of my home, I am going to list out my 40 “bags” and where they went. I want to be able to look back and see how much I was able to recycle, how much I was able to sell and most importantly…how much I was able to donate to people in need.

Although there are many places that will take most of your items {like AMVETSSalvation Army or Red Cross}, there also some other wonderful charities that are looking for specific items like shoes, dress clothes, eye glasses, plastic toys, etc. Here are links to some charities I have worked with in the past and some I hope to work with again this year:

For gently used shoes: Share Your Soles
For gently worn or new dress clothes: Dress for Success
For old {good condition} eyeglasses: Lions Recycle for Sight
For gently used plastic toys: Second Chance Toys
Used books: Reading Tree
Old cell phones: Cell Phones for Soldiers
Gently worn coats and jackets: Operation Warm

 

I am so excited to get started on this year’s challenge and hopefully get my whole family involved too. And of course, to help you all out with this challenge, here is a free planner printable to help you track your 40 bags/40 Day:

 

Use it to plan out the 40 areas of your home you want to tackle in the challenge, or use it like I am and track your “bags” and where they are going.

Start Spring off right with an organized home, and a full heart 🙂

Download the Large {8.5 x 11} list HERE.
Download the Small {5.5 x 8.5} list HERE.
Download the XSmall {3.75 x 6.75} list HERE.

 

I am reposting this from my friend, Jen, at Polka Dot Posie. (http://www.thepolkadotposie.com/2014/03/40-bags40-days-declutter-charity.html ) Let’s all join in and make the next 40 days count!

Don’t forget to check Southern Charm Planners on Facebook! at https://www.facebook.com/groups/LouisianaPlannerGirls/

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