Category Archives: Digest

Since I Last Posted…

I’ve been busy. Here’s a basic round-up of everything I can remember having published since I last posted here. Which was… whoa. December. Okay. This may take a while.

Magazines:

Working in Your Best Interest: Profile of a local commercial fleet leasing company in Greater Charlotte Biz Magazine. These guys were so very kind–not your typical leasing agency.

Recycling the Human Spirit: LOVE this lady. I want her to join my personal board of advisors, if she can ever slow down for a moment. This is about getting back on her feet and back to business after the devastating loss of her husband. In Greater Charlotte Biz Magazine.

Branching Across Continents: Jimmy Lee’s story is astonishing. From a poor boy in China going without lunch at school, to internationally respected top lumber exporter… and a genuinely nice guy. I can’t say enough good things about him. Read his story–it’s good.

Painting the Town Red: Okay, I didn’t write this one, but I had a hand in making it happen by building a strong PR relationship with the magazine on behalf of my client, Rose Chauffeured Transportation. Oh. And I’m quoted in it several times. The print version was gorgeous, glossy, and photo-filled.

Chauffeur Celebrates 80 Extraordinary Years: Gerry St. Onge is quite the character. And his is quite the story. I wrote most of this as a press release, which was picked up as a story by Limo Digest (so, no byline).

There were other magazine pieces, but not all of them are live online any longer (sad face). Most were in limo/chauffeur industry trade mags, on behalf of my client Rose.

Marketing Content:

Waypoint website. Tony Shannon, one of the partners in this great company, asked me to work with their web developer on the new site. It’s live now and it’s gorgeous! I planned the content structure, wrote most of the copy, and repurposed & revised old copy to fit the new vision. I also wrote those terrific case studies–they were fun! This is a great company and I’m privileged to have worked with them on the project.

Beanstalk Case Studies. On the topic of case studies, I wrote these too. I think it was this year. Geez, I don’t know. Also a really smart, forward-thinking company, with terrific people at the top.

Rose Chauffeured News. I run the blog/news section on this website, so most of what is here (unless it specifies otherwise) is my work. We’ve got more great content coming out soon!

Lewis Farm. I LOVE this family and this farm. I have had the privilege of watching them grow the tourist side of their business tremendously in the past few years, and am proud to have played a role in that. Carey and I set up their website on a very simple WordPress platform a few years ago, and I’ve worked with Cathy Lewis in training her to run the website. I still write much of the static content, though I’m tickled to see that Cathy is starting to keep the blog updated regularly. We’ve added wedding pages, birthday pages, and several other pieces of static content since December, and most of that is my work.

I’ve actually written and published way more marketing content this year than what is listed here. Some of it is covered under client confidentiality agreements, so I won’t post it here, obviously. Some of it is not yet live, as there are many moving parts involved in getting a marketing project off the ground. Some of it is no longer live, as some forms of content are just that ephemeral. Much of it is in the form of downloads and offers that you only access via special email links, or in the form of emails themselves. I’ve written guide books, and white papers, and more case studies. Press releases and direct mail copy, marketing plans, and dozens of blog entries for clients. I hardly realized myself how much I’ve written these six months until I compiled this and looked at how much more there is too.

Edited to add: I’ve also written educational and training materials for my own company. These proprietary materials probably will not ever be publicly available. Still, I’m pretty proud of them. (If you’re a writer or journalist and interested in building your marketing content skills and/or landing more freelance business, get in touch with me. The timing has never been better.)

My Blogs:

Curiosity Cat, Gratitude, and Sharing the Love. I won’t bore you by listing all fifteen entries I’ve posted this year. Just take a look at the latest one if you like, and browse backward if you feel so moved.

Writer for Life and Failing the Test. I started a new blog (because who doesn’t need another blog?) just for writers. Check out the latest post, then the rest if you feel moved to do so. I’ll be writing about my journey as a novelist, as well as posting snippets and videos of my favorite authors giving my favorite writing advice. And probably links to author blogs I like, too.

I’ve also written more than what is represented on my blogs. In particular, I’m 50k+ words into my first novel. Debating whether I will post teeny bits of it on Writer for Life, or keep it close to the chest until it’s done. Regardless, I’m as proud of it, if not prouder, as I am all the things I’ve already published this year. Which is an astonishing amount, now that I look at it. Yay me.

Me Being Awesome and Other Stuff

It’s really hard to get going again. You know the feeling? The longer you go without posting to your blog (writing in your journal, calling your mom, apologizing for a mistake), the harder it gets to pick it back up again. Yes, that. In this case, it’s mostly because there is so MUCH to report. Let me break it down.

On the Internets:

Me pretending I’m a Minoan snake goddess on the Curiosity Cat blog

I wrote about increasing lead capture for BellaTEX on my marketing blog

Uncle Pierce runs a brisk business in captured flies that later supports purchasing the meds he needs to treat his dysentery on POW Diaries

I wrote about trends in business education for GCB magazine (you’ll have to actually open the magazine view and flip through to find it, unfortunately.)

I also wrote a bunch of other stuff for clients. Some of it will show up in my marketing blog over time.

In Business:

I’m putting the finishing touches on a presentation I intend to deliver at rotary clubs and other civic organizations around town. It’s part of my personal marketing push, developing my network and so forth. I’m excited and nervous and also… beginning to wonder if it might be overkill. I’ve got so much already in my business pipeline that I may be near capacity two months from now. Not a bad problem to have.

Gunner:

Gunner Graduation 300x225 Me Being Awesome and Other Stuff
Gunner the Graduate

Gunner graduated from Beginner Obedience class at Petsmart. He did awesome. He knows “sit” “stay” “down” “off” “sit-and-say-please” “touch” (a basic recall command), and “Okay, I’m leaving now” (which he learned all by himself. This command apparently means “dance excitedly to the door, push your way out the door, run to the car, and attempt desperately to influence the course of events to end in “and Gunner’s coming with me.” Can I emphasize enough that he learned this ALL. BY. HIMSELF. I’m certain he’s a doggy genius.)

What he has not yet learned:

 

  • Cats are not toys
  • Neither are ducks
  • Or goats
  • Or small children
  • Or chickens
  • Or squirrels
  • Or Mommy’s favorite pair of heels that she wears to work almost every day and is heartbroken to have to throw away but can’t wear with one heel missing and the toe chewed out

What he has also not yet learned:

  • Running in the woods is really really fun but more fun if you don’t run off and get lost and make someone late for work and come home really really muddy so they never want to take you for off leash runs ever again
  • Other dogs are great playmates but it’s okay not to stop and say hi to every single one you pass in the road
  • Mandarin Chinese

In Other News:

We took up the “can you live on food stamps” challenge and won hands-down. We totally made up the challenge and still won. Actually, *I* made up the challenge and its rules and THEN won it. Sort of. I mean, I did win. But I didn’t *totally* make up the rules. I read about it somewhere, or maybe Carey did. The idea is, folks living on food stamps get the equivalent of $30 (a bit more) a week per person in the family, and the author of whatever it was I read (or Carey did) wondered whether that was a reasonable amount and asked the readers whether they thought they could live on that.

I said yes, and took it upon myself to prove it. It wasn’t that hard, really. I used to do it, years ago when we were poor. In fact, I fed three of us on $35 a week, ten years ago. That’s $35 total, not $35 each. Now, with five in our family, our allowance would be $150 on food stamps.

I’ve been feeding us on $100 a week for two weeks now. And by “I’ve been feeding” I mean I’ve been purchasing super cheap ingredients and Carey’s been cooking.

Okay, so we already had some stuff in our cupboards. And it isn’t exactly fancy fare we’ve had. It’s been chicken and dumplings (with homemade dumplings–flour is cheap), rice and beans, turkey hash, and hot dogs. I wouldn’t want to do it indefinitely. It’s not easy to bypass all the yummy stuff, and it’s hard to squelch that desire for more.

On the other hand, there is something delightful about getting to the cash register with your carefully selected items, and discovering that you have $5 left after paying. What will it be? A gallon of ice cream? A watermelon? A bag of peaches? A treat becomes a treat, a true treat. The actual enjoyment of that watermelon or peach… it’s higher when the fruit is purchased so dearly.

In Yet More News:

Our Internet is very, very spotty at home today and yesterday. Don’t worry, we’re holding up fine. We’ll be okay eventually. It’s just hard right now, you know? The worst of it is that I can’t play my favorite (guilty pleasure) online MPG because I keep getting bumped off the server. So sad. But I’ll survive.

Also, it’s amazing how productive I’ve been today and yesterday. I refuse to believe there is any correlation between the previous paragraph and this one.

Finally, don’t forget to subscribe. Very important. I don’t really know any good reason why you should subscribe but as a marketer I know it’s important to include a call to action so there you go.

(P.S. Above this line is an excellent example of a poorly executed call to action, demonstrating the classic mistake of failing to provide an incentive.)

Subscribe and I’ll mail you  a beautiful unicorn pony, a real one, with feathers.

(P.P.S. Above this line is an excellent example of setting unrealistic expectations, also known as outright lying, and I don’t recommend it.)

Subscribe because I’m funny.

(P.P.P.S. Almost but not quite.)

Subscribe and I’ll send you updates every time I post something fun here.

(P.P.P.P.S. Okay, but no sense of urgency.)

Subscribe tonight and I’ll send you a copy of my never-before-published short story called “Sleeping Panther.”

(P.P.P.P.P.S. And also updates every time I post a new goofy update like this one.)

And also I’ll do a happy dance.

Wait. Subscribe before tomorrow night and I’ll do a happy dance AND VIDEO RECORD IT.

(Notice I did not say whether I would post the video.)

If five people subscribe before tomorrow night I’ll video record it… and post the video here.

(There. That’s not bad. Bring it on.)

Heather Today, June 9 2012 (Updated at the Bottom)

Here is what we did tonight:

Here is what Everett thinks is the epitome of performance art:

Hint: He’s shaking his booty.

Monty & Carey were there too. Monty was reading a book he heard about on NPR. Reading. A novel. That he heard about: On NPR. <3 TOTALLY acceptable excuse to not be dancing. Carey, however, was trying to look inconspicuous and pretending not to know us. I’m not sure why. So all the pictures are of Eli and Everett and me:

Dancing at Rivergate 225x300 Heather Today, June 9 2012 (Updated at the Bottom)
Dancing at Rivergate

What you don’t see here are the various little kids that occasionally joined our dance-a-thon and laughed and talked and showed us new moves, and then later shunned us because their parents told them about “stranger danger” and then they were too scared to look us in the eye. I have lots to say about that, but I’ll just give it a single sentence for now: Use a little common sense, people. Also: Stop scaring the crap out of your kids. Finally: They’ll be safer if they learn to distinguish between “safe” and “unsafe” interactions rather than a blanket “all strangers are dangerous.” Finally: Sigh.

And: Everett spent part of his time playing ball with a family nearby that also had children and a dog, and who were within full view of us at all times, and he is not afraid of strangers and I like it that way. This is the last I’m going to say on the topic (for real): I read this in a parenting magazine today and liked it: “We can’t keep them safe all the time, but we sure can drive them crazy trying.” That.

In other news, Carey and I have now been married for 16 years.

Wedding Party 300x225 Heather Today, June 9 2012 (Updated at the Bottom)
Happy couple--with Rebecca Catalanello, Keli Enzweiler, Julie Head, and Mary Whittemore

We made it this far. And shhhhhhh… I think there’s a good chance we’ll make it the next sixteen, but don’t tell Carey. It’s a surprise.

Also I am so tired I can’t even process much of what is being said to me, so I’m a little worried about what I might have said here tonight. So I’m just going to hit “publish” and then go to bed. Because going to bed first and then hitting “publish” after I’ve had a chance to check my work in the morning when I’m slightly coherent would be quite sensible and also very boring. I like to live on the edge. Wild thing.

Also, I’m planning to let Gunner tell his story soon.* Maybe.**

*The one he’s planning to dictate to me.***

**Probably.****

***For pretend.*****

****As soon as I’m less tired.******

*****The mythical fact that he’s dictating is for pretend but the story is for real.*******

******Or at least more coherent.********

*******To the best of my knowledge.

********Does anybody know if that’s ever the case?*********

*********And can someone please count the asterisks and see if I got all the footnotes in order?**********

**********Thank you.***********

***********I’m pretty sure I should go to bed now.************

************Note: Never use footnotes when you’re tired. Trust me on this.*************

*************Colons are dodgy too. When you’re tired, I mean: Not colons like the body part. You need those ALL the time, even when you’re tired: I mean the grammatical (punctuation?) colons. The ones that look like this: : Those: They’re dodgy. When: You’re tired. Also: Body part colons you really only need one of ever. **************

**************Unless you get cancer or something, in which case you might need a second one, probably from an organ donor aka cadaver. This is all really highly inappropriate to be joking about. Cancer: Really serious stuff. Also organ donation. And it’s disrespectful to talk about an organ donor as being a cadaver. Just for future reference.

***************I should have hit “publish” when I said I was going to.

(UPDATED: When you get done reading this one, there’s an important update here: http://heatherhead.com/updated-june-9-2012/)

Heather Today, June 7, 2012

I am tired tonight. I had to write a hard email. I know–first world problems, right?

Nevertheless, I’m wimping out and leaving you with only this:

Mantissa Corporation

That’s the magazine article I wrote that came out today in Greater Charlotte Biz magazine. And despite the fact that it’s about a manufacturer (boring, right?) it’s not at all boring. In fact, these guys cracked me up and I LOVED meeting them. But I’m way too tired tonight to remember why so I’ll just leave it there.

Also, Gunner let me know today that he wants to tell his story*, and asked me to take dictation**, but I’m too tired for it tonight***.

*This didn’t actually happen. It’s really just that I now have permission to tell his whole story online and I want to so I’m going to, and I thought it would be cute to write it as though Gunner were telling his own story.

**This also didn’t actually happen. Gunner doesn’t know I take dictation.

***This really did happen.

P.S. I’m pretty sure there was something else I was going to say but man I’m… … oh look, kitty!

Kitty1 Heather Today, June 7, 2012
Big Kitty Noses Are Cute Too

Heather Today, June 5 2012

Gunner Update:

Best. Dog. Ever. He spent a fair portion of the day lying across Monty’s lap watching television. Then he came to Petsmart with me, where he promptly impressed everybody by getting so excited he couldn’t control himself so that I had to leave and come back later. The poor pup has probably never been in a Petsmart in his life, nor seen so many other dogs at once.

But then when I did come back, with Monty to help, Gunner amazed everyone by behaving as though he’d been coming to Petsmart all his life and, oh hi, look, there are other dogs here isn’t that interesting? He got carried away a bit a couple more times, but altogether did extremely well.

We also figured out how much fun it is to walk around the lake together off-leash (the lake is fenced, and rarely frequented by anyone else). I’m training him to recall on command, and he’s doing very well with sit and stay and come as well.

He and the cat are still not happy with each other. Inara is living in our bedroom now, and really hates being taken out to see the dog. He gets excited and scares her and … it’s just not a happy relationship right now. Hopefully it will get better.

Me Update:

Guess what? I looked really great today. I know that comes as a surprise. But everyone said so. My secret? My friend Mary Beth. She’s a custom clothier with this really cool service for professional women. Among other things, she came to my house and went through my wardrobe with me. She’s having most of my clothes tailored to fit better. She helped me clear out some things that just weren’t working for me, cataloged what I have, showed me new ways of combining and dressing up my things, and altogether made a whole new wardrobe out of what I already have–one that actually reflects who I am and the professional message I want to send. Amazing. Then she told me what to wear this week and said that I would immediately start getting compliments on my appearance. And boy did I ever. From the moment I walked into the office this morning to the end of the day with a visitor in our house, I got comment after comment. And it was all clothes I already have! Amazing. Check her out.

Elsewhere around the Web:

The Faerie Palace on Curiosity Cat Within a ten minute walk of our house, we have access to woodland streams, giant boulders, a frog pond, and many other wonders. Our favorite is the Faerie Palace. Come see it.

Lev Grossman announced the winner of the Great Magician Song Cover Version Contest. It wasn’t us. We didn’t even get an honorable mention, but that’s okay because there were so many great entries. I haven’t told the kids yet–I kinda forgot this evening. They’ll be disappointed. Then they’ll remember that we had a blast doing it and they’ll be glad we did.

Heather Today, May 29, 2012

Main announcement: We got a dog. Well, we don’t have the dog yet. But we decided to get a dog. Which is crazy, if you think  about it. We don’t even like dogs. They poop. And not even in the potty. They also bark. And they lick things. You know. Dogs.

photo 4 225x300 Heather Today, May 29, 2012
Would you say no to this face?

Don’t lie. You’d have taken him in too if he needed you. Long story, really, but this guy’s been through the mill. Abuse, abandonment, you name it. And as a bully-breed-mix and black to boot, he wouldn’t stand a chance in the adoption ring.

K and anyway. He’s an awesome dog. Took him to the vet today and everyone raved about how sweet he is. We get him for keeps this weekend. He’s staying with a friend right now, where he’s been since his rescue, until we have time to acclimate him properly to our home.

In other news and around the Interwebs:

Adele and the Beetles on Curiosity Cat

How POWs Sleep and What they Eat and Drink on POW Diaries

Lev Grossman Mentioned Our Minecraft Cover Version of his Song on His Blog

Heather Today May 28, 2012

Memorial Day! We spent most of the weekend finishing up our Minecraft-rendered cover version for “The Magician King Song” contest. So much FUN, so much WORK. With great fanfare, we introduce, “The Four Thrones of Castle Whitespire: Minecraftia Edition”:

Seriously, please check it out. The kids poured heart and soul into it. We are very proud, and it’s fun. Watch it. “Like” it. Comment on it. Make two hard little workers very happy. 🙂
We also spent time with friends Cathy & John and daughter Brittney, hung out with the abandoned dog they rescued and we’re considering fostering and MAYBE adopting (oh boy. Yes, it’s true… more on that later…).
Gunner 1 224x300 Heather Today May 28, 2012
Black pitt-lab mix... the combination is a death sentence at animal control... lucky he's got Cathy and John. And maybe us?...
Memorial Day is also time for this:

Our college friends Tracy and Michele had us over for this bit of fun & the old-fashioned cookout. Yum! And then a great game of cards in which I TROUNCED everyone. Also the food was awesome. Thanks, Michele!
And also this:
(via my Facebook feed) On this day 70 years ago, a young American soldier watched his comrades dig a shallow grave for a sergeant who had gone berserk. The men who had been stabbed to death earlier that day on the long Death March toward POW camp, didn’t even receive that much honor. Remember their sacrifice. Honor Memorial Day all year long by following one young soldier’s three-year journey, reading about each day as he lived it, 70 years ago.

May 28, 1942

On May 28, 1942, we were made ready to march to our new camp. The Jap in command told us that those of us who had canteens would be permitted to fill them with water, and that they, the Japs, would not carry any water for us. We had very little time to fill the canteens and to fall in columns of four to start the march to our new Camp. We did not know how far we were to march, but we did know that we would march without any rest. In May the sun is very hot there and the temperature got well over the hundred degree mark. We found out later that it was twenty kilometers (12 1/2 miles) to Camp No. 3. (After comparing notes with men that had been on the Death March to Camp O-Donald after the fall of Bataan, we went through a part of what they suffered.) I cannot give full details of this march because we were many in number, and from where I was in the line of march, I could not see all that went on. I do know that two of the men died on the March. Others drank their water too soon after we started, and some of them fell out of the line of march and drank water from buffalo wallows along the road. I did see men fall with weakness and sickness, only to be prodded on with the bayonets of the Japs. I have stated earlier that I was not one to drink much water, so my canteen saw me all the way, and I shared a little with one other man. The two men that died on the march were killed by the Japs, because they were too weak to get up. After seeing them beaten and stabbed with a bayonet, we made every effort to carry those that were too weak to walk. We passed by Camp No. 1. Our men in the Camp waved to us, but we were not allowed to talk. The same thing happened when we passed by Camp No. 2. Finally we arrived in Camp No. 3, where I stayed until September 17, 1942… Read More…

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Yesterday’s entry on POWdiaries:

  • May 27, 1942
  • On May 27, 1942, we were marched out of Bilibid, own [sic] to the railroad track, and there we were put into box cars as if we were cattle. The railroad cars were about one-third the size of the box cars here in the U.S. One hundred of us were forced into one car, and then Jap guards were put on top of the cars. We started our trip by rail which took us to Cabanatuan. We stopped many times on this trip, but we were not allowed to get out of the box car, and we had to stand all the way as there was not room to even sit or lie down… Read more… Heather Today May 28, 2012  Heather Today May 28, 2012  Heather Today May 28, 2012  Heather Today May 28, 2012  Heather Today May 28, 2012  Heather Today May 28, 2012  Heather Today May 28, 2012  Heather Today May 28, 2012

 

From Curiosity Cat:

  • Altogether Heather

    Memorial Day Weekend! Woo-hoo! Time for barbeques, swimming pools, fun in the sun, relaxation, and — oh yeah — remembering people who died to serve our country. It’s also the perfect time for totally self-absorbed activities like creating a website about nothing but ME. So that’s what I did yesterday and today.

    It’s called “Altogether Heather” (haha you see what I did there? I rhymed with my own name. Get it?), and it aggregrates all the different things I do online into a central location. It’s also got video of me on the very front page. I mention that because apparently everybody loves video and I figured that might convince the fence-sitters that it’s worth the click over there. It’s cool. Oh, and it’s really easy to find because it’s just heatherhead.com. That’s important to know for all those times you’re out and about with a borrowed computer and you’re thinking, “Crap! I don’t have my bookmarks. How am I going to find out what Heather’s been doing for the past 15 minutes?” and you can just say, “Oh yeah. I know her name. Add a dot com and I’m there. Woot!” You see? You’re welcome.

    Oh, and for anyone who has already seen this on Facebook and whatever, I’m sorry for bugging you about it. I’ll probably bug you some more today as I post it on my other blogs. But then I’ll stop. That will be it. After that, if you want to know something that’s going on at heatherhead.com, you’ll have to go there directly. K. Go check it out now, if you like. You can totally subscribe if you want, and I won’t think you’re a stalker, though subscribing to that feed is exactly what a stalker would do, but I’m the trusting sort so I’ll assume you just think I’m awesome and want to see all the funny, cool, awesome stuff I’m doing every day.

    And on Tuesday we’ll return to our regularly scheduled program here at Curiosity Cat. New funny stuff! See ya then!

     Heather Today May 28, 2012  Heather Today May 28, 2012  Heather Today May 28, 2012  Heather Today May 28, 2012  Heather Today May 28, 2012  Heather Today May 28, 2012  Heather Today May 28, 2012  Heather Today May 28, 2012


    That’s it. See ya tomorrow!

  • Digest powered by RSS Digest

Epiphany!

I’ve been at it all weekend, building this site. Most of that time has been devoted to trying to get social media integrated into the site. I still haven’t figured that out. But I did figure this out:

If you’re here, it’s because you care about what’s going on in my life. Wow. That’s pretty potent stuff. Thank you.

Which also means this:

I can post almost anything, and you’ll be glad to hear about it because, well, you care about me. That pretty much makes us friends, except the part where you don’t necessarily tell me about your life too. Which you can totally do in the comments and I will totally read them and it will almost be like a conversation. Grab a coffee and let’s talk. I’ll just look at this gratuitous cute photo of my son and our friend’s daughter, and muse on the differences between boys and girls while you’re gone.

photo 1 768x1024 Epiphany!
Everett and Jannie by the pond

Got coffee? Okay. The first thing I’m going to do is add a bunch of categories, so you can sort through stuff if you like and only listen to ramblings on topics that interest to you (ohmygoodness this is BETTER than friendship). Topics may include: Fiction (my little stories and half-stories and ill-conceived story ideas), Life Updates (just stuff about, you know, what I’m doing, stories about the kids, cute stuff, funny stuff, just stuff about us), and… well, that’s all I can think of at the moment. I’ll add more maybe. Some of them will probably already be there by the time you read this.

AND, because I installed this nifty little digest plugin thingy (that’s the technical term), sometimes this random rambling or whatever will be at the top of the daily digest, which I’ve changed so that it now comes out at night instead of morning, you know, so I can write about my day before I hit “publish.” And then at the bottom there will be a list of everything else I wrote or uploaded or whatever that day. Which kind of defeats the whole point of being able to sort through which bits you want to listen to. Sorry about that.

Anyway. If you’re here, thank you. And watch out. Once I get going I can seriously run my mouth. Be sure to step in and get your words in edgewise in the comments!