The Dummy’s Guide to Building a Christmas Tree Out of Books

You know those “dummy’s guide to” books? I hate them. Seriously, people. The fact that I am buying books demonstrates that I am not a dummy. Give me a little credit.

This entry, however, is a dummy’s guide–not because *you’re* a dummy, but because I am. At least when it comes to construction. And you too can feel like a dummy–and waste most of a weekend–simply by following these step-by-step instructions.

Or you can use this to avoid my dumb mistakes and cut your Christmas-tree-building time down to a few hours. If that’s what you want to do, start at Step Five, and skip steps six and seven. Which leaves you with only two steps. And what fun is that? Just go ahead and do all eight steps for maximum fun and frustration.

Step One: Start with Books


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I mean, you could try it without books. That would probably take even longer. So yeah. Let me know how that turns out for you.

Step Two: Over-Analyze

Being the free-spirited, spontaneous folk that we are, we couldn’t begin this project without a detailed cost-benefit analysis. The following graph represents our key findings.

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We decided to proceed. Your results may vary.

Step Three: Over-Plan

This is a major undertaking that will affect the appearance of one corner of one room for nearly one month. It’s important that you plan it out in detail prior to engagement.

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Start by carefully laying out all the books in your house on the floor, and organize them by thickness, height, and width. Bonus points for arranging by color also.

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This step is completely unnecessary and will eat up several hours. Throw in a shirtless kid putting books in the wrong piles and you’ve wasted yourself an entire afternoon. Congrats.

Step Four: Start Small

When you finally realize the utter futility of step three–preferably after you’ve already emptied all of your bookshelves, ideally in the wrong room–you may begin building a base for your tree. Start small in order to create a set-up that will have to be taken down and started again.

Use big books, but not too many, and place them super close together.

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Important: Be sure to start stacking the next set of books really far in–leave at least three or four inches between the outside of the first level and the outside of the second level.

This critical step will ensure that the tree circumference decreases in size at a precipitous rate, leading to a completed tree that is wider than it is tall. Continue to stack in this manner until you have at least five or six layers that will have to be undone in order to get the proportions right.

Step Five: Start Over

This is actually the first step that accomplishes anything, so you might want to stop and get a drink first. Maybe watch a little television or troll Facebook for an hour or two. Wouldn’t want to get ahead of yourself.

Ready now? K. Start with as wide a base as you have space for. Then start stacking books in alternate fashion, moving each level in from the previous level by less than an inch at a time. Try to choose books at each level that are more-or-less the same thickness. It’s okay to stack two books to match the thickness of other books on the same level. Don’t obsess–you can always adjust any leaning by thickening one side or the other.

This part will go pretty fast. Sorry.

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Step Six: Add Some Fancy but Unstable Adornments 

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It’ll look great and get tall in a big hurry. Fortunately, however, it will come tumbling down quite readily without much effort, and take some of the more stable substructure with it, creating additional work. Plus, it’s fun to retrieve all the fallen books from the hollow in the middle, which can easily lead to more damage to the substructure.

Step Seven: Repair the Damage and Finish Stacking

This is the second productive step. Take another break to draw it out. It’s important to forget to take a picture at this point. You’ll be glad for the lack of evidence of your productive work, especially if you have more than a dozen shots of all the unproductive steps.

Step Eight: Light it Up

If you’ve done it right, you won’t get to this stage for at least a week from the start. But when you do:

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Why Women Like Cats

A short story for Anna.

Once upon a hill, in a time long, long ago, there lived a kitty named Eva. Eva had silky black fur and two fluffy ears and eyes of the deepest green. Her home was a nook in the bole of an ancient tree, where between two giant roots she built a warm nest of dried leaves and soft moss.

Eva liked to lie curled in her nest and listen to Wind conversing with Tree. Eva loved Tree, and Tree loved her. In summer, Tree shielded Eva from the blistering anger of Sun with a shimmering, glittering shield of dark green leaves. In winter, when Sun calmed down, Tree dried her leaves and dropped them to the ground for Eva to refresh her nest while basking in Sun’s rays.

Even so, Eva was not completely happy. One day, Tree noticed that Eva was sad and asked her what was wrong. Eva said she was lonely for someone furry and warm and soft to cuddle and play with. Tree wanted to help. She told Wind, and Wind told Sun, and Sun told God and God said, “Boom.”

I realize that’s an odd thing for God to say, but there it is. God is a Being of Few Words.

The next morning, when Eva returned from her nightly prowl through the woods below, there was someone waiting for her in her nest. He was large and furry and orange with white stripes, and he had eyes of deepest amber. And, she soon learned, he was warm and soft and his name was Tom.

Eva loved him.

Every night, they frolicked through the woods, chasing each other up trees and through the branches, leaping from tree to tree. Tom would pounce on her from above and they’d fall, laughing and tumbling through the leaves to the ground, where of course they always landed on their feet. Every morning they’d return to their nest at the foot of Tree and Tom would curl around Eva and Eva would settle her head under his chin and rest her chin on his paws, and they would nap for several long minutes at a time.

Tom did have one annoying habit. Between naps, Eva loved to stretch and yawn and listen to the news whispered between Wind and Tree. Tom, however, wanted to run and play. He would pester Eva by stepping on her head until she either agreed to go with him, or hissed at him to go away.

One day, after she had sent him alone into the woods, she was surprised when he came running back right away. His tail was standing straight up and fluffed to twice its normal size.

“What is it, Tom?” she asked.

Tom answered by jumping on her back and exclaiming, “I have the best idea EVER!”

When Eva had come down from her startled leap, and finished pouncing on Tom with her claws extended to demonstrate just how much she did NOT appreciate his scaring her like that, she arched her back and asked him, “WHAT is so important, then?”

“We should build something!” Tom said.

“Build something?” Eva growled.

“Like a fort. Or a cat tree!” Tom said.

“A cat… tree? What’s a ‘cat tree’?” Eva inquired.

“I don’t know. I just made it up. I guess I was thinking that you like trees. And you like cats. Why not both at once?”

Eva turned twice on her nest and sat Sphinx-like to study Tom, her green eyes fixed unblinking on his twitching whiskers. She curled her tail around her feet.

Tom never could stand her silence. He went tumbling onward, “What if we made a tree designed just for cats? You know how fun it is to climb really high, but then how sometimes you get stuck at the top and can’t remember how to get down?”

“That’s you, Tom,” said Eva. “That’s a thing that happens to you.”

“Well, yeah, but it’s really annoying. And I know how much you hate when you have to come rescue me.”

“Go on,” said Eva.

“Well, what if we built a tree that had stairs coming down, so you could climb as high as you want, and you’d always know you could get down again.”

“You mean you would always know you could get down again.”

“Yes, yes, that’s what I mean!” said Tom.

“I think it’s a marvelous idea, Tom,” said Eva, and she added a little purr and stretched herself out to expose her fluffy belly.

“You do?” he said, and his amber eyes dilated with surprise and pleasure.

“I do, my dear,” said Eva, and she stretched a little further. “And I think you should definitely take care of that as soon as you’re done rubbing my belly. Exactly three times.”

Dear reader, let us leave the next few moments in obscurity. Whether Tom succeeded in producing exactly the right number of belly rubs, whether, despite his accurate and precise compliance with her request, Eva nevertheless clawed the sh*t out of him, and whether the aftermath of this little spat eventually led to a batch of kittens precisely 67 days later… these are all matters best left to the imagination.

Let us fast-forward instead to the next evening, when Tom began his project. First, he wanted to draw a diagram of the cat tree. He asked Tree to ask Wind to ask Sun to ask God if he could have a pencil. And God said, “Boom.”

Tom held the pencil in his mouth and used it against a rock to draw a rather crude but basically effective diagram.

And when he was done he realized he would need planks of wood. So he asked Tree to ask Wind to ask Sun to ask God if he could have planks of wood. And God said, “Boom.”

When he saw the pile of planks in the woods, Tom realized he would need a way to fix them together. So he asked Tree to ask Wind to ask Sun to ask God if he could have some nails. OH, and a hammer. And God said, “Boom.”

When he saw the hammer and nails next to the planks in the woods, Tom realized he would need a way to cut the wood to the right sizes. So he asked Tree to ask Wind to ask Sun to ask God if he could have a miter saw. And God said, “Boom.”

When he saw the miter saw next to the hammer and nails next to the planks in the woods, Tom realized he would need catnip to fuel his activities and because life is more fun with drugs, right?


Well, Tom asked Tree to ask Wind to ask Sun to ask God if he could have the catnip, and God said, “Boom” and if you think God shouldn’t be supporting drug use then that’s just a sign that you live in a fallen world. Which, in fact, you do, and we’re getting to that. Patience, dear reader.

By this time, Tom had been working on his cat tree for a full half hour, which, even for an energetic cat like Tom, is a long time to be awake. He took a break. If he also took a hit of catnip and ran around in mad little circles for twenty to thirty seconds before settling in beside Eva, then that is what he did.

When Tom awoke, he went straight back into the woods to stare at his pile of planks, and his hammer and nails, and his miter saw, and his catnip. He made a note to ask Tree to ask Wind to ask Sun to ask God to send a larger shipment of the latter next time. And then, and only then, did he realize he had a problem.

And the problem he had was this: Tom did not have hands.

If, dear reader, you are among those privileged enough to have been born with a set of these useful little appendages, then you, as is true for most people of privilege, probably have no idea what it is like to live without them.

I’m not saying it’s horrible. In fact, for someone like Eva it’s quite blissful. What need is there for hands when one is content to lie in a sliver of sunlight and listen to Tree whispering to Wind?

But for Tom, at this exact moment, it was a problem of insurmountable proportions. How was he to build a cat tree without the dexterity necessary to wield a hammer and nails, let alone a miter saw?

Now, dear reader, let us pause for a moment and reflect, lest we judge Tom too harshly for what happens next. The poor fellow has his heart set on a cat tree and why? Because he wishes to save his beloved Eva the trouble of arising from her queenly perch to rescue him from his near-daily misadventures.

Of course, he could have asked for a cat tree fully formed to be delivered straight from the hands of God, simply by asking Tree to ask Wind to ask Sun to ask God (who, you’ll be unsurprised to hear, does in fact have hands), but Tom chose the path of greater resistance, the journey that would require him to work hard, and while we might fault him for not just asking for what he wanted, we can at least applaud him for being willing to work.

(Please ignore those cynical folk who whisper that Tom simply didn’t think that far ahead, and that he would indeed have asked for the cat tree fully formed if the idea had occurred to him. Please, let us give him the benefit of the doubt. God knows there is reason enough to fault him without adding needless speculation to the tally.)

Also, please consider that at this exact moment, Tom could have chosen simply to consume the catnip and allow the ensuing ecstasy to wipe out all thought of accomplishing anything.

Come to think of it, that would have been the wiser choice.

But Tom had begun, and he was determined to finish. And really, it was not such a difficult problem. He simply asked Tree to ask Wind to ask Sun to ask God for a pair of opposable thumbs. And God said, “Duuuuuuuuude.”

When Tom heard this, he asked Tree to ask Wind to ask Sun to ask God, “Wait, what?”

And God said, “Dude. Why does it always come to this? Why can’t people just be happy with what I give them? I mean, I didn’t even plant a forbidden tree this time around. And you STILL can’t stop doing things that are bad for you.”

Tom was, needless to say, confused by this unexpected response. God was ordinarily a Being of Few Words. Tom asked Tree to ask Wind to ask Sun to ask God, “So… am I getting the thumbs or not?”

And God said, “Whatevs.”

And then God said, “But you know what? I’m sick of doing everything for free all the time. I’ve had it with you people. You want gifts? Why not give something in return for once? Ingrates. I’ll tell you what. Have your dadgum thumbs. Fine. Have them. All I want in return is a nice warm coat to keep away the chill of your stupid decisions.”

And Tom said, “Okay.”

And that’s how Tom came to be the first hairless cat with opposable thumbs—in other words, the first human.

Now, it might seem that everyone has everything they want now. God has a warm fur coat, Tom has opposable thumbs, and Eva never has to rescue Tom out of a tree again.

There’s just one problem. Eva is pissed. Tom has traded away his beautiful, furry warm coat that she loved to groom. More importantly, she has a Bad Feeling about the fact that God wasn’t thrilled with the idea. God is often right about such things.

And, perhaps most significantly, Eva loves Tom, and she realizes that with his opposable thumbs and his naked body, he will never again be a fit companion for her in her cozy warm coat and her glistening sharp claws.

Though it breaks her heart to do it, she would rather be without her own coat and claws than without her Tom. She asks Tree to ask Wind to ask Sun to ask God to let her be like Tom, and God says, “Boom.”

At first, although they miss their beautiful fur and their shiny sharp claws, the trade is not so bad. Tom builds his cat tree and they spend an entire five minutes staring quietly at it before deciding that a cardboard box would actually be more fun to play in.

Then as summer turns to fall, they discover that without their fur, their little nest isn’t warm enough. They build a shelter, which is nice, but they have to build it on level ground away from Eva’s tree. And now that they no longer sleep at the foot of Tree, Eva begins to forget what Wind sounds like when it’s whispering to Tree.

As winter sets in, it becomes too cold to go outside without a coat, so they make clothes to cover their nakedness. And as the fruits and vegetables that fed them in the summer disappear from the trees, and they use up the last of the roots that they know how to find, they realize that they must have hunting weapons to replace the claws they gave up.

And now sometimes their clothes need washing, and so they must haul water up from the nearby stream, so they invent a bucket. Their weapons need sharpening, so they invent a whet stone. And for every new problem that arises, they invent something new. And for every invention, they find two or three new problems that require yet more inventions.

Before long, there is no time for lounging around under the tree or leaping through the branches laughing. There’s no time for talking to Tree or for listening to Wind or for asking for exactly three belly rubs.

Eventually, in fact, everyone forgets that they ever could talk to trees, or wind, or sun, or God.

But the story is not quite over. Remember those kittens? Though they were in Eva’s belly at the time, they did not themselves make a deal with God. And so, in due time, Eva gives birth to six tiny kittens in what turns out to be the easiest labor ever in the history of humankind.  And she’s never forgotten that fact, nor the fact that she was once blissfully happy in her warm coat and sharp claws, before Tom made a Very Bad Decision and she, in turn, gave up her fur in order to be with him.

And that, dear readers, is why to this very day the smartest of women often leave the Bad-Decision-Making men in their lives in favor of the companionship of cats.

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A Tale of Two Twitters

Today is #pitmad day! If you don’t know, #pitmad is a bi-annual (I think? Maybe it’s four times a year…) Twitter hashtag party wherein authors with completed manuscripts can post 140-character pitches for their novels, and agents indicate books they’re interested in hearing more about by “favoriting” the pitches.

This has been incredibly terrifying and unbelievably edifying. And by edifying I mean, per yesterday’s entry, character building. Because rejection is good for your character, and going completely unnoticed is even better.

Actually, it’s been a ton of fun, so maybe not so character-building after all. Authors retweet each other’s pitches (and I’ve had plenty of retweets, which is loads of fun!), and we get to know each other and build our little writerly communities. Good stuff.

So that’s one Twitter world. The, ahem, “best of worlds” if you will. (You know, the whole Tale of Two Cities theme? “Best of times… worst of times…” If I have to explain it it’s probably really not worthwhile but there it is. I’m attached to it now.)

Then there’s the other world. The worst of worlds. (ha ha. Now the humor turns dark.) This one kept me up all night because I couldn’t stop reading. That world can be found on Twitter too, by keying in hashtags #EricGarner #ICantBreathe and #CrimingWhileWhite.

I’m too tired and sad to explain, but you can click over there and check it out. But you probably already know.

I’ve posted so much on FB about it, I’m wrung dry. And the sad thing is, I don’t even *have* to live in the #ICantBreathe world. I can duck out any time I want. Go back to my blissful #pitmad world and pretend #EricGarner never happened.

And that’s partly what’s so unfair. Because for my POC friends, ducking out isn’t an option.

Sometimes I have profound and pithy things to say at the end of my entries. Sometimes I’m just rambling and too tired and sad and confused to wrap it all up. Guess which one this is.

What 300 Calls a Week Taught Me About Rejection

When I was young and hungry and the mother of a newborn, I bought a book called “How to Make Money as a Writer.” It sounded like a pretty good idea to me. And it was–the book worked. It’s how I got my start.

But here’s the thing. What it asked me to do was hard. It asked me to make 300 calls per week. Cold calls. To people in the phone book who had never heard of me.

And that is precisely what I did. Out of those 300 calls, I’d get maybe 10 people to agree to meet me. Of those 10 people, I’d get maybe one of them to agree to pay me to write for them. Of that one, about half of them actually treated me with respect and paid their bills.

It sucked. Hard.

It also taught me a lesson that has served me well (and that I’ve had to re-learn over and over again, btw):

Rejection is not the enemy. Fear is the enemy.

If I had let my fear (and trust me, there was plenty of it–I know I seem pretty fearless from the outside, but inside I’m a quivering mess of jello every time I open myself up to rejection) get the best of me, I would never have made those 300 calls. I would never have gotten those 10 meetings. I would never have gotten that half a person per week to pay me for something. And I would not be a professional writer today.

This lesson has served me well throughout my career. I no longer make cold calls (thank all that is holy and good in the world because cold calling is the worst job ever), but my ability to embrace rejection continues to play an important role. I’ve learned to quote my work at a rate that will get “rejected” regularly… and as a result I have better clients who respect me more, and I get paid enough to make my ends meet. In other words, those rejections are what pay my bills.

Now, as I embark on the part of my novel-writing career that involves putting my work in front of people who have the power to accept or reject it, my comfort with rejection is a powerful ally. When you consider that even the most successful of novels can be rejected dozens of times by agents and publishers before finally finding a home, one has to be completely fearless (or at least fake it pretty well) to make it.

And what about you? Can you let go of fear and embrace rejection? You won’t regret it.

#fearless #orfakeit

Come See Me at BMA Carolinas Workshop!

I’m excited to be presenting content marketing hacks for faster, better content creation at the Nov 20 Connect2Education workshop with BMA Carolinas. Here’s my speaker page with more details:

The day-long event promises to be hugely valuable. I’ll be on for 45 minutes, with a 20-minute presentation followed by 25 minutes of workshop-style interaction. Should be tons of fun!

Also presenting are three other top notch marketers: Jen Stretch, Peggy Brookhouse, and Ira Bass.

One day I will get really good at updating this blog regularly with these kinds of things. Since I’m not, you may not have seen that I presented as part of a panel at the Montcross Entrepreneur’s Summit a couple weeks ago, and was featured on the amazing Phoebe Chongchua’s brand journalism podcast that same week. You can listen to that podcast here:

Best practices says every blog entry must have a picture. Here you go. Phoebe Chongchua is one of my heroes. I got to be on her podcast. I might have already said that. Check her out.

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I Slept All Weekend And Here’s Why

Got back from Boston Friday. Conference was amazing–energizing and inspiring. Made some decisions about the future of my company:

  1. We’ll now market exclusively to Inbound agencies.
  2. I’ll be building toward a content software platform model that will help marketers–and the companies they serve–generate large quantities of custom content much more quickly and effectively by utilizing internal SMEs.

Then I came home and slept most of the weekend. Introvert requires recharging. Now I’m ready for Monday and all that that implies.

Short-term things on my plate:

  • Finish revising my novel
  • Meet sales goals for September
  • Nurture relationships started at Inbound conference
  • Continue creating content for Scopcity
  • Manage projects

Mid-term things on my plate:

  • Hone marketing & sales to match new Inbound-only model
  • Structure organization for scale
  • Make decisions regarding new business opportunities
  • Write Taming the Beast (The Inbound Marketer’s Ultimate Playbook Faster, Better Content) book

Long-term things on my plate:

  • Strategize & execute on content wizard software concept
  • Create strategic partnerships to support content wizard platform

I’ve got a session with my coach, thank goodness, tomorrow afternoon. So we’ll be sorting through all this and creating an actionable plan.

I also have a few things coming up that may be of interest to my followers (hi Mom, that’s you).

  • Serving on a marketing panel for the Montcross Chamber Entrepreneur Summit 2014 on October 10.
  • Serving on a content marketing panel for the Business Marketing Association Charlotte Chapter on November 20, link not yet available.
  • Serving as a “content marketing expert” guest on the Brand Journalism Advantage podcast with Phoebe Chong Chua… some time soon (release date tba).

So that’s that. The kids are good too. I have that parenting thing going on, but I’m not doing a particularly spectacular job of it. I haven’t yelled at them lately, so that’s good. And by lately I mean in the past half hour or so.

The kids are spectacular, actually, come to think of it. They kept the house clean and the dog walked the whole time I was gone. Mostly because Carey bribed them with unlimited computer time, but still. Maybe they’ll turn out all right.

Wandering in Salem

It’s been more than a year since I’ve posted and I’m only posting now because I have actual work to do and this lets me pretend I’m doing something practical and is therefore an ideal form of procrastination.

I’m in Boston for an Inbound marketing conference. I had today off, though. I went to Salem and toured the House of the Seven Gables and walked by the water and watched a school of fish swim under the shimmering surface over the shifting cobbles below and met Nathaniel Hawthorne’s grandfather (his tombstone, anyway).

IMG 20140914 103822431 300x168 Wandering in SalemIt’s unlikely that any of this has to do with slavery or the Underground Railroad and yet there was a book on the topic in the visitor’s center and of course I bought it because it was $8 and had pictures in it that I had never seen, like a brown paper silhouette portrait of a slave girl named Flora, and then I absolutely decided that my next book–after I finish the trilogy of which I’ve written only the first book–will be an historical novel (still YA) set against the backdrop of 1840s-50s slavery and abolitionism etc.

And so I pounded out some preparatory stuff on that–character sketches, plot highlights, etc. Statistically speaking, odds are the material will now molder for several years at minimum and never grow much beyond a few pages of notes, but you never know. One always begins in hope.

Had a lengthy and invigorating discussion of Platonic views of death among Salem Puritans of the 16th and 17th centuries with a rather significantly underemployed tour guide at the Hawthorne birthplace. Also discussed classism, modern and historical, textiles, art, and the love lives of famous creatives. Oh, and home birth, gender issues as regards non-gendered and trans-gendered individuals, and the legal and social structures of power retention. Why limit yourself to one topic?

Now I’m sitting in the dark updating my blog when I’ve got actual work to finish before tomorrow afternoon.

I blogged! Now for those client deliverables…

This is Not a Complete Update But It’s an Excited One

Lift off 222x300 This is Not a Complete Update But Its an Excited OnePopping in to mention my new brand launch. I’m super excited about this next evolution in my business career:

Scopcity: Content that Connects

What the heck does “Scopcity” mean? I know you’re asking that in your head because it’s what everyone asks when I tell them the name of the new brand.

Long ago, far far away (from about 500AD to 1066-ish, Anglo-Saxon Britain), before the advent of the printing press or the postal system, news was delivered by a class of citizens called Scops. Scops were singers and storytellers who moved from city to city, charming the citizens, cross-pollinating knowledge, and drinking a lot of ale. They were society’s connectors. In modern corporate terms, they were the purveyors of content.

Scopcity does that for marketing agencies. Minus the ale. Plus the charm, plenty of connection, and lots and lots of content. What we do is create high quality written content to support the marketing programs our clients design for their clients. Web copy, press releases, blogging, case studies, white papers, etc. Writing. Words. Stories.

It’s an exciting evolution for me because I get to take my strategic marketing expertise with me, and then really hone in on the part of the marketing I like best: Writing. And I get to work with some of the smartest folks I know: Marketing experts. Serving the kinds of companies I enjoy getting to know most: Private SMB (that’s not nearly as kinky as it sounds: It stands for small-medium-business. If you knew that already, you will never quite hear the letters “SMB” in the same way again. You’re welcome).

And icing on the cake: I get to cultivate some of the best writing talent in the business world, finding, training, and setting loose awesome creativity on the world. How cool is that?

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.


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.