The Promise of 2012

Looking back, I must say 2011 was an exciting year, but 2012 holds even greater promise. In 2011, Bent Pine Publishing took me into the world of Digital Publishing with the release of both Spare Change and Cracks in the Sidewalk in Kindle and Nook formats…and what a ride it has been! Before I get into the exciting things happening in 2012, I’d like to look back and share my thoughts on all that has happened.

Once I learned that in addition to the trade paperback versions, both of my books would be available in the digital format, I broke down and bought a Kindle. Up until that point I had been one of those die-hard holdouts who swore I’d never use an e-reader. Too much like working on the computer, I said.  Yes, as the song goes, “I was blind, but now I see!”

The e-book reader advantage: 

Not only is it possible to carry around your entire library in a device that weighs less than a paperback, but you can also download free chapters of books to browse at your leisure.  For me, this is an awesome feature because I just don’t have the time to stand in a bookstore reading a chapter or two to determine whether or not I’ll like the book.  With these good-sized samples on my Kindle, I read when it’s convenient for me, decide which books I want to buy and then download the remainder of the book with a few simple clicks. The Kindle has more than paid for itself since  I’ve eliminated the purchase of books that turn sour after ten or twelve pages.

The e-book author advantage:

I can honestly say the advantages that serve me well as a reader, also serve me well as an author–new readers are downloading samples of Spare Change and Cracks in the Sidewalk, loving the story, then purchasing the book. In short, new readers are discovering my work and as an author, that’s music to my ears. Digital books also have an added plus–cost. Without the cost of paper and printing, publishing firms can offer books at a lower cost which makes the purchase of an unfamiliar author’s work less of an investment, so the customer reaps the reward and the author garners a larger audience. That’s a win-win situation. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) the big six publishing houses are not passing along this savings to the consumer, so potential readers are quicker to bypass the old standards and search out new authors with exciting voices. This has been wonderful for me and  as a result the e-book version of Spare Change (available at $2.99) is outselling the paper version by 10 to 1. The ratio for Cracks in the Sidewalk is approximately 8 to 1.

On to 2012:

With over five million Kindles sold in the month preceding Christmas, there can be little doubt that any and all future releases need to have a digital version, so Bent Pine Publishing is doing just that. In the first quarter of 2012, my first novel Girl Child will be rereleased under the original title which was The Twelfth Child and it will be available in both paper and e-book versions. As The Twelfth Child this novel won the First Place Award for Published Fiction from the National League of American Pen Women in 2007 and, although Spare Change is rapidly becoming a reader favorite, you will fall in love with Abigail Anne Lannigan, the protagonist of Twelfth Child.

Also due to be released in the first quarter of 2012 is Life in the Land of IS…the amazing story of Lani Deauville, the World’s Longest Living Quadriplegic. Lani Deauville was given that title by the Guinness Book of Records and I was fortunate enough to have the honor of writing her story.  Lani won the Florida State High School Diving Championship in 1957, and the following summer she broke her neck and injured her spinal cord by diving into shallow water. In the years that followed, Lani achieved more professionally and personally than most women ever aspire to; including adoption of a baby and the start-up of GreensPlus, a nutritional supplement company that today has a huge following. This is an exciting story–one that will awe and inspire you, so please don’t miss it.

Lastly, in the final quarter of 2012 I anticipate the release of What Matters Most the novel that won a 2011 Royal Palm Literary Award for Unpublished Women’s Fiction. This is the fun-to-read story of Louise Palmer, a woman whose life is turned upside-down when her husband decides to retire after inheriting his uncle’s shabby little shack in Florida. There are truly laugh-out-loud moments in this book along with heartwarming friendships and ‘lessons-learned’ bits of wisdom.

Right now, that’s what is on the board. As for the summer months…well, I hope to be working on a new novel and restoring the tan that has over these long months of work faded to a pasty pallor.

A Woman to Admire – Part 2

Yesterday you met Teri Pinney and learned what type of person she is…now I’m going to repeat a quote that she issued which tells it exactly like it is! As she spoke about the growing need to be realistic about the problems that exist in our schools, Teri said, “My goal is to see students treated as individuals…people with different capabilities and different talents…people who should be appreciated for who they are – and not how well we can jam a square peg into a round hole.”  This, to my way of thinking, is an admirable goal. All too often we lose the students who dance to a different drummer, but without creative minds, minds that think or function differently, we could also lose the writers of tomorrow, the artists, the musicians and numerous others who might have changed the world had they had the chance.

I also believe in giving the voters a choice. For far too long we’ve been segregated into groups labeled “Republican” or “Democrat” and we’ve voted a party instead of a person. Let’s vote for the students this time. Let’s vote for progress instead of the same old, same old… Let’s at least put an Independent on the ballot and give voters a choice.

To learn more about Teri Pinney, visit her campaign website at www.pinneyforschoolboard.com

A Woman to Admire…

A Woman to Admire…

I first met Teri Pinney because of our mutual interest, that of being an author. But after a single conversation I learned she is so much more…Teri is a true Renaissance Woman.  In addition to her novel The Missing Heart – Chronicles of an Educator, she has published dozens of articles on education policies and advocacy.  She is a Certified Grant Writer and serves as Chairperson for the QAR Accreditation Teams of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

I could go on and on, telling how Teri Pinney spent a good part of her life working as a high school teacher and then as assistant principal, or I could talk about her community involvement…but the thing that impresses me most about this outstanding woman is the honesty with which she cares about others.

We all talk a good game, we contribute to worthy causes, attend charity functions – party all evening and then go home feeling we have done our part. Teri doesn’t stop there…she works behind the scenes, to make sure these things happen. She’s an active Board Member of CASTLE, the organization that works to improve family life and prevent child abuse, and an active Board Member of the Samaritan Center for Boys. Teri doesn’t just care about what happens to children, we all do that…the difference is that she does something to improve their lives! She gives of her time, her energy and her wisdom. She inspires me to step up and do more, and hopefully she will inspire many others to do the same.

Teri is currently collecting petitions so she can run in this year’s School Board Election. “Why,” I asked, knowing that she was already contributing to so many other worthwhile causes. Her answer was one we all need to think about… “Because I want to bring back the joy of learning and the passion of teaching,” she said. Her answer caused me to stop and think about the necessity of that statement. It’s true, the Saint Lucie School System loses good, maybe even great, teachers simply because they are underappreciated and overworked. The Children are pushed to achieve FCAT scores, even to the point of sacrificing true education. Is it not just as important that we teach our children the principles of mutual respect and fair play? Not every child can learn at the same pace, so are we simply weeding out the ones who might need a bit of extra help…those that are perhaps the most deserving of special assistance?  Without the desire to learn, these children will likely drop out of school and fall victim to the circumstances of a life without hope or growth.

I for one want to see Teri Pinney on the election ballot, because I think that voting for someone as principled as this woman is like voting for our St. Lucie County kids to succeed. Tomorrow the Teri Pinney story continues…and you’ll hear her comment about how we sometimes force kids to fail.