Monthly Archives: September 2015

Hail to the Queen!

I attended Houston Writers Guild first IndieFest Conference “Indiepalooza” this past weekend. With Indie-Publishing becoming more and more popular, this event held vital tools and information in phases through the process of Self-Publishing. The two-day conference included guest speakers, authors and a panel of experts in the industry. I couldn’t take notes fast enough! I am happy to report that this will be an annual event.

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One special moment for me was finally meeting Kathy L. Murphy, a licensed cosmetologist and an avid reader who opened a beauty/bookstore called Beauty and the Book in early 2000. Eventually she started a book club for women who like to read and to have fun. Pulpwood Queens became the name for her club. Today, the Tiara wearing Pulpwood Queen Kathy presides over nearly 600 book clubs and she herself is now a published author. In 2008, Grand Central Publishing released her book, “The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara-Wearing, Book-Sharing Guide to Life.” It not only sold well, but I hear there’s also a movie in the making from Dream Worlds!

As an author, whether you decide to publish the traditional route or the self-publishing route, here are some takeaways I jotted down from Kathy’s presentation Saturday night:

You have to know how to present yourself. Get a look! Be kind to everyone. Never burn a bridge. Never be so busy that you can’t autograph someone’s book.

Kathy’s recap (with permission) is as follows:

1) Finish your book before you ever submit it to anyone and that means a clean, well written copy that has been edited, free of any mistakes. I don’t want anyone calling me to tell me about their book that they have not finished or as an author have anyone calling me to tell me my publisher misspelled Ruston, Lousiana.

2) Create a look, brand yourself as a professional author. For me it’s big hair, Tiaras, and leopard print, my Pulpwood Queen signature look. It’s hard to forget someone if they look the part. Dress for success. Men wear a killer suit, women create your own signature style. No gift was ever as happily received as one that is magnificently wrapped. No matter how great the gift, if it comes in a Wal-mart bag, well there is not much enthusiasm.

3)  Gather your tribe. Friends, family, clients, network people. Since I started my Pulpwood Queens Book Club, that’s a given, but I am also a member of The First United Methodist Church and Rotary International, I let the word get known to them that I have a book and will speak. But don’t limit yourself there, area book clubs the best word of mouth, (which is to me, STILL, the best advertising in the world. Free program = big book sales.

4) Think outside of the bookselling box. If you wrote a book on underwaterbasket weaving well for goodness sakes, contact YMCA’s, swim clubs, basket weavers, craft shops. Volunteer to give a demonstration and then send out a press release when it is going to happen.  If you don’t have a media list. Take a day to call every newspaper, radio station, email blogger, what is their contact for  press releases. Hmm, that’s how I did it and it worked. And if they don’t respond to your press release, follow up with a personal phone call. Be polite, don’t burn bridges. They may not choose to feature you this time but The Wall Street Journal calls me now periodically for quotes.

5) BONUS TIP!  If you have a secret talent, share that talent. On my Beauty and the Book Show which you can watch all twelve on YouTube.com. I asked authors to share if they had a secret talent. Fire baton twirl, can say all the President’s names in under a minute, you name it! The audience loved those moments, make you stand out from the million book authors published a year and have some big time fun while you are doing it!

And there you have it, great tidbits from the queen herself! Overall, it was a great conference.

12010552_10208088477557552_6115741121659932474_o“Oh hail Queen Kathy!”

© M.A. Pérez 2015, All Rights Reserved

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Presenting… Mary A. Pérez!

A sincere thanks and appreciation to Kev for featuring me and for all the support from his faithful followers!

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Filed under Author Interview w/ Kevin Cooper, Interviews from Bloggers

Making a Difference

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to give a presentation at a local women’s shelter on self-esteem. As I have been training to become a certified sexual assault advocate, I was delighted and agreed to speak to the group of ladies and give a one hour presentation. I titled it, “Phenomenal, Beautiful You.”  I gave that presentation today.

Now due to numerous reasons and past experiences, I myself struggle with low self-esteem. I still don’t find certain tasks easy, comfortable or painless. So, everything that I shared with the ladies today, I was speaking to myself. Sometimes we just need to speak words of affirmation over ourselves! I let those precious ladies know that I am just like them, only now, sitting on the opposite side of the table. However, not without from being well acquainted with the struggles that they face. I shared my story, my insecurities, and spoke on what the definition of insanity is: Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Here is one of the quotes that I printed out on card stocks for each lady to take:

When you change your thinking, you change your belief;
When you change your beliefs, you change you expectations;
When you change your expectations, you change your attitude;
When you change your attitude, you change your behavior;
When you change your behavior, you change your performance;
When you change your performance, you change your life.

This is the kicker to today’s event – today would have been my sister’s birthday, had she not passed away after being struck down by a hit-and-run drive, some 40+ years ago! I was a lonely, neglected child. But when my sister came into the world, from early on I gladly took care of her. Many times it was just the two of us while our parents were gone. But I didn’t mind. It was better doing things together than doing them alone. I promised that I would love and care for her forever. When tragedy struck, she was only two. How do you think this nine-year old big sister felt at the time? Do you think she struggled with self-esteem, insecurities, and self-doubt for the majority of her life? Yeah, you can say that all right. And I will continue to work at it.

I share my experiences because it is possible to make a difference in this world. Just like my pastor says: If you have a pulse you have a purpose! Today’s message was well received and the hour flew by quickly. Afterwards, no one wanted to stop chatting and visiting with me. They felt inspired. In the end, they knew I was one of them.

When I look back on my life, I see pain, mistakes, and heartache. When I look in the mirror, I see strength, learned lessons and pride in myself.

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© M.A. Pérez 2015, All Rights Reserved

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REVIEW: Running in Heels by Mary A. Perez

I thank Heidi for her warm and heartfelt caption to “Running In Heels”.

My hope and desire is for others to know that no matter what they’re going through, they are never alone nor have to be ashamed of their pain. We all have a story and may more of us come to understand that some things are not necessarily a “quick-fix” event in getting out of a hell hole, but it is more of a process.

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Running in Heels jumps from one anecdotal incident to another, opening with Mary’s mother and then boyfriend stealing Mary and her older brother from daycare…

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I’ll Never Forget 9/11

I imagine most of us remember where we were or what we were doing on September 11th, 2001.

Around 7:50 a.m. while driving to work, the morning newscast blared over the radio that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. As soon as I arrived at the office, I ran in and flicked on the TV to see the live broadcast of a massive hole in one of the towers caused by the plane’s impact minutes before. As fellow co-workers gathered in the small conference room, we couldn’t peel our eyes away from the screen. Black smoke billowed out the building, soon engulfed by flames.

We heard what our ears didn’t want to hear and continued to see images that will forever be etched in our minds. My insides plummeted as I saw a second plane hit the other tower. Buildings collapsed minutes later and we all gasped in horror knowing that hundreds—thousands—lost their lives.

My heart went out to those who lost loved ones on that fatal day.

That same evening, President Bush spoke powerful words: “Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward, and freedom will be defended.”

Freedom isn’t free, I thought, and freedom is worth any cost.

(Excerpt from “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace,” chapter 43.)

May our presidents keep us free from terror, both at home and abroad.
May Almighty God keep us safe and secure in our hearts and in our homes.

photo credit: inktheworld.blogspot.com

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© M.A. Pérez, 2015, All Rights Reserved

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What Does Co-dependent Look Like?

Such a complex word.

Here’s what it looks like to me …

My former husband was in love with himself. His needs, desires and wants came before all else. I thought if I did everything he wanted, I’d make him happy. I believed if I agreed with his every comment and wishes, only then would I have some measure of peace. I figured if I made the peace in letting him have his way with me, then surely he’d show me tenderness and love, preferring me over his need for others – hobbies, friends or conquests. But I was merely fooling myself. I received no respect and he continued his ill-treatment toward me. Silently, I resented what he was doing to me, but not enough to do anything different. By me allowing the offenses, I was giving him permission to continue to do me wrong, as if I signed all my rights and life away. I was slowly dying inside. I felt undone, unloved, with a low-self esteem and zero self-worth. I felt lonelier with him than without him. Yet I still wanted him around. As I yearned for his approval and acceptance, I lived in constant fear with him and lived with the fear of losing him.

We think if we can control our environment, we will find peace and tranquility. But in reality, serenity is usually miles away. You might have a false sense of peace and trust me when I say it isn’t lasting. And oh, the price it comes with!

I’m no psychologist, nor am I a psychiatrist. But I also think there’s another side to this spectrum. Sometimes a person may love so much and love so deeply that they tend to do everything for another, thereby potentially stagnating and handicapping that loved one from doing anything for themselves. That person then becomes dependent on you for their needs and outlook in life. They are hindered from growth and maturity in making wise decisions or choices.  They are emotionally immature and can remain psychologically traumatized.

Such as in the situation with my mom. From her childhood early on, Mama was an introvert and extremely shy. Grandma loved her so much that she felt sorry for her. She tended to overcompensate in trying to help Mama by doing everything for her. Mama naturally grew dependent on others to do things for her all of her life. Then in my early years, I tried looking out for Mama and did everything I could in trying to protect her. Most of the time my help was unwarranted, as she sought and relied on her significant others to fulfill that need.

So, co-dependency can be a vicious circle and left untreated can fester like a sore that won’t go away.

Here here are some examples of what it means being co-dependent:

• The need to be needed
• People pleasing
• Trying to control others (aggressively or passively)
• Focusing on helping others before working on your own issues
• Being consumed with other people’s problems
• Rescuing
• Self-doubt
• Unclear boundaries in friendships and relationships
• The tendency to date (or marry) alcoholics or addicts
• Perfectionism
• Workaholism (or always being busy)
• Exhaustion

Your turn. What does co-dependency mean to you?

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