You Too Can Be A Media Darling

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Joanne McCall and I have been friends since the mid-eighties. We were broadcasters on sister stations in Portland, Oregon all those years ago. Because we were a minority, we banded together in a social organization we formed called Broads in Broadcasting. It was a way for us to network and support each other. But mostly, we just had a ton of fun.

We took diverse roads after broadcasting. I split my time between a job with the government and pursued my real love-writing dark murder mysteries in my free time. Joanne became a publicist and started her own company called McCall Media Group. 

I asked Joanne about her evolution from broadcasting to public relations. “That transition began in 1994 when I left broadcasting and went to work for a conference and retreat center as their PR director and special events manager. After I was there about a year, during which I was handling PR events and local media book tours for the likes of Kenny Loggins, Marianne Williamson, Wayne Dyer, and others, the CEO landed a book deal with a major publisher, Bantam Double Day Dell. They asked if I would like to head up the 25-city book tour and work with the publisher to do so, and I very excitedly said, “Yes! of course!”

The word publicist conjures up a number of images for me. What exactly do you do for authors who are interested in your services? “I work as a media trainer and publicist for nonfiction authors who specialize in business,
health, and some mindful/spirituality topics. I also work with fiction authors, business owners and others who want help positioning their work and delivering their messages in a compelling way. This is in the form of strategy sessions and media training. We discuss their goals, objectives, dreams, and desires, and then go about figuring the strategies that are the best way to make them happen.”Headshot, formal

For me, the hardest part of the publishing business is marketing. Any suggestions? “I have a couple of handouts I can share with anyone interested. One is a Publicity Cheat Sheet and the other is How to Become a Media Darling.”

I know that you have a program to help authors get ready for media interviews. Would you tell us about the program and what advice you give authors to get ready for radio and television interviews?
“I am launching a new beta program and event called McCalls
Media Finishing School this fall. We will do a full launch in the
spring of 2020. In addition to learning how to position your book or business, it also teaches you how to create sound bites, media training, and adding creative visualization and NLP to the mix.”

How does someone prepare for radio and television interviews? You and I had plenty of practice as broadcasters, but most authors don’t. How can they get prepared? Listen and watch other interviews. Who does it well and who doesn’t? The secret is to learn why and then do better. Make sure you create a list of key messages about your book. 8 to 15 will be enough. Key messages are those points that you will get across in any interview you do. It helps you to keep on track. Then create a list of interview questions. Have someone help you and do some mock interviews. Invite them to ask the questions and you practice answering.”

Just one final question. How do my readers get in touch with you? “They can
email me at joanne@joannemccall.com or they can go to joannemccall.com and fill out a form that comes right to me. Thanks, Kelly for all these fabulous questions. It’s really delightful and I hope your audience has found some of this helpful.” 

Thank you, my friend, for sharing your PR secrets with us. Loved chatting with you!

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A WOMAN OF MANY TALENTS

Like many authors, Sandy Nachlinger has spent years honing her craft. She took numerous college classes, has attended writer’s conferences, and has spent many lonely hours with fingers flying over the keyboard trying to fashion the perfect story. sandy headshot10best3

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Sandra has been writing  stories since childhood. She told me she wrote her first romantic tale in elementary school, in pencil on lined paper. And just like the novels she’d later write as an adult, the heroine got a kiss at the happy ending. Sandy still has diaries from her school days, one of which inspired I.O.U. SEX, her first book co-written with her childhood friend, Sandra Allen. Her second book is BLUEBONNETS FOR ELLY. Lately, Sandy has been creating shorter pieces while future novels still simmer in her imagination. Her focus is on contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and personal essays featuring mature women.

Sandy and I met when she first moved to the Pacific Northwest, almost fifteen years ago. We reconnected again at a creative writing class at Pierce County Community College. Once the course ended, several students formed a separate writing group for inspiration and feedback on our stories. That’s when we really got to know each other. The mix of five different women, each writing in a different genre, has been beneficial to us all—and it’s lots of fun.

Sandy is a gifted editor as well. She poo-poos the idea of hanging out a shingle and charging a fee. I’ve encouraged her to do just that though. I never send out any piece of significance without running it by Sandy first. She has an eye like an eagle and can spot a missing comma from miles high. Beyond that she has an uncommon intuitive sense that knows when a story line works and when it doesn’t. I trust her implicitly. I told her she’s going to have to live until she’s one hundred because I plan on writing that long.

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It simply isn’t true that writers are introverts who seldom see sunlight and spend most of their waking hours either reading other authors’ novels or penning another tome. When not writing, Sandy likes to hike, make quilts, garden, take photos, lunch with friends, travel, and spend as much time as possible with her granddaughter, Corinna. Here’s Sandy enjoying lunch in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Sandy is also written a number of magazine articles about her various pursuits and adventures.  Rollin’ On The River: http://sasee.com/2018/07/01/rollin-on-the-river/

Happy When I’m Hiking: http://sasee.com/2018/04/01/happy-when-im-hiking/

Sandy’s novels are available on Amazon in ebook and Paperback.

 

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I.0.U. SEX: http://www.amazon.com/I-O-U-Sex-ebook/dp/B004CFAPA4/

BLUEBONNETS FOR ELLY: https://www.amazon.com/Bluebonnets-Elly-Sandra-Nachlinger-ebook/dp/B01C7KMBN

 

FOLLOW YOUR DREAM

I have numerous friends who love to write. They’re not on the New York Times Best Seller list yet, but they’re working on it. I’d like to share the story of one of my good friends who plows through an impossibly busy life to find time to follow her passion to write.

Kathy MacKenzie is truly a renaissance woman. She is a real estate broker and owner of Mackenzie Realty in California and Texas. She is a social media marketing specialist, a publicist, a web designer, and was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Valley Center California Parks and Recreation Department. She is also a member of the Valley Center Planning Group, and the Chamber of Commerce.

Whew! On top of that she gives piano lessons once a week, and participates in a Kiwanis program called Rolling Readers that assists young children at their elementary school who need help with reading. Oh, yeah, she also plays tennis twice a week. In addition to this crazy, busy schedule, she has written two award-winning novels under the pen name of Bonny Brookes: Linked Lives and Darkest Dawn.

The 2014 winner of the Beverly Hills International Book Award in the relationships category, LINKED LIVES details the story of two women who cement a bond early in their childhood and develop a life-long support system for each other through poverty, unemployment, family struggles, betrayals in love, illness and death. Their linked lives created a rock solid friendship and love that spanned decades.

 

In Darkest Dawn Kathy writes about a woman named Linda who is unemployed, alone and facing an unplanned pregnancy. Abortion or adoption? The woman wonders if she can raise the child by herself after the father abandons her. In addition to this heart-wrenching decision, she is attacked by vicious dogs and stunned by a cruel death that leaves her inconsolable. Loving hands reach out to help her out of the depths of despair into peace and joy.

Like Kathy, my life is busier than I’d like. My dream is to retire from my full-time job and write every day, but someone has to pay the mortgage, and that would be me. I am working on my sixth novel, the fourth one in my Winston and Strom murder mystery series. Seattle homicide detectives, Nick Winston and Pat Strom are called to investigate the murder of Father Michael Dunne who has been tragically stabbed to death in the confessional. Who would want to kill the popular priest? BLESS ME FATHER FOR I HAVE SINNED will be published in the Spring of 2019

 

 

 

 

Dynamic Duo

I’ve never met the man, but he’s become a good friend and I would like to introduce my friends to him. He has a distinguished name, one you won’t easily forget. Caleb Pirtle III was once a newspaperman, winning both the Texas Associated Press and Headliner’s Awards.  Caleb also served as editorial director for Dockery House Publishing in Dallas, Texas for twenty-five years where he developed and produced magazines and books for the corporate and retail marketplace.

Caleb wrote three teleplays: Gambler V: Playing for Keeps, a mini-series for CBS, Wildcat: The Story of Sarah Delaney and the Doodlebug Man, a CBS made-for-television movie, and The Texas Rangers, a TV movie for TNT television. As if that weren’t enough, he has also penned over seventy-five books.  I stand in awe. I’ve poured sweat and tears into five novels. I can’t imagine seventy-five books! I’d like to share one of my favorite Caleb Pirtle novels with you.

Back Side of a Blue Moon

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WRITER’S RETREAT

I’ve been on four writer’s retreats and am amazed at the considerable amount of work I’ve accomplished each time I’ve taken the opportunity to get away from my lounge chair and compose while enjoying the beauty of the Northwest.

My most recent adventure included a trip to Port Townsend, WA, a lovely coastal town on the northernmost end of the Olympic Peninsula. It’s famous for its graceful Victorian homes, whale-watching tours, delicious seafood, and Fort Worden State Park where An Officer and a Gentleman with Richard Gere was filmed.

It’s also home to Manresa Castle, a unique hotel boasting rooms with turrets, an antique closed-in elevator, and haunted rooms. Continue reading