Dear Friend

When I blogged in June of 2014 about all of the things that keep me busy, I made reference to my card-making for a project called Girls Love Mail. Little did I know that the cards and letters I created, penned, and sent would come back to thank me.






TODAY, September 26th, a book titled Dear Friend is available for purchase. Taken from their website, I offer this description, “This beautiful collection of handwritten letters offers strength, encouragement, and comfort to women living with breast cancer. These heartfelt letters were gathered by Girls Love Mail as a gift for your loved ones. Presented in an elegant package and brimming with warm messages of empathy, inspiration, and humor, Dear Friend delivers words of wisdom when they’re needed the most.”

I am absolutely blown away to be included in this publication. It is truly an honor. Of the one hundred and ten THOUSAND submissions that Girls Love Mail received in support of women with breast cancer over the years in preparation for this collection, I am one of the 100 published in this book.


Founder, author, and cancer survivor, Gina L. Mulligan began Girls Love Mail after she herself received hundreds of letters of support. No lectures or advice, just heartfelt comments.

We’ve all been in need of the “right words”, whether we’re the getter or the giver. This book is filled with page after page of genuine well wishes. Buy it for yourself, buy it to share. I believe you’ll find comfort in its messages.

To order, click here: Dear Friend
For more information on the card/letter project, click here: Girls Love Mail

My contributor’s copy. Beautiful inside and out.



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The Pink Room

I recently painted my office/studio pink. It’s very pink.
I say that for your benefit, not mine.
I know it’s pink.
I painted it.

All the same, it’s very pink.

When my daughter was in high school, she painted what was then her bedroom three shades of pink with the fourth wall black.
When she moved out, it became my work space.
Then we moved.
I missed my “pink room”.

In the new house, my office came with one black wall! (And three Crayola flesh tone walls. Okay, peach.) I thought, Sweet, one quarter of the way done. When they finished our bathroom reconstruction (that’s a blog to come…), I took the opportunity to complete my studio.

It’s done. It’s pink. I love it.

The meaning of the color PINK is unconditional love and nurturing.

“The color pink represents compassion, nurturing, and love. It relates to unconditional love and understanding, and the giving and receiving of nurturing.

A combination of red and white, pink contains the need for action of red, helping it to achieve the potential for success and insight offered by white. It is the passion and power of red softened with the purity, openness and completeness of white. The deeper the pink, the more passion and energy it exhibits.

Pink is feminine and romantic, affectionate and intimate, thoughtful and caring. It tones down the physical passion of red replacing it with a gentle loving energy.”

I look forward to having my creativity unconditionally loved and nurtured in my Pink Room

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It’s a BV!

We are proud to announce the arrival of Baby Van! ❤

On Saturday, September 9, at 10:07 am, we welcomed my second grandson.
Evan Lamphere Lee Terran Frazer came in at 21 inches and 8 pounds 14 ounces.
Mother and baby are doing well.
Daddy and Big Brother, too.

As you may know, Ben, my first grandson, is my BB. You can read all about it here.
My daughter suggested that because they want to call the new one Van, he should be my BV, for Baby Van.

I’d like to introduce you to my BV…




Grampa and Gramma could not be prouder!

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Launching Lamphere’s Furniture Store on Social Media

We were already discussing adding a Lamphere’s Furniture, TV, and Appliance page to Facebook prior to The Writer’s Block Party, but after that panel, we knew it was time!

For those of you who don’t know, my husband and son work at Lamphere’s, a family owned and locally operated furniture, TV, and appliance store located in downtown Aurora, Illinois. At the intersection of Lake Street (Rt. 31) and Downer, they are about three blocks from the boat and the Paramount Theater.

I assist with their advertising. And we ALL know the future of advertising is social media. It’s not even the future of, it’s the now.

I’d like you to check out the new Facebook page. Click here for quick access. Like us, follow, comment, and if you’ve purchased anything over their 53 year history, feel free to add a review.

I look forward to updating the Lamphere’s page with product, specials and promotions, and content that might be of interest even if you are completely satisfied with all of your current furniture, TVs, and appliances. (Or if you live too far away.)

Also, the store is open today, Labor Day, from 11 am to 5 pm. Stop by and say “Hello!”.




15 S. Lake St.
Aurora, IL 60506

Regular business hours:

  • Monday:9:30 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Tuesday:9:30 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Wednesday:9:30 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Thursday:9:30 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Friday:9:30 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Saturday:9:30 AM to 5:30 PM
  • Sunday:11:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Home of name brands, friendly service, and easy credit.



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WBP: What I Learned

As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, the In Print affiliate, Chicago Writers’ Association hosted the 6th Annual Writer’s Block Party Saturday, August 26, at the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin. I was proud to be a part of the panel featuring Jennifer Brown BanksMarcie HillBecky Sarwate, and Charlie Monte Verde. Author Dan Burns was moderator.

I may have also mentioned that I was dwarfed by the knowledge of my fellow panelists when it comes to the business of social media.

Here are 5 things I learned:
1. Several of the panelists pay writers to contribute to their sites. This is beneficial to all parties–authors are reimbursed for their talents, readers are offered fresh voices, and hosts support the arts while expanding their audience. When you pay for content, you’re also paying for the readers that new content will bring. I encourage you to click on their names above and check out their websites. If you feel a connection, contact them for more information on what they are looking for and how to submit.

Each of the guests also contributes to other sites. Ideally for pay, but also for experience and exposure.

2. It’s sometimes necessary to hire help. Several of the panel members pay someone to keep their content relevant. Posting updates, responding to comments, engaging readers–the point of social media is to keep connected and when you get too busy to connect, you need to make arrangements.

We discussed financial investment in social media, how much it costs to host a website, and pay contributors or assistants. What we need to remember is that this is a business. We may write for fun, love, or compulsion, but if we hope to make any money, we also need to spend.

3. There are probably as many tools to assist with social media as there are social media outlets. Youtube, WordPress, and Google Analytics were referenced several times. In this age of connection, answers to questions are a click away and most sites are user friendly. Do not be intimidated by social media.

4. We were encouraged to use sensory material in our social media. Strategically adding visuals, video, and sounds to your posts will engage your readers on multiple levels.

5. What hit home the most for me was an early comment by Queen of the Haberdashery aka Wearer of Many Hats, Becky Sarwate. Her comment regarding time invested in social media versus actual work not only made sense but seems attainable, even for a Facebook junkie like me. She mentioned her 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of her time is spent curating content. Writing, researching, working. Twenty percent of her time is dedicated to the shilling of said content. Imagine what I could get accomplished if I limited my social media time to 20%! I accept that challenge…

Starting now.

Well, after I thank you for reading my daily posts on the social media panel. I hope you learned something. If I’ve sparked a thought and you’d like to share, please do so in the comments.

Okay, now



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WBP: What I Wish I had Shared

Honestly, the Writer’s Block Party whizzed by! So, when I offer this list of things I wish I had shared, it’s because there was no time for more. Social media is a sprawling topic. To cover all of the intricacies of the subject, we would still be at the Gail Borden library…

The panelists were provided the link to the Dan Blank video and a list of potential questions to prepare for. Having watched the video, I tailored my responses to reference Dan’s comments. I don’t think you have to watch his clip to understand my comments, but you might want to.

Three Things I think you should consider regarding Social Media:
1. In whatever social media you choose to use, be brief. Get to the point. What is it you’re trying to say? How are you hoping to engage your reader? If flowery prose is your style, go for it. But don’t go long…I can tell you, there is NO blog post interesting or beautifully written enough for me to spend ten minutes scrolling through. Hook me quick and I’ll be back!

2. I think people may feel intimidated by the idea of engaging beyond selling their book. Don’t be. Of course you want to sell your book! Shout it from the rooftops that you’re published! Instead of “buy my book!”,  when you meet people, or post on social media, engage in their interests. “You’re wearing a White Sox cap, how confident are you in this rebuild?” “Your vacation photos from Fiji looked amazing; I’ve always wanted to go there!” These are honest, genuine comments about the other person. Coming around to what you do, what you like, and what you write will happen organically. “I see you like pizza, have you been to Anna’s in Winnebago? Their breakfast pizza looks delicious. I mention them in my book.”

3. We are not our target market. I think this is so important–as writers, we surround ourselves with other writers. But to expect us all to buy them all is unfair to our pocketbooks and asking a lot of our time. Of course I want to buy and read your book! (As I want you to buy and read mine!) I always appreciate the support, but I understand your time is spent writing and reading books that you need to read to be a better writer, whether instructional or inspirational. This is why social media is so important. It helps expand your audience, your potential reader circle, beyond the people you see all the time. Don’t get me wrong, our writer peers are invaluable! Just not our target audience…unless you publish books on writing. 🙂

Tomorrow I’ll wrap up this blog-week with a list of what I learned from the panelists and audience members. Thanks for allowing me this social media indulgence.

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WBP: What I Shared

The Writer’s Block Party topic this year was, Brand Aid: Blogging and Social Media for Writers. I participated on the panel, and as I mentioned, felt out of my league with the level of expertise represented by the other panelists,  Jennifer Brown BanksMarcie HillBecky Sarwate, and Charlie Monte Verde, and Dan Burns as moderator.

I am working up to what I learned from this esteemed panel, and the audience contributions, but today I offer what I shared.

  1. My blog began as a personal writing challenge. I was hoping to make writing a habit. I wanted to post every Monday, that morning, as it came to me. I hoped that over time, I would lose the desire (and need) to constantly reread, edit, and go over my words ad nauseam. In the over 300 weeks that my site has been live, I have missed only a handful of Mondays. I believe I am becoming more confident in what I have to say when I’m saying it. Although you know I’m still rereading, editing, and going over my words…My point is that you can blog for your own purposes. Whether you find an audience or not, there is value in the practice.
  2. Many authors use social media to build an audience to meet their professional needs. Dan Blank is big on making connections beyond those professional needs. One thing I recommended to the event audience was to bring it home for your readers. What better way to connect than to reference things that are important to them in your work? I write fiction, but there’s always an element of fact in any story. When I was doing research for Kinder Garden, I wanted to establish the fictional location of the story by adding real places. My family and I grabbed a bite to eat at a pizza place in Winnebago, IL. I thought it was perfect for my purposes, so I named it in my book. The owner of Anna’s Pizza, Brian Weavel, has been very SUPPORTIVE of the publication. He promotes it on his personal and business Facebook pages. And all I did was mention the name and location! He’s been so great, I intend to write an entire scene in my next novella that includes his restaurant.
  3. If the purpose of social media is to build a following for your work, there is no better way than to tap into an existing audience. I did just that when I published in the Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mysteries Kindle World. Mary O’Reilly is the protagonist in a nineteen book series by author Terri Reid. Her books have been so successful, Kindle invited her to be part of the Kindle Worlds. I have published two books in her world, Kinder Garden and Baker’s Dozen. Kinder Garden, which was #1 in its category for four weeks straight, brought me Amazon accolades– I can add Best Seller to my resume! Terri’s dedicated fans read my story. My goal is for them to become my dedicated fans who will then follow me to my next independent publication.

I hope these three points speak to you on some social media level. Interpret them as you see fit, apply them as you will.

Tomorrow I’ll go over the couple of things I wished I would have said. 😉


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