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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

On the Spotlight: 'Stepping Stones: A Memoir of Addiction, Loss, and Transformation,' by Marilea C. Rabasa



Marilea C. Rabasa is a retired high school teacher who moved west from Virginia eleven years ago. Before that, she traveled around the world with her former husband in the Foreign Service. She has been published in a variety of publications. Writing as Maggie C. Romero, Rabasa won the International Book Award, was named a finalist in both the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards and the USA Best Book Awards, and earned an honorable mention in The Great Southwest Book Festival, for her 2014 release, A Mother’s Story: Angie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.  She lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for a number of years and now resides in Camano Island, Washington. Visit her online at:  www.recoveryofthespirit.com 



                                                   About the Book

Addiction is a stealth predator. Unrecognized, it will grow and flourish. Unchecked, it destroys.

Marilea grew up in post-WWII Massachusetts in a family that lived comfortably and offered her every advantage. But there were closely guarded family secrets. Alcoholism reached back through several generations, and it was not openly discussed. Shame and stigma perpetuated the silence. Marilea became part of this ongoing tragedy.

Her story opens with the death of her mother. Though not an alcoholic, it is her inability to cope with the dysfunction in her life that sets her daughter up for a multitude of problems.

We follow Marilea from an unhappy childhood, to her life overseas in the diplomatic service, to now, living on an island in Puget Sound. What happens in the intervening years is a compelling tale of travel, motherhood, addiction, and heartbreaking loss. The constant thread throughout this story is the many faces and forms of addiction, stalking her like an obsessed lover, and with similar rewards. What, if anything, will free her of the masks she has worn all her life?

Read Marilea’s inspiring recovery story and learn how she wrestles with the demons that have plagued her.


//////////////////////////////////////////////////

EXCERPT


Going Back
    Look back without staring.  

 

Three years ago I kept my promise to Eleni and went back to Greece for the third time. Gene anxiously awaited his visit to Santorini, one of Greece’s volcanic islands in the Mediterranean and a geologic wonder. We landed in Athens at the end of September.

My friend had read in letters about the love of my life for more than two decades, and I daresay her mouth was watering; she was just dying to meet him. Eleni’s memories of me, still buxom and lineless in early middle age, didn’t match the reality when we saw each other. And her fantasies of Gene from many years before were better than the man who stood in front of her. Gravity does the worst damage to women, but it affects men as well, lining the pockets of plastic surgeons all over the world.

Eleni herself, her face deeply lined from years of sun damage and smoking, is a beautiful example of European women and their unapologetic attitude about age. Good for you Eleni, you can celebrate all that you are without the artifice of makeup or plastic surgery. I wish I had your self-confidence!

Nineteen years is a long time. But feeling the warmth of her embrace and seeing her affirmation as our eyes locked onto each other, I felt as if no time had passed.

Together we stood in front of my old house in Politia, where I’d lived with my family thirty years before. And together we cried, the memories suddenly flooding and overwhelming us.

That house at 17 Pallados is dwarfed now by tall cypress trees along the sides. I had to peer through them at the whitewashed stucco balcony where my girls used to play and remembered Annie practicing gymnastics there with her best friend. The two-car driveway was still enclosed by locked gates, the first-story windows still barred.

The number 17 was hidden behind the overhanging branch of an orange tree, and buildings surrounded and overshadowed the house.

 That evening after Gene had gone to bed, Eleni and I strolled into the plaza for a treat and sat down in an outdoor café.

“Two ice creams,” my friend ordered. Then she turned to me. “Ti thelis, mana mou?

“Vanilla, thanks,” I said, then added, “with chocolate syrup.”

“I’ll have strawberry,” she told the server as he scribbled our orders, “but mine with whipped cream.”

            I had waited to tell her in person about Annie, and when I did, my eyes tearing up, she shed no tears but said matter-of-factly as though she’d been in the recovery rooms for years, Marilea, you cannot help her if she doesn’t want help. Let her go. Concentrate on your other children and grandchildren.”

            “Yes, you’re right, Eleni. I’ve spent fifteen years learning what you just told me in one minute.”

            “Bravo, Marilea,” she concluded, taking my hand.

            And timing is everything in life.

            It wasn’t until that moment that I could accept what she told me—without resistance.

            We never spoke of Annie again.

            The next day before we drove up to her beach house in Volos, I lit a candle for my daughter in the Greek Orthodox church nearby and prayed that she’d find peace—in this life or the next.

            And I let her go.

            During those three weeks that Gene and I spent in Greece—that redemptive journey—it all came back to me in waves: the pounding surf of grief in my heart, not just for Annie but for all the ignorance that had held me down and kept me from the light.

            But I’m still here. I can laugh till my belly aches.

            I’ve stopped chasing the butterfly.

 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Authors To Watch: Ross Victory Author PANORAMA #authorstowatch





Ross Victory is an Award-Winning American author, singer/songwriter, travel geek and author of the father-son memoir, Views from the Cockpit: The Journey of a Son (2019) and Panorama: The Missing Chapter (2020). Ross spent his early years collecting pens, notepads and interviewing himself in a tape recorder. With an acute awareness for his young age, Ross was eager to point out hypocrisies and character inconsistencies in children and adults through English assignments. If he weren’t keeping his English teachers on their toes for what he would say or write next, he was processing his world through songwriting and music.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: http://www.rossvictory.com
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/rossvictoryofficial
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rossvictoryofficial



After a friendship ignites and morphs into a curious tale of parallel souls with a Brazilian-American soldier serving in the U.S. military in South Korea, Panorama reflects on the author’s contemplations to return to a crumbling family life in Los Angeles or to endure his life in Seoul for an end-of-
contract cash payout.

With a thought-provoking storyline that covers eating live octopus, philosophical debates about the gender of God, a pregnancy, and bisexual erasure in men, Panorama delivers a page-turning cerebral adventure. Ending with prose that simultaneously bites and soothes, Panorama suggests readers stand tall in their unique intersections of relationships and sex. Reminding us that as daunting as the vicissitudes of life, and no matter the view from the cockpit of life, the human spirit cannot, and should not, be restrained. While truth may be the bitterest pill of them all, the effects of our truth can bring us closer to an unbroken life.

PRAISE
In this small book are two masterpieces, a riveting remembrance of several life-altering experiences and relationships the author began in Seoul, South Korea, and an essay, let’s call it part tirade, part profound reflection on our view of men, masculinity, sexuality, and romance. You cannot stop until finished because there is no midway, no stopping point as you become a part of his world. After nearly every sentence you scream with or at his observations either with critical reflections or ecstasy. Ross has his pulse on his generation and the most precarious issues confronting sexuality and romance.
–Dr. Ritch C. Savin-Williams, Ph.D. –Cornell University & Author of “Mostly Straight: Sexual Fluidity among Men”

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://amzn.to/2xZyCNi

 Barnes & Noble → https://bit.ly/2xfXQac

 



We welcome you to My Bookish Pleasures! Can you tell us how you got started writing autobiographical fiction?

I've always been drawn to storytelling from my earliest memories as a little black boy. The jump to professional narration was instigated by the loss of my dad in 2017. Adding fictional elements to real-life stories allows me to enhance themes and parts of the narrative that I want to pop out.

Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?

As a writer, I try to stay in touch with how I feel. I don't write when I'm uninspired. When I am inspired, I set my timer for 3 or 4 hours and write with no breaks. I've also learned not to edit myself during the writing process. Sometimes I write when I'm waiting in line at Target or stuck in traffic. Panorama, was partially written in Tulum, Mexico, on a beach with a perfect sunrise and weather, so calming and peaceful locations can be quite inspiring. I also split my writing into stages: planning, writing, editing, and re-writing. When the story is complete, I will wait a few weeks to let it marinate and read it back to fill in holes or remove sections that don't make sense or may not be entertaining.

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

After a friendship ignites and morphs into a curious tale of parallel souls with a Brazilian-American soldier serving in the U.S. military, Panorama reflects on the author’s contemplations to return to a crumbling family life in Los Angeles or to endure his life in Seoul for an end-of-contract cash payout, until things take an unexpected turn.

In Panorama, I broaden my stance on the importance of moments spotlighting isolation and exposing the perks and ailments of escapism. With precise prose and a thought-provoking storyline that covers eating live octopus, philosophical debates about the gender of God, pregnancy, and bisexual erasure—Panorama stands tall as a connected yet separate story. Panorama puts biphobia under a microscope by exposing double discrimination with consideration to cultural intersections of race and religion.

Using the death of my father and brother as the linchpin to personal development, I reframe pain and loss into resilience and personal achievement.

How did you get the idea for the book?

Panorama, was written from the perspective of a double minority. Panorama sits on the intersection of race and sexuality identity—which for me, is that of a bisexual black man in America. I highlight that fact because, in the United States, black voices are drowned out by the majority, and bisexual voices are drowned out by the majority (straight) and minority (gay) voices. Sometimes I have felt unseen and unheard, so it was vital for me to write an honest, entertaining story, but also to give my opinion on the state of affairs in the post “Love is Love” world.

What projects are you currently working on?

As a writer (books and music), projects are ongoing. I have several songs that I intend to release, and a host of short stories that I would like to release. Be sure to check out Panorama the song which will be available on Spotify, Apple Music, and Youtube Sunday, June 21, too. As the world struggles to get a grip on COVID-19 and institutional racism that has plagued black people, my role is to be the best version of myself possible through art that soothes the spirit but also provokes conversation.




Monday, June 15, 2020

Authors To Watch: Rie Sheridan Rose Author THE MARVELOUS MECHANICAL MAN #authorstowatch







Rie Sheridan Rose multitasks. A lot. Her short stories appear in numerous anthologies, including Nightmare Stalkers and Dream Walkers Vols. 1 and 2, and Killing It Softly Vols. 1 and 2. She has authored twelve novels, six poetry chapbooks, and lyrics for dozens of songs. These were mostly written in conjunction with Marc Gunn, and can be found on “Don’t Go Drinking with Hobbits” and “Pirates vs. Dragons” for the most part–with a few scattered exceptions.

Her favorite work to date is The Conn-Mann Chronicles Steampunk series with five books released so far: The Marvelous Mechanical Man, The Nearly Notorious Nun, The Incredibly Irritating Irishman, The Fiercely Formidable Fugitive, and The Elderly Earl’s Estate.

Rie lives in Texas with her wonderful husband and several spoiled cat-children.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: https://riewriter.com/  and https://theconnmannchronicles.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RieSheridanRose
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheConnMannChronicles/





The Marvelous Mechanical Man is the first book in a Steampunk series featuring the adventures of Josephine Mann, an independent woman in need of a way to pay her rent. She meets Professor Alistair Conn, in need of a lab assistant, and a partnership is created that proves exciting adventure for both of them.

Alistair’s prize invention is an automaton standing nine feet tall. There’s a bit of a problem though…he can’t quite figure out how to make it move. Jo just might be of help there. Then again, they might not get a chance to find out, as the marvelous mechanical man goes missing.

Jo and Alistair find themselves in the middle of a whirlwind of kidnapping, catnapping, and cross-country chases that involve airships, trains, and a prototype steam car. With a little help from their friends, Herbert Lattimer and Winifred Bond, plots are foiled, inventions are perfected, and a good time is had by all.

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3bfoz55



We welcome you to My Bookish Pleasures! Can you tell us how you got started writing fiction? 

The first thing I remember writing was a short story based on a dream I had. I think I premiered it as a spoken word piece at camp when I was eleven or so. I started writing my first novel about the same time, and eventually published a much revised version about twenty-five years later. So, basically, I’ve been writing as long as I remember.

Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?

I am basically a pantser. I might know the basics of where I am going, but rarely the specifics. This makes the process more interesting for me, as I am often surprised by the way the story twists and turns. The main character of my short story “Grandmother Clause” literally made me cry with an unexpected act of selfless kindness... 

Most of my novels were originally drafted for National Novel Writing Month—including The Marvelous Mechanical Man—and I strive during those drafts to do about a chapter a day ending on a cliff-hanger of some sort to pick up for the next day’s word count. This method seems to work fairly well for me.

Can you tell us about your book tour release?

I edited this question a little because The Marvelous Mechanical Man is by no means my latest release, but it is the one I wanted to “pump up” with this tour. The Marvelous Mechanical Man is the first book in the Steampunk series, The Conn-Mann Chronicles. There are currently five books in the series, and a spin-off novel in revisions. The book tells the story of Josephine Mann, a young woman in 1870s New York City. She’s down to her last five dollars and looking for work when she runs into Professor Alistair Conn who is looking for a lab assistant. It’s a match made in chaos as Jo tries to organize the absent-minded professor’s lab and meddles in the creation of the marvelous automaton, Phaeton, that is Alistair’s crowning achievement. It’s non-stop action involving airships, trains, and a prototype steam-car among other inventions. Plus, it features my cat in a pivotal role. I am biased, I know, but I really love this series.

How did you get the idea for the book?

The basic idea to write Steampunk came from my writing partner who challenged me to do this for NaNoWriMo. Then I added the layer of writing a novel in First Person, which I had never done before. As I say, this book was originally written several years ago, and I am terrible about blogging, so I can’t find any specifics on why an automaton, but I did have the basics of Jo and Alistair’s characters and the series title The Conn-Mann Chronicles in mind from the beginning. Originally, as I recall, there was to be a bit of confidence man involved, but the characters would have nothing to do with such immoral endeavors.

Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

I think it has to be Josephine Mann. She’s so delightfully opinionated and yet compassionate and practical. I honestly am never sure what she is going to say.

I have other characters I really love—Stefan in The Luckless Prince, Daisy in Skellyman, Dazzle in Mutiny on the Moonbeam—but none compares to Jo. I actually took a little doll of her with me to Dublin for WorldCon last year, and a larger model is a frequent con-goer (along with Alistair and the cat)

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

The most challenging aspect was doing the whole book in First Person and trying to stay true to that. Making sure Jo didn’t tell us anything she couldn’t know--like what was going on in someone else’s head. Third person is so good about allowing that, but First is technically only supposed to include what the narrator knows or observes. It’s been a lot of fun when Jo changes her mind due to new data.

What projects are you currently working on?

Currently, I am revising the spin-off story I mentioned above while my editor looks over one of my orphans I want to polish and re-release. I also have two novels--a fantasy romance, and a contemporary romance--that need revising. I have been writing a space opera on and off for about thirty years, and I hope to one day finish that. And I am working on a chapbook of poetry titled Life in a Time of Quarantine. Plus, waiting for Jo to be ready to sit down and write Book Six of The Conn-Mann Chronicles. So, not a lot. ;)

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring fiction authors?

There really is value to the phrase “Show, Don’t Tell.” It’s very hard to understand though. I highly recommend the book Understanding Show, Don't Tell: (And Really Getting It) (Skill Builders Series Book 1) by Janice Hardy. I love this book. It’s the first one that really explained this concept clearly. Even after twelve novels, this book was extremely useful to me. (So much so that, when a cat knocked it into a sink full of water, I got another copy.)

Don’t be afraid to try things. Challenge yourself to do something you’ve never tried before--write in a different point-of-view; write a genre you’ve never explored; research something new. This is one of the fun aspects of writing.

Last, but most important, never consider your first draft final. The first draft is building the skeleton of the story. Then you send it to trusted (and knowledgeable) beta-readers to find out where you need work. Revising is where you put the flesh on the bones and make it pretty. 

I am the first to admit that I used to hate editing and revisions. I thought it was a real chore. But once I realized how much fun it can be tweaking the rough edges and making everything polished and professional, that’s now my favorite part. And it can make all the difference. One more story to illustrate this.

I wrote a story for an anthology that I really wanted to be part of. I liked the story, but I didn’t know if it was any good or not. I sent it to one of my favorite beta-readers and she told me she liked it...but what if I took it out of Third Person and made it First instead? I tried it, and it made a WORLD of difference. The story grew exponentially in power and depth--and it was accepted. Your mileage may vary, but it just goes to show how important this advice can be for new and experienced authors alike. :)







Tuesday, June 2, 2020

New Historical Romance: The Rising Place, by David Armstrong



Genre
: Historical Romance

Author: David Armstrong

Website: therisingplace.com 

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Purchase Link: The Rising Place by David Armstrong


About the Book:


The Rising Place is based on an interesting premise: What if you found a hidden box of letters from World War II that belonged to a reclusive old maid who had just died—would you read them? And what if you did and discovered an enthralling story about unrequited love, betrayal, and murder that happened in a small, southern town over seventy years ago?


When a young lawyer moves down south to Hamilton, Mississippi to begin his practice, one of his first assignments is to draft a will for Emily Hodge. “Miss Emily” is a 75-year-old spinster, shunned by Hamilton society, but the lawyer is intrigued by her and can’t understand why this charming lady lives such a solitary and seemingly forgotten life.


After Emily dies, the lawyer goes to Emily’s hospital room to retrieve her few possessions and bequeath them as she directed, and he discovers a sewing box full of old letters, hidden in the back of one of her nightstand drawers. He takes the letters back to his office and reads them, and he soon learns why Emily Hodge died alone, though definitely not forgotten by those whose lives she touched.


About the Author:


David Armstrong was born and raised in Natchez, Mississippi. He is an attorney, former mayor, and former candidate for the U.S. Congress. Currently, he serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the city of Columbus, Mississippi. David received both an undergraduate and a master’s degree in political science from Mississippi State University, before going on to receive a law degree from the University of Mississippi. 


The Rising Place Place, David’s second novel, was made into a feature film by Flatland Pictures before it was published by The Wild Rose Press. His third novel, The Third Gift, will be released by The Wild Rose Press this summer. He has also written four screenplays.


David is the father of two grown sons, William and Canon, and lives in one of the oldest and most haunted antebellum homes in Columbus with a snarky old cat named Butch.


Find out more: therisingplace.com 


Read an excerpt! 


When Emily Hodge died, I assumed I would be one of the few people at her funeral. She had lived such a solitary life. She didn’t really seem like a loner, but that was before I learned about the murders and Miss Emily’s past.


She had no family that I was ever aware of. Once, though, when I went to see her in the retirement center before she moved to the hospital, she said something about a “Mr. Wilder” who had visited her years earlier when she used to live in her little yellow house. But I wasn’t sure who this Wilder fellow was or where he was from, and I doubted he was still alive. That was a long time ago, like Miss Emily had said.


And that yellow frame house of hers on Monmouth Avenue has gone through several tenants since Miss Emily moved out and went to the Methodist Retirement Center. Most of the asbestos shingles on the front bottom of the house were covered now with kudzu vine and badly cracked, and Miss Emily would have hated they were so noticeable, so I never told her. I realized several years ago that there were some things it was best Miss Emily never know about.


I never understood why Miss Emily didn’t marry and have her own children. She certainly was attractive enough, in her younger days. She showed me an old picture of herself one Sunday afternoon at the General Hospital when I went by her room to visit. She was a “striking woman,” as she herself commented. But it was more than just a striking woman I saw in that faded, seventy-year-old photograph. She was beautiful. Standing on the running board of an old Ford in a long, pink dress with a cream-colored, flapper hat on her head, she reminded me of someone from that old Bonnie and Clyde movie. It was hard to believe the pretty young woman in that photo was her. I probably stared at it too long, and it seemed to make her uneasy that I thought she was so beautiful.


“You were a lovely girl,” I awkwardly told her. When I handed the picture back to Miss Emily, she replaced it in a brown sewing box and slid it into the bottom drawer of the nightstand next to her bed. After she closed the drawer, I somehow knew Miss Emily would never show anyone that photograph of herself, again.


On the day of her funeral, it started raining about eight o’clock that morning. It was to be only a short, graveside service—just like she wanted—with no open casket, and she specifically requested that no flowers be sent. It was the only request of hers I didn’t honor. I couldn’t bear the thought of that precious lady, who had lived and died all alone, being buried without flowers. It just wasn’t right, so I ordered the finest arrangement of yellow roses I could find. I thought the color was appropriate, considering how much she loved her yellow house on Monmouth Avenue, and she always liked roses. As I’ve matured, I’ve learned that sometimes people want things but just don’t know how to ask for them. I do believe Miss Emily would have liked those yellow roses.


It was a simple, Methodist prayer service that lasted only twenty minutes. No one cried during the service. I don’t think Miss Emily would have wanted that. It’s hard to cry for someone you don’t really know. But the old black people there seemed to know her as they passed by her casket after the last prayer. And when Reverend Elton read the quote from Saint Theresa (Miss Emily’s favorite saint), “Let nothing disturb you; let nothing frighten you. Everything passes except God. God alone is sufficient,” all the black people shouted a loud, “Amen!”


But the most intriguing thing of all was that gray-haired stranger who kept staring at the small headstone next to Miss Emily’s grave that read, “Baby Boy, 1942,” and who then stayed after everyone else had left. As we were leaving, I noticed from my car that the old man was crying. He picked a single yellow rose from the arrangement on top of Miss Emily’s bronze casket and then gently placed it on the small grave, in front of the headstone. When my wife and I drove away, I looked back before we left the cemetery. The gentleman was limping away in the rain with his cane.  


Before she died, Miss Emily had already disposed of most of her possessions, but there were two beautiful paintings and an antique rose vase still in her hospital room that she had left to a friend. She had given away all her clothes to a couple of nurses who promised they would take them to the Salvation Army for her, but I doubted that would ever happen. I remember commenting to Miss Emily years ago, when I was still a young lawyer, that a friend had once promised to retain our firm and then sought legal services elsewhere. Emily said, “Don’t put too much stock in other people, David—they’ll just disappoint you.”


As I was about to turn off the light and leave her empty room, I remembered the sewing box of letters in the bottom drawer of the nightstand next to her bed. I also remembered that wonderful old photograph of her leaning against a car on the beach, which she had shown me several years ago. I didn’t know why at the time, but I wanted that picture. I would keep it as a remembrance of this dear lady I had come to love.


I didn’t open the letter box until after I had returned to my office. I don’t know if Miss Emily would have liked my reading her letters, but I think I finally understand her now and why she died alone, though definitely not forgotten. I know I’ll never forget her. How could I?

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Book Blast: The Demolition of Democracy by Ted Bagley




 

Inside the Book:



Title: The Demolition of Democracy
Author: Ted Bagley
Publisher: XLibrisUS
Genre: Political Science
Format: Ebook/Paperback/Hardcover

This work is a synopsis of how I, from my research, feel that this current administration and its behavior, policies, and attack on the democratic foundation of the country could be the undoing of the US as we know it today

Purchase Here

Meet the Author:
The author is writing his fourth novel ,The Demolition of Democracy, to give substance to what he sees as a threat to the stability of our country by the current Trump administration.

Giveaway

Ted is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

 
Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins April 27 and ends on May 8.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on May 9.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway >>

Tour Schedule

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

SOCIAL LEADS by Shay Banks




We're thrilled to host the virtual book tour for SOCIAL LEADS: YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYBOOK TO GENERATING MORE LEADS IN THE NEXT 90 DAYS by Shay Banks. Scroll down to find out how you can pick up a copy of her book!


SOCIAL LEADS: YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYBOOK TO GENERATING MORE LEADS IN THE NEXT 90 DAYS
By Shay Banks
Nonfiction

Struggling To Profit From Social Media?

It’s more than likely not your fault. There is a lot of misinformation (and outright lies) being told about how social media is supposed to work. In Social Leads you will discover post ideas to use on Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, and more!

Your Very Own Social Media Playbook You Can Use Over and Over

If you want to add social media to your marketing plan, this is the playbook you need to get started. Understand how each platform works and how so you can achieve your business’s goals. Inside this action-oriented book, you’ll learn:
  • How to get traffic to your social media pages for free
  • What to do when you’ve tried everything on social media and you’re not getting results
  • Example social media posts (with pictures) to help get your creative juices going
  • Plus more!



Amazon → https://amzn.to/3awrSVf








What To Expect From This Book
Back in the day, building a business seemed pretty straight forward. You found a building, you got a loan, you opened up shop, and the people came to your store.
Except, that’s not exactly what happened?
People found office space, got the loan, opened up shop, and no one came. The savvy business owners would discover marketing tactics that would generate foot traffic. Tactics like direct mail, radio advertising, catalog advertising, classified ads, etc.
After some trial and error, they saw results.
Nowadays, the storefront is different.
People go online and build websites. No loan needed, just a monthly payment for hosting and an annual fee for your domain registration.
But many people have discovered that though it’s easier to “set up shop” now than a few decades ago, they run into the same problem: getting customers.
The savvy business owners will start looking at different online marketing tactics such as blogging, email marketing, SEO, and social media marketing.
“Build it and they will come” mentality crippled/cripples many businesses.
If you are reading this book, kudos to you for putting forth effort to “figuring it out”. It’s important to get as much knowledge as possible. But as Dale Carnegie infamously said, “knowledge isn’t power until it is applied.”
If you are not action oriented, then this book is definitely not for you. I’m sorry to tell you that this book is nothing but words filled with actions you must take if you want your business to have a chance in hell of survival.
Yes, I know, with a title like Social Leads: Your Social Media Playbook to Generating More Leads in The Next 90 Days, there should be some magic. There should be some snap-your-fingers-and-boom-it-works instructions. Sadly there is none of that in this book.
This book is for action-takers.
Implementers.
Persistent and determined individuals who will, by golly, make this business work; it’s this or bust. If that is you, then you’re in luck.
What’s on the pages that follow is action plan that will help you start attracting leads organically using social media.
Why are we focused on social media?
According to the statistics, the average person is on social media between 2 – 6 hours every single day.
Marketing 101 says “Go where the people are.” And the people are on social media. Chances are high, you will be able to sell your products and services on social media.
But…(there’s always a but isn’t there)…
Social media is always changing. The algorithms, the rules, and the available platforms all can change at the drop of a hat. It’s this constant change that makes social media marketing difficult for many to grasp and understand. In my ten plus years of using social media to generate traffic to websites in a variety of industries, I have seen it all.
And yet, despite the changes, I have managed to attract clients and money with less followers and fans than many of my competitors. (I made $500 my first 6 weeks on Instagram with a meager 40 followers. To date, I have made thousands of dollars on Instagram alone and I have under 300 followers.)
How is that possible?
You’ll discover all of that and more in this book. Turn the page and let’s get started.











Introduction
“It doesn’t work!” a woman, we’ll call her Julie, said as she approached my expo booth and scowled at my signage.
Thinking that I must have misheard her, I said, politely “I’m sorry?”
“It doesn’t work. This social media stuff. It doesn’t work. You’re all liars.”
“Well…I’m sorry that it’s been tough,” I said with a strained smile. I mean…what am I supposed to say to that? Yes, you’re right. Many people that do social media ARE liars. Many don’t know how to turn a profit, but they know how to get your some fake followers.
In a way, I truly was sorry for her.
“I don’t want your sorry,” she grabbed a business card off the table and looked at my name. “Shay? Is that I how I pronounce your name” she asked.
“Yes.”
“Well, I don’t want your sorry Shay. I want you to fix it! Here’s my Facebook.” She handed me her phone with her Facebook business page open and ready for my analysis.
I don’t usually do impromptu social media analysis at live events, but it was early. Not too many people were there just yet so I let this interaction happen. Plus, this lady was not backing down. I could tell that she was not going to take no for an answer.
I grabbed her phone and scrolled down a bit. I immediately knew what was missing.
“Yea, I see what—” I began. She interrupted me before I could even finish the sentence. She was definitely trying my patience.
“Nuh huh,” she said, finger pointed up. “I need you to check my Pinterest too.”
She clicked on the Pinterest app, went to her profile and handed me the phone again. I scrolled through her Pinterest page and knew immediately what was missing and why she wasn’t getting results.
Have you ever heard the saying “How you do one thing is how you do everything?” Well it applied here as well. I knew that all of her social media pages were making the same mistake. But to appease her, I looked at all of them.  Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.
And then, I looked at her, sternly, and then gave her 3 actions to take right now to turn her social media pages around.
This book is an extension of that conversation with her.
Why The Majority Are Not Making Money
Did you know that 70% of small business owners who create online content make $0, as in zero, nada, zilch, $0 from social media, or from any content that they create online?
This is a good thing because that means 30% of small business owners are making money. So if you can ignore the 70 and follow the 30, you will be okay.
I know those Instagram “influencers” want you to believe that it’s all easy. Just post a selfie and BOOM, watch that cash roll in baby!
It doesn’t quite work that way. Or, shall I say, it worked that way in the early days, but nothing lasts forever.
Nowadays, you better know what the hell you’re doing on social media or you can
1) waste a TON of time getting likes and engagement but getting NO dinero and
2) waste a TON of money on Facebook ads, influencer shout outs, or high-end e-courses that promise you’ll make 6 figures in 6 days. (it never works out like they promise, but you don’t realize that until AFTER the 30-day money back guarantee)
Let’s face it, consumers are smarter now. They are armed with information and they know when someone is trying to sell them. If you plan on using social media to market your business, you better bring your A game!
The Zero Profit Attorney
I did a discovery call with a well-known attorney in Dallas who wanted me to help her generate more leads from her social media pages. She and I met at a local networking event and exchanged cards. At the event she expressed that her social media person was gonna put her in the poor house if she didn’t get this thing turned around.
I was shocked she asked me to help her since, based on all the advertising I’d seen of her online and offline, I assumed she was doing quite well.
Turns out, she was breaking even. If she spent $20,000/month in ads online, she would bring in $20,000 worth of business.
That’s certainly not good because you want to be able to have a profit. I mean, that’s what a business is, right? Products and services sold in order to make a profit.
She was skeptical of working with me because she’d spent upwards of $15,000 already on e-courses and her current social media person.  Both were not panning out like she’d hoped. I told her I don’t have an e-course that could fix her problem and honestly, an e-course wouldn’t do her any justice.
She was neck-deep in this social media ocean and it was not something she could navigate out of by herself.
What she needed was a full on 4-hour session with me, one on one.
And that is what we did. A 4-hour session where I showed her step by step how to tweak her Facebook advertising campaign (on her own), what to post, and how to select better targeting. As a result, she slashed her ad costs from $20,000/month to $5,000/month.
Without doing anything else differently, she was able to profit $15,000/month.
Doing the wrong thing on the right platform is costly. This is what the majority do. They follow an influencer or a marketing guru, they follow their “rules” and then they end up not getting the results that were promised.
The reason it doesn’t work is because the influencer or marketing guru has a different target market, spends more money on advertising, has a more established social media reputation, and has access to partners who will happily promote them.
Follow marketing gurus and influencers at your own risk.
Common Characteristics Of Social Media Posts That Make No Money
  1. Too many stock photos
  2. Perfectly shot photos of people on the beach with their laptop
  3. Generic questions asked in an attempt to “boost engagement”
  4. Lots of branded content
  5. No videos or photos of the person running the page
  6. Too many quotes
  7. Inconsistent posting
  8. No engagement with followers
  9. Too many topics covered
  10. Unclear business message
What I'm going to share with you in this book is stuff that I've used in my own business as well as what I've assisted other entrepreneurs and small business owners use in their business.
These strategies work online as well as offline. You will see some similarities, or things that you can take from social media and use offline or take from offline and apply it to social media.
Both work hand-in-hand.
The Difference Between A Social Media Strategist And A Social Media Manager
We need to address the elephant in the room.
 I get asked this question all the time when I tell people what I do. People think I am in my office all day posting social media content for businesses.
That’s not an accurate description of what I do. So let’s break down the differences so you get a clear understanding.
A Social Media Manager, by definition, manages your social media pages. They interact with your audience on your behalf. They comment on your followers’ posts. They are basically people who boost engagement.
A social media manager’s main job is to increase your followers organically and post the content you create. That’s it. They are acting on your behalf to save you time.
A Social Media Strategist, by definition, shows you a strategy to achieve your business goals using social media. They do a ton of market research on your target audience and use that information to create a specific social media campaign for your business.
A social media strategist’s main job is to get you leads so you can boost your business. That’s it. They do not post the content, but they may create the content for you to save you time. Depends on the services that strategist offers.
If you already have content and just need someone to post it on your social media pages, or you don’t have the time to get on social media every day and you need someone to do it for you, then you need a Social Media Manager.
If you need to know what to do on which platform in order to attract your ideal client using social media or you have a specific goal you would like to achieve using social media, then you need a Social Media Strategist.
What’s Your Motivation?
Before we get into the actions you need to take, you might want to get out some pen and paper. We're going to do a quick little exercise, because I want to tap into your why.
What's your why? Why do you want a business? Why are you trying to make this business grow?
I always do this with my clients because this entrepreneurial journey is tough! I can speak firsthand to that. If you don't have a strong enough why, you will not move forward, you will give up, and you may give up too soon when you were super close to a win.
I don't want you to fall prey to that. Take a quick second and answer these questions:
Three months from now, I will earn ___________________.
I will earn this amount because ____________________________________________________________________________.
I commit to ________________, ______________________, and ___________________ in order to achieve my goal income.
I want you to keep the answers above handy. Keep them around you, because, let me tell you, you will find obstacle. Well, actually, you won't find them, they will find you.
There will be several obstacles for you to overcome on your journey. And it's constant. It never stops. I don't care whatever success you're looking for, there are more obstacles on the other side of that. So keep these answers front and center so that you can stay focused when things get tough.
About Me
“I’m so thankful I had a childhood before technology took over.” -Unknown
I'm going to send you back, waaay back in time when this grown woman was a little six-year-old girl in the first grade.
My first series of novels that I read were the Babysitters Club. The series was about these 4  best friends who started a babysitting business. And I was just so intrigued by that. I thought, oh my gosh, that is my calling. That is what I'm going to do. I am going to have a babysitting club business. But I’ve got to wait until I'm in the eighth grade. Right now, I'm six years old. What kind of business should I do now, I would ask myself.
I knew that a kid that lived down the street from me, delivered newspapers.
I remember asking my mom if I could deliver newspapers like the kid down the street. Without even a second to think, my mom said no because “that's a boy's job.” As a sidenote: there were also a few child kidnappings that had happened in my small town that made her leery too.
Through my search, I was able to find one business that my mom could not say no to: BeautiControl Consultant. If you know Avon or Mary Kay, you may know what BeautiControl is, because it's very similar.
They do make up, they do facial cleansers, and all that good stuff. I remember I gathered up my $100, which was my birthday money and part of my allowance. I scraped it all together to get a starter kit. My first customer was one of my aunts. She bought a moisturizer from me.
It was the first $12 I’d ever earned on my own.
I didn't do BeautiControl for very long, though. But I knew I was meant to be in business for myself because I was already looking for business opportunities at six years old! Now if we fast forward a little while, I have gone through high school, I've gone through college. I lived in South Korea for a year teaching English as a Second Language, and then I came back to Texas, and I was a teacher. So let’s just fast forward 20 or so years after earning that first $12 on my own.
It was around this time, in 2008, I was done with teaching. I knew I couldn’t do it anymore. But I didn’t know what my next move would be. But I knew for sure, it was not teaching.
And so I started looking for business opportunities online. Three days into my search, I became intrigued by a young lady who said she was a business coach. I bought some of her online programs, I read her blog, I commented on her blog, I did some more online research, and then I joined her mastermind.
This business coach advised me that I could have an online business sharing my gifts and passion. (Vague, I know! But I was so eager to jump at the possibility that I didn’t let logic enter in my mind!)
She was like, "All you need is a blog! You already have a powerful voice, you can just write, and you'll make six figures."
And so I followed her instructions. I started my blog. I would work at my school from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and then I would go home and be in front of the computer from 6:00 PM to midnight.
I did this every single day for over a month. I was determined to make this business a success.
After about the first 40 days of doing this, I looked at the analytics. I’d been blogging like a mad woman for over a month and I wondered how many people have come to my website, because I haven't seen anything in my PayPal account.
I knew something was wrong because the equation was blog and BOOM, make six figures.
When I didn’t see anything in my PayPal account, I went to the analytics. I go to the analytics and I saw that only two people had come to my website. Do you know who those two people were? Me and my mama!
 That was not okay because the two of us were not going to help me make the six figures that I wanted.
I quickly learned that this big-time guru/business coach I chose to follow was leaving some important elements out of this “blog and make six figures” equation.
There was more to making money online and I had to figure it out on my own. It took me a long while, a lot of trial and error, lots of money spent, lots of time wasted, but once I figured it out, I started making money.
It started off by getting organic traffic to my website and then getting that traffic to get on my email list. I did that by applying all the SEO tactics I’d learned while reading sites like Copyblogger and ProBlogger. Using the tactics I learned from those websites, I ended up making $50 a day.
This was all free traffic because it was all about using the right keywords and backlinking strategies. I then stumbled upon advertising through Google Adwords, Facebook ads, banner ads, mobile ads, in-app ads. As a result, I started making $100+ a day.
And then, 3 years later, I was able to quit my teaching job.
You can actually shorten your learning curve by just listening to what I'm telling you in this book. Unlike my first business coach, I won’t be holding anything back.
I know what that feels like when someone gives you only part of the plan and then looks at you like you’re crazy for not making money.  This book is all about giving you the whole enchilada, so that way you can start getting leads and you can start making sales really quickly.
So without further adieu, let's get into the social media strategies that will get you more leads in the next ninety days.









Shay Banks helps entrepreneurs get more leads and sales with social media. If you’re not filling your pipeline with new leads, Shay can show you how to use your social media pages to do just that. Get more leads now by grabbing your free social media toolkit at: www.shaybanks.com.

 





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