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Archive for the ‘Publisher's Journal’ Category

Recently I decided to review my phone bills. My bills can run between $800 -$1,000 a month because I not only use my phones for personal use but for business as well.

And the experience was pretty shocking.

For the past eight years I have used a company headquartered in New York City called MetTel. And I had no problems. I am the type that once I work with a company it takes a lot to make me change. But with money tight I decided to look at some of my vendors and see where I could save money without sacrificing customer service and quality.

I called MetTel sales and told the sales rep that I felt it was time to review my account. “No problem,” I was told. “Get back to you in two days.” That sounded good to me, although I must admit, I like more immediate feedback.

While waiting for MetTel, I got a quote from Verizon that appeared too good to be true. It cut my costs by 31%. You know the adage, if it is too good to be true, it probably is.

So I looked online for Verizon deals and without going into detail, I had contact with three different Verison reps who all gave me different prices.

By the way, I still had not heard from my MetTel sales rep.

When I finally got a Verizon senior vice-president of sales, tell me that I could get the discounted price I decided to make the change.

What did I learn? 
      1.  Always review your options on a regular basis…maybe once a year.
     2.  The best price is not always the first price you get. Many times you get a better deal by just asking for it.
     3.  Make sure the deal you are getting is a real deal. Get it in writing. Speak to someone in authority.

I must tell you that the phone saga does not end there. The first bill I got from Verizon and the last one from MetTel ran close to $2,000.  You can be sure I was not taking this quietly.

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My husband, Clay and I often go to the movies. In fact, we reserve Friday as date night which usually means dinner out and a movie…I admit that some weeks there is just nothing good to see. And sometimes we turn to DVDs.

Recently my son suggested Sleep Dealer, a Spanish subtitled movie mostly set in Mexico. Sometimes Clay hates subtitles because while reading you miss the action. But in this movie the setting is the story.

It tells the tale of a young man, who lives in a remote village who must travel to Tijuana to earn money for the family when his father is killed. At first glance this appears to be a simple plot, but it is set in the future.

Although the film is set in the future, so much of the story is a comment on the current issues we face. For example, there is a 15 ft border fence separating us from Mexico, but we use their workforce to work remotely with a newly created technology.  America keeps our county safe using drone patrols over our southern neighbor which manytimes results in wrongful deaths.

A thoughtfully done movie, well worth seeing.

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We just received this press release about a non-profit performance space moving into the beautiful Newburgh Train Station.  Meanwhile, the old theater in Beacon  is in contract with another non-profit theater group. (More about that soon.)

RAILROAD PLAYHOUSE, INC.

www.rrplayhouse.org

JULY 6, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RAILROAD PLAYHOUSE, INC.,

a NEW non-profit performance space,

will occupy the historic

West Shore Railroad Station in Newburgh, NY!

 Anticipated to open in Fall 2010!

 On June 25, 2010, Railroad Playhouse, Inc. signed a lease with West Shore Station, LLC for the historic West Shore Railroad Station at 27 South Water Street, Newburgh, NY 12550 and expects to open its doors in the Fall of 2010!!

The Railroad Playhouse is a non-profit arts organization dedicated to the revitalization of the Newburgh Waterfront and the preservation of Newburgh’s historic West Shore Railroad Station by providing a space for high-quality, artistically creative performing arts experiences.

The Railroad Playhouse will strive to provide a home for playwrights to workshop and showcase new plays; present local, national, and international artists of all genres; create partnerships with local businesses and organizations to continue revitalizing the area; implement a summer arts camp for local children; and create teaching-artist residencies and after-school programs in local schools.

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John Grisham speaks!

John Grisham speaks!

John Grisham is an accomplished and entertaining speaker. What did he have to say?

I will answer that, but first I want to mention that my kids, Amy and Eliot, came with me to the festival. Amy is a wonderful photographer and the still shots you see are hers. And Eliot heard the first author to speak, John Grisham.

My son came with me to the event... and acted as my assistant.

My son came with me to the event... and acted as my assistant.

According to Eliot, the presentation was conduction in two parts, first a reporter from The Washington Post interviewed Grisham on-stage; and then members of the audience asked questions. On the way home Eliot regaled us with the highlights. According to Grisham his first book bombed. The publisher printed 5,000 hardcover copies and never did a reprint.  Grisham was determined to find out what it took to be successful, so he read all the bestsellers. And he said to himself, “I can do that.” After that he wrote The Firm, which went on to be a bestseller. He does minimal research and keeps to his successful fiction format. His first foray into non-faction (I think it was Last Man Standing, about an innocent man on death row.) took him three years to write while his fiction takes about 6 months. So his is sticking to that which he does best.

One funny sidelight was when someone asked Grisham why he doesn’t include intimate sex scenes in his books. Without a thought he answered. First he said his wife is usually in the first row in the audience as she was today. And that when he was asked that question before, his wife chimed in from the first row that he writes about what he knows best.

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If you love books you would have loved the 2009 National Book Festival held in Washington, DC on September 26th. There were more authors and their books in one spot than you could possibly visit in a day. It is true that we have many book fairs in the mid-Hudson region, like the Millbrook Book Festival in late spring, but there is an excitement in the Mall in DC that can’t be beat.

Here I am, arranging author interviews!

Here I am, arranging author interviews!

Although I am the publisher of Hudson Valley Parent and Hudson Valley Life magazines, I really went as someone who loves reading books. And I also had the privilege of having a media badge which allowed me to meet and greet nationally recognized authors from John Grisham to Judy Blume and 75 authors in between.

Kids…kids…and more kids. They were the best!!!

But the most exciting experience was meeting the kids and their parents. I know that many say that reading and books is a lost art. But you had to be the Book Festival to see the 1000s of parents and their kids anxiously waiting to speak to a specific author whom they love. With books clutched in their hands, kids were excited at the thought that they would personally meet the author who wrote their favorite book.

I was lucky that several parents permitted me to video tape an interview with their kids. Kids quickly told me what book they were reading and who their favorite author is. Of the four families I interviewed two of moms shared a similar story. Each night they sit down as a family and read, one for a half hour, the other for 20 minutes. Sometimes they read aloud, and sometimes they each read their own book. One mom mentioned an author, sorry his name escapes me, who wrote about the civil war and now the same author is coming out with a version for teens. Both parents and their kids will read about that time in history and then share their ideas.  All great stuff for getting kids excited about reading.

I interviewed many wonderful parents and their children.

I interviewed many wonderful parents and their children.

Does that mean that we have to read with our kids in order to get our kids to read? Maybe not, but it helps. My dad did not read books although my mom read some. Yet, since I was young, I have always loved reading. But I do think it helps when kids and their parents share the reading experience. I know my husband Clay and I read together on the couch at night. We enjoy sharing passages and the details of the characters. I think it adds to the pleasure of reading. I guess that’s why people join book clubs. There is a pleasure in sharing the experience.

Kids interviewing authors…what a switch

I also met two groups of kids who came to interview the authors and share the experience with the students in their school. I think one group had a school radio program. Not sure about the second. I have some pictures of these enthusiastic kids’ groups. I was more delighted to be in the midst of these kids who were interviewing authors than meeting with the authors. These kids are the ones who will lead us into the future.

Students excited about interviewing their authors!

Students excited about interviewing their authors!

Kids talk about their author interviews.

Kids talk about their author interviews.

The speaker’s presentations were all taped and are available for viewing. You can see some videos on our Facebook page too! Make a point visit next year’s National  Book Festival.  You need to be there to grab the excitement.

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This weekend I went to Baltimore for one night and I flew Southwest Airlines. You say to me, “No big deal.” But for the first time in all my life I came back full of stories just about my flight. And it was only an hour.

There was a conference I wanted to go to but I could only visit for one day. (On Sunday, my husband Clayton Buchanan was being recognized for one of his award-winning paintings.  And I had to be there.) So I decided to fly in and back in a 24-hour period, rather than driving for nine hours.

Albany International Airport here I come. Nice airport. Easy to get to. And Southwest Airlines goes directly to Baltimore with plenty of flights to choose from.

Since this was my first time to the Albany airport, I wasn’t sure what to expect so I chose short term parking which I knew would be closest to the terminal and I wouldn’t be late. That was my first $32 mistake. It turns out the daily parking is immediately adjacent to short term parking and much less expensive.

I get my boarding pass and head over to the gate. “Okay folks,” says the boarding staff person. “Let me explain how this works.”  And he goes on to explain that our tickets have an A, B or C on it plus a number. We are to line up based on those codes. A1-15s get on first. As I listened I wondered if there was going to be a test. This was too tedious for me. It is 7pm and I am tired after a full day of work.

But surprisingly enough it works. There are no assigned seats and everyone feels like they are in this together. The seats are roomy and, it turns out that I didn’t mind sitting in the middle. I meet a mom and daughter who share their stories with me throughout the flight. A fun experience.

It is 24-hours later and I am ready to return home. The same process of lining up but this time I am ready. Again, I sit between a mom and daughter who are meeting a granddaughter and the great grandkids.

We are delayed because Southwest is waiting for a passenger. “Would you like to hear a joke,” asks the stewardess of all of us waiting to take off? “Sure,” we all yell back. I will share the joke another day, but we all laughed. And I enjoyed the joke so much that I have since told the joke to my husband and my kids.

That set the tone for the rest of the flight. There was light banter between and among the staff. There was singing. And an overall friendly atmosphere transformed this hectic travel experience into a fun adventure.

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Many of us keep photo albums…albums to remind us of happy memories and things gone bye. But the world is changing.

 Recently my son turned 41, and I called to ask what he would like for his birthday. He either wanted me to include an article on how taking a cat from a shelter can change your life or I should take photographs of the town where he was brought up.

 I asked Lisa Iannucci, our new editor, about his first request, and three weeks ago I spent an overcast Sunday visiting the place where my kids grew up…Monroe, New York. I was armed with my camera plus my relatively new Flip video camera.

 I decided to use video and create a walking tour of Monroe. Just a side note: I am not a videographer but I bought the Flip camera on the advice of a friend who said anyone can tape a short video with this equipment. And she was right. The Flip is 4” X 2” and operates with a simple “on” and “off” button. I still have to get better at keeping my hands still as I shoot (as you will see if you visit my YouTube site at TerrieTalk), but I am having a ball.

 First I visited the house where his grandparents lived in Mountain Lodge Park in Washingtonville. Their house had not changed much although many of the houses around it now have young families with busy yards.

 Then I was off to the house we built on Lakes Road in Monroe. I parked on the road and walked the perimeter. There was the Catalpa tree given to me by a local farmer when my youngest was just a baby. He said this tree would grow big and strong, just like my kids. The tree is huge and very healthy.

 As I took pictures of the house from the road, the new owner came out and asked what I was doing. “See that house,” I said, pointing to our old home. “I built that.” We stood by the road and chatted about things he had done to the house since he and his wife moved in.

 I drove down to Round Lake, where the kids always went fishing and then drove back into town, where the pizza place is still in business as well as the jewelry shop. Most shops in the Village of Monroe are empty, which is a shame because it is a great area with parking, the library, a movie theater and two small ponds. Wonderful small boutique shops would be a great addition.

On coming home, I established a YouTube account and uploaded the videos for my kids to enjoy…and for the whole world to see. (Did I mention the Flip downloads software automatically that allows you to upload to YouTube and other sites automatically?)

 Last night my older son, Paul, called asking for the YouTube address for the Monroe Walking Tour. One of his high school friends now living in Texas found him on Facebook and he wanted to let him know about the videos.

 This could start a new trend in birthday gifts…walking tours of where you or your kids grew up.

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