Friday, October 31, 2008

Harry's Halloween Tip--How To Hand Out Candy

Sorry this is a bit late for this year, but I just thought of it when I was handing candy out to our trick-or-treaters tonight. My mom and dad always loved seeing the kids' costumes on Halloween and were always generous with the candy. He always bought plenty to make sure he didn't run out and usually gave them more than one piece too! Any leftovers he gave to me so he would ask me what kind he should get.

Opening and closing the door to hand out the candy was very cumbersome because our door opened so close to the side railing on the porch, that you had to open it real wide to get the candy in the kids' bags and they usually were crowded up close because they were anxious for the candy. They always had to back up when he opened the door.

He came up with what I thought was a very good idea. He would wait until Halloween night to remove the screen door and then he could just hand the candy right through the door without having to open it. Pretty clever, huh? Then either at the end of the trick-or-treating or the next day, he would put in the storm door.

Hope you have a happy and safe Halloween! Maybe you could use this idea next year!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Church's Fall Festival Brings Back Memories of Dad

Today Gerard and I ran a game for the fall festival at church that is open to the community. As I was walking around, looking at everything I saw the big wheel that dad had made for me when I was AWANA commander at my old church. ( AWANA stands for "Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed" based on II Timothy 2:15. It's a worldwide ministry that churches use to run clubs for kids to reach them with the gospel of Christ and train them to serve Him.) I asked him to make sections with clips on them that I could attach papers to with different things we gave points for and we'd let one of the kids spin the wheel to see what we would give extra bonus points for that night. My dad was always thrilled to make things for me out of wood. He really was a wonderful dad and I still miss him.

At the festival, they put candy on it and whichever section it stopped at when the kids spun it, they would get the candy that was in that section. It makes me feel good to see that it's still being used, at least once a year anyhow. It was one of the things in his basement when I was clearing out the house and I just didn't have any room for it. I was happy when my nephew took it to use at the church! His wife is on the Children's Ministry team and he thought she would be able to use it for something. Here they are with their boys at the festival.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

An Interview With Carol Denbow About How To Sell Your Story

Carol Denbow is the founder of Plain & Simple Books and the author of three books herself, including, A Book Inside, How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Story.

Karen Zemek: Welcome Carol. I can’t wait to talk about marketing today because I’ve personally had a difficult time finding mine! How does an author connect with their market?

Carol Denbow: Karen, you’re not alone. Most authors generally look to the “book” market (, B & N, etc.) to sell books, But that market, although obvious, shouldn’t be the only direction to look for sales. For instance, your book, My Funny Dad, Harry is a heartwarming and cute story about your father and the funny things he did during his full life. Your market may include somewhere such as assisted living homes where others in Harry's same age bracket might relate to some of his “quirky” habits. Since your book also includes some other funny characters—that is, your dad’s many cats, you might find interested readers where cat lovers are. For my newest book, A Book Inside, How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Story, I look to places where writers are, such as writing forums and writer’s groups. Authors need to look inside their work for the most appropriate market.

Karen Zemek: Okay, that makes sense. So are you saying authors shouldn’t rely so much on Websites like to sell books?

Carol Denbow: Well I would never put all my eggs in one basket, especially if I just sit on them waiting for them to hatch. I see a lot of authors who, once they list their book on, just sit back and expect that’s it—their done. Yes, Amazon is a good listing and definitely every author should have their books there. But there’s more to than just your initial listing—that won’t sell many books. Your audience needs to find you, and Amazon has many options to help them. I would strongly encourage authors to join the “Search Inside” program (cost—1 book), and ask their readers to post reviews. Also, make sure you have added relevant keywords, listed a book description, and any editorial reviews you have. If you can’t figure out how to do this, just ask. Amazon is good at answering questions; usually in one day or less.

There are numerous other Websites where you can list your book for sale. Authors! Use the search engines!!! They are your friend!

Karen Zemek: Books stores always seem reluctant to stock my book. So other than the Internet, how to I find my customers?

Carol Denbow: Karen, I know you are uncomfortable talking to people face-to-face, and I am too. Very few of us have the gift of gab, and I’m sure many of your blog readers aren’t any different than us. But really, that is the best way to sell books. Face it, nobody cares about your book as much as you do—you are your best market! You are passionate about your story, and nobody can tell it better. Authors need to scoop up the courage and get out there. I sell books at our local festivals, and believe me; here on the Oregon coast we have lots of them! The day of a new event, I get horrible butterflies in my stomach. But if I can fester up the courage for a split second, the passion erupts and boom, I’m talking up my book like a pro. On occasion, I think people will buy a copy just to shut me up. Once that first book sells, I lose the fear and am ready to sell books. I can sell more books in one day at a festival than I do on in a year’s time!

Karen Zemek: Well I will try to get over the fear. I do believe readers would enjoy my book My Funny Dad, Harry and I am passionate about the book, so hopefully I can “connect with my market.” So where can a person find your books?

Carol Denbow: My books are all available through my Web site at, (of course), and wherever fine books are sold.

I also have an information site for new writers and seasoned authors at A Book

Karen Zemek: Thanks for stopping by today and good luck with the rest of your book tour.

To see where Carol’s tour is taking her next, visit her Web site. If anyone would like to leave a question for Carol, or a comment regarding this interview, please use the “comment” link below.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Time Is The Secret To Patience With Dad

I just finished a Bible Study on patience this week and it brought to mind how hard it was to be patient with my dad at times. As he aged, he just did things slower, such as walking, eating, fixing things, etc.

I realize that if it weren’t for time, I’d have no problem with his being so slow. The problem usually came when I visited with him on my way to work. Since I take the bus to work, I had to leave his house at 7:25 a.m. Sometimes, he would bring up a subject right before it was time for me to leave and I’d just have to say, “got to go.” He understood.

Sometimes on Sundays visiting him after church felt rushed too because we were anxious to get home to watch the football game. Often, he would go into a long explanation about something and it became very annoying that he was taking so long to tell me something.

Probably the thing that used to aggravate me most was when I’d try to change his schedule around so that he would be able to get things done more efficiently and he’d come up with a lot of reasons I thought were stupid as to why it wouldn’t work.

I learned a lot about the elderly by watching my dad grow old. Allowing extra time when visiting him or taking him somewhere really helped improve our time together. If it wasn’t committed to be somewhere right after my time with my dad, I could enjoy him in spite of the slowness. I would be more relaxed and our time together went better.

I remember our last trip to Lowe’s was so enjoyable. He was having a great time shopping for hardware and I had cleared my schedule so could just be with him for as long as it took. He was such a wonderful dad who never wanted to be a burden or put me out. Sometimes elderly people can be very demanding and always asking you to do things for them but that’s not how my dad was at all. In fact, it was hard sometimes to get him to let me help him.

I write this to encourage you if you have elderly people who sometimes get on your nerves to check to see if time isn’t the reason. Allow extra time when visiting with the elderly so you don’t get stressed out about being late for your next appointment. If you have to take them to the doctor, take the day off to do it so if you have to wait long, it’s not really putting you out.

Oh, how I’d love to spend a whole day with my dad and his cats now! Cherish the time you have with your loved ones while you can!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Refreshing, Funny, Interesting, Inspiring!

I got an email yesterday from a fellow blogger, Poppopx7 at the Espenlog Times, saying he got my book and read it straight through! It makes me so happy to hear that. He immediately wrote the following review which I have posted with his permission:

I just finished reading, "My Funny Dad, Harry" written by Karen Zemek who also writes here at PNN. With so much doubt, fear, and confusion that surrounds us, it was refreshing to read such an avid account about a daughter's love, and devotion to a loving father. I found the book to be funny, interesting, inspiring, and a must read for every one that has lost a loved one. The writing of this book came from deep inside of Karen's heart. As you read her book you can hear the beating of her heart. I strongly recommend you read this book.

Visit his site at
(He is a humorous writer and his dog, Fluff, also has a blog there along with his fantasy football team manager, a monkey named "Harvey." It's a fun read!)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Guest Post by Mountain Woman at Red Pine Mountain

I met Mountain Woman through blogging and has wrote a very nice post about me and my book which is as follows in part with her permission to repost it here:

Initially, I discovered "My Funny Dad Harry" when I joined Entrecard. While scrolling through various cards, I came across one with a picture of an elderly gentleman with a large lion ("Leo") seated on his lap. The card caught my interest at once and off I went to click on the link.

I discovered this blog written by a woman to honor her father who had passed away. The blog alone stands as a testament of love to his memory and it is filled with marvelous facts about a man who lived a productive, interesting life. But as I read further, I discovered Karen has actually written and published a book about her Dad.

Karen has a full time job, is active in her church, takes care of her husband and has many and varied outside interests. She made the time to take her precious memories of her father and put them into written form. I have this book "My Funny Dad Harry" sitting next to me today and as I read its pages I am filled with admiration for Karen's achievement. But beyond that and more important is the love Karen has for her Dad and her effort to share this marvelous man with the rest of the world. Her book is touching, poignant, humorous and a truly great read.

Mountain Woman has a very interesting blog of her own about life and her home on Red Pine Mountain. Please stop by and visit her blog at Red Pine Mountain.

"My Funny Dad, Harry" Book Giveaway

Congratulations to all the winners of the giveaway for "My Funny Dad, Harry" at Red Pine Mountain. I am so happy that four of my regular commenters won! Read what Tim thought of it at Everyday Living.