I just received a Pinterest post about a travel agency’s favorite Fairytale towns in Germany. My list is a little different but I’d like to share with you. My first trip to Germany in June was breathtaking. Our time was short, so we only made a few stops.
Following our roots took us first to the town of Bacharach. We passed under an entryway into the city dated 1322 and brochures in our hotel said the first part of the city dates back to the 1000’s.
Bacharach is a charming little town along the Rhein River, the people friendly, the streets paved in stone.
We chose to take the ferry-boat ride down the Rhein in the most scenic section of the river, between Bacharach and Boppard.
Along the river, scenic little towns edge the water with sweeping grape arbors above and ancient castles keeping vigilance over the cities.
If those weren’t enough to inspire fairy tales, we headed to Elk Castle in the Moselle Valley
Our roots took us to Birkenfeld, a town dating back to Roman times and the origin of our family.
Watch out for little devils luring the innocent sheep.
From there, we visited what is claimed to be the oldest city in Germany, Worms where Martin Luther initiated the Protestant Reformation against the Catholic Church.
I don’t think I can pick a favorite because each was unique in its own right. But buried deep in those hills and cobblestone streets, are new stories just waiting to come out. I’m thinking perhaps some historical fiction about my ancestors and their complicated lives in the 18th century before embarking for the New World.
If you had to pick one place to write about, what would it be and why? I’d love to hear from you. Anyone that leaves comments will have their name put in a hat for a free book of their choice of mine, print or ebook if in the US, ebook only if out of the country.
If you are not familiar with my stories, check them out at http://www.joannetailele.com
I promised all of you a blog post about my fantastic trip that I took with my brother, Richard Simon. We are only fifteen months apart in age, but over the years, we have ended up on opposite sides of the US. What a thrill to spend ten days with him.
We covered four countries: Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and Austria.
Everyone has asked me what my favorite part was. That is really impossible to say since there were so many wonderful things; spending time with my brother must rank as number one. Discovering family roots is high on the list, especially one very special find on our mother’s side in Sweden that dates back to the 1700’s. Sweden and Germany were our main focus since we were following our ancestral roots. But we managed two days in Copenhagen and one in Salzburg, Austria as well. As a Sound of Music fan, I gleefully embarrassed my brother singing Do Re Me on the steps and dancing around the Pegasus fountain. And I almost got him to dance with me at the gazebo like Liesel and Rolf. Maybe that will be my next post.
Since keeping blog posts shorts is a must, I am going to stray from our roots for a moment. I discovered that I loved searching for old churches. I love the architecture, and reverent feeling I get when I am near them. It is a shame that I heard that much of Europe do not actually use these churches very much. We were blessed to be inside two that were obviously active. In a church in Bastad, Sweden, we heard the organist practicing and singing How Great Though Art. And in Berkenfeld, Germany, we were privileged to hear two young teenage girls practicing singing, I have loved you for a thousand years. Both in English.
Let these pictures speak a thousand words. Don’t be surprised if some of these end up in my novels.
This is my first trip overseas and I am blown away. So much is different, yet in other ways it is the same. Language of course can be a barrier, but almost everyone we talked to could speak English. I’m sad to say I could not reciprocate.
The little beach town on Helsingør in Sweden is just adorable. Reminds me a lot of St. Augustine in Florida.
The rural countryside of Sweden looks exactly like western PA or eastern Ohio. No wonder our ancestors migrated to there.
The oddest thing is the 25 year lease on graves. If no one renews the lease, the graves are dug up and the bodies cremated and spread in the “memory garden” of the cemetery. The stones are lined up against the stone walls until they run out of room. Then they destroy them. So in every really old section, there are new graves or wide green spaces waiting for new “tenants.” How very strange to us. We were so glad some of our were still there. Perhaps a distant relative is renewing the lease.
Do you live someplace that has different customs for burials than the USA, which treasures old grave sites forever. I’d love to hear about it.
As the author of mother-daughter stories, I thought for Mother’s Day, it fitting to look to some of my favorite authors on what they had to say about mothers in their books.
As mothers and daughters, we are connected with one another. My mother is the bones of my spine, keeping me straight and true. She is my blood, making sue it runs rich and strong. She is the beating of my heart. I cannot now imagine a life without her.” Kristin Hannah , Summer Island
“Think for a minute, darling: in fairy tales it’s always the children who have the fine adventures. The mothers have to stay at home and wait for the children to fly in the window” Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife
“I wonder if other mothers feel a tug sat their insides, watching their children grow up into the people they themselves wanted so badly to be.” Jodi Picoult, Keeping Faith
Motherhood is a complicated profession, and anyone that does not consider it a profession, most assuredly has never been one. My own mother passed away in 1996, and I still miss her every day, The woman she was when she left us was the not the Mom I remember. Mom was a five foot two spit-fire. She walked so fast that I could never keep up with her. Mom, clad in a red terry bathrobe, stuck her curlered head in the oven to dry her hair while she ran around the red Formica-countered kitchen preparing casseroles to take to family reunions. Mom did head-stand contests with my brothers and I to the utter dismay of my father who would come home from work and bend at his waist to look at my upside-down mother and ask “What for dinner?” Mom never understood how I never learned to cook, when I spent seventeen years of my life perched on the red stool in the kitchen babbling away while she cooked. She said, “I thought you were paying attention.” Ugh – sorry Mom, not. Mom rode my brother’s mini-bike on a dare – and drove it right up a tree. We tried real hard not to laugh. Mom loved fast cars, her favorite being her 1966 red Ford Mustang. Are you seeing a pattern here of red? Her favorite color and so fitting of her personality.
When I married, moved away and lived in multiple states, I gave little thought to my mother sitting home in the now quite house with a stoic husband who rarely spoke. Her household went from a boisterous family of six to a sedate family of two in only two years. My heart breaks for her now, and I can only hope she understands that I finally get it. One of her favorite saying to me was, “You won’t understand until your are a mother yourself.” No truer words could ever have been spoken.
Parts of motherhood came easy – the loving them unconditionally part. Others, not so much. I am the proud mother of three daughters and a son. As a grandmother many times over now, I see the short-comings I made as a mother. As hallowed as the word “mother” is, we are a flawed species. We make mistakes – lots of them, and we carry the guilt of those mistakes with us forever. We fall to pieces easily – whether it’s a joyful or a sad occasion. Tears are a part of who we are. And sometimes – if we have to defend our young, we will fight to the death. It’s a humbling existence to be a Mom. You often feel set aside, obsolete, forgotten. But I’ll tell you this – if you did your job even half right, your thoughts, your words and actions will be so ingrained in your children, that even when they don’t think they are listening to you, their sub-conscious is. The most we can hope for is when are time comes, and the good Lord looks at his list, checking of “mother” as your profession, He says, “Come on in, well done.”
Tell me your favorite mother story – either as a Mom or about your own Mom – or someone that fit the bill of Mom. Being a Mom does not have to be genetic.
Regardless of your profession, marketing is like a chess game. You need to know the right strategies to become a winner.
In today’s market, the King and Queen are most assuredly Social Media, but the mere mention of it sends chills down most entrepreneurs’ backs. As an author, I can safely say that many of us (writers) entered the literary world thinking, “if we write it, they will come.”
Ah, nope. Doesn’t happen that way. In today’s literary world, even if you are linked with one of the big five publishing houses, you are expected to do a lot of your own marketing – and that includes social media.
First, we need to understand how to find the RIGHT social media for our products, whether that is a book, a new dress line, a landscaping business… EVERYONE needs to market. With dozens (and I’m sure I will miss some) social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, where do you begin?
Start with demographics: What age group or social economic group would be most interested in your product? As an example, as a writer of women’s fiction, primarily with mother-daughter themes, my target audience is women of child bearing age or older (like Grandma’s). Although there is most definitely some within my bracket that would frequent other social media sites, the vast majority would fit into the Facebook, Pinterest, and a growing number on Instagram groups. The odds of large numbers of my target market using Snapchat, Twitter or Tumbler is much smaller. So I’ll stick with where I can reach the most of my audience.
Second, as discussed in my past blog post, Branding. Wouldn’t it be great to have a recognizable brand like the McDonald arches? We may never compete with the McDonald arches or the Nike check mark, but we can, become recognized in our own circle – for me – the literary circle. My goal is when someone thinks “mother-daughter stories”, they will think of Joanne Simon Tailele. How does that happen? Truthfully, very slowly. Use every opportunity you can to promote your brand – no- I did not say your product. No one is going to invest in your product until they’ve bought into your brand – that you are the go-to person for that subject.
Last, consistency. Whichever social marketing tool you decide works best for you, stick with it. Post often. Keep it short and entertaining. The place for longer posts are on blogs, such as this one. Social media is the fast lane. Don’t give up. Your followers will come, and your product will have its chance to shine.
Now it’s your turn. What business are you in and how do you use social media to promote it? What avenue works best for you and why? Leave a comment here and you’ll be automatically entered to win an e-book of your choice of mine. You can find them on my website; joannetailele.com Now, go out there and jump into the social media pool.
Whether you are a writer, Realtor, retail sales manager, cabinet salesman, Welcome Wagon host (I’ve been them all) or something entirely different, in order to move forward in your career, in today’s market, you’ve got to understand Branding.
So what is branding anyway? Webster’s Dictionary says it is:
“the promoting of a product or service by identifying it with a particular brand”
Okay, so that wasn’t real helpful. We all know branding when it comes to things like the McDonald arches or the Nike check mark. But how does that really help us identify our own brand?
I did some research for authors and came across this great link.
Taking those lessons to heart, I had to search for the obvious. What, you say? Yes, it was staring me right in the face. My brand is writing mother-daughter stories. The irony is that I didn’t even realize that I was doing that. But, when I start to explain my books, invariably I am saying something along the lines of “there is this mother and such and such happens and her daughter and her must”….. you get the picture. When I sat down to write, (pre-branding concept), I never thought about the fact that all my books had the same common theme. Now that I see it, it is so much easier to brand myself.
I write mother-daughter stories. I also write a little dark. So these are never sweet relationships that are un-flawed. What fun would that be? I guess I can thank having three daughters and a wonderful mother for my inspiration. Then, I have to mess them all up with characters that in no way resemble my own sweet family. Just so you know, I also have a son. Maybe someday, I’ll write a mother-son story. Who knows. It doesn’t mean I love him any less than his sisters, Andrew Cooper, if you are reading this.
What is your brand? Regardless of your profession, if you want to be recognized, you need a brand. I’d love to hear from you and even post pictures .
People have asked me why I chose the name, Writing Under Fire, for my blog. Many times, finding the time to write is near impossible with my busy life. Therefore, even though writing is my passion, I must put my “feet to the fire” and force myself not to let distractions like, eating, sleeping, working my day job, cleaning house, cooking (trust me, nobody want me to do that.) Who needs that stuff anyhow?
Are you burning the candle at both ends?
Writers, do you struggle to find the time to write? What is your secret to keep you writing? Do have a dedicated time every day to write? Do you scratch out words sitting in your car to pick up kids from school, or sitting on a bench during your child’s soccer practice?
Or if you are an avid reader, do you skip other essentials in order to read? I’d love to hear from you.
#writing #reading #passion
I’ll admit it. I got lost in the book vortex. It’s been two years since I’ve blogged, but I’m back. Truth be told, I’ve been a little busy. I published three books since my last post, all of which I’ll share with you later. I’ve become a grandmother again (for the 10th time) and moved twice. And I’ve probably read a couple of hundred books. Yea, I’m a book geek.
I’ve added a new look to this blog. Hopefully, you like it. Lots of great stuff happening in my near future, I ‘m back to share the journey with you. So, stay tuned.