Tag Archives: legacy

Story Gift: “A Match for Papa”

Happy Father’s Day!

Here is a short short I wrote back in, geez … 2004. I’ve polished it up some.

Enjoy.

The Rebel

A MATCH FOR PAPA
by Jill S. Behe

Papa always carried a pipe. It was either in a pocket, cupped in-hand, or stuck in his mouth.

Most of the time, it wasn’t even lit.

After supper every night, he’d go have a smoke in the backyard. He’d lay his napkin neatly beside his empty plate, get up from the table, and give Mama a big loud kiss. They’d smile at each other. “Excellent meal, my beautiful Bella,” he’d say. Then he would go to the cupboard, get his tobacco pouch, fill up his pipe, and head out the back door.

Mama would stop clearing the table, and get a match from the little glass dish beside the stove. “Here, Paulie. Go give this to Papa. He forgot to take one with him.”

Papa would get about halfway down the sidewalk before turning back, patting his pockets, pipe in his mouth. He’d look up to see me running toward him with a matchstick in my hand, and get a big grin on his face. “Ah, my boy Paulie. You’re a life saver.”

It was a long trip for my short, five-year-old legs, and I’d be breathless. “Here’s your match, Papa.”

Bending down, he’d ruffle my hair before taking the stick from me. We’d spend a little time walking around the backyard together, and talking about stuff.

Once I got older, I realized he did it on purpose. He knew letting me bring him a match would make me feel like I was doing a great thing for him, and that feeling of accomplishment and helpfulness was important to my development into a man. He also wanted the bond between us to be stronger.

He worked so hard and such long hours, those few moments together were about all we had. Even after I knew what was going on, I still made sure I always had matches with me, just in case he needed one.

I loved that man, and he loved me. If I had to name a hero, it would be him. I was so proud he was my papa and that I had his name. He died when I was twelve. There’s no getting over the pain of that loss (though it does fade some); but you never-ever forget.

Eventually, I got married and had a Paulie of my own. I didn’t smoke, so I wasn’t able to play the same game, so created one of our own. We had ‘catch.’

After supper, I’d give my wife a kiss, and thank her for the meal. Paulie would grab our baseball gloves out of the box on the back porch, and hand me mine. “Here’s your glove, Papa,” he’d say. We’d throw the ball back and forth, and talk about–stuff.

Brought back memories.

Now, he’s got a Paulie. I haven’t asked him if he’s going to carry on the tradition. I guess it’s a little early yet; my grandson’s only a year old. Still, I’ll have to ask if he’s thought about it.

Times are hard, especially nowadays. Fathers and sons need to get along. We don’t always bond like the women do with their hugs and kisses and crying and carrying on. We men have our own code.

My Papa was the best man on earth, in my eyes. My son has told me I’m his hero. That makes a man proud and humbles him at the same time. All fathers should feel that, at least once in their lives. A boy-child is special. He’s the one who will carry on the family name. If he’s ashamed of his father, he won’t care if he continues the legacy.

I took the time to know my son. Studied him from birth up. Learned his personality, likes and dislikes. To this day, I make sure he knows how much he means to me, how much I love him … how glad I am that he’s mine.

THE END

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The Rebel on Basics: The Marketing Plan–A necessary evil

THE MARKETING PLAN – A necessary evil
With the changing paradigm in modern publishing, authors MUST become their own marketing team.
by Jill Behe

As with all businesses that want to succeed, a good marketing department is essential. If we, as writers, want to retire on the profits from our royalty checks, we need a great marketing plan. And, unless we find a creative way to let them know there’s a book available to buy, how will Joe and Jane Public know we wrote one?

The first goal of every serious writer is to have their work published. The second is to be on the Bestseller list.

An independently published author has to work harder to get the same exposure as one published by a legacy house. Consistent perseverance, dogged determination, and creative marketing strategies are all necessary to call attention to their work.

Traditionally, big houses used signings, book tours, and radio interviews to keep their authors in the spotlight. More exposure, more sales, more money.

But not anymore.

Cutbacks are everywhere.

Nowadays, especially with the launch of the Kindles and Nooks, and e-book availability, signings and tours are rare and expensive … hell, they’re all but gone. Publishing houses aren’t forking out the dough for them, anymore.

So, what can we, as individual professional artists do?

Several things come to mind:

Social Media:

These sites are attracting more and more people, and are an excellent (and necessary) way to spread the word. Friends tell friends, family tells family, and so on and so forth: blogging, guest blogging, and virtual book tours, posting, texting, and tweeting.

But, that’s not enough.

A personal Website:

Where do you go when you want to find out about your favorite author? You go to their site, or one that their publisher has set up.

Your fans want to know about you, too. There are a lot of different sites available where setup doesn’t require a college degree to understand the instructions. Perhaps a friend or family member has the knowledge to build one for you … and not demand your firstborn as payment.

Business Cards:

What? Really? How better to advertise? A business card, with the title of the book, author’s name, and author’s Website. However, phone numbers and home addresses are not pertinent information on this kind of card.

VISTAPRINT is a very good site for reasonably priced cards. They also offer an array of other marketing tools: pens, mugs, T-shirts, postcards, etc.

Pin them on bulletin boards (libraries, grocery stores, banks, Laundromats, Post Offices, and college campuses, to name a few). Slip them into the envelopes with the utility bills, holiday cards, letters, anything sent in the mail that will reach someone otherwise unreachable.

Leave them at the table at restaurants, or at the cash register.

Pass them out to strangers at the mall, at the gym, on the street, at the store, at work.

Bookmarks:

Can be left in doctor’s offices, businesses, and don’t forget to ask the local librarian for permission to leave them at the front desk. Anywhere. It’s an old-school technique, but it’s real and tangible, and a heck of a lot of fun passing out.

Internet Media:

Record a reading and post it on YouTube. Make a video with a few friends acting out a scene from the book. There’s also any number of independent Internet radio stations with shows dedicated to various types of genre fiction: mystery, thriller, spooky, etc.

Libraries:

Talk to someone at the local public, college, and/or high school library to set up a reading. Ask to speak to a high school English (Communications Arts) class, a writer’s critique group; if you’ve put out a book and made even a single sale, then these people want to hear from you.

Book Stores:

Call or visit your local brick-and-mortar indie stores and arrange for a reading, or book-signing, or both. Make sure to have some books on hand for patrons to purchase on site.

Ask the manager if it would be possible to stock a few on his shelves.

Performance Art Venues:

With this area of marketing, no, one doesn’t have to get in the nude and roll around in Jello.  On the other hand, bravery is still a must.  Look for open mike opportunities, places–such as coffee shops, street diners, and even local Saturday markets–where people, artists and musicians and other performers are welcomed to deliver poetry slams, book readings, etc.  Often these places have no problem with artists handing out (or selling) their wares, such as chap-books, works on CD/DVD, or actual books.

Write:

This should be a no-brainer, and shouldn’t be a headache for writers, but often it is. Tough. Write anyway: putting up book reviews on Amazon (this is a biggie, and a great way to get noticed, to network with other writers, and to garner book reviewers for yourself when you’ve work available), post in discussion groups, leave comments on author blogs, follow your fellow writers’ posts, and then respond to them, and with more than just a quickly typed “lol.”

And when you write, write well, ’cause you want your writing to be read, and understood, and enjoyed, and RESPECTED, remembering that whether it seems like it or not, every time you put words down, you’re advertising your name and your brand.

Sounds like a lot of work.

Of course. But anything worth doing, is worth doing to the best of our ability.

Right?

Right!

And this list of marketing prompts is just the start. Get on the Net and troll for ideas. Learn about Kindle publishing, about Kindlegraph. Find out who J.A. Konrath is, and why you should know what he has to say. Get onto Facebook and send “friend requests” to your favorite authors, indie and legacy, and when the time’s right, engage them in conversation. And don’t forget to thank them for their advice. Look for and download e-books on marketing, and self-promotion. Many are free. Make Google your friend.

And sometime between all the chores, don’t forget to work on that piece of flash, short story, novella, novel, blog post, or magazine article. Develop and grow your list of contacts, expanding your mailing list, and your network of fellow authors. Populating Websites with decent content, month after month, can be a nightmare. Often authors will absolutely welcome a well-written piece, and will reciprocate when you need one for your site.

Success or failure doesn’t rely solely on the publisher anymore, and shouldn’t be expected. Being in control of how poorly, or how well our book sells is on us. Everything possible needs to be done to get the word out that we have a published book available.

No stone unturned.

Now get going. There’s a to-do list to hit.

The Rebel has spoken.

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