So, I've been neglecting this blog and even Google + for a while now. I'm hoping that will change very soon once things start settling into a new pattern. My life has been going through some change, good change ultimately.
For the past ten years, I have worked for a local newspaper in northern New Jersey, part of the North Jersey Media Group. North Jersey was taken over by Gannett ("USA Today") and changes started happening. There were new meetings and there were interviews, and eventually there was a question of whether I would be staying on with the company in a new position or if I would be among those laid off. I was among the lay-offs, which, although it was not the outcome for which I was hoping, I began to see it as a new opportunity to do something different, to venture out with some freelance writing.
Some of the last month with the company was stressful. I covered four towns, and now that many New Jersey towns have Board of Ed elections on Election Day, I had a lot of candidates to interview between BOE and town council candidates for four towns. One town had 10 candidates for Board of Ed alone. I put in some overtime during Election Week.
Leaving my job was bittersweet. My small office had moved into a bigger office, set in a nice New Jersey community among a beautiful downtown. We were there for several months, and I made new friends. I enjoyed several social events with the new coworkers, ice cream socials and book club meetings, which culminated in a final farewell party at a local restaurant. At the same time, I was assured God had good things in His mind for me and my future.
I joined the Upwork site for freelancers and set up a profile before my final day at the office. Within a week of being out of work, I was contracted for a new project, ghostwriting the biography of a remarkable young woman, an 11-year-old Florida girl, Paloma Rambana, who is legally blind and successfully lobbied the legislature for funding for visually impaired children.
It's really a suitable project for me for several reasons.
1) It combines my journalism and creative writing skills.
2) I like kids.
3) I especially like this age group. My first book had 11-year-old characters.
4) I like feel-good uplifting stories.
Already, I have interviewed my girl twice by Skype, and it has been delightful getting to know her as she swung her phone or tablet around and gave me a virtual tour of her room and her artwork on the walls.
Paloma has been featured in the news quite a lot previously, often Florida news but also in "People" magazine and "Huffington Post."
Here is a very short clip of my young subject with Senator Marco Rubio.
And here she is addressing the American Legion, telling them about some of her activist efforts.
So, I am grateful to have a new project and to be working from home.
In other news, just yesterday, my mystery comedy novel, "Action Men with Silly Putty," came out in print format and is available on Amazon. This is big news. The process turned out to be slightly longer and more complex than I expected at first. I am happy to be able to make the announcement that it is finally available and in time for Christmas. I know many readers prefer traditional print books. The print version is $8.99.
Please, give it a try for yourself or as a Christmas gift. It's a mood lifter. One reader, who read the ebook version, said he released so many endorphins by laughing while reading that he may no longer have depression by the time he finished.