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The High Deserts Social Network Blog…

THE FURY OF HURRICANES

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When the media and press began breathing hard with the mention of a hurricane and began going mental with the possibility of another Katrina, I started thinking of my childhood in the late 30s, early 40s, and 50s.

 

We were also forewarned a couple of days before of the oncoming storms by radio, but it was just a fast “Flash.”  We’d read in the previous day’s newspapers about its affects on Cuba or Florida and the direction it might go.  All the information if I remember correctly came from ship-to-shore from barometric readings and of course paraphernalia the weathermen used at that time.  They were incredibly efficient for that period.  They also had records or long memories of previous hurricanes and the routs they had taken, sometimes dating back hundreds of years.

 

I always prayed a little harder that the hurricanes would come during the school week and not during weekends.   We got off the day of the storm, as the experts knew their arrival time.  The schools took no chances even though it was before we became a litigious society.

 

The day of each hurricane began normally with slightly blowing winds, birds chirping and the air-feeling crisp if it were fall.  As the day progressed you could see the skies becoming overcast, with the winds lessening until the leaves on the trees were motionless.  The surrounding area at this time was completely devoid of a single singing bird.  The silence was overwhelming with the air totally oppressive.  It was like the lights had gone out at the opera and the overture to the first act was about to begin.  One leave would move, then slowly another, as you could begin to see them shimmer.  A few more, then a flurry, with the entire tree entering as a full string section. The surrounding trees like woodwinds and brass came in forte, with the bombastic percussion and large cymbals clashing with a fury at fortississimo level, as the storm was now full-blown.  The crescendo of wind and rain continued building until it had reached its peak, then the decrescendo began until it had finally descended to pianississimo at its conclusion, leaving in its wake ruin and devastation.

August 28, 2011 Posted by | AV Best Children's Books | Leave a comment

THE FURY OF HURRICANES

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When the media and press began breathing hard with the mention of a hurricane and began going mental with the possibility of another Katrina, I started thinking of my childhood in the late 30s, early 40s, and 50s.

 

We were also forewarned a couple of days before of the oncoming storms by radio, but it was just a fast “Flash.”  We’d read in the previous day’s newspapers about its affects on Cuba or Florida and the direction it might go.  All the information if I remember correctly came from ship-to-shore from barometric readings and of course paraphernalia the weathermen used at that time.  They were incredibly efficient for that period.  They also had records or long memories of previous hurricanes and the routs they had taken, sometimes dating back hundreds of years.

 

I always prayed a little harder that the hurricanes would come during the school week and not during weekends.   We got off the day of the storm, as the experts knew their arrival time.  The schools took no chances even though it was before we became a litigious society.

 

The day of each hurricane began normally with slightly blowing winds, birds chirping and the air-feeling crisp if it were fall.  As the day progressed you could see the skies becoming overcast, with the winds lessening until the leaves on the trees were motionless.  The surrounding area at this time was completely devoid of a single singing bird.  The silence was overwhelming with the air totally oppressive.  It was like the lights had gone out at the opera as the overture to the first act was about to begin.  One leave would move, then slowly another, as you could begin to see them shimmer.  A few more, then a flurry, with the entire tree entering to play its part as a full string section. The surrounding trees like woodwinds and brass came in forte, with the bombastic percussion and large cymbals clashing with a fury at fortississimo level, as the storm was now full-blown.  The crescendo of wind and rain continued building until it had reached its peak, then the decrescendo began until it had finally descended to pianississimo at its conclusion, leaving in its wake ruin and devastation.

August 28, 2011 Posted by | AV Best Children's Books | Leave a comment

SOCIAL NETWORKING FOR SUCCESS

A few days ago a video of me for YouTube was shot advertising my new CD, FELIX THE STORYTELLER.  It includes 38 of my narrated children stories.  The interviewer was the brilliant entrepreneur, Jim Greenleaf, founder and CEO of  ilive TODAY, whose headquarters is at Kings Photo Supply in Lancaster, CA, where Blvd Today Café is also located.   The video is one of many that Jim and his Production Manager, Ben Andrews, shot of me that can be found on YouTube where I promote four of my children’s Books: “Horace the Great, Harmonica King” “Wobbly Bags a Thief;” “The Three Little Godfathers”; and “Guitar Cowboy.”  Diary of a Young Musician, Final Days of the Big Band Era,” my autobiography, can also be found on YouTube.  I particularly like the three-part video Ben Andrews took of me reading “Horace the Great Harmonica King,” to a third grade class at Ocotillo School in the Palmdale School District, Palmdale, CA.

Diary of a Young Musician, Final Days of the Big Band Era

 

The above videos are a small part of Jim’s productions.  He introduced me to Socialnomics, which is using social networking to increase my Internet footprint and social reach in order to drive more traffic to my websites, or through the front door of my enterprises, which is trying to sell books and eBooks.

 

When Jim first explained the concept of Socialnomics I was slightly confused but at the same time intrigued, sensing there was something there, so I decided to gamble and give it a try.  It was a wise decision on my part because I’m beginning to see the results in my royalties, small right now, but it’s building bi-monthly.  Ben Andrews was my teacher, and with extreme patients he showed me the ins-outs of the network.  Shawn Downs, who has done some of the teaching, is doing an equally good job–I’m not the easiest student to teach at 81.  Regardless of all their instructions, in the final analysis, I’m the one doing the daily work of promoting my books and eBooks by writing blogs (I’ve done 33), and twittering almost daily promoting each one of my 38 eBooks that are sent throughout the world by many outlets.   

 

I’ve been self-publishing (Fideli Publishing) the past couple of years after having been with a small publisher who went bankrupt after the entire business was wiped out during an Indiana flood.  It was left to me to sell my books and I find I’m better off social networking than being with a regular publisher.  My books and eBooks will sell for years.  As I mentioned above you must do all the work and be consistent if you want to be a success.  I’ll inform you later this year in another blog how successful my ventures turned out.  If I don’t write the blog and you don’t receive a Christmas card from me you’ll know the answer.

July 14, 2011 Posted by | AV Best Children's Books | , , , , | Leave a comment

GOODBYE TO OLD FRIENDS

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I’m seriously considering dropping Facebook as millions have recently done.  But I must admit it helped me considerably during a period of my life when I desperately needed it for which I’m grateful.

I had avoided becoming a “friend” of the world because I really didn’t know its purpose or use.  One of my nieces emailed me to join Facebook but I resisted for a long time.  I haven’t the slightest idea how or why I weakened and joined.  It was a revelation at the time, a new toy to play with, but used humans instead.

The instant I joined I was pleasantly bombarded to be friends by former band and elementary classroom students as far back as 50 years.  It’s difficult to describe in words what great pleasure I derived hearing from them.  Many were even grandparents.  I loved seeing pictures of their children, grandchildren, and for some strange reason felt very close to them.

Whenever I’d practice my harmonica or worked on my computer promoting my books on the internet, I’d stop for a break and opened Facebook in my iPad.  As it turned out Facebook was my main company after my wife passed away, but the house still remained empty and strangely quiet.

The niece who convinced me to join Facebook soon tired of chatting as she had her own life to lead.  I was soon discovered and contacted by many other nieces and nephews whom I had never met, so just that made being a member worthwhile.

I noticed the longer I was on Facebook problems began to appear.  Close friends stopped communicating with each other after there were misinterpretations over what the others had said.  They were careless what they had written and consequently their messages came out different than what they had meant.  I’ve seen that happen quite often with Facebook members and their friends and families. Even though I’m a religious person I found it was in bad taste when people proselytized their religious beliefs  (excluding those selling artistic articles).  I personally like to keep my religious and political beliefs to myself.  Terrible political statements made by inconsiderate pseudo-intellectuals without respect for those on Facebook who thought different politically, were the height of arrogance. To make things worse many of us began getting hacked in strange ways that I found disturbing, since we had nothing to do with those awful statements.  It left us with a feeling of helplessness.  Even changing our passwords was not enough, the damage had been done.

Thank you old and new friends for giving me many happy moments.

July 11, 2011 Posted by | AV Best Children's Books | , , , , | Leave a comment

SOCIAL NETWORKING FOR SUCCESS

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A few days ago a video of me for YouTube was shot advertising my new CD, FELIX THE STORYTELLER.  It includes 38 of my narrated children stories.  The interviewer was the brilliant entrepreneur, Jim Greenleaf, founder and CEO of  ilive TODAY, whose headquarters is at Kings Photo Supply in Lancaster, CA, where Blvd Today Café is also located.   The video is one of many that Jim and his Production Manager, Ben Andrews shot of me, that can be found on YouTube where I promote four of my children’s Books: “Horace the Great, Harmonica King” “Wobbly Bags a Thief;” “The Three Little Godfathers”; and “Guitar Cowboy.”  “Diary of a Young Musician, Final Days of the Big Band Era,” my autobiography, can also be found on YouTube.  I particularly like the three-part video Ben Andrews took of me reading “Horace the Great Harmonica King,” to a third grade class at Ocotillo School in the Palmdale School District, Palmdale, CA.

The above videos are a small part of Jim’s productions.  He introduced me to Socialnomics, which is using social networking to increase my Internet footprint and social reach in order to drive more traffic to my websites, or through the front door of my enterprises, which is trying to sell books and eBooks.

When Jim first explained the concept of Socialnomics I was slightly confused, but at the same time intrigued sensing there was something there, so I decided to gamble and give it a try.  It was a wise decision on my part because I’m beginning to see the results in my royalties, small right now, but it’s building bi-monthly.  Ben Andrews was my teacher, and with extreme patients he showed me the ins-outs of the network.  Shawn Downs, who has done some of the teaching, is doing an equally good job–I’m not the easiest student to teach at 81.  Regardless of all their instructions, in the final analysis, I’m the one doing the daily work of promoting my books and eBooks by writing blogs (I’ve done 33), and twittering almost daily promoting each one of my 38 eBooks that are sent throughout the world by many outlets.

I’ve been self-publishing (Fideli Publishing) the past couple of years after having been with a small publisher who went bankrupt after the entire business was wiped out during an Indiana flood.  It was left to me to sell my books and I find I’m better off social networking than being with a regular publisher.  My books and eBooks will sell for years.  As I mentioned above you must do all the work and be consistent if you want to be a success.  I’ll inform you later this year in another blog how successful my ventures turned out.  If I don’t write the blog and you don’t receive a Christmas card from me you’ll know the answer.

July 3, 2011 Posted by | AV Best Children's Books | , , , , | 1 Comment

LIVING WITH THE GODS

Every once in a while you have to get away from the drudgeries of life, and my son David and I did that last week.  We went to the redwoods at Muir Woods above San Francisco.  What an experience!  About two or three miles before we arrived at the park, we saw cars parked on both sides of the road with people walking to the entrance.   David drove past them and when we got to the entrance we saw the parking lot was full.  As we were making the turn at the ticket booth to return to the end of the line of parked cars, a woman in the very first spot pulled out and we zipped right in.  David joked she made his day more than the thrill of seeing the trees.  This had the makings of a good day!

 

There was quite a bit of noise and clamor, especially from children as we began walking into the tree area.  The further we went in amongst the gigantic trees the quieter it became.  I noticed I began whispering, as were others around me, including the children without being told.  We were experiencing a spiritual moment, an aura surrounding us similar to feeling the Holy Spirit, giving us a sense of calm and security.  Just having that feeling was worth all the travel, time and expense to get there.  The longer we were in the giant groves, the children and people returned to their normal selves, but I still felt the affects.   It was another wonderful experience for me, one of many I’ve had during my travels in this “Blessed country,” as my father would say.  That was quoted from by book, “Diary of a Young Musician, Final Days of the Big Band Era.”

 

When we left Muir Woods we drove to see the San Rafael Mission a few miles away, and after what we had just seen this was anticlimactic.  With the many missions we had visited this was probably one of the weakest of the chain of 21 in California, as it had been torn down almost a century earlier.  They began to rebuild it without truly knowing what the original looked like.  Regardless, it was still a pleasant visit, as I’m sure they came close to the original.

 

Our spirits were rejuvenated when we saw the “eighth” wonder of the world, the San Rafael Civic Center.  It was a sight to behold as it came into view.  It gave the impression of being about three football fields long, a rectangular edifice connected to two hills on both sides, giving the impression it was an extension of the earth.  This building was designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1929.  The two-story building is as beautiful today as it was when it was built.  The interior was breathtaking with colored tiles on the floors, walls, and the ceiling all in earth tones, the same as when it was built.  Tree-like plants grew along the center of the first floor extending to the second floor.   I leaned over the railing and touched them thinking they were fake, but they weren’t.  I’m sure what I did was a no-no!  Even the original phone booths inserted into the walls were still there sans telephones.  I’m sure people with cell phones still use them for privacy.  Then again in this day and age, those talking like everyone around them to know their business.

 

The day ended with total success when we found a wonderful Thai restaurant that had been given FIVE STARS in my iPad.

June 27, 2011 Posted by | AV Best Children's Books, c | , , , , | Leave a comment

GROUP THREE–CHILDRENS ADVENTURE STORIES ON NOOK, KINDLE, iPAD, SONY AND SMASHWORDS.COM

 

THE PROMOTION OF BOOKS

 

The goal of authors is to have their books read, and even better, published, with the purpose to receive royalties.  Since I have so many of my children’s eBooks under the name Felix Mayerhofer in Kindle, Nook, iPad, Sony, smashwords.com and many other eReaders, I’ve decided to write a description (synopsis) of each of my eBooks.  To make it easier I’ve included the URL for your own particular eReader listed at the bottom.

 

 

THE ANCIENT ONES (Age Level – 5-10) – How can a tribe of cliff dwellers teach Songbird a rain dance when the tribe doesn’t exist?  Wearing a sacred Katrina Mask given to him by the same mysterious Indians, Songbird demonstrates the spiritual dance to his own people shown to him by the “Ancient Ones.”  The outcome brings great joy and relief to his tribe.

 

CHIQUITA THE FEATHERLESS CHICK (Age Level – 4-8) – This story about a baby chick adopted by a loving Mexican family, especially Mama Gomez, will make you both laugh and cry. The little ones will especially enjoy the story and go “peep-peep-peeping” all around the house.

 

THE LITTLE HEROINE (Age Level – 4-10) – Years of possible bondage at a secret silver mine for the men of a village in old Mexico is thwarted from an unlikely source.   The outcome for the kidnappers is not what they’d expected, as the bravery and heroics of a little girl called Maria comes into play.

 

eReaders

KINDLE– http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=Felix%20Mayerhofer… OR write in FELIX MAYERHOFER
NOOK– http://productsearch.barnesandnoble.com/search/results.aspx?store=E… OR write in FELIX MAYERHOFER
SONY READER– http://ebookstore.sony.com/search?keyword=Felix+Mayerhofer OR write in FELIX MAYERHOFER
SM ASHWORDS.COM — http://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Felix+Mayerhofer OR write in FELIX MAYERHOFER
iPAD—Write in FELIX MAYERHOFER

June 23, 2011 Posted by | AV Best Children's Books | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CHROMATIC HARMONICA (HARP) HISTRIONICS (For present and future harmonica junkies)

I lost my lip (musician’s terminology) when I was a professional trombonist in the showrooms of Reno, Lake, and Las Vegas in the late 50s and early 60s.  It was my life and I loved it.   I woke up one morning and couldn’t play.  I had developed Bells palsy and after a second serious attack of the same ailment my playing days were over.  Luckily, I was married to a beautiful dancer, Shirley, whom I had met when we were both performing at Harrah’s Club in Lake Tahoe, NV, she as a dancer and I with Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians.   Being a Hoosier and a down home girl, she was a tower of strength, and with her help I pursued other areas of employment.  I had a B.S. from the State University of NY, Potsdam, and soon became a band teacher in Palmdale, CA, for 27 years, a truly rewarding career.  When I retired at age 60, I became a children’s author for the next 21 years (felixchildrenstories.com), and also wrote my autobiography, “Diary of a Young Musician, Final Days of the Big Band Era (felixmayerhofer.com).”

 When Shirley passed away almost two years ago after 48 years of a wonderful marriage (we were one of the lucky ones), I couldn’t stop thinking about her, so I had to find something to do to keep my mind occupied.  My creative juices to write had disappeared the year I began taking care of Shirley and continued after she passed away.  So I pulled out the old trombone that I hadn’t played for almost 50 years.  When I held it in my hands it was like being back with an old friend, but the magic wouldn’t return.  I tried for a few months but the muscles in my lips wouldn’t respond.  I laid off the horn for a couple of months but being a glutton for punishment like a drug addict, I tried again and got the same discouraging results. 

I wanted to do something musical and for some strange reason I chose the harmonica, or harp as it’s known.  I didn’t know what I was getting into.  I decided to play the chromatic harp because I loved the way Toots Thielemans played jazz and that’s what I wanted to do.  I found out all I needed to know about the instrument on the internet, the brands, how to take care of it, and what the internal components were.  I should have been forewarned when I read the material.  When I felt well informed, I went to the local Guitar Center and bought a Hohner 270 Chromatic Harmonica plus a couple of instruction books. 

When I was a kid I bought a trombone with an instruction book thrown in and learned to play it by myself, then eventually took lessons.  I didn’t know any better and was lucky I didn’t develop bad habits.  Three weeks after I began the trombone, I bought Tommy Dorsey’s recording of “Getting Sentimental After You,” and copied Dorsey as he played the tune.  By doing that I soon developed a high range that helped me when I joined a professional road band almost three years later.  In fact that tune got me my first job, it’s all in my book, “Dairy of a Young Musician, Final Days of the Big Band Era (felixmayerhofer.com).”

When I returned home from the Guitar Center I immediately read the introductions to both instruction books, and soon became a little confused.  I assumed the longer I played I would become deconfused (my own word), and as the months passed that’s what happened.  I was learning to play the harmonica by myself as I did the trombone.  The difference between the chromatic harp that has a lever on the side, and the smaller type we’ve all played called the diatonic, was the chromatic had three full octaves.  Of course the first thing I tried to play was the jazz tune, “Lullaby of Birdland,” by my well-tested hit and miss method.  I got it to a degree but it didn’t sound very good.  By experimenting, I blew from note to note and discovered where the first note of the song was, and then went from there.  But when I tried playing that note again I had to go through the same process because there were so many more notes and octaves.  As I soon found out the instrument had it’s own built in playing problems.  The only way I could find the right notes on the chromatic was to practice hundreds and hundreds of hours and eventually find the notes by instinct).  Eventually that instinct would direct me to the correct starting notes (I’m doing much better now but still not totally mastered).  Once I came to my senses, I began at the beginning of the instruction book with “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”  I was truly on my way.

But that was only the beginning of my problems.  The third day after I took the harp out of the case the lever stuck and it wouldn’t budge.  I went back to the internet to look for “Trouble shooting,” and found out about the above-mentioned problem.  It turned out my own saliva was the culprit.  Saliva is something like a glue-like substance that could only be taken care of by unscrewing the mouthpiece and cleaning it with dish detergent.  I found one piece of serious “erroneous” instructions that said to turn the instrument up side down and place the mouthpiece in water up to the lever in a small tray.  While in the water I pushed the lever back and forth, and then let it dry for a while in that position, so water wouldn’t drip into the delicate reed area that makes the harmonica function.  That worked, but the more I cleaned it, notes that were weak to begin with when I bought it were getting even more difficult to play.   I called a tech at Hohner and the old gal who answered wasn’t very pleasant, giving me no satisfaction at all.  She has since retired.  As the harmonica got harder to blow I bought another harmonica and after a few months the same thing occurred.  My progress on the instrument was being held up.  Getting discouraged, I momentarily thought of forgetting the whole thing.  But not being one to give up I decided to try one more time and purchased a more expensive deluxe model that was definitely better.  I was frustrated once again when the lever became stuck after a few days.  I called Hohner, and the new tech who was almost as cold as the previous one gave me the correct advise.  When I asked if it was okay to place the harmonica in water to clean, he answered, “Absolutely not, it will eventually prevent the reeds from working even though the water’s not hitting it.”  Somehow the moisture got into the reeds.  All these problems had now been going on for a period of months and were very discouraging.  The tech said the mouthpiece must be taken off and cleaned every time the lever began to stick.  I answered, “Every time?” He said “yes,” and that was it. 

I proceeded to unscrew the mouthpiece of the harmonica and that’s when new problems arose.  I couldn’t get it to play when I reassembled it and the spring that held the lever came unhinged.  I had no alternative but to send it back to the factory.  When it was returned to me it was in fine working shape, but this time they sent along a set of detailed instructions how to take it apart and clean it.  The newly repaired instrument played beautifully, but within days the lever stuck.  Following the instructions I carefully disassembled the harp, washed it, then reassembled it without any problems, but it took a half hour.   Did I want to spend that much time cleaning it every few days?  It was a major decision.  I figured all professional harmonica players did the same thing.  I practiced running the procedure  in my mind and the next time it took 20 minutes.  When I did it a third time it took 10 minutes while listening to the news on TV.  If I wanted to play the chromatic harmonica that’s what had to be done.

From the time I began playing I had trouble finding anyone who played the chromatic harp as I had many questions to ask.  I finally found two great diatonic blues harp players who played the small harmonica.  They had both tried to play the chromatic but had given up because of all the complications.  They thought it was the most difficult instrument they’d ever tried to learn.  Whenever I hear great professional players I have profound admiration for them, as I know what they went through to learn and play the instrument. Now that I’ve overcome all the physical barriers of my beloved harp, I’m now sailing along, and have been offered dance jobs that I’ll be playing about a year from now when I’m 82.   Now if I can just stay awake on the job!

June 14, 2011 Posted by | AV Best Children's Books, c | , , , , | Leave a comment

Group Two–Children’s AdventureStories on Nook, Kindle, iPad, Sony andSmashwords.com

Group Two–Children’s AdventureStories on Nook, Kindle, iPad, Sony andSmashwords.com
THE PROMOTION OF BOOKS
The goal of authors is to have their books read, and even better, published,with the purpose to receive royalties. Since I have so many of mychildren’s eBooks under the name Felix Mayerhofer in Kindle, Nook, iPad,Sony, smashwords.com and many other eReaders, I’ ve decided to writea description (synopsis) of each of my eBooks. To make it easier I’ veincluded the URL for your own particular eReader listed at the bottom.


THE ESKIMO HUNTER (Age level—3-10)Eskimo boys grow fast in the rugged cold weather of Greenland, andthat was the case with Yaki. His heroic deed while hunting on the ice capnear the North Pole brought praise and honor from his father.


KING OF THE ICE CAP(Age Level—3-10)Yaki, an Eskimo boy gives further proof why he deserves praise from hisfather. With his great discovery in this story, he makes an unselfish offergiving new life to his entire village. This gesture earns him the respectand honor of the tribal elders.


THE LAMPLIGHTER (Age level—5-90)Shortly before the birth of Christ, an angel appeared before ahandicapped shepherd boy named Luke, who was told to collect oldand damaged oil lamps. This request presented problems with Luke’sfriends, townspeople, and was also of concern to his parents. OnChristmas Eve he followed a bright star directed towards a stable inBethlehem, where the reason for the oil lamps is revealed to him.


THE KINGDOM OF LIPVILLE(Age level—3-9)Who is the greatest whistler in the Kingdom of Lipville? Needle Lips andIron Lips vie for this honor in the annual “Whistling Festival,” with LadySweet Lips, daughter of King Lipper in charge of the event. Invadinghoards of infectious “Germ People” suddenly interrupt the festivities byattempting to wiggle up the walls. You’ll be anxious to know if Sir KnightLips and his Lip army will be able to stop them.
eReaders
KI NDLE– http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-t… OR write in FELIX MAYERHOFER
NOOK– http://productsearch.barnesandnoble.com/search/results.aspx?store=E… OR write in FELIX MAYERHOFER
SONY READER– http://ebookstore.sony.com/search?keyword=Felix+Mayerhofer OR write in FELIX MAYERHOFER
SM ASHWORDS.COM — http://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Felix+Mayerhofer OR write in FELIX MAYERHOFER
iPAD—Write in FELIX MAYERHOFER

June 9, 2011 Posted by | AV Best Children's Books | , , , , | Leave a comment

NEVER TOO OLD TO LEARN

When I retired at age 60 I was struck by an idea about a boy and his dog.  Without any prior experience or true knowledge about writing, I started jotting down my newly inspired thoughts in a yellow pad, not realizing my third career as an author had begun.   I had been a professional musician for 13 years, then a school band director for 27, now an author for 21 years.  What transpired during these years I’ve been writing has been an incredible learning experience.

It didn’t take me long to realize I was a real beginner and had a long way to go before I could consider myself a “true” writer.  I joined an author critique almost from the beginning and that’s where my education began.  Besides that I had teacher friends read my story who diplomatically suggested what I could do to become a better writer.  My wife Shirley also played an important early role in my development.  I asked her to read my first story as I wanted her praise like a little boy.  Thinking I wanted her to edit it she made a few changes to my “precious” story that slightly annoyed me.  But by the end of the second story I realized she had a natural talent as a children’s editor, as her changes were invaluable.  I never again responded negatively to her suggestions, in fact I looked forward to reading them.

Not reacting well to rejections of my first stories from insipid young editors straight out of college working for major publishers, I lost interest in being published.  I was so into writing my stories I couldn’t be bothered wasting time writing query letters and sending out manuscripts.   During the next two decades I wrote38 children stories and one novel.

I received a small inheritance from my deceased sister Adeline Grote, and Shirley convinced me to use the money to self-publish my novel, “Diary of a Young Musician, Final Days of the Big Band Era (felixmayerhofer.com).”  Entering the world of self-publishing would open new ways of having my book read.  A small publisher who arranged book signings at Barnes & Noble, Borders, and other stores picked up the book.  A disastrous Indiana flood wiped out the company and it went bankrupt.  I found a small self-publisher, Fideli Publishing, who has been of incredible assistance.  Shirley thought I should also publish a few of my children’s stories and I luckily found illustrator John MacFarlane, who was an animator for Disney, Spielberg and other major studios.  After collaborating on four books John and I have become close friends.

One of my former band students, Susie Christiansen, internationally known school band and orchestra composer, now working for Disney, loved my stories and made the suggestion I should sell them on a website.   So I spoke to my son David who began creating and building a huge website for me, while Shirley and I spent four months updating and editing all 38 stories.  We worked beautifully together and it was a complete success.  David suggested we hire a professional narrator to record seven or eight of the stories and that I should record one or two myself, as children loved to hear authors narrate their own stories.  I found a small microphone from my old “Mac” and recorded “Horace the Great, Harmonica King.” It was a total disaster, like a kid playing a trumpet the first time.  I kept on working at it the next few weeks and was ready to give up, but Shirley had other ideas.  She gave me a professional microphone and interface for Christmas and I was trapped!  There was no turning back.  I began practicing about four to five hours a day for the next two months.  When I thought the story was good enough I googled it to David.  His honest response was, “It’s bad, Dad!”  After two weeks I sent it to him again and his response was the same. Not daunted, I practiced three more weeks and with trepidation sent it again.  This time his reaction was different.   He wrote back, “Fantastic!”  I sent a different story two weeks later and his answer was the same. Since I was on a role I did a third and received the same positive response.   David phoned and said he didn’t think it would be necessary to hire a professional narrator and I should do the next four or five myself.

I would spend about four hours recording in the morning and did a little writing in the afternoon as I was still inspired with new ideas.  When I had completed recording ten stories I decided to do ten more. When I finished 20, I went for 30.  Why stop there!  Even though I was tired with pressure mounting, I completed the 38th.  It took me a year to complete the task.  If I remember correctly Shirley and I went out for dinner to celebrate.  In the midst of doing the recordings Shirley thought we should have John MacFarlane illustrate a cover for all 38, as they would make a better selling point on our website.  It was a brilliant idea on her part because it would pay off a couple of years later, but in an entirely different and new element.

The website, Felix the Storyteller, housed my novel, all my children’s stories, blogs, a gallery of John’s 38 illustrations, and my Bookstore where four of my stories were sold including my novel.  I made sales but not as many as I thought it would.  The problem was I really didn’t know how to use the internet to my advantage and wouldn’t for a couple of years.  About a year ago Robin Surface, my publisher, said there were new avenues available on the internet to sell my books.  Since all the stories had covers, thanks to Shirley, they were accepted by Kindle,Nook, iPad,SonySmashwords.com, and a variety of others   A few months later Jim Greenleaf  of ilivetodayav and his brilliant young production manager, Ben Andrews, introduced me to Socialnomics, which is using social-networking to increase your Internet foot-print and social reach in order to drive more traffic to your website or through the front door of your business.   Within three months of taking private lessons from Ben, the sales of my eBooks increased, and three months later they doubled.  Being older I found it difficult at the beginning to understand and learn the many new concepts to which I was introduced.  You’re never too old to learn.

The entire venture has been a family enterprise, with Shirley, David, and I all major contributors.  It continues to this day but without Shirley who has passed away.  David recently placed my new audio CD, FELIX THE STORYTELLER, with all 38 stories in my Bookstore

http://audiochildrensbooks.com/felixs-bookstore

June 2, 2011 Posted by | AV Best Children's Books, Children's Author, Children’s Stories with Morals, Exciting Children’s Stories, Learning Children’s Stories | , , , , | Leave a comment