Tag Archive | Stranger in the Spotlight

A Hint of Celebrity?

Now that Ken and I spruced up our home with a few pieces of new furniture, a washer and dryer, and new kitchen chairs, I decided it was time for a little Barbara upgrading. Yup. I spent some coins on myself, and I didn’t do it at the thrift store. 🙂

The items I wanted included a pair of new glasses, some wrinkle cream and skin spot remover, along with a couple pair of new sandals. (I still think we may have at least a couple of days of summer in the near future.)

On Saturday, I went to pick up my new specs. For once the sun was shining, but little did I know in a few seconds it would shine on me. When the receptionist requested my name, I replied, “Barbara McCloskey.”

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One of the customers turned around with a surprised look on her face and said, “Barbara McCloskey? I know that name. Sure, there’s somebody by that name who is an author.”

I replied, “That’s me!”

The customer’s voice went up an octave as she said, “No kidding?”

I whipped out my business cards I got for such opportunities and gave  one to each customer in the store.

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For a couple of seconds, I felt like a big shot. Fame shown it’s fickle light on me and I smiled in the illumination. Even though I hadn’t been facially recognized, somebody did recognize my name.

I’ve emblazoned this scene in my mind with the exception someday I will be facially recognized, and my “fan” will have read all of my books.

I truly believe this is the first step to fulfilling my dream–to become a successful author. This first step is simple, but necessary.

Here’s the bottom line to this tale. I don’t believe dreams happen. Having a clear vision of what we want to achieve is key, then we must share it with others. In the meantime, put your nose to the grindstone and work, work, work. In my case, I need to read and write everyday. Persistence is key–you can’t give up even when the ugly face of writer’s block crosses you path. Then grab opportunities when they come along. Do radio interviews. Get your name in the local paper. Pass out business cards advertising your genre and titles. Get your book reviewed. Don’t hide your light under a bushel basket — no one can shine hiding. Perhaps you might even get a little “luck” as you go through the actions of working toward your goals. No one can turn down good luck, right?

My only caution is to be careful what you ask for. . . there’s a good chance you will get it.

Grow Where You’re Planted is The Secret

Woman writerEvery morning, I give thanks I no longer have to wake up to the jarring noise of a blaring alarm clock, tear myself out from under the coziness of my bed before I’m fully awake, drag myself through showering, dressing, and then breakfast–only to fight traffic on the way to a job I hated.

My “retirement” came quite unexpectedly three years ago when I couldn’t find a job after I had asked my boss in the insurance business to fire me. I was burned out and disgusted by the whole scene. (Someday, I ‘ll tell you about it.)

My intention was to return to Marketing/Communications in some big company to live out my working years. However, there were two problems with this plan. First, the economy had tanked and these jobs were nonexistent. Second, because I had taken a left turn into the financial industry, nobody in marketing believed I still had what it took to be a viable talent. The situation became scary when the unemployment cheeks stopped, and I was forced to exhaust dip into my retirement savings to survive. But, we must go forward, right?

Looking back on the whole ugly mess, I think this happened because God wanted me to stay home with Ken and have a chance to do what I really wanted to do. Write.

So, after a month of  recovery, I embarked on a journey to produce my first novel. A  former client had a story she wanted to tell, but she didn’t have the writing talent to do it. It was a fascinating tale of a witch in a hospital. NO really, that’s what MercyLess Memorial Hospital is all about. It was Cindy’s story with my fictional twist. But when she decided to self-published the book with her name on it as the author, I was pissed annoyed. I thought we were co-authoring this book, after all, I did all the writing. If I had been smart, I would have charged her s ghost writing fee  and gotten paid. But being the sap nice person I am, I did it for FREE.

What this experience proved to me was I could write a decent story. Before I knew it,  my own series of novels started pouring out of me. I chose a time period when the world went crazy. World War II was a classic struggle between freedom and oppression. Good and Evil. The Devil and he Savior. If you watch the History Channel even a little bit, you get an inkling of what men went through during this time. But, like usual, the stories of the women are not told. It’s as if the opposite gender never existed, so I wanted needed to tell stories of my mother’s generation.

Apple Pie and Strudel Girls, Stranger in the Spotlight, Tea and Biscuit Girls, The Love Immigrants and now Finding Gessler have not blown the minds of any major market—YET. But things maybe a changin’.

Recently, I have hired a literary agent for the third and fourth books, and they are now being presented to publishers in Europe and across the United States. I keep telling myself it will only take one to buy the rights. And with the success of that one—I’ll be on my way to prosperity. I still have a vision of that writing room that looks out to the ocean, remember? And seeing the “experts” say, don’t quit your day job before you have written 10 novels, I’ve decided I’ll continue producing books until I fill my bookcase with  my work.

And until that day, I will grow where I’m planted and keep producing seeds of writing. After all, the good book says we all will reap what we sow.

The Value of Friendship Scrutinized

CircleOn Sunday Morning on CBS there was a piece about friendship. The reporter interviewed a group of women from Wisconsin and a group of men from another state (sorry, I can’t remember that part). Each gender group talked about how valuable their friendships were.

Then to back up the unscientific testimony, the reporter PROVED how valuable friends are with a series of medical and university studies–after all, it is a NEWS show. One medical study proved people holding hands with a friend during an MRI showed less anxiety and brain activity, while the patient received intermittent electric shocks, than they did when they went through the test alone. A university study showed when people were asked to estimate how steep a hill was without a friend standing next to them, the hill appeared steeper than when their friends were with them.

So, these studies prove we all do better when we have friends than when we don’t. Dah. That’s a no-brainer.

But remember if you want a friend, it’s like any relationship — there’s a give and a take, a symbiotic part to it. Experts on the program made the point that sometimes friends can become toxic and drain your energy. In such a case, it’s better for you to cut the cord and make a new friend who enriches you as much as you do them. Ending a friendship is hard, especially when you’ve put so much energy into making the friend in the first place. The last thing you want to do is cut them loose.  But sometimes, it has be done. Many times, a friendship gone bad becomes visible when you’re growing in a certain direction and they are not. Just like divorce, the process is hard but necessary. The good news is both parties usually come out stronger for the experience.

Like the women in my books, friendships are my life blood. The people who I have elected to bring into my life are precious gifts. They are my safety nets, my confidants, my helpers, and my companions. We laugh together, play together, cry together, support each other, share our fears, and express our love for each other. They fill my life with beautiful color. Without them, my life would be cold and gray.

My wish for all of you reading this is that each of you have at least one good friend you can always count on. A whole stable of friends would be even better  because life without friends is like an empty Easter basket or a Christmas tree without decorations. Where’s the joy in that?

A New Book Review

I received a new review on my second book, STRANGERS IN THE SPOTLIGHT, on February 13. Unfortunately, the reviewer did not sign their name, but I do know they were hired by PublishAmerica, my publishing company. I present it to you in order for you to make your own judgement.

Book cover 2Review of Stranger in the Spotlight

Donna Simpson lives for the stage. Her talent is finally noticed during World War II, while performing in the Foxhole Circuit with the USO. After 13 months, she’s inspired to follow her dreams in Hollywood where all stars go to make it in the business.

In STRANGER IN THE SPOTLIGHT, readers will learn about what happens to those who set off to chase a dream and are forced to decide whether they wish to compromise themselves for the sake of stardom. Barbara Celeste McCloskey has written a novel about following dreams and the sometimes unfortunate results of taking the chance of a lifetime.

After meeting Tony, Donna thinks she’s found it all in Hollywood. Her luck at finding someone to take her under his wing and boost her professional career enhances when Tony wins her heart. Despite advice to stay away from him, she can’t resist his charm. What she doesn’t know is that Tony has a history that will threaten her life.

In a quest to move her career forward, Donna takes acting lessons and learns tricks of the trade she can combine with her raw talent. Tony’s love for Donna propels him to propose marriage, to which Donna readily agrees. Everything seems to be going according to Donna’s master plan until an unexpected pregnancy adds a layer of uncertainty to her future; then tragedy strikes on her wedding day.

The bitter truth of show business surfaces well into Donna’s path to success, and she’s forced to face the reality that so many women must face in order to succeed in the industry: her agent believes she needs to alter her physical appearance with surgery. Desperate to succeed and rise above other starlets, she agrees to the life-changing surgery.

When Tony’s past surfaces, Donna and Tony’s romantic dream life is shattered. As if that isn’t enough, another unexpected event adds to their already tense lifestyle. The couple watches as their fairytale romance crumbles and they must decide to adapt to the challenges or leave each other.

Barbara Celeste McCloskey presents a piece of Americana, focusing on the American dream and the sacrifices one must make in order to achieve that dream. Like in real life, the dream doesn’t work out for everyone the way they anticipated. STRANGER IN THE SPOTLIGHT is an entertaining page turner for everyone who likes a good romance story.