If you got snowed in at a mountain cabin…

This morning I watched Jeopardy, and one of the questions was “If you got snowed in at a mountain cabin, name something you’d hope you had with you.” At this time of year we aren’t thinking much about snow, but for the past two weeks, I’ve almost felt like I was snowed in because I have been very sick and didn’t feel like doing a whole lot. I’m improving every day, now.

The reason this question stuck with me, however, is that when 100 people were surveyed, the number 4 most popular answer was “a book.”

In spite of all of the electronic devises, people still enjoy curling up with a good book. At St. Clair Publications we still believe this and are constantly publishing high-quality books which are of interest to all ages. We have several classics which have stood the tests of time. We have a growing selection of children’s books for all age children from toddlers to teens. And we have a lot of adult books as well. Check out our great authors at http://stclairpublications.com, google us or even do a search on Amazon. You might be really surprised by what you discover.

Author services at very affordable cost

The primary purpose that I intended by getting St. Clair Publications up and running as a POD publisher in 2008 was to establish a caring, low-cost alternative to other such companies. We have been able to accomplish just that. Our services and published books are high quality productions at lowest cost possible to both the author and the reader.

We have a well-qualified team of professional individuals highly skilled and educated in their part of the process. We have published both first time authors and those who have previously been in print. We not only offer new author editing, formatting and publications both in paperback and hardback (if needed), but we convert to e books, both Kindle version and generic through our eVolve tm Division, but we can convert PDF interior files and indd cover art of existing books for reprints under the StCP logo. Each author is treated as if he or she is a valuable associate, because they are. We have  published authors in the UK, Continental Europe, Canada, and many US authors. We have become a primary place for local authors here in Middle Tennessee. All products are marketed worldwide.

Most people can’t imagine how we can do this and turn out the high quality products for which we are known. The reason is simple. We are not greedy, and we love helping others reach their goals. The actual publication is FREE.

So if you are needing a caring publisher, or just want to read a worthwhile book, see our web site at http://stclairpublications.com or contact me at stan@stclair.net .

Note: some material may not be suitable for publication by StCP and we reserve the right to reject such books.

Finding your niche

Breaking into the wonderful field of publishing one’s own book or books is a regal adventure. It takes resolve, determination and ‘sticking to one’s guns.’ (Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions, page 522) But even the ‘best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.’ (ibid, page 54)

For me, my writing niche was phrase origins–and that didn’t ‘fall into place’ on its own (ibid, page 174) Now, every day somewhere in the world someone is going online to purchase a Cliche origin book which I have written.

In 1999 I self published my first research work, a history of my maternal ancestry called A Proud Heritage, the James Ansel Vinson Family Story. It was done as a labor of love for my family.

But my need to express myself through the printed word went back much further. Even as a high school freshman I was penning poetry and within three years writing songs.

Over the next decades I longed to see my work in print. I have experimented in various genres, but finally found my niche in 2011 with the publication of On the Origin of the Cliches and Evolution of Idioms, a comical take off on Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species. During the Christmas season I got as high as number one in this genre in sales and leveled at number three.

After a second somewhat less popular volume in 2012, I decided to ‘go for broke’ (Most Comprehensive Origins…page 210) and produce a major volume of figurative phrase origins which would supersede previous efforts by major publishers. All together, I have spent the better part of three years doing the research and the final effort was worth it. It is 710 pages in a 6X9 inch volume in wide margin, small print format, and contains 90 pages of bibliography in size 9 font.

The point being that sometimes we must work diligently to accomplish our dream. Now I help others find their niche and work with them to make their work shine. Author services are very reasonable, and publishing in PDF is free. Contact me at stan@stclair.net and see the site at http://stclairpublications.com . St. Clair Publications, “Small Enough to Care about the Author, Big Enough to Reach the World.”

Making lemonade

We’ve all heard the adage, “When life passes out lemons, make lemonade.” This stems from an earlier metaphoric expression (in my latest phrase book, Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions, to be sure, on page 327 in the paperback) lemon for an inferior product. Here is the excerpt:

Lemon (auto)

A lemon is an automobile which is found to be defective after it is purchased, and may apply to either new or pre-titled autos. The word ‘lemon’ in this fashion goes back farther than its usage as relating to cars. It was coined early in the twentieth century in describing any defective item. Then, Julian Koenig, a highly acclaimed ad executive, used it in his 1950s Volkswagen ‘Think Small’ advertising campaign.

In the 1970s economist George Akerloff, a later Nobel Prize winner for this work, used the term in his 1970 paper, “The Market for Lemons: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism.”

The attention Akerloff gave to the problem was instrumental in first ‘lemon law’ being proposed in California in 1980.

But a lemon as described in the proverb also means any unforeseen unfortunate circumstance. This past week, my lemon started after a visit to one of my doctors, who is, by the way, a fan of my writing. Dr. S. assured me of my great physical shape and how well I was doing on my meds. Unfortunately, that afternoon I went into my back yard to resume work on the patio area I am constructing there and did a lot of strenuous work in the heat of the day. Not a wise plan for someone subject to bouts of exertion-induced asthmatic bronchitis. Needless to say I began feeling the effects immediately, and they only worsened into the weekend. By Saturday evening I relented to visit the ER. My oxygen level was very low, my blood pressure greatly elevated  and I was wheezing, rattling and gasping for every precious breath. I was given two breathing treatments and put on an IV with antibiotics and given steroids and pain killers. I am still on regular meds but able to be at my computer some. It’s difficult to keep me down.

This morning I lingered at the TV longer than the norm and was glad I did. CBS This Morning had two guests on who peaked my interest. Rock legend John Fogerty, who formed CCR in 1960, said that one of his inspirations was Howling Wolf, a now all but forgotten best selling performer of his day who was a personal friend and inspiration of my friend, Phil Ward, (pseudonym Israel Stuart) as a child, with whom I very recently co-wrote The Prince of Kings, an exceptionally moving and revealing true story. Howling Wolf has a prominent part in the book.

The other guest was NY Times best-selling Colleen Hoover. A few short years ago she was a housewife in Texas trying to raise 3 kids in a mobile home. She just wanted to be a writer. She got the idea of writing ebooks and publishing them on Kindle, never imagining what the result would be. Her first romance novel was called Slammed. Now her venture is owned by Simon and Schuster and she makes big bucks.

Like Colleen, I used my downtime to become inspired to do this blog entry. If writing is your dream, St. Clair Publications can put you “in the driver’s seat.” Yes, that one’s in my book, too. But you can get this and all of them at http://stclairpublications.com or this ground-breaking work can be yours on Amazon Kindle “for a song.”

 

 

Fonzie–a one-of-a-kind feline

My young Russian Blue cat is sitting on my lap rubbing his face against mine and reaching his paw around my neck to ‘hug’ me. I’ve never seen a cat as active–both in a good way and a bad one–than ‘Fonzie.’

When my son, John,  moved to Colorado earlier this spring, I inherited his then six month old male cat. The kitten’s mother had transported him him by nape of the neck and dropped him at John’s feet, then made like the wind and blew the scene.

Rhonda came up with Fonzie for a name for him, and It didn’t take long for him to settle in, develop a pattern of mischief and become the king of the house. Our other cat, Shiah, has to watch her step. He will jump on her without warning. We thought getting him neutered would calm him down. We had to think again. He decided that he wanted to play with a flash drive which belonged to another author lying on the conference table in my office. It was in a plastic bag, which he snatched and dashed about the house with. I then placed it into a folder between two sets of papers, the top one held together by a clamp, then stuck it under the edge of a printer. Well, that rascal jumped up on there and pulled the file out from under the printer, opened it, took his teeth and removed the top set of papers and neatly laid them behind the open file, grabbed the plastic bag holding the flash drive and flew off the table, ran from my office, up the stairs into the house and paraded it about in defiance of my orders to halt.

Then yesterday when I was putting on my gym shoes to leave for my aerobics class, he kept untying my shoes as if to attempt to delay my departure. What do you do with a cat like that?

I guess it’s like other unpredictable family members–you love them!

Time to honor your mother?

Tomorrow it is once again Mother’s Day. Time flies by so swiftly that it seems only yesterday when it was last the day set aside to show our deep gratitude to the ladies who brought us into the world, or in many cases, the one who gave our life meaning and purpose, even if the connection was not the umbilical chord.

Whoever that special person is for you, if she is yet in this life, please reach out and let her know that she is appreciated. But when is really the time to honor your mother? It seems to me that that is every day of your life. Not just that you reach out to her, but in the way you present yourself to others, in your dealings and day-to-day activities you should remember the principles your mother taught you and all of the little sayings she had which may have embarrassed you at the time, but later made you proud to be called her son or daughter.

The following is a short poem in the ‘Just for fun‘ section of my poetry book, Reflections on Life, reminiscent of my childhood. Unlike some other verses of mine, this one is simple and rhyming:

King Me

“A penny for my thoughts, my son,”

My mother says to me,

While wrapped up in the cares of life

and all its malady.

“My thoughts are worthless, Mother Dear,”

I tell her with a smirk;

Yet deep inside,

My feelings hide,

My plans are hard at work.

I’ll build a castle with a mote’

and servants all about;

I’ll snap my fingers and my problems,

Quickly they’ll work out.

I’ll mount a steed with lightening speed,

My ducks all in a row.

I’ll be the king of everything

and everyone will know.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, MOMS!

 

 

 

Any job worth doing is worth doing well

I’ve been very busy this week preparing for events of which I am in charge this month for Kiwanis. Kiwanis is a worldwide service organization whose motto is “Serving the children of the world.” It has been my great joy to be a charter member of my club which was chartered in 1984.  I am serving as President this year, (a position I have held from time to time over the past 29 years) and will be going in as Lt. Governor of my District in October. But my duties are already beginning, and I am scheduled to speak at a luncheon meeting at one of the clubs today.

It has always been my belief that ‘any job worth doing is worth doing well.’ It’s something a lot of us heard from our parents, they heard from theirs, and back many generations. It is one of a multitude of old proverbs in my book, Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and figurative Expressions. I want to share this snippet from the book:

Any job worth doing is worth doing well

A number of Internet sites attribute the coining of this proverb to Dave Vanderbeck of Yardville, New Jersey in 1850.

Actually, this is an old proverb dating back to at least the eighteenth century. The Earl of Chesterfield, in a letter to his son in October, 1746 wrote the following:

“Care and application are necessary… In truth, whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.”
[1746 Chesterfield Letter 9 Oct. (Published 1932) III. 783]

Since it is an axiom, the meaning is clear. Later it was used by other authors, including H.G. Wells in Bealby in 1915:

“‘If a thing’s worth doing at all,’ said the professor, ‘it’s worth doing well.’”

This is only a small sample to the many sayings that are incorrectly attributed by a number of sources. If you haven’t gotten your copy, today you may get it as cheaply as FREE on Kindle if you are an Amazon Prime member.

I am going to make an honest effort to be the best Kiwanis Lt. Governor that I can. Like everybody else, I’m not perfect, but I do put in effort.

The same is true when I release a book which we have prepared for publication. There have only been two books released by us that we did not prepare. If you choose St. Clair Publications for your book, we pledge the best value in the POD publishing market today. And you can ‘put that in your pipe and smoke it.’..or ‘take it to the bank,’ which ever you prefer!

 

Prince of Kings is out!

Well, after months of writing and corresponding with Israel Stuart, our  exciting true story is available! This biographical adventure in survival of the fittest, filled with uncanny events and shocking revelations, is out on Amazon! 

Kings, in the story, is a small town in Mississippi. Here, a tow-headed boy begins a life filled with abuse and denial by his parents of his true identity. He is endowed with a special and unique gift, which is also belittled and sluffed off by those around him. When certain events bring him to the brink of truth, he is forced by those to whom he is entrusted to pack up and move to one town after another. Despite all of these attempts, he discovers that he is a special person with uncanny talents of royal lineage. He is able to quickly develop song lyrics for future artists who cross his path which will become hits, but is also prevented from receiving the credit or any gain whatsoever. Yet numerous persons whom he encounter come away better and richer people because of him.

The Prince of Kings is a powerful and touching story which will keep you turning pages and begging for more. Own your copy today at http://www.amazon.com/Prince-Kings-Israel-Stuart/dp/1935786512/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1368019832&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Prince+of+Kings+Israel+Stuart

The importance of family

The world always looks so fresh and pristine after a dousing rain. Rhonda and I traveled in a chilly, monsoon-like cloud yesterday from Middle Tennessee to North Georgia to visit my wonderful Uncle Atlas and Aunt Mary. This precious pair are both in their early nineties and have lived rich and fulfilling lives. The sands of time have sprinkled them with much love and rewarded it with a wealth of friends. Like my parents, they were only granted one child; one daughter, Bunnie, who, unlike myself, was not able to produce offspring for them. But she has been a great boon in the way of care and comfort as time allotted them more days than many.

When we arrived we had already partaken of the noon meal, and were unsure as to the picture which would await as the front portal to their modest home swung open. There to greet us was my cousin, Mike, his wife, Sandy, and son-in-law, Jim, and his daughter, as well as a friend, Sharon, from The Netherlands. It was great to see them, but not realizing that we had eaten, they had withheld, and the table was heavily laden with tasty dishes. Well…we would eat dessert, we told Bunnie.

What a pleasing visit we had! I had taken my uncle a belated birthday card, and my aunt a Mother’s Day card. After all, they are the nearest to parents which I yet have in this world. I also gave my uncle a copy of my poetry book, Reflections on Life, and read him a poem about my dear, late mother.

He once again carried on about how terrific Beyond the Thistle Patch, my childhood memoirs, was. My cousin said that if it was up to him everybody would own it. Well, it’s not his call, but I’m always grateful for their love!

Remember, if you have elderly family members, they won’t always be with you. Love them while you can.

 

Being positive is the ‘only way to fly.’

In my personal experience I can well relate to a number of extremely negative events which took me into feelings I didn’t want to have. At times I have even felt depressed and alone. My mother’s death in 2000 was a prime example of a low point in my life. Rhonda and I were in Mexico on a company convention and had left word with a nurse at the facility where my mother was a long-term patient that in the event of a bad turn in her health they should call us immediately and we would immediately fly home.

When we arrived home, thinking all was well, we learned via an answering machine message, that she had passed away. Of course, I was furious, and hurting in the worst way. Had I had any idea that this was imminent we would have cancelled our trip. It was tempting to take legal action against the nursing home and the hospital, but I knew that wouldn’t bring her back. I simply told them what I had done, expressed my great disdain, and asked to speak to the lady who had been with her at her passing.

Two wrongs don’t make a right. I found it impossible to have a very positive attitude in view of such pain and grief. But I made myself react in a more civil manner than some would have and prayed for strength and healing.

It was a long road to personal healing, and has been very difficult, but I cherish the memory of my dear mother, and am thankful for her presence in my life.

When we nourish the positive and cull out feelings of hate and resentment the end result is always better.