ghost cover 150x150 A GHOST WITHOUT A LIFE   By Corinne Edwards and Paul Van Name

Chapter One

 

An older four door Lincoln is pulling into a parking lot, in heavy rain, under a sign which reads Michaelson’s Funeral Home. The car backfires as it is parked. Two women open umbrellas, exit the car and run toward the doorway.

 

My husband, Julius is gone. We were married for 20 years. He was always difficult but the last five years when he was so sick were really hard. For him – and for me.

He was a stockbroker with a large firm. I joined the company a few years after I graduated from college. My parents were gone so I decided to stay in Chicago.

I did not know Julius except for a few “Good Mornings” in the elevator.

I loved working there for a group of brokers. I even got qualified by taking the test to be a broker myself. I didn’t do any trading but it gave me a greater understanding of how things were done.

I had a nickname. They called me “Minnesota Nice.” I had grown up on a farm in Minnesota.

Julius was one of the successful stars there. I used to hear that he was one of the most eligible men in Chicago.

He was handsome, charming and you could not help but notice his beautiful custom suits, shirts and handmade shoes from London. He always drove the latest luxury sports car and had a cruiser on Lake Michigan. Rumor had it that he employed a Japanese house boy to take care of his beautiful apartment and his errands.

 Julius had an assistant, Alice, who had been with him for years. It was said that she was the only one who could handle him since he could be demanding and difficult at times.

 Suddenly, Alice had a medical crisis and would be out on leave for three to six months. He needed a temporary assistant. The HR department looked around and I was one of the women chosen to be interviewed.

I was scared. He was very direct.

He started out by telling me he was impressed that I had graduated Summa Cum Laude  from Northwestern.

“Does that mean you are smart?” I said. “Yes.”

“Can you work under pressure?” I again said. “Yes.”

Your nickname, I hear, is “Minnesota Nice.” That scares me a little. Can you be tough also?” Again, I answered. “Yes, if I had to.”

“OK. You’ll start Monday.”

“One last thing. My work is confidential. You will have to limit your contact with your previous brokers.” I agreed.

Things went well. He was very complimentary, almost affectionate, in his dealings with me. Even took me out for dinner often if we were working late.

One summer day, he invited me on his boat. It would be a weekend trip to Michigan. I was excited.

By the end of that trip, we were lovers. We kept our relationship very quiet but it was becoming intense.

A few months went by and Alice was due to return soon.

I was on the telephone making an appointment for him for the following Thursday.

He interrupted me. ”Cancel that. We are going to Las Vegas on Thursday to get married.” That was his proposal. I could hardly speak to end the phone call.

 After Alice came back, I left the firm. We were looking for a house in the city. The apartment was too small and he also told me it would be nice if we had a family, although he felt it was unlikely since he had been married years before and no pregnancy had resulted.

We found a nice home in the city and started to furnish it. No surprise, he chose almost everything. I really did not mind since a girl from a farm did not have very sophisticated taste.

Besides, I was thrilled to be married and happy with this extraordinary man.

 On his 50th birthday, I gave him his greatest gift. I was three months pregnant. He was out of his mind with joy. He took over the pregnancy. I knew he was controlling but sometimes, I wondered which one of us was having the baby. He read every book on pre-natal care, went to every doctor visit, was present for every test, weighed me every day, monitored my vitamins. He controlled everything like I was his most important stock client.

 Alexander was a beautiful and healthy baby. We both were so happy. I was nursing but he insisted I have a nurse and a housekeeper. He, of course, interviewed both. After a week, I let the nurse go. I convinced him if you were nursing, she had very little to do.

Alexander flourished. He was treated like the Second Coming. He grew up to be a wonderful young man. His father took him everywhere he went, even sometimes to the office.

 Friends were not very welcome in our home. If someone dropped in, he was not hospitable. It was him, me and of course his beloved son. It was like he wanted us all to himself.

There were times when he was wonderful. Especially if we were traveling. He was the man of my dreams if we were in an interesting place in the world.

Otherwise, he just wanted to be at home. He called it his “island.”

He wouldn’t go out for dinner, but if I said, “Let’s go to Paris,” he was ready to pack his suitcase. Of course, Alexander had a RN to stay with him. Besides the housekeeper.

 I got the idea of opening a travel agency. Amazingly, he approved. He loved travel. He would come and help me with it.

It really helped me to get over feeling isolated. After Alexander was in school, I had little to do.

Julius became ill with cancer. It was serious but after a few treatments, he just ignored it. His main reaction was anger. He continued working every day but became more and more difficult at home.

The cancer came back with a vengeance. The anger was now directly targeted towards me; His most frequent criticism was that I had to “grow up.” It was never explained.

There were many times I even thought of leaving him but “Minnesota Nice” people can’t do that. I had to stay. And Alex was a teenager and very traumatized by his father’s illness. He never was anything but loving toward him. I had to consider him too.

 I always heard people died peacefully. Not Julius. He was yelling, “NO! NO!” for the last minutes he was alive. Then, he just slipped away. I hope he is at rest.

 Julius is my past now. I have to start all over. I just don’t know where to start except to do his funeral arrangements. I’ll think about my life later. Maybe I’ll learn how to “grow up.”

 

Chapter Two

 

The pretty redhead, forty year old widow, Megan and her lovely, younger, blonde sister, June, are seated at the Funeral Director’s desk. June has come in from New York to help with the funeral.

The large, florid faced man is asking questions and filling out forms.

His assistant, Irving, stands behind him. Both are dressed impeccably and are wearing sympathetic faces befitting the somber occasion.

All four walk down a hall.

A door opens from the lit hall and a hand reaches for a light switch, revealing a huge room filled with coffins. They usher in the women.

The two women gasp at the sight.

The Funeral Director speaks –

“Dear ladies, I know what a shock it is to come in here. We want to make it as easy as we can for you. And, of course do the right thing for Julius. This is his final curtain call and we are going to make it perfect for him.”

Megan agrees. “Yes, we want it nice, don’t we, June?”

June nods. “Julius always liked the best.”

The ghost of Julius, the deceased husband, walks into the coffin room. He is wearing a white dinner jacket and smoking a cigar.

The funeral director speaks to his assistant.

“Irving, move a couple of these boxes out of the way. I want to show the ladies Mrs.Updike’s husband’s casket. She was so happy with it. It is just the perfect chariot for Julius’ journey to Eternity.”

“Oh, yes. The beautiful copper one.”

“You know the Updikes of course. They live on the Gold Coast. Wonderful people and also such a terrible loss.”

“This one is so perfect. Look at the mattress. Three inches. It will be so comfortable for your dear Julius.”

He grabs June’s hand to have her feel it. She pulls her hand back in horror.

“And the color of the satin. Pale pink. So flattering to the complexion. We need all the help we can get at a time like this.”

Megan looks worried. “What does something like this cost?”

“Oh it is quite reasonable when you take into consideration all that is included. The two limos, the opening of the grave and the WATERTIGHT liner. We fondly refer to this package as The Emperor. It’s pure elegance.”

Megan frowns.”It looks expensive”.

“Not really. The entire package is $30,000.”

The ghost of Julius flacks his cigar ash on the carpet. “What a crock. This guy’s last job must have been as a used car salesman. I damn well am not going to spend that kind of money for this funeral. And, what are we doing here? I didn’t die or anything.”

Megan seems to hear a voice. She looks around and sees no one. “Did you hear a voice, June?”

June shakes her head.

Megan turns back to the Funeral Director. “Look, I want to spend $8000. What can I buy for $8000?”

The ghost of Julius throws his hands up in disgust.

You women do not know how to negotiate. Never reveal your bottom line.

 The Funeral Director rolls his eyes at his assistant.

“Well, we will be hard pressed to deliver your

Beloved Julius’ funeral at that price. Please do

Not even mention watertight liners at that cost

Just don’t even go there.

 Megan is getting impatient. “I’d like to get this over with.”

“Irving, get Number 9 and wheel it over here.”

“The silver one with the gray lining?”

“No, Irving,that is Number 8.”

He turns to the women to explain.

“Number 9 has a much younger look.”

 Megan and June look at each other and try not to laugh.

The ghost of Julius adds to the conversation.

People always say I look young for my age.

The women start to leave. The ghost tries to block the door.

Wait. What are we doing here? Go back and cancel all this. I did not die.

 

This is an excerpt – Two chapters this time so you can be introduced to the ghost.

For the whole book, please go to Amazon to order. here

It is available in Kindle and Paperback

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

gHOST PICTURE 150x150 A GHOST WITHOUT A LIFE   By Corinne Edwards and Paul Van Name

Corinne Edwards has traveled several life paths, from business owner to sales trainer, author, blogger, lecturer, media coach and TV producer.

 She is the author of A Woman Without A Man, Reflections from a Woman Alone, Low Pain Threshold, Love Waits on Welcome . . . and other miracles, Sales,Lies and Naked Truths, Are We Spiritual Yet, When Your Husband Has Died – A Survival Guide, Love On The Rocks – Bad Relationships – Good Endings and Media Creation.

 She produced and hosted 400 shows on national cable called Book Tours with Corinne Edwards for Wisdom Television.

Paul Van Name is a graduate of USC Cinema and coordinated and instructed for their program at Universal Studios, eventually joining the staff at Universal in their production department.

He has co-produced and directed more than 400 shows for Wisdom Television.

He supplemented his college costs as a feature writer for magazines and since has written many articles on the entertainment industry.

He enjoys collecting guitars and working on vintage Ford automobiles.

 Corinne and Paul hope you will enjoy our ghost story.  We thank you in advance if you will post your feedback here and comments on Amazon here.

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CROP BookCover media creation v2 150x150 PUBLICITY   HOW TO GET IT   from Media Creation on AmazonChapter Eight – Publicity

So – finally – you have a book deal or a program promoter.

Congratulations!

With visions of sugar plums dancing in your head, you are dreaming of glamorous cocktail parties for the press, an appearance on O, book signings at major bookstores, first class air, limousines, luxury hotels and media coaching.

Not so fast.

If you didn’t have a “platform,” it is unlikely that they would have bought your book in the first place.

A platform is your ability to promote your own book -  maybe through a blog, a social network with a following, are a well known speaker – something…

If you don’t have a platform, you will have to build one.

It doesn’t matter if you are William Shakespeare reincarnated or have written the last great American novel.

Unless you are a tested and true celebrity author who has delivered millions of sales in the past or a major media political figure with an expose – you will be expected to do most of the publicity work yourself.

And pay your expenses.

This is nothing new. Except for the super stars, the majority of authors who were featured on my national cable show paid their own way to Chicago.

Some publicity departments for your publisher will help some.  Their budgets are lean these days.

They may send out press releases, offer free review copies to prospective radio, TV and journalists who request them.

They may send you to the Book Expo convention.  If they get you a ticket – GO.  Pay the airfare and hotel.  It is worth it. If they don’t, buy a ticket to the show. There are exhibitors who may sell you a portion of their booth so you can promote in their space.

One exception. I guarantee you if you happen to interest O or The View, they will pay to get you there. Otherwise, it is up to you.

Having a publisher buy your book has one big advantage. They have a sales distribution system which will get your book in stores.

That is HUGE. And the stores which have stocked your book will welcome you to come in to speak and sign books so they can sell them.

There are several other ways for you to get publicity and the following applies whether you have a publisher, are self published or have written an E-book.

It is also applicable to a program or course you have developed to sell.

Some ideas -

You can hire your own professional publicist. Just as an estimate, this would cost between $1500. to much more with a usual minimum contract of six months.

The price reflects how much clout they have with print media, TV and radio stations and which authors they have represented before.

They will prepare press releases, make the calls, send out books and make appointments for you.

 It is best to hire someone several months before your book actually comes out.

They will probably suggest a media coach.

You will want to do some research on the Internet to see whether they are experienced with the type of book you have.

They all have web pages. You can also get recommendations from your publisher and even other authors.

OR

You can be your own publicist. You can feature your book on your own blog.

You can work out an affiliate program with other blogger friends.

Publish your own book on Kindle or Createspace.  Kindle is digital and Createspace is a paperback.  They are owned by Amazon and are FREE.

Even if you are a non tech person, like me, you can figure out how to do it.

If your work is lengthy, make it a series.

Use social networks to get the word out like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or forums. Call in your buddies to feature you – and  retweet you. You’ve helped them in the past.

Write an article based on your book and send it to your local newspaper. Find out in advance how many words are ideal for them. If they have a slow news day they might just plug it in.

Advertise in RTIR . It is a magazine that goes to thousands of media outlets. Not really cheap but I got many interviews out of it. I started with three months.

Getting on national or cable TV or a major radio station show is more of a challenge.

 But use any contacts you have and you may get lucky. Have a slick looking press kit to send out with a professional head shot of yourself..

Find out who the decision maker is and write directly to that person. Get the spelling and their title right. Snail Priority Mail is still used. Don’t waste money on overnight FedEx. No one will be impressed.

If you use E-mail you should consider doing a cut and paste besides an attachment. Some producers will not download a file.

Speak. Speak. Speak. Bookstores are a given. But – according to the relevance of your topic – what about Rotary, Lions, University clubs, Condo Associations? These unpaid and overworked program chairpeople are always looking for speakers.

If you can garner a crowd, a book store or non-for profit may handle “back of the room” sales. Especially if they give a donation to these charity based organizations.

Your web address is on your business card, right?

Don’t overlook Public Access Television in your town or a larger town. . Start looking at the local shows and approach producers who look like they might have interest in your topic.

Internet radio, like Blog Talk Radio, is a great way to get publicity. There are thousands of shows now.  Look for someone who features your topic.

Contact them individually by name and make reference to the shows you have heard them do.

No mass emails please. Only approach producers who interview similar topics.  You don’t want to contact a sports show if your subject is archeology. Offer to send them a copy of your work on request.

If they don’t answer, contact them again. Mention you are available on short notice. Some guests cancel late.

Don’t be shy. Keep asking. You are doing them a favor by filling their space.

Start your own show on one of the Internet radio stations. Most are free and will allow you to promote your own products.

 Ask your talented friends to come on and interview you. Then return the favor. Everyone is selling something these days.

Or, do a one man show.

One of the advantages of the Internet radio stations is they usually allow you to post the show to your blog or web page.

 So it keeps on giving even if you don’t have a lot of audience at first. People can listen later.

Does publicity sound like a lot of work to you? It is.

You will learn a lot. Your next book publicity program will be a snap. You will be your own media coach.

Writing your book has been the hard part.

Getting your book out there is even harder.  This is business.

Are you up to it?

You know you want to hear the rest of the story.

It is time to buy the book.

Will you?

This is an excerpt from-

BookCover media creation v2 CROP 150x150 PUBLICITY   HOW TO GET IT   from Media Creation on Amazon

Available on Kindle – click here

$3.97

Available in Paperback – click here

Please note that none of these links are affiliates.   They are for information only.

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