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Named to "Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites," this #SharingwithWriters blog is a way to connect with my readers and fellow writers, a way to give the teaching genes that populate my DNA free rein. Please feel free to add to the conversation using the very tiny "comment" link. For those interested in editing and grammar, go to http://thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Horror Story, Redbook, and Your Book Promotion

This is my Valentine’s story from a long, long time ago. I wrote it up as a pitch for the Help A Reporter Out (HARO progam). You can never tell when something will make a hit with a reporters so it sometimes pays to try something different. And this one actually attracted the attention of the editor of Redbook online. 
Was it that it was different? After all, she did ask for Valentine Horror Stories! Was it that I mentioned a fellow Hearst-published magazine?  That might not have hurt. Was it that it was set in New York, a city near and dear to many in the publishing industry? Was it that it was carefully angled to what she had asked for? That's always a good idea when it comes to pitching anything.
So, I'm sharing my Valentine Horror Story with you as a reminder not to fear pitching in unusual places and also as your reminder not to forget Valentine's day (today, mind you!)

Dear HARO/Redbook reporter:

My husband and I had been married but a year. My new husband was getting his master's at Columbia. I was working at a competitor of yours, Good Housekeeping magazine. We were a long way from home, had driven across country in an ancient 49 Ford convertible. An adventure. We had just settled into a studio apartment in Flushing and were getting used to the long subway ride and, frankly, I was homesick. It was February 14. We always met in the subway beneath Columbus circle after work. There were buckets of roses all over hell and gone. But he didn't have a rose in his hand. We bought a cheap dinner at a deli after we got off the subway in Flushing--the way we always did. The elevator in our apartment was broken so we walked up. The superintendent was grumpy--the way he always was. My new husband had to study for his next day at school--the way he always did. I tried not to show I was getting sullen. I mean, what he had to do was important right? I yanked our bed out of the wall. Took a hot bath to get warm. Fell asleep promptly. I guess I was in a drowse state when he finally came to bed--just enough motion to make me subconsciously aware he was there. I woke up finding myself whacking him and screaming, "All I wanted was a Valentine." I do remember that I meant a paper Valentine...even one he had made. Which was kind of tender. But the whacks I was giving him weren't at all tender.

BTW, he remembers well. He already brought me chocolates this year (we've been married a long time now!). You know, just in case he should forget on the 14th. He doesn't want any more nighttime whacks.


Now, just in case you did forget Valentine's Day, may I suggest Magdalena Ball's and my last-minute Valentine gift idea for $2.99. Cherished Pulse, an e-book of love poetry  can be sent by e-mail by the most forgetful—and frugal—of types.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .


  1. Carolyn, very funny! That's one way to get a man to remember! LOL

  2. Karen, who would have guessed? I was very young. Sometimes force is the best way. Ha!


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