Annual Poem 2016

  Dear family and friends, With a rhyming dictionary and a steady flow of caffeine, It is time to review and say goodbye to 2016! In January, amid loved ones, and with zero aplomb, We celebrated the life and passing of my bonus mom. After looking for months for a dog—we’re quite…

Annual Poem 2015

Dear Family and Friends, As the year 2015 winds down to an end, It’s time we share our year with those on which we depend. January began with a trainer who helped advise, It took lots of work and strength but I went down a dress size! Despite this, I continued the…

Apologies if this is too long. I tend to be thorough. But here’s the bottom line: Jimmy Walker picks on families for their playground equipment, using intimidation, yelling and other bullying tactics to demand they comply with his wishes (that may or may not be backed up by HOA rules). Our neighborhood needs a change. Vote for Jim Hermann and Mike Paine. (Note: Herman Cain has nothing to do with this campaign, and I do not condone his actions, his politics, or his extra-marital affairs, but his name is helpful to remember who to vote for.) Continue Reading

Annual Poem 2014

Dear friends and family, As is the tradition—now ten years’ time— It’s time to review our year in a clever little rhyme. The year was full of trips, visits, and too many school breaks, And—this is no exaggeration—at least a thousand cupcakes. I started a local movie night, the first cupcakes looked…

Annual Poem 2013

Dear Family and Friends,
Again this poem is late,
Hard to find time and still make the kids’ Christmas great.

As some suggest, thirteen can be unlucky.
Our ’13—compared with other years—was kinda yucky.

We had times ranging from difficult to sweet.
But to be honest, I’m glad the year is complete.

Our year began with new roommates: Chad, Kally, Clarice.
Chad is Dan’s brother; Clarice: Chad’s wife; Kally: our niece. Continue Reading

Stik Pocket Promotional Fundraiser

Background

I have worked with Job’s Daughters International in a creative role since 2003. In 2011 I was invited to join the Long Range Planning Committee to help the organization as a whole determine what its long range goals were, and to achieve them. One of the Long Range Planning (LRP) committee’s tasks was to revamp our branding, and appeal to a new generation of girls. An additional goal was to assist the Board of Trustees with determining an appropriate revenue stream for the organization via fundraising. As the organization is often compared to Girl Scouts, it was our mission to “find our cookie,” so to speak.

Objective

To promote Job’s Daughters International’s new brand among our target audience (10-20 year old girls) while simultaneously raising funds for JDI.

The Product

StikPockets are vinyl stickers that attach to the back of any smartphone or case, turning your phone into a wallet. They can be customized with a logo and sold or handed out for promotional purposes.

My Contributions

I found the product via social media in June 2013, and worked directly with the owner/inventor Brian Owen to get all necessary information. I also negotiated a price point that would be mutually beneficial so that we could raise much-needed funds, and Mr. Owen could get important client feedback for the fundraising branch of his business.

I designed four Stik Pocket designs (two for the initial launch, two for a follow-up fundraiser).

I did market research and data analysis to determine the appropriate number of Stik Pockets to order, how many of each (black and white), and multiple price points (two retail, two wholesale) to ensure healthy profit margins for the organization.

I wrote a proposal outlining all details of the promotion, costs, and projected profits. (Submitted June 24, 2013.)

I secured a booth so that the Long Range Planning Committee could sell Stik Pockets at the organization’s annual conference (“Supreme Session”) in Oakland, California.

I wrote a press release and sent it out prior to Supreme Session to get people excited, and come prepared to buy our product (or buy a bundle and bring it back to sell locally).

I created fundraiser bundles, including a pricing chart, incentive ideas, feedback request, and a tracking form.

Results

The Long Range Planning Committee came to JDI’s Supreme Session (i.e., annual conference, July 22-27, 2013) with 1,000 Stik Pockets. In two and a half days of sales (about 16 hours total), we sold out of all 1,000 Stik Pockets. Our final gross profit margin: 88%. The fundraiser raised nearly twice as many funds as the next two top-grossing fundraisers combined.

 

Steven R. Berger website, ebooks

For Steven R. Berger’s website, stevenrberger.com, I created a website that could promote his three novels, available in paperpack and ebook formats (from Amazon and Barnes & Noble).

Steven wanted a website that used a content management system, preferably WordPress, so that he could make updates from time to time. Additionally, he wanted to make free samples of all his books available for download in as many formats as was reasonable.

<img class="alignright wp-image-881 size-medium" src="http://com-ala.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/stevenrberger-300×150.png" alt="stevenrberger.com" width="300" height="150" srcset="http://com-ala.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/stevenrberger-300×150.png 300w, http://com-ala.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/stevenrberger-1024×512.png 1024w, http://com-ala.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/stevenrberger-1080×540.png 1080w, http://com-ala.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/stevenrberger like this.png 1200w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” />I wireframed the site, and then created it in WordPress using the content and direction he provided, using a theme that has the option to expand to direct-to-consumer sales. The look for the original site was suggested by a bookmark his wife designed. The site also uses SEO and social media to increase traffic.

After 18 months, it was time to create a new look for the site. Truth be told, Steve saw the website I had created for another author, and wanted his site to look more like that site.

Using InDesign, I created the free samples of his work in PDF, .epub, and .mobi (for Kindle). I have since created the .epub versions of Innocent Bystander and Ursula’s Yahrtzeit Candle.

In addition, I proofread all three books prior to their publication, finding several mistakes that went unnoticed by several others, and then wrote (or rewrote) the teaser copy for the two novellas (Ursula’s Yahrtzeit Candle and Innocent Bystander).

Teaser copy for Ursula’s Yahrtzeit Candle:

Ursula Frank, an 87-year-old woman, who has lived and seen it all from Nazi-scorched Europe to pre-Castro Cuba, was looking for a clever exit from her mortal coil by going into East L.A. at night looking for trouble. Unintentionally she interrupts the gang initiation of Reuben Montanez, a 17-year-old good guy who was simply hoping for a better life than his honest hard-working (deceased) brother. Little does Reuben know that Ursula just might have the answer to his hopes of a better life, if only she can share it with him before it is too late—for either of them.

Teaser copy for Innocent Bystander: An American Tragedy:

Chuck Gray, a 40-something family man whose worked at a paper supply house for nearly two decades can’t help but be attracted to Felicia Tafoya, a beautiful Latina coworker more than 20 years his junior. In danger of missing an international flight after missing her bus, Chuck offers Felicia a ride. The next morning detectives ask Chuck some questions about the rape and murder of a woman matching Felicia’s description, and before he realizes what’s happening, Chuck is arrested.

Innocent Bystander explores the ordeal that one man faces when considered a suspect in a violent sex crime, and the resulting fallout with the people who thought they knew him best: his wife, teenage children, and colleagues. Is there such a thing as “innocent until proven guilty” anymore?

 

Annual Poem 2012

Dear loved ones,

Once again, my annual poem is a little bit tardy. 
Meanwhile, I hope you were busy with your New Year’s Eve party.

Our last poem wrapped with news we were expecting a baby.
So our adventures were limited. Shorter poem? Maybe.

January was bachelor(/ette) month for our local friends.
Dan went to Key West (again!), which he clearly recommends.
 
I went to Miami and the Bahamas for a short cruise.
I had lots of fun on the trip, but without all the booze. Continue Reading

Annual Poem 2011

Dear friends and family,
 
2011 went by too fast. Apologies for being  so late.
We hope your year and holidays were similarly great.

Unlike in the past, I’ll try to keep this year’s poem short.
Aside from our big move, there isn’t a whole lot to report.

Our year began in Virginia, similar to years prior,
Celebrating the coming year and all that might transpire. Continue Reading

Annual Poem 2010

Dear friends and family,

As I sit down to write the (sixth!) annual poem again,
I’m proud that I’m writing it while it is still 2010.

We were in Wyoming with extended family for New Year’s—
I hope as I go through the months, I don’t bore you to tears.

February was filled with plenty of snow, cabin fever, and ice.
Amazingly, the region was hit with a blizzard not once, but TWICE! Continue Reading