Monday, February 02, 2009

 

Annette Fix: Author of The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir Launches her Blog Tour!

The Muffin welcomes Annette, Senior Editor of WOW! Women On Writing, on the first stop of her blog tour! I’m happy to have the chance to talk with her about her humorous and gut-wrenching debut book—The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir.

The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir is the candid and intimate story of a 30-something single mother and aspiring writer who is working as an exotic dancer, searching for Prince Charming, and trying to find the perfect balance between her dreams and her day-to-day life as Supermom.

This debut author's quirky voice and her fairytale experience provide a true alternative to chick-lit fiction as she shares the humor and pathos that accompany heartbreak and seeking the road to happiness.

***Ladies, Annette will be happy to answer any questions about her book, relationships, or memoir writing as well as respond to comments. Anyone leaving a comment or question will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir.

WOW: Welcome, Annette, thanks for launching your blog tour on The Muffin. Your memoir shares a lot of personal, honest, and gut-wrenching moments with readers. How have they responded to your honest portrayal of a break up?

Annette: My readers have been great! So many of the women say that after reading The Break-Up Diet, they feel like we’re friends—especially those I’ve met in-person at book signings and fairs. We end up chatting for hours about relationships. At least a couple times a week, I receive email updates telling me what’s going on in their romantic lives. I think sharing candid stories about lost love tends to form a common bond. I don’t think I could ever become an “ivory tower” writer who is unreachable. I enjoy connecting with readers too much.

WOW: That is so great that your readers are feeling a personal connection with you. I think almost every woman can really relate to some of the dating experiences that you had. It definitely takes another woman to understand those experiences! What was the most difficult scene for you to write?

Annette: I think “5 Hours in Purgatory”—when my ex came to pick up his personal belongings from our shared house--was probably the most difficult scene to write. I began writing the book soon after the break-up—within a week or so—and that meant I had to re-live the scenes on the page while they were still so raw and immediate. There were times while I was writing that I was crying so hard I couldn’t see my computer monitor. If anyone were there to witness it, I’m sure it would’ve looked like the scene in Something’s Gotta Give where Diane Keaton is wailing and typing at the same time.

In hindsight, that image is funny, but I think still being in that emotional place really helped me capture the intense, visceral feelings and translate them into words on the page.

WOW: Yes, your words are so real and do express such strong emotion. There were times when I teared up while I was reading the book. I know what a wonderful, bright person you are, and I just didn't want to see you go through such a terrible time! But I had to keep reading to the end to find out what happened. You had me hooked! So, what are you most afraid to have readers, friends, and family discover about you and your break-up, if anything?

Annette: I’m completely naked in my memoir—emotionally, and sometimes even physically. (laughs) And I’ve actually joked with my in-laws and told them they’re not allowed to read my book. But, honestly, I don’t have any regrets and won’t make excuses to anyone for choices I’ve made or things I’ve done. I am who I am. And there’s a certain amount of fearlessness that comes along with that attitude. I refuse to pretend I’m perfect. There is a lot of freedom from feeling guilty or worrying about being judged when you own your choices.

WOW: I think those are important things women can really learn from your book--to make choices and stick with them--and especially that none of us are perfect! :) Even though most of the book is about a very difficult emotional time in your life, I found myself often laughing out loud at some of your thoughts about the dating scene! Did you make a conscious effort to include humor in your book?

Annette: It wasn’t a conscious effort. Anyone who has spent time with me, on a personal rather than professional level, knows I have a sarcastic streak and a quirky view of life. And, as part of my sense of humor, I love coining colorful phrases that make me laugh. It’s a bonus if it makes other people laugh, too. My friends who’ve read The Break-Up Diet say it “sounds” exactly like me.

I think the offbeat humor lightens the emotional weight that goes along with grieving over lost love and yearning to find a soul mate. And it helps put everything in perspective when I can find something in my life to laugh about!

WOW: The voice in your book is so real. The humor is never forced, and it does help "lighten" such an emotional topic. Do you feel like your book could or does change the way women look at relationships? Why?

Annette: I don’t consider my memoir a life-altering, self-help relationship book; it’s just my story. More than anything, I hope after reading it, women come away with a feeling that it’s okay to believe in happily-ever-after, it’s okay to want the fairytale—the loving mate who is not perfect but is a perfect match for them. And that they understand that having exactly what they want in life really can happen. That’s the whole point of me sharing my story.

Because of my personal situation at the time (single mother/aspiring writer/exotic dancer), I was the least likely person to be in a position to find relationship happiness. But, even after a devastating break-up, I never gave up on that possibility. It’s far too easy to settle. Women do it every day in big and small ways, in relationships, and other aspects of their lives. My one wish would be that women realize it doesn’t have to be that way.

WOW: Those are words of wisdom, Annette! "It's far too easy to settle. . . My one wish would be that women realize it doesn't have to be that way." I know so many women who could really benefit from realizing this, and I'm so glad you wrote your book to share this message with the world! What has been your best experience or best reader response since you have published your book?

Annette: I’ve had so many wonderful responses. But, I’d say my favorite was a reader who emailed to say she keeps my book on the nightstand beside her bed with Angela Bassett’s book (Friends: A Love Story) and the Bible. After I joked that I hope she doesn’t get struck by lightning from having my book too close to the Bible, she said, “Your memoir gives me hope.”
That was incredibly humbling, and it really gave me a sense of joy that my message touched her. For a writer, it doesn’t get any better than that.

WOW: Thanks for sharing your story with us. We are so glad you joined us today, Annette. Ladies, please check out Annette’s websites: http://www.thebreak-updiet.com/ and http://www.annettefix.com/.
To purchase a copy of The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir, go to: Amazon.com or your local independent or chain bookstore.

If you would like to read more about Annette’s publishing journey, check out Angela’s interview with her on WOW! http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/18-FE3-AnnetteFix.html

Stop by and comment at any (or all!) of the blogs on her tour:

Feb 6 @ Hell or High Water - Topic: Memoir Writing
http://hellorhighwaterwriter.blogspot.com/

Feb 9 @ The Virtual Wordsmith - Topic: Independent Publishing
http://virtualwordsmith.blogspot.com

Feb 11 @ Reading, Writing, & Stuff that Makes Me Crazy - Topic: Book Promotion
http://www.reading-writing.blogspot.com/

Feb 12 @ Bookish Mom - Topic: Memoir Writing
http://www.bookishmom.blogspot.com/

Feb 13 @ The Daily Blonde - Topic: Relationships
http://dailyblonde.blogspot.com/

Feb 16 @ The Urban Muse - Topic: Memoir writing
http://www.urbanmusewriter.com/

Feb 17 @ Confessions of a Book-A-Holic - Topic: Interview about The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir
http://stephaniesbooks.blogspot.com/


Feb 18 @ Momma Said - Topic: Q&A about The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir and “Housewife Awards” Story Contest & Book Give-Away
http://www.mommasaid.net/index.aspx

Feb 20 @ Day By Day Writer - Topic: Balancing writing and life
http://daybydaywriter.wordpress.com

Feb 23 @ MomECentric - Topic: Following your dreams
http://www.momecentric.com

Feb 26 @ A Blonde and Her Blog - Topic: Homeschooling
http://ablondeandherblog.blogspot.com/

Feb 27 @ Sybil Baker.com - Topic: Interview about the Writing Process
http://sybilbaker.blogspot.com/

Feb 28 @ Clever Girl Goes Blog - Topic: Q&A about The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir
http://www.clevergirlgoesblog.com/


Mar 2 @ Betty Confidential - Topic: Relationship Break-Up Stories Contest & Book Give-Away
http://www.bettyconfidential.com/

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Friday, May 16, 2008

 

Tips for Promoting Your Book at a Book Fair

Spring and summer are the best seasons for book fairs and festivals. Whether you have a book to promote or just want to spend a great day surrounded by other bibliophiles, check out this link to find an event in your area. http://www.loc.gov/loc/cfbook/bookfair.html

A few weeks ago, I promoted and signed my memoir at my first festival. I spent the weekend with 140,000 book lovers on the beautiful UCLA campus for the L.A. Times Festival of Books.

It was a great experience to find out what you do and don't need for a successful book fair event.

Here is my list of recommended items:

Collapsible luggage dolly
You're going to need something to transport your books, sometimes quite a distance from where your car will be parked.

Box of books
I was overly optimistic for a debut author. I took a case of 32 and left two more cases in the trunk of my car. Lesson of the day: Some people will buy on-site, most will wait to buy on Amazon to get the discount and free shipping.

Tote bag (large enough to hold your supplies)
I found a great 20 x 12 x 10 zippered rolling bag at the L.A. garment district for $20. It's best to get a bag with wheels, so if you need to take it separately from your dolly of books, you can drag it instead of lug it.

Vinyl Banners
I had two 18 x 27 vinyl banners printed. They were very reasonably priced ($23 each) and well made. The banners roll up and transport easily, and also have grommets for hanging. You want to make sure you choose a banner size that is large enough to be seen from a distance. Have one printed of your book cover, and one of you with your name.

Easel
You'll need an easel to hold your banners unless they will be attached to the booth. Place them as close to the front of the booth and near the walkway as possible, so they can be seen by people passing by.

Tabletop display stands
I chose wrought iron to avoid the displays being knocked over by the afternoon breeze. I found a great set in the picture frame section of my local craft store for $5 each. I used one to hold my book and the other to hold a 14 x 16 "Meet the Author" foam-core poster printed at Kinko's (the same image used for the vinyl banner). It's important to have a tabletop "Meet the Author" image because otherwise passersby assume you are just selling the books and don't realize you are actually the author.

Theme item(s)
I use a cute recipe box on my table to hold the bookmarks for my memoir: The Break-Up Diet. You can use any object, functional or decorative, to draw visual interest to your table.

Promotional bookmarks or postcards
You definitely want something with your book cover image, the ISBN, and your book website address on it. Not everyone will buy your book at the fair and if they have something to take home, it raises your chances of making a sale later. If you include something funny or informative on the back of the bookmark or postcard, something that ties in with your book, you'll have a better chance of people keeping it. I included a humorous recipe on the back of mine.

Material table drapes
It looks nice when you decorate your signing table. I went to my local fabric store and chose a couple yards of two contrasting colors (the same blue and black as my book). But I'm not exactly Betty Homemaker, so I also picked up some double-sided, iron-on hem tape to finish the edges.

Review cards
Go to Amazon.com and pull your best reader reviews. Print them onto a single sheet of colored paper with enough reviews to fill both sides. Laminate the page at Kinko's, so it stays neat from the handling it will receive. It's a great sales tool because it gives your potential reader the opportunity to see how much other readers have enjoyed your book.

Cash box
I chose a cash box that was small, but also had the features I wanted. I didn't want to mess with a credit card machine, so the cash box worked out well. Don't forget to bring your reseller’s permit, a sales tax table for your selling area, a calculator, and money for making change.

Receipt book
This is the best way to keep track of your sales and inventory. Trust me, you'll be talking to so many people that by the end of the fair, you won't remember how many books you've sold until you go through your receipts.

Guest book
Ask the visitors who come to your booth to sign your guest book and include their email address for the chance to win a drawing for a free book. This will help you build your opt-in email database, and your lucky winner will be excited to receive a copy of your book!

Signing pens
Bring a fine point Sharpie; I had several teens come around wanting their book fair posters autographed. I use a comfortable grip gel pen for signing my books; it doesn't bleed through and the gel doesn't hang up on the page like a ballpoint pen. The cushioned grip and slightly thicker base helps if you have carpal tunnel like I do.

Give-away candy
This works very well to bring people to the table. Who can pass up a Hershey's Kiss or Jolly Rancher hard candy? Most people won't grab and go, so while they are unwrapping their candy, you can tell them about your book.

Now for the personal stuff:

Sun protection
Don't forget your sunblock, sunglasses, and a hat (especially if your table is uncovered). One of my girlfriends dropped by with a little spray bottle of water--it was great for a facial spritz to help with evaporative cooling.

Water & Snacks
Like most fairs, the food and drinks were astronomical ($5 for a cup of lemonade), so do yourself a favor and freeze some bottles of water the night before, as they thaw, they'll provide the hydration you'll definitely need. Pack a lunch and/or some granola bars to get you through the day. On a side note, bring a travel bottle of anti-bacterial gel for your hands to help clean up before you eat.

Jacket
If you think it might get cool in the late afternoon or evening, it's better to have a light cover-up than not.

Camera
Of course you'll want pictures to post on your blog!

The best thing to take to a book festival is your smile. Have fun with the day. Enjoy meeting people and telling them about your book. It's the best PR there is.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

 

Roller Coaster Reviews

No matter how serene and unaffected you think you'll be, when the reviews of your debut book start rolling in, you need to be ready for a wild emotional ride. I don't think there's a roller coaster theme park in the world that can match the highs and lows.

As many of you know, my memoir, The Break-Up Diet launched on Valentine's Day. Over the course of the first month, I watched Amazon like the future of my writing career depended on it. It was a lot like waiting in a long line for the best ride. The anticipation. The excitement. The waiting. Then...

Woo-hoo! Readers say the book is "compulsively readable," "clever and entertaining" and they use words like "superb," "witty," "fascinating," "endearing," and "terrific."

You're in the front car, front seat, with your hands in the air, on The Slingshot--rocketing toward the stars with the wind in your face, laughing, flying, and about to take a second lap around the moon.

Then, before the exhilaration cools, more reviews come in: "disappointing," "not much substance," "forgettable."

Welcome to The Death Drop--where you are the only rider aboard, frantically trying to brace yourself in a seat with a broken safety buckle. The car is pushed to the edge of a precipice and you find yourself free-falling with your stomach lodged in your throat and no chance to catch your breath.

And so it goes on The Yo-Yo ride. Up and down: happy, sad, elated, depressed, confident, worried, thankful, irritated--until finally, you decide to trade in your E-tickets and climb on the Whatever Tram. It's not an apathy ride; it's smooth and Zen-like in its simple acceptance and understanding that you can't please everyone.

All you can do is put your story out into the world. Some people will embrace it, others will not, and that's okay. You have new stories to tell and your characters need your emotional attention.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

 

Start a Stampede to Your Blog

I'll be the first one to admit that I haven't got the faintest idea how to really use my blog effectively to promote my book. I know my key mistakes are: I don't blog as often as I should and I don't have a theme or a solid idea of what direction I want to go with it.

Initially, I had the idea of posting my quirky personal commentary and additional fun insights into the various scenes in my book on the exact days that they appear in the diary entry structure throughout my memoir. And that's what I have done, which you can see here: http://thebreak-updiet.blogspot.com/

But on top of not really being sure about whether this is the best way to blog about my book, I'm also a bit of a technotard when it comes to figuring out how to promote it. So, in my search to find resources to solve some of these deficiencies of mine, I've started to collect useful tips about blogging. And, instead of keeping all this great info to myself, I thought I'd share with our WOW! readers a very helpful article I discovered.

TAG, YOU'RE IT!
by Penny Sansevieri

One of the biggest questions I get from authors is: "I have a blog but how do I get people to it?" Well first off, you want to keep blogging, but there are other things you can do too, and we'll discuss two of the most powerful ones here.

If you've spent any kind of time online you've probably heard the terms: tag or social bookmarking. But what *exactly* do these terms mean?

If you think of the term "tagging" like you would a name tag at a party or networking event it will start to make much more sense. Generally, when you post a blog, it's recommended that you "tag" it with various terms appropriate to the message of the blog. The Wikipedia definition of "tag" is: A tag is a keyword which acts like a subject or category. This keyword is used to organize web pages, subjects, and objects on the Internet.

When you think of it this way, what you're really doing is organizing each of your blog posts so that folks can find and search them. By tagging each of them with specific keywords, you'll come up faster when someone searches those keywords than if you left your blog blank. Make sense? Ok, then let's get started learning how to tag. (I promise, it's very easy.)

When creating tags, there are two types that you can create. You can imbed your blog with tags using services like Technorati (more on that in a minute) or you can go to social networking sites and tag your blog as well. Honestly, I recommend a combination of both.

Social bookmarking is a way of "bookmarking" favorite sites (i.e. yours) so you can easily share them (via tags) with the Internet community and especially folks who are searching on your search term. I'll explain how to get your site bookmarked but, for now, take a look at sites like www.digg.com and del.icio.us.com - these are the top two social bookmarking sites you'll want to use. There are others but we'll discuss these in a minute.

Ok, here we go!

Simple steps to tagging:

1) Create a blog post: just write your blog, don't worry about doing anything different.

2) Identify some keywords you'll want to use: just pick some keywords, as many as you want. Don't worry about getting too scientific with this, just be thorough.

3) Create your tags: head on over to http://www.egmstrategy.com/ice/tag- generator.cfm and generate tags (this will be choice #1). Once you input the keywords make sure the default button is checked at Technorati. Then go to the bottom and click "generate code" - this code will get posted right into your blog. It's that easy! (tip: always post this code at the end of your blog) When you're done you'll see code in your blog like this: http://www.redhotinternetpublicity.com/blog/?p=45

4) Social bookmarking: simply put, you want to tag each of your blog posts in one or all of the following social networking sites. The one slightly time- consuming piece is that you'll need to set up accounts for each of these but once you do, it will take you a minute or so per post to add a social bookmarking tag to each of them. Here are some of the most popular social bookmarking sites you'll want to use: digg.com, Del.icio.us, myweb.yahoo.com (this is still in beta but I recommend using it anyway), blinklist.com, spurl.net, reddit.com, furl.net, and stumbleupon.com

5) Nuts and bolts: each of these sites has a different set of criteria for bookmarking your blog post. If you're blogging every day this might seem pretty tedious. If it's too much work to tag and bookmark each of your posts, handpick a few each week and focus on those. The idea is that you want to get these keywords out in cyberspace so folks can find you.

Ready for a final tip? If you want to impress customers with your endless list of resources why not share your Del.icio.us page with your readers/customers? Del.icio.us gives each registered member their own page with all of their bookmarks. Ideally you'll want to include other resources besides your own blog but a link to this page could be a fantastic way to gain additional exposure not just for your blog, but to your wealth of resources as well. (here's my page: http://del.icio.us/bookmkr)

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com

***

Now, all I need to do is carve out time to implement Penny's great tips! Give it a try yourself and let me know how it goes!


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Thursday, February 14, 2008

 

365 Days a Year

We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. As a matter of fact, if you ask my husband what date it falls on, he probably wouldn’t be able to tell you.

And I like it that way.


Why? Because he believes we shouldn’t cherish each other on only one day out of an entire year.
We have a special ritual that I believe will keep us happily married all the way into the fairytale sunset.

Each morning, and at different times throughout the day, my husband will ask, “Is there anything I can do for you?” And, after my either yes or no reply, I ask him the same question.


Beyond the obvious and tangible benefit of having a quick errand run or a particular meal prepared, offering to do “anything” for each other is a constant reminder of why we got married in the first place. Love and devotion.
And I’ll take that over a box of chocolates and a bouquet of flowers any day.

This is the kind of support that writers so desperately need—especially writers who are juggling a household: children, domestic responsibilities, and those who work outside of the home as well. The encouragement and support of a loving spouse helps make what we do possible.


So, today, take a break from the computer. Hold up a quick “one-minute” index finger to quiet your chatty characters, push the freelance querying aside, and spend some much needed couple time with your significant other.

If you are single, this is the perfect time to treat yourself to a break. Do something today that makes you blissfully happy. Whether you have fun with good friends or take some quiet time to nurture your soul, be good to yourself.


The writing will be waiting for you tomorrow.


BLOG LOVE
I’d like to thank all of the ladies who offered to promote my memoir, The Break-Up Diet, on their blogs today!

Please stop by and show them some traffic love and read what they are all about.
It's a wonderful and diverse group of ladies with so many great resources to share. Check out their links below.

Allie Boniface
http://allieboniface.blogspot.com/

Angelique H. Caffrey
http://recessforwriters.blogspot.com

Sue Donckels
http://inkbridge.blogspot.com/

Valerie Fentress
www.valeriefentress.com/index.php/blog/

Jennifer Flatten
http://jelf-writes.com/author/jelfwrites/

Sarabeth Gordon
http://nothpnowmommy.blogspot.com

Cher'ley Grogg
http://www.freewebs.com/cherley/index.htm

Cathy Hall
http://cathychall.blogspot.com

Irvina Kanarek http://honestchitchat.wordpress.com

Chynna Laird http://www.ctlaird.bravejournal.com


Tammie McElligott
http://tammiemcelligott.blogspot.com

Anne-Marie Nichols
http://www.thismamacooks.com

Cherie Redinoz
www.over-it.blogspot.com

Debbie Ridpath Ohi
http://www.inkygirl.com (interview)

Lea Schizas
http://branchesoflife.blogspot.com/

Nancy Sharpe
http://nancysharpe.blogspot.com/

Luann Womack
http://foodhistories.blogspot.com

Sandra Vilar http://ssserenity.blogspot.com


Thank you, ladies, for making this a fun and interesting promotion!

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

 

Valentine's Day Blog Promo

Ladies,

We're excited to announce the launch of Senior Editor, Annette Fix's memoir, The Break-Up Diet, on Valentine's Day, February 14th.

If you have a blog and would like to participate in this event, then get your dancing shoes on and grab a box of chocolates and we'll promote you!

All you have to do is write a blog post about:

  • Happily-Ever-After
  • Finding Prince Charming
  • Kissing Toads
  • Break-Up Stories
  • Diving into the Dating Pool
  • For the Love of Chocolate

Or, if you just want content to post so you can enjoy your romantic celebration, then you can pick up one of Annette's two blog posts, specially created for this promotion.

One focuses on being single on a "couples" holiday, the other, highlights being in a relationship on Valentine's Day.

Please let us know if you would like to participate, so we can send you the image, book info, and blog post of your choice. If you'd like more information, visit the book website:
http://www.thebreak-updiet.com

All bloggers in the promotion will have their blog listed and linked in the WOW! blog post on Feb. 14th as participating supporters to receive some WOW! Women On Writing traffic-link-love! If you have any blogger friends who may be interested in participating, please feel free to forward this post to them.

Confirm your interest by sending an email to: editors[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com

Much love and happy blogging!

Love Editors of WOW!

Angela & Annette

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

 

Annette Fix Showcases "The Break-Up Diet" at BEA

One of WOW!'s contributing writers, Annette Fix, launches promotion of her forthcoming book The Break-Up Diet at Book Expo America (May 31 - June 3, 2007) at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York.

About:

"In this delectable memoir, Annette Fix serves up a fresh, funny, honest, and insightful dish of sex and the single mom." - Colleen Sell, editor of The Cup of Comfort series


The Break-Up Diet

a memoir
by Annette Fix


...if you've ever loved and lost
and eaten fudge topping out of the jar...


Annette Fix always believed in happily-ever-after and was busy working her Five Year Plan: marry her golf-pro boyfriend, homeschool her preteen son, become a famous writer, and retire to Fiji. When her live-in boyfriend calls it quits, Annette finds herself on the break-up diet, consuming vast amounts of chocolate and exercising poor judgment by diving blindly into the shallow end of the dating pool.

Working as an exotic dancer to bankroll her aspiring writing career and support her son alone, Annette uses her blue-collar instinct to survive in the plastic jungle of The OC.

Annette's adventures take her on a wild ride as she attempts to find the perfect balance between her dreams and her day-to-day life as Supermom.

--------------------

Annette's book will be available in stores October 20, 2007, so stay tuned for a unique WOW! interview with the author!

To find out more about The Break-Up Diet, visit Annette's profile on myspace: http://www.myspace.com/thebreakupdiet

Read Annette's articles on WOW:

How to Capture an Agent

Annette Fix Reviews Kathleen Gage's Marketing Mentoring Program

Inspiration is a Spoiled Brat

Annette Fix Interviews Radio Personality, Author, Barbara DeMarco-Barrett

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