Tuesday, July 26, 2011

This is Not Your Granny's Volvo!

It was 1971 when my grandparents left their New York City upper east-side apartment for the storybook town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. I was just six years old when they moved so far away. Naturally I didn't quite understand at that age just how far away California was, but I knew they weren't the short train ride from Connecticut anymore, and that was all I needed to know that life had just changed in a big way for a little girl. Though I visited them in Carmel over the years, it wasn't until ten years later, for my sweet sixteenth birthday, when I flew out to California on my own to see them.

It was during my visit that I took this photo of my grandmother's 1971 Volvo P1800E and silently wished it would be mine some day.

That wish came true in 1999...12 years after my grandmother passed away. I remember the day it came off the tractor trailer full of SUVs. The truck driver told me of all the people who asked about the "beautiful little car tucked behind his cab." He had carefully stowed it there to protect it from the elements.
From the moment I sat in it, I felt the connection to my grandmother again. But, it wouldn't be for a few more years before I started seeing the license plate and other signs that she was sending me.
 The first big sign I received, and therefore noticed, from her was through a license plate: CARMEL. Below is the story and excerpt from GOBIKE & Other Signs from the Universe 


The Story
My first memory of a strong license plate sign was in the late spring of 2004 while I was on a bike ride in Free Union, Virginia. I had left Grant, my ex-boyfriend of ten years, the previous fall, but in his garage remained my most prized possession—my grandmother’s mint condition 1971 Volvo P1800E. The idea of it safe in his garage was welcomed at the time since I did not have a garage at the house I was renting. But, having to drive my everyday car the 16 miles one way in order to pick up the Volvo whenever I wanted to take it for a spin, coupled with having to see him each time, was growing more and more difficult.
During one particular bike ride I contemplated whether or not I should permanently retrieve the car from his garage, and if so, how would I protect it from the elements of the varying degrees of central Virginia’s seasons? Within a mile of my internal conversation, a car approached…the only car I had seen for several miles…and its license plate was CARMEL. Instantly I knew that my grandmother was speaking to me through the license plate and that she wanted me to retrieve the Volvo.
Carmel, where I live now, is a quaint tourist town on the Monterey Peninsula in California, and is where my grandparents lived for most of my life and until Mima passed away in 1987, leaving Poppy on his own. It is also where Mima bought and drove the Volvo, and where I first silently declared while visiting them at the age of 16 that I wished to have that car some day. I still have the photo I took of it in their carport that trip.
My dream became a reality in 1999, seventeen years later, when I moved to Virginia and had a garage. My father shipped the Volvo from Carmel to me in Virginian, and that day, a few years later, in Free Union Mima was telling me to bring her car home. I did.
I researched and selected a portable garage, and it was happily protected and driven by me much more often than it had been while at Grant’s. As for the CARMEL license plate sign, it was powerful enough that I took notice. It was the first sign that I knew undoubtedly came from her, and one of many more to come.

NOTE: Sadly, my grandmother's Volvo is being held "hostage" by "Grant" - who will not relinquish it back to me. I am taking whatever steps I can to have my Volvo P1800E returned to me in Carmel, where it belongs.

To read more vignettes from GO BIKE & Other Signs from the Universe, you can download it to Kindle or a Kindle App for just $2.99.  60% of the proceeds are donated to the ASPCA.

Heather Hummel is a Celebrity Ghostwriter and the Author of Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best At Any Age and the Journals from the Heart Series featuring Whispers from the Heart and Write from the Heart (Wisdom from the Heart is forthcoming). She has never smoked a cigarette or drank a cup of coffee. 

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Monday, July 25, 2011

GO BIKE & Other Signs from the Universe on Kindle for $2.99!

 If you've ever felt deep love and then lost it; if you miss a grandparent who has passed away; if you ever had to put a pet down; or if you've ever seen your own Signs from the Universe, you'll "get" this book.

GO BIKE and OTHER SIGNS FROM THE UNIVERSE is a series of vignettes that exemplify events that most would see as “coincidences,” but, as will be understood, there are no such things as a "coincidences." This book highlights the author's uncanny knack for seeing Signs from the Universe, most of which are delivered to her in the form of license plates. From GO LOOK to URDSIRE to GO BIKE to CARMEL to THYKNGDM to HOT4LP and more, the author was shown these license plates only moments after having a related thought or question. As an avid cyclist, for cycling is her muse, she became noticeably aware of license plates while out on daily rides. When she realized these plates were practically screaming at her, she awakened to the Universe’s mode for delivering messages she needed to know. After eight years of compiling the most compelling vignettes, some of which occurred right up to the final draft of this book, she is now releasing them in this inquisitive and fun book.

NOTE: 60% of the proceeds benefit the ASPCA the other 40% go toward efforts to get my grandmother's car back from my ex. Once I have it back, 100% of the proceeds will benefit the ASPCA.

Heather Hummel is a Celebrity Ghostwriter and the Author of  Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best At Any Age, Whispers from the Heart and Write from the Heart. She has never smoked a cigarette or drank a cup of coffee. 
Visit Heather's website at: http://www.heatherhummel.net/
Follow Heather on Twitter

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Casey Anthony's Potential Book Deal

It's bad enough the prosecutors did a complete injustice to Caylee Anthony, but to further an already awful situation, there is now talk of Casey Anthony acquiring a book deal. As a ghostwriter for celebrities and public figures, I would not touch this book deal with a 3,000 mile long golden pen. But, when I saw an article on ABC's website about a potential book deal, I was compelled to read it. (Never mind that the article was listed under "Entertainment" and not "News"!)

But, there are literary agents and publishers who not only expect to see a book deal out of this catastrophe, but who would welcome it. One agent interviewed in the article is quoted as follows:

Konner said that it's "not impossible" to expect Anthony to get an advance between $750,000 and $1 million for her memoirs. On top of that, Anthony would receive a cut from the sales of the book. If a TV or film studio acquires the rights to it, she would profit even more.

I'm not the least bit surprised by this, just appalled. But, what's just as disturbing to me is how the concept of publishing and the way Casey Anthony would make money by writing a book is presented in this quote. The fact of the matter is, which is not made clear here, that Anthony (and her ghostwriter, who would likely receive a good percentage of the advance and royalties - and probably movie deal) need to earn out the advance before they get a "cut from the sales of the book."

I find it irresponsible to report that she could receive a hypothetical $750,000 to $1,000,000 advance and make it sound like the minute the first book sells, she's adding to her bank account. That's not how it works, and the proper term for "receiving a cut from the sales of the book" is called a "Royalty." Royalties are paid after the advance is met. So, any "on top of" means that Anthony's book will have to have sold a pretty darn good number of books before she sees more money. Ghostwriters can sometimes receive public credit for the works they pen (i.e. when there's a "with" credit), but often times ghostwriters barter for a larger percentage of advance and royalties with no public credit. Often the celebrity does not want any public credit given to the ghostwriter, so it's a moot point and the ghostwriter is under contract to not publicly disclose their clients.

In the case of Casey Anthony, I can't imagine any writer taking on this book and still being able to sleep at night and look at themselves in the mirror. And, if that many people want to read such a book, that's their prerogative. But, as a ghostwriter, I like getting my eight hours of uninterrupted sleep and working with clients who bring inspirational messages to readers...you could not pay me a million dollars to write Casey Anthony's book.

I'm proud to be a Californian where then have already enacted the Caylee Anthony Law!

Heather Hummel is a Celebrity Ghostwriter and the Author of GO BIKE & Other Signs from the Universe,  Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best At Any Age, Whispers from the Heart and Write from the Heart. She has never smoked a cigarette or drank a cup of coffee. 
Visit Heather's website at: http://www.heatherhummelauthor.com
Join her Facebook Fan Page 
Follow Heather on Twitter

Saturday, July 02, 2011

The 1970s Coca Cola vs Pepsi Commercial Battle - in Honor of 4th of July and Universal Connectedness

Remember the Coca Cola and Pepsi commercials from the early '70's? Pepsi warmed our hearts with countless puppies climbing all over an adorable, giggling little boy. Coca Cola made us feel universally connected, long before e-mails, Twitter and Facebook, with their hilltop crowd singing "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing." Over forty years later those commercials have proven to be timeless.

As I was writing my third novel, I needed to reference a commercial from the early '70s and for some reason the Pepsi Puppies came to mind, but "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" played in the background of the vision of scrambling puppies and childhood giggles. Using today's technology, I went right to YouTube and found both commercials. Instantly transported to my childhood, I sat back and watched them a few times over. The nostalgia of this 4th of July weekend, enhanced by the Pepsi summertime theme and Coca Cola's reflection of what is now our incredibly global society, made for a good time to revisit these relevant messages.

If you're old enough to remember them, enjoy! If you're too young, well...then here's a chance to see what your parents' commercials were like. Schmaltzy, I know. But, damn they were not only good but timeless themes. Not many commercials these days have both of those qualities.

Heather Hummel embraces two careers--one as a land and seascape photographer and the other as a writer. Both Heather's photographic lenses and her writing pens have captured the faces and voices of public figures, corporations, politicians, and philanthropists.
Her photography is represented by Agora Gallery in the Chelsea District of New York City. She also has a passion for capturing dogs with their owners, as seen on her web gallery titled Life Is Full of Pawsiblities.
Visit www.HeatherHummelPhotography.com and www.HeatherHummelAuthor.com