Daddy's Christmas Angel

Monday, June 24, 2019

Please, Don't Call Me "Mary".

When I was a six-year-old and heading off to school for the first time, my mother pulled me aside and cautioned, "Don't ever let anyone call you "Mary".

I had a double first name, "Mary Montague", named for my mother and for my father. It was a long name for me to say and to write. However, my mother was "Mary", and we couldn't have the same name.

All through elementary school and high school, Mother's words rang inside my head. No one called me "Mary". However, when I got to college, my three roommates were appalled at the long name. They decided the nickname "Monti" was a much better choice. My mother was not pleased, but I reminded her that no one called me "Mary".

Now, as an author and an artist, I am concerned with branding. Many of my friends call me "Monti", but that's not the name I want to use in branding me and my work.

I like the name "Mary", but that name belonged to my mother and also to my mother-in-law. It's not my name. Whenever anyone calls me "Mary", I remember my mother's words. It's funny how what someone said so long ago can have great impact now.

Words have meaning. Sometimes we don't realize how much.

Please, don't call me "Mary".

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Branding for Promotion

A few years ago, I met with a marketing specialist who filled me with many ideas for branding. My first book was out, but nothing I had done brought together a unified image that might help me promote myself and my future books.

"Wear a hat to all your book-related events," I urged myself.

I wore several different hats and the unique look made me stand out at signings. An Aussie-style hat worked especially well when my Indiana Jones-type book came out. It helped me sell books. Branding worked, but I wasn't doing a thorough job of creating an overall image. Just the hat was not enough. I needed then and need now to tie everything together.

Since I have always loved to travel, that seemed to be the link that could bring the branding to its full potential. As a child, my only travel consisted of visiting nearby relatives. Books carried me where I wanted to go, visiting the tombs of Egypt, unknown jungles, the highest mountains, the widest seas, and much more. In college, I had the opportunity to tour Europe and to stay for a summer in Linz, Austria with a United Methodist Church work camp group. What a thrill and learning experience.

Soon after our marriage, my husband and I crossed the country and returned on a Greyhound Bus special journey that took us to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and more. Thus the stories for Hotels to Remember and my travel writing career began. Later, we traveled many miles by air to the Caribbean, Europe, Canada, Hawaii, and many other places.

The "Passenger to Paradise" was born. She loves to travel just as I do. She loves the excitement of new destinations complete with exotic scenery. She is the brand I am looking to develop and expand now. She has led me to countless new places, including the island of Jamaica and Sedona, Arizona, locations of two extraordinary novels, Hearts Across Forever and Eagle Rising.