A Memorial to Former Kid Star Tony Dow

Tony Dow, former kid star and my treasured friend, was the first among equals to my way of thinking.  The range and scope of his skills were amazing, yet all were overshadowed by the fact that he was a good man…a person of quiet substance.

The community of kid stars still able to travel were there to honor Tony.

There was no brag in the man.  Acting?  No fuss.  Sculpting, no drama.  Remodeling, easy.  Fatherhood, piece of cake.  Directing looney actors, a walk in the park.  Volleyball. Diving.  Sailing.  Woodworking with vintage tools.  And to his public, gracious to a fault.

We walked many miles together, always in each other’s shoes.  Seriously, how many teenage boys get to grow up on television?  We were different, of course.  Tony knew and appreciated that God had different plans for Beaver’s brother.

Jerry Mathers, uniquely, was alone on an emotional island at Sunday’s memorial.  The depth of his loss went beyond Challenger Deep.  When he spoke…simply, succinctly, honestly…all the hearts under the oak trees were deeply impacted as they imagined the magnitude of Jerry’s loss.  This was, indeed, a Lonesome Valley.

I told Christopher Dow (who took care of me and my wheelchair over the suspension bridge leading to the ceremony) that as a father of two men I could only hope that they might remember me as powerfully as he had remembered his Dad.  So much of Tony lives on in Christopher, including a speaking voice whose tone and delivery brought Tony back to us from the shadow land.

For Lauren Dow, be proud of supplying a fitting send-off for your beloved husband.  It was the right setting, the right blend of friends, and complete with perfect weather.  Rana and I are with you, always.

Paul Petersen


You have an assignment. Maybe it is the paying gig for which you have been praying. You sit down to write and … nothing. Time is ticking away. Still… nothing.

So what is stopping you? Very likely, you are getting in your own way and need some push to pick up the pen or boot up your word processor. Neil Gaiman advises to just sit down and type. Stephan King says to read and write a lot. Easy enough, right?

Maybe a teacher or even a friend has said something like  just do it—that it is that simple—but you still haven’t yet. You secretly curse them for their insensitivity to your plight. You sense impending failure. It is darn frustrating and makes you feel bad. No more, I say! The obstacles are just illusions. It’s time to leap over them, and here is how:

  1. Illusion One: Self-doubt.

Maybe an idea strikes you while you are sipping coffee, on a run, in the shower, or the quiet of your home. It truly excites you. You are encouraged and feel you have your creativity back, but then your doubt goblins crash the party.

What’s the point? They say sinisterly.

I bet ya someone already wrote it!

 Whose gonna read it anyway, pal?

It’ll take forever to publish anything; why bother? Isn’t your favorite show back on? Reeelax!

Self-doubt is the worst! Its subtle power to wear you down is the ultimate buzzkill. You have to realize that if you don’t value your work, then no one else will. It starts there with you, deciding enough is enough, I am good enough, and I will get even better.

So say it with me now: I am going to write, and not even myself will stop me. 

  1. Illusion Two: There is not enough time.

Oh, there is. Maybe it doesn’t seem like it, but I promise you there is. We can all get very busy with life. Depending on how much you currently want to write, you need to have reasonable goals. Are you currently writing once every full moon? Well, how about once a week instead? Daily writing sessions may not be possible. The hardest part is getting started, so schedule the time, set a writing date with yourself, and go for the sole purpose of treating that inner writer of yours with care and attention. Lastly, set a word count: 300 Words minimum. That’s it, but don’t feel the need to stop there. You’ll be surprised how much more you will end up churning out!

Do I hear excuses? I work four jobs. I have nine children. I need to keep up with my shows. I follow four religions.

If you want to write, find the time to do it. Small amounts count.

  1. Illusion Three: Lost Inspiration

It happens to the best of us. But why? Maybe youfeel stuck in a rut of monotony, or deep dissatisfaction has festered from within, causing you to feel you don’t have it anymore—that beautiful, creative spark—where has your ingenuity gone?

Well, it never left. Inspiration can’t always appear as a burning bush. Sometimes it is as subtle as a whisper of wind on a spring day.

There will be times where a writer must reach outward or inward for inspiration—connecting to who you are and what matters most, or something that causes you to step out of your comfort zone and explore new ideas and people outside your head. For instance, you could look to find a unique setting, maybe a local library, or cozy coffee shop—or maybe a park bench—whatever place allows for the ambiance you need to facilitate ideas. Sometimes the best places to immerse yourself in are books themselves—but make sure you note why the book excites you and try to draw inspiration from it. Look for the themes that speak to your inner self, and begin imagining what kind of story you could write with that same theme. Your loss of inspiration may be a longing for connection, so urge yourself to step out of the norm. Try to find a writers’ group to feel a sense of community.But make sure it is friendly and not competitive. It would be best if you had support, not anxiety.

If you can’t find a group, start your own! I did—and we’re going six years strong. You can overcome this drought of creativity by nourishing it. COVID put a damper on it for a while, but zoom helped and we plan to resume when we can.

I will leave you with this prompt from my writer’s group:

Questions are an extremely effective way to engage writing: What if there was a parallel universe where you met another you who had every opposite trait? The other you asks for your help, “how can I find purpose and inspiration?” What would you tell them? You can connect with me further at www.jtaediting.com or join me at www.writersnetworking.com, a social network for writers looking to connect

Why Authors Need A Website With Search Engine Optimization

Many authors have heard of Search Engine Optimization and may even banty it about in discussions with other writers. Still, if they genuinely understood it, authors would optimize their websites and sell more books. That is unlikely to happen because most writers don’t want to worry about marketing. Writers want to write.

This attitude presents a missed opportunity and is one reason we now offer author branding with SEO. Writing a book is only one part of the journey toward successful publication. Writing is its own reward, but most writers, if they are truthful, hope someone recognizes their talent and offers them a book deal.

In the past, dreaming kept writers writing and colleges teaching. Visions of beach houses and readings in front of adoring fans fueled the imaginations of aspiring novelists, some from the time they could hold a pen. Some writers wait until they retire from their careers to catch the bug. They consider the experience they have accumulated and want to offer it to the world. “If only I could share how to be happy, I know everyone would like to read my views.”

Many companies would be happy to take money from any aspiring writer promising the world while delivering nothing. We want to give tools to writers who will not give up the dream but may be thrown off course by unscrupulous providers who don’t know publishing.

This article is why authors need a website with SEO. Websites with optimization empower authors. They make you exist and help you access your audience, and give them a clear path to find you. Websites that are just pretty but not strategic with SEO-optimized content are not visible throughout cyberspace. New authors are already invisible enough without wondering why their websites are useless to them.

Websites with SEO keywords are one part of a comprehensive content marketing strategy. We encourage writers to view the content marketing aspect of their journey as a huge plus. They are writers, for goodness sake. If they know what their readers want, they can make sure to deliver it.

This is the way it is done. Social media and any online marketing strategy is about engagement. Even if you are a novelist, we can show you how to engage with your readers. Your website becomes a hub rather than a dead zone. And any writer needs to accept that the first thing any prospective agent or publisher will do when receiving your submission is Google you. You need to be prepared.

How Do I Get My Book Into Bookstores?

Many authors who choose self-publishing find a tremendous barrier to their ultimate goal of seeing their books in stores. Even many author services companies or hybrid publishers have difficulty with this. The first question to consider is whether bookstores are a viable option in light of online retailers, the pandemic, and the general closings of box stores.

The landscape for bookselling is always changing, but books provide a tactile experience that will bring book buyers to the stores. Book lovers enjoy browsing, which is why our store, debsbookparadise.com, provides a virtual browsing experience while people have been sheltering in place during the pandemic. We know from our preferences that half the fun is searching for something you don’t know you want or need. Larger online book sites design their search process, so you almost need to know precisely what you want before you get there.

But the question is, how do I get my book into bookstores?

The answer is, mostly, you can’t.

You may convince a local bookseller to showcase your self-published book in their stores, but that is not the same as getting your book distributed into a bookstore. As in any business, book buyers need quality control. They rely on the publishers and distributors to provide products that they are likely to sell. This isn’t something personal against indies. It is to maintain business standards. You may have a fantastic book, but you will likely be ignored if you do not have credibility to reduce the buyer’s risk.

Writing is an art, but publishing and bookselling is a business. Publishers build reputations for supplying good and marketable titles. This process gives the distributors the ability to sell the books to the buyers who do most of their purchasing two times per year.

With the right branding and marketing, an unknown author can sell books without bookstore distribution. We offer a process for finding an audience and reaching them. You start with a professional book that is well-edited and designed and then work to build readership.

Bookstore distribution is an option, particularly with our company, because we offer this to those authors whose books can compete in the marketplace. For a book to be successful, it needs to have an audience. First, we find the audience, then we help build visibility, so the audience knows you exist. This is how this game is played. Bookstores will happily take a chance on you if you show a market and work through a credible publisher with an experienced distributor.

We believe we have cracked the code of how to get books into bookstores. We make sure we have professionally edited high-quality books with a clear market.

We offer branding services to build a viable author platform.

And we offer our books to our distributor.

The business side of being an author is the part most uncomfortable for most people. That is why we created Micropublishingmedia.com and authorbrandingsolutions.com.

As long as there are writers, there will be readers. Our job is to bring the two together.