Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Learning from One of the Best (and Nicest) in Talk Radio

After my teenage years of constantly scanning the radio dial for just the right tune to crank up on my car radio, I decided to let the dial stop on a talk radio show rather than just skipping over it. I was eighteen, the age for me to “officially” be called an adult. Well, there must be something to that age because when I came across this program on talk-radio, I was actually interested in what I heard. I found myself listening to more and more talk on the radio after that…whether they were informative, insightful, funny or controversial these programs really captured and held my interest. I have been a big fan of talk radio ever since.

For the past twenty six years I have continued to tune into these programs and occasionally I have even felt compelled to call in and ask a question or give an opinion. I seem to spend a lot of time in my car at different times of the day. So, I have been able to listen to and get to know about most of the radio talk show hosts from one end of the radio dial to the other. There are definitely some talk show hosts that are better than others, but I admire all of them. It would be a very challenging job to capture and then hold the interest of a live audience for several hours a day without being able to see them. Sometimes I have to just sit in my car in my driveway to finish listening to a topic.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with one of the best on the dial. Alex Kirry is a co-host of a talk radio show called, The Nightside Project. It airs every night from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and can be found on 1160 AM or 102.7 FM in Salt Lake City, or you can listen to it live online or listen to podcasts of the show.
The show reviews the day’s top news stories with a lot of light heartedness and humor… not to say that they are never serious. They also give well-thought out commentary on various issues and are able to get a lot of people calling to join in on the conversation. Alex’ co-host is Ethan Millard and the two hosts of the show carry on a friendly, fun banter back and forth throughout the show. Even though I am not in their target younger audience of those in their twenties or thirties, I have been listening since the show began and have really enjoyed it. (Maybe my mind still operates on a younger level? -- If that!)

As many of the followers of my site know, I have been working on a book about a talk radio personality for a while now. I am sure I was influenced to write a book about this because of my years of being a listener and fan. In order to make my book more authentic, it has been important to learn as much as I can about the radio business. As I have been researching information for my book, I have thought about an occasion I had listening to Richard Paul Evans. He was giving a speech on his writing experiences. He said that once when he was writing a book that needed a lot of medical information, he shadowed a doctor for a while. As they walked in a female patient’s room, she recognized him and she said, “I knew you were an author, but I had no idea you were a doctor too!” Clearly, his research was paying off. He looked and played the part so well that this patient actually believed he was a doctor…Either that or she was just highly medicated!

So, I know that in order to make my book believable, I need to take that kind of approach and learn as much as I can about the job of my main character…but, who to ask? I considered a few different radio personalities in the area. Then, I chose Alex Kirry because he sounded so approachable. He has also been a “friend” of mine on Facebook for quite a while now. I had added him as a friend because I am a fan of his show and I like to hear about what is going on with him. We have also followed each other on Twitter.

So, I sent him an e-mail. When I sent Alex the e-mail explaining to him about my book, I was not sure what kind of response I would receive. I’m sure he is very busy.

Alex immediately responded to my request and sounded more than happy to help me. I proceeded to make him a list of questions that I needed answers for to lend credibility to my work. When Alex received the list of questions, he replied that since I had such an extensive list of questions that maybe it would be better to meet at his work to answer the questions and that I could record what he had to say.
I was very impressed by his willingness to show me around the studio. I met with Alex yesterday at the KSL Studios in downtown Salt Lake City. He spent an hour and a half showing me around the studio, answering my questions, and telling me everything he could think of that might be helpful to me. He introduced me around to a lot of his co-workers and then showed me the various pieces of equipment and explained how it all worked. I had seen other studios before but it was truly fascinating to me to see this one now… not only as an author who needed the information but as a fan of talk radio for so many years.

It was also very interesting to meet Alex in person. It is funny how you form an impression in your mind of what someone might look like when you hear them on the radio. I’m not exactly sure what I expected but the tall smiling man that greeted me was not it. Alex was so professional and good to me that I wanted to write about and thank him in today’s post. Later, after I left the studio, I was thinking how grateful I was to have asked him from all of my choices of hosts. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he hadn’t even responded to my e-mail. He certainly did not have to…there would be no personal gain for him. But not only did he respond, he went the extra mile to help a virtual stranger.

This experience told me a lot about Alex Kirry. Clearly, what I heard on the radio was not imagined. He really was a great guy. He sounded approachable on the air, and he was. So, I just wanted to thank Alex again… There is no doubt I will be mentioning him in the acknowledgments of my book. Because of the information I received, the work should move along a lot quicker now. Then, maybe I will stop waking in the night with ideas for the plot or changes that I feel I need to make. My editor laughs about all of the ideas and changes that come across her desk. One of these days, all of my ideas for the book will run dry and I will feel comfortable about not having any more changes to make. At that point, I will know that my book is ready to publish and share with all of you.

Remember to listen for Alex on the radio, and then watch for his influence in the book. Thanks again to him for helping me in the creative process of writing….I sincerely appreciated him giving so generously of his time and wisdom.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

The Power of the Written Word

I love the power of words which is probably why I love books so much. The written word can make us laugh, reflect upon our life, bring out emotions-- whether positive or negative-- and words have the amazing ability to motivate us into action. Just think of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution… such masterpieces of the written word that they have literally changed the world because of the inspired words that are in these documents. The right to express thoughts and ideas was deemed as so important by our Founding Fathers that the right to do so was included in the First Amendment….Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press. To have thoughts, words, or books banned is just unfathomable to me.

I had a wonderful opportunity during my career to work as a publisher and editor of two newspapers. I started the first newspaper and ran it for two years and then bought out the competing paper and ran it for seven more years. During that time, I also wrote columns for the newspaper. I did this for a few weeks and received a lot of positive feedback from readers. So, I continued to write articles for a long time after that – even winning some awards along the way. I was always surprised by the responses my articles received. With just a paragraph or two, I could inspire someone to do a good deed, or I could pick up the phone and have someone I didn’t even know yelling into my ear because of something I had written. That is the power of the written word.

Since my teenage years, I have always enjoyed writing…whether it was poems or journaling or letters to friends and family, I found the experience quite cathartic. Even though there are many better authors than I…I don’t let that stop my love of “putting pen to paper” and letting my thoughts pour out onto the page.

Sometimes I need the opposite to happen. I need to forget all of my problems and fall into the pages of a great story. A book can take me on a vacation to another part of the world, to another time in history, and introduce me to new people. With a good book, my imagination opens up as I mentally picture all that is taking place in the story. It opens my mind to a new place where my thoughts can run free.

It is amazing to me how many books have been written. When I go into a large book store or library, I almost hyperventilate with excitement with all of the possibilities. I somehow feel smarter just imagining all of the knowledge that is contained in all of those books. I feel as Thomas Jefferson who said, “I cannot live without books!” I look around the room I am in now and somehow feel comforted by all of the books that surround me. Am I just crazy?

I know that there are a lot of people that read this blog that are authors and also have a great love of books. I am sure they understand completely what I am talking about. However, every once in a while I run into someone who tells me that they don’t have any interest in books and they really do not like to read. I am always quite taken back by this. I feel that they are missing out on one of life’s greatest pleasures and advantages. Hopefully, someday they will pick up a book that speaks to them as so many have to me and be converted!!

The world of great literature offers so many beautiful experiences to the reader, opening and broadening the mind to untold knowledge and experiences. I recently came across this poem on the web which is what inspired this blog today… I hope you enjoy it as much as I did as it seems to sum up the love of books and the written word.


Books, books, an ocean of books
Bursting with knowledge for me;
I delve in their depths
To fathom perhaps,
And drown in the billowy sea.

Books, books, dark, dusty books
Row upon row I can see;
They fill me with greed
As I ponder to read
And finger their leaves tenderly.

Books, books, volumes of books
Their titles around me glow,
And within me I feel
Their covers conceal
The things I have wanted to know.

Books, books, Life pulsing books
A spirit from out of them breathes,
And the voice I can hear
Of an author held dear
Who slumbers ‘neath laurels and wreaths.

Books, books, an ocean of books
Bursting with knowledge for me,
I delve in their depths
To fathom perhaps
And drown in the billowy sea.

Maude Elizabeth Jones Rigby (1924)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reflecting on the Reasons

I have been very fortunate to have a lot of good people enter my life…
Some enter and stay for a long time and others enter only for a short moment. There are those that left me way too soon and others that really outstayed their welcome. But, they all seem to have a reason for crossing my path when they did. Even with those that seemed to cause me heartache at the time, I can usually see later how they taught me something or fulfilled a need. Usually the experience of knowing them teaches me something I needed to know or helps me in some way.

There is no doubt in my mind that some people come into our lives for a reason. There was an individual who crossed my path a couple of years ago and I have not spoken to him since. Yet, I believe I will have the memory of him forever because of what we experienced. I think about him often and I hope he is doing well. This is an example of a chance meeting in my life with a great individual who helped me more than he will ever know.

Back in 2007, I spent a lot of time in doctor’s offices and hospitals caring for my mother who had become very sick in her later years. It seemed to fall upon me to be the one in the family who became her primary caregiver. I did not ask for this job, but I loved my mother and was grateful that I was in a situation where I could help her. Anyone else who has had this duty knows how difficult and draining it can be. There are many more hours of worry and concern than of positive bright moment.

During the course of that year, my mom was hospitalized seven different times. I spent a lot of time waiting and worrying about her while she was being helped by doctors and nurses. If you have ever spent a lot of time in waiting rooms at the doctor’s office or in the hospital waiting areas, you know how uncomfortable it can be. It always seems too cold – probably because of nerves and worry. There is really no way to relax and be comfortable when you have to wait for literally hours.

On one of these occasions, my mother was in Intensive Care at the hospital. I spent many hours in the ICU family waiting area. The hospital had provided a microwave and a sink, but other than that it was seriously lacking for staying any long period of time. I questioned whether I should just go home several times, but it just didn’t feel right to leave Mom. Now, I know that it is not the hospital’s job to be a hotel, but after being there for so long, it was easy to complain.

To add to my discomfort was what was going on around me. I saw loved one after loved one come into the waiting area while their family member was being taken care of by the medical staff. Some looked like they were in shock, some looked like they didn’t know what to do with themselves, and some just looked totally distraught.

In between the times I checked in on my mother, I became an observer of these fellow “waiters” for several hours at a time. When the nighttime arrived on the first day I was there, another family entered the waiting room. I had given a casual, “Hello” to some of the people I had seen before them in the waiting room, but with this family it was different. We immediately struck up a conversation and I found out that the patriarch of their family was the patient. He was in his seventies, and he was clearly beloved by his family. He was brought in and put in the Intensive Care Unit after suffering a heart attack and a stroke. His wife, their adult children and their spouses, and the grandchildren all began arriving in little groups. Before I knew it, the room was full of this man’s family. Apparently, the heart attack and stroke was a sudden and unexpected thing, and the family was totally distraught.

I had been alone in the waiting room and to watch this family come together to support one another was very moving. It became very interesting to see who would come in next to find out about the condition of their father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend. I was impressed by the huge showing of support by this family to one another and the patient and yet a bit overwhelmed at how much this man must have affected all of these lives.

At some point that night, during all of the people going in and out, I had a chance to talk with a lot of the members of the family. There was one member of this family, however, that I will never forget. His name was Steve and he was the son of the man in Intensive Care. He was of about the same age as me. As we talked about how difficult it is to watch your parents get older, we formed a bond.

The next morning when I arrived back at the ICU waiting room, many members of Steve’s family were already there and some had stayed the night. They looked totally haggard. They brightened up a bit when they saw my familiar face and immediately inquired about my mother and I asked about the condition of their husband and father. I found them so compassionate and empathetic to ask about me amidst all of their own suffering.

This was a family who organized and prepared and by day three they began to bring in food. They adopted me right in as one of their own and invited me to eat with them. I was so grateful to have something other than the hospital cafeteria food. Over the next few days, I also began to bring food to share and they continued to bring in food as well. We had a lot of good food and good conversation about our families – especially considering our circumstances. It was amazing how much this family came to mean to me after only a short period of time.

Before I knew it, a week had gone by. At the end of a week of watching this family pull together and support one another and me, they lost their beloved family member. I had entered the waiting room that morning and when I saw that none of them were there, my heart sank. Somehow, I knew. I went straight to a nurse and she told me that Steve’s father had indeed passed away. I had become so close to Steve and his family that I felt as if I had lost my own relative --even though I had never met the man. They had told me so many wonderful things about him that I felt as if I knew him. In many ways I did. If the memory of this man’s life was to be his family, he had a great legacy indeed.

I saw them later and saw how crushed Steve was. I cried with him and with the rest of the family. Their spirits were so broken, and yet, they were still concerned for my welfare and the welfare of my mother. As we parted ways, this family actually promised to pray for me and my mother. “What an amazing group of people,” I thought.

The following day, which was day nine of her stay, my mother was released from the ICU, and I realized how blessed I was to still have her with me. I recommitted myself to making sure she knew that I loved her and that I cared about her each day that she had left of her life. It was much easier after having this wonderful family as an example.

A couple of months later, my mom was back in the hospital again, but luckily, not in the ICU this time. A business trip came up that was very important that I take. I hated the thoughts of leaving my mom at the hospital, but she assured me that it would be okay and I should go.

So, reluctantly, I boarded the plane and found my seat. As soon as I was buckled in and had pulled out a book for the flight, I took a deep breath. As I thought about my sick mother back in the hospital, I felt like maybe I had made the wrong decision in going on the trip. I began to get tears in my eyes and I turned my head so the passenger next to me would not see them. As I looked out the window, I saw the usual things one sees; the baggage being driven and loaded under the plane, a few maintenance people checking the plane, and that was when a person I needed at that very moment was there for me…

I had thought a lot about Steve after our talks in that waiting room and I thought that I would probably never see him again. Sometime during one of our conversations, I had learned from Steve that he worked at the Salt Lake International Airport. I had even thought about him when I entered the airport that day but I knew there was a very slim chance I would see him there.

The chances were slim, but they were not non-existent. I looked down and saw an airport employee in his orange jacket with reflectors guiding the plane back out of the airport terminal. He was using paddles to guide the pilot. As the plane came to a stop, I rubbed my eyes to make sure I was not hallucinating and sure enough… there was Steve. He was standing directly below my window. He looked right up at me and I waved. It took him only a few seconds to recognize me and then he smiled widely. At first I wondered why he did not wave back and then I realized that flailing his arms around may not be the best idea considering his job. He did, however, give me a small “thumbs up.”

I cannot begin to tell you how important this moment was to me. There was the man that I had seen only a couple of months earlier so broken by the passing of his father, and he was smiling at me. His life had gone on and he had survived the ICU waiting room experience!

We both started laughing as the plane started to slowly move towards the runway. I took another deep breath as I realized that Steve was exactly who and what I needed at this moment in my life. I took a minute to thank God for his grace in sending a person into my life right at the moment I needed him. It was precisely at that moment that I needed a smile and a “thumbs up” by someone who I knew understood my pain. He had survived his “waiting room” experience and so would I.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Valor Publishing Group, LLC Signs with Little Red Ride Promotions

12 July 2009 – Orem, UTAH -- Valor Publishing Group president, Candace Salima, gladly announces its signing with public relations firm, Little Red Ride Promotions, LLC. Salima has contracted the PR firm to handle publicity for its authors and their books. “Little Red Ride Promotions has established itself in the industry as the author’s friend,” said Ms. Salima, “As such, Little Red Ride Promotions is uniquely qualified to represent and launch our authors into the national and global markets. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.”
Doug Johnston, president of Little Red Ride Promotions, has always had a passion for the performing arts and the written word and plans to help Valor Publishing Group authors in their aspirations to expand their creative works.
For further information on Valor Publishing Group, LLC and its authors contact:
Candace E. Salima

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Beginnings

Like Oprah’s weight, my life has had A LOT of ups and downs. Currently, I am on the downswing as I am going through a divorce. I have been impressed by how many people have contacted me to lend their support and help me through this difficult time. Without friends, I don’t know how I would survive this change in my life.

A few years ago, I co-wrote a musical called “Lives Change”…In it the characters go through some significant changes in their lives that re-shape who they are and how their lives go forward. I learned a lot through that creative process. Now, I look at the changes I go through in my own life and evaluate how I can use what I learn from each to better myself and the world around me.

With this most recent upset in my life, it would be easy to head into a downward spiral. I refuse to let that happen. When you reach mid-life, you have to be careful to not fall into “crisis” mode. Also, when you are thinking about the second part of your life, you can take the saying, “It’s all downhill from here!” and look at it in two different ways. Either you are somewhat giving up and you are resigned to the fact that your health, career, and personal life will all deteriorate from this point – or – you can choose to take what you have learned over the years and put it to good use – using the knowledge and wisdom you have gained on the climb to shape a happier and more productive life.

The first step I am taking on the road of my new beginnings, is in the area of my professional life. With a divorce comes a separation of people and property. My wife and I had been running a company together…So, that specific company venture is now ending along with the marriage. I love my work and have no intention of stopping it because of this set-back. In fact, if anything, this has motivated me to do more than ever before for my clients. I don’t want my personal problems to affect them in their professional pursuits.

So, with the purging of the old (the old business name, old web-site, and the old ideas) I find myself very excited about this specific new beginning in regards to my work. I am taking all of the knowledge I have gained and rededicating myself to the successful promotion of clients. The concept to provide effective and personal service to clients remains the same. It is my goal to take the promotion of my clients and their work to the next level.

The new name of my company is, “Little Red Ride Promotions.” I have spent this last week working with an amazing web-designer to create a site that will explain exactly who we are and what we do. The name of the company was inspired by the very first car I owned as a teenager. Do you remember those years? – When you just knew you could take on the world and win?! I was so proud of myself for being able to buy and maintain a car. It was a good little ride that always got me to my destination. Aah!--- Those carefree days of driving down the road with the window down, the radio turned up and me, singing at the top of my lungs… It was that feeling of having an endless road of opportunities in life ahead of me. You can read more of the story behind our new company and its name at, .

I want to have this same positive outlook as I head into my future. I have set some new goals and I plan to make it to my new destination. I want to take as many others with me in reaching their own desired destinations as I can… While I am sure there will be some speed bumps and road blocks on the path ahead, I look forward to successfully navigating each one.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This is My Friend, Robert, & this is My Other Friend, Robert

I have had the good fortune in my life to be blessed with a lot of great friends. It is purely by coincidence that the two friends that I have been closest to are named, “Robert.” This has worked out well for me. If someone asks me who my best friend is, I only have to reply, “Robert.” Neither one can be offended by which one is the better friend, because they will just assume I am talking about him.

My first friend named, Robert, was my childhood friend when I lived in Mississippi. He lived next door and we were in the seventh and eighth grades together. During this time of growth and change, it was so awesome to have a best friend I could count on to be there. We did everything together. We bowled together -- a lot! We made googly eyes at the teenage girls. We played baseball and basketball. We played Ping Pong together every single day at the Youth Center. I think he beat me every single time… Someday, I am hoping for a rematch...Maybe old age – on his part- will give me an advantage! We worked together at our very first job – we bagged groceries at the Base Commissary grocery store. And, a lot of the time we just hung out together.

During some of this unstructured time, we probably did some things we shouldn’t have. Once, at about 2:00 AM, we were on the military base in the housing area and for some unknown adolescent reason, we decided it would be a good idea to set off bottle rockets. Why would we have thought it was okay to set off fireworks on a military base surrounded by military police? Your guess is as good as mine! …But, guess what! …We got away with it! How? I will never know.

Another one of our other capers was to steal the valve stem covers off of tires on the military base. Maybe we had a death wish…I just don’t know. Why we weren’t hauled off and sent to military school for discipline? I have no idea…. When you go through things like that with a friend and they still stay your friend, you know they can be labeled as the “best” of friends.

After I moved back to Utah, I lost touch with Robert. Boys are not too good about writing letters back and forth. Well, this past week I found my old friend, Robert, on Facebook. It was amazing to see his name and face appear right there on my computer after all of these years. The modern technology to make things like this happen today is truly incredible!

We had the best time catching up after all of those years. He reminded me about one Halloween when I dressed up as a nurse. He dressed up as his sister. We walked about a mile in our costumes to the Youth Center. All dressed up as such fine-looking young ladies, we had two different cars of men try to pick us up. I’m sure you can imagine the side-splitting laughter this caused in two silly young boys. I must admit, we laughed just about as hard last week when we talked about it again. He also reminded me that I won the “best costume” award and my prize was a camera. He told me that he thinks he has pictures of the occasion somewhere. I said a silent prayer that he would NEVER find those pictures…I have plenty of incriminating photos of me on Facebook already!

I missed “Mississippi Robert” terribly when I moved back to Utah. How do you replace a friend like that…A friend who knows you so well and has experienced so much with you. It was difficult to lose him at that time in my life.

But, somehow I was blessed. Not too long after moving back, I met my second best friend named, Robert. He was in a similar situation to mine in that he had just moved to Utah from Texas. It is always intimidating to be young, and in a new place, and without a lot of friends. It was only by circumstance that I met him in the first place. I had done a lot of bowling as a boy and a teenager. When I was a teenager, I was also employed at a bowling alley for quite a while. I made a lot of friends during that time of my life, but never did I become as close to any of them as I became to Robert.

Over the years that I had been learning to bowl, I must admit, that I seemed to have a natural knack for it. Robert and his mother had come into the bowling alley to get Robert signed up in a league. At some point, his mother asked me if I would teach her son some of the skills I had learned at bowling. I was happy to do it, and I am so glad that I did. It lead to a great friendship. Almost immediately after meeting Robert and starting to bowl together, we were friends. You know how it is with some people? You just meet them and automatically “click.” We were like that.

As with the first “Robert” in my life, this Robert and I started hanging out a lot and doing everything together. Of course, we spent a lot of times at the lanes bowling, but we did a lot of other things too. We went to school together and went to a lot of concerts together. We had many double dates and for a while, I even dated one of his sisters. Hey, if your friendship can survive that, it can survive anything.

I have stayed in contact with this Robert as we have gotten busier with the more serious things in life. I have watched Robert grow into one of the greatest men I know. It’s funny how one minute your friend is just as big a goofball as you are, and the next, he is married and has an important job and being an overall responsible citizen. When does this happen? It feels like it just happens overnight!

His work has taken him back to the state of Texas. We have been able to stay in contact over the years by communicating on… you guessed it…Facebook! We talk on a pretty regular basis. He is coming to Utah in a couple of weeks and we have already made plans for me to help him move his mom and to do something fun together.
I am so glad to have both of these Roberts in my life. When I was a kid, I was just being a kid. I just wanted to have someone to accept me, hang out with, and have a good time. But, as I am getting older, I realize how much more these bonds truly are. They have helped to shape me into the person I am today, and I thank them for that. Also, I truly believe that if I ever needed either one of them, they would come to the rescue immediately. That is a good feeling to know I have developed two great friendships like that.

And, one more thing --- I have been thinking a lot about how great the power of technology is in my lifetime. Without the internet and Facebook, I may have never hooked up with my childhood friend, Robert and without Facebook; I may have never been able to stay in contact with my other friend Robert who lives in Texas. I am very grateful for that.

I look forward to continuing these friendships and to have them as lifelong connections. We have made many memories together and I hope to make many more with them. Hey, maybe at some point I’ll even be able to introduce them to each other. Then, we can all hang out, and I will introduce them to others as, “This is my friend, Robert, and this is my other friend, Robert.” How great would that be?