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Archive for March, 2014

The art of the modern press release

Tell Your Story.

There is no such thing as a press release – much like the tooth fairy. Oh sure, you can make one up if you like, but that still doesn’t make it real. Press releases today are brief news articles that are well-researched, should include quotes from three credible sources, written in inverted pyramid style and strictly adhere to AP style — in the best-case scenario, that is. Unfortunately, as a writer for hire I am often at the mercy of my client’s wishes and their “experts” who also give editorial input, so I rarely have an opportunity to write what I consider to be the Perfect Press Release. If I did, it would follow these rules below…

1) Format: Format for a press release includes…

TOP: “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” and include contact info for who to contact to schedule interviews or for additional information, fact checking, etc. General contact info…

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Perched woman with periwinkle wings

Tell Your Story.

A middle aged woman just flew up to my second story window and perched on the small balcony. Her plumage was as impressive as her wing-span. A dark-toned periwinkle with dark smoky gray and white trim and pale mauve accents around her face. She seemed to be staring off at a tree. As I tapped gently on the window, hoping not to startle her but rather to catch her gaze, she smiled and nodded her head at me, letting me know that she might welcome my company, briefly. I slid open the balcony door, having just poured a tall glass of hibiscus tea, offering the glass with an outstretched hand. She accepted with another nod and offering her outstretched hand to receive. As she took small sips, we discussed all matter of flight–flights of joy and fancy, flights of acrobatics and skill, flights of whimsy and beauty, flights of fear and…

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A tribute to 1 Million Cups St. Petersburg

A tribute to 1 Million Cups, St. Petersburg Greenhouse. Thank you! 1 Million Cups is a weekly educational program designed to engage, educate, and accelerate communities of entrepreneurs.

Tell Your Story.

By: Daphne Taylor Street

Copyright (c) March 9, 2014

I’d cringe during introductions, especially under professional circumstances. I’m not shy, and I know I’m great at what I do, and I certainly needed to attract more prospects, but I dreaded that inevitable question much like other people dread public speaking or swimming in shark infested waters, “So, what do you do?”

Deep breath, and here we go: “I’m a writer,” I’d say.

Then they ask, of course “So, what do you write?”

“Uhhh. Just about anything. What do you need?” I’d answer.

Wrong answer. Eyes glaze over, everyone rapidly switches the subject. I didn’t even have the good fortune of a bad pitch – I had no pitch, but technically, I didn’t have a better answer. What do I write? The longer version is that I write multi-million dollar award-daphnepictureBandWwinning grants and proposals; create economic development and  feasibility studies…

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Beachside Motel

By Daphne Taylor Street

Copyright © March 8, 2014

The moment you think that you have the words to describe everything, you hear music. The sound of a trumpet off in the distance filled the air as if painting it with brilliant colors, bouncing off of the waves, splashing onto the shore. Veronica stood motionless. Her evening gown dusted in sand and salt sprayed on by the wind and the Gulf, and the translucent fabric clung to her—a violet second skin, shimmering under the moonlight.

“You match the surf!” a voice called out from behind her. “Look at you. Your dress sparkles like the waves,” and the voice waschet getting closer, but there was no image of him in the dark. Veronica looked down at her arms, and it was true, the violet shimmer of the fabric on her dress was a perfect match to the moonbeams dancing on the waves.

“Are you real or a part of the water?” the voice said softly, now coming from directly over her shoulder. Veronica could feel his breath on her neck.

Though startled by the stranger, Veronica didn’t turn to look at him this time. She felt enchanted by mystery, praying that maybe this stranger was from her dream. Maybe he’s the trumpeter, handsome, strong, kind with soft eyes and made of mystery. A mystery she longed to keep secret for as long as possible.

After a few moments of silence, she turned, and no one was there. The buildings in the background were blacked out. It was three a.m. and not a soul seemed to be awake but her. Except, yards away was a beachside motel with a neon vacancy sign lit up out front, blinking in the dimly lit window of an office. The trumpet’s songs resumed in muted tones.

The reality of the buildings, the structures and solid features framing the other side of the beach transported her back to reality with a vengeance. She felt like crying, but the tears wouldn’t come. She felt nauseous, angry, humiliated, defeated, and a wave of despondence overwhelmed her. The three bottles of wine she consumed on her own a mere hour ago seemed to lose all effect. The intoxication was no use in dulling the pain any longer, and Veronica fell into the sand, dry-eyed and silenced as if her emotions have strangled her. She sat alone gasping for air, clutching the sugary white sand that poured out through her fingers.

Just then, something broke. Inside of her, a sharp pain crescendoed as if a glass had shattered and scratched the inside of her skin and began shooting outward, tearing her flesh, just under the surface—she became cold. The beads of sweat all around her body formed from the Florida August heat felt as cool droplets of rain while memories bombarded her brain, and her own breath betrayed her. All she could do was exhale.

Her mind played out the night’s events in vivid frames beginning wither husband, Jason, backstage, waiting for her after the opera. She was a stunning Carmen, with Bizet’s notes carved carefully in her voice—every tone embodied an intense characterization—that emanated a reality, transporting the audience into another world.

After the last curtain call, and the roars of the crowds died down, Veronica was beaming with joy. Seeing Jason backstage, she melted into his arms, snuggling intimately against his neck, then suddenly realized that his arms weren’t even around her, and his head was stiff and fixed forward. She felt as if she was embracing a concrete wall. She was. She grew cold and silent, gathered her things and left quickly behind him, sitting in the car with a knot in her stomach, not knowing why, but she felt immensely fearful just the same.

The next frame was of Jason uttering his only words, which followed a long stretch of silence in the car ride back to the hotel. “Oh, by the way, I’ve filed for divorce. And I’ve moved our money. You won’t find it, so there’s no need for you to contest it. I think you have $4,000 in your checking account. I’ve left you with that. Thanks for agreeing to selling the house so quickly. This way, it’s all neat and clean. We don’t even need to talk past this point. Our attorneys will handle everything. See? It’s clean. You should be happy—I’ve made this pretty easy on you. Okay, here we are,” he pulled up to an old beachside motel and stopped the car.

Veronica sat there staring at Jason, then whispered sheepishly, stuttering a little, “What?”

Next frame—Jason twisted his neck around with his chiseled jaw clenched, eyes stern and black, glaring into hers filled with tears, and he said simply, “Get out.” She did as he sped off. Veronica gathered herself up, and she walked to the motel office. No one seemed to be there; the door was locked, and no one answered as she pounded, just needing a place to rest.

She remembered seeing a hammock near one of the motel windows, and she figured that would do until dawn, which was still several hours away.

A sense of dead exhaustion overcame her, and she clung tightly to the old sea grass woven hammock and climbed into it, drifting off to a shallow sleep. The sound of the waves crashing over and over again against the surf took her mind to a place of uncommon stillness—a soft quietness within. A peace she hadn’t known since childhood. And she dreamed in soft colors.

About an hour lapsed, and consciousness swept in, waking her to a sharp pain in her thigh. Her plump flesh pressed uncomfortably against the strong ropes, she shifted her weight over to the left to relieve the pressure, but her foot got stuck. Trying to shake it free, her hand fell through another opening in the hammock, and she found herself twisted and tangled like a dolphin caught in an unforgiving net.

Moolit_Beach_Veronica then thrust all of her weight—a solid180 lbs.—onto one side, spinning her body, leaving her hovering over the sand, face down, still caught in the ropes. The hammock seemed to have won the battle, and as far as she knew, it might have won the war.

No longer feeling too peaceful, and the scorching Florida heat returned with a vengeance, she hung there, sweat leaking from every pour, her evening gown shrunk onto her flesh like plastic wrap. Not a soul seemed to be awake; even moonstruck lovers had found their way indoors for the night. There wasn’t much hope for a rescue, and her handbag was yards away with her cell phone tucked safely inside. Veronica tried to fight back tears of frustration and discomfort, and she failed.

As she tried to wipe her now slimy nose, she managed to finally free her hand from the ropes, and it fell to the sand below onto something that felt rubbery and cold. Curious, she dusted off the sand covering the object, revealing a hand—a dead hand, gray and shriveled, with a gold Rolex strapped to the lifeless wrist, still ticking away.

Veronica screamed.

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