Now that my new website and blog are happily married, I hope they will live happily ever after in a world of blissful harmony and ease to their owner...me! I've long maintained I'm a writer first and I have little patience for the technical know-how it takes to develop and maintain a website. It is my experience that behind every (OK, many) successful websites is a spouse/significant other who enjoys spending free time helping his/her partner's website thrive. My hubby used to do that, but he lost interest when Microsoft Frontpage became obsolete. I don't know what the current web design software is now. All I know is I got told by a few folks in the know that even though I had just redesigned my website a year ago, it needed updating. That sweet little crawl across the top of my screen showing my daughters...too homey. Not professional enough for a book author, speaker and consultant, "they said."
And so, my third website in about that many years was born, with the help of a midwife, otherwise known as an excellent website guru in New York. It would have been nice to have him as a free friend or relative. But I'm afraid, those days are gone.
I so badly wanted to blog. I mean, what journalist who started keeping diaries at the age of 8 for fun does not like to write? I play "Words With Friends" with other authors and random strangers for fun. I'm pretty sure some of them think I must be using "Words With Friends Cheat." I've looked at it, and frankly, it's way more complicated and time-consuming to use that app than to just play the game. I play the game for mental gymnastics to keep me sharp for writing. Aside from the fact, if you know me, you know that I value honesty more than anything.
Truth, justice, the American way...as all journalists must believe, right? Stories I've done, even won Emmys for, put folks in jail for lying, cheating and corruption. Why would anyone cheat at "Words With Friends?" It's not about winning. It's about playing for fun, challenging your mind, your memory and creativity. I look at Scrabble or Words With Friends board and see words immediately. The only people who beat with me any regularity are my daughter (genetic perhaps?) and a random player from Australia. The others get tired of losing, I guess, and just drop off.
I share all this to say that I am a writer, first and foremost. It is my hobby and what I have always loved. "Paper is patient," one of my favorite authors wrote. As the youngest daughter in a family of headstrong, determined leaders and fancy cooks, paper, and fortunately for us all, now computers, are our friends and cathartic releases. As my book has become a best seller, I want you to know that I will not be bought, coerced or cajoled into representing or recommending any product I don't use or support. As Dr. Neal Barnard, president of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said in my book foreword, "...what I admire so much about Ellen is that, unlike so many people today, she is not trying to sell any product, device or gimmick." I cannot be bribed.
Other investigative reporters I have known say everyone can be bought for a price. Nope. Not me. Sometimes, it means swimming upstream and doing your own thing. But I've never been afraid, even when my life was threatened during some of the tough stories I did in my TV days. Taking a stand against obesity and animal abuse? Piece o' carrot cake! Life is short. You have to make the most of the time you are given.
Sadly, each time I've changed websites and web hosting services, some of my blog entries have evaporated into cyberspace. (I know, I should have saved them as Word documents. Who has time?) I hope this is the last time I change. Lest you think that based on the above, my technical skills are suffering, my social media guru, Kevin McNutly, CEO of http://netweaveonline.com got me launched in social media and told me that I was one of the most Facebook educated clients he had ever worked with. I hired him to sit over my shoulder one afternoon. He is an awesome instructor, btw.
As a result of getting on Facebook to, as the Saturday Night Live spoof about Mom's on Facebook Filter goes (a classic if you haven't seen... http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/moms-on-facebook/1253700/, it took me little time to know what I needed to know to maintain my "Eat Vegan on $4 a Day" Facebook page. I adjusted my settings to tweet on Twitter every time I posted a status update on Facebook. I was up and rolling.
My publisher, Book Publishing Company www.bookpubco.com couldn't have been more delighted. "Eat Vegan" rapidly became their #1 seller. Book Publishing told me they had never had a book go to second printing so quickly...in three months! They told me that 95% of all books never even go to a second printing. They said they had never had anyone do what I did, and that "It is amazing what you have done on Facebook."
My publisher got me invited to all the biggest vegetarian festivals in Canada and the US as fast as they could be scheduled. I've even been asked to write books, coach and do presentations on building book popularity with social media presence. Considering that I was the one getting tutored about it a year ago, it has been quite a ride. I not only love to write, but I love to spread the word about how much money you can save eating vegan. Apparently that whole public speaking thing and engaging with the public is not what many authors enjoy, or so my publisher says. I was surprised. I've loved every minute of this and will enjoy it as long as I can. My philosophy always has been, "Do what you love and the money will come." Or not.
Since this is my first official blog in my new home, I am covering a lot of ground. Future installments will be shorter, promise! But I know that there is much interest in my message about saving your health and money, especially as the disparity widens between income groups. I also know that my perceived genetic freakishness will continue to be newsworthy. What creates my ability to dodge genes that gave my mom, aunt and BOTH sisters breast cancer, one of those sisters, both of my parents and all grandparents diabetes and heart disease as I continue to place in 5K races and do half-marathons and even my first full marathon in 2010? I was the 5th oldest to finish The Palm Beaches Marathon and felt like I could keep going past the 26.2 miles...energy-wise. A vegan diet doesn't cure flat feet, sadly. Feet did not want to keep going. I think I know what fuels my success. Doctors who call me with my annual blood work always want to know, "What are you 'on?'" I always answer, "Plants." "No lipitor," the response goes? "Nope. Not at all."
More than 20 articles have been written about me over the years about my ability to beat the odds. I have yet to meet anyone who has the identical family history I do with breast cancer. I'm sure I will, but I always ask my audiences now. So far, no one has raised a hand. It is not anything I gloat over. I am begging anyone out there, please study me. Either I'm a genetic freak or I'm doing something really right. I didn't get all the good genes. I just didn't. But when we remember that there is no money in broccoli, as I say in my book, researchers probably won't be knocking on my door anytime soon. But I'm right here, in case a researcher happens to be reading.
My goal is to save people from experiencing or witnessing the pain and suffering I've seen in my lifetime. It should not happen. Not in this country. Not anywhere. Preventable diseases are not sustainable, no matter who pays for it. Whether it is you, me, our insurance companies or the government, we can't keep paying for it. If I can save one person from experiencing the suffering I've seen, this will have been time well spent. As I write in my book, my parents were so sick and diseased by the time I had my three children, they couldn't pick them up, let alone baby-sit them. Everyone loses. Generations lose. We lose each other. Relatives may not always die right away from these diseases. But personally, I have felt like an orphan years ago. The relatives I grew up with were changed forever by the diseases that dismembered their lives in ways they couldn't even recognize.
So eat as many plants as you can, my friends. Save your life, the environment, the lives of animals, your financial future and hopefully your relatives' lives as well.
Gotta run! In good health with low costs!!