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Posts Tagged ‘Memoirs’

This month I am celebrating the one year anniversary of my book launch for Any Color but Beige. It’s been an amazing year filled with

The Little Red Suitcase

lots of new experiences, including television interviews, coverage in major dailies, book signings, book club readings, but best of all was all the heartwarming feedback from readers who found a little bit of themselves in my book.

It was also a very busy year because I managed all of the sales, marketing and public relations activities myself. Maintaining awareness for the book and increasing sales was an ongoing full-time job. Between the book and my day job, I’ve been “Up in the Air.” more often George Clooney.

So I am going to kick off this year’s sales and marketing efforts through the Café Girl Chronicles. Over the last year, readership and subscriptions have increased dramatically. I hope that by giving my new readers a preview of the book I can entice them to buy it, read it and recommend it to their friends.

The book is closely linked to my career as an international color marketing expert. As such, I wrote the book according to my life’s personal color spectrum. The book itself is divided into four colorful sections: Primary Colors, Color Blind, True Colors and Exotic Colors. And so, for the next four consecutive Tuesdays, I will publish one chapter from each section. I hope to pique your curiosity enough to want to read more.

Today, I’ll start with a chapter from Primary Colors, a section that focuses on my colorful childhood growing up in an Italian/Irish family. This chapter reveals the secret of the little red suitcase depicted on the book’s cover.

The following Tuesday, Color Blind will feature a chapter on how easily we can lose sight of all of the color in our lives by playing it safe.

The True Colors chapter in week three is all about rediscovering myself and adding color back into my life in ways I could never have imagined. This gave me the book’s subtitle – Living Life in Color.

Finally, in the last installment you will read all about the Exotic Color that was the genesis of this book.

And so, let’s begin at the beginning: Chapter 1 – The Little Red Suitcase

Chapter 1

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DATELINE MONTREAL —  Whether happily anticipating, secretly dreading, generally indifferent or completely opposed to Valentine’s Day, its annual celebration inevitably prompts personal reflections of love and happiness. That is why author Cat Larose suggests Valentine’s Day may be the perfect time to give yourself a little love.

In her memoir Any Color but Beige: Living Life in Color, Cat dives into the international dating pool searching for the new love of her life. But she quickly learns loving herself first is the key to developing meaningful romantic relationships. For Cat, being happy started when she committed to infusing her life with bold and beautiful colors – a loving gift she suggests all women give themselves this Valentine’s Day.

“Year after year, women approach Valentine’s Day with so many hopes and expectations from others. Instead, start the day with a deliberate show of self-affection. Give yourself a colorful gift to renew your confidence and confirm your values,” suggests Cat. “After all, you cannot truly love anyone else until you love yourself.”

Cat offers a few simple suggestions, “Send yourself a dozen red roses, indulge in a blushing bottle of pink champagne, find inspiration in a romance or love story like Any Color but Beige or perform a random act of love purely to see someone smile–it’s the colorful thing to do. Appreciate yourself first and you will find you can appreciate love more.”

It may seem simple, but Cat’s philosophy – living life in color – has guided her international search for Mr. Right. Living life in color has anchored her ability to love herself and be truly happy – whether she is in a relationship or not.

Catherine “Cat” Larose is an international color-marketing expert who travels the world selling color. She is the author of Any Color but Beige: Living Life in Color, voice behind the successful Café Girl Chronicles blog is and currently writing her second book.

Any Color but Beige: Living Life in Color is a bright, funny, genuine account of one woman’s search for love and happiness in the deep end of the dating pool.

Synopsis:  A successful career took Cat to some of the world’s most beautiful cities. But she still felt something was missing – ironically, it was color. While in Paris watching a sunset, Cat – in a moment of clarity – caught a glimpse of her sepia-toned future. She realized given the current circumstances, she could not make her marriage successful or her life happy. Undeterred by the daunting prospect of starting over in her mid-40s, Cat began transforming her life one color at a time. After years of living a beige existence, Cat embarked on an adventure to add little color to her own life.

Any Color but Beige is available in paperback (ISBN 978-1-77067-489-9), hardcover (ISBN 978-1-77067-488-2) and e-book (ISBN 978-1-77067-490-5) through Amazon and other  online bookstores as well as your local bookstore. Readers who purchase the book can order a free set of color palettes via Cat’s blog – The Café Girl Chronicles.  For a story preview, view the book trailer.

photo: © istockphoto.com/PeskeyMonkey

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This Valentine’s Day Fall in Love with Yourself

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In every writer’s life there are two stumbling blocks to overcome. On second thought, make them stone walls to surmount: writer’s bloc and writer’s resistance. Writer’s bloc, as I learned from a Robert McKee Story seminar, occurs when you run out of ideas. Writer’s resistance is a lack of dedication to your craft. Lately, I’ve been suffering from both.

“How is that possible?” you may ask. “She’s been posting content consistently all through December.”

Well, I have a confession to make. I’ve been coasting. Yes, that’s right. For my December postings, I’ve mined content already created for my WOW blog tour back in October and November. Regular readers of just “The Chronicles” may not have noticed this, but crossover readers between it and the WOW tour found at least one familiar post.

This strategy gave me a much-need rest, but now I’ve run out of content just as I’ve fallen out of the habit of writing every night. Of course this would happen just when my blog took a significant uptick in readership and e-mail subscriptions – for which I am amazed and incredibly grateful. In fact, all of this new interest, new subscriptions, increase in comments and “likes” has given me a new sense of purpose. I am now accountable to a new and growing invisible group of friends who drop by the Café regularly to catch up on the latest happenings.

Realizing that I might find it tough sledding in December I also promised my readers a chapter (one with a surprise ending) of my second book by the end of December. Many of you have also been kind enough to ask me about a sequel, and both things have motivated me to sit down and write.

I’m happy to report that although it doesn’t quite have the surprise ending I had in mind, I do have a chapter ready for you to read. It’s a Destination Chapter. Those of you who are familiar with the structure of my book Any Color but Beige will recognize that this chapter picks up the story where my first book leaves off. Where we go from here remains a mystery.

I’m superstitious so I decided to post it the first day of 2012 rather than the last day of 2011: a new chapter equals a renewed sense of purpose.

I’d also like to wish all of you a very Happy New Year. Whatever your projects are this year, may they bring you the satisfaction and joy of doing something you love.

Back Behind the Computer

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The secret is out. Now that my life is officially an open book, the world (I have friends on six continents) knows that I am not Wonder Woman. It is an image I struggled for a long time to preserve, but with the publication of Any Color but Beige: Living Life in Color I have given up that struggle. And I feel the lighter for it.

I didn’t intend to write a memoir and I certainly didn’t mean to bare my soul to strangers. Because up until recently, I have often said that I would rather chew broken glass than admit to any vulnerability. Ah, vanity!

On the surface I was calm, cool and confident as I shrugged off life’s slings and arrows, like some superhero in a movie. I’ve traveled the world for my job, lived abroad in some very nice cities and had a romantic life that was ripped from the pages of a Harlequin romance novel. It made for some sparkling conversation over cocktails with the girls for whom I put on my game face and pretended that my life was perfect.

But it wasn’t. The truth was I was in a blue funk nursing a broken heart and I didn’t know what to do about it. So I started to write. I poured my heart onto the page because I wouldn’t allow myself to cry. All of the emotion I felt went into my writing, and slowly I began to get my bearings.

Before I knew it, I had 200 pages of perspective. Having gone that far, I sent it off to a freelance editor for an evaluation. The minute I pushed “Send,” I felt a rush of embarrassment. What did I just do? I asked. I’ve sent 200 pages of total nonsense to a complete stranger. I was mortified. It took a month before I heard back from her and each time I thought about it, I’d squirm a little bit in my skin.

Much to my surprise, the evaluation came back positive and with it a long list of recommendations, one of which was to create a blog based on my experiences. The blog helped me build an audience for my book and hone my voice. It also helped me to get over some of the awkwardness I felt when writing about my experiences. I soon learned that what I had to say resonated with readers.

The blog was good practice for writing the final version of the book. Through it, I got used to gradually exposing me and my life. Because the blog preceded the publication of my memoir, and chronicled my life, it felt a lot like the gradual opening of rose – one petal at a time. At its core lay the sweet essence of my book.

Now when I think about the book, I think about the authenticity of its story. Now, rather than feel embarrassed, I feel relieved at having shared it. I used to think I was alone in my experiences. So many people have told me that they have found themselves on its pages that I realize the feelings of love and loss, happiness and disappointment and, most importantly, optimism are universal. And feelings are always better when they’re shared.

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/olandesina

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In my book, Any Color but Beige: Living Life in Color,  I finally realize that the picture-perfect life I created for myself was missing something essential – color.    Once I identified what was wrong,  I found happiness by living life in color. Use my little  quiz below to determine if you need to add more color to your life.

Ticket to Happiness

Start by answering “yes” or “no” for each question.

  1. Can you name the last time you felt a rush of happiness?
  2. Do you like to try new things?
  3. Is there at least one person, place or activity you are passionate about?
  4. Do you indulge in that passion often?
  5. Can you laugh at yourself?
  6. Do you have a short bucket list?
  7. Have you done something spontaneous in the last week?
  8. Have you laughed or shared a laugh in the last day?
  9. Do you smile for no reason?
  10. Do you have a curious mind and an open spirit?
  11. Do you make yourself a priority?
  12. Do you know your favorite color and indulge in it?
  13. Do you enjoy your own company?
  14. Do you treat yourself to little (or big) things on occasion?
  15. Do you have one true friend you can turn to in joy or despair?
  16. Do you nurture your spiritual side?
  17. Do you give back, even in just a small way?
  18. Do you live in the moment?
  19. Are you a work in progress, learning and growing with every experience?
  20. Do you have a personal mantra, motto or special book or song that defines you?

Scoring

For each “yes” response, give yourself five points.  For each “no” response, subtract one point.  Add up the points to reveal your color score.

Color Lost: less than 25 color points
Oops! Looks like you’ve misplaced your color compass. A little Meditation Mauve (from the Any Color but Beige color palettes) would serve you well as a starting point to get back on track. Leonardo da Vinci believed that meditating in a purple light increased effectiveness tenfold.  Hang a purple crystal in your window and bask in its beams.  Now that is a mood swing for the better!

Color Roadblock:  26 – 50 color points
Time for a makeover – just add color.  You are eyeing that box of crayons, poised and ready to choose your signature color.  Who would have thought such a bold, marvelous creature was hiding behind all that sensible beige?  Try adding some Marvelous Darling (from the Any Color But Beige color palettes) with clothing or accessories, to get moving again.

Flying Down the Highway: 51 – 75 color points
You are officially on Adventure Road. If color were a country, you would have a passport! Whether it’s from around the corner or around the world, you collect colorful souvenirs and use them to decorate your inner and outer space.  Seize opportunities to bring colorful pieces of your travels and adventures home. Who says you can’t take it with you?
End of the Rainbow: 76 – 100 color points
Congratulations, you have a rainbow in your pocket! Your life encompasses a full spectrum of color experiences.  Time to take all that Zenergy (from the Any Color but Beige color palettes) and share it with others.  Start a blog, write your memoir or just find time to share colorful experiences with others.  Keep focused on living life in color to continue to reap the benefits.

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/pagadesign

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