Monday, April 30, 2007

It was a great weekend!

I am searching for inspirational stories about father-daughter relationships, stories that share wisdom, teach moral and important life lessons, and give others insight into how to nurture and maintain a healthy, loving and fulfilling father-daughter relationship.

If you are a father or a daughter, I want to hear about your parent-child relationship experiences. For more information about submitting your story, please visit my website, http://www.gregoryelang.com/, and click the red corner on the home page, just beneath the “Projects” tab.

I’m also collecting photos of dads and daughters, artwork from daughters to dad, or nice shots of smiling daughters of all ages to display on this blog. If you’d like to submit one, please email it to greg.lang@mindspring.com.

Now on to today’s diary entry…

My multi-prong approach to reaching people for this project is beginning to pay dividends. In addition to obtaining stories through this blog and my website, I’ve now been contacted through my MySpace page. Here is a clip from a recent email to that site:

“I am a long-distance dad to the most precious people in my life, my two wonderful daughters. I just bought your book (Why a Daughter Needs a Dad) and as I sat and read it, I just wept. I sent up a prayer, ‘Please let me be even one -third of the person described here’. Thank you, Gregory, for this book. It will always be close by me as a reminder of the most important goals in my life.”

It’s nice when a plan works, isn’t it? As of this AM I have 82 written daughter-dad vignettes and nine interviews, with more of both on the way. Thanks so much to you all for your support!

Today’s photo comes from an afternoon when I was taking photos of a friend’s daughters, including this young lady who dreams of being a competitive cheerleader. With a smile like that, I think she could cheer nearly anyone, don’t you?

The following story was written by Blake Sebring of Fort Wayne, IN, and appeared over the weekend in the News-Sentinel. It told of the death of a WWII hero and his son:

“After the service, a chaplain knelt next to Vivian Ball to explain the gratitude the nation and the people of this country owed her husband and why he was allowed to join so many others in this hallowed ground. Arlington is the most revered ground in our country, the chaplain said, because of the people who are laid to rest there and what they have sacrificed for us and the country.

‘It was one of the proudest moments of my life,’ Arnie Ball said. ‘It was a wonderful, wonderful honor for our family.’

So Thursday night when Ball’s IPFW team was beating Loyola-Chicago for the right to play for the MIVA Tournament title and the NCAA Tournament berth today, their coach wasn’t yet fully recovered from the moment. Luckily, the Volleydons were so well- prepared and played so well he hardly had to say much, but he got through it with the help of long-time assistants Denny Johnson, Mark Franke and Ryan Perrotte. Arnie Ball will have another chance at one of those moments today when the Volleydons play Ohio State at 5 p.m., with the winner advancing to the NCAA Tournament.

Asked how he got through the semifinal match, Ball said, ‘You do it because of the support you have from your wife and your kids and your team. One Father’s Day Lloy gave me a book called Why a Son Needs a Dad, and it talks about work ethic. He wrote in it, ‘I learned this from you as you learned it from Grandpa Ball.’ That’s how you get through it."

Because he survived D-Day and was awarded a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart, Lloyd Ball was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. My thanks and prayers go out to the Ball family.

Sometimes readers send along less than a story, but it doesn’t matter. There is gold even in a few sentences much of the time:

“My dad taught me how to parallel park with a diesel station wagon. I am ever so grateful because I can squeeze a car into any spot without a bang, scratch or bump! Thanks dad!”

I took the family to Statesboro GA this weekend to visit the campus of Georgia Southern University, one of the colleges on Meagan’s list. I really don’t want her to be that far away (4 hours) but wasn’t sure how to say that without being the overbearing dad she sometimes accuses me of. As I was pondering a mini-speech, she was looking out the window as we drove though the sleepy little southern town. “Where in the world would I get my nails done,” she asked. I knew then I no longer needed to worry.

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Be careful of what you teach


I am searching for inspirational stories about father-daughter relationships, stories that share wisdom, teach moral and important life lessons, and give others insight into how to nurture and maintain a healthy, loving and fulfilling father-daughter relationship.

If you are a father or a daughter, I want to hear about your parent-child relationship experiences. For more information about submitting your story, please visit my website, http://www.gregoryelang.com/, and click the red corner on the home page, just beneath the “Projects” tab.

I’m also collecting photos of dads and daughters, artwork from daughters to dad, or nice shots of smiling daughters of all ages to display on this blog. If you’d like to submit one, please email it to greg.lang@mindspring.com.

Now on to today’s diary entry…

Today's photo comes from my book Thank You, Dad. It is of Meagan, my Daddy's Little Girl, and I in Jill's Porsche; I'm encouraging Meagan to use a heavy foot and enjoy the darn thing. It came back to haunt me - you'll see why later.

I spoke with Scott, our neighbor, last night to check on mom and the new baby Rylee – all is well. He sounded delighted to have Princess #2 in hand at last. The girls and I are going to the hospital to visit them this afternoon. Welcome to the world Rylee!

Last night as I was setting dinner on the table and trying to coordinate our weekend calendars, Meagan began to make fun of me and the way I plate the food. I teased her and predicted she would one day appreciate me so much more that she would call and tell me she wished her husband were more like me. She said that if she ever thought that, she would ask her husband to go ahead and shoot her.

My blog and web traffic is way up; a big thanks to those of you who are referring your friends to my sites and helping me with this book project! I’m beginning to see benefits from my “multi-platform Internet marketing strategy.” I have completed my MySpace and FaceBook pages and am getting hits to this blog and the website that originate from those sources. My next project is podcasting, then video for YouTube.

I do need more dads to contribute. I’m hearing from daughters about 8 times more often than fathers. Come on guys; make sure this book has your voice, too. Please dads, make your friends submit a story!

Speaking of blogs, please visit my friend’s page, http://www.oijoyphoto.blogspot.com/. Janet is the talented photographer who co-authored the first book in the series, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad.

I’ve completed ten interviews with loving daughters in the last week; they are rich with wonderful stories but nearly everyone has brought me to tears! It is so powerful to hear women speak of their dads in such loving terms. These interviews only further my conviction that if my wife and our daughters look back at me with love and admiration, that is the best reward a life can have.

Oh Lord, Meagan just called. She is now the proud owner of her first speeding ticket.

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

For the McElmoyls

Today's blog is dedicated to the McElmoyl family, pictured above, Scott, Samantha (Sam) and Reese, our neighbors (the B&W photo appears in my book, Thank You, Dad). Mom is having daughter #2 today; her name is Rylee. Our best wishes to them as they bring home another Daddy's Little Girl!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Backrides


I am searching for inspirational stories about father-daughter relationships, stories that share wisdom, teach moral and important life lessons, and give others insight into how to nurture and maintain a healthy, loving and fulfilling father-daughter relationship.

If you are a father or a daughter, I want to hear about your parent-child relationship experiences. For more information about submitting your story, please visit my website, http://www.gregoryelang.com/, and click the red corner on the home page, just beneath the “Projects” tab.

I’m also collecting photos of dads and daughters, artwork from daughters to dad, or nice shots of smiling daughters of all ages to display on this blog. If you’d like to submit one, please email it to greg.lang@mindspring.com.

Now on to today’s diary entry…

Today’s photo came from a session in the early spring two years ago on a farm in Ohio. The young teen loved riding on her dad’s back even though she was almost too big for him to carry her easily. Watching the dad try to hold her still for the photo reminded me of Meagan when she was young and loved to cling to me. First she would sit on my shoe and ride it as I walked. When she became too heavy for that she graduated to my shoulders, and then eventually my back. I remember one afternoon when she was four I carried her on my back up Stone Mountain. Back then I was glad she was once more getting too big for this back ride up the mountain to become a habit. Now, 13 years later, I wish I could still do it. I think one of the hardest things for a dad to do is to let go of the affectionate play he once enjoyed with his daughter while still in her youth.

On the cover of my first book Why a Daughter Needs a Dad there is a photo of a letter I wrote for Meagan and dropped off at her school while on my way to the airport on a business trip. It said “I love you more than peanut butter, sunshine and ice cream.” Since then it has been a little saying I offer her from time to time. In the letter she gave me for my birthday she signed it “I love you more than peanut butter, sunshine and shoes!” If you knew my daughter you would understand that is a LOT.

Yesterday I got a copy of a great letter from a dad in NY that he gave to his daughter when she was 21 and finishing college. It included a list of 30 principles he taught her. Here are the top ten:

“Yesterday, I made a list of some of the most important things we have discovered together. As one of your teachers I want you to know that I give you A+ magna cum laude. You have truly mastered each of these principles and I know they are now a deep part of who you are. If you keep these principles with you throughout life, you have little left to learn:

1. You always get started by taking the first step.
2. Every experience in life is positive – if you learn from it.
3. Don’t be stifled by something that isn’t working. There is always another way.
4. Your way can be as unique as you are. Have the courage to explore something new.
5. Time used wisely multiples the results.
6. One plus one can equal three.
7. Value the judgments of those you respect. But value most the judgments you make of yourself.
8. Advice from others is useful only if it helps you clarify your own opinion.
9. Painful moments are just God’s way of letting us know He has something better in mind.
10. Rejection of your spirit by others is their unfortunate loss. Pray for them.”

Now aren’t those great?! I’d love to tell you more, but then again, I want you to buy the book, too. Read the other 20 principles in Daddy’s Little Girl next spring!

A friend of mine whose story I posted in part on an earlier entry sent this to me: “You always end your blog with, ‘go out and hug somebody.’ Here is a HUG from me to you. It was neat seeing my words on today's blog. I called my parents and told them to read it.” Thanks Andrea, got it!

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody! Maybe two people.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Giving Back


I am searching for inspirational stories about father-daughter relationships, stories that share wisdom, teach moral and important life lessons, and give others insight into how to nurture and maintain a healthy, loving and fulfilling father-daughter relationship.

If you are a father or a daughter, I want to hear about your parent-child relationship experiences. For more information about submitting your story, please visit my website, www.gregoryelang.com, and click the red corner on the home page, just beneath the “Projects” tab.

I’m collecting photos of dads and daughters, artwork from daughters to dad, or nice shots of smiling daughters of all ages to display on this blog. If you’d like to submit one, please email it to greg.lang@mindspring.com.

Now on to today’s diary entry…

What a great smile. This young lady lives in my neighborhood and nearly always has a warm smile to greet you. Your smile can bring hope and change the countenance of someone today. Give it a try.

I just completed an interview with an adult woman recalling her time with her dad years ago when no one had television in their homes. She told of how the family sat together around the radio for evening entertainment, and later, her dad read to them from the Bible. I remembered that our girls each have their own TV in their rooms, where they usually retire to after dinner. I’m thinking about throwing the TVs away. It is a shame family time has become so scarce in the modern era.

All I asked the girls to give me for my birthday was a letter. They thought gifts were a better idea but I explained things crumble or get lost, but a letter will last my lifetime; I can read it when I’m old, nearing death and taking account of what my life amounted to. I still have the letter from Meagan on my desk, and I still well up when I read it. She ended it with “You’ve given the world to me, and I hope I can give it back to you.”

Along that same emotion, I received a great story recently from an adult daughter who is watching her father age and is preparing herself to care and provide for him as he may need it. I can see that this responsibility is not an obligation that burdens her, but instead is a gesture of affection for a father that has done so much for her over the years:

“Even as busy as he was being a husband, a dad, a good son and working hard to earn a living, he always had time for me. I wanted a go cart and he made me one out of scraps of wood and spare rubber tires. I wanted a skate board and once again scraps of wood and wheels off of something he found and made a great skateboard for me. I decided I wanted to be a gymnast so he erected a parallel bar in the back yard for me to play on. He made me a wonderful teeter totter with horse head handles. I am an only child so he also rode the teeter totter with me. He made a pair of stilts for me, a toy box, a bookshelf, a desk, and so much more. Many of my toys were made and assembled by his loving hands (some are still around and my daughters play with them). My dad came home after a long day and tucked me into bed. We still share a close relationship; he always took great care of me. Now it is the time in life where I am going to take great care of him.”

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Apron Strings


I am searching for inspirational stories about father-daughter relationships, stories that share wisdom, teach moral and important life lessons, and give others insight into how to nurture and maintain a healthy, loving and fulfilling father-daughter relationship.

If you are a father or a daughter, I want to hear about your parent-child relationship experiences. For more information about submitting your story, please visit my website, www.gregoryelang.com, and click the red corner on the home page, just beneath the “Projects” tab.

I’m also collecting photos of dads and daughters, artwork from daughters to dad, or nice shots of smiling daughters of all ages to display on this blog. If you’d like to submit one, please email it to greg.lang@mindspring.com.

Now on to today’s diary entry…

Today’s photo is of two sisters dressed in their Halloween costumes, one a bride, the other an angel. They were neighbors of mine until recently; their dad, a good man who is wholly devoted to his family. Go Allen.

I have received several great stories; thanks so much to all for sharing your fond memories with me. It will be the collection of powerful yet sweet memories that make Daddy’s Little Girl a great book. Like this little nugget:

On my wedding day, I stood with my dad, my arm in his, waiting to begin our walk down the aisle. He leaned toward me, and said, “Sis, try to take long strides so I don’t lose my balance”. He was nervous and so was I! We smiled. We were there for each other. I felt loved, valued, and treasured.

We had a block party this weekend and nearly 50 neighbors attended. It was a great chance for Jill and me to meet a few people we didn’t know, and for me to be on the lookout for story opportunities. A great one presented itself. Two adult sisters playfully argued about which was their dad’s favorite daughter; it turns out there are four sisters all together and each considers herself the “favorite.” What a challenge it must have been, and an example of artful diplomacy and creativity, that a dad could make each daughter feel as if she were his favorite. We are planning an interview, all four sisters at once, to share their memories of their father. I can’t wait.

At the same party a dad was telling me of how he is beginning to let his 17 year old daughter drive the car alone, although only when he can follow closely behind to keep an eye on her. I looked at his daughter and while making a scissor cutting motion with my fingers, said “Sounds like we need to cut some apron strings.” She laughed and said, “You’re going to need hedge clippers.”

Here is a little excerpt from one of the daughter-dad stories, one about daddy-daughter dates, I have received:

We walked home slowly; she skipped a bit, and I ran to catch up with her, only for us both to slow down and enjoy a slow stroll. At our corner she suddenly turned and started walking around the block. “Not ready to go home yet?” I asked.

“No,” she replied.

“Want to walk some more?”

“Yes,” she said softly. So we did.

“I love these times with you,” I told her. She didn’t answer but held my hand a little tighter.

When we finally got home, we brushed our teeth and washed our faces to prepare for bed. Shortly, with a sippy cup of milk and a good book about Winnie the Pooh she drifted off to sleep in my arms, ending another excellent date night with my two-year-old daughter.

This reminded me of all the date nights Meagan and I have had, jumping into mounds of nerf balls, eating popcorn at the movies, learning to eat sushi, and eventually teaching her to drive. Now at 17 she would rather date someone else, but I still occasionally get the reassurance I need that she has not outgrown me. Like at the block party when she sat in my lap for a while, and then kissed me in front of everyone before departing to go home.

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody! And send me a story!

Friday, April 20, 2007

A father's lasting words


I am searching for inspirational stories about father-daughter relationships, stories that share wisdom, teach moral and important life lessons, and give others insight into how to nurture and maintain a healthy, loving and fulfilling father-daughter relationship.

If you are a father or a daughter, I want to hear about your parent-child relationship experiences. For more information about submitting your story, please visit my website, http://www.gregoryelang.com/, and click the red corner on the home page, just beneath the “Projects” tab.

I’m collecting photos of dads and daughters, artwork from daughters to dad, or nice shots of smiling daughters of all ages to display on this blog. If you’d like to submit one, please email it to greg.lang@mindspring.com.

Now on to today’s diary entry…

A loving daughter sent me a copy of an email from her dad. He wrote it to encourage her as she waited for the outcome of a job interview. Here is what he had to say as he wrapped up his thoughts:

Finally, a person is not defined by their job. A person is defined by their faith, character, their family, their personality and their friends: they take that to the J.O.B. The J.O.B benefits from those qualities which are the factors in life that truly matter.

I love You,

Daddy

She told me that although three years have passed since her dad sent that email, she still reads it for motivation. Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is the heart that, with your help, will beat within the pages of Daddy’s Little Girl.

Today’s photo comes from my Why I Chose You, a book celebrating families formed by adoption. These are the dad and daughters of the Herrin family; they have posed for me several times now, appearing in four books. For some reason I really love this photo; it hangs in my foyer along with some of my other favorites.

The nice thing about photos is they help others connect to you even if you haven’t met. I’ve got some great faces to put on this project, and hope you’ll keep coming back to take a look. Each one is a daddy’s little girl, no matter her actual age. I hope a smile inspires you to send a story!

I have scheduled four interviews for next week and have a few messages waiting to be returned, so I think I am making progress on that front. It is so gratifying to listen to women recall their fond memories of their dads. It gives me hope that hindsight is forgiving, and that the girls will not be burdened in years to come by my parenting mistakes.

In the course of collecting stories for this upcoming book, I also get feedback about other books I’ve written, particularly the first one, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad. Here are a few such notes I’ve recently received:

“What a wonderful book this is, simply worded and yet so full. The photography is both touching and whimsical, making me laugh at all the right moments, while wiping tears from my eyes.

I am a divorced father of two young men, ages 16 and 11. Along my path as a single dad, I met the woman who is to become my second wife. She has a young daughter. Through your book I quickly learned that raising a daughter was a very different thing from raising my sons. There is a whole different range of obligations, all of which I am very willing to take. Although the little girl isn't mine, I adore her and will protect her as any dad would. Once my fiancé and I are married, I will be adopting her.

Thank you once again for such a wonderful book. It put my relationship with my future daughter in perspective. I hope I can live up to all of her expectations of me.”

…and…

“I received a copy of your book on Fathers Day 2006 from my then 3 year old daughter (with help from Mom). I knew that I wanted to be a father too, but just didn't realize the importance of the role that I would play in my daughter’s life. Reading your book really brought everything into focus for me and I wanted to say Thanks. I have read your book several times since that Fathers day and each time I get new inspiration. If only your book could be read by all fathers, maybe the world might be a different place.”

I will forever be grateful to have had the opportunity to touch people through my writing. As a kid, I had the same goal in life so many do; I simply wanted to help people. Hopefully I have.

I checked my istock account this morning and found that I’ve now sold 390 photos. Wow. It has taken a while to get momentum and figure out just what kind of images graphic artists want, but now that I’ve got a clue, I’m itching to schedule more models. As soon as the garage warms up, it will become my temporary studio again.

I can’t believe it. The MySpace page I made for Princess (www.myspace.com/oneprettydog) has had more traffic than my own page. She even has eleven friends now! Little creepy dog. Maybe she should write a book.

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Slow day


I am searching for inspirational stories about father-daughter relationships, stories that share wisdom, teach moral and important life lessons, and give others insight into how to nurture and maintain a healthy, loving and fulfilling father-daughter relationship.

If you are a father or a daughter, I want to hear about your parent-child relationship experiences. For more information about submitting your story, please visit my website, www.gregoryelang.com, and click the red corner on the home page.

I’m collecting photos of dads and daughters, artwork from daughters to dad, or nice shots of smiling daughters of all ages to display on this blog. If you’d like to submit one, please email it to greg.lang@mindspring.com.

Now on to today’s diary entry…

The photo is of my wife, who is indeed a daddy’s girl. I see my father-in-law for lunch one a week, and he beams every time he mentions Jill’s name.

I was bored out of my mind today, so I decided to entertain myself by making a MySpace page for Princess, my wife’s dog (and a real pain in my badonkadonk). If you wish to see it, visit www.myspace.com/oneprettydog. Hopefully I will have a meaningful update to share tomorrow.

Peace to all.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Oh, my...

I love this photo! It's of a good friend's daughter, little Ellie Deakin.

I am searching for inspirational stories about father-daughter relationships, stories that share wisdom, teach moral and important life lessons, and give others insight into how to nurture and maintain a healthy, loving and fulfilling father-daughter relationship.

If you are a father or a daughter, I want to hear about your parent-child relationship experiences. For more information about submitting your story, please visit my website, http://www.gregoryelang.com/, and click the red corner on the home page.

I’m collecting photos of dads and daughters, artwork from daughters to dad, or nice shots of smiling daughters of all ages to display on this blog. If you’d like to submit one, please email it to greg.lang@mindspring.com.

Now on to today’s diary entry…

I received this great poem from a reader as a tribute to her dad. Thanks Amy Jo Toney!

My Dad and I

There's a special bond between my Dad and I,
I see things clearer and he's the reason why,
Always there to lend a hand,
Or talk his daughters through things
they didn't understand,
Taught me that being a friend,
Is what matters most in the end,
Also showed me, that familys first and foremost,
Cooks great food, an excellent host,
When he's around, with him he brings,
A dash of Faith among other things,
One thing I hope he never forgets,
Is he's loved and as special as they get,
Reasons why I look up to him,
So many I don't know where to begin,
If I could narrow it down to one,
It would be he is lively, loving and fun,
His heart is big, he's quite the guy,
Strong, yet not afraid to cry,
Looks forward to the future, brings hope to the day,
Sees life in nothing but a positive way,
Which has molded me, into quite the girl,
All Thanks to having the greatest Dad in the world.

Thanks so much to those of you who have submitted stories. I have 54 so far, plus a few recorded interviews.

I mentioned yesterday I have been sending queries to media looking for print coverage of the new book. Included in that effort was the local newspaper, the AJC. For reasons I don’t understand, after five years of calling on the Book Editor I still can’t generate interest in my writing. They will give a full page to a former crack addict who wrote a book about the homeless cats he used to sleep with, a book that probably sold less than 1000 copies, but won’t give even a paragraph about my books. I guess they don’t like stories about everyday people.

Capitalism is a funny thing. FTD is doing a Mother’s Day promotion with my books, including the Mom books with their Mother’s Day bouquets. Didn’t see that coming!

The good people at KidsWorkWifeLife talked about my latest book, Thank You, Mom, on their podcast show. I’m just beginning to investigate podcasts and hope to have a few shows of my own up soon. In the meantime, give a listen to http://kidswifeworklife.podbean.com/2007/04/17/43-spare-youre-out/

I’m still working on the MySpace project. So far I’ve been able to get that blog to look similar to this one and my website, but more work needs to be done. Once completed, I plan to send invites to those who mention one my books on their blogs, plus query the parenting groups to generate story contributions. I also started my own online group with MySpace, called Celebrate Dads. No content is posted yet, but I’ll get something there soon. Maybe one day it will be popular: http://groups.myspace.com/celebratedads

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody, and kiss ‘em, too, if you can get away with it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Seeds Today, a Soul Tomorrow


I am searching for inspirational stories about father-daughter relationships, stories that share wisdom, teach moral and important life lessons, and give others insight into how to nurture and maintain a healthy, loving and fulfilling father-daughter relationship.

If you are a father or a daughter, I want to hear about your parent-child relationship experiences. For more information about submitting your story, please visit my website, www.gregoryelang.com, and click the red corner on the home page.

I’m also collecting photos of dads and daughters, artwork from daughters to dad, or nice shots of smiling daughters of all ages to display on this blog. If you’d like to submit one, please email it to greg.lang@mindspring.com.

Now on to today’s diary entry…

The photo above is of Ray D. and his daughter, Bethany, taken several years ago. I suppose it is a favorite photo; I can see why. I also have favorite photos of Meagan, some I’ve carried in my wallet for over 15 years. Faded and tattered, yes. Less beloved, certainly not. I guess all dads hold on to those memories of daddy’s little girl, when they thought we were hero’s who carried the world on our shoulders and could do anything but fly. I interviewed Ray today and had a great chat with him for a little more than a half-hour. In that time I learned he is wholly devoted to his child, he speaks of her with great pride and affection. I know she will grow up under the care and guidance of a Dad who loves her, a Dad who intends to make a difference in her life. He made a statement I liked a lot, one about “planting seeds” for habits and qualities, a personality and soul, really, he hopes his daughter will develop later in life. It gave me an idea for a chapter in the new book, one I look forward to writing. Thanks Ray, and best wishes to you and your sweet Angel.

I spent much of the morning sending email queries to magazine publishers around the southern US, hoping someone would take an interest in doing a story on the “little books that could,” as some call my series. I’ve never really had a publicist other than myself; it is boring but necessary work, trying to generate interest in myself as an author. Some folks think I’m a celebrity. That’s hardly the case; if I were, media would be coming to me rather than me begging them for page space. So far, no bites. Argh.

After that I did a blog search for new mentions of me or my books, and sent invitations to those bloggers to participate in the new book project. I’ve recently created a basic MySpace page that I plan to customize so that it looks similar to my website and blog. Once I’ve done that I will reach out to other MySpace users in hopes that some will be interested in sending me stories about their daughter-dad experiences.

I told Meagan I was having postcards printed to hand out at open events, again in an effort to attract story contributors. She has threatened to run over me in the parking lot if I show up at her school.

I am researching podcasting as yet another platform for reaching my readers. Ultimately I hope to have a multimedia approach to keeping in touch with folks who buy my books, so of course that means YouTube will be included in that plan. I asked the girls to work with me on a video; of course they said “No.” It still perplexes me why the way I earn the money is square or embarrassing to them, but their desire to spend it is unaffected by that same embarrassment.

I answer all my fan mail (wish I got more). Today I wrote a letter to Amanda of Salem, Oregon. She wrote to me in pencil; must be a 3rd grader. Her arm or hand smeared most of the pencil lead, so it was hard to read, but it was sweet nonetheless. I save these letters – they encourage me when I worry that I don’t know what I’m doing.

I’m about to call someone else I’m to interview today, an adult daughter. Stay tuned for more of Daddy’s Little Girl.

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Happy B-Day Meagan!!!


This beautiful piece of artwork was shared with me by Raymond DeStefano, proud and loving father of a 12 year-old daughter, both of Long Island, NY.

Welcome to my blog, a public diary chronicling the writing and publication of my newest book, Daddy’s Little Girl: True Stories about Fathers and Daughters (HarperSanFrancisco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers).

My purpose in keeping this diary is to give updates about the book’s progress to those who have shared their stories with me.

I am searching for inspirational stories about father-daughter relationships, stories that share wisdom, teach moral and important life lessons, and give others insight into how to nurture and maintain a healthy, loving and fulfilling father-daughter relationship.

If you are a father or a daughter, I want to hear about your parent-child relationship experiences. For more information about submitting your story, please visit my website, http://www.gregoryelang.com/, and click the red corner on the home page.

I’m collecting photos of dads and daughters, artwork from daughters to dad, or nice shots of smiling daughters of all ages to display on this blog. If you’d like to submit one, please email it to greg.lang@mindspring.com.

Now on to today’s diary entry…

Today is Meagan’s birthday – seventeen going on thirty-one. Good Lord, they grow fast. It is so hard to believe that in one year, she will be an emancipated child leaving home for college. Like I do on each of her birthdays, I think back to the day she was born, the day that changed my life. The moment I first saw her is still fresh and clear in my mind. I wrote about it in Why a Daughter Needs a Dad:

“When my wife told me she was pregnant I was overjoyed and quick to believe that the baby would indeed be a girl. Throughout the pregnancy I spoke of the baby as “her” or “she,” never as “it.” When I saw the first sonogram I could tell that our baby was a girl. Even though the doctor said it was too early to tell, I was convinced and thereafter believed my hopes and dreams about fatherhood were coming true. I was in the delivery room when she arrived. The first person she looked at was me. I was smitten instantly.”

And smitten, I still most certainly am!

I received this email over the weekend:

“We had a book fair at work today and I purchased your book, ‘Why A Son Needs A Mom.’ My son is 22 and currently serving in the US Navy. He will be home this weekend to ask his girlfriend to marry him prior to his deployment and I wanted something special for him, as I'm sure you know, the engagement and marriage is more geared to the woman. When I saw your book I knew it was the perfect gift. It is a very nice way to help him understand what our relationship has meant to me and also to show him what his children, if he is so blessed to have them will mean to him. Thank you for writing this book. It is going to be part of a very special weekend.”

My Cumberland House editor likes the revised introduction to Why I Still Love You, so that book is now put to bed except for a little tweaking that might be needed as it is proofread. It should be out this Fall. I’ll post a paragraph of two from the new intro later this week.

I now have 42 vignettes to use in Daddy’s Little Girl, and several interviews scheduled this week. Traffic to the website and this blog is up, so I hope that means more stories are to follow shortly. I’m happy with the progress I’m making on this project!

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody, and kiss ‘em, too, if you can get away with it!

Friday, April 13, 2007

With One Hand

Welcome to my blog, a public diary chronicling the writing and publication of my newest book, Daddy’s Little Girl: True Stories about Fathers and Daughters (Harper San Francisco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers).

My purpose in keeping this diary is to give updates about the book’s progress to those who have shared their stories with me.

I am searching for inspirational stories about father-daughter relationships, stories that share wisdom, teach moral and important life lessons, and give others insight into how to nurture and maintain a healthy, loving and fulfilling father-daughter relationship.

If you are a father or a daughter, I want to hear about your parent-child relationship experiences. For more information about submitting your story, please visit my website, http://www.gregoryelang.com/, and click the red corner on the home page.

Now on to today’s diary entry…

I sent an email to about 1,000 people on Wednesday announcing this book project. So far I’ve receive twenty-one offers to submit stories or participate in interviews, so I’m pretty happy about the early response. The stories that have come in already are great; I’m very optimistic about how this book is going to turn out.

Aarrrrgh! I take my camera everywhere I go, including to the NC coast last week as I was out signing books and conducting interviews. Some dune debris got on the sensor of my digital SLR while I was changing lenses at the beach, and I tried to blow it off. Apparently I spit at the same time, too. Every photo has an ugly smear right across the middle of the image, just like someone wiped a booger on the photo. Note to self – use the lens cleaning kit next time, and don’t change lenses in the wind.

The good people at WOAI-TV in San Antonio, TX have offered to mention this book project on the air when they do their book club show. Thanks Karina!

I got my first mention on the Publisher’s Lunch deal announcement! Thanks to those fellow authors who have emailed to me a note of congratulations.

Even though the life of being an author seems care, stress and worry free, I still have to deal with Average Joe moments. Like this morning when I went out to get the newspaper, I had to walk through a web of toilet paper Meagan’s friends had strung between the trees on either side of the porch steps. It took me two hours on a tall ladder with a long pole to clean out the trees. Oh, and I had the help of a few retired gentlemen who were standing on the curb, coffee in hand, advising me on how they would have handled the job differently.

OK, off to put the final touches on the introduction for Why I Still Love You, then make myself go to the gym, attend to the honey-do list, and wrap Meagan’s birthday presents. My little angel is turning 17 on Monday; tonight is her B-Day dinner out. My, how time flies. One time in the past, I could hold her with one hand.

I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Unselfish Clarity

Welcome to my blog, a public diary chronicling the writing and publication of my newest book, Daddy’s Little Girl: True Stories about Fathers and Daughters (HarperSanFrancisco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers).

My purpose in keeping this diary is to give updates about the book’s progress to those who have shared their stories with me.

I am searching for inspirational stories about father-daughter relationships, stories that share wisdom, teach moral and important life lessons, and give others insight into how to nurture and maintain a healthy, loving and fulfilling father-daughter relationship.

If you are a father or a daughter, I want to hear about your parent-child relationship experiences. For more information about submitting your story, please visit my website, www.gregoryelang.com, and click the red corner on the home page.

Now on to today’s diary entry…

I learned today that I get to go to BEA, the Book Expo of America, the world’s largest bookselling event, in NY this May to sign copies of the newest books. Yahoo!

This is the newest column I wrote for the National Step-Family Day website:

“I enjoy a close relationship with my daughter, albeit one that has changed remarkably as she has matured into a teenager. Once my constant companion, my playful partner in crime, and my most adoring audience, my child has become less enchanted with me as she has entered the initial phases of becoming a woman. Gone are the days of holding hands in public and kissing on the lips. These treasured gestures of affection are now replaced with small talk and the occasional impatient admonishment, “Dad, I am not your little girl anymore.”

Sometimes I worry that we will never again be as close to one another as we once were. Sometimes I fret that I cannot understand what my child needs, why she acts as she does, and I cannot figure out what it is I should do for her. These thoughts occur to me when I am thinking only of myself, my needs for comfort and reassurance. But later, in moments of unselfish clarity, I realize that these changes that perplex me are what should be expected, and what should be supported, if indeed I intend for my child to become a mature, independent woman. It is then that I accept without reluctance the fact that a dad cannot be everything to his daughter. It is then that I remember so clearly that she needs her mother, too.

A daughter needs a mom for many reasons, and by the very nature of the differences between men and women, some of these reasons may never be clear to me, but that does not negate their vital importance in a girl’s life. Daughters need moms to help them to understand what is happening to their bodies, how to make sound decisions regarding boys, how to care for herself, how to care for her children, and how to care for her marriage. Daughters need moms because they understand that sometimes tears come for no reason, that bad moods may mean simply nothing at all, that chocolate is a necessity, and that being silly is fun. Daughters need moms because dads cannot be everything for them.

My ex-wife and I have been divorced nearly fourteen years and live only a few miles apart; we share joint custody of our daughter. We talk on the telephone often, share meals together now and then, negotiate agreements about enforcing household rules or extending new privileges, resolve disputes about what we might do differently in our relationship with our only child. Long ago we agreed that while we did become ex-spouses, we will never become ex-parents. It is as parents that our partnership lives on, and it is as parents that we overcome our own issues with one another to find a way to do what is best for our child.

Of course we could not succeed at this partnership without the understanding and support of the new significant others in our lives. My wife is supportive without reservation of my continued contact with my ex, and her fiancĂ© is equally accepting of me and my ongoing interaction with his future bride. In other words, moments of unselfish clarity extend across all members of my child’s blended families, as well it should.

Recently my ex and I agreed our child needed a sit down discussion about a matter that, while benign at the time, could get out of control if left unmonitored. With the blessing of our respective partners, we sat together to talk to our daughter. We were a team, we were co-parenting. We were expressing our joint concern for our child, and demonstrating our joint resolve to work together for her benefit. We rallied around our daughter and embraced the role we share as her parents, and in doing so, gave her an important and memorable experience about how a health family should function, even if it spans two homes.

It can be done, and in moments of unselfish clarity, you, too, will understand how.”

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody, and kiss ‘em, too, if you can get away with it!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Woodshed Justice

Welcome to my blog, a public diary chronicling the writing and publication of my newest book, Daddy’s Little Girl: True Stories about Fathers and Daughters (HarperSanFrancisco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers).

My purpose in keeping this diary is to give updates about the book’s progress to those who have shared their stories with me.

I am searching for inspirational stories about father-daughter relationships, stories that share wisdom, teach moral and important life lessons, and give others insight into how to nurture and maintain a healthy, loving and fulfilling father-daughter relationship.

If you are a father or a daughter, I want to hear about your parent-child relationship experiences. For more information about submitting your story, please visit my website, www.gregoryelang.com, and click the red corner on the home page.

Now on to today’s diary entry…

I usually start the day with a web search looking for new references to me or any of my titles. It is a great way to add email contacts to my database, the source I use for sending announcements to readers. Today I found a neat link on YouTube where a fellow in TN named Paul Cummings filmed himself reading from my book Why a Daughter Needs a Dad (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dHg-60y75M). Pretty cool; it made me want to buy a camera and start my own site for posting video about the books.

I’ve begun collecting stories for the new book, mostly from email I’ve received in the past. It’s time consuming going through the archives, but fun nonetheless reading what others have shared with me. I’ve chosen 24 so far to incorporate into the book.

A sweet lady I know in TX wrote to tell me she misses the old style of this blog, the one where I posted little vignettes of funny events in our family life. I sort of do, too, but after a most unfortunate experience, we decided not to put ourselves on display for a while. It seems too many people enjoyed taking cheap shots at us, even though they have no idea who we are. What motivates folks like that? Theories abound, but that’s a discussion for another day, best had over a pitcher of good beer and a plate of BBQ.

As you might know, I was rejected many, many times when I first began searching for a publisher – 62 times on my first book alone. And I’ve been rejected on at least three other books in the last eight years, so I suppose it’s true that getting published once doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get published again. Similarly, the AJC doesn’t accept everything I submit. Here’s one that won’t make it into the paper:

“Our pastor recently gave a sermon about parenting, making the point that setting limits and imposing consequences is how parents rescue their children from certain ruin.

To help make his point, he told the story of a son becoming upset with his mom, who as he retreated to his room, slammed the door in her face and then locked it. She relayed this event to a parenting advice columnist and asked how to handle it should it be repeated in the future.

The advice was this – back away from the door to defuse the situation, give the child time to cool down, and talk about it later, explaining that door slamming is rude. The mom was assured that after two or three conversations such as this, the son would no longer treat her in that manner.

Yeah, right.

I pictured my dad answering that mom’s question. He would have said kick the door down, demonstrate the alternative use of a good leather belt, impose a six-month embargo on everything he enjoyed doing, and make him pay for the new door.

I don’t think this intervention would have to be repeated for little Johnny to get the point that he was being unacceptable rude, defiant, actually.

As you might guess, I’ve had a few spankings in my lifetime, but never more than once for the same reason.

Yet, even though I think corporal punishment has its place, I can remember spanking my daughter maybe only six times. Have I spoiled her by sparing the rod? Have I really allowed her to believe she doesn’t have to pay consequences for her misconduct?

I don’t think so. In fact, I think she is a great, well-mannered kid. But I also think at times it took me longer to get the result I wanted than it did when my dad pointed to his belt or twisted my ear. I feared him then, but I love and respect him like crazy now. He kept me out of trouble. I hope one day my child will think the same of me.

What do you think about modern parenting? Are we parenting, or spoiling our children? Do we need to return to woodshed justice or keep our belts on and hope for the best?”

Enough for now, back to searching through the archives again for more nuggets of parenting wisdom.

Hey, thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody! And kiss ‘em, too, if you can get away with it.

Monday, April 09, 2007

You call that Spring?

Welcome to my blog, a public diary chronicling the writing and publication of my newest book, Daddy’s Little Girl: True Stories about Fathers and Daughters (HarperSanFrancisco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers).

My purpose in keeping this diary is to give updates about the book’s progress to those who have shared their stories with me.

I am searching for inspirational stories about father-daughter relationships, stories that share wisdom, teach moral and important life lessons, and give others insight into how to have a healthy, loving and fulfilling father-daughter relationship.

If you are a father or a daughter, I want to hear about your parent-child relationship experiences. For more information about submitting your story, please visit my website, http://www.gregoryelang.com/, and click the red corner on the home page.

Now on to today’s diary entry…

The Spring Break road trip through SC, NC and VA was a mixed bag of results. Although I did have several opportunities to chat with dads and daughters and actually collected a few stories or commitments to send stories, the weather was a big deterrent to meeting people at random. Only the brave ventured outside into the areas where I expected to meet people – public parks, pools and porches of the inns, tourist venues and the beaches – and most wanted to stay in motion rather than visit. I did hand out quite a few cards, though, and am hopeful those people will visit the website to read about the book project.

I guess I can’t blame anyone; as I was scraping ice off the windshield, I, too, wanted to rush back inside and escape the wind. I’ve heard last week was colder than Christmas. I believe it, and I should have packed more than just shorts.

One story in particular I did hear about moved me a great deal. I won’t go into it now, I want to think about it a bit to assure I do it justice when I write it up, but one father told me of a phone call he received late one evening about his daughter. The young woman was in trouble and needed help. Dad immediately jumped into the car and drove 14 hours to reach his daughter, to rescue her. I couldn’t help but wonder what went through his mind as he drove on in the darkness. I can tell you that all turned out well in the end, and it will be a great story for the book.

The two other things that also worked out well were the photo opportunities and book signing events. I got many great shots of the storm swells at the beach, three historic lighthouses and surrounding grounds, and the wild horses grazing in the salt marsh on Assateague Island. I plan to add them to my stock photography portfolio on istock.com.

I lost count of how many books I signed and had a great time meeting the booksellers. It is always satisfying to hear that they recognize my name, and especially uplifting when I see an end cap display in the store. I hear the new books are selling well, and I am grateful for that. It is funny how after five years, I still get a kick out of seeing my books on a retail shelf.

My website update is almost complete. I had new graphics added and a way for visitors to upload their own stories for the book. Although there have been a few technical difficulties and the official announcement to my mailing list has been delayed as a result, I am very happy with the way the site looks. Hopefully I can broadcast the book announcement in a few days. Good, I’m eager to get started on the project!

I have had a few brainstorms since becoming “unblocked” on the introduction for the book Why I Still Love You (quality time spent with my wife was very inspirational!), and have more than doubled the word count. Now I have to cut it to get it just right; I think I’ll finish it tomorrow. Cumberland House has finalized the cover design for this book, and although I do wish they were using one of my photos for the cover shot, I do like the stock photo they have selected. Like they say, if you want to control every aspect of your book, publish it yourself.

Thanks for visiting, and have a damn good day!

1665 miles

Yep, that's a long drive in a two-seater. But I met many great people who are now planning to submit stories for Daddy's Little Girl, took lots of photos for my istock.com portfolio, and signed quite a few books in bookstores along the NC coast. But right now something is wrong with the website, the new one that was to debut today, so please pardon me while I turn my attention to it for now. When the site is up and running properly, I'll be back to leave a thorough update as well as announce the launch of the book project. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Unblocked

Welcome to my blog, a public diary chronicling the writing and publication of my newest book, Daddy’s Little Girl: True Stories about Fathers and Daughters (HarperSanFrancisco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers).

My purpose in keeping this diary is to give Story Contributors updates about my progress. If other writers should derive any benefit from reading of the twists and turns I encounter while working under a deadline, well that’s good, too.

What is a Story Contributor? A Story Contributor is someone who was willing to share with me an autobiographical account of his or her father-daughter relationship. I then use those stories in the writing of Daddy’s Little Girl. For more information about becoming a Story Contributor, please visit my website, www.gregoryelang.com after April 9th, when the Story Submit page will be operational.

Now on to today’s dairy entry…

I am now past the temporary writer's block. After spending some great time with my family and friends this weekend, I cleared my head, thought of a few good phrases, jotted dowen lots of notes, and I'm ready to re-write the introduction to Why I Still Love You. Time is the wonder drug!

I use Google Alerts to spot mentions of my books on the Internet. Today I found this post based on my first book (quotes from the book in Italics):

“My dad is the greatest. Because it's his birthday, I wanted to share some thoughts about him. Reading the book Why a daughter Needs a Dad reminded me of just how much I love him.

A daughter needs a dad to learn that when he says it will be okay soon, it will. My dad always put things in perspective for me.

A daughter needs a dad who will make sacrifices so she will not have to sacrifice. I can't even begin to describe the sacrifices my dad made on my behalf. He is one of the most unselfish people I have ever known.

A daughter needs a dad to teach her that her value as a person is more than the way she looks. My dad always focused on brains. I did well in school because of him. He made me wonder about the world and was NEVER too busy to engage in serious talks about everything from boys to God.

A daughter needs a dad who will never think she is too old to need him. I can't let a week go by without talking to my dad. Sometimes I have nothing to say, but I just need to hear his voice.

A daughter needs a dad to make the family whole and complete. This could not be more true in my family's situation.

A daughter needs a dad to be the standard against which she will judge all men. I measured every boy I dated to my dad. Dave is the only one that made the cut. :)

A daughter needs a dad who will influence her life even when he isn't with her. My dad influences my life every day.

A daughter needs a dad to tuck her in at night. My dad is the reason I love books. He read until we fell asleep. But he not only read to us, I have memories of crying because my legs hurt so bad from growing pains, and he would sit with me until it didn't hurt anymore.

A daughter needs a dad to protect her when she is not wise enough to protect herself. Dixie College, enough said.

A daughter needs a dad to help her take the risks that will build her confidence. From sports, to college, to marriage, he helped me weigh the risks, and then go for it.

A daughter needs a dad to teach her that a man's strength is not the force of his hand or his voice, but the kindness of his heart. My dad didn't have to say much, I always knew if he would be disappointed, and I never wanted to let him down.

A daughter needs a dad to help her try again whenever she fails. From high school cheerleader failure, to succeeding at college dance team...I dared try again.

A daughter needs a dad to give her the gentle pushes that help her grow. He even coached softball, just so I'd give it a try.

A daughter needs a dad to show her how to fix things for herself. I am independent and can fix anything, from crazy emotions to a broken toy...not to mention small repairs around the house, because of my dad.

A daughter needs a dad because without him she will have less in her life than she deserves.

Thanks Dad! Happy Dir-Bay, Leprechaun, Easter, Christmas!”

I’ve contacted this blogger and asked her to participate in Daddy’s Little Girl. Somehow I suspect she will say yes.

You won’t hear from me April 2-6 as I’ll be on the road conducting interviews in SC, NC and VA, collecting stories for the book. Check back in for an update beginning Monday, April 9th.