From The Publisher

From The Publisher

BeverlyDenver_thumbSummer Reading

The other day, in the grocery store, I overheard a young child telling her mother she had already finished two of the books on her Summer Reading List. Both of the books she mentioned were Classics — books I should have read myself long ago but, for some reason or other, never did. That got me thinking. 

Why hadn’t I read those two books? I’ve certainly lived through a whole lot more summers than that little girl. And, I spent most of them perched under a shade tree or on a beach blanket with a book in my hand, didn’t I? Why hadn’t I made good use of all those idle days of summer and read all of The Classics by now? What had I been reading instead?

The answer, of course, is “books that seemed, well, more relevant.”

When I was in school, “relevant” meant keeping up with the interests of my girlfriends. So, I read dozens (and dozens) of fashion magazines and quick-and-easy-to-read romance novels. It wasn’t a total waste of time. I did learn how to dress trendy and wear makeup. I also learned exactly how my knight in shining armor ought to be treating me. 

A few years later, when I was a young wife and mother, my “relevant” reading changed. Becoming a Super Mom was my top priority, so I read stacks of books and magazines about decorating, landscaping, cooking, entertaining and, of course, raising extraordinary kids. I did this for years — until I finally realized being a Super Mom made focusing on the really important things in life just too difficult.

When I was ready to re-enter the workforce, my “relevant” reading was all about work — getting a job, keeping a job, negotiating a raise, quitting a job, starting my own business. What I didn’t know was overwhelming, so reading this type of material — day and night — seemed like the right thing to do!

I’ve been working for myself for over 20 years now, and I continue to be somewhat obsessive in my efforts to read “relevant” material. I can’t even tell you how many articles, blogs and books I’ve read in the past two decades about advertising, marketing, PR and sales, leadership and management. And, now there’s social media. Seems I will never, ever know enough about these “relevant” subjects to find time to read anything else — like The Classics!

After all my “thinking,” I turned to the mother and her daughter and said, “I would really love to read those two books myself. But, sadly, I never have. I’m a writer, and not reading more of The Classics is something I truly regret.”

The little girl spoke up, “My mommy says ‘it’s never too late to do the things you want to do.’ And, my daddy says, ‘You should never have regrets in your life.’ Maybe you should start reading the old books now? They really are good!”

Before I could respond, the little girl continued, “I get a gold star every time I finish reading a new book on my Summer Reading List. I got six stars last summer.” 

Then she added, “If you start now, you should be able to get a lot of stars — I mean books read — before school starts. Then, you wouldn’t have as many regrets.”

I couldn’t help but smile at her and think, “Of course, she’s right! Having fewer regrets would be a good thing.”

That night I downloaded the first book on my new Summer Reading List on my Kindle. I would tell you its name but doing so would be just embarrassing! I’d prefer you just assume I read that particular Classic a long, long time ago.

From The Publisher

Beverly DenverBones of Success

For a very long time, I've been a huge fan of singer, songwriter, actress and author Reba McEntire. Back in the 1980s, when she burst on the national scene, it was all about her music. 

I loved her unique singing voice, your energy and her dynamic presence on stage. It was fun to watch her star shine and rise! Always, I cheered her on. An avid fan, I watched for stories about her and updates on her personal appearances. When she showed up on a stage in Houston, I was there to applaud. When there was a story about her in a magazine, I bought that magazine. 

Read more: From The Publisher

From The Publisher

Beverly DenverThe Power of Seven

There is nothing more fun than celebrating a special birthday with lots of chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream, so I’m doing that today. I will blow out seven candles and happily acknowledge another successful year for Houston Woman Magazine.

I will also reflect on its beginning.

I have often said, “Houston Woman Magazine was launched only after I gave in to dozens of not-so-subtle nudges and too many not-to-be-ignored events. 

When the idea of a magazine like this came to me, I no longer viewed starting a new publication as a dream job. I had played the role of publisher/entrepreneur twice before and had already spent nearly 20 years dealing with the challenges of attracting loyal advertisers and readers.

I knew the industry I loved was changing fast, and I wasn’t sure how the changes would impact even the most conservative business plan. I had enough experience to know: starting a new publication would be difficult.

But, the nudges and events continued. I started viewing them as Divine interventions — the kind I wanted to ignore. 

Even so, in early September 2001, I decided to find out if the name Houston Woman Magazine was available. A young woman in the DBA office looked it up on her computer and said, “I’m sorry; the name is taken.”

Relieved, I walked out of her office, jumped in the car and drove directly to Starbucks. I wanted to celebrate the good news — with a Venti Mocha Frappuccino. (At jubilant times, it’s okay to give in to forbidden calories.)

Thirty minutes later I walked through the front door of my home and was greeted by the sound of a ringing phone. On the other end of the line was the young woman from the DBA office. She was calling to tell me she had made a mistake. The name WAS available!

(Just that week I had requested Southwestern Bell to change my residential phone number from unlisted to listed. Otherwise, that dedicated young woman would never have located me.)

Reluctantly, I drove back to the county annex and, with major reservations, filed the necessary papers and claimed the name. I drove home thinking: What am I doing? By the next morning, I had concluded: It’s fate. It’s God’s will. I’m supposed to publish Houston Woman Magazine.

So, I got busy.

I rented a post office box for the new business. I sent out notices to dozens of nonprofits and women’s organizations inviting them to send their press releases to Houston Woman Magazine. I got price quotes from printers and graphic designers. I talked to free-lance writers. I even came up with pricing for the advertising I would have to pre-sell to launch a new publication.

Then, on September 11 – while watching the morning news – I saw a plane hit the first tower of the World Trade Center. Within minutes I saw the second plane hit the second tower. For days, I did nothing but watch TV. My focus, like everyone else’s, was on the horror of the tragedy.

Needless to say, I opted not to launch Houston Woman Magazine right then. Timing is everything and, all of a sudden, the timing was totally wrong. 

About two years later, in the fall of 2003, I began to take note of new nudges and new coincidences. All seemed to be encouraging me to turn around and look back at my old idea. So, even though I knew how hard it would be, I finally said, “Okay, I’ll do it!” And, by early 2004, the first issue of Houston Woman Magazine was rolling off the press. 

From the beginning, the mission of this publication has been to inform, inspire, celebrate and connect successful women. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe we’ve been doing it now for seven great years!

So, today, as I recognize this milestone, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to HWM’s beloved readers. Without you all, the Number Seven would never have become so significant!

From The Publisher

Beverly DenverSpirits of the Season

During the holidays, going to see the Alley Theatre’s annual production of A Christmas Carol is one of my favorite things to do. The actors are some of the most talented in the country; the staging and costumes are simply incredible. And, adding to its mystique, this classic tale is always a good reminder (to all of us) to honor the spirit of Christmas with love and generosity to others and to try to do so all year long. 

Dickens suffered many hardships during his childhood, and the suffering made him especially sensitive to the blight of the poor and saddened by the social injustices he witnessed. So, it is easy to understand how Dickens – the master storyteller - used his empathy for the less fortunate to inspire others to face their own Christmas spirits. 

The Ghost of Christmas Past helps me recall so many happy memories: Being an excited five-year-old and Santa bringing me a new bike — a bright red two-wheeler. Later, being a young mother who made sure her own children got the bicycles they wanted. Always being able to share the holidays with my family and friends. Never having to be alone or on a battlefield halfway around the world during this most special time of the year! Yes, the Ghost of Christmas Past reminds me of my blessings and makes me grateful. 

The Ghost of Christmas Present haunts me daily. She reminds me how well I used to do Christmas! It was some time ago — when I was a very young, full-time homemaker! Back then I had time to focus on Christmas and all the preparations that go with it! I was good at shopping and buying the perfect gift for everybody. I was good at wrapping presents beautifully and paying special attention to minor adorning details. I was good at decorating the tree, house and yard in ways Martha Stewart would approve and applaud. Really, I was! 

Back then, I wasn’t distracted by deadlines, power lunches or an inbox full of unopened, call-to-action emails! Back then, the fact that each day consisted of only 24 hours was fine. Who knew I would not forever be okay with that? 

The Ghost of Christmas Present reminds me that one person simply can’t do it all. She reminds me that a real superwoman is one who has learned how to prioritize and delegate. A real superwoman is someone who has come to understand why less is always more! 

Lately, the Ghost of Christmas Future has paid me some visits too. Instead of reminding me about how things used to be or how they are now, she keeps asking me questions: What are you doing to make the your world a better place? What random acts of kindness have you committed lately? What else can you give? 

Before I can utter a word, the Ghost of Christmas Future puts a hand to my lips and whispers softly, “Don’t tell me, just show others!”

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