Thursday, January 26, 2012

Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help

Recently my publisher arranged a book signing for me in a used book store in Marion, Ohio. So as instructed, I called the book store owner to verify the date and time of my signing. As Carl and I spoke I told him I would have some posters printed up and I would drop one off to be used in his window for advertisement. He was agreeable to this and went on to tell me that the authors that have the best signings in his shop are those that promote the event themselves.

Marion is about a forty five minute drive from where I live and I am not at all that familiar with the area or the people that live there; so at first, this seemed to be a difficult obstacle to overcome. Ever resourceful though, I quickly put on my thinking cap and set about to find a solution. As I was contemplating what to do, I remembered that my husband works with a man that lives in Marion. "Do you think Bob would be willing to take some flyers and place them at locations in Marion?" I asked hesitantly. My husband promised to ask that night when he went to work.

As it turned out, Bob was extremely happy to help me. He promised to post a flyer on the bulletin at his church. He also said he would ask the manager at the local Circle K, where he is a regular customer, if they would be willing to put one in their window. Leaving no stone unturned, Bob also said he would ask around and see if there were any other spots that might be suitable for posting my flyers.

I then remembered that my husband and I have a friend from a neighboring town that works in a factory outside of Marion. Surely, I thought, some of the people she works with must live in or around Marion. So, I e-mailed her and asked if she would be willing to pass out business cards with my signing information written on the backs to interested parties. She too gladly agreed to help.

Because I was not afraid to ask for help, I went from no contacts or prospects of contacts in the Marion area to two really good contacts willing to help me promote. I find that people are generally happy to help; they are just waiting to be asked.

Signing off for now with wishes for a bright and beautiful day!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Fern Valley!

I must admit that the journey of being a published author/book marketer has been a roller coaster ride with emotional ups and downs. When my journey started, I knew it would be fraught with mountains of hard work, rejections, disappointments, and frustrations; but it has also been a journey of love, passion, determination, joy, and fulfillment.

As March quickly descends upon us like an unexpected snow storm, I can hardly believe that my first children's book Fern Valley - A Collection of Short Stories is going to be a year old. Much the same way I look at my daughter, who just turned seven, and wonder how time could have passed so swiftly; I look at my book and say, "Didn't I just give birth to these stories?"

So being the fun loving mom that I am, I decided to throw Fern Valley a birthday party and you are all invited. Oh, and did I mention that all of your friends are invited as well? That's right, come on over to Fern Valley's fan page, join the party, and enter to win a Fern Valley Birthday Pack. It's more fun then a barrel of monkeys and a whole lot cleaner too! The best part of all is that this party lasts until Fern Valley's official birthday on March first.

Signing off for now with wishes for a bright and beautiful day!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Words, Words, Wonderful Words

I have always loved words. Even when I was young, I reveled in the fact that I had an extensive vocabulary. I loved to read, I loved the way words looked on paper, I loved to find out what words meant, and I loved to play word games like scrabble and boggle. It is probably no surprise then that I ended up a writer.

But what I find most extraordinary is the fact that my seven year old daughter seems to have naturally inherited this same love of words. She was begging me to teach her to read at the age of three; and from the time she was old enough to hold a pencil, she has loved to write words in notebooks. Any and all words she knows how to spell get written down in tidy columns, and if she doesn't know how to spell them she asks. If I make a shopping list, she too wants to make one. If I am working on a story, she wants to write one of her own.

Word games seem to amuse her as well. For instance, on the thirty minute ride to school this morning, I played a word game with her. I told her, "If you could only use three words to describe a person, what would they be?" Then I proceeded to ask her to describe individual friends and family members. Some people's names evoked immediate responses while others caused her to think for a few seconds, but after each she requested another name.

When I asked her what three words she would use to describe her daddy, she came back with loving, nice, and willing. Now I don't know about you, but I seriously doubt that "willing" would come to my mind when describing friends and family. So, I asked her what she meant when she said she thought of my husband as willing.

"Well," she said. "When daddy plays puppies with me, I don't think he really likes it; but he is willing."

This child is a constant amazement and joy to me. If I hadn't already been totally and irrevocably in love with her, her use and love of words would definitely have tipped the scales. Which brings me to the question, "How do you feel about words?" Really, I would love to know.

Signing off for now with wishes for a bright and beautiful day!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Three Books Worth Your Time

As my first post of the New Year I thought it would be nice to reflect on books I read and reviewed in 2011. While I read many books and enjoyed most all of them, Three books stood out above the rest. The Year Money Grew on Trees by Aaron Hawkins; My Hero, My Ding by Lisa A. Tortorello; and My Finny Fin Fin by Judi Chesshir. Not only did I find great pleasure in reading these books, but I also had the distinction of meeting Lisa in person and of interviewing both Aaron and Judi.

The Year Money Grew on Trees is not Aaron's first book, however it is his first YA book. It is a superbly written story of a determined boy. Goaded into an agreement by his conniving neighbor Mrs. Nelson and trying to evade the summer job of doom lined up by his father, Jackson Jones works diligently to live up to the bargain of restoring a neglected apple orchard. Jackson enlists the help of his siblings and his cousins and spends a summer learning as he goes. Will he manage to grow a crop of apples worthy of selling? Will he be able to sell the apples once they are grown? Will he fulfill the bargain made with Mrs. Nelson and in return become the true heir of the orchard. The answers to these questions and many more await you in this wonderful book.

Not only is Jackson Jones the main character most believable, but he also managed to find a special place in my heart. With every page I read, I rooted Jackson on. With every page I read, I wanted him to succeed more than anything. In some small way, I saw myself at that age. If we do not soon see more YA fiction from Aaron, it will truly be unfortunate thing.

My Hero, My Ding by Lisa A. Tortorello is a beautiful memoir of the time spent with her grandfather. I have always loved a good biography, autobiography, or memoir, so it is understandable that I thoroughly enjoyed Lisa's account of the special bond she and her grandfather shared while she was growing up. It was a joy to learn about Lisa's childhood and laugh at the antics displayed by her and her grandfather. My favorite story was of the time she roped the door of the workroom to a drawer across the way, locking he Grandfather in securely. She then told a subsequent customer, "He's tied up at the moment, but he'll be out shortly." I came away from My Hero, My Ding feeling that it would have been a great experience and lots of fun to have known Lisa and her grandfather during that time. I recently met Lisa at a book expo we both attended, and I can say she is truly the warm and friendly person of whom her Ding was so fond.

My Finny Fin Fin is a wonderful book written by Judi Chesshir an elementary teacher with a gift for teaching and writing. Judi puts a whole new spin on the tale of The Three Little Pigs with her book. Three dolphin brothers each attempt to choose a good home, but only one chooses wisely and survives being eaten by the Big Bad Shark. Beautifully written, and beautifully illustrated, this book is a must have for all those in love with children’s fairy tales. Not only is this a great book, but as an added bonus an audio version is available for download. As incredible as Judi's book is, the audio version takes it to a whole other level.

So if you are looking for a good piece of YA fiction, a good memoir, or a picture book with a great audio download then these three books are definitely worth your time. Signing off for now with wishes for a bright and beautiful day.