Thursday, March 23, 2017

My Introverted Bookstore

I was thinking. I know it's dangerous, but a thought occurred to me today. As some of you know, I work part-time in an independent book store. I love my job. The owner is one of my good friends who supports me in my writing endeavors. On the third Tuesday of the month, we have an Indie-author open house where independent authors can come share their stories and sell their books. This past Tuesday was the one for March. The store was filled with wonderful and the atmosphere was fun and welcoming. We had a severe thunderstorm hit as the event was ending and one of the authors helped us get the store in order while he waited for the storm to pass. We have a great community of authors.

My participation in 2016
Wednesday, after the storm, the store was quiet. The Mahjong group came in and played. I love hearing the murmur of conversation while I work. They're a nice group of people. Since I wasn't that busy, my writer brain wandered.   

Can bookstores be introverts?

I wonder how many of avid book readers are introverts? I know I am.  I could sit on my couch, curled up in a cozy blanket, with a cat in my lap and read for hours. No music, no TV, just the soft swish of a turning page. 

So, is my bookstore an introvert?

Well…yes, and no.

I think it likes the people coming in, browsing through the stacks. I think it likes customers sitting in the chairs leafing through the pages trying to find that perfect book. I think it likes the book clubs that meet and discuss the plot and characters of the latest novel. I think it likes the writers' groups that meet to hone their craft. I think it likes the chaos of a book signing, and the indie author event where the appreciation for the craft of writing is shared.  

I also think it likes the quiet after the storm. I think it likes to take the time to breathe between big events and parties. I think it likes the serenity of books on the shelves. I think it loves soaking up that creative energy and passing it along to our readers and future writers.

That is my bookstore and I'm glad to be there.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

My Heart Hurts for You...Please Stay

My heart hurts. That’s what I want to say. This past week, two stories crossed my path that broke my heart. In Texas City, Texas, an 18 year old girl killed herself in front of her family. They begged her not to do it. This young woman was a victim of cyberbullying. My heart broke. My husband told me of a young man in New Braunfels, Texas who parked his truck on the side of the highway and walked in front of a semi. He was 17 years old.  I checked to make sure it was true. It was. My soul cried.
Teen suicide prevention is something near and dear to my heart, but I don't know how to help. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10-19 year old. Ten years old! There is so much life to live and they leave at 10 years old. I wish I could say I don’t understand, but I do.

I've been there, in the dark, wanting the pain to go away and not caring how it it was done. I've felt so alone that I knew if I left this world no one would care, or miss me. I have sat in my room planning the deed knowing that everyone, including my family would be better off without me; my weight and depression a drain on them.

But it's not true. I have two wonderful sisters who showed me they loved me. They helped me get the assistance I needed. The deep and dark started in high school, and I have a wonderful best friend who did not abandon me like the others. We are still friends today, after mmmph years. She lives in Colorado now and although we don't talk as much as we'd like, I do know if I need her she'll hop on an airplane and be there for me.

If I had checked out like I planned, I would not have the wonderful life I have today. I have a husband who accepts me as I am. That weird, crazy, creative, me. I have two beautiful kids who are too smart for their own good. I work in a bookstore. I love books. I'm a writer. What better place to work? I play bass guitar in a band. Yes, it's the praise band at church, but it's a band. How cool is that?

Was it easy? No. Life is hard, but it is wonderful. I still have depression and anxiety. I have days where it's so hard to get out of bed, but I do. I have family and friends who love me. I see a counselor. I'm on medication. It is good. I had a pastor tell me that's why God has doctors – to help.

I have written a book titled, The Girl in the Golden Cage that deals with bullying, depression and teen suicide. It is young adult fiction. It's in the editing stage, and some days it is hard for me to work on. It brings up a lot of memories for me that I would rather not remember, but are important. The reason I wrote this book is I want teenagers, young adults, or anyone to know it gets better. I want them to know that in the scheme of their life, this time is infinitesimal. I want them to talk to their parents. If for some reason they can't, please talk to a trusted friend, teacher, anyone. You will miss something wonderful and beautiful.

My plan for this book is to donate ten percent of the royalties to help prevent teen suicide. I don't know what charity yet. I've got some research to do. This is a hard time of the year for a lot of people. Please know there is help. Please know this time is short and you can get through it. Please know you will be missed. Please stay.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Evoluton of a Writer Part 5 - FUBARED? Get Out of the House!

See this explosion?
This was my summer plans. Yep, up they went in a giant fireball of FUBAR! Yes, the family went to Washington and we had a great time. That was the beginning. Now, we get to the middle and end.

I had big plans. I had lowered my work hours to write more, and spend time with the kids. I am intrigued by the paranormal and am writing a new series. The main character can see ghosts.

 My son and I were going to see some haunted places; maybe drag his sister along. It was going to be great fun. We were going to swim and I was going to write by the pool while they played. It was going to idyllic, so television series worthy. We were going to be the next perfect family. Nope.

Then, life happened. Doesn't it always? Plans changed. Time flew and all of a sudden, it was August. The two months the kids were out of school was gone. Where did it go?
I'm still pondering that little gem. What to do next? My go-to thing is to bake. I love making cookies, but with the heat here in Georgia this summer, that was out. I think that effected our plans a bit. What next?

I couldn't write. Too noisy in the house. Too much chaos. ERGGGG! I could yell at my kids all day, but that wasn't much fun. I turned to my computer.

So, I'm on my computer playing with Facebook when I got an e-mail. I got an invitation to attend the Killer Nashville Writer's Conference. The note said it was because of my short story, Philippa Marlowmellow in Mallow Mayhem. I was excited beyond belief. I looked them up and my heart sank a little. These were mystery, crime fighting, detective novelists. I thought about it. Philippa was a detective. My paranormal series will be solving mysteries. Okay, maybe I do belong there. When I looked at the workshops, I knew I had to go. I needed to get away from my normal chaos.

My friend and fellow writer Kayelle Allen went with me. We had a blast. I learned so much. I had started on my second Philippa Marlowmellow story and after what I learned, I had to throw it out and start again. We met nice people. Saw some great sights. One of my favorites was the naked dancing fairies. Sometimes groups will put clothes on them. I found that funny.

We visited the Parthenon. We wanted to go inside, but it was closed. We had planned to go back, but timing was off. I'm planning on going back next year and I will see the giant statue of Athena. 

I came back from Nashville jazzed. Ready to write again. Ready to tackle world building. Ready for another conference, so I really need to sell some books so I can go. I even got a part time job in an Indie book store. How cool is that! I'm around books all day. I will get to meet authors, traditionally published and Indies. I'm excited as to what will happen. 

I needed to step back and assess. Nashville helped me to do that. I was around like minded people. That creative energy seeped around and through me. Kayelle and I talked concept for one of her books on the way home. It was so fun to brainstorm and knock about ideas. 

If you're a writer, I highly encourage you to find a group. My Canton Writers peeps are my lifeline. I love them. They are the best. They encourage and challenge me. With them my FUBARs are only explosive and not nuclear, which is a good thing. 

Yes, conferences can be intimidating. Especially for an introverted newbie like me, but being with like-minded people flowing with creative energy helps with your own. If you can, go to a conference. It is well worth the time and money,

See ya next time.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Bigfoot, Vampires, and Werewolves....OH MY!

I'm on a trip to the Pacific Northwest, Washington, to be more specific. I'm writing this from the hotel's computer. It's our family vacation. I was born up here and I wanted to show my children where I came from.

As we were driving through Mt. Ranier National Park I realized why so many fantasy stories take place in the Pacific Northwest. It's beautiful. It's majestic. And most of all, it's mysterious. Old growth forests protected by moss. Lush green vegetation enveloped the forest floor. Mushrooms and wildflowers covered fallen trees, and waterfalls flowed into streams and small rivers

 There is a sense of spirit here. A feeling that you're close to God in His truest form. A place to commune with nature. There is a closeness to the One.

We had no cell service on the mountain. Tourists from all over the world were at the Paradise Lodge doing what we were doing, admiring the mountain. Feeling the heart of the earth.

The mysteriousness is perfect. The sense of solitude. A place to get lost. Perfect for Bigfoot. The eerie, dark forest with little light shining through. Perfect for vampires.  The wilderness, wild and free; perfect for werewolves. The Pacific Northwest is a mystical place where fantasy can be seen. A secretive place full of monsters, fairies, and Bigfoot. A place that is wild and scary and I would go back in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What Do You Mean I Have To Build A World!

I'm a pantser, which means I write by the seat of my pants. I don't plan out my stories. I have the basics in my head, and flesh it out as I go along. I always found plotting and planning to be restrictive when the character went one way and the plan went the other. 

This week I met with my friend Kayelle Allen, who is a wonderful Sci-Fi writer, for lunch. I wanted to pick her brain on a workshop she attended. I wanted to go, but it was my daughter's 12 birthday, and well, my baby girl comes first. 

We started talking about my current project. It's the first in a YA series with the main character being a medium. Her name is G. W. Sanders. Her being a medium is not public knowledge. She likes to keep it on the down low.  This originally started as a short story, but as this pantser knows, the story got away from me. It happens. We were discussing a plot issue I discovered and she tells me, "You need to create a world and know exactly how your ghosts interact in that world."

Crud. I've never built a world before. You would think the ghost world would be easy to create, but it's not as easy as you think. I'm having some problems on how my ghost world would work. Why are they here and not gone into the Hereafter? Do they have reason to stay? Are they being punished or have unfinished business. Were they scared to "go into the light," or going to Hell? How strong are they? How do they manifest and where do they get the energy? There are a lot of things to think about. 

That's just one thing. What about G. W.'s friends. How do they interact with her as a medium, or the town itself. Why is the town so full of paranormal, supernatural and magical energy? Is it on a ley line? Near running water? Have bad things happened that attract this sort of energy? Does the layout of the town give the ghosts more power? Did something happen to make the town a magnet for paranormal, supernatural, and magical happenings? How does this effect G. W.'s gift? Her studies? Her friends?

There is so much to think about. I think my brain hurts.

Maybe I should build my fictitious college town in Minecraft. I could get my son to help me.  I could build the college, the shops, the cool stores and restaurants like Cosmic Mysterioso and Batter Up. I could play out plot problems with Steve the ghasts, sheeps, cows and pigs. I know, I'm dramatic and over the top, but it might be rather fun. 

My daughter loves anime. She talks about it all the time. She's in the anime club at school, draws amazing pictures of characters in the shows she likes, as well as, original characters for stories she creates. She talks about the "canon" quite a bit. That is what I need to create. A canon. Where all the rules, character profiles, plans for the town, and the ghost reside. I've never done this before and the task is daunting. So the story is on the back burner until I get all this figured out. 

The task at hand is to finish getting The Girl in the Golden Cage, my latest finish, to my beta reader and edited, and to build the world of G.W. Sanders. Wish me luck and I will keep you posted. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Intentionality - Phase 2 My First Event

On March 1st I participated in my first book signing event. Book Exchange, a local book store in Marietta, hosted an Indie author and publishing event. I hesitated for a moment to sign up, but something pushed me to do it, so I called the bookstore, talked to the owner, hopped in my mini-van and paid for my table. I promoted the two books I have available right now, Fat Farm, and Mallow Mayhem.

I decided to do two give-a-ways, one for each book. I cross stitched two simple bookmarks, bought some candy, a Starbucks gift card and baskets. I put it all together. They looked so good. I had bookmarks with my logo made, I created a sign-up sheet for my mailing list. I was in a perpetual state of freak-out for three weeks. My poor husband.

The night of the event arrived and I was as prepared as I was going to be. I had a nice table. I set up my wares. My assistant, my beautiful daughter, was by my side and people began to arrive.

It was a good crowd, despite the thunderstorms that came through. My friends and family came to support me. I talked with people, and other authors. I got up and spoke about my books. I listened as the other authors spoke about theirs. It was a wonderful night. I didn't sell that many books, which was disappointing, but that was not the purpose of this event. The purpose was to get me out there. It was to sell my brand. To network. And it worked. I got a few more names for my list. Now I have 14! Woo Hoo! Every little bit helps, because these names can bring more names and more fans. I hope.

Here are some things I learned:

1. It can be hit or miss with the crowd. You might hit your demographic. You might not. Since Fat Farm is a dystopian tale, I wasn't sure the senior citizens in the crowd would buy it. And I think that made up most of the group.

2. You're selling you. I'm not a salesman. I never was and I never will be. That is why I had a hard time working with the limousine service. If they didn't want the service after the I gave them information, then I wasn't going push it. Writing is a solitary business. I'm an introvert, although I think there is an extrovert in there somewhere. It's hard to be out in front of people, hawking your wares and selling yourself as an author. Be personable and charming. It can be fun. The most die-hard introvert can light up when talking about their passion. I did.

3. Step back and punt I think Mallow Mayhem is a wonderful story. It's a fun read, but it's not selling like it should. I only sold one copy. That was disappointing. From what I learned from the crowd, was they thought it was a children's book. It's not. And it never will be. It seems that no matter how much I say to the contrary, that's what readers think, so I'm rethinking the Philippa Marlowmellow series. Am I going to stop writing it. No. I may do it as a free series on my website. I'm still pondering that one.

4. Keep writing. This is the most important. When I left that evening, all I wanted to do was come home and write. It jazzed me up to keep going. To keep telling stories. When you're not selling, or on the best seller list, it can be hard to keep it up. I would love to be on that list and one day I will be. I just have to keep going. Keep creating the stories.

So, after all this the question is: Would I do another event? The answer is Hell Yeah! The Girl In The Golden Cage is being sent to beta readers soon. And then to be edited. Then off to another event! Off to hawk my wares It will be fun!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Intentionality - Phase One! Newsletter!

Phase one has begun. NEWSLETTERS! I know I'm supposed to have a newsletter, but I never knew what to put in it. I'm slow writer, so I don't have tons of things to publish yet. I didn't know what to say, or put in a newsletter that people would like to read. I talked with my good friend and author, Kayelle Allen, and she helped realize I do have something to say. So on February 1st, my first newsletter will be available. I will include what I'm working on, any music I like or am playing. Cross stitch projects I may be complaining about...uh love working on. And best of all, a ghost story.
I love ghost stories. Real ones. Ever since I had my encounter at 10 years old, I've wondered about the paranormal. So, I'm going to include a true ghost story in my newsletter. It's going to be fun. Send me your true ghost story and it may end up in an issue of my newsletter. You can sign up here, on the blog, or on my website at Send your ghost stories to me at If you don't want your name included with the story, please let me know and you'll remain anonymous. 

Let's have some fun together.