Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Finally back on the grid!

I really do believe this is the longest I’ve ever gone without updating my Blog.  It’s also possibly the longest I’ve gone without getting much writing in…at all.  It’s not a feeling I like very much and I completely look forward to the month of August when things will get back to normal.
Even so, I have to say the month of July has been an experience.  Not only did I take part in a 5-day event where I promoted my name, my book and the soon-to-be published second book in the series, I was also able to go on a family road trip for the first time in much too long.  I really needed a vacation but if you know me and the way our family takes vacations, I usually need a vacation after the vacation because we never have figured out how to actually rest while on our family trips.

Playing in Lake Pend Oreille
Oh well…to each their own.  Maybe our next vacation will include a relaxing week on the beach (but honestly, after two days, I’d be ready to take off for some real sightseeing!).
It’s hard to believe almost two weeks have gone by since I was anxiously preparing for Lakefair, as I wondered how the week would go, worried about whether I had enough books or if I had too many, concerned whether I had enough flyers and bookmarks to hand out over the whole 5-day period, preoccupied with how much time I’d be taking off work (not only for Lakefair but also due to vacation)…and trying my best to stay optimistic rather than let the pessimism take control. 

And that’s a really hard thing to do.
Thankfully, I had my husband with me the whole time.  He was the positive force which struck down any negative thoughts and he stayed with me during the whole event.  He’s the best salesman anyone could ever hope to have and because he’s my biggest fan, he’s even that much better.  There’s something about writers…we can be social but overall, I think we’d prefer to hide behind our books, our computer, our thoughts and our imagination.  We’d much prefer to let someone else talk about us, promote us, and encourage others to take a chance on us. 

So how would I describe the results of the event? 
It was, overall, a good experience.  What I did learn was that there is no easy way to prepare for this sort of event.  It can go really well, it can be somewhat successful or it can be a complete flop.  There really is no way to know so you have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.  For me, I’d say it was right between really well and somewhat successful but I’m still watching the results from the aftermath…as readers buy my paperback or the eBook on line and as I watch my author ranking fluctuate on Amazon.  It is an amazing thing to see when something you did causes the Amazon author ranking graph to suddenly shoot upwards from where it was only two days before.

Something else I really hadn’t been prepared for was how much fun it was going to be to take part in this sort of event with other vendors.  These vendors are in the same situation, only with different products, but they are your neighbors for at least 9 to 10 hours a day, five days straight.  It’s hard not to form at least some sort of temporary bond during the time you’re all working so hard to make the event a positive experience.
Another treat were all the dogs…wow!  I’m not sure I’ve seen so many different kinds of dogs.  It only made me miss my own. 

Sweet Newfoundland

And finally, what I especially enjoyed was how much fun it was to meet so many terrific people.  They would stop by to chat, ask questions and even share a few laughs.  There weren’t many who didn’t buy a book (if they didn’t already have one) before moving on which, of course, I thoroughly loved.  In return, they all gave me great conversation, a smile or a laugh and it made each day that much better. 
That’s all I can share right now without writing a book but I’ll be back in a few days to share more about some of the people I met during the event, along with a few tidbits and stories I’d like to share…including the good, the bad and the amusing.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Two days down, three more to go…

Well, it’s now the end of Day 2 of the Lakefair event.  I’m beat, I won’t lie.  Yesterday was a so-so day, with a light turnout for all the booths, not just mine.  The weather was also kind of crappy, with clouds that refused to leave us until late afternoon and a wind that just didn’t seem to want to ever go away.

Today was much better.  There were more people and the clouds broke almost right after we were ready for customers.  It got warm very quickly and we were soon wishing for any sort of breeze to hit us from over the lake!
This is the view over the lake from where our tent is set up, before the clouds finally broke.

We look forward to an even better day tomorrow and Saturday should be a great turnout as well.  We’ve met so many great people just in the past two days.  I really look forward to meeting many more.
And now…I’m off to bed.  Here’s a shot of my dogs (the third is up towards the top, blending in with the shadows but you can see those glowing eyes) after whatever mischief they got into all day has made them all very tired. 
This photo is a good portrayal of just how tired I feel right now.  So it's time for a good nights’ rest so we can take on another day at Lakefair!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

It may be Summer but I’ll be going dark soon…

Well, not completely dark, but dusk-like, at least.  The next few weeks my posts will be limited on content, not on schedule or completely absent all together.  With a 5-day book event coming up this week and other plans soon afterwards which will take up much of my free time, there will be little time to make room for blogging.
So I want to apologize beforehand for the fact that my schedule will be totally up in the air for a while. 

Even before I began the crazy schedule as a full-time working mother and writer, summer was always a pretty busy time of year for me.  I’ve only removed the hustle and bustle of a high school sports schedule from my agenda and added the never-ending task list involved with writing and marketing my books.  I can’t imagine how I could have begun writing at all if I was still planning my evenings and weekends around a football or basketball game schedule, booster club meetings or fundraiser events. 
Regardless, there are always seasons when we’re busier than others.  It just helps when you’re able to make concessions in order to avoid burnout. 

So, my concession to avoid that burnout is not to stress about my blog posts.  I’ll be updating my Facebook page when I can about how the Lakefair event is going this coming week.  I’ll also add photos here on my Blog if I’m able.  Either way, I’ll check in when I find the time but for those who are local, don’t forget to stop by to see me at my booth during Lakefair.  I’ll be selling signed copies of No Mother of Mine at Lakefair while promoting the second book in the series, Best Kept Secrets, due out later this summer.  If you’re looking for an excerpt of the second book in the series, hang tight.  I’m doing my best to make one available but it’s not likely to be ready for the Lakefair event.  If you don’t hold that against me, and even if you already have a copy of my first book, swing by to say hello.  I’d love the company.
Again, the upcoming event is Lakefair in downtown Olympia on Water Street from July 17th through July 21st.  Enjoy yourself as you wander about, snack on an elephant ear and discover the various arts and crafts on display.  The weather is going to be gorgeous so we’re looking forward to a good turnout. 

Wish me luck!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Busy week, forgetful mind

I’ve had one of those weeks again.  You know the kind; they tend to keep you so busy you can forget yourself when it comes to routine things.
I forgot yesterday was Wednesday...which is why I also forgot to update my Blog.  Or maybe I didn’t forget it was Wednesday, but updating my Blog was really the last thing on my mind. 

Not only has this been a busy week at work, as I try to prepare myself for the days I’ll be taking off for the Capital Lakefair event next week, it’s also been busy because I’ve been preparing for Lakefair.  On top of that, my week was cut short because I spent the day with my husband as he underwent surgery today.  So…last night my mind was no longer on work and no longer on writing but instead was entirely focused on what needed to be done to prepare for today. 
I’m now winding down from a long day spent in the waiting room, in the recovery room, and then running around town to pick up items needed for the next few days before I was finally able to get my husband home for some much needed rest.  As he sleeps off his exhaustion and lets his body begin to heal, I’m forcing myself to focus on writing so I don’t completely pass out and become useless when he wakes and might need me.   

Although, I’ll admit when I take even a fraction of a moment to think about what I want to say, I find myself drifting off into la-la land. 

Yes, I do feel as if I could fall asleep right on top of my keyboard.
I’ll be back again this weekend…I think it’s time to admit defeat and take that nap after all. 


Sunday, July 7, 2013

If I can’t QUIT my job, I don’t want to LOVE it either

How’s that for an opening?  Do you wonder why I wouldn’t want to love my job?
Until recently, I hadn’t realized that liking my job vs. loving it would even be an issue.  There are many authors who work while they try to write…it’s just par for the course.  Until you can make a living doing what you love to do (or win the lottery, whichever comes first), you have to make a living doing what pays the bills (and covers your health insurance). 

But what happens when you forget about why you got that job in the first place? 

What happens when so many factors seem to pull you away from what you love to do?

Sometimes you become immune to the initial idea of the original plan, you become equally complacent in your role and you get comfortable with what you know. 
That, right there, is where the problem lies.

Many factors came into play when I had to make a career change and decide to work for someone else rather than myself.  It’s not a decision I especially wanted to make but it was necessary at the time.  It’s not a decision I can regret making but recently I’ve realized it’s also one I can’t become comfortable with.
When I get comfortable, I resist change.  When I get complacent, I ignore the fact that there are other fulfilling possibilities out there. 

I don’t want to get comfortable.  I don’t wish to become complacent.
Due to this, I’ve discovered I also don’t want to love my job.  I want to like it and the people I work with but I can’t become satisfied to the point that I forget I have dreams to realize, I have goals to reach and I have so much more to do in this life than plod away at an 8 to 5 job (whatever happened to the 9 to 5 job?).

As I said, initially the idea of liking my job vs. loving it wasn’t a factor.  It was just a job.  I liked my job, most days, and I enjoyed the people I work with, most of the time, but every long day kept me from what I truly wanted to do.  However, the past few months the job has provided me with more satisfaction and less frustration and when I thought about my future, it somehow involved more of the job than it did my writing.
That is not where my mind needs to be.

I have to remember not to forget myself…my plans, my goals, my dreams.
So now what? 

Well, I’m keeping the job, of course.  I’ll continue to enjoy my job when I’m at work but I’ll leave it behind once I walk out that door every day.  The rest of each day will be focused on those goals that will eventually help me move on from the regular day job to something I can truly enjoy and call my own. 
Until then, I’ll keep reminding myself that the day job can’t get in the way of the dream job.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Whatever the holiday, I’ll enjoy the day off

Another holiday will soon come and go and with it the fun we shall have.  It’s a reason to cut out of work early or come in late afterwards.  It’s a reason to take an extra day off so the weekend is that much longer.  And it’s an even better reason to spend with friends and family.
I didn’t make this a long weekend like most people probably did.  I should have but I’m already taking enough time off later this month so I’ll just take advantage of the fact that the holiday gives me a free day from work.  I did leave work early today though; my excuse is that the computers at work were down all day.  Really, when you’re not very productive, what’s the point in sticking around? 

Leaving work early means I got to enjoy time in the afternoon I don’t usually get to have to myself and once I finish updating my Blog with this post, I get to spend a nice evening with the love of my life.  I see a few winning games of cribbage in my future as we sit outside to enjoy the rest of the day.  A few wins under my belt with a nice cold drink sounds like the perfect kind of evening.      
I look forward to a day off from work, especially when the weather has been so perfect lately.  I expect to enjoy my day however I see fit before we move on to enjoy the celebration of the holiday. 

Whatever your plans are for the holiday (if in fact you are celebrating the U.S. holiday), I hope you enjoy yourself and the time you get to spend with family and friends.
Happy 4th!