Just returned from the RT Booklovers Convention in Kansas City and what fun. Plus, it snowed! Yep, in May, we had a snowstorm. Took pictures for my kids which they thoroughly enjoyed. As Floridians, snow is thrilling. Unfortunately, my assistant Tiffany had to drive home through it.
Isn’t she great? She drove two hours to help me with the Thursday book signing and I couldn’t have done it without her. Much to everyone’s delight, she passed out cornbread recipe cards and steered them straight to my table. WTG, Tiffany!
We sold some books, made some new friends and look forward to attending again next year ~ in New Orleans! I also had the pleasure of meeting my fellow Central Florida Romance Writers Lori Sjoberg and Roxanne St. Claire. Always nice to see friendly faces. Ran into Brenda Novak as well and if you’re not familiar with her annual online auction for juvenile diabetes, it’s a must see, with a ton of great items for readers, writers — everyone!
Reader conventions are so much fun, they’re definitely my new focus. Do you know of any great ones?
Until then, must get back to writing. After hearing the amazing success stories from my fellow indie authors – my juices are energized!
Just finished up with my first Facebook Release Party celebrating my new series, Ladd Springs. It was a lot of fun, but it was my first and what I consider, a “work in progress.”
Hosted 5 days of online festivities, beginning on release day (Wed-Sun). Not sure if days of the week matter, but I wanted to make sure busy working women could stop by and post.
My series is set in Tennessee, so I posted Tennessee trivia questions each and every day for visitors to guess. It was sort of my way to get into the “region” of the story.
I posted personal pictures from Tennessee, specifically the property that inspired the series. This was to give readers a visual for some of my scenes in the books, then encouraged them to post their own pics of TN.
“Name that horse” was a post on day two, giving readers a chance to name a foal in an upcoming book. Visitors posted their favorite horse names which I collected and plan to post on my website and offer up for a vote via Poll Daddy. Name with the most votes wins and credit will be noted in the acknowledgements.
“Name that southern comfort food” was another day, giving readers a chance to name–you guessed it–a character’s favorite comfort food in an upcoming book. But I’ll also use this food item on my recipe cards (SWAG) that I create for each and every release.
During the entire event, my street team (Bloomin’ Warriors) were given the chance to win the entire Ladd Springs series if they posted a picture of themselves wearing their bloomin’ warrior T-shirt (included in their sign up package) on my Facebook event page during the party. I had 10 show up in their garb!
Of course there were prizes throughout. Each and every comment entered visitors into a drawing for adorable gift boxes filled with flower seeds and garden to-do note pads. I cross-market between my garden blog and romance writing so garden gifts abound!
What I learned:
Facebook parties are fun! Really fun when everyone is on and commenting in real-time, though I had to continually refresh my page to keep current. Unlike Twitter, Facebook doesn’t do that for me. And I learned how to make a bunch of new FB symbol/icons to add in my comments! Link is here.
Readers loved the trivia questions and enjoyed the camaraderie with other readers. They also seemed to enjoy the giveaway prizes!
I also learned that a lot of people don’t understand what a “facebook party” is quite yet. Several people thought it was going to be held at a physical location, others weren’t sure how to interact. Perhaps I’m more technologically advanced than my kids think! Anyway, a better, more thorough explanation up front may have helped with that angle.
So that’s my story. I’d love to hear about your experiences, both writers and readers alike! What makes a great online party? Facebook? Twitter? Something new and improved?
This weekend, my daughter and I were working a row of weeds. Actually several rows, but since I promised her we’d only tackle one row a day—the trick to securing her continued return—I was doing the bulk of the weeding. Which I don’t mind. Surrounded by sprouts and vegetables in varying stages of growth, I feel productive, the weather is sunny, warm with a light breeze. Life is good!
When she rose from her aisle of hay and exclaimed, “All done!”
I had to smile. The relief on her face was too funny—and predictable—and I couldn’t help but tease, “Already? Wow.” I surveyed her handiwork. “You’re amazing. How about another?”
“Mom,” she replied sternly, slapping a dirt-covered hand to her hip. “You promised. Only one row.”
“I know, I know.” I chuckled. “It was worth a try.” Dismissed, she trotted off to find her brother.
Only to return an hour later. Kneeling down in the row beside me, she began to pick at weeds. I glanced at her, surprised. “What are you doing? I thought you were finished weeding.”
“I am,” she reassured. “But I’m bored, so I thought I’d come help.”
I sat back on my heels. “You’re always welcome to help. In fact,” I added, “I like being in the garden with you, just us girls.”
This drew a smile from her, but she maintained focus on her task. I resumed my leaf pluck expedition down a line of lettuce and together we worked in silence until she murmured, “Mom, you are Superwoman.”
My heart sung! My spirit soared! “Superwoman?” I tried to conceal my glee. I mean—could it be true? She finally noticed?
Warmed by the sentiment, I smiled, flattered she noticed. It’s because I’ve devoted my life to you, isn’t it? I’ve signed on to be Girl Scout leader, always offer to be school volunteer, ever the reliable athletics chaperone…
Basking in the glow of my daughter’s admiration, my imagination frittered about, enthralled with a sense of validation, honor, and the glorious reward for my years of dedication.
That’s when I lost all sense of good judgment and replied, “That’s so sweet. But you know, baby doll, I’m not Superwoman.” I didn’t want her to invest any time in unrealistic goals and expectations for herself, her future, so I told her, “I’m just a woman, doing what she loves.”
Her expression twisted in confusion. “You love weeding?”
I pulled back. “Weeding?” Now we were both confused. “No…” My hands fell to my sides, landing in dirt. “I was referring to your Superwoman comment.”
“Why did you say I was Superwoman?” I asked, but could feel the hoe slicing through the air, its blade headed straight for me.
“Cause you have endurance! I don’t know any mom who could weed as much as you!”
Ouch. Bubble-filled fantasies popped. My ego deflated. There’s a kick in the rear.
But as those innocent green eyes held me in their gaze, I knew I couldn’t be upset. I had to take her at her word—the one she meant to be a compliment. And while it may not have been the one I had hoped, it was her own, and wholly genuine. Heartfelt.
It doesn’t get any better than that.
Rising from my knees, I walked over and placed a kiss on the top of her head. “Thank you, baby. I appreciate that, and it was kind of you to say.”
She beamed, pleased with herself. I grinned, heartened by her self-contentment. Both of us were satisfied with the moment, the kind which may prove scarce as she grows into adolescence.
So me, I took my lump of sugar when and where I could—as any smart mother would. One never knows when the next batch will arrive!
After all, it’s the life called mother. Have any moments to share?
Working mothers remains a hot debate. Whether you stay home and raise your children, or work outside the home while you partner with your spouse, motherhood and work when spoken in the same breath seems to touch a nerve. Why? Is it because the “sisterhood” is breaking down? Are we turning on one another? Eating our own?
Perhaps we’ve simply lost touch with our common purpose, motherhood. No one can be a mother, but a woman. People can “mother” and “nurture,” but there is no replacement for women. There is also no replacement for feeding our families, and feeding our souls. Should we be forced to give up our professional dreams as we raise our children? Should we be criticized for pursuing our passion if it takes us outside of the home when our children are young?
It’s a question I’ve lived with for many years. I began my life as a career-minded young woman. I secured a good position with a medical sales company and worked for ten years before facing the question. Should I give up my position to stay home and raise my children?
Fortunately for me, I also discovered my passion for writing. It was an easy overlap as I progressed through my second childbirth.
That’s when I stayed home for good. I stayed home because I wanted to be with my children. I wanted to be the one who cared for them, laughed with them, enjoyed each and every moment with them. But I never lost my desire to work and produce. In fact, it’s one of the best things about my garden! Kids don’t hand out awards, financial or otherwise, when Mom does a great job. They don’t recognize your achievements with promotions or bonuses. They simply smile, give you a hug and draw you a picture.
And sometimes that’s enough. For a while. But when they grow older and begin to live their own lives, you find yourself with time on your hands. For me, I filled it with writing. But not everyone has the flexibility that I did. Not everyone made the choices I made. Does that make them wrong?
Condemn Me Not is my latest release and explores this very topic. Veering from my romantic fiction, this one is all about the mothers and daughters. While I adore romance, women’s issues are near and dear to my heart, as is fleshing them out!
Would love to hear your opinions…;)