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I get to do this and call it research! #ILoveMyLife

So yesterday I went to a bridal expo.

Hold the batphone, you say. Aren’t you married? Like, for a thousand years?

Yup, true.

Then why did you go to a bridal expo? you ask.

Research, I say. Research.

Let me ‘esplain.

For NaNoWriMo this year, I’m penning a new romance series about a family in the wedding business. To add some truthfulness into the narrative, I said to myself, “Self? Why not contact a wedding planner?” And then when I was driving to the gym the other day, I happened to hear a commercial about an upcoming bridal expo at one of my favorite places in New Hampshire, Alyson’s Orchard.

As soon as I got home I emailed the manager of Alyson’s.   I introduced myself, told her I wasn’t a bride-to-be (Not even close!) but that I wanted to do some bridal industry research for my new romance series. Luckily, she said, yes, I could come to the expo!

It was so much fun. I met some very lovely wedding planners, got some ideas about what’s involved in putting together a dream wedding nowadays – since I did get married a millennium ago, things have really changed –  and basically had a blast talking all things bridal with the vendors at the expo. One of my favorite people? Wedding officiant Jane E. Rokes. We talked for quite a while on all things officiant-related.

God, I love research!!!!

When I’m not out doing fun stuff, er I mean, gathering research, you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, love, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

The day that changed my life

Another week, another interpretation of this blog title. Personal? Professional? Neither? Both?

Okay, throwing that virtual dart on the wall again I’m gonna go with professional.

The day I pick is the day I learned I was going to have my first romance novel published BY A REAL PUBLISHER!!!!

I was at the 2014 RWA conference in San Antonio – my very first RWA conference.

I’d already gotten the email from Rhonda Penders, publisher of The Wild Rose Press, that she wanted to see my entire manuscript after I’d come in first place in a contest she’d judged for unpublished writers. I’d sent it along about a month previously to an editor, who coincidentally, told me she would be attending the conference and thought it might be nice to put a face to my “email voice.” We decided on a date and time to meet.

At the appointed hour I made my way to the registration desk and met with the person whom I’d been corresponding for the past month. She was absolutely lovely. We discussed many things – the conference, the weather in San Antonio – but we skirted around the topic of the book she was reading for me. I thought that was a telling sign: she hated it!

Finally, I had to get to another course so I shook her hand and thanked her for being so kind and gracious in meeting me. Before she let me go she said when I got home I would be receiving an email that might make me happy. In a word, WRP had decided they wanted my book for their list. It took me a second to realize she meant they wanted to publish it. A loooooooooong-ass second. I was so silent, standing there, still holding her hand, I fear she thought I was having a stroke or some kind of medical emergency.

The moment dragged on and I swear I couldn’t form a sentence right then if I’d been jolted by lightning.

Suddenly, a group of women walked by, all laughing, and that noise jarred me out of my paralysis. I smiled – or I think I did – squeezed her hand, and thanked her. Again. Like, five times! She laughed, told me I was welcome and encouraged me to  get  along to my course.

I don’t think I did. If memory serves, I went back to my room and cried. For an hour. I cried so much I had to redo all my makeup before that evening’s event.

I honestly don’t remember much more about that day because all I did was replay what she’d said about publishing my book on a virtual and continual loop in my head.

That was 2014 and I was a naive addition to the publishing community. Three years later and I know a little more about what to expect after signing that contract.

But even today, every time an editor tells me they want my book for their list, I still feel like that naive little publishing-virgin and have my Sally Field moment.

 

It’ll be fun to see what the other writers in this blog hop have decided is their best day. Click on their links to read what they’d written for today.

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, love, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Skater's Waltz, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Facebook….turns out, it’s a good thing

Yesterday I extolled some of the wisdom Jane Friedman imparted last weekend at Fiction Fest 2017 in her master class. One of the biggest takeaways from the workshop for me was how powerful Facebook can be for an author.

When I first began my journey as a published author in 2015 I had the typical Facebook page where I trolled the news feed for posted info on family and friends. It was my then-editor who suggested I make myself a professional FB page for my author career. The thought of now having to manage and keep track of 2 things on FB, not to mention Twitter, Pinterest, my website, my Amazon page,  yada yada yada was a little daunting and a whole lot of nauseating.

But I heeded her advice and did it. The one thing I was adamant about though, was that the professional author page was  going to be for anybody who wanted to follow me as an author. I was going to keep my personal page just that – private. The reason was an easy one for me because I have small children in my family and friends circle and their parents post pictures of them frequently. I didn’t want some wackjob creepy person to see those pictures. There are a lot of undesirables on the Internet, hunting for innocent prey. And I know that sounds dramatic, but have you read the news lately??? Not dramatic at all.. simply proactive.

So. Two pages. Two separate entities. Double the work. More to keep track of. But you know what? it was a good thing. I have waaaaaaay more “friends” on my professional page than my personal one. I don’t post anything on the professional page I wouldn’t want everyone in the cyber world to see, but I’m able to keep private what needs to be kept private on the personal page. One of the good things about Facebook is that you can set up protection and privacy settings on posts.

Jane is a big proponent of reader and follower engagement on her FB page. She uses her page as a tool to interact with readers, answer questions, make announcements, show her blog postings. She feels authors should use the Professional page as their number one tool for marketing and acquiring new followers who then become readers. I always felt that Twitter gave me my biggest bang for engagement, and in reality, I have more twitter followers than I do FB followers (not many more, but a few). One of the drawbacks, Jane says about Twitter, is that it is very much a right here- right now thing. In other words, once you post something you have about 17 minutes or so for people to see it. After that, it gets lost in the quagmire of a hundred billion other tweets and the scroll shoves you waaaaaaay down low. Makes sense. On Facebook, your postings get added to the newsfeed, your followers get notified you’ve posted something, and if you come back to the post a few hours later and simply “like” it, it brings it back up in the current scroll. That’s genius in my mind. Plus, everytime someone likes or comments on your post you get a notification and respond in kind.

Facebook parties are a fabulous markteting tool for new readers and engagement as well. Facebook ads can be a tool to drive people to your page, but be careful. Don’t go crazy and spend more than you think you really need on an ad.

So. Facebook. I will now be using it a great deal more than Twitter. Still love to tweet though!

When I’m not Facebook-ing or Tweeting, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, branding, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, research, Romance Books

A new experience…

Every year for our birthdays, my daughter and I elect to give each other a memorable experience in lieu of a standard gift. (Full disclosure here: I still get her a gift!!) For her 25th birthday, we took a cooking class together, as an example. When my birthday rolled around this year, she asked what I wanted to do that we hadn’t done before and she gave me a few options. One of them was going to trapeze school.

I can hear you saying now, “Excuse me, WHAT?”
Yes, you heard ( or read!) correctly. I wanted to learn how to fly on a trapeze. On a bar. 30 feet above the ground. And yes, with a net under me. I’m not totally a moron or have a death wish.

Anyway….

Over this past weekend, my daughter and I went to trapeze school.

It was as terrifying as I thought it would be, but it was so much more.

My daughter gave me the option of going first. I took it. As I climbed the 25 foot ladder up to the jumping off stand, I started to run in my mind the last time I paid my life insurance policy, was it up-t0-date? Who was my beneficiary? When I got to the stand, shaking and feeling as if I was going to throw up the oatmeal I had for breakfast ( more on that later) I must have telegraphed my absolute terror to the man who was going to strap me in and basically shove me off the stand because he said, “first time?”

Jeeze. What gave me away? The fact the ladder was clanging from my shaking hands? The pallor of my face? The fact my pupils were constricted with fear?

Anyway…he was lovely, reassuring, and very strong, thankfully. I did as I was instructed: one arm out to catch the bar, one hand behind me holding onto another bar, bend my knees, breathe. ON his count, he made me switch to both hands on the bar, put ten toes over the ledge and don’t look down, just focus on the distance. Now, of course, you know when someone tells you not to look down the first thing you do is….look down!! And sweet, baby Jesus, was I high up. Like third story building high up. On the count of three, he said, “go.” And I…went.

You never know how much you value your life as when it flashes before your eyes.

From below, the main instructor was calling out instructions, the most important one? “Focus on my voice!!” I did. I straightened my legs, lifted them when told, swung them around the bar so that now I was holding on and my knees were clutching the bar. When he said, “Let go and drop backward,” another flash flew past me and I…let go and leaned backward. I think at this time I screamed “Holy, Shit!”  but since neither my daughter nor my husband was videoing me, I can’t remember for sure. I do remember thinking “I’m actually doing this and not dying!!  Then I thought, “yet!”

Next instruction? Lift back up, drop your legs and let go.

Now, upside down hanging from the backs of my thighs is a position I never in 1,000,000 years thoughts I’d ever be in. But, I was. Looking at the world from 30 feet up and upside down is…interesting. And, I will admit, a total rush. And a little nauseating…damn that oatmeal.

Okay, so after a few seconds of this experience the instructor yelled, “Put your hands back up on the bar, drop your legs, and let go.”

Okay, what? Let go? I guess  I thought they would somehow lower me back down. The thought I had to DROP never crossed my mind. He said it again. “Let go.” So, I did.

The fact that I’m here, writing this, proves I didn’t die!!!

Now, no one took video of me doing this, so when it was my daughter’s turn, of course, I had that camera all set to record. Here is her much more stylish swing through:  

And, yes, it goes just that fast!!

So after the first time, when I was letter friggin’ perfect, you’d probably think it was a piece of cake after that and that the next time I’d be even better. Yeah…not so much. You never realize how much you weigh or what terrible shape your arm muscles are in until you are trying to hang with all your weight dropping straight down and someone yells “lift you legs over the bar.” So, I was a one hit wonder with the trapeze bar. Got a perfect 10 on my first try. I should have stopped there, but you know…competition! I tried 2 more times and then that damn oatmeal got the better of me and I got really sick and we had to call it a morning.

But for a few quick hours I flew like a bird. An overweight, middle aged, not very strong bird….but one, nonetheless.

And it was friggin’ fabulous!

One of my favorite human beings is Eleanor Roosevelt. She once said, “you must do the things that terrify you.” And I did!

So, next year’s birthday experience? Sky diving sounds good, no?

When I’m not doing birthday or bucket list things, you can find me here::Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

 

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Filed under Author, Life challenges, Strong Women