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Monday, July 25, 2011

Kingsburg Library Event

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. How was your week? Mine kind of sucked! Can we use that kind of language here? *flips through by-laws* Lol! Actually, the week was pretty busy, which is rather normal. It was mostly Friday that was the worst; leaving such a bad taste in my mouth. Picture 11 hours at work, no lunch, a work-phone that never stopped ringing and very little production on the Packaging floor. You guys know I work at Sun-Maid Raisin Growers, right?

Anyway, I didn't post today to whine about what has past. There were some good things that took place. My son had a concert Monday night with some of his buddies and did well, as always. The young man has skills! Then on Thursday evening I had an author event at my local library. It is about this that I wanted to share with you.

I joined the Chamber of Commerce last year in anticipation of this sort of thing. You'll recall that my novel is about vampires loosed in my hometown, so I have a built-in audience if I can only reach them. I attempted to get something going with the library before, but it was slow going. However, in May, while sharing a bill with Lorie Ham and Marilyn Meredith of Kings River Life Magazine at a library event in Fresno, I happened to meet a member of the Kingsburg Friends of the Library. That meeting led to this past week's event.

I freely admit that I was a bit nervous. I do safety meetings at work where I have to speak publicly - that wasn't the problem. I had also done a couple of things before, but this time it was all me. Needless to say, everything worked out well.

We had about twenty people come out which was great. You always worry that no one shows, you know? I was given no outline as to what to do, so after I was introduced, I began by telling them about myself. I told them who I was, what shaped me and how I came to be sitting before them. Then I read the synopsis to Dance on Fire. I then opened the book and read what amounts to be the prologue. We did questions and answers, too. I've been pretty lucky so far, in that the questions have always been good and thought-provoking. Nothing ridiculous or too far. Anyway, how could I complain? I never thought I would really be doing this.

Before I forget, I told the group that I felt it was important that we were all there, supporting our local library. In this day of tightening budgets, it is a shame to think of losing our arts in the schools and to have our libraries close. It was my discovery of horror novels in my teenage years that led me to be sitting before them. Without libraries and book stores, I might never have come to be a writer.

I met new people, got reacquainted with some old friends and was joined by friends, family and co-workers. I sold some more books and hopefully laid the seed for future fans. (By the way, the e-book version of my novel is 50% off at Smashwords until the end of July. See the link above.) One thing that I take very seriously is what I feel to be a responsibility that I have. Since I dreamt of being a writer for my entire life and am now having that dream realized, I hold the eyes of every young person that I meet and do my best to convince them to chase their dreams. Especially the teenage girls. I know how the world and young men try to get them to settle.
I tell them, either by my words or in the body of my autograph, to dream big and then to do everything in their power to chase that dream.

I hope you guys are doing that, too.

We'll talk soon.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Vacation, Part One

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. I trust you had a great weekend. Anytime that I don’t have to get up before God does, which is what my day job asks of me, then it’s good. (Lord, I apologize for that there.)

Well, after having discussed this new restructure plan of mine for two weeks, I thought it best to talk about something else. How about vacations? My next library event is this coming week, so there isn’t much to discuss there. I have yet to begin rewriting Dance on Fire: Flash Point, so there isn’t anything there either.

Who among us has been on vacation yet? Anyone? Where did you go? Was it a working vacation?

As many of you may recall, we went to New York City this past March for my oldest son’s High School Wind Ensemble. They played Carnegie Hall, and the trip was fantastic! However, with more trips like that coming, we’re not going to go crazy this year with any large trips. There is already talk of another potential New York trip next spring for the High School choir, followed by a Hawaii trip the year after that. I’m also heading to Georgia this coming fall for my brother’s wedding. Unfortunately, everyone - including mom the teacher –will be in school then, so I’m going alone. Well, not completely alone, my parents are coming with me. With that in mind, it appears that we will probably only be taking mini vacations for a while; which is perfectly fine.

We live in the California Central Valley. At the moment, it isn’t a lot of fun because we can get quite a few 100+ degree summer days. What is good about it is the fact that we are only a few hours away from a lot of great places: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Yosemite, the Giant Redwoods and Sequoia National Park, and the central coast. And since it’s been a while since we’ve last been to the coast, that’s where we’re heading in a few weeks: Monterey, California. For Steinbeck fans, you’ll recognize the place as the home of cannery row. It is also the location of the world famous Monterrey Aquarium. There’s a lot of great places to eat, to shop and to, most importantly, simply take in the coastal view and air.

Now, here’s the question: do I take trusty laptop with me? We’re staying for three to four days. That’s quite a lot of time away from my computer. Do you take yours when you leave town? Using trusty iPhone to do a lot of networking is okay, but it isn’t the easiest thing in the world from such a tiny screen.

In any event, I’m calling this post part one because I plan on posting again after we get back with several photos from our time away.

We’ll talk soon.

Monday, July 11, 2011

One Week Later and other updates

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. I hope everyone is doing well; busy reading, writing, editing, promoting, selling, etc. Wherever you find yourself, I hope you are happy. If you simply love to read and talk about books, I hope you have found some great stories out there. If writing is your dream, I hope your dreams are coming to fruition. I know mine are.

Last week, I wrote of attempting to turn over a new leaf with regard to networking. I just found that with my limited amount of time, that I was spending way too much time posting items that few were reading. It wasn’t a matter of me throwing a fit or being upset about it or anything. It was simply a fact. And I think I knew why, which was: I hadn’t been visiting anyone’s blogs either.

So I decided that I would instead focus on writing one piece per week and spend the rest of the week doing promotion for it, as well as to visit the blogs of others. Hopefully by this time many, if not all of you, have already caught me prowling about your pages. *winks*

Once again, please don’t think of this as me being upset. I want to know what you guys are up to. I want to help promote not only my stuff but yours as well, as I can. Not only have I read some of your books this year, but I have adored them, too. I was missing out on a lot things that you guys were up to, and I do not like that. The upside of me more closely following the blogs and doings of others is the wonderful fact that people returned the favor and visited me. Hopefully, this will be a new direction and not simply a recent and short-lived fad...


This month my edits are supposed to return to me for Dance on Fire: Flash Point. Beyond that, I have two articles that I wrote for Kings River Life Magazine: one was on my town’s community band, which holds concerts in the park; while the second article is a profile of the Kingsburg Police Chief. That one will be going live this coming Saturday. I also just had a review come out Saturday that I did a few months ago on the delightful novel Menopause in Manhattan by my buddy Anne Kleinberg. My editor is always looking to do reviews and was good enough to want to use this one.

Other than that, I simply press forward. I have two library events coming up. The first will be in my hometown which is the site where my novel takes place. If you have yet to read my novel and you like e-books, then you are in luck! *grins* This month, Smashwords is having a sale. You can get my book for almost nothing. If you would rather have the signed softcover version, send me a note. I'm sure we can work something out. *grins again*

We'll talk soon. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Networking Responsibilities?!?

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. Hopefully, fire is not the operative word where you live now that it is blazing hot in most places and, more importantly, fire season. The only thing that I want burning are my poor characters…in a manner of speaking.

Today, I thought I would go over some of my networking responsibilities. I use that word because I feel a desire to assist others since I like it very much when you all assist me. I have mentioned many times that it isn’t easy with the crazy schedule that I am keeping, mostly due to my 11 hour day job. I may be selling a few books now, especially now that I am doing author events; however, I don’t feel that it should relieve me of any duties to my buddies out there in the blogosphere.

I write one to two blog posts (such as this one) a week for myself, an article or two a month for Kings River Life Magazine and once in a while I write a post for Something Wicked This Way Comes. If I do not have any pressing deadlines, then I typically focus on catching up with comments that are left for me on anyone of several of the social networks: Facebook, Twitter, GetFanged, etc. If I have read anything of late, then I update Goodreads, Shelfari and Amazon with the information/review. Beyond that, I try to promote my novel a bit.

With the time that I have left, I usually focus on Twitter first, by re-tweeting particularly interesting or noteworthy tweets of others. On Wednesday and Friday I do my best to participate with Writer Wednesday (#WW) and Follow Friday (#FF), by listing the links of my friends, mates, buddies and secret crushes (just checking to see whether I still had your attention… Or was I?).

With Facebook, I try to “like” the pages of others as well as comments of note. I especially enjoy dropping people a line on their birthdays. This past year on my birthday, it was such a thrill, having so many people reach out to me. It was better than any gift I could have received.

Lastly, as time permits, I try and visit the blogs. I hate to simply say “hello” and vanish. If the post attracts my attention, I like to leave a quick note of some merit.

That’s basically where I’m at for the moment. How do you guys do it? Do you feel the way I do about blogging and networking with/for others? How do you guys manage your blogosphere day?

Notice that I didn’t mention anything about writing fiction? Soon the edits will arrive in my e-mail for Dance on Fire: FlashPoint. When they do, I'm going to need to make time for those. Then I need to begin working on the next WIP. *sigh*

I guess that I really shouldn't complain, should I? After all, I am living the dream.

Aren't I?

Oh, and Happy 4th of July, America.

We'll talk soon.