Tour News & Tour Blues

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So this blog is supposed to detail our idea of having a book tour, the preparation leading up to the tour and finally, when we hit the road and how things go along the way. I am sincere about telling our followers the real story, the triumphs and trials, etc. There will be no unicorns and rainbows, I’m afraid.

That said, I am on the venue hunt. I’m mailing today over 240 letters to our destination coffee shops, bookstores a libraries in each city we are visiting.This doesn’t even count the church groups we would like to speak to as well.

As I’m furiously searching for shops and places that seem like they would be a good fit for P&C, of course my mind wanders to the heartache of self-publishing versus traditional. Who are the interns that do this busy work for Random House? Do they even do book tours anymore? I mean, really. Nowadays we feel like we know our favorite authors already, because we’re on their Facebook. An author can’t sign a Kindle and really, when is the last time I remember a signing being advertised?

I know this sounds nuts. Not exactly self-promoting right? I just wonder. Has the publishing and literary world evolved to a place, due to technology, where face to face is not so valuable?

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Naturally I laugh in the face of adversity, so searching for venues remains on my todo list. We only need 12. 🙂

 

ch

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The Speech No One Asked Me To Deliver

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Well it’s been a crazy couple of weeks. As usual I am over run with life and so I am combining two blogs that have been swimming around in my brain, which is at capacity, by the way.

Last Friday, I stood and graduated from Wichita State University with my Bachelors Degree.

It. Took. Twenty. Years. 1994-2014

As I looked around me I wanted to tell the predominantly twenty-something graduates what they had done, how far ahead of me they were, how they needed to stay focused, stay selfish, stay young! I looked into the stands at my children, willing them to postpone marriage & family, the two most important things in my life…until later; begging them with my mama eyes not to do as I had done. With nothing but the wisdom of age, I wanted to shower the whole stadium with my thoughts and advice. “This is awesome! Don’t let it slip away!”  

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Now I don’t have to insert that long paragraph here where I apologize and promise I love my kids do I? ty

So…. fast forward to today. I am half-way through a summer pre-session at WSU where I just graduated but needed to get a few more credits. So, pre-session means an entire semester, nine credits in 9 days. I have been an online student for 20 years mostly, but I had to take these classes here on campus. So here I am, daughter in tow, hotel room, etc. Fourteen hours of classes a day, but in four more days I am free until I start my Masters program in the Fall.

I am so glad I did this. I’m exhausted and stressed and overwhelmed and I am so glad I did this.

Being on a university campus every day is…amazing. There are art galleries and coffee shops, architecture and libraries, new people and so much to see and do and talk about and share and experience. I almost went my whole college career, Masters included, without knowing this. I’ve already promised my daughter (special needs) who is not degree seeking, that I will send her here for at least a semester, with a paid companion, to just live in dorm on campus, take some classes and experience this once in her life! I have another daughter who isn’t speaking to me, but I’m tempted to make her the same offer!!  Maybe if she had a tiny taste of what the world has to offer, she would stop settling! One of our sons is for sure college bound so I am not worried about him, but the other one hates school and wants to get out there and make money. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m already wondering how I can bribe him into one semester!!

It’s like that semester abroad or spending a summer at camp. It’s just getting out of your box and into another one! I don’t care if my kids get degrees or make millions, but I want them to hang out in a coffee shop where hundreds of cultures pass through daily! I want them to hear teachers tell stories about Indian Reservations and sweat shops and Mardi Gras. I want them to spend hours getting lost in a library, not because they like to read or have to write a paper, but because they have no where else to be and every book has a different title!

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I got my college id the other day. I had to have one to use computers and labs and things. I’d never had one. I go to class early and take my time walking to the car just to look around.There are sculptures everywhere, a church, restaurants, it’s like an aircraft carrier. It’s a little city!

My daughter, who does go to a community college in our small community, came to class with me once and she was overwhelmed. Why do the seats in the classrooms go up like that? Where is the car? Are those apartments? *Mom…where are you. I’m lost.* 🙂

From the golf course to the book store, I am just in love with this little piece of life. I’ll take my two weeks, but I recommend everyone else take more! On Friday I will go home, back to my husband and kids and the farm and the small town I love. I will still be me, but I know something now about what I almost missed. Almost.

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Save the money, get a loan, sell your car. Go to college.

 

ch

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Sell Yourself Tall!!

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I just sold a book. Just now, to a friend of a friend, who had already read it.

They were both amazed that I had written a book, that they were meeting a real author and when I said I had written ten I thought they would swoon and need to fan themselves and have a seat. She insisted I sign it and went on and on.

To this I reacted as I typically do.

“It’s nothing, really.”

Then I charged her $8, even though the price on the back is $11 and tucked the cash in my pocket, pleased that I would have lunch money today.

Why did I do that? Why did I undercharge? Why did I shy away from my well-deserved praise and why do I act as if writing a book is no big deal?

We musn’t do this to ourselves. Whether we have written a book or a book report, cleaned the house or caught a fish, we must accept credit and hold our heads high! If we do not place value on the things that we do, then how can we expect anyone else to?

 

I think some of this stems from childhood anxiety, not being able to take compliments, not ever being taught to receive compliments and instead being taught that to boast or commiserate in one’s own successes is somehow arrogant or prideful. Well I’m not arrogant, but I am proud, of myself, for writing TEN books! There, I said it. It is a big deal. It does take countless hours and it is worth eleven dollars! She probably would have paid twenty, but I’ll never know will I?

I did the same thing the other day with a photography client and I knew the minute she reached for her checkbook that I had charged too little. She jumped too fast and I knew she was surprised, pleased, but fully prepared to pay more. Why do I do that? My husband says I do the same thing with our furniture business, that I have never charged too much, so I let him give quotes more and more. 

So, how to handle this differently, next time. Say thank you. Tell a story about how many nights you sat up, how many rough drafts you had or what you’re working on now. Share the credit with an old teacher or your mother or your children. Ask them to please get back to you and let you know what they thought. Care. Be gracious.

ch

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Being A Mother… Is HARD.

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My title may seem to be an understatement, an obvious piece of rhetoric that could be mistaken for sarcasm. But what it really is, is a cold, undeniable, fact. Being a mother is hard. 

I have an idea, let’s be responsible for another human being. Wait, say again, let’s be responsible for several other human beings. But let’s not just see that they survive, let’s really ingest their every whim, their pain and their passion, their mistakes and their successes. Let’s, we mothers pretend we can control and that we in fact are in control of everything. Every. Thing.

Every time they cry or fall or swear or take a breath, let’s feel it, hear it, breath it in with them and cry harder and louder and longer.

Let’s try a billion things, a billion times and fail. Let’s try again.

Even the good things, the poignant memories, the fantastic accomplishments, are soul crushing and bittersweet, because they are all steps taken away from us, against us, without us. Their new friends are not us, their favorite teachers are not us, their new babies and new houses and new jobs are all not ours or even with us in mind. But these are our babies.

So let’s watch, during the 86,400 instances in each day, let’s watch and wait and worry and wonder and weep, forever. Not for five years or twelve or eighteen or twenty-one years. Forever. From before they are born until after they may be gone, the ache, the draw, the magnetic tug on our ankles in the sand will always be our children.

Near or far, good or bad. On the very best of days, being anyone’s mother, is hard.

ch

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Looking for Venues…

So we have to find twelve locations to graciously welcome us into their quaint environments to share our work, our time, our spirit and hopefully we learn something from each and every one of them along the way….

Book signings are a tricky thing. Some shops are happy to host any kind of event, to have something to advertise, attract patrons, etc. But others really want someone well-known, dare I say, ‘famous,’ which of course, we are not. So understanding all that…I am starting early and casting a wide web. I have already posted on craigslist in every city we’re visiting and guess what? Zero responses so far. 😦  So here I am blogging…reaching out to the masses. If I have to cold call… I will!! So…here’s my post from craigslist. If you live in or near any of these cities and think you know of a location that might welcome our visit, please let us know and I will take it from there. We really require nothing but space and time. We bring our books, etc. Some places have a routine they like to follow, some just wing it!

 

Looking for venues for the upcoming Pen & Cup Book Tour…two authors…six books!! Travelling in Spring of 2015. Looking for coffee shop/bookstores that add character to their community. Need one or two locations in each of the following cities…

Seattle, Washington

Portland, Oregon

Washington, D.C.

Boston, Massachusetts

St. Louis, Missouri

Atlanta, Georgia

New York, New York

Chicago, Illinois

San Francisco, California

Dallas, Texas

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Denver, Colorado

Tour blog and author Facebook links below….detailing the six books, etc…

https://pencup2015.wordpress.com/

www.facebook.com/CherilynWrites

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pamela-S-Black/738558446169032?fref=ts

Please like our pages, follow our blog and let us know if you have a location that would be a good fit for our tour!! 

 

So what do you think? Comments? Suggestions?

 

Questions & Answers

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Don’t most people read books for answers? I’m sure the truth varies. Some read for entertainment, for escape, for information. I’m plugging away at one of the two non-fiction titles for our upcoming book tour and though the jacket describes it as a “path to discovery,” I’m finding I ask my readers a lot of questions. So, not just about my own book, but considering others’ and writing in general; what is more valuable? Questions or answers?

You may be saying, ,”How can a question be helpful?” We are the society that seeks out cure, solutions, answers! Right?

Have you ever been to a psychiatrist? Or for that matter, seen one on television? The common cliche is that while patients see them for answers, the doctor often sits on the other side of the sofa, doing the asking.

I like to think I’m asking questions that a person would have never thought to ask of themselves. If all questions could be designed this way, the question itself is the eye opener. In the instant that we answer, even silently in our head to ourselves, we have learned something. We have learned something more important than things we learn in school or in book or in social circles; we have learned something about ourselves.

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