When I was a kid, one of the things that I liked best about summer is that I could read what I wanted to. With summer so close, embrace the spirit of the season and stop by the Kindle Unlimited Romance Book Fair – May 30th through June 5th. With over 40 books to choose from, you’re sure to find your next favorite read, or two. Stop by and find a bunch of new stories to enjoy!
“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Abraham Lincoln
Like many grateful children, I owe a lot to my mother especially my love of reading. Although reading to a child often conjures up blissful images of calm contentment, the reality looks a little different. At the end of a long day, all Mom wants to do is sit quietly and relax and Little One still full of wiggles wants a story. Chances are it is the same story she read to Little One, last night and the night before that and so on… While there are many wonderful children’s stories out there, most of them wear a little thin by the 20th time. I swear my mom must have read “One Hundred & One Dalmatians” to me about a million times—not the thin flimsy paperback based on the Disney movie, but the original novel by Dodie Smith.
While the Dalmatians will always have a special place in my heart, my love of books extends beyond that one–much to my mom’s relief. Since she is such a voracious reader (and happens to be retired), it can be a challenge for me to find a book for my mom that she hasn’t already read. Just in time for Mother’s Day weekend, fellow author, P.D. Workman’s post Give Yourself a Book for Mother’s Day features a list of links for women’s fiction and cozy mysteries, including Mixed Blessings (which happens to be from yours truly). Check it out to find the next read for that special mom in your life or for yourself.
“But ideas lie everywhere, like apples fallen and melting in the grass for lack of wayfaring strangers with an eye and a tongue for beauty, whether absurd, horrific or genteel.” Ray Bradbury
Bradbury’s essay “The Joy of Writing” is an exuberant call to arms. With a respected nod to iconic story tellers like Dickens and Shakespeare, Bradbury urges writers to be inspired by what they love or hate rather than the latest commercial trend. Though I’ve been among the storyteller ranks for most of my life, after reading this essay I snapped to attention like a new recruit, grabbed my notebook and pen eager to capture my latest inspiration before it slipped away in the daily grind.
April 28th is the fourth annual Independent Bookstore Day and I can think of no better place to rub elbows with literary icons or discover new voices than Sundance Books. Like many indie bookstores throughout the country, Sundance will offer exclusive merchandise created especially for Independent Bookstore Day by authors and publishers.
Independent Bookstore Day
121 California Avenue, Reno, NV
April 28th-9:00 to 5:00PM.
“There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.” Willa Cather
An indie writer colleague recently shared that her family was struggling with severe chronic health issues on several fronts just as her writing career was starting to come together. I don’t know why when life hands you lemons it also kicks you in the shins too. I do know that for whatever reasons some of my best writing opportunities have come along at the worst possible times in my personal life.
I remember thinking that I’d like to enjoy the project without having to face the crisis. Then I realized if I didn’t have my writing, I’d only have the crisis. At least whatever project I was working on gave me a brief reprieve from the storm.
Following the creative path is challenging even if your biggest worries are the routine chores of daily life. While you might have to scale back on a project due to a major front looming in your personal life, never completely abandon your creative pursuits. Your soul needs them and the world longs for more pictures, songs and stories.
A chief complaint among loved ones is that we take them for granted. We walk in the door, world-weary, throw our woes at their feet and wonder why the blank stare. Is it too much to ask for unconditional love in exchange for an earful of problems? Our muse reacts much the same. Constantly pressing her to produce magic out of thin air against tight deadline and suddenly she stops speaking to you and you’re faced with a blank page or an empty canvas.
While deadlines are important, just like other necessities of daily life like laundry and paying bills they can put a strain on relationships. A few years ago at a writer’s conference held at the Silver Spur Guest Ranch, some of my colleagues agonized over how to spend their free time. Should they devote the time to their latest WIP or go horseback riding? “Sometimes you have to prime the pump,” my cabin mate remarked as she slid on her cowboy hat and headed out into the Texas sunshine. While there were a few anxious souls intent on their laptops in the dining hall, I’m happy to report most of the writers hit the trail.
This Valentine’s Day, make a date with your muse to do something, not tied to a specific project or deadline. Doing stuff kids like to do is usually a good start, coloring, blowing soap bubbles or losing yourself in a book you loved as a child. Better yet, you can include your loved-ones.
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” C.S. Lewis
When you have a long Christmas to-do list and with many good causes needing support this time of year, trying to cover all bases during holidays can be a challenge. Fortunately, Secondhand Prose’s Open House can solve both problems. The 13th Annual Open House will have books, holiday items and book-themed gift baskets (including a couple from yours truly).
Located in the Northwest Reno Library, bookstore is operated by volunteers from Friends of the Washoe County Library. In addition to gently used titles, the bookstore also carries books on CD and unique gifts for the booklover.
When I dropped off my baskets, the library’s backroom was filled with busy volunteers, baskets, and all sorts of goodies from toys to wine glasses. As with most holiday events preparation is key. One of the volunteers told me, they had slotted two full days to prepare all the baskets for the open house.
Holiday music will be provided by local musicians, so the open house is the perfect opportunity to pick up a few gifts while enjoying the spirit of the season. And you might find a couple choice reads for yourself…after all it’s for a good cause.
Northwest Reno Library
3525 Robb Drive, Reno NV
Saturday, December 2, 1017
“And everyone’s definition of success is different. Know what yours is before you start on your author journey.” From 20Books 2017 handout.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a rookie, most writers agree that writing conferences are an excellent way to network and garner tips on perfecting your craft. However with the vast range of abilities and genres out there, it’s impossible for a single conference to be all things to all authors. Even genre-specific conferences can have issues with logistics as a couple of my romance colleagues discovered when they attended an established romance conference in Vegas. The duo trekked long distances to the panels only to discover the rooms filled to capacity. Not to be denied their HEA, the pair spent the remainder of the conference in their suite working on manuscripts and strategizing for their next boxed set.
I’m happy to report a much different experience from 20 Books Vegas 2017. Unlike many conferences which are focused on traditional publishing, 20Books is all about Indie publishing. What started as a Facebook group in March 2016 by Michael Anderle soon developed into a significant voice in the indie world.
Held at Sam’s Town, the event reflected the frontier vibe of the venue. No shoot-out’s at high noon, but the spirit of people helping each other resonated throughout the conference. Twenty minutes before Craig Martelle’s opening remarks, the Ponderosa room was already abuzz with discussion. With many writers staying at the venue, networking was often as simple as waiting for the elevator.
I returned home with my green spiral bound notebook packed with ideas, business cards and a daunting to-do list. I can’t say that I’ve got it all figured out, but I now have a better sense of direction thanks to 20Books.