Monday, November 30, 2015

Marshfield Christmas Bazaar 2015

We added a new event to the calendar this year: the Marshfield Shop Small Saturday event (aka Marshfield Christmas Bazaar) in Marshfield, Missouri, just outside of Springfield.

There were quite a few vendors in their new location at Shook Elementary, but the weather was awful-- I mean, a few degrees from freezing rain awful -- so attendance wasn't great. We did, however, have a blast with our fellow vendors.

THIS was going on next to me on one side all day. The Crazy Cake Lady had some magnificent cupcakes. Scott was partial to the ones with Ghirardelli Chocolate and a Ferrero Rocher on top and in the middle. I had my eye on the chocolate chip buttercreams. We took home a mixed dozen.

And THIS was going on next to me on the other side. For those of you who know me, you understand that this is even worse that a wall of cupcakes. I collect little plush lovelies like this. I really had my eye on a little round Tigger, but he didn't come home with me. I was a good mom and picked this warm and fuzzy headband up for Callista instead. 

I did take home a Kimba Baby Christmas ornament to join my collection already on the tree. I mean, come on. How could I leave this behind for under $2??

It was definitely one of those events where the vendors spend most of their time shopping and buying each other's stuff. The Crazy Cake Lady bought a copy of "Max's Wild Night" for her family but was already five chapters into it herself by the time we went home (and loving it). Scott got many lessons on the massive ($25,000) sewing machine across the way with the embroidery lady. Sorry. I never got her name. Scott was intrigued by the machine, so they were friends for the day.

I'm not sure if this is an event that we will do next year. It was a two-and-a-half-hour drive each way. That's a big hurdle to begin with. We did cover our booth fee in the end, even though it was higher than normal because we got in on it late. We had some decent sales, and it was most certainly not our worst event ever, despite the bad weather. It was a fun day with great folks to be met. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

School Visits, OWL, Little Rock Library, and Holiday Fun

Now that the book tour for "At the Corner of Magnetic and Main" is done, I can post some updates from this month.

November 8th, we drove down to Little Rock to attend a library event for self-published and small press authors. As with most library events, there were not many book sales, but I met some wonderful authors and did have a couple of kids walk away with copies of my books. The event is part of the Arkansas Literary Festival, so we were interested in getting my books in front of them, regardless of sales. My table-mate was new author Lori McFarlane, and I went home with a copy of her book "Last Petal Falling." It is definitely high up on my TBR list.
We got there early, so Scott and I enjoyed a nice stroll through the River Market District. It was Sunday morning, so everything was closed, but we were quite impressed with how lovely and family friendly the area was. 

We only got to bring three titles, but we still enjoyed ourselves.
Scott spent his time in the library, reading a massive comic book.
November 17th-19th, I had the chance to spend three days at Eureka Springs Elementary School doing author visits with small groups of library classes. This is my local school, and I substitute teach there during the off season, so it was fun to put on that other hat with kids who already know me. It was a bit nuts doing the presentation and Q&A thirteen times, but having the smaller classroom groups gave everyone a chance to really get involved.

I never knew quite what direction any one group was going to take things. A group of kindergartners may have been the best behaved of the whole bunch, and they asked wonderful questions. A group of fourth graders was fascinated with the realities of publishing and how long it takes and how little control the author actually has once the ball gets rolling. That traditionally published authors don't have a say in their book covers (or very little say) was horrifying to them. I just tried to roll with what each class was interested in, and it all went really well.

Some second grade friends with my Cats in the Mirror book series

Handing out "Kimba" bookmarks so students could find it for free download when they got home.
The next day, I ran into the high school art teacher (also my daughter's favorite teacher), and she said her daughter was in one of the groups I spoke to. When she got home that day, she immediately downloaded "Why Kimba Saved The World" and spent two hours reading it. Yay! I had made "Kimba" free to download on kindle for four days that week so as many kids as possible might have a chance to get a copy. Our district is something like 70% on free and reduced lunch, so this was not about selling lots of books. Without any other ads for the free days, I had forty-one downloads, so I hope there are some happy kids in my town.

One takeaway from that event was that, across age levels, groups I met with in their classrooms went much more smoothly than the ones I did in the library. The atmosphere in the library is just generally more open and free, and that fed into my talks. Groups in their rooms were much more engaged and well-behaved and serious with their questions. Something I will definitely remember for next time.

On November 21st, I attended the quarterly meeting of the Ozark Writers League (OWL), of which I am a member. The group is going through some growing pains and reanalyzing what the future of the group will be. After over thirty years, I'm sure they will get it all sorted out.

There were two highlights to my day. One was to chat with a brand-spankin'-new writer who isn't even telling her friends about her aspirations yet. I hope I left her encouraged and that she will come back and share her journey along the way. Go get 'em, Anne.

The second highlight was sharing the company of Jemma for the day. Miss Jemma is a guide dog for my sight-impaired friend Ronda, and she is the best behaved dog I have ever spent time with--though we all got the giggles in the afternoon when she started to quietly bark in her sleep. Ronda says that Jemma never barks. She is trained not to. But what she does in her sleep is something else entirely. So sweet!! You can follow Jemma's adventures at this link. 

Jemma, hanging out under our table and not making a peep all morning. 

Ronda stepped away without her, but she didn't budge. Such a good dog.
Back here on our mountain, we celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday so my older daughter could join us from Fayetteville. She works in a doggie day care, and having the holidays off is not an option. I have never been one to freak out about what day celebrations take place, so we just shifted to Monday.
Seriously large turkey (23.5 lbs) so there was plenty to share and send home for my daughter and her roommate.

Pumpkin and cherry pies. I like the Harry Potterish lightning blot. 

A holiday tradition at our house that started back when Scott worked for the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield, Michigan. We love latkes (I use a recipe from Mandy Patinkin), but they are not supposed to be served with bacon. That would not be kosher at all.
Now I have the rest of the week to work and relax and not have to worry about the holiday. Scott and my younger daughter are just thrilled that this now means Christmas decorating can begin early. I have strict rules about no tree until after Thanksgiving, but since it is done, they can knock themselves out.

I hope each of you has a blessed holiday time filled with friends and family and far too much food in whatever way you love to celebrate. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Blog Tour: Week 4

Well, the blog tour for "At the Corner of Magnetic and Main" sort of went out with a whimper. One person didn't post as planned. One didn't do a review like I'd expected. But I did get the extra bonus of being featured at Southern Authors and having the new book featured this week as well. That was excellent!

You can find the posts here:

Southern Authors Interview

Linda Apple at Sisterhood of the Traveling Pen

Paris at Paris Baker's Book Nook

Paris said, "'At the Corner of Magnetic and Main' is a really lovely, light-hearted read with a refreshing take on the eternal question of 'what happens to us after we die?'"

And that's the conclusion of the official blog tour.

I may well hold a Facebook party with prizes in December, but the jury is still out on that. Maybe I just need to recover from a few very busy months. Let me get past Thanksgiving, which will actually be celebrated here on Monday due to our daughter's work schedule. No, she does not work retail, so you don't have to jump on that. A lot of people work on the holidays. Smile at them kindly if you encounter them.

Saturday is the Ozark Writers League meeting in Branson, so Sunday I can post about that and my school visits in Eureka Springs last week. Let's hope there are dozens of people at the meeting who just can't wait to get their hands on "At the Corner of Magnetic and Main." A writer can always dream.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Blog Tour: Week 3

This week was a bit quieter, especially since one blogger failed to post as promised. Ah well. It's part of the process. I am super-grateful to the two ladies who did post:

Holly at Bookaholic Confessions

Debbie at The Styling Librarian

Holly wrote, "Meg's writing is really special. She has made this gorgeous tale believable and brought her ghostly characters to life in a way that will capture readers' attention and melt your heart at the same time."

I also received this review at amazon from talented author Lori Ericson.

on November 15, 2015
The writer uses the tale of ghosts stuck between heaven and earth for a charming look at balancing
the giving of ourselves for others and taking care of our own needs. It's told from several voices with 
perfectly timed dialogue and intricately woven description of a lovely small Arkansas town and its 
inhabitants, both living and dead. We learn the power of love and giving from Penny, a ghost who 
has spent decades watching over a small diner and helping the just died into "The Light" of eternity. 
When Jake, a rough and tumble biker, comes into the picture and refuses to move on just yet,
Penny's there to help him better interact with the living. However, Jake ends up teaching her a few 
things as well. The author presents an absolutely charming story that offers up plenty of thoughts 
about being good to ourselves and others, and the possibility of afterlife without any preachy overtones. 
A good read!

Thanks, Lori! I'll be picking up her new book, "A Lovely Country," at the Ozark Creative Writer's Conference on the 21st.

Next week will wrap up the tour before the holidays with a flourish of support from Heather Davis, Southern Authors, Paris Baker's Book Nook, and the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pen (Linda Apple, to be specific).

If you don't already follow Heather Davis on Facebook, well, you should. The Queen of TMI has wonderful books and will be sharing her thoughts on "At the Corner of Magnetic and Main" on Monday. Click here to follow her.

On November 17th, 18th, and 19th, I will be meeting with the kindergarten through third grade classes at the Eureka Springs Elementary School Library to talk about being an author and my middle grade books. From the 17th - 20th, "Why Kimba Saved The World" will be free on kindle so each of the kids can download it at no cost. But there's no law saying that you can't get a copy as well!

And if you haven't already, you can get your own copy of "At the Corner of Magnetic and Main" and see what all the ghostly fuss is about.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Blog Tour: Week 2

As the blog tour for At the Corner of Magnetic and Main continues, we added four new posts:

Moxxley at Platypire Reviews

Diane Coto at Fiction Zeal

Blanche Day Manos at her author blog


Tara at Absolutely Tara

I really appreciate their lovely reviews and observations about what the book meant to them. Tara joked that at first she was a little suspicious that she was getting into some kind of "ghost porn" situation, but she quickly realized that I wasn't going to go there. No thanks. As she concluded, it's really not about the Penny/Jake relationship at all. That's just one of the friendships in Penny's world.

"It's an innocent telling of a relationship with the self. It mirrors the struggle living women have all the time. Forgetting our own needs so we can care for others. Carrying the burden of those around us while not even realizing we've forgotten to take care of ourselves."

Yes, that's exactly what I intended, Tara.

Moxxley said in her amazon review, "I think that this story was amazing from start to finish. It kinda gives you that kick in the pants that you desperately need but you don't know that you need it."

A kick-in-the-pants ghost story. I'll take it!

This coming week we continue with posts at Bookaholic, Crafty Cauldron, and The Styling Librarian!!