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WHEN ARE YOU HAPPY?

Let’s examine when we are happy? Morning, night, or noon? Maybe it’s not a time; maybe it’s an activity that we’re engaged in.

When I was walking the dog at noon today, it occurred to me that I was happy. I was interrupted while writing a post for my blog, but C. S. Lewis said that the interruptions were as important as the writing. I’ve never been very tolerant of interruptions, but now I know what he may have meant.

Leaving my workstation (ok, my recliner), I went outside with a dog who was requesting a walk. The wind was invigorating, and the sun was trying to make up for its chill. I stopped to wonder why I felt a particular sense of pleasure. What had I been doing when I was interrupted? Writing. So, I concluded that writing must have been what was making me happy.

The piece I was working on was describing the sounds of harvest. Fall being my favorite season brought many thoughts flowing from memory to fingertips: farmers reaping in the fields; colors brightening up the wooded areas; cooler winds bringing out new fall clothes; families gathering for Thanksgivings; children anticipating Christmas.

My unfinished novel calls to me. I’m eager to join my characters in their world as together we complete the story and fulfill their destinies. I’m looking forward to seeing my last novel finally published, and the eye-catching cover beckoning readers.

The interruption I experienced today speaks volumes to me. We need ‘time out’ to make room for other ideas, new stimulation. One should not become so focused on the road ahead that we blind ourselves to new incoming thoughts and motivation.

Let’s take time to be happy.

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FACE-TO-FACE IS BETTER

I had a couple of interesting conversations with book browsers who visited my booth at the Swiss Pantry Open House in Belvedere, Tennessee. Others bought books; some took pictures of the covers so that they could order later online.

One gentleman bought Dangerous Legacy, the Second Son.

He said he bought it for his wife to read, but I think he thought that buying it would allow him more “air” time. He told me that once he’d been a singer. He still had a fine voice, and I was serenaded with a couple lines of Marty Robbins’ El Paso. He and his wife were enjoying the day. She was talking non-stop to the man at the booth on my right who sold woodwork. My visitor was fun.

A young girl confesses to me that she wants to write a book and asks me questions about how to get started. So, I had a captivated audience, talking about a subject dear to my heart! I think she has one up on me, though. She can draw cartoons. I am saddened to say that I can’t draw. I see my illustrations for my children’s books in my head, but that is where they stay until I can convey, with words, what I expect from the artist.

Our day was cut short with the threat of rain, but I sold several books and made good contacts. I consider the work of erecting the tent and making the display effort well spent. Especially since I had the good help of my husband, my son, and my daughter-in-law.

Virtual book fairs are the answer for visiting far-away places and protection from the spread of the present epidemic, but nothing can take the place of meeting people face-to-face and hearing the excitement in their voices as they purchase your books.

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YOU DIDN’T WRITE THAT

“You didn’t write that book!”

I was exhibiting my books at the Swiss Pantry Open House in Belvedere, Tennessee, with various other venders. A visitor marches up to my booth and brings my authorship into question! And, of course, I didn’t have my copyright certificates with me!

“You wrote that one,” he said, again, pointing to the Patchwork Princess.

“But you didn’t write that one.” He pointed to Mudcat the Pirate.

“Yes, I wrote all three of these,” I answered, indicating the children’s trilogy.

“No, you didn’t write that one,” he insisted, standing in front of the pirate book.

“Who did write it?” I asked.

“He did.” He pointed to my husband, sitting at the back of the booth.

“I read it,” my husband said, “but she wrote it.”

“No, you wrote it!” He turns and walks away, unconvinced.

I must explain that this book browser probably hadn’t seen his sixth birthday yet, but he was secure in his belief; his gender lines didn’t blur: girls write girl things; boys write boys things. Princesses are for girls, and pirates are in boys’ territory.

So, for the further education of my fellow authors, if you’re a lady, you may take credit for writing a girly book; if you write a book for boys, you had better use your husband’s name.

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NEW BOOK REVIEW OF STANDING IN MY SHADOW FROM NATASHA MANN AT THE PRAIRIE BOOK REVIEW – August 22, 2021

MA solidly absorbing, page-turning thriller…

Arnold offers an enthralling suspense story that’s steeped in the questions of identity, love, and supernatural in her latest. Linda Grainer was five years old when she was sent to live in a boarding school. It’s only a month before her college graduation that she sets foot again in her childhood home, owing to her father’s untimely tragic death. Struggling to deal with her father’s abandonment, Linda begins to look into her past, unaware of the evil waiting to take control of her life. Arnold ramps up the suspense, skillfully revving up the tension as the characters metamorphose. The story centers both on Linda’s grief and her revelation. The supernatural manifestations are indelible while the poignant romance between Linda and Brett and a vivid paranormal backdrop keep the pages turning. This finely crafted, engrossing suspense thriller with elements of the supernatural supplies plenty of thrills and chills. A stunner.

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HELP! I’M DROWNING IN TMI

TMI has come to mean ‘too much information’.  And when does TMI become too much? When someone gets too graphic about a personal experience, we throw up our hands to stop them—TMI! That’s the context where we know the definition.

But in my personal dictionary, it has another meaning: Too much interaction! The definition goes on to warn that this can cause burnout, indifference, and depression. Perhaps even cause a block in creativity.

I’ve written a book, and I am working on another. So, I’m a writer. Whether I’m successful or not is beside the point, because publishing companies everywhere think I’m going to be. Or I’m going to be if I’ll let them help me.

When a phone contact starts out with the offer of a ‘partnership’, I’m going to hear a large fee which will be greatly reduced if I’ll partner with them. I want to tell them, but I don’t, that I think my portion of the partnership is already invested. I’ve researched, written the manuscript, proofed it, edited it, and have the finished book in hand. That should count for my part of the partnership.

Then there’s the call explaining that my book isn’t selling because the price is too high. If I will let them ‘rebrand’ my book, lowering the cost, it will be more marketable. The price of this ‘rebranding’ is almost the cost of the first publication.

One publisher wants me to hire a professional to incorporate my children’s trilogy into an animated cartoon for them to peddle to potential film buyers. Sounds great. The cost would only be the price I paid for publishing all three of my children’s books in hardback and full color. Another wave with the potential of sinking me under.

My website is up and working, I’m on YouTube, my business Facebook page gets updated, and I bug my friends on my personal Facebook page. You know what I’m afraid of? I fear that when I get a good legitimate recommendation, I won’t recognize it.

I will keep listening because I’m grateful for their interest. One day everything will come together!