Friday, February 14, 2014

You Are What You Wear

Dudes, if you insist on wearing outfits like this...


nothing good is going to come of it.

 
Yeah, I know, I'm supposed to be working on Hot Cross Buns: The Next Generation, but my attention has been temporarily diverted to the Olympics, specifically ice skating.  I say this with my tongue firmly in cheek.

The crafty producers at NBC forced ice skating on me by sneaking it in during first-time-ever-well-worth-watching Olympic free-style skiing.

I've never been a big fan of watching the Olympics.  (So, shoot me!  I find it boring, okay?) That said, I've found a few snippets of these seaside Olympics pretty entertaining.   See above.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hot Cross Buns 2?

The Game Plan

I know, the above just looks like gibberish.  Alas, it is the finely executed outline for a sequel to Hot Cross Buns.  
Remember Sister Sheila Mary, the Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration (I love spelling out FSPA.)  who taught me how to outline a term paper?  Yeah, well, she would not bestow oodles of praise on this outline, a.k.a., game plan. If we learned anything writing and editing HCB, it was to strive for shortcuts.  Sorry, Sister.
Judy and I return to the birthplace of HCB tomorrow morning to ponder a sequel, HCB2.  I just hope we beat the after church crowd.  I'm also craving some Rockwood Bakery granola.  That HCB2 isn't at the forefront of my thoughts is perhaps problematic.  It's also a reminder of just  how long it took to write HCB -- I guess I should call it HCB1.
 
Anyway, this year, the single-most asked questioned of us authorettes was "Are you writing a sequel?"

Sometimes, we responded with a quick-fire "No."  Sometimes we just looked at each other in utter blankness. Twenty-some book groups later, we're warming to the question. We've even been known to ask readers which of the 500 characters in HCB1 they would like to see in a sequel, hence the gibberish/game plan/outline.

So, tomorrow we'll down some granola and get ourselves hyped up on caffeine and then we'll decide the potential future of HCB2.

Oh, and feel free to chime in on 1. HCB2 or no HCB2 and/or which characters from HCB1 would you like to follow up on while sitting on a beach/plane/dock?

 


Thursday, November 21, 2013

And So It Continues

Southside Hastings. Circa October 2013

It's been over a year since Hot Cross Buns hit Amazon, bookstores and book groups. The above photo kind of says it all...  Yes, I need a hair cut, but more important, Judy and I are still out there with our "I dare you to write a book" book.

I'm thinking our next tome could be a profile on book groups. We've certainly researched the topic. If we combined the book groups we've visited this year into one crowd, we'd have ourselves a congregation -- a church!.  It would be a church high on good food, drink and  laughter, yet low on pretty much anything biblical unless the read was the book.

Back to the photo.  Aside from book groups, we've also dabbled in events like the one Hastings hosted last month.  They invited local writers to come and sell their books. A great deal for us, right? A face-to-face with shoppers. It is very kind of Hastings to do this for the locals.  At this particular book meet, Judy covered the first couple of hours and I two-wheeled in after sneaking in a bike ride -- hence the Under Armour and helmet hair -- to cover the second half.  Judy sold books.  I didn't.  Thing is, I got all sidetracked talking with other writers and even wandered away into the store for a few minutes.  That is not how one procures book sales.

Lesson learned, it is probably a good thing Judy is doing the big Auntie's Bookstore event Thanksgiving weekend.  I will be out of town, and I can tell Judy is okay with thit. I think I might be the sales associate from hell. A friend of Judy's visiting from Seattle will go with her and probably do a lot better than I would.

Yep, give me book groups any day.  I get those people, never mind they've already purchased the dang book.  The audience is captive and so am I.  And I know better than to wander about some unknown host's house. Nope, there's a stick-to-itiveness book groups require that suit my short attention span and manners.

In the meantime, let me know what you thing of the church idea.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Off We Go To P.E.O.

 



Home

 
P.E.O. threw us a curve ball the other night.  Wait, no, they threw me a curve ball.  Judy had previously experience a P.E.O. group I couldn’t attend to talk about “the book.”

 
(Remember, we wrote Hot Cross Buns, which is coming up on its first anniversary? I now-- almost facetiously-- call it The Book That Won’t Go Away, which really torques Judy but I can’t help myself.)

 
But back to our P.E.O. soiree.  P.E.O., has always baffled me. I know a lot of women who are members, but no one will ever tell me what P.E.O. is.  Well, if the intent was to keep the goings on of P.E.O. a secret, Google blew the hubcaps right off that pinkie-finger, do-not-tell promise.  Alas, even Google  wouldn’t cough up what the letters P.E.O. stand for, so the organization scores on that matter.

 
Cliff Note definition:  It kind of reminds me of Junior League minus wine and a ton of food.  They do an incredible job supporting education and even have a college of their own, Cottey College.

 
They have a logo: See above

 
I think the logo could use a little updating, but hey, it works for them.  Plus, you can be buried with your star which I guess members  get upon joining.  You can also have it put on your headstone.  The Junior League doesn’t give you anything to pack for your trip to eternity and I’ve never seen a headstone with “Junior League” on it. P.E.O. scores again.

 
They have some interesting founderettes, but this woman kind of caught my attention, and scared the hell out of me.   Meet Arabella:
 
 
Iowa Wesleyan is not only the birthplace of P.E.O., but it also graduated the first woman licensed to practice law in the United States, Arabella “Belle” Babb Mansfield. Belle later became Founder Alice Bird Babb’s sister-in-law when Alice married Belle’s brother Washington Irving Babb in 1873.




Notable P.E.O. founderette, Arabella "Belle" Babb Mansfield
(a.k.a., Arabella Don't-mess-with-me-or-I'll-pull-your-socks-up-around-your-ears Baab Mansfield)



So, I show up with Judy at my inaugural P.E.O. meeting.  My big, erroneous assumption was that the attendees had read the book.  As it turns out, Judy and I are “The Program,” of which P.E.O. has at every meeting.  No one had read the book.

 
As it turns out Judy and I are really good at improvisation. Just read the book if you don't believe me. We also only had 30 minutes.  It took us six years to hatch this book so it’s only reasonable to assume we need more than 30 minutes to talk about it. We rolled with it.

We ran with the educational angle -- how the hey two people write fiction together and how we self-published. Will we write another book? We went over our time limit and most of the ladies purchased the book.  Hopefully, they will follow my instructions not to share their books and insist their friends buy their own.

 
Once we finished, I was kind of hoping they would just continue with their meeting while we hung around – plus, I think dessert was on the agenda – and I could learn more about P.E.O.  But no such luck.  We were politely, and with much appreciation for the appearance, ushered out the door.

 


 
 

Monday, July 29, 2013

And The Winner Almost Is...

Finalist: A contestant in the final part of a contest, a.k.a., HCB



I'd like to say I've been too busy sitting on my can in a dock chair reading dock books, but I haven't. The upside? No sunburn.  A foot issue has kept me in the shade.  I know, I should be enjoying my summer reads in a shaded hammock, but I argue a dock book can only be fully enjoyed while read under the threat of water damage.
 
Anyway, look what showed up in the mail the other day?  A chunk of metal!  Turns out HCB was/is a finalist in the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group INDIE Awards.  I received an email a couple of months ago informing me HCB was a finalist in the romance category (We've decided to stick with the romance category because Judy and I still don't know what category HCB really fits in.). Attached to the email was a certificate. and being the cynic I am, I dissed the for framing purposes certificate. The mostly ignored email also carried information about the fancy booklet of finalists and winners being sent to "important people," as well as an invitation to the annual INDIE conference in NYC where we could meet said "important people."
 
Well, dang, if this piece of metal didn't prod me to read the fine print.  Turns out there was/is but one winner and four finalists in each category.  So, statistically, HCB did damn well!
 
The real bummer, the conference was at the Harvard Club!  Now that, would have been cool.
 
Lesson learned:  Do not poo poo any congratulatory emails regarding HCB.  Publishing Clearing House, yes, book people, no.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Score!



My Coffee Spot and Seller of HXB


First a brief backstory, or maybe mostly backstory.

See the Atticus sign above?  It's a fabulous shop in downtown Spokane full of fun incidentals and best of all, the most savory coffee in town  -- in my humble opinion, anyway.  As is happens, the proprietors, Kris and Andy Dinnison, recently purchased the midcentury modern home next door to the house I grew up in on the South Hill.

I covet their lives.  I would give at least ten toe nails to live in their house, and I remind them almost weekly I want to work in their warm, friendly and gifted shop.  Yes, I want to be a barista, sooner than later.  John, the main barista (baristo?), kick starts my day with a mild-mannered greeting or sometimes a slight yank on my chain, oh and a great latte. No head phones or screaming coffee orders here.

But here is the really cool deal.  Kris just had her book purchased by a publisher!  Yes!  

Okay, I couldn't ask her the title because I'm supposed to know it already, but it is coming out in October!

PS:  Check out the shops small but pot-of-gold book section! 






Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Famously Indie We Are. Almost

Indie Book Award Web Page (placed here only because I just learned to copy and paste web pages)

 
The term "Indie" is thrown around a lot these days in the world of writing and publishing.  Thus far, I have been able to do my Oh, yeah, Indie, sure. Indie. I know about that. when in reality, my brain is squinting because I don't know what the hell Indie means.
 
I'm usually quick to grab a dictionary.  It's a Catholic school thing.  Well, really it's an I want to sound somewhat literate thing, but with Bill Gates' built-in dictionary -- as weak as it is -- I've gotten lazy. I needed a real definition fast so to Google I went and then to the sure-deal source of solid info... Wikipedia.  Hey if it's good enough to get the Pentagon's undies in a wad, it's good enough for me. 
 
So, Indie is either a rock found primarily in the UK or a synonym for independence.  I'm going with the independence definition.
 
Independence works better with Hot Cross Buns being named a finalist in the 1913 Indie Book Awards. The independent part means entries had to be self-published. There were four finalist and one winner, who I frequently call The Butt Head.
 
We were in the romance category, again.  Remember the Amazon Break Through Awards when we made the cut from 10,000 books to 2,000 and were beat out in the romance category by a book that had the word slut in the title?  Yeah, well, we stayed with the romance category because HXB doesn't fit historical nonfiction or other well-defined categories.  (I'm starting to visualize our little book going to a party and never finding a group where it fits in so sits in a corner by itself, but maybe that's just me parlaying my personal life on HXB.
 
The 2013 book award season has come to an end.  Since I do better with athletic references, I'll sum up our performance with this:  We had a clean entry. The sluts just came in a little stronger in front.