Sunday, June 27, 2010

Milestone reached

I started this blog on January 29, 2008, in the twenty-eight or twenty-nine months it's been up and running, we have just seen our 4500th visitor today. The counter is set to count unique hits to my pages, so thank you all for stopping by and reading my blog. I'm also getting a bunch of nonsensical spam type comments, so now I've been forced to moderate the comments. Hopefully I've set it correctly to be notified when anyone leaves a comment.

I think 4500 visitors in 2-1/2 years or close to it calls for a celebration. I've just seen the temporary layout for "Train of Clues" and I must say, I'm very pleased. So between now and the end of July every twenty-five persons leaving a comment on any post I put up between now and July 31 will go in a drawing. I will do several random drawings for a signed copy of "Train of Clues." Anyone want to read the story that started it all? See you all in the postings - Mrs. E :) & the JGDS

Friday, June 25, 2010

Family TOUCH

The name of the game is connections. In the world of such a large project as mine, the main goal the first couple of years is to make the right connections. Saturday at the SCHEA conference in Sumter, I met Jill Boone; her son is an acquaintance of Jess's at AU. Jill stopped by my table at the end of the day since I had talked to her earlier about my series. She gave me some information about getting in touch with Family TOUCH, in the upper part of the state. Yesterday, the group was doing a small, open to the public, orientation type workshop for parents who are considering homeschooling or parents who have just decided to start homeschooling. I sent them an email upon returning home (or maybe it was Monday) and they said they would love to have me there. Jill was there, Bob Jones University Press was in attendance and the Classic Conversations representative had a table set up. A few members of Family TOUCH set up tables showing the curricula they use and how they organize the work and keep records.

After a short introduction, they broke out to two sessions - preschool to 6th grade and 7th through high school aged. The social hall in the church we were using was empty save for us representing a company (basically three or four of us left in the hall). After the breakout sessions, the families in attendance came back together for a question and answer session, some refreshments and to browse the tables. I got a couple of lookers and sold one copy of Wilderness. Yay, me!! While packing up, the discussion was around my books and my series. Everyone lovs the concept and and is anxiously looking forward to more as they come available. I also explained the workshop concept I have and they were all for that. So in the fall, I will get to do my "Writing Roads" workshop for the co-op groups, maybe several depending on the number signed up for the workshop. This is my connection. Not only will it open me to one co-op but many in the area that would be willing to have me come in and do my 1-hour workshop with a bit of creative writing and one of my geography games, tying geography and writing a series together. I'm on my way - lol. I'm looking forward to getting involved in more groups like this - see you all in the postings - Mrs. E :) & the JGDS

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Catching up/Revealing a cover

It's been a whirlwind of a two weeks or so. First as everyone knows, Reservations made it to the printers and finally arrived to me. Also, at the time of printing, Reservations is the last to be published by 4RV in the series. The series will continue though with me self-publishing the remaining books. I've hired an illustrator and she's been busy working behind the scenes lately. Not on the next book in the series but on the predecessor "Train of Clues". She has been busy working on the cover for the booklet with the illustrations and layout coming soon.

Aidana did the event in Memphis the weekend of the 11th-12th and sold one copy of Wilderness. Yay, her! I had an event in Sumter, South Carolina this past weekend and sold two copies of Quarries and one of Reservations, one was book alone and two with study guides to the homeschoolers. Yay, me!!! I talked with the person in charge of vendor workshops at the event and guess what, because I do a workshop geared for the kids, she told me that I would definitely be on the list to do a workshop next year. So I'm definitely going to be in Sumter next June (or possibly May, depending on how many folks want it changed; I totally forgot to fill out my questionnaire) for the SCHEA; I can't wait. I also made some wonderful contacts and got some great ideas for the study guides that will be more homeschool friendly and still maintain the school friendliness I'm going toward eventually. Teachers will like the new ideas as will homeschools, so be on the lookout for some changes with upcoming books.

On the way home from the event, something popped off the car or it sounded like I ran over something. Pulled over and called AAA. Had to be towed 97 miles to home to be safe rather than sorry. Took the car back to the tire place Monday morning and apparently part of the back tire blew off - like a chunk of about 6 inches from one area. Have a temporary, used tire replacing it until payday next week. Thank goodness for AAA 100 miles free towing with our package. This was the only downside to the trip - because the rest was awesome. Of course at the time of this posting, I can barely talk and I'm supposed to do a mini presentation/workshop Thursday. Hopefully my voice will be back then.

From my interviews and being on virtual blog tours, the word should be out that "Train of Clues" was my first ever writing project, submitted to a fan mystery contest and placed second. I've decided to turn that into a booklet - a kind of read the story that started it all thing. So without further ado, the cover for "Train of Clues":

- Drop me a line and let me know what you think. I think it's perfect, colorful, kid-friendly and definitely has a party feel to it.

I will post pictures from the SCHEA event when I get a chance. Enjoy. Mrs. E :) & the JGDS

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Differently-Abled Writer contest

My friend and fellow VBT'er - J. Aday Kennedy - is having a blog tour for her book "Klutzy Kantor". She's also having a contest for her blog tour. Check out her website for contest rules and prizes.

Check out her interview on Dallas Woodburn's blog and really get to know her more. She definitely is a "differently abled" writer. Leave a comment on her blog or any other on the tour and be entered for the contest. See you all in the postings - Mrs. E :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Writing Roads workshop

Saturday was my free workshop for the kids, held at the public library. I had four students show up and Ms. Heidi Ippolito helping me out. Two of the students were homeschoolers and two were from my small town, on a perchance meeting at the post office where I told the mother about the workshop and she had her son and his friend brought over for it (she had to attend graduation which was my unfortunate luck to schedule my workshop around the time of graduation). All in all, I think it went okay. I hope the kids had fun and that they took something away with them. One of the mothers did say she would be interested in having me come do a presentation for the co-op group, so that's a bonus - wooohooo. They also said they would be in Sumter in a couple of weekends looking for me - so I'm hoping they will tell others about me.

Ms. Heidi was gracious enough to take some pictures of the event. I have to remember that I do have video capability on the camera so the next time I can have someone record me so I can see what I've missed or forgotten and then work on improving.

I'm in need of some more "geography games" I can use in the workshop - so if any of my readers have any ideas of new games that I can create or some old geography games that can be done in groups and are geared for ages 3rd grade up to 8th, please let me know. I'm open to all ideas.

I'm thinking of doing a half-day writing workshop in the fall after school starts back and hopefully I'll gain some interest from that as well.

Here are some pictures taken:

This is the kids after they had won their prizes and we were wrapping up the session

Heidi was very sweet - even took me to her home and fed me lunch and had fixed a birthday cake. It was very nice and I had an enjoyable day, although none of my kids even bothered to contact me for my birthday. Oh well. I'm okay with everything else. See you all in the postings - Mrs. E :)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Uwharrie Book signing 05/22/2010

Ms. Heidi Ippolito, author of "Bobo's New Home", joined me on the trek to North Carolina for this multi-author book signing. It was a pleasant day, although my navigator (Ms. Heidi) only got me lost once. Really it wasn't her fault as I should have prepared directions from any scenario. I was trying to show her how to get to Central Piedmont Community College where we will be for the Love 2 Learn Homeschool Conference and because the directions I had printed out actually took me a different way than I went last year, I got myself turned around. So I don't blame her really. We had a very enjoyable day.

She took some wonderful pictures. The bookstore is actually smaller than I thought and I was surprised that they actually have a book club meeting there and there are other groups they have there too. Of course, I guess if they are having discussion groups and workshops and all, they figure out a way to accommodate folks.

My table mate, Jennifer Hudson Taylor, author of historical romance novels that have to do with her heritage in a way.

April Thomas, self-published author of a book called "Broken" and one other, with a third one on the way. She bought a copy of each of my books.

Ms. Heidi, Shawn (owner of Uwharrie Books), daughter and son, and Jeni (Joyce and Jim Levene's daughter).

It was a very enjoyable day and I thank April and Jim and Joyce Levene for their purchases. I also thank Joyce for posting on a forum about this opportunity. I look forward to more visits with the store and more events. Mrs. E :)

Fairplay Welcome Center 05/15/2010

I'm kind of late posting this but sometimes, better late than never. I've been swamped at work and then when I do take some time off, I'm busy doing other things and keep forgetting to update my blog.

The setup was a bit different this year but I think the exposure was good. I sat next to a lady who paints quilt designs and she was representing the Quilting group in Oconee County - I think they are trying to get a similar project started like some other states have - a driving trail of quilters. The paintings are pretty awesome. At the other end of the table was a farmer who specializes in jams - boysenberry, muscadine grape, blueberries, et cetera. The couple I tried were deliciious although I was favoring one over the other, but I can't remember which one it was - lol.

Here are the pictures from the event - no Radio appearance again but it was fun. They had some folks outside. I even think I got a couple of orders from meeting some travelers this year.

My end of the table with some visitors checking me out. The bucket on the end contains mini foam gliders. There was a bus tour that had stopped and the adults were snatching up the gliders to play with on the bus. I thought it was funny - they were getting a bigger kick out of those little treats than the kids that had stopped by my table.

The quilters' group that was next to me. The big wooden painting is the one the lady who was manning the table did and this was her first display - at the Welcome Center.

This is Amos (the manager of the Welcome Center) talking with the man who had the jams. I wish I could remember which one I really liked. I know I didn't try the muscadine one because I'm not big on grape flavored anything and definitely don't like grape jellies or jams.

This young lady was visiting with her grandmother and was so excited to be able to go to another state and she got to meet an author and an artist and she got to take some bookmarks back to her classmates and tell them she had actually met me. She was just too adorable not to take her picture.

This is the staff at the Welcome Center and I hope they will let me come back next year - lol. I think Amos is really glad to have me there and this event has been fun so far the past two years. I'm looking forward to next year's event. See you all in the postings - Mrs. E :) & the JGDS

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