My Books Have Arrived!

Today was a pretty exciting day. Aside from the general excitement of it being my first official day of vacation (YAY!) just before lunch my shipment of bookmarks arrived and I was relieved to see they turned out well having used an online printer I had never heard of.  I was also relieved that it wasn’t raining and that I don’t live in a neighbourhood filled with thugs and thieves because the delivery guy just rang the doorbell, left the package in front of my door, and then drove off before I had the opportunity to get to the door which took me at best 15 seconds.  I now understand why the printing company has a disclaimer that they aren’t responsible for the product after it is given to their shipping company. 

A few hours later I heard a thump, looked out the window, and was delighted to see a courier driver heading up my driveway with two boxes.  The driver was the same fellow who had delivered the proof of my book a few weeks earlier who got to witness firsthand the excitement of a first time writer being handed her very first book.  When I opened the door he seemed genuinely excited as he asked, “Are these your books?”  I signed the electronic signature thing that does not have enough space for someone with a long hyphenated last name like mine to neatly sign and as he wished me well in my writing career I was genuinely touched by his sincerity.  It also made me feel this odd sense of obligation to work even harder to make this book a success so someday he can say, “I remember the day I delivered her first book…” 

I hope that day comes.

So, here they are… 

They have arrived!

They have arrived!

 Now the real work begins!  Anyone want to buy a book?

 

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The Proof of My Book Has Arrived!

Yesterday was a big day for me. The proof of my first book, JENNIE FOWLER NIGHTTIME PROWLER, arrived mid-afternoon.   I think it’s safe to say that when you’ve spent your entire life dreaming of someday becoming an author when that moment actually arrives and you find yourself holding your very first book in your hands for the first time it is, without question, one of the greatest feelings ever.   I’m almost there.  Life is good!

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A Weekend of Accomplishments

Please forgive any typos in this post.  I’m absolutely exhausted from an exciting weekend.  On a personal level, I arrived home to see that I had a new trophy for reaching 50 followers which means I’m half way to this year’s goal of 100 followers.  Yay!  Thanks to everyone who follows me.

So, this weekend both of my daughters were competing in provincial championships in their respective sports in different communities.  My youngest daughter, Catherine, had badminton provincials and brought home gold medals in all three of her events!  This is my child with juvenile arthritis and the day before Nova Scotia provincials her knee decided to bother her, but she pushed through the pain and came out on top, remaining undefeated in U12 competition this season.  She and I will be heading to Prince Edward Island on Thursday so she can compete at the Atlantic Junior Badminton Championship over the weekend as part of Nova Scotia’s U14 team.  She usually plays U12, but their youngest age category at Atlantics this year is U14 so she’ll be playing up an age category and focusing on personal bests instead of medals.

My oldest daughter, Lydia, was competing in Volleyball Nova Scotia’s Provincial Championship in the U14 age category.  Luckily, Catherine’s last event finished just in time to allow me to drive an hour to get to Lydia’s first game with 10 minutes to spare which was unexpected but very lucky as that first game was pretty intense.  Our girls lost in a tie breaking set 16-14.  It was insane!  Despite the loss, Lydia’s team went on to play the best they’ve played all year throughout the tournament and came home with the bronze medal.  A great accomplishment! 

After this coming weekend when we finish up at Atlantics the girls will be finished their respective sport seasons and we will have a nice 4 month break from competitive sports.  I think.  Catherine insists she needs a summer sport and she’s thinking tennis. We’ll see.

2014 Goals for this Blog

When I started this blog about a year ago I didn’t put a whole lot of thought into what I wanted to accomplish with it.  I’m not sure that was actually a bad thing, though, because it allowed me to just be myself and write whatever I felt like writing.  It was originally intended to only focus on writing.  I wasn’t going to comment on my ‘real’ life at all, my children, or express any of my personal opinions.  So, in reality I had created a blog for me (me being Lisa Pomfrey-Talbot, author) yet I wasn’t giving myself permission to actually be me on my very own blog.  I realized fairly quickly that wasn’t going to work given I’m not good at biting my tongue when I feel the need to voice my opinion and a lot of the things I want to blog about stem from being a hectic working mom with two girls and a husband – that’s who I am.  So, I believe the challenge will be to find a balance that allows this blog to focus largely on writing but also allows me the flexibility to show the world who I really am, what my stand is on certain issues, and what I treasure and value in life.

Here are my 2014 blog goals:Image

  1. Achieve 100 followers.  I currently only have about 20 followers though a lot of people read my posts.  I guess I need to figure out a way to make them want to read more of what I have to say. I’m really not sure what an average following is so I figure 100 is as good a place to start as any.
  2. Post at least once a week – no exceptions.  I think this will assist in achieving #1 and make most of the things on my list below more achievable and realistic.
  3. Do more “Recommended Reads” – these are similar to book reviews, but not actually reviews in the traditional sense.  I don’t rate books, but when I read something I like or discover a new author that I think people should know about I will tell you what I liked about the book and why I enjoyed it.  If I don’t like a book I’m not going to post negative things on my blog about it.  That’s just not who I am.  I don’t like rating things because people’s opinions are subjective.  My 5 might be your 2 or vice versa depending on what we value in a book.  I actually think this is one of the most important things I want to do on this blog.  I tend to gravitate to books written by new authors and I try very hard to support Canadian writers.  I can see from my stats that the majority of people visiting my blog are actually from the US, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand so I hope my recommended reads can help introduce some great authors to people in other parts of the world who likely wouldn’t hear of them otherwise.  My goal is to do a minimum of 5 Recommended Reads in 2014, hopefully more.
  4. Begin doing author interviews.  Again, the real goal here is to help support other authors.  We need to have each other’s backs and support one another in the ways that we can.  My goal for 2014 will be 3 author interviews just to get me started, but I will strive to do more.
  5. More posts introducing people to my part of the world.  Since most people reading my blog aren’t from Nova Scotia I want to share more pictures and tell you about this fabulous place I call home as well as the places I find myself in as I follow my kids around the Maritimes for their various sporting events.  We have unique shops, beautiful landscapes, and an endless amount of festivals so I look forward to telling you more about this place.

I’ve probably missed some things, but these are the ones that I really want to focus on.

Feel free to follow me!

This Week’s Goal – Writing Down My Goals

I’ll give 2014 credit – it’s been an interesting year so far and it’s only just begun.  There’s been a lot happening in my life, some of it fabulous and some of it quite heart-wrenching.  Most of it has been unpredictable and unexpected so I’ve been forced to adjust some timelines as I go with the flow that is my life.  I’m a working mom with two active kids and a husband.  I should know better than to expect anything other than unpredictability!

I had made the decision back in December that 2014 would be the year I would set goals, blog about them, and work really hard to achieve them.  I would write goals about what I wanted to achieve with my blog, with my writing career, how many books I hoped to read this year, and some personal goals linked to a business I’m planning to start that should have been off the ground by now, but isn’t because I’ve gotten sidetracked with life. 

With that said, I actually have accomplished a lot and I’m trying to give myself some slack given I spent most of January recovering from surgery and that recovery took much longer than expected. Then both of my kids and I ended up sick.  Today is the first day I actually feel reasonably well.  I’ve managed to write a speech for a huge event I’m speaking at next week (future blog post) and I submitted an article to the local paper highlighting the accomplishments of our local badminton club at their recent tournament as my official volunteer role with the club is that of communications person.  So, I’m getting stuff done, just not what I had hoped to get done.

With any luck I will find some time over the next few days to sit down and really think about what I want to accomplish this year and start being able to focus on what I want to do rather than responding to what I have to do. 

I have great ambitions and I’m determined to make great things happen this year – for me and maybe even for you, too.  (That’s the only hint I’m giving today about my new business.  You know, the one that was supposed to be started in January…sigh.)

For now, I am setting one goal: 

Write down my goals. 

See you next time!

 

 

10 Great Things a Bad Year Has Taught Me

Sometimes our great expectations for a new year are cut short by life’s realities.  This has been my experience with 2013 so I am quite happy that midnight is just minutes away and soon this year will be nothing more than a distant memory.  With that said, I am a firm believer that all things, good and bad, happen for a reason so tonight instead of partying it up I’m spending a relatively quiet night at home reflecting on what I’ve learned:

1.  I’ve learned to follow my instincts.  Actually, I’m sure I learned this many years ago, but this year my instincts were bang on.  If you think there’s something wrong with your seemingly healthy child, trust your instincts and take them to a doctor (or two or three).  If I hadn’t, there’s a good chance one of my kids wouldn’t be here today.

2.  I was reminded that being a good mom isn’t about having a perfectly clean house, with perfectly prepared healthy meals which were prepared while wearing trendy clothes and brand named shoes after a long day working a fulltime job in the 20 minutes before dropping kid number one and their teammates off at their game and then circling back to pick up kid number two.  Being a good mom is about REALLY being there for your kids when they need you, and especially when they don’t want you there. It means being OK that your house is a disaster, you’ve got no make-up on, and a pile of laundry awaits because you’ve been spending your time on what actually matters – your family.

3.  The world didn’t come to an end when I decided it was time to just say, “No!”  In fact, it got much better once I did. Life can get really hectic.  It’s alright to slow it down a bit.

4.  Great bosses are few and far between.  I am incredibly blessed to have the boss I have.

5.  Sometimes you just have to believe in the unbelievable and have faith in things that can’t be explained with logic.

6.  Orange and white barn cats that show up on your back deck every night looking for snuggles are quite possibly the best therapists on earth, especially when you’re trying to wrap your head around #5.

7.  A hug from an old friend is one of the greatest gifts you can receive.

8.  When your teenager says, “I hate you” they are really saying, “Mom, I need your help.”

9.  Watching your child lose a game gracefully can fill you with far more pride than if they had won.

10.  When my book deal fell through it wasn’t the end of the world. It may have taken me four days crying in the fetal position to realize that, but in the end it was exactly what I needed all along to figure out what my ‘true’ place in the publishing world is meant to be.  More on that soon…

I wish you all a wonderful New Year!

Dodging a Bullet at the Cost of a Dream – An update on my children’s book

Last year I was elated when I got the email I had been waiting for my whole life.  The email telling me that my children’s chapter book had been accepted for publication.  The process from query to acceptance had taken over 2 years, but that moment on that day was worth the wait.  I immediately called the Editorial Director to say I would accept their offer of publication and we began talking about moving forward, with spring 2013 as the timeframe we were looking at for a launch.

 

I was overjoyed to share my news with family, friends, co-workers – many of them as excited as I was.  My family took me out to dinner to celebrate and I splurged on a beautiful piece of jewelry with the intent that it would be worn at my book launch.  My sister-in-law brought me a congratulatory gift and an old friend from high school who lives in Ontario popped in with her beautiful daughter to give me flowers.  The next year was going to be the most exciting of my life.  Or so I thought.

Instead of a book launch this spring, in May I was informed that my book was never coming out of editorial.  The publisher was facing financial problems, my book would not be moving forward, and I was free to seek a new publisher.

I could very easily have rolled up into a ball and died at that point.  Not only had my personal dream been crushed, but I felt like I had let everyone down – my kids, my husband, my friends, my family.  EVERYONE.  I was (still am) humiliated, embarrassed, devastated.  I couldn’t bring myself to speak of it.  I was going to look like a complete fool and failure to everyone and the haters, you know, the people who pretend to be happy for you, but really hope you fail miserably, they were going to be beaming when they heard this.

Then in June my 12 year old daughter had a medical emergency that threatened her life and landed her in the IWK Children’s Hospital for 16 days hooked up to a heart monitor.  I was reminded very quickly that in the big scheme of things losing my book deal wasn’t really the end of the world and it was time to move forward.

The following blog post written by author, Deanna Foster, pretty much sums up how I and many others I’m sure feel.

 http://deannafosterauthor.blogspot.ca/2013/08/why-my-book-wont-be-published-with.html

There has been a lot in the news lately about Bryler Publications and the impact their financial woes have had on local authors, the majority of whom are first time authors like me.  The reports getting the most media attention have focused largely on authors who were asked to contribute financially towards the production and printing of their book and in exchange were offered significantly higher royalty rates, which was one of 3 models they operated under.  They offered traditional publishing, joint publishing, and self-publishing.

I take a bit of offence to some of the comments that have been made in response to the media that I’ve seen floating around cyber space implying the authors should have researched the company better, etc.  While I can only speak for myself, I did research the publisher and found it to be very reputable.  I purchased a lot of their books to ensure the quality of their product, they had at least one book featured in a very reputable parenting magazine, their authors were often interviewed by Global and CTV, one of their books became a National Bestseller, most made NS bestseller lists, and I believe at least one was optioned for film.  In addition, they ran a program in the schools to develop young writers.  All this within 3 years of opening their doors.  I think we all believed we were in good hands.

So, despite the disappointment, I believe I dodged a bullet and probably came out better than most.  I did not contribute anything financially and while my book didn’t make it to print I got tremendously valuable editorial feedback and have really learned a lot.  My ego and pride has taken a beating, but the only real thing I have lost is time and knowing that when it eventually makes it into print it won’t be relevant to either of my kids anymore.  Their friends and classmates will be too old for it.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out my next move.  Should I start from scratch and re-submit to other publishers and likely wait at least 3 years to see it in print or do I take charge and self-publish?  OR do I do something even more crazy and establish my own place in the publishing world?  I guess you’ll have to stay tuned and see.  I don’t know the answer yet.