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Launch Parties

Think like a super-fan.

Are you a super-fan of anything? You might be looking forward to a book release of a beloved series. Maybe the latest Tea Shop Mystery release found you sweaty-handed with anticipation. Or the next Stormlight Archives book. Or perhaps you cannot wait to get your paws on the next Lock and Mori book. Whatever the case, here are some ideas for celebrating your favorite franchise. Enjoy, and PARTY ON, DUDES!

  1. FOOD

The Tea Shop Mysteries always come with recipes at the back of the book. Lord of the Rings mentions lots of food in the Shire chapters. Edmund has a thing for Turkish Delight in The Chronicles of Narnia. So make a menu, go to Pinterest, and bake your little heart out.

007Turkish Delight (rose-flavored)

2. COUNT DOWN THE DAYS

For the second two Lord of the Rings movies, I drew a thirty-one-day countdown calendar (for each.)

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(Two ideas, more to come. Bear with.)

Okay, you’re saying. I’m not a super-fan. But are you a writer? Do you have a book coming out? What are some ways you can pump up the hype? Book launches are awesome…if you set a budget and don’t go too overboard (read: get your friends/family to help.)

Lady Catherine Says: 365 Tweets of Condescension is coming out on Jane Austen’s birthday of this year (December 16th.) And I plan on having  a local (and later an online) launch party.

Lucky me, my book of humor comes with a built-in fan base: Jane Austen.

So for refreshments, I just have to Pinterest/Google for Regency recipes and get a few friends together to bake with me. Find the era of your book and research recipes. Also look for food references (I know: duh.) And if all else fails, get a cake with your cover printed in edible frosting on top.

3. SELLING IT

Bring copies of your books to sell. If you’ve only got an e-book, that’s a little tricky. Make sure to have buy links on your business card or postcard or whatever freebie paper/s you hand out. Better yet, keep a guest book and gather email addresses (noting that you will be in touch) and email out (ONCE!) a buy link and possibly an invitation to your e-newsletter.

4. VENUE

Try your local library (some love local authors and will let you celebrate there for free!) If that doesn’t work, try bookstores, cafes, or some venue related to your book.

5. GIVEAWAYS/FREEBIES

Find a theme in your book and have favors relating to that theme. Writing a book with a tea theme? Buy personalized tea bags to hand out (with you book title and purchase info on them/your website address.) Have business cards, postcards, or bookmarks to hand out. Do a raffle. But make sure you do NOT raffle or give away your book at the event. Why? People will postpone buying your book, in hopes that they will win the raffle or giveaway.

Those are just some of my ideas. I’ve only done an e-book launch party/book signing, but I did see a small increase in sales for the next two days after the party.

Have fun, be yourself, show an interest in others, and stick to your budget.

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth

 

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Agent and Mouse

Dear M. and Co.,

 

I am writing through a fever, but I must pen these words before anyone finds me out. You see, my good sirs, the boy I mentioned earlier suspects everything and everyone. Your game is most definitely on his radar.

Introducing the enhanced rats to the warehouse was simple enough. The things breed and re-breed like, well, rats. They say the gestation period is a week or so. The boy could tell you. I have observed him studying them. It did not alarm me at first, his interest in the creatures; who wouldn’t be interested when a supposed multi-million dollar business became infested, and no exterminator was able to keep up with it? He took one home. At first I assumed it was for a pet. They are cute, after all, in their own ugly way.

It was yesterday, when the lad approached the CEO with an aerated shoebox that I became worried. I hope you will forgive my disregarding orders, but my sixth sense was tingling. I listened at the keyhole, and can report with confidence that I was neither seen nor heard.

The young boy spoke first. “Mr. Elmscroft, I presume you are aware of the devastation the rats are causing?”

Elmscroft is slow, but he is not that slow. “Of course, you little devil. Of course I am well aware of what they are doing to my business. How dare you imply otherwise?”

“And I assume you would wish to have something done about it.” I must give him points for not losing his bored, arrogant tone with an adult. Elmscroft is a large man with a quick temper.

“Yes, but what have you got to do with any of this? Who are you? Where are you parents?”

“My uncle works under you, and I would like to see him keep his job.”

The old man laughed. “Is he in any danger of losing it?”

“Only if the rats continue eating up your inventory. I am not one to mess about with niceties, Mr. Elmscroft, so I’ll get right to the point: these rats infesting your warehouse cannot be killed by poison.”

Something dropped at this point, rather near to the door, and I was obliged to move back a pace, in case someone decided to exit. That is why I missed a few words, but I’m confident I caught enough to alarm you.

“—Genetically engineered to tolerate most common poisons known to man, even thrive off of them,” the boy was saying.

My blood ran cold, sirs. Mr. M. has worked long and hard on that formula, and a mere boy thinks he is on to it. M. will please forgive me for breaking the rules. I know there are others like me that have infiltrated the base, disguised though it is as a business. Some are to watch and listen; others, like me, are meant to mind the rats. I know this.

Forgive the incoherency, gentlemen. I blame the fever.

I heard more. Elmscroft was showing the boy to the door, or trying to, rather. “I know what you are, Elmscroft. A front. A ruse. I know what really goes on here.”

Silence followed for a brief moment, then Elmscroft exploded. “Your uncle been telling you company secrets, eh?”

“On the contrary. My uncle is in the dark. But that is neither here nor there. Those rats are the first wave. They are meant as a test, to see how well they adapt to the environment. The next wave will bear disease, and they will be planted here first as well, until, slowly, all of London is overcome with illness.”

“Oh, you think this, do you? What proof have you?”

I didn’t have to see what was happening to know that the dratted boy was holding up the aerated box.

“This rat for starters. He is what you might call a mutant.”

There was another pause. “How old are you, boy?”

“Eight, but I hardly see the relevance to our conversation.”

That is all I heard before I began to feel unwell. I am sitting at my desk now, writing you this missive. I do not feel right. I do not feel right at all.

Perhaps these rats are spreading something. I was not made aware of their nature, as I ought to have been. Please don’t feel I’m threatening you, sirs, M., or anyone else on the committee. I’m just a grunt.

My tea tastes funny.

Too hot. I’m too hot.

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The Dreaded M-Word

A friend shared a YouTube video with me, and I found it rather inspiring. It’s about the M-word: Motivation. I don’t know about you, but I run dry…a lot. This video kindly gave me some inspiration. Here’s a link: VIDEO ON MOTIVATION. I hope you enjoy it. When you’re done, come back here (please.)

Welcome back! What did you think of the video?

Here are a few things I’m going to try in hopes of breaking free of the blah/slump/unmotivatedness I’m finding myself in:

  1. I’m going to take a break from working on my “Goblets” novel. I’ve been typing away at it, polishing as I go sometimes, for over a year now.
  2. I’m going to let myself tinker on another project, something shiny.
  3. There’s a slight possibly I might also pick up another art form. Dancing, singing, playing an instrument, and acting are out. Any suggestions?
  4. I’m going to start a rewards system like Jazza (was that his name?) suggested.

Here are some MIGHT do’s:

  1. Trying The Artist’s Way…again
  2. Artist dates with myself
  3. Keep a dream journal

Do you have any other ideas? I feel like I’m missing stuff.

I’m learning it’s okay to take a break. It’s okay for me to move slowly–at least, at this point in my career (the precipice of a a career, that is.)

Thanks for stopping by!

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth

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How Kind the River

Ever since my youth I’ve known of a stream. I reached into its depths, and it delivered pretty things. “I would so like to ballet,” said I to Mother one fine day. Mother’s fingers swirled the surface, and I barely heard her say, “All that is gold does not glitter/The nut in the bough of the tree/But if this is what you wish for/Surely the river will give to thee.” ‘Twas not a fortnight later, when I was home from school, that I found a pair of slippers and a kit of ballet tools. I rushed to thank the river, passing Mother dear. The surface merely twinkled, and my path henceforth was clear.

Whenever I needed a favor, down to the banks I’d run. I’d bring along my mother, and she’d enchant beneath the sun. “All that is gold does not glitter/The bird in its twiggy nest/But if this is what you wish for/Surely the river with bless.” And I would wait but a fortnight, and all good things would come to me: a kite, a cake, a paper doll, a flowering apple tree. And I would run to thank the river, passing mother dear. The surface would do its twinkle, and I would dance in its depths, clear.

This lasted ‘til my twelfth year, so many things had I. But Mother was getting sickly, and soon was sure to die. So I ran down to the river, and entreated beneath the sun: “All that is gold does not glitter/The heart within my breast/But if this is what I wish for/The river will do the rest.” Confident was I that Mother would regather all her strength. Confident and foolish, and naïve in my mistake. It wasn’t ‘til I buried her that I realized the fact: my mother was the river— the gifts, her selfless act.

The riverbed had dried up, and I moved away from home. Years and years passed hither, and soon I’d a girl of my own. I’d take her down to the riverbed, still as dry as sand, until I started singing a song from my past: “All that is gold does not glitter/The bird in its twiggy nest/But if love is what you wish for/Surely your mother will bless.” I don’t believe in magic, I don’t believe in fate. But my daughter has my mother’s eyes, and I’ll often here her say: “Mama loves you, dearest. River run dry and low.” And I’ll feel a peace deep within me, a river within my soul.

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What Should I Call This Post?

Right now I am anxious. I hear a rattling in the near distance–dishes loosing their calls as they butt against each other on their watery way down. Now someone’s tapping plastic against plastic. And I can’t concentrate. In vain I stab at my keys–clack, clack, clack–punctuating the pauses. Coldplay blares. I wonder why I can’t have it all together. It is a cacophony of noise and emotion here, and I for one am unsettled.

^’scuse bad, purple writing.

I have published one book. I should be happy. But two heads are better than one. I want to have that feeling again. Something more tangible this time. Paper. I want paper. I’ve decided–at least, I think I have decided–to self-publish a novelty book. I wonder if that will fit the bill. I wonder.

And I can’t believe I’m sharing this. Complaining. I should be positive.

Don’t get me wrong: writing has been going better lately. But I have three finished (written and rewritten) books that need homes and I don’t know what to do with them. It kind of weighs on you. As Sylvia Plath said, “Nothing stinks more than unpublished writing.” …or something akin to that.

Do I shelve them? Forget about them? Maybe I should just put them down as experience and move on. Write. I need to write.

Okay, I’m done whining here. On a different note, next week I’ll be posting a short story of sorts 🙂 Just something fun, nothing fancy.

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth

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The Man in Apartment B

They tell me I am losing things. At first it started out small: a name here, a birthday there. Then the things got a bit bigger, somewhere in the neighborhood of where did I set my keys and where did I park my car. No one was too concerned. “Papa’s getting a touch forgetful,” as my granddaughter would say. At least, so they tell me.

But you. You seem to forget nothing.

You say I live in apartment A. Caught me milling about in the entryway, heard me yowling for Mrs. Herman. Mrs. Helpson. Mrs.—Hellman. You sit there laughing at me; you know the name. You think this is funny, do you? I must say, I find your smug attitude intriguing. I was a young whippersnapper like you once. Must have been. With a handsome face and a voice that would charm any of the fairer sex. That is no more.

One day you’ll be like me, Sherman. Don’t think you won’t be.

Oh dear. I’ve gone and confused your name again, haven’t I? Forgive me. They tell me I am somewhat forgetful. That’s why they moved me into this smaller place. Less to forget, Kate says.

But I can tell by the look on your face that you think this is a mistake, and I quite agree. A man needs the familiar. A man needs his own home. A man needs—a man needs…

I knew a man like you once. Do not look so surprised—or perhaps you are hungry; never could tell the difference. Yes, this man was so intelligent. A good friend of mine, was Albert Lingus. But my wife and I moved away, and eventually old Albert and I lost touch. A shame, really. He was a good man. A smart man. You would have liked him, Sheldon.

He’s probably long since dead, as soon I will be. Yes, long since dead. I think I died when my memory started to go. Can’t be sure. But I heard someone call this the long goodbye, that, day by day, moment by moment, I would slowly yet surely cease to be myself. That’s my definition of dying.

So, you sit talking with a dead man, Seamus. What say you to that?

You don’t say much, do you? At least, not to me. With your roommate you seem to never shut up, if you don’t mind me saying so. Poor Dr. What’s-His-Face. Seems like a good man, that doctor friend of yours. I wonder if he could have a look at my knee. It’s been ever so stiff in the mornings, and I can scarce get out of bed. But I suppose that is a typical dead man problem.

Do you fear death, Sheridan? No, I suppose you do not. I can tell you, in case you are afraid, that it is not too bad. Now you are the nuisance in the corner, shoved aside by everyone saying how much they’ll miss you when you’re truly gone, but ignore you whilst you remain. Remain. Like I’m a stain on the underarm of a shirt, waiting for vinegar and elbow grease to wash me away. I suppose when I am gone for keeps, people will be sad at first, but relieved mostly. “At least he isn’t suffering anymore,” they’ll say. At least. Least. I am the least.

But I am jabbering now. So good of you, really, to allow an old man into you flat, to sit at your table and tell horrendously boring stories over a cuppa tea. Very good of you, sir. And very good tea, too.

I forget where I put my tea. Must have been lost it in the great move. Maybe it was shipped off to the wrong address, and now a family of three is enjoying a nice strong cup of my own special bled.

I blend my own tea, Sheldon. Have I told you that? Ah, but I think you knew anyway. You have a way of knowing things before a person knows themselves. Like that time, glancing at my hands and knowing I had recently fired a gun. How did you know that, you clever man? Even my family didn’t know it was I at first. That poor dog was not a dog, but I’m told we’re to keep that hush-hush. You won’t tell anyone, will you? Ah, good man. You’re a good man, Sherman. It was just a flesh wound, anyway. Jeffy will recover soon.

Was out gardening—or was it getting the mail? Can’t remember. But I could swear it was that ferocious dog mauling a boy, like when I was twenty-three in the old house. I shot the dog. Shot Jeffy. It was an accident, mind. You won’t tell anyone? Thank you, Shirley. You’re a good fellow.

Did I finally get your name right? No. Well, blast. But I can see by your eyes that you are growing weary of my idle chatter. So good of you, really, to be honest with me. Honesty is a trait missing in so many men nowadays. You are honest, my children are not.

Have I told you about my children? There is Jeffy. Someone shot him in the buttocks, poor fellow, we cannot figure out who. He lied to me. Said I was too forgetful to be left alone. Then Kate—Kate’s my daughter, I think you’ve met her on the stairs—she lied and said that the house was too much for her to take care of. My wife never had any such trouble running the farm and keeping the house and raising her children. I think Kate merely did not want the responsibility. I wish she would have come out and said. So, here I am, living in flat A. Is this flat B? Very lovely, very lovely.

Oh, and I see you play the violin. And were those eyeballs in the fridge when you opened it just now? I could have sworn I saw human eyes staring back at me. They must be part of one of your experiments Kate warned me about. Yes, Kate warned me about you.

“Dad,” said she, “leave Mr. Homer alone.” Then she went on to Mrs. Hattford—oh, you know who I mean!—about how odd you are. And, judging from the eyeballs in your ice box, I can say, with confidence, that you are an odd man. Yes, perhaps even a dangerous one. In fact, did they say you shot Jeffy? Someone I know shot Jeffy, I am quite sure of it.

Don’t stare so thoughtful at me, sir. You look as though you know something I do not, vexing man. Did you shoot Jeffy? No, you don’t need to answer that.

I have people who know where I am. They’ll be back shortly. In fact, I think I hear them coming now. I think I just—I think I’ll just…

Oh, Katie! Is that you?

Must be her. Fine tea. Must dash.

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Hello, it’s me

Not sure that title has anything to do with what I’m blogging about today. In fact, what AM I blogging about today? *stops to ponder*

I took a furry little someone to the vet. She was not happy. I had to lure Cricket into the crate with a treat; it worked–but I have a strong feeling it never will again. Before you get worried: it was just a wellness visit, to get her second round of feline leukemia vaccine.

Here’s a pick of her at one of her most chill moments:

003

 

In other non-news, I’ve been editing…no real writing, but that’s okay. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and studying different books, so it feels like I’m accomplishing things.

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth