Easter Basket 2017 – Writer’s Edition

Here are some things that my writer pals might like to see in their Easter baskets this year:

  • A book-inspired candle from FROSTBEARD STUDIO. (Le Cirque des Reves and Reading at a Cafe smell AWESOME!)
  • YOUR BOOK, YOUR BRAND by Dana Kaye (good book on how to present yourself and your product online.)
  • NOVEL TEAS (a collection of tea bags with literary quotes on the tag–what’s not to like?)
  • WRITING GLOVES (fingerless gloves to wear while you’re writing. They even have literary quotes on them! Choose from Alice in Wonder Land, The Raven, Pride and Prejudice, and more!)
  • ENGRAVED LITERARY SPOONS (spoons with fun bookish quotes engraved on them. Cool, huh?)
  • WRITER’S EMERGENCY PACK (cards to help with writer’s block.)
  • WRITER’S CLOCK

Have any ideas you’d like to add? Tell me in the comments! Easter is Sunday, April 16th this year, so get hoppin’!

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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.)

017

(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

 

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.

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

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.