Category Archives: ALL ME: Writing & Interviews

How Do You Define Book Launch Sucess?

It’s been quiet over here because I’ve been busy with my other blog, Writer…Interrupted, and my book launch. To keep up with all my writing and book news, plus learn the craft of writing make sure you subscribe there. I blog at Writer…Interrupted every Friday and share my journey. One of these days I’d love to learn how to balance two blogs, but for now, I’ll be posting periodically here about life, family and pursuing dreams! 

Last weekend I had the official book launch of Cherry Blossom Capers. Just like many women dream about and plan their wedding, many authors do the same for their book launch. I’m no exception. I’ve been waiting for this day and planning for years!

Even before the book sold I knew what I would do for my launch. A Mystery party! I first heard about the idea from author Christy Barritt and thought it was fabulous, so I stored it in the back of my mind . Then when my book sold and as the days to my launch approached, I started planning and writing the script which featured characters in my book.

A lot goes into planning a mystery party, so I won’t go into that here, but what I want to explore is what is the definition of book launch success? Is it the number of books sold? (If so than mine was a COMPLETE failure since I think I gave away more books to my book launch party helpers than people actually bought.) Is it the number of names and emails I got on my newsletter list? (I did okay there since most everyone signed up thanks to that extra entry for the basket drawing.) Or maybe it’s the number of people that attended? (There again I fell short of my goal!)

I went into my book launch with the lofty goal of 100 people or 100 books, and I did everything in my power to make that happen. I blitzed the media and my FREE event was posted on every local calendar in town as well as being featured on the local midday news talk show. My daughter even heard my event on the radio, but bottom line, the numbers weren’t there. Does that make my launch a failure? I don’t thinks so and here’s why.

While I spent more on my party and promotion than I actually sold in books, I had fun! Everyone who attended had a blast and left with a positive memory. Hopefully so positive that they’ll tell their friends about the party…and the book.

Even though my party is over, my name and book are still out there.  Who knows where the fruit of my promotion efforts will get me. Radio shows and local stations still have my information, and I might get another media interview. You just never know.

Just because the party is over doesn‘t mean it’s over! I’m already planning another mystery party with my church which features my book, and I plan on offering this mystery party to other organizations, book clubs, and churches. So while my initial book launch wasn’t profitable, I look at it as the seed to the bigger picture.


I’m sure there are many other ways my book launch party was a success, but I’m still recovering and processing it all. The bottom line is I don’t regret anything I did or the money I spent. Sure I would have liked to have sold 100 books or had 100 people attend, but for me, that doesn’t define book launch success. At least not this time! :)

How do you define book launch success? And what have YOU done to make your launch successfful?

Writing Lessons from a Dream

I used to dream a lot! Vivid, storyline dreams that made complete sense…until I woke up. But lately those kind of dreams are rare. So when I had a dream about Donald Maass as my drama coach dancing with me ballroom style as I sang “Popular,” I had to laugh! Here’s why…

I’m an impressionable dreamer. I actually DREAM things that my consciousness experiences, usually the night before.

Last night as I ate Ben and Jerry’s as my last hurrah before I went no sugar this week, I watched Drop Dead Diva. There was an episode on where Jane is in one of her fun dream sequences where she’s dancing with a popular male vocal Chip and Daleish group and her old, frumpy boyfriend shows up for a dance. She wakes and tells her friend Stacey about it. Stacey, in her wonderful, ditzy blonde goodness, thinks it’s a sign that Jane needs to date her old boyfriend. Jane reluctantly agrees, but in the end Jane and Stacey learn that the dream really had no meaning, and sometimes a dream is just to dream.

So as I share with you my crazy dream, you decide. Just a dream or a prophetic sign? Whatever you decide, it sure was a fun one!

As far as dreams go, it started out pretty normal. Random craziness with an obscure goal as I traveled somewhere. Vague enough for you?

But when I finally arrived at my goal, I was surprised to find I was in a Donald Maass acting workshop. Yes, acting! While he talked and demonstrated some dance moves, I tried to imitate them, but I was barefoot and everyone else wore shoes. So I put mine on. A pair of black pumps I owned in real life used for my ballroom dance lessons that hurt my feet. So I took them off again.

Then we were asked to sit in chairs in a semi circle around the dance floor. As Don placed everyone in their seat, I tried on a few other pair of shoes I just happened to be carrying around with me and settled on a funky pair of red flat boots with lace up ties. When he got to me, I was the last one and instead of placing me in a chair he took my hand and spoke to me. Oh, how I wish I could remember that conversation, but in essence he told me I was going to dance a scene with him and that it might not be in my comfort zone, but he wanted me to be open minded and try it. At first, I was reluctant, but agreed. Then we started to dance, ballroom style, first cautiously as I timidly sang “Popular” from the Wicked musical. My steps were small and unsure at first, and my voice muffled as I sang with “cotton in my ears.” Then he whispered, “Follow me and take big steps.” And we glided across the dance floor as I belted out the song, “I’m gonna be Popular.”

Dancing felt effortless as I was carried by my partner and sang my guts out. While dancing, I didn’t worry about what I looked like or how I sounded (because I had no clue with the cotton in my ears,) I just trusted my partner and knew by the smile on his face that I was going to be popular.

And when the song ended and I poked a baby alligator peeking up from a drain in the floor (after all, this WAS a dream,) I heard the roar of the applause coming from my cottoned ears, and I knew I was popular. Then I took my seat, not in the semicircle, but in the audience.

Was this dream a sign from God that one day I’ll be ballroom dancing with Donald Maass? I highly doubt it! Was it the result of my crazy weekend carting my kids to their play, reading Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass, working on my WIP after two weeks off, and watching Dancing with the Stars and Drop Dead Diva! Most definitely!

But maybe, just maybe it was also a sign.

If I analyzed each part of this dream it speaks to my conscious dreams, goals and fears!

When I started reading Fire in Fiction this weekend, I was inspired to work on my WIP again. It’s no secret my current WIP scares me on a couple of levels. It’s based on the real life story of my grandmother, and I’m writing it in a new genre, Women’s fiction. I want to do it justice, and honestly, I don’t want this story to be just another practice WIP on my way to publication. I want this to be THE ONE!

So I understand the setting of my dream  most likely resulted from my weekend experiences. Even poking the alligator makes sense to me, but why the song Popular? It’s one of my daughter’s favorites, and we did sing it in the car last week, but we also sang half of the songs on the Wicked cd.

No dream interpretation needed on this one.

Popular, I want to this WIP to be popular and maybe, just maybe I need to turn on the music, sing my heart out, and take giant, scary steps with Donald Maass.

What do you think?

Balancing Your To Do List with Summer Fun

It’s Friday, again! Where has the week gone? Vanished, along with all my grand plans of productivity. Last summer I went off on a three week amazing adventure and accomplished little in my home. This summer I vowed to check off several projects. But I’m finding that these projects are way too big to be completed in a few days. The other day I spent hours in my homeschool room and while I made progress, I realized I could spend the entire summer in that room and MISS summer OR I could take it easy and do a little bit each day/week.

I’m what you call an ADHD project manager. I often get overwhelmed or bored with one project and before it’s finished I start another. It’s not a bad plan for the summer because all work and no sun makes Gina a very cranky person!

So here are some things I’m going to remember this summer as I work through my projects!

Make a List and Check it Twice
I’ve always been bad about making lists, but I’m getting better. I’ve got several lists going now. The long term “It’s going to take me all summer” list and the short term project list. Even the daily list. Oh boy, just thinking about these lists is stressing me out! BUT the goal of these lists is not necessarily crossing things off (repeat 100 times a day) but working on something on the list every day. The cross off will come!

Plan for Fun
Where’s the rule that says you have to do something productive everyday? After all it is summer! Why not schedule a totally fun day away from the work! These days are especially welcomed after a hard work day. Listen to your body like I did the day after I spent hours in my homeschool room stooping, squatting, kneeling and cleaning! My body ached like I had just worked out. So instead of tackling the room again, I rested the next day and focused on computer work! You’re body will thank and you’ll be more productive the following day.

Mix Business with Pleasure
Who says computer work has to be done inside? After I’ve had enough of cleaning and inside work, my body starts to crave sunshine! So to trick myself into thinking I’m actually participating in summer, I take the computer to the pool (or yard,) find a shady spot, and watch the kids swim. (This also helps them think I’m actually playing with them…well, maybe not.)

If you’re anything like me and struggle with balance and fun, you know how difficult it is to be productive without the guilt. But I think this approach to summer productivity could be a great way to satisfy the slacker and Type A me! I could be wrong.

Guess we’ll see by end of the summer.

Got a suggestion to this balancing dilemma? Please share what works for you!!

Embrace the Detour

Sometimes detours are good.

Sometimes they’re frustrating.

But however you view your particular detour or “interruption” on the path to your dreams, one thing is certain! You will have detours.

Might as well learn how to embrace them instead of fight them!

The key to surviving and maintaining a good attitude through it all is perspective. Here’s some perspective I gained while detouring my own dreams to help my kids with theirs.

Go with the Flow
Don’t fight the detour. If you do, it will be a lot more painful for everyone. Instead, try to go with the current and see where it takes you. In the case of driving my three hopefuls to a Disney audition 8 hours away this past week, I planned some fun for me. A stop after 5 hours to visit with my sister. Then another stop along the way to brainstorm for a couple of hours with a writing friend.By the way, the boys made call backs!

Take a Breather
It’s okay to take a break from your dreams especially if it’s to help someone else with theirs. During seasons of breaks, you can choose to totally disengage in your dream planning or let your ideas marinate. I did both this past week on my road trip. And now I’m ready to move forward with my fresh ideas.

Enjoy the Ride
Make a conscious effort to engage in the detour especially if it’s a positive one like driving your kids to a Disney audition! Even if it’s not an exciting detour, you can still glean some important life lessons and do things you’ve never experienced before!

So if you find yourself on a detour this summer, don’t fight it. Detours are part of the journey and sometimes they can take you down a life changing path you might never have gone if you stayed the course!

How have your detours changed the course of your life for better?


I Hit Send on My Novella

It took me a bazillion passes and I didn’t quite hit my goal of 20,000, but yesterday I hit send on my 21, 821 word novella. I can’t believe it started out around 56,000 and after five on again off again months of editing, I did it! Whew!! Still can’t believe I managed a coherent story and I’m not sure I’m looking forward to my editor edits, but for now I’m going to breath easy!

What accomplishment (no matter big or small) are YOU happy about today??

A Lesson in Editing and a Disappearing Trick

I can’t believe it’s been five months since I signed my contract and attempted to cut 35,000 words off my WIP. I’ve painfully and faithfully cut 30,000 words and have the last 5,000 to go.

Cutting any WIP down has been a challenge. First, I snipped the obvious. Overused words, expression, those darn passive verbs. Pretty painless. Then I moved onto chopping my prose, those Witty lines I labored over…my little darlings. Ouch! It hurt, but I left the best ones in. Still, nowhere NEAR 30,000 words. Onto cutting down BIG scenes…unnecessary scenes. Like a band-aid ripped from skin IT HURT. But I lived and my WIP was shorter…still not short enough. Back to square one. Cutting unnecessary words this time with a heavier hand, more passive verbs, extra adjectives and descriptions went next, and back to those darlings….AND those secondary characters that didn’t add to the story…gone along with entire scenes!

After some internal tear drying and a month break, I went back to hacking up my WIP. Funny how less painful this pass was. Things I wouldn’t think of cutting before, disappeared with ease. Now I’m down to three weeks before deadline. Surprisingly, I’m calmly panicking. Having worked on weekly newspapers in my past, I know I work pretty well under pressure . I don’t think my family would agree! But I still have 5,000 words to cut, some motivations to fix, a character to add (just a snippet,) and an entire ending to redo.

Will I do it? Of course, I have to, though since this is my FIRST deadline, I’m not sure how it will go. I’m not sure even if my anthology partners will have time to read my novella, and I’m not really sure if my story will impress. But I will do it! What choice do I have.

So when you notice my rss feed has not refreshed, and the same old post has been up for days, maybe weeks. Think of me and pray for me and visit Writer…Interrupted. I’m on my first deadline, and I’m lost in unknown territory.

I’m sure I’ll have a tale to tell when I emerge!!


Sneak Peak at a Labor of Love

Has it been a year or more since I started the redesign and format on Writer…Interrupted? I dare not go back and actually count the days…months I’ve been planning, waiting, redesigning, waiting, fixing glitches, recruiting writers, fixing more glitches because it’s almost time!! (I know I’ve said that before, but really, it’s almost time to relaunch!)

What is Writer…Interrupted?

Here’s a sneak peak at the website. Feel free to steal the button  spread the word. Writer…Interrupted launches NEXT week!! And we’re still looking for guest columnists!!


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