What I Learned this Last Month?
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What I Learned this Last Month?

Happy February, Everyone!
So much has happened in the previous month since my last “update” post. Biggest news was the release of The Brotherhood (which if you didn’t know...is now available). Here is a run down of what I have learned this month...!
1.  Success, even in miniscule amounts such as mine, can bring about interesting changes in many things, but the most interesting and unexpected is in the people around you. Some are over-the-moon excited for me; while others can’t stand to look at, be near, or simply talk to me. At first I didn’t know how to feel about the latter group because it was sudden and so extreme. Any communication that did transpire occurred much later and it varied from overly critical, superficial remarks about my book (“Why did you pick such an ugly color?”); to simply stating that they didn’t like my book...which is fine, since I never really expected to get the small, select group of followers that I do have, but the conversation never stops there...they continue to discuss it, and bring up points of the story that made them think of events in their personal life and family that they have lost, or lost contact with. It’s as if they can’t stop talking about it, even though they swear they didn’t like it.
Is it my success that truly bothers them? Am I reminder of the goals that they never saw through? Or did my written words hit a nerve so raw that they serve as a reminder of what they have lost? Either way, unfortunately, these ties generally sever themselves. Are they permanent or temporary? I can’t answer that. All I can do now is hope that one day they can come to terms with the ‘demons’ that keep them from just being happy for a friend.
2. As an independent, self-published writer, you not only take on the writing/editing/design responsibilities but also that of marketer, publicist, webmaster, accountant, agent, and manager. Most of these ‘hats’ I’ve worn before, or know people who will help, but one of them scared the beejeezus out of me…the Publicist!
By definition, a publicist is a promoter who seeks to obtain media publicity for a client. Logically speaking then, I am my own client, right? For me, knowledge is always key to overcoming my fears and anxieties...so I did what I always do; I started reading (No surprise here...am I ever without a book?).
So, after a long talk with myself (Again, nothing new, I talk to me all the time. Don’t always listen when I should, but I do talk to me)...we decided, that is, I decided...What the hell am I so afraid of? Did I not study theatre for umpteen-billion years? Performed other peoples words on stage…live? Why not draw from that?
I bought new business cards with all the pertinent information, drew up a script and proceeded to start talking…to everyone.  From Carlos the grocer at Safeway, Hong at the post office, and Dave the UPS man; anyone I had a reasonable amount of knowledge of, spent a brief  30-45 seconds learning about me and my “urban-paranormal fantasy about a close knit family, struggling to survive against all odds.” With a 50/50 shot of them keeping my card and actually looking up or maybe even purchasing my novel, I liked my chances.
3. In the process of gaining more confidence promoting my novels, I’ve met some really unique people with lives far more interesting than mine: avid readers, perpetual students of life and daredevils all. Touting experiences of all sorts that made me long for twice the hours in a day to try just some of the things we talked about, and I realized one thing…for all the reading I’ve done, all the characters I’ve worked with, I am not as well-rounded or well-read as I’d like to be. Making the best of my findings, I set up times to interview these people formally over coffee, in their surroundings or just a phone call and began to create a new library of information for characters to be used later, not to mention a new list of ‘to-be-read’ books that I’d never heard of before, and several new friends and fans. It’s been a truly fulfilling bonus to a task that I, at first, really dreaded.
So, that’s all this time around. January was a busy month, and February promises to be even busier, and eventful with a Book Signing at Watts Winery in Lodi (God bless you, Greg Beltran) for the “Wine and Chocolate Weekend” on Saturday, Feb. 11th from 11-4, and the tandem writing of books 3 & 4 (The Traveler and The Coven) to make sure they tie in neatly with book 5 (The Sleepers).   Until then…Cheerz!

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