Writerly Happiness: When Book Reviews Make You Want to Cry

This morning I’m doing that whole “Twenty-first-century-author” type thing. I’m in the backseat of a car, typing away on my laptop while using my phone as a hotspot, and the phone is plugged into an external battery so I don’t have to rush to conserve the juice. Pretty crazy, right?

Today is a happy authorly day for me. Not only did four (!!!) more of you sign up to read Where Dandelions Grow since Saturday night *cue happy dance* but two people have posted reviews on Goodreads. And yes, I will happily admit to getting tears in my eyes when reading the reviews and thinking of how incredibly blessed I am to not only get to be an author but to have you AMAZING people as part of my community.

If you want to check out the reviews that are live, you can look at the Goodreads page for Where Dandelions Grow. I’m also blown away by how many of you have marked the book “To-Read” – Thank you, thank you, thank you! If you haven’t done that, I’d be thrilled if you’d take a moment to do so, and if you want to recommend it to your friends on Goodreads, too? Well, that would be totally amazing as well! 😉

 

IMG_7935

Traveling office – and yes, that is a pile of clothes next to me cause I’m going to the Creation Museum for the week. Y’all should come visit! 😉 

I finally received the final front cover of the book from my designer, so that means I get to send that out in an email to everyone who has signed up to read WDG in exchange for review. Cause you know, they get the first sneak peeks. 🙂 (You want to get into the fun? It’s still not too late to sign up! Tomorrow is the Five-Weeks-Until-Release-Day! *cue yet another happy dance*)

 

This morning I’m also working on sending out info to everyone who has signed up to be part of the Cover Reveal team because the Cover Reveal is only eight days away! (If you’d like to take part in that, but don’t have time to read and review the book, you can email me at aidylewoh@gmail.com – We’re going to have lots of fun with Giveaways and all that.)

Among other writerly things that I’ve done recently, on Friday and Saturday I sent 38 emails, wrote 11 book reviews, scheduled two (book review) blog posts, and hung out on quite a few blogs. That’s in addition to having an already-busy weekend (which included packing for this week, having a bunch of company, and hanging out at my sister’s house).

And speaking of busy, we’re only about a half an hour away from the Creation Museum so I’d better sign off here so I can send out those emails. Have a delightful Monday, y’all! Thank you SO MUCH for being part of my journey as an author. Your support and community mean an incredible amount to me! 🙂

Beta Readers – Thank You!

The responses I received from wannabe beta readers for Echoes has been nearly overwhelming and totally delightful. I blogged on Noveltea a week ago today asking for beta readers, then followed that up posting on Goodreads and my Go Teen Writers Facebook group.

It’s amazing to me how writers rally around each other and help out with beta reading, brainstorming, reviewing, and encouragement. Multiple times last week I wanted to dance around my office thrilled at the fact that I get to be a writer – that I fit in with this group of people and can lend and receive help and encouragement along with the rest of them.

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 9.05.30 AM

As I sent out email after email to beta reads last week (19 beta readers in all!) I nearly cried for joy at all the people who are not only willing, but happy to spend their time helping me. Being a writer isn’t always easy. There have been times when I’ve been so overwhelmed or discouraged that I’ve wanted to quit. But being a writer is important. And having people around you to remind you of that fact is priceless.

Receiving the feedback from beta readers isn’t always easy. Who likes to hear that what they’ve written has horrible plot holes, that the characters are unlikeable, or that the story just lacks the “oomph” it needs to succeed? But I know from experience that receiving feedback is incredibly helpful. I’ve learned so much from my beta readers – not only about my books, but also about how things I perceive as coming across one way might come across to another person.

In addition to all the writerly good that comes from beta readers, there are multiple friends I’ve made through beta reading. I’m still in very regular contact with at least four of the beta readers who read When Life Hands You Lymes, and would consider all of them to be my friends. It’s a wonderful feeling.

Today I am thankful to be a writer. Today I am thankful for all the beta readers who are working on Echoes. Today I am thankful that I can be part of a writing community where people are helpful, encouraging, and kind.

Thank you – all of you – for being a part of my life and my writing journey!

 

The Coffee Shop

There’s a new coffee shop being open in town. *cue excitement* It’s not open yet, but somehow we were invited to head over to the coffee shop yesterday and do a taste-testing to our hearts content.

Yes, you heard me correctly. We literally got to go and sip on delicious coffee and eat mouth-watering sandwiches for totally free. It was amazing. And a lot of fun. I’m horrible with knowing the names of fancy coffees (really, as much as I enjoy coffee I’ve only bought one from a coffee shop like twice in my entire life), but I think what I had yesterday were two flavored lattes. The first one was French Vanilla (best flavor ever), and the second one was Toasted Marshmallow.

fullsizerender-360

As I just said I’ve very rarely ever gone to a coffee shop, but sitting in the coffee shop yesterday (it’s still under construction), the thought of hanging out there every-so-often with my computer was quite enticing.

One of the reasons I hesitate to work at coffee shops has to do with the fact that I’m generally not a calm writer. I kinda do a sitting-down-acting-out of everything that’s happening to my characters. It’s not unusual for me to close my eyes and just run through a whole scene with my face and hands getting the facial expressions and movements just right. And, well, I don’t exactly want to be labeled as totally crazy, so I mostly work in private.

But for this coffee shop? Maybe I can learn to be a bit more sedate….

fullsizerender-361

One of the cool things about this coffee shop is that the floor is old newspapers. I might or might not have sat on the floor at various places just to read the comics and articles. (Hey! That’s the joy that comes with hanging out at the coffee shop before it’s open to the public.)

And I just realized I’m sounding very much like a writer (or pretty much anyone else) with gushing about a coffee shop. Really though. Coffee and writing go admirably together, even when it’s just home-brewed coffee drunk by a girl who’s ignorant of what it’s like to be a fancy coffee connoisseur. But maybe, just maybe, with this new place in town I’ll actually learn the names of coffee drinks….

What about you? What is your favorite coffee-type drink?

Little Girl Dreams

As a little girl with missing teeth and hair twisted into two blonde braids, I loved books.

Some of my earliest memories are of my mom and oldest sister reading to us. I can clearly remember scenes from books that they read when I was four, and maybe even younger, although I don’t have a good way of gauging when everything took place before my fourth year. (And it’s rather easy to figure that out, because that’s when my little sister entered our lives.)

On the weekend we celebrated my fourth birthday my oldest sister surprised me and my siblings by making us cute little sandwiches, then giving us blankets to sit on the floor and eat them while she read to us. That was the day that we read The Crown and the Jewel. I clearly remember the scenes, then excitement, the wide-eyed wonder the book brought. (Which, come to think of it, that might be when my love for princesses began?)

They would read to us at bedtime, while we folded laundry, on rainy days, and the list goes on. Once when I was five I was running with a stick (not a good idea folks), fell down, and had the stick go straight up under my chin, then break off. While waiting for the proper assistance to remove the fragments of wood, my sister cuddled me in her lap and read The Christian Mother Goose to me. 

fullsizerender-357

I remember coming down to our living room early one morning when I was five or six to see my next-older sister curled up on the couch with a red book with a horse on the front. She rather smugly informed me that our oldest sister had awoken her early to ask if she wanted a private reading lesson, and she had excitedly agreed. I remember bemoaning my extra sleep at that moment and wishing fiercely that I had been the one learning to read.

That’s the first time I recall the strong urge to learn how to read for myself. Thankfully it wasn’t long before my own reading lessons started. I don’t remember a lot about learning to read – mostly just trying to sound out letters that had little lines and squiggles over them, and thinking that it was really weird.

Reading was work to begin with. Instead of being fun like I had imagined, I had to concentrate and the stories were rather lame. We had a basket that contained a multitude of little treats, and each time one of us kids finished reading a book (which were obviously varying in size and difficulty), we were allowed to choose a prize from the basket. There were several Illustrated Classics in the basket, and those were the prizes I remember choosing. Because, well, books.

fullsizerender-356

It wasn’t long before I had mastered the art of reading, and I was thrilled and amazed as a thousand worlds opened their doors to me. From that time I began carrying a book with me nearly everywhere I went. I made a special little nook in one of our closets (complete with a miniature rocking chair), and spent hours rocking back and forth reading Laura Ingalls. I constantly asked Mom for more book recommendations, and studied our bookshelves studiously, choosing anything that looked interesting.

I would read books during my spare time, then dance about acting them out as I completed my job list. Instead of being Lydia as I hung out the laundry, I was Annette and the hills around me were actually the Swiss Alps. I gulped down stories as fast as I could, delighting in the way that I could (nearly magically) hear a whole story in my head by simply running my eyes over little squiggles on a page. (It still amazes me, actually.)

At that time I never imagined that I would one day have a bookshelf of my own containing hundreds of books. At that time I never imagined that I, too, would become one of those authors who created worlds for others to delve into. At that time I had no clue what the future held for me, nor how incredibly delightful it would be.

I am so thankful to be a writer. I dream of possibly being one of those authors that other little girls are inspired by one day. And that motivates me to keep going, to keep writing, and to keep creating.

What about you? Did you grow up loving to read?

Mental Games – Preparation

It turns out I wasn’t mentally prepared to start getting rejections from my querying for When Life Hands You Lymes.

That’s not because I wasn’t expecting rejections, or that I didn’t want rejections (because, after all, that’s a part of the process). It’s simply because I wasn’t mentally prepared to receive any feedback so soon. From all the research I’d done I thought it would be weeks – possibly months – before I received rejections, and therefore I was prepared to settle in for a long wait.

So when rejections began trickling in, starting the very day I sent out my queries, I had to do some mental reworking and give up my expectations of penciling in “No Response” day after day in the planner.

img_3941

After my third rejection in as many days, I came to the conclusion that even though rejections are great (they’re getting me closer to my goal and making me money) they’re not very helpful when they’re simply a form rejection. Therefore, after thinking about it for a bit I asked God for the gift of some feedback along with the rejections. I figured that way I’d at least know if I was on the right track.

It was exciting when the very next rejection I received was written personally for me, and addressed a way the agent thought I could improve the query letter. So yay!

I spent the weekend at my adopted parent’s house and caught up on some reading for review, so I didn’t spend time working on querying. I’m looking forward to jumping back into the game this week, though. Researching agents has turned out to be a very time consuming task, but rewarding and fun at the same time. It’s so interesting to get to learn what the different agents are looking for, what they’re like on a more personal level (mostly from reading their Twitter), and also learning tid-bits about the publishing industry from them.

Happy Monday, y’all! I hope you have a fantastic week!