What does normalcy look like to an Indie Author? Spending afternoons surrounded by a herd of authors, soaking up their inspiration, and connecting with readers of every age. Unfortunately, as it did for nearly everyone else on the planet, the past almost three years meant a full-stop on normal. This is a challenging thing for an extroverted author who thrives on spending time in the company of other people who also enjoy words. It was a struggle. I tried to focus on writing during this time of seclusion, and I was fairly productive… I published a book of poetry, two writing workshop workbooks, and collaborated on a children’s picture book with my husband. Also, for the first time in many years, I was able to “win” at NaNoWriMo. But life just wasn’t the same. I found that I craved interaction with people… especially other writers.
So, I worked to fill the gap by creating a series of Virtual Book Festivals. I was a “green-broke mare” on Zoom when it all began. I stumbled through the learning curve, and eventually, it became almost second nature. Laughing and talking with readers and authors made the days of quarantine far more bearable. I was able to spend time with my “tribe” each night and felt a little more connected to the world because I could see their faces, hear their giggles, and groan at their silly jokes. I discovered some new-to-me authors… people whom I wouldn’t have known existed before the pandemic. Some of these folks have become friends, some have been welcomed into my tribe… and Drake even became close with a few of these wonderful souls. It was a fantastically fun experience… but still, it wasn’t the same. I missed their hugs, I missed the exchange of energy that happens when you get a room full of creatives together, and I missed meeting readers and hearing what types of stories they would like me to create next.
In January, I tentatively began going back into the world, participating in festivals and fairs, and connecting with humans in-person again. I cannot begin to tell you how much I’ve missed these events. I began with a little pop-up shop experience in Brooklyn, Michigan. Cairns Creations & VIP, is an eclectic shop owned by the incredibly energetic, Stacy A. Saxton. Fellow Indie Author, Douglas S. Pierce introduced me to this opportunity, and I had a great time. Douglas and I shared the afternoon with Marianne Wieland, met some readers, and sold some books. I was a little shaky out of the gate, but soon, I regained my stride, and I remembered how it all worked. I began to feel comfortable back in the saddle of public events again… yet still a bit tentative with it all. You never know how the riding season will go when you’ve been away from the reins for a while.
March brought me to a familiar pasture, as I returned to the Michigan-Made Market at Leon & LuLu’s in Clawson, Michigan. This specialty boutique (which was built inside the renovated roller rink I frequented as a pre-teen) is one of my favorite places to spend the day. The energy is spectacular. The employees, the owner, the people who come to share their talent, and the visitors who appreciate what we do, always make my time there worthwhile. Making the day even more special, was my dear friend, and fellow Indie Author, Kate McNeil, who spent part of the day visiting and laughing with me (she took this photo). I’m looking forward to another event in this special space in June.
April ushered in Spring with an event to support a local animal shelter at the American Legion Hall in Lapeer, Michigan. For anyone who knows me… or meets me, for that matter, you’ll know that I usually jump at the opportunity to do anything that serves animals. On this day, I got to spend time with my good friend, Erik Rurikson, with whom I am collaborating on a fantasy novella, and some other super-crafty people. Seriously, the things people can make with their imagination and their hands fascinate me! We had a good day and helped some deserving animals feel a little bit safer in the world. I was having so much fun petting dogs and eating Girl Scout Cookies, I forgot to take photos!
May sunshine brought me to my first outdoor paddock in a very long time. Although I was out of practice setting up my tent, and couldn’t have done it without help this first time out, I feel confident that I can do it now on my own, forever. Great trainers make it all seem so easy! Thank you, Andrew. It always feels good when I can participate in an event that lends support to a charity or school. This time, I was pleased to lend my day to the Kearsley Marching Band in Flint, Michigan. I was a little disappointed by the absence of the band, but the day was still a ton of fun. How could it not be? I shared my tent with fellow Indie Author, Andrew Allen Smith. We’ve been friends for a while, and I simply can’t think of a better way to spend my day than laughing and talking about writing and life with this gentleman. The sunshine welcomed us, warmed us, and stayed all day. The visitors we encountered were kind, energetic as they trotted through the sunshine, and many were interested in our books. We spoke to several for an extended period, and the conversations were quite enjoyable. The rain waited until just a few minutes after we packed up and were on the road before it sputtered from the sky. Gratitude for the delay was abundant in my heart. The high energy of the day reminded me again, why humanity is one of my favorite things about life. I’m excited at the thought of returning next year to do it all again.
This past Saturday, I spent the day with two author friends, D.M. Taylor and Clay Boura… and met a bunch of extremely talented authors that were new-to-me at the Macomb Intermediate School District’s Author Festival. Although it rained heavily shortly after we arrived, the rain didn’t stay long. Fortunately, we were indoors. However, we got to enjoy the reverberation of thunder’s hooves upon the glass dome of the foyer. It was a spectacular sound. I was pleased to meet several children, some of whom wanted to become authors themselves, one day. I also learned a bit about the weather from Owly, the mascot of NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). I had a lot of fun. It’s hard not to when you get to hang out with such wonderful people and gallop through an afternoon filled with the written word.
I have many more events scheduled this summer and autumn, and I feel I’m ready… seat in the saddle, hands on the reins – not too tightly – ready to canter through the days of wonderment as I introduce readers to my books. I hope to see you at one of these lush pastures. If you don’t find a book on my table that interests you, I hope you’ll stop anyway and say hello. To me, each of you is like a carrot to a mare spending her days grazing in the warm sunshine… a special treat to be cherished.
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