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Archive for the ‘Kettle Falls’ Category

Sort of like a wedding or Thanksgiving, this huge event in my life, which I’ve been looking forward to with great anticipation and preparing for since last fall, is coming to an end today. And when something extraordinary flies by so fast, we try to hang on to the remaining moments. So, I’m taking a little time before I finish packing in my hotel room to savor the experience. More pictures, along with clips of the video from my presentation on the entertainment program yesterday, will be uploaded once I get to San Francisco with Elaine. (I’m going home with her to celebrate her birthday, and our flight leaves Spokane at 5:13 this evening. So my next post with those visuals will most likely be tomorrow morning–Monday).

Meanwhile … what an amazing four days this has been! We arrived at the festival grounds to set up about 8:30 Friday morning and didn’t leave until 8:00 that evening. By the time we stopped at T.J.’s Tavern & Grill (up the street from the festival in Kettle Falls) for a bite to eat and then drove the five miles to our hotel in Colville, we were falling over in a heap around 10:30. The weather was a bit chilly and windy most of that day, but finally warmed up into the low 60s. Thankfully, there was no rain, and the skies were mostly clear, except for some of those astonishing clouds that came floating over us in the afternoon. And yesterday was absolutely perfect, in the low 70s with a brilliant blue sky and just a slight breeze.

Saturday (yesterday) was the main day of the festival. There was a parade, along with incredible stage performances by the local Irish dancers troupe, and great bands playing all sorts of music. There was also “auto smashing,” where people were taking sledge hammers to an old car, along with an extensive list of other activities. And then, of course, there was some author lady from New Jersey, who spoke about her novel Separation of Faith, which is set primarily in Kettle Falls. 🙂 Of course, there were plenty of food vendors offering surprisingly delicious items from pasta dishes to corn dogs and sinfully gigantic elephant ears (pizza-size fried dough covered with sugar and cinnamon). Elaine and I finally gave in yesterday and shared an elephant ear, and I’ve now ingested enough cholesterol and triglycerides to last through the month! As for the craft vendors … just let me say that a huge dent has now been made in my Christmas shopping.

Now, what about book sales? Well, we sold approximately 60 books (50+ of Separation of Faith and 7 of the newly released 2nd edition of The Truth about Cinnamon), along with a number of T-shirts. This isn’t quite the sales level I was hoping to hit, but I think the outcome is still worth celebrating. We’re leaving a supply of Separation of Faith for the Kettle Falls Visitor’s Center and for a lovely independent bookseller shop in Colville called Coffee & Books. So, for anyone who missed the festival or who hears about the novel set in this community, there will be several options available to secure a copy!

Although the primary reason for coming to Town & Country Days in Kettle Falls was to sell Separation of Faith, the distinct highlight of the trip was meeting so many awesome people! Both Elaine and I were blown away by the warmth and hospitality shown to us and by the programs and plans being advanced in this small but highly progressive community! We have made some very special new friends! And, now that a sequel to Separation of Faith seems to be clearly in the offing, my connection to Kettle Falls will be ongoing–and another trip here definitely resides in my future.

In closing this post, I want to mention one of the memories from yesterday. The day was getting late, and Elaine and I were beginning to break down our booth, when a young lady named Nichole came up to us with a couple of her friends. She was very lovely, and I’m guessing she was still in high school. (Sorry for the mis-guess, Nichole, if you’re older and in college. 🙂 ) She told us that she loved to read, and she really wanted a copy of Separation of Faith after hearing so much about the novel all day, but she didn’t have any extra money and was torn about spending what she did have on the book. But she ended up buying a soft cover version, with what was obviously a very precious $15 to her. And I was deeply moved by her decision. Not only will Separation of Faith be in the hands of someone representing a young, vibrant demographic, but the fact that my book was elevated to such a priority for her was extremely touching. Nichole has my card, and I’m hoping she’ll check out my blog and discover how much I appreciate her popping in at the end of the festival.

Everyone else who made the effort to find us and who then took a  book (or books) home with them is equally as appreciated. Their faces and names are forever imprinted in my mind and heart, and I do hope they stay in touch with me. Without such wonderful people who were willing to take a chance on my novel, I would sort of be doing this job by myself for unknown reasons. So I want each person who visited us to know how very grateful I am for their support and trust. And I’ll be watching for their names to show up in my email or on this blog.

Meanwhile, I guess I’d better get busy with my packing. We’ll be saying goodbye to this beautiful valley community in a couple of hours, but I’ll be taking the memories of every moment and every face home with me.

Will post again tomorrow with pictures. Hope you’re having a terrific weekend!

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About nine o’clock west coast time tonight, Elaine and I returned to our hotel from an absolutely amazing day. We secured the perfect booth for Separation of Faith at the festival, right by the stage and in a high traffic area on the way to the crafters. We then ran a bunch of errands–had copies made of flyers, endorsement quotes, etc., went shopping for items to decorate the booth (tablecloths, flowers), visited an independent bookseller in downtown Colville, and experienced at least three of those life-extending fall-down-on-your-face laughing bouts. We also took a lot of pictures, a sampling of which is attached at the end of this post. There wasn’t much to photograph at the festival site yet, but by tomorrow morning at 8:30 when we arrive, there should be a lot more to capture.

After picking up all the copying, we went back up to Kettle Falls (about a five-mile drive from our hotel in Colville) to visit an antique store we’d been passing repeatedly. Next door to the antique store was a market where I found several copies of a local newspaper featuring an article about me and the novel based on a phone interview last month.

We then returned to the hotel, with the intention of walking next door to a great little eatery for a takeout salad that we planned to eat in our rooms with a little bit of wine and closing conversation for the day. But a message was waiting for me at the hotel from the woman in charge of Saturday’s program. She said she needed a headshot of me and asked if we could come up to meet her at T.J.’s Tavern & Grill in Kettle Falls within the hour. (I called my daughter immediately because she’d dabbled with some modeling in her teens, and I knew she’d get a kick out of my needing to report for a headshot! 🙂 )

Upon entering T.J.’s Tavern & Grill, we were met by about ten women who were preparing t-shirts for a festival fun-run tomorrow afternoon associated with the Kettle Falls Grouch. (See the attached pictures of the Kettle Falls sign.
The Grouch is an elected position, decided during the festival.) Several of the women had already read Separation of Faith, and several others said they are planning to get a copy of the novel from me tomorrow at our booth. We thoroughly enjoyed our conversations with each of the women, learning many fascinating things about Kettle Falls, not the least of which involves the incredibly impressive programs in the Kettle Falls elementary school, details that I will incorporate into my posts as we move through this adventure.

T.J. (the owner of the establishment) and his wife Betty were also filled with seemingly endless morsels of information about the town and about the convent as well. We hope to see them again tomorrow night at T.J.’s, after our duties at the festival booth are over for the day.

As we drove around this afternoon, I was struck (as I was when first here in 2004) by the uncluttered and unspoiled beauty of this valley. The clouds changed their formation frequently as rain came and went through the hours, and I commented several times to Elaine that those clouds somehow seem closer to the ground here. A few pictures are included at the end of this post to show you what I mean.

Now I need to turn in, though. I’m all ready for bed and quite tired. But I suspect that I’ll wake up early again in the morning, ready for Day 2 of the adventure and the first day of the festival. Wish I could bottle this feeling so I could take a sip during discouraging writing days that might be ahead. Actually, I guess this blog is one way of doing just that!

Hope you all have a good night. I’ll return sometime tomorrow with a fresh report.

P.S. Also included in photos are a few shots of my new office on my apartment’s enclosed terrace. Pictures were taken the night before I left on this trip, so the light wasn’t great. I’ll take more when I get home.

 

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Writing from Colville/Kettle Falls, Washington

Yesterday, this long-awaited adventure (and most important promotional element of my fledgling/old-person writing career to-date) was officially launched!

My dear friend Elaine (friends since my 41-year-old daughter was a toddler of two) flew up from San Francisco to meet me in Spokane. By the time I arrived from New Jersey, around 1:00 p.m. via a delayed connection in Denver, Elaine already had the rental car and picked me up outside baggage claim just like we lived here.

Having her here with me for this experience is so exciting and so perfect. She has not only been one of my biggest fans since I reinvented myself from a corporate person and let the writer out of the box, but she’s also been one of my most important critics. None of us can learn, grow, and become the great writers we all dream of being if we don’t have people reading our work who are willing to tell us the truth. Several significant sections of Separation of Faith were extensively reworked due to Elaine’s input.

At any rate, we then made the drive to the Colville/Kettle Falls, Washingon area, which is the primary setting in Separation of Faith and is located about 90 miles north of Spokane. For those of you who’ve read the novel, I’m presently writing this post from my room in the Colville lodge where Isaiah stayed. And, after checking in yesterday afternoon, Elaine and I drove by the property that was the former convent. We also passed through the neighborhood where Tess and Ava lived, and we had dinner at Barney’s.

So, why are we here in the first place? Well, for the past 75 years or so, a three-day festival called Town & Country Days has been held in Kettle Falls during the first weekend in June, drawing attendance from the entire Spokane area. After Separation of Faith received the endorsement of Carolyn Sapp, Miss America 1992, who grew up in Kettle Falls, the goal of somehow being a part of that festival was added to my promotional to-dos. Now, following much effort, press releases, phone calls, emails, interviews, etc., the novel has become a featured highlight of this year’s event.

The wonderful people of this magnificently beautiful part of our country are really excited that someone made their little town a key setting in a novel. As for me, I spent three days here doing research in the fall of 2004, and I’m so excited about coming back that I could just pop! I’ll be blogging once or twice a day as we move through the setup of the booth and then into the event, which opens at noon tomorrow. Pictures will be included, beginning with tonight’s post.

If you’re a writer out there who’s plugging away at your own version of the Dream/Journey, let me assure you that there are lots of different paths available to all of us now. And there are many ways to feel validated and legitimate. The most important goal should be to get your work into the hands of readers. Once that happens, if the readers love what you’ve written, what greater validation can there be? If we’re not writing to give readers several hours of unforgettable reading pleasure, then what is our motivation?

Most of us will never become wealthy or hugely famous from our writing. But I’m here to tell you that, if you focus on completing a well-written book with quality editing–and if you’re willing to work hard on the promotional aspects of this business–the possibility of having your own version of a Kettle Falls adventure is an attainable goal for every single writer out there! (And when the bank teller in Colville got all excited yesterday about who I was, I have to tell you that I did feel like a celebrity. Success on this journey can be measured and attained in so many different ways! And right now I’m having a blast, thoroughly enjoying this moment that I worked so hard to create!)

I’m really looking forward to sharing each step of this adventure with you over the next four days! See you again tonight!

Separation of Faith Is A Proud Bridesmaid Again!

Notification arrived yesterday–and sitting right on top of the honorable mentions for the Beach Book Festival competition is Separation of Faith (http://www.beachbookfestival.com/)! This makes the fifth contest placement in the past few months, and I’m enormously honored! I’d be less than honest, however, if I didn’t add that I’m still hoping the novel will win first place in at least one competition! Still, this accumulating record feels pretty good!

Move Completed … At Last 

The nightmare move that just seemed to never end finally concluded the day before I left on this trip! I took pictures of my new office that night, and I’ll post a few tonight along with the festival adventure shots we’ll be taking today.

Hope you all have a wonderful day ahead! Talk to you later! 

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Good News Is Especially Fun When You’re Exhausted!

Hi! This will be the quickest of posts since this moment finds me literally buried in the chaos of the move. But my genius computer fellow just finished reassembling the technical elements of my office about an hour ago, in the new (and amazingly wonderful) space where I will now be blessed to write each day.

So, after he left, I stopped unpacking for a few minutes to check email–and there I found a message announcing that the winners of the Paris Book Festival had been announced. And guess what? Separation of Faith has placed as runner-up to the winner … again!

I am pleased beyond measure about this string (we’re now at #4) of contest successes! There are five or six contests still outstanding (I think that’s the right number–need to double check), and now there’s even more anticipation than before!

Although I am immensely grateful that Separation of Faith is being so well-received in the book contest world, I remain ever hopeful that when I scan the eventual results of the remaining competitions, there will be that one glorious moment in time when the title Separation of Faith will be at the very top!

Well … no one is going to do my dreaming for me! 🙂

And … if you have a book (or almost have a book) that you’re working hard to promote (or plan on promoting), be sure to check out the whole contest avenue. The 2011 Writer’s Market (http://www.amazon.com/Writers-Market-Deluxe-Robert-Brewer/dp/1582979499/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305661286&sr=1-2) has an entire section devoted to contests, and pursuing those competitions just might help open some doors that you might not have known were there. (The 2012 Writer’s Market will be out in September. The Deluxe Editions of both the 2011 and 2012 WM come with a searchable DVD of the entire reference.)

Also, please keep in mind one of the key messages delivered many times throughout this blog (through posts as well as reader/writer comments): Quality editing is as important to the success of your book, if not more so, than the quality of your writing and the creativity of your plot. A poorly edited manuscript (or one with no editing at all, other than your own) will cause readers, agents, editors, and yes judges, to bypass a project that is otherwise terrific. And this is true no matter which path to publishing you decide to follow. I’ve seen some very poorly edited books coming out of mainstream houses lately, which never (or hardly ever) used to happen, so remain vigilant if you’re going that direction. If you’re exploring the alternate routes, be sure to have your book professionally edited. Skipping that step will make this steep climb even steeper.

Regarding the move, the furniture will be in my new place this Thursday (day after tomorrow), so I’ll be waking up here on Friday morning! I’ll check back in through another post at that time, and then there will be photos loaded shortly thereafter.

Meanwhile, please have a beautiful and productive week on whatever path you’re taking to your own Dream!

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