<![CDATA[Books By Deanna - BLOG: Selling Books]]>Tue, 22 Aug 2017 02:09:57 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Mini-Blog]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 12:25:17 GMThttp://booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books/mini-blog1747033​The Protest that Never Happened
Protest at Olustee
    A couple years ago I was attending a Civil War Reenactment in Olustee, Florida. This was a historical commemoration of the only battle fought in Florida, and cemetery honors for both sides. The press announced the event might be cancelled because a protest group was coming and planned to burn flags and cause mayhem. They interviewed the event organizer who said it would not be cancelled and everything would be fine.
    He set aside a space near the vendors (directly across the road from me, only a hundred yards away) and fenced it off using the white PVC expandable fencing like we use at dog shows. It was a generous space, not a small space. He put a speaker’s platform in the center of it. He pointed out that it was near the port-a-potty, water, and near the rear entrance the press uses, and accessible to electrical outlets. He put up a shade canopy, and set out cones so the TV station would have a place to park. His statement said, “Of course they are welcome. This is a public event. There is an admission price, though. It’s five dollars. No one will bother them. The Marshalls will escort them in, and no one will stop them or bother them. They have a safe platform from which to speak.”
    Then he said to every participant and vendor: “Do NOT! Under any circumstances, do not go near that fence. Ignore whatever is said. Say not one word to them. No one in any kind of uniform is to be on this half of the grounds. It takes two sides to make an argument. Trust me. This will be over before it starts.”
    When the mob arrived at the back gate, the US Marshalls were ready to take them to their designated safe spot to speak. Then the fire Marshall showed up and reminded everyone that due to the drought there was a state fire ban. There were no campfires this weekend; no one could burn anything. Then the TV stations showed up at the press gate ready to film the promised “violence.” The protesters hollered a few shouts to incite things, but there were no responses.
    No one came with anti-protest. There were no verbal exchanges or acknowledgement of the protesters’ presence. It was business as usual on Sutler Row. Bored, the press and the TV station left. The disappointed protesters went away.
    Looks to me like the one thing a protest group needs in order to have a “successful” protest, is a group of anti-protesters. And when anti-protesters arrive, and become like-minded, both sides must share the responsibility for the consequences.
    Think of all the wasted violence if everyone just stayed home.
<![CDATA[Mini-Blog]]>Thu, 17 Aug 2017 11:18:40 GMThttp://booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books/mini-blog7794251​It’s Almost Time!  2017 Total Solar Eclipse 
    Is everyone getting excited yet? I’m going to the grocery story as soon as it opens this morning before the flood of visitors arrives to our little town to see the TOTALITY. We’ve been warned. The digital signs warning “slow eclipse traffic ahead” are showing up along U.S. 64. Waste spots next to the road where folks pull off to use their phones are being filled with cones, tree trunks, and boulders. No pulling off the road this weekend. Every rental available in our area has been rented since last spring. School’s been cancelled. Banks are closing, window service only. Businesses that never close will be closed on Monday.
    Everyone in America knows about the eclipse and everyone in the contiguous U. S. will see at least a partial eclipse, lasting two to three hours. The narrow band of totality is only about 70 miles wide and stretches in a straight line from South Carolina to Oregon traveling at 1500 mph. Halfway through the eclipse, this band will have total darkness and is the only place that will see two diamond rings, the sun’s corona, and 360 degrees of sunset colors, bright planets and stars in a night sky. The temperature will drop and the wind will blow. Our little town sits smack in the middle of that band of totality. And many people are coming.
    Tee shirts, viewing glasses to protect our eyes, parties and themed fun activities are all part of the occasion. We won’t be driving anywhere. I’m certain we wouldn’t be able to get out; worse than Fourth of July and Thanksgiving weekends. (Remember, I live in a resort.) We plan to walk down our road to the resort playing field. We’ll pull our stuff in my book wagon and plan to spend the day at the Total Eclipse Party on a blanket with family members from Asheville and Virginia. Normally that would include playing on the large playground, swimming pools, putt-putt, playing in the river, and hiking. But Monday there will also be Bounce Houses, Space Junk Station, tracking station with countdown, face painting, moon pies, and scavenger hunt. In the morning there’s pancakes for everyone who wears wacky tacky pajamas. Bluegrass band and BBQ, and then: at 2:36 in the afternoon, THE event. We will be in total darkness for 2 minutes and 23 seconds.
    This is the first time in 99 years a total solar eclipse has traversed the United States coast to coast. The next total solar eclipse to track across the continental U. S. will be in April, 2024. The totality will be from eastern Maine stretching to southwestern Texas. The next total eclipses will be 2045, 2052, and 2078. So, if you are in my age bracket, you will want to see this one.
<![CDATA[August 14th, 2017]]>Tue, 15 Aug 2017 00:51:29 GMThttp://booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books/august-14th-2017<![CDATA[Mini-Blog]]>Mon, 14 Aug 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books/mini-blog3028669A Story of Generosity
Love Has No Borders
    We’re heading home after a great weekend. This had nothing to do with reading, writing or selling book. There is, however, a great story about the weekend.
      A special young woman, our son-in-law's daughter, recently  graduated high school and turned eighteen. Her immediate plan was to enter the World Race, an extensive mission trip. She’d been accepted, was trying to raise enough money, but her training was soon to start and she didn’t have enough money.
       Her step-mom Laura was determined to help her realize her dream. She created a golf tournament at Jekyll Island where she and Mark live and work. It seems most of the residents of Jekyll Island became part of this effort, donating food, raffles and silent auction items, and volunteering to help. The pharmacy donated the required malaria pills. Laura had fun games and sponsors at every hole, some teams even had sponsors. The pharmaceutical company Laura works for is providing Catherine’s immunizations at cost. She had shirts for the golfers and shirts for her volunteers. The Westin Hotel gave her the observation deck overlooking the ocean to host the after party for supper, raffles, auction, and prizes. A wonderful singer guitarist who is popular on the island and a friend of Laura and Mark, donated his evening of entertainment. They raised an amazing amount of money for this girl that no one had yet met. They knew she was Mark’s daughter and that was enough!
     Laura has told me that Jekyll Island was like a big family, everyone caring about each other. For the last 2 months they’ve rained their love down on Mark and Laura. Such generosity and willingness to help! She had an army of volunteers and enough donations and contributions to send their daughter on her way.
     The astonishing thing is that this golf tournament, which was as well-run and as much creative fun as any we’ve ever been to, was put together by Laura, who doesn’t play golf, has never been to a tournament or volunteered at one. But she didn’t miss a trick! I said, “Laura, how’d you know to do all these things?” She said, “I googled it.” Such a smart girl.
     As a former event planner, I’m awed by her accomplishment. As her mother, I’m very proud of her.
    And as the grandma, may I ask my readers this? Please pray for Catherine, our young missionary granddaughter who will spend the next year traveling in and out of 3rd world countries spreading joy and sharing God’s love.
    Thank you to the kind folks of Jekyll Island for supporting Laura and Mark in this project.
<![CDATA[Mini-Blog]]>Thu, 10 Aug 2017 11:53:39 GMThttp://booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books/mini-blog1312564Triathloners Have No Pockets
A Triathloner Getting Ready for a Swim
    It was another experiment in selling books. I took my YA novel Spokes to a Half- Ironman and International Triathlon, a first for me.
    Spokes is about two teens training for triathlon and looking for clues to a crime while pedaling through the NC countryside. When I read about this event only 49 mountain-miles from my house, I decided to check it out. The organizer thought it was a wonderful idea.
    How did the experiment turn out? It was fun. I stayed in a dorm, visited with athletes, ate with their families, cheered them on, and sold some books.
It’s not really a spectator sport, although there are many spectators. There aren’t bleachers or a grand stand or concession stands. The spectators are roadies, come to gather at the starts and finishes of all the events to cheer them on. Their athlete takes off, and they hang around for three hours until they return, they cheer, and send them off again for a couple more hours. There’s a lot of hang time. For me, it was selling time, beginning at 7 A.M.
    There aren’t concessions or souvenirs to buy, no displays to look at. There is no internet or wi-fi. Moms and kids play on blankets in the grass, read, and talk with other people. They walk the dogs, push strollers, and chase butterflies. Nothing really happens between the starts and finishes, just the transitions. I was set up next to the transition area and had a good view of all that goes on. It reminded me of teens rushing in, Hi Mom, change shirt and socks, take off in a hurry, Bye Mom, and leave a pile of sweaty clothes behind.
    I was in a very busy spot, but no one really noticed or stopped in to see what I was doing. They aren’t used to having concessions. So after I got the lay of the land, I took my business to them. I wandered around with my business cards, chatting, playing with the kids, petting their dogs, talking about books.
At the last moment before leaving home, I decided to bring other books along, just in case.  There’s a lesson here, book sellers. You don’t always know who your buyers will turn out to be. Lots of little kids at a Half Ironman? Who knew? Luckily, I brought other books. I sold books, just not the one I had planned!
     The biggest problem, no one had money. They bring picnic lunches, snacks in Tupperware, and water bottles. Valuables are locked in their cars. Moms had to take long walks with the kids back to their cars to get money to purchase the books.
    I’m glad I had this experience, and yes, it was worthwhile. Authors, you’ve heard me say this before: “Not all books sold today were purchased today.” Fifteen real books were purchased, but school visits will come out of this, an Asheville book club visit, and online sales from those who didn’t walk to their cars. Lots of moms heard about Spirit and plan to order.
    Don’t be afraid to test new venues for your books. B&N isn’t the only game in town. But, be forewarned, triathloners don’t carry wallets.
<![CDATA[Mini-Blog]]>Mon, 07 Aug 2017 11:58:39 GMThttp://booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books/mini-blog5090486Unplugged, Unreachable, and UnSocial
A Weekend in the Stone Age
    This past weekend at Lake Logan, NC, I spectated at my first Half Ironman and International Triathlon. Even though I did a lot of studying about it to write SPOKES, I never actually saw one before this. The setting was beautiful, the weather perfect, and the athletes incredible; an amazing sport. But something happened beyond the 1.2-mile swim, the 56-mile bike ride, and the 13.1 mile run.
    What happened was: no internet, no cell service, no TV, no wi-fi. How would we survive? As is the case whenever I’m selling books at a major event, I have a ringside seat from which to observe the crowd. This weekend I observed people – all ages – conversing with each other, walking along chatting and laughing, telling their experiences. I saw families hanging together, playing, talking, being silly together, and eating their picnics together. So what, you ask? Remember, I people-watch nearly every weekend, and this is not what I normally see. I see families, yes, but, they don’t talk to each other. From one side of the venue to the other they call or text. Mom’s on the phone, little ones amuse themselves, older kids are scrolling, gaming and texting. Even when they are walking together, siblings or friends, they don’t normally talk to and with each other. What I saw this weekend might seem typical or usual, as in, “Of course, families talk.” But, sadly, it isn’t. The cause is quite obvious.
     Upon arrival at Lake Logan Episcopal Conference Center, guests went into panic. What? No internet? Where’s the wi-fi? What’s the code, there should be a code. How many bars do you have? How can I post my tri-times? But I have to check facebook! The shock was devastating.
     Friday evening someone heard the rumor that there was wi-fi in the dining room. About a dozen people ran there, stood in the dark dining room with their lit up i-phones looking like giant lightning bugs in the camp. Only one or two had a setting to allow calls to be made using wi-fi.
     By Saturday, the shock wore off. Folks were now sharing how nice it was to not need to check email or hear text arriving every five minutes. Facebook continued with no input from them. Twitter addicts seemed to take a little longer to adjust and couldn’t tweet their times as they had planned. By the end of the day on Saturday most people I heard talking about it were sorry to be leaving and returning to internet chaos.
      By the end of the day on Sunday, all were in agreement that it was so nice to be unplugged, unreachable, and unsocial for three days, and discovered it allowed them to focus on the moment, reach those who mattered most, and be totally sociable with others. One Ironman, aka insurance adjuster Monday through Friday, said from now on when he went to an event it wouldn’t matter to him if they had internet or wi-fi, because he was leaving his phone in the car and all other technology was staying at home. He discovered this was like going on a vacation. “The kind I never take,” he said.
I think he speaks for all of us. We are technology dependent; part of our lifestyle. It helps us to reach, relate, and get things done. But when anything becomes addictive, we need to take a break from it, even if it’s just a weekend. It’s healthy.
<![CDATA[Mini-Blog]]>Thu, 03 Aug 2017 11:29:36 GMThttp://booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books/mini-blog4214534The mountains are calling and I must go—John Muir
The mountains are calling, John Muir and me
    In March, 1964, I saw my first mountain. My husband and I left Michigan State University, and our family homes for his first job assignment in Poughkeepsie, NY. Everything we owned in the world was packed in our car along with our contraband cat from married housing.
    It was dark, rainy, foggy, and just plain miserable when our first day of driving ended in Altoona, PA. When we awoke in the clear morning and looked out, there it was: my first mountain.
    As a small child growing up among the corn and farmlands in Michigan, I used to imagine that “in the mountains” was where God lived – up there someplace, where heaven was. I looked up when I talked to Him, and when I sang my Sunday school songs to Him, I imagined Him on the mountain top listening. Perhaps that was the beginning for me, of a life-long-love for the mountains.
    Our homes in Poughkeepsie, Wappinger Falls, and Hopewell Junction, NY, weren’t really in the mountains. I found walking paths near the Hudson River along craggy cliffs, which this Michigan flat-lander assumed was a mountain. Our homes in Columbus, Raleigh, Lexington, Gaithersburg, and Atlanta were also not in the mountains. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever. These years in my life I was surrounded by mountains of laundry, diapers, and groceries. And I loved those mountains, too.
    As babies moved from booties to boots, we often passed through mountains to get to vacation destinations like Disneyworld or coastal beaches. I loved the mountain drives, the amazing vistas, and the fresh air. Living in Atlanta for 18 years, we were only 90 miles to the North Georgia Mountains and the Tennessee and North Carolina borders.                      Sometimes I drove 90 miles to have lunch, just     to glimpse the mountains. They were calling me. We talked about living there someday.
    That day came in 2000. The children were all adults and on their own, Dave retired, we sold our Atlanta home, built our mountain home, and transplanted ourselves once more.
    There are cities and towns in the mountains, but we don’t live in one. We live in a village. We don’t have shopping malls. I used to have need of prom dresses, soccer cleats and school supplies. Now, my shopping needs are much simpler, and I tend to shop local. We do live in a resort area. Visitors are amazed at the beauty, the waterfalls that take them by surprise, bears raiding their garbage, the quiet serenity. They love the cool temperatures and clean air. Then they say, “But what do you DO here?” I smile and say, “Live.” And in my heart I say, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help.” I love the mountains surrounding me, like a big green hug.
<![CDATA[Mini-Blog]]>Mon, 31 Jul 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books/mini-blog7503191Parables, Fables, Lies, and the Christian Writer
The Miser Who Built the Mikvah (Ecclesiastes 8:1) by Elchonon Isaacs from " Chassidic Stories
    Jesus spoke in parables. Parables are not non-fiction! They are made-up stories like fiction. He used parables to teach lessons. His parables are easy-to-remember stories, and he wanted people to remember them. Two-thousand years later, we still remember. Even people who aren’t church-goers know some of the parables, having heard them some time in their lives.
   Jesus was probably raised on parables in his Jewish home. The Jewish tradition has many wonderful parables still available today and still shared in families. One famous book of parable wisdom is From the Midrash. Jesus’ mother, like other Jewish mothers of His time, most likely used parables to teach her son wisdom and good judgement.
   Today’s writers, especially writers of children’s literature, are warned about being too didactic. “Don’t let your story’s lesson be too obvious; the kids won’t like it,” we’re told.  I wonder if Aesop heard the same warnings. He wrote wonderful fables, literature with the purpose of teaching obvious moral consequence. I’d say he’s got an enviable success rate!
    After last week’s daily readings of the parables, I’ve been giving some thought to my own work and the moral consequences and good judgement I write on the pages. Enough? Too much? Spokes, a YA mystery/adventure whose motif is a triathlon and training, is filled with “lessons.” These aren’t taught, at least not by me. They just happen in the framework of the story. Life is a pretty good teacher, after all.
    In this story, Kelsey has a great relationship with her dad. By the second chapter the young reader will already see how important that relationship is going to be, and they’ll be envious. Kelsey’s quick appraisal and judgement of a boy she doesn’t know, teaches her – on her own – without help from the author, how wrong one can be when judging others. Faith, family, and friends, Kelsey discovers, are keys to her happiness. Will my readers come to the same conclusion?
    Every decision results in consequence. As writers we can show this to our young readers and offer behaviors using characters they relate to and trust. When the consequences are the truth in life, they “get it” from the story. No preaching or explaining is necessary.
    We can learn about writing lessons into our fiction from Jesus and Aesop. And it would do us well to also note that the same way we show moral behavior and consequence, is the way some authors choose to impress young minds with immoral behavior dressed up to look inviting, and then fail to tell true-to-life consequences in the end, glorifying sin. When I read these, I can see that it’s not parable, fable, or good fiction. It’s a lie.
    Good fiction is a good story that wields the punch of a parable or a fable; the consequences must be true. For the Christian writer, if the consequence is a lie, we’ve lost our purpose.
<![CDATA[Mini-Blog]]>Thu, 27 Jul 2017 12:01:36 GMThttp://booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books/mini-blog1917038The Grass is Greener on My Own Side of the Road
Black swallowtails on one of many mud puddles
    Yesterday was my first day back home in nine days. Laundry to the ceiling and no groceries. But I had a bee in my bonnet and there’s nothing for that but to just go with it. What I had on my mind was the upcoming weekend. I’m taking my new book SPOKES to a triathlon. This book is a YA mystery set at a triathlon in North Carolina; there is a connection. When I first read about the event, my book wasn’t even out. I emailed the guy in charge and told him about the book and what I wanted to do. He responded with enthusiasm that the book would be great for the sport, and if I would agree to give away 2 or 3 for drawing prizes, he wouldn’t charge me anything for coming. I’ve been looking forward to this for many months.
    The buzzing bee in the bonnet had to do with the fact that I didn’t have any idea where this place was. Never heard of it, even though MapQuest said it was only 49 miles away. What kind of a place is it? Why haven’t I heard of Lake Logan?  I haven’t made any accommodations since it’s so close. But is it really? I wanted to check this place out, and test drive this short distance. I threw in a load of clothes, read to the residents at the nursing home, folded the load, tossed in another, and Buddy and I hit the road. It’s just a short distance away, then I’ll get some groceries. I had to know about this place.
    NC 215 is a familiar road to me. I pass it a few times a week where it turns off US 64 which takes me everywhere. But I’ve never turned onto NC 215. I mean, why would I? Where does it go? Buddy, sitting in the navigator seat as he always does, leaning back in the seat to watch the trees go by, looked mildly interested when we began the curves. Curves aren’t really new to us; we live in the mountains. But, these were some really serious curves. And it was getting very dark. The forest on both sides, meeting over the road, created a tunnel so dark my automatic head lights came on! There were no cars. I’m driving into Jurassic Park. Mosses and ferns covered sheer rock; water seeped and dripped on the edges of the road where thousands of migrating black swallowtail butterflies collected on muddy ruts creating a weird undulating movement along the roadsides.          Waterfalls splashed close by. Occasionally a break in the forest gave a glimpse of a distant view, like the Blue Ridge Parkway, which I discovered does in fact, cross this road. The mountain laurel here is still lush. In the deep green forest the bright white blossoms seem to glow. It was so quiet. 49 miles later we came to a lake with mountains and pine trees reflecting on its glassy surface.
     Lake Logan. Here is where the swimmers will churn the water like a shark feeding frenzy on Saturday. The serpentine road we’ve been traveling will test the legs of the cyclists. The butterflies will have to flee the crush of speeding running shoes. This is where it will all take place.
     This place is an Episcopalian Conference Center and Retreat Camp. I’ll sleep in a dormitory, eat 3 meals a day and use indoor facilities. Wow. All this only 49 miles from home. I usually spend weekends several hours away, eat hot dogs, sleep at Super 8 and use port-a-potties. The grass is greener at home! I didn’t get to the grocery store, btw. We had salad and baked potatoes from Wendy’s. But the bee in the bonnet is satisfied. And now, after my lovely day off, I must fold some laundry; groceries tomorrow.
<![CDATA[Mini-Blog]]>Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:13:53 GMThttp://booksbydeanna.com/blog-selling-books/mini-blog5753246​Teach to Learn
Three Rivers, MI High School in 1956
    I’ve always heard the best way to learn something is to teach it. I’m learning the truth in that. Years ago as a trainer for Northwest Georgia Girl Scout Council I became an “expert” on all things Scouting by training other leaders. I learned Catholic Catechism best while teaching Faith Formation to children. Now that I’m answering questions about writing, publishing, and marketing books, I’m learning more about it by listening to my own answers!
     I gave a presentation on the relevance of historical fiction at the Civil War Sesquicentennial in Appomattox. Many in my audience only read nonfiction and felt historical fiction was a waste of their time. I believe in the merits of historical fiction, and it’s my favorite genre to read and write. But why? I worked hard on that question. What value do my books have for my readers, or are they just entertainment? While refining my arguments and defining my position, I researched commentary by experts, and all the while I continued to learn.
     When I spoke recently at a Writers Day Conference on The Merry-go-round of Kid Lit, I presented a different set of ideas and realities of the profession while “teaching” wannabee kid lit authors. Preparing for Q & A helped me define what’s important to me and what I value in kid lit.
     Last weekend I attended a high school class reunion and saw friends from years ago in my hometown, whose learning experiences were the same as mine and we were taught by the same teachers. We were fortunate to have had some outstanding English and composition teachers at our small high school.
     I was surprised when several friends, with whom I’ve not had contact for years, approached me saying, “You’re an author!” How did they learn that, I wondered? After I confessed it was true, they asked many questions, that I’m beginning to understand are questions that all readers want to ask: kindle or paper, self-publish or “the old way,” how do royalties work? “You know how to write, why do you go to conferences?”  Doesn’t your publisher sell your books?
     I hadn’t expected my job to be the topic of conversation over hors d’oeuvres.
Eavesdropping, I realized jobs were pretty much the general conversation at all the tables! Who do you – did you – work for, what did you do, are you retired? Most of my classmates are retired, while I’m just getting started in this writing career.
      Though at first I felt embarrassed, I appreciate their questions. The more questions I must answer, the deeper I need to dig into my writer’s soul to answer. The deeper I go for answers, the more I learn why I do what I do and how I can do it better. We really do learn by teaching.