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Every morning, before I had kids, I spent time in front of the mirror primping, curling, and adjusting my appearance to get as close as I could to beautiful. I know I wasn’t alone in this morning ritual. The fact that new houses have more bathrooms than built-in bookshelves is a sign that beauty has more power than brains. The underlying message of that philosophy is that people who don’t fit the bill are, on first impressions, cast off as unworthy.

I’ve grown up a little and recently have actually left the house without make-up. Gasp! I know! My clothes are always clean, although not always ironed enough to make my mom proud, and my hair is always brushed and somewhat neat, but the idea of leaving my home without even checking my make-up is completely new. Am I more comfortable with who I am? Am I finally able to see my own self-worth and therefore it shines through my face, making me feel confident?

And now the big question… How does this affect me professionally? What do I need to be concidered “beautiful” as a writer? When people pick up my book, what  do I want them to see? Can I capture them in a story? As a writer, do I fall under the “she has a great personality” category of wall flowers, or do I stand out from the crowd and rock a red dress?

In the spirit of Marketing, I had a review for Gateways through Reader’s Den by Tiffany Cole. Talk about a professional! She was timely, full of information on what she needed from me, affordable (very affordable!), and most importantly – kind. The review is available @ http://bit.ly/KSO7CF and includes links to the You Tube site for my trailer and reviews for other books you might like.

My favorite line from the review:

“There are some (books) I like and there are some I really like, but there are only a select few I love enough to give five stars and a Reader’s Den Choice Award to. Gateways is one of those select few.”

I’m happy dancing for my Reader’s Den Choice Award and I’m going to print out the Seal and hang it on my refridgerator.

I’d also like to give a big shout of thanks to Tiffany Cole of Reader’s Den for her professionalism, skill, and awesome review.

And yes, today I feel pretty…pretty awesome as a writer! And I’m going to take my kids out to lunch to celebrate this victory. And I’ll even wear eyeshadow!

 

Purchase your copy of Gateways @ http://amzn.to/KSAlyb

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Lord of Autumn

Lord of Autumn (Photo credit: JimmyMac210)

 

Fall is my favorite season, especially now that I’m an adult (side note: my age says I’m all grown up, but I’m still waiting to feel like I have it all together!). As a child, the fall season meant a return to school and served as an open door to winter. Now, Fall is harvest time. After months in the garden planting, weeding, watering, and beating back mosquitoes, the tomatoes are ripe and the melons are ready. Pea pods drip off the vine and sunflower heads bow to teh close of the growing season.

Fall is now the ‘canning’ season, a whole new level of gardening that makes weeding look like a walk through a warm summer rain. Hot pots of water for blanching, skinning tomatoes, shucking peas, timing the water canner and always scalding my arms – that is the joy of canning (written with much sarcasm). But when the work is done, my shelves are filled with beautiful jars of preserved fruits, vegetables and venison. I can approach winter with a sense of accomplishment, knowing that should the power go out, should the economy claim our income, we would not starve.

Writing is much the same. A seed of an idea is planted, I weed out the subplots that confuse the reader, water the story with patience and hard work, beat back the droning buzz of nay-sayers, and finally harvest a completed story. But then the real work starts: submitting to agents and publishers. I prep my work with a clean query letter, a sweet-syrupy chapter-by-chapter synopsis, and a sample of my work. I feel burned by the scalding lack of a personal touch from the form rejections, but the need to fill my shelves with the finished product of my work drives me forward.

My bookshelves hold one completed and published book and I love to see it standing there next to C.S. Lewis, Madeleline L’Engle and Kathi Appelt – a few of the authors who inspire me to write (if you haven’t read Kathi’s The Underneath, stop what you are doing and go get it now! You will never regret it!) I look at my book and know that if I were snuffed out today, I’ve left my children a piece of a story of which I’m very proud. They will see their mother’s story between the lines of every story I write; for just as we can’t walk through life without leaving a footprint, neither can a writer tell a tale without leave a trace of herself on the page.

We harvest what we sow. Words, vegetables, love…it’s all what life thrives upon.

C. S. Lewis' house (The Kilns)

C. S. Lewis' house (The Kilns) (Photo credit: MikeBlyth)

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Imagine that you are a writer with a brand-new book on the market. This is a first for you, and by far the scariest thing you’ve ever done. Now imagine handing your book to a New York Times Bestselling Author, who graciously accepts the gift, asks for a way to contact you, and is genuinely thrilled to meet a fellow author.

That happened to me tonight.

Brandon Mull came to our local bookstore. His books hooked my youngest daughter into the written word. Since finishing his Fablehaven series, she has read over fifteen books in the last month. Considering that she read three books last year, this is huge news in the Schaub house!

I returned to the line of adoring fans with a copy of my book, Gateways, faced the possibility of being “that author”; you know, the one who stalks famous people and slips books or screenplays into their bags in hopes that it will be read, liked, and endorsed. He made no promises as to what he would do and I completely respect that. As far as I’m concerned, the greatest hurdle for me was to dig up the courage to hand him a copy – and it took every ounce of my courage and some borrowed bravery from my twelve-year-old daughter.

This was my first experience meeting a successful author and thanks to his approachable ease with fans, he has encouraged me to keep on keeping on, to stay the course, and to fearlessly network.

Thank you, Brandon, for the time you spent with each reader, for making our first experience at a book signing so memorable. I am truly grateful for your kind response and acceptance of my book. My kids are still giddy from their evening with a star and I expect it to last for weeks!

If you haven’t read Brandon’s books, I highly recommend them. They are written for middle-grade children (and the middle-aged), filled with adventure,  fun sibling banter, fairies and monsters, appealing to boys and girls (men and women) alike.

The moral of the story: Believe in your writing and take chances.

Long live excellent literature for kids!

Note the incredible smile on the daughter in red 🙂

 

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