Tuesday, May 3, 2011

You Never Forget Your First One

At left, my first review on amazon.com. What a nice surprise that was! Made my day -- thank you Maxine.

According to marketing experts, I am supposed to solicit as many of these reviews as I can. This helps with exposure. It doesn't really help my sense of integrity though. I feel funny doing that. (But not funny enough to stop me from coming at it in a roundabout way like through this blog. I know, I know, I'm not fooling anyone.)

Yesterday I spent about $175 on flyers for the book. Today I will begin distributing them with a cold call to a bookstore in Ventura. Guess I'll be showering this morning!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Camarillo State Hospital

It's quite a juxtaposition - a university taking over the hospital campus of a mental institution.

Today, I tagged along with a friend who is doing a project on Camarillo State Mental Hospital, now the site of California State University, Channel Islands. Talk about an education!

Very wide in scope, her project includes documenting the hospital, its history and its structures, and providing a forum/venue for the survivors to be recognized, remembered and connected. No one was doing this necessary work, so she took it upon herself.

Built in 1937, the hospital is architecturally beautiful and located in a bucolic setting.

Note the beautiful tile work around the drinking fountain. There are many such fountains.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What if there was a book signing and no books came?

At left, windmills are a Solvang icon. Bakeries are another icon.

"Poised" would not be the first word used to describe me. Sometimes I can pull it off, but it doesn't come naturally. Maybe that's why I'm well suited to an occupation that has me mostly interacting with a computer.

So, when the books didn't arrive for my scheduled book signing in Solvang on March 16, you can just imagine how I felt. The event -- or should I say "non-event" -- turned out to be a nice time. Kathy, the book store owner, and I spent the time getting to know each other better. Plus, my husband and a good friend came with me, so we got to spend some quality time together.

The books still haven't made it to the Solvang bookstore. I hope they show up soon and we can sell a lot of them.

If you can't find "Solvang: A Guide to the Danish Capital of America" at a bookstore near you, order it directly from the publisher at www.touristtown.com.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Working the Deadline

Why is it when I should be writing -- when it is painfully obvious that I cannot outrun the deadline avalanche -- I get so many great ideas about what other people could and should do?

For example, this morning I thought of two friends who must run for local public office and I had to email them right then and there. I also thought of someone who really needs to start a blog -- he's so funny, quick witted, and looks at the world in a refreshing manner. I don't know him well, so I had to spend an inordinate amount of time crafting an email about my suggestion. I didn't want to seem pushy or like a know-it-all.

Back to my original question of "why." That's not important. The important thing is not to act on it. Or is it? My work will get done. Maybe this is the way I get other things accomplished, by hitching them to this deadline wagon.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Almost An All-Nighter

The other night, Monday to be exact, I was working on an all-of-the-sudden project well past the usual time I'm in my pajamas with teeth brushed and I was reminded of the all-nighter. Remember those glory days of college with last minute studying and pounding out papers (on a typewriter!)?

I didn't "pull an all-nighter" on Monday. Here's why: First, I didn't stay up all night. I didn't even reach the almost 3 a.m. point of no return. Second, the time crunch wasn't self-inflicted. It wasn't due to a mismanagement of time on my end -- a subtle, yet defining, part of an all-nighter.

I can't remember the last time I had an all-nighter. I can remember, though, it was long after college graduation. Maybe I'm learning.

The morning after the "almost an all-nighter," I ease into a day of writing with my trusty cat by my side.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

That's a GOOD Problem!

Look closely at the picture and you'll see the window display for the "Solvang: A Guide to the Danish Capital of America" book signing.

About the Solvang book (again!)...

Kiona, the owner of the Curious Cup bookstore where I'm having the book signing on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m., called me Tuesday concerned that we/she may not have enough book to sell for the book signing.

Isn't that great? Boy, my family and friends really have come through on this one. Thank you for all the pre-orders!

But back to the problem, sure, selling out of books is a good problem, but a problem nonetheless. So, dear reader, if you miss out on getting a book on Saturday, remember you can always order from The Curious Cup, Amazon, or the publisher at touristtown.com.

See you Saturday! It will be fun. We're having lots of good snacks. If you can't make Saturday, fear not, there is another book signing in Solvang, at The Book Loft -- 1680 Mission Drive, on March 16 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Isn't this bookstore the best? Every town should have such a place!

Friday, February 25, 2011

My First Official Book Signing

I'm having a book signing on March 5, from 1 to 3 p.m., at the Curious Cup Bookstore in Carpinteria. The book: "Solvang: A Guide to the Danish Capital of America." I'm telling everyone even if their library cannot hold another book to come anyway, there will be really good refreshments and it will be great to see them.

Why am I having a book signing for a book on Solvang in Carpinteria? Well, it is kind of like a Broadway show going on the road before debuting on the Great White Way. It's a way to practice my penmanship and to get out some of my excitement so I can be a cool and calm author at the Solvang book signing.

The Solvang book signing is scheduled for Wednesday, March 16, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Book Loft, 1680 Mission Drive in Solvang. You can contact the shop at (805) 688-6010 or www.bookloftsolvang.com. OR, if you want to order "Solvang: A Guide to the Danish Capital of America" directly from the publisher, visit touristtown.com.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Post-Valentine's Thoughts on Romance

Cupid has flown away and by now most of the heart-shaped chocolates on sale at the grocery store have been purchased (and most likely consumed). This is the perfect opportunity to ruminate on romance and our definition of it.

Just what is a "romantic notion"? Put aside the red roses, diamond rings, and heart-shaped boxes filled with candy. Romance and Romanticism have very little to do with Madison Avenue's manufactured ways of saying "I love you." "Seeing the world through rose-colored glasses" is a more appropriate definition applicable to both words.

For example, a stock image or archetype used in movies and television of a perfect way to relax is reading a book in a bubble-filled bathtub surrounded by lit candles. Have you ever tried that? I have -- a few times. It sucks.

First, it requires a lot of energy to set the stage. Second, the bath stays hot for about 93 seconds. Third, who in the hell reads by candlelight? Fourth, the book always does and always will get wet. Fifth, the telephone ... Well, you get the idea.

Here's a romantic notion of living the writer's life: Sunlight streaming on a clear desktop, save for a laptop, and a contented cat purring nearby while the writer effortlessly composes the next great American [fill in the blanks].

Let me the first to tell you, "it's not like that." The picture below serves as evidence. Even if I didn't have such a mean cat, there would still be real estate wars for prime desktop location. There would be feline hairs floating in my coffee. Paws would walk across the laptop keyboard. And, ... Well, you get the idea.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Soon, At a Bookstore Near You

I found out my Solvang book officially will be released on April 1. Copies may be available earlier and I plan to have some book signing (stay tuned). I say "my Solvang guidebook" because I wrote it. And, I hope to sell a lot of them.

Solvang, located in Santa Barbara's Santa Ynez Valley wine country, is a small town settled by Danish immigrants. I came to know the town and some of its townsfolk on an intimate level last summer while I was researching the guidebook.

The book will be available at bookstores, amazon.com, and the publisher's Web site touristtown.com.

Think about a trip to Solvang. It is a wonderful place to visit for a day, a weekend, a month, or a season. Lots of great food and wonderful wine.

At top is the cover of the Solvang book. I hope you like enjoy it. Really, think about a trip to Solvang.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Counting the Days Till My Calendar Comes

Along with wallet, keys, and lip gloss, a pocket calendar is part of my purse repertoire. I write down meetings, deadlines, coffee dates with friends, my sister's arrival time on the train, doctor appointments, and life's other "special" occasions. Usually, a collage of sticky notes fills the pages. Grocery lists, DVD titles, phone numbers, a funny road sign, gift ideas, and a hodgepodge of to-do items dot monthly landscapes.

My pocket calendar is very important to me. Not only does it keep me on track, but it also serves as a souvenir of the year. I must have at least 25 years worth of past calendars. Every once in a blue moon, I look through them. I can decipher most of my scribbles, and, I, must say, the appointments and dates I found important enough to write down back then are still as important to me now.

Into the third week of the year and I still don't have a pocket calendar. This is why: I gave a donation to national nonprofit and I was supposed to receive a pocket calendar. It hasn't arrived yet. I don't want to buy one, even though I know they are really cheap right now.

At the right is my most recent pocket calendar. I really like the two-year calendars.