Upcoming Book Signing!

Join me for a book signing:

This Saturday, February 25th
noon – 4 p.m.

Barnes and Noble
5249 S. State Street
Murray, UT 84107

Hope to see you there!

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Unexpected Joy

It’s been some time since I made a post here, and (obviously) my most recent posts have been about my books. As an author, that seems to be an occupational hazard – you always feel a need to market those books. So, today, I thought I’d take a break from that – for your benefit and mine.

This time of year can rush by us in such a hurry. There are so many errands to run, gifts to buy, treats to make, people to visit. For some, this is their favorite time of year, while for others it’s a difficult time for various reasons. I happen to fall into the earlier category, although some current situations threatened to throw me headlong into the later one instead. That’s when I started to find joy in unexpected places.

I’ve begun to notice how easy it is to have joy, regardless of our circumstances. Let me give you a few examples.

Earlier this year, our family made a trip that took us to an amazing museum. As we pulled into the underground parking lot across the street, my husband asked if we wanted to take an umbrella. It had  been completely dry above ground, so I shrugged off the suggestion. Boy, was that a mistake! Before we made it to the museum entrance, we got caught it a downpour of epic proportions (and no, I’m not exaggerating). We took shelter in a child’s play tunnel – until it started to flood. It was at this point that I grabbed my son and we made a mad dash for the museum entrance – not as easy or successful as it sounds. The roadway we had to cross was flooded, and cars did not want to let us cross even though we were in a crosswalk. Once safely across, we picked a pathway to the entrance that was flooded worse than the street had been. Meanwhile, VERY LOUD thunder was crashing all around us. By the time we made it to the entrance, we were completely drenched. (And despite buying dry t-shirts inside, we didn’t dry off until late that afternoon.) We could have been mad, distressed, or any number of things. Instead, as we sat there dripping, I started to laugh. My son, taking his cue from me, joined in. We laughed and laughed, even when my husband joined us – relatively dry, having retrieved the umbrella. It’s now one of our son’s favorite memories of the museum.

A more recent example comes from yesterday – the day I was originally going to write this post. Out of necessity, I replaced my old laptop last week. It was great for a couple of days, at which point, let’s just say – it wasn’t. So, I spent the entire day yesterday on the phone with tech support and in reinstalling everything after we did a complete system restore. But, I’m not upset. I’m grateful for my new computer. I’m grateful for a patient IT person on the other end of the line. Fortunately, while I have deadlines coming up, those deadlines weren’t yesterday. Sometimes things happen – that’s part of life. I’m just glad that they were fixable.

I guess the bottom line is that joy comes from gratitude and a decision to look for those things we can be grateful for. While I couldn’t afford the presents I wanted to give this year, I was able to give presents that were still from the heart. While my life isn’t as ordered as I thought it would be at this time, it does have order to it.

There is so much joy in everything around us. I’ve had several opportunities to walk past a Christmas tree lot in the last few weeks – It smells AMAZING! My children aren’t close around me, but I get to talk to them on a regular basis. I ended up sick on the day we were going to bake one of our traditional Christmas cookies, but my son sent some in the mail that arrived that very day. And for all of these examples, I could list dozens more.

Regardless of what holidays you celebrate this season – or even if you don’t celebrate any – there is joy to be found. Open your eyes and find it!

 

 

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E-book now available!

https://www.amazon.com/When-Was-Seven-Mary-Bramwell-ebook/dp/B01LWSVIYB/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1475946488&sr=8-2

 

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When I Was Seven is available on Amazon!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1612967590/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=V82KKRGI98GQ&coliid=I20FZF7C004HE0

ebook coming soon …

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When I Was Seven can now be preordered!

My book, When I Was Seven, is available for preorder NOW and ONLY at http://www.blackrosewriting.com/literary/wheniwasseven. If you purchase it before the publication date of September 29, 2016, you can use the promo code: PREORDER2016 to receive a 10% discount.

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Coming September 29th …

When I Was Seven full cover (1)

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To review or not to review, that is the question.

I have to say that I love writing. I love creating characters whose lives I care about. I want them to succeed and overcome; I want them to come out the other side of their trials better than when they began. And because I care so much about them, I’m confident that as least some of the readers out there will come to care about them too.

That brings up the other side of writing – the reader. If readers don’t like your books, they  won’t tell their friends to read your books, and they certainly won’t buy any of your other books. In the Amazon era that we live in, the view (or “review”) of other readers has become an important part of sales.

I have been guilty of asking (or encouraging, cajoling, begging) people for reviews on Amazon. Most of it came to naught. Why, I wondered, could I not get more people to post a review, even after they came to me raving about my book?

I answered my own question the other day when I was visiting a store. One particular employee had been quite helpful. So, I made a point of hunting down the manager to tell him about his stellar employee. He thanked me and then asked if I had gone to their website to post a review. I had not. He then informed me that it really made a difference, and he hoped that I would do so. I dismissed that thought … until I got home. How could I deny the very thing that I desired from others?

Everywhere we turn these days we are asked for feedback – from our doctors (necessary with Obamacare), grocery stores, online merchants, mechanics, gas stations, and so on. We are inundated with requests for our thoughts. I know I hesitate because I don’t want to take the time and I don’t think it will make a difference. As far as the time issue, I have to say one of my favorite five-star reviews was a single word: “Brilliant.” And I’m rethinking that it will make a difference, especially for some small fry. So I’m making an attempt to provide more feedback.

So, here’s the end of the story. (To forewarn you – it’s a surprise ending.) I went back to that store on a small errand but with the intention of writing down the employee’s name who had been so helpful. I ended up having a colossally terrible customer service experience. So, I figured this time around, the best thing I could do was let my experiences cancel each other out, and I did not write a review. However, I did post a book review last week. Does that count?

What do you think? If you don’t mind leaving a comment – I know it takes time – I’d love to hear about why or when you do or do not leave reviews.

 

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