Nonfiction, Rachel Rueben, Uncategorized

How To Market Your YA Book Part 2

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Image via Pixabay

A few years ago I wrote about marketing a YA novel and since then several things have changed for one, there are more marketing avenues as well as more pitfalls.  When I wrote that post in 2013, mobile phone usage was on the rise worldwide and tablets were new.  Fast forward 4 years and mobile phones are a necessity while tablets are now being used by cats and infants.  I kid you not.

In this post I answer the questions where are the young people and what do they want?  Also, I address some important trends that are revolutionizing the publishing industry.  So let’s get started…

More Media, More Problems

In the past few years Facebook has reigned as the king of social media with over 1.79 billion users but it does have competition particularly, when it comes to reaching young people.   Sites like Instagram, Snapchat, Kik and Periscope have a growing and active user base of 13-34 year olds which has the attention of marketers looking to reach Gen Y and Z.

Most of these sites have richer forms of content like video and gifs which is ideal for quick scrolling.  You know they say, a picture is worth a thousand words and this is especially true for short videos which dominate the feeds of most teens.  This means if you want to reach this demographic, you’ll have to use visuals like video and eye-catching images.

Short Is The New Long

The trends in publishing on both the adult and teen market is shorter, serialized books.   In fact, many online retailers have launched programs like Kindle Shorts, Kobo Exclusive Shorts and Nook Snaps which all feature short books.  Even bestselling author James Patterson has begun focusing on shorter and cheaper works.  It seems those within the publishing industry have been watching indie authors closely.

Your Advertising Has To Be Different

As indie authors we’ve been told to build a strong brand which is good advice but most teens say they don’t feel connected to any particular brand.  In fact, they say they feel most brands don’t understand them at all and sadly, they’re right.  Gone are the days where you could just yell BOGO (Buy One Get One) and get someone’s attention.  Today, the question is can you contribute to the conversation teens are having or are you just trying to take it over?  The advice that most marketers give today is to make your ads look like native content which basically means that your ads shouldn’t look like ads at all.  Your advertising has to add to the conversation —their conversation.  So if your book can’t mesh with what teens are talking about, then it may not be as marketable as you think.

Young People Don’t Wish For Diversity, They Demand It

We live in a global world and this generation of children has grown accustomed to being exposed to different cultures and customs.  Gone are the days of living in a homogenized bubble, young people want to explore and learn, if you can provide these things, you stand to make a splash.  In 2014, the hashtag: #WeNeedMoreDiverseBooks became a movement when a Twitter discussion about the lack of diversity in the children’s genre went viral.  Several major publishers finally heard the cry and began publishing books with diverse worlds and characters.  Since then books like Listen, Slowly, by Thanhha Lai, and The Jumbies, by Tracey Baptiste, have rose to the top of the bestsellers list.

Social Media Influencers Are The New Celebs

Gone are the days where the radio or television executives chose the next big thing, today algorithms and SEO determine who gets an audience and who won’t.  The party is online for teens and young adults, because the internet offers them a plethora of choices that old media just cannot.  Many of these choices are DIY Youtube channels and Snaps where regular people entertain, post tutorials and review products.  I talked about this in a previous article called: Booktube for Indie Authors which opened the eyes of a lot of authors who knew nothing about this subculture of book reviewers.  To the shock of many marketers, teens consider Youtubers legitimate celebrities right along the lines of Taylor Swift and Kylie Jenner.  This means that to teens, Booktubers are seen in the same league as the New York Times reviewers.

Young People Aren’t Difficult, They’re Different!

This paragraph may anger a few people but I have to tell it like it is.  Many older people fall into the same trap of previous generations who criticized or dismissed their youth and did so at their own peril.  When the World War II Generation ignored the Baby Boomers (think Vietnam), they in turn were ignored and marginalized later on in politics, and pop culture.  If you don’t try to understand this generation then everything they say and do will be foreign or scary.  You miss out on modern culture and even risk losing an opportunity to make relationships which is the backbone of any marketing strategy.  So don’t run from them, do your best to understand them, who knows they may take the time to listen to you as well?

 

Cereal Authors, Fantasy, Life, Musings, Nonfiction, Ramblings, review, Sharing, Uncategorized, writer's life

Just Breathe a Moment

Having just wrapped up a very long serial “short story”, I have a moment to step back and decide what to blog on next here at Cereal Authors. Usually the topics involve writing, reading, or the like; however, I have been wanting to touch on something for a long time:  The support and respect of artists.

I’m not here to condemn or remonstrate anyone. But, many artists (writers are included in this as writing is an art) feel undervalued in society as a whole. I speak with many on a near daily basis and the general consensus is that the hours and effort we put into our work is not always valued the same as, say, a factory made item at a store. There is the common meme  of the coffee cup price compared to an ebook price. Which one took longer and was harder to make? Let’s guess.

But, like I said, this blog is not to place blame on the consumer. No. I want to take this opportunity to celebrate the artists! Specifically, the ones I know, and who have few outlets for advertising or voice.

Aside from the wonderful writers here (all talented and hard working), I would like to draw some attention to other craftsmen in my midst. Please visit their pages, sites, or stores and give them a like or two or a share, even if you can’t afford to give them an income. 🙂

First, we have Myriad Fae Creations.

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If you appreciate hand sculpted trinkets, costume pieces, whimsical soaps, faeries and the like, please visit her website, Facebook page, and Ebay offerings.  The creator is Kate Elizabeth Davis, a multi-media artist. She has been constructing fantastic works of her imagination since she was a child. I know because I grew up with her! Yes, she is my sister and she credits me as part of Myriad Fae because of my sketched cards, but I’m not playing favorites. Her work speaks for itself (and when the work happens to be a puppet made for a stage production, then it actually CAN speak for itself).

Second, I share with you Einini Glassworks.

https://scontent-mia1-2.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/553203_327447853980448_1117475337_n.jpg?oh=ead011529a67d4e5aed420c1eaf52d32&oe=59153E59Just breathe elinni blue

A wife and husband team who create beauty and elegance in glass and stone. Brian Ellis is the stained glass artist and Heidi Ellis is the mosaic artist. Together, they have a variety to offer. Stained glass items including suncatchers, votive candle holders, and Tiffany reproduction lamps, as well as mosaic glass tile artwork including panels, candleholders, mirrors, tables and picture frames. Check out their items on Facebook, Etsy, or their website.

If you are more into 2D wall hanging art, our third artist is Harriet Duncan.

https://i2.wp.com/www.harrietduncan.com/assets/fine_art/Dicksee_Chick_120dpi.jpghttps://i2.wp.com/www.harrietduncan.com/assets/photography/Colony-Winter-Park.jpgNo automatic alt text available.

She is an award-winning photographer, graphic and fine artist who produces unique photography and fine art, documenting old Florida and other places, near & far. She has a flair for the eccentric and nostalgic. Her art draws on her bohemian roots and blends art deco with a Gauguin aspect for an intoxicating visual brew that one can best enjoy on a beach at sunset. Please explore her world on Facebook or her website.

This is just a sampling of the talent and hard work that can be found out there, waiting and eager to please some interested art appreciator. There are thousands. They create, display, and imagine in the hopes that something they found beautiful can gain a home with someone else that finds it beautiful, too.

Thank you for your time.

 

Amanda Thrasher, Article, books, childrens stories, Life, Literary, Nonfiction, Ramblings, Sharing, Uncategorized

Find Your Voice And Keep It

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I am a writer first and foremost, author second to that. If you know me or have heard me speak, I have made this statement on multiple occasions. The writer’s goal is to evoke emotion. To ensure the audience smiles, laughs, cries, becomes angry or actually hurts for the characters that make up the story line that they’re writing. All writers/authors hope to fulfill this role successfully. Success can mean many things; dollars as in unit sales, emails from fans, parents, and aspiring writers, book signings or even requests for paid speaking engagements. I’m fortunate to have experienced all of the above and let me tell ya, book signings, some are amazing, some hilarious, and some you wished you’d never left the house. All contribute to life of an author and help build that good ole experience bank.

My intent as a writer/author has never changed. To deliver, regardless of how horrific the topic, stories that have beautiful endings. Why? I just like them and believe we do not have enough of them, therefore choose to create stories or pieces that have them. I am a visual writer, so laying out scenes that allow my audience to see what I see in my mind’s eye is important to me. If the reader of my work can visually see in words each scene and take away from it the message I had intended to share, then I feel as if it confirms that the characters and the story line that I had written worked well and unfolded in such a way my job was successful. As long as the audience love the characters that you, the writer, create, that is the best gift an author can receive.

Developing a style is important. I have been called a whimsical poetic writer. I can honestly say there was a time that I did not even know what that was, but I do now thanks to my mentor, Anne Dunigan. Her words are like gold to me; I trust her, especially when it comes to my work. Taking an interest in my work when she didn’t even know me, over the years, she has become my mentor, editor, Acquisition Editor Consultant, and most importantly I’m proud to call her my friend.

I do not know if my style will change; time will tell, but I hope not because whimsical poetic has such nice ring to it. My delivery of each story varies according to the age level that I write. Elementary chapter books: always a beautiful place to escape, funny and entertaining. Middle school: action, mystery, friendship, yet still end with a fair resolution, and certainly hope to pull off one that the reader would not expect.

The Greenlee Project: an intense book that deals with bullying and cyber bullying. Thought provoking and certainly stirs all types of emotions across the board. True to my style, the ending a twist but beautiful surprise. Some have said a shocking but wonderful surprise.

I believe writers must do two things to find their voice and keep it: (1) Quit giving it away in the first place. Take back ownership of their work, meaning, interview your editor. They should work in close collaboration with you, but not take over your work. Find the right editor and copy line editor and build a relationship that lasts for years. It truly is the best way for a consistent writer. Finding a good editor can take years. (2) Write work that stirs emotion within you, and worry not what the market says. If you, the writer love it, someone will like it. Find your voice and keep it. After all, it is yours.

Amanda M Thrasher

 

Amanda Thrasher, Article, books, childrens stories, Life, Literary, Nonfiction, Ramblings, Sharing, Uncategorized, writer's life, Writing Process, YA

Shades of pink and aqua- don’t be afraid, go there!

bigstock-Colorful-Abstract-Background-3422108.jpgI have worked with many people over the years that think like this; black and white or this and that. They are often analytical, work strategically and are good at what they do. I often work the same way; strategically and analytically. However, I do find that thinking in shades of pinks, aqua’s or how about’s and what if’s, could this work, if we do’s and why not’s? Modify here, leave that alone and figure it out, are not only productive but fun and exhilarating too. Especially the why not’s? Also, let’s figure it out!

Being told at times that I push the envelope, think outside of the box, and create scenarios that most wouldn’t have thought of, especially with limited tools and in odd situations, by some as if I should find it offensive, while others are wondering how to do the same. For the record, I do not find it offensive mainly because I do not know how to operate any other way.

I manage to work with this type of voluntary mental organization, both in my personal writing style and my business, by thinking of techniques and compartmentalizing the process along the way. Some people cannot compartmentalize a couple of things, let alone many at one time. Particularly in two different fields, business, and creative writing. People tend to become vested too much one way or the other, emotionally, limiting the exploration of various angles or business approach that could ultimately produce different results. Black and white or mediocre gray, pink and yellow, or aqua and teal type thinking, are fundamental explanations of the sort of thought process that I am describing. Different.

I have found over the years, business and writing, never to think as my neighbor would or to ask myself what someone else would do regarding a story line or project. Will my results be as good as others or better? I honestly never know. However, I understand any decision that I make, me, will be my own. So far, results have been promising, productive and often successful. If I make a mistake, I claim it. Own it. Fix it. Learn from it, and most importantly move on.

I have found many people can be busy being busy, but they do not seem to get a lot done. Never confuse activity with achievement. Results will always speak for themselves. Think in different shades, and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Push that envelope or have people refer to you as crazy from time to time. Crazy often gets a lot done. Why? Because no one else seems to want to go there; mentally nor physically. However, mark my words, once the results start to roll in, and your peers note achievements and people are paying attention to what you are doing, you will know it is because you dared to think for yourself and take risks that everyone else was afraid to take. You made something happen. Now, what you make happen, you have to decide.

Shades of pink and aqua – don’t be afraid, go there!

Copyright © 2016 Amanda M. Thrasher

Amanda M. Thrasher

Amanda Thrasher, Cereal Authors, childrens stories, Life, Nonfiction, Ramblings, Sharing, Uncategorized, YA

A Dollar Bill And A Bag Of Silver

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I know exactly what I want to obtain in regards to my writing career. And I know exactly what it will take to get there; hard work. I believe that most people, some authors included, think once a book is released the work is done, but the truth is the work is just beginning. Building an author platform, marketing, well it’s safe to say it’s a never ending job.

Being an author, especially a children’s author, I experience things that I normally wouldn’t do such as speaking to large crowds, visiting schools, conferences or book signings to name a few of them. To say you meet the neatest people or kids in this field would be an understatement. Some memories are permanently ingrained in your mind. I caught a glimpse of a boy who had given me one of the most memorable experiences of my career as an author. Seeing him, reminded me of that day, and I thought I’d share it with you.

During a school presentation, everyone noticed a small boy, front row, was hanging onto every word that I said. His teachers, the aid, librarian, and my assistant. Since I’m often animated, walk the floor as I speak, the library was full, I hadn’t noticed. But the little boy did stay behind after class asked me a question. I answered his question, and he asked if I would be signing at Barnes & Noble’s later that evening. It was a book-fair night, so I assured him that I would. Within minutes, another class had been brought into the library, seated and were waiting patiently for me to begin. As he left, he looked over his shoulder and said, “My name is Hayden.”

I wrapped up five classes that day, took a break, then headed to Barnes and Noble (The Parks in Arlington), to sign copies of my book. Hayden approached me. He smiled, stepped forward and held up a little plastic baggie. It was the most precious sight I have ever seen. Why? Because he was so proud of it, and so was I. “Mrs. Thrasher I’ve got my money,” he said as he started counting. He pulled out one dollar bill and then started counting his coins. His dad stood by his side, holding a baby in his arms. “May I please buy your book?” he said.

I was so stunned; I swear my heart stopped! It’s not unusual for a child to have their parent buy a book for them, but Hayden was buying my book with his own money. I looked at that beautiful boy, standing at his father’s side and I said, “Hayden, of all the books in Barnes and Noble you want to buy mine?” Without hesitation, he said, “Yes ma’am.” I thought I was going burst with pride! I know for sure my eyes filled with tears. I grabbed that boy and hugged him, signed his book and walked him to the front of the store to make sure he didn’t have any problems with his bag of coins. I wanted so bad to buy that book for that beautiful boy, but to his credit, he was so proud to be able to buy it for himself. A reflection on his parents and him for sure!

Hayden’s dad emailed me a lovely letter. He said, “Mrs. Thrasher, I didn’t want to bring Hayden to the store that night, I was so tired, double shift, and it was my turn to have the kids. But Hayden wouldn’t leave me alone. He begged me to take him to get your book. I’m glad I did. He used to hate to read, but has read your book twice.” He went on to thank me for the other books that I had sent his son (I sent hardcover copies of the series). The funny thing is, he had NOOOOO idea how much Hayden’s gesture was a gift to me. Between that, the letter Hayden wrote, and his father wrote, priceless. His message truly was like gold. These are the things, as authors, that remind us why we do what we do.

You can bet I will never delete that email. I thanked his father for bringing him that day, despite how tired he was and allowing his son to contact me. Hayden did stay in touch.
“May I have your book please?” words I will never forget!

Copyright © 2016 Author Amanda M. Thrasher

Amanda M. Thrasher

Amanda Thrasher, books, Cereal Authors, childrens stories, Fantasy, Fiction, Life, Literary, Nonfiction, Ramblings, Sci-Fi, Sharing, Uncategorized

Give Us A Minute, We’ll Give You A Book. Deal?

 

Why take the time?    smallgreenleeping

Depending on how you look at it, I am fortunate enough to see both sides of the publishing industry, author and publisher. This can be both advantageous at times and disadvantageous at others. I was an author first; published by another company, and between book signings, speaking engagements and discussing with others the reasons I even bothered to write at all, they indirectly taught me how to become a professional author. The desire to start a company that operated much like a traditional publisher and yet cater to writers from all walks of life consumed my mind. So I pulled my titles, hired someone to re-lay them and create a logo, brought in a business partner and between the two of us we operate a relatively nice sized organization.

Over the years, many things in this industry have changed. However, I have noticed something that hasn’t changed, reviews or the lack of them I should say. The importance of book reviews discussed countless times, is a significant one. Let me be clear, I am not referring to people that make a living or habit out of reviewing books. Nor review circles (not discounting those) but consumer book reviews. People that generously donate their time and write a review because the book that they just read made them laugh, cry, think, angry, mad, frustrated, or simply entertained them in the way that the author had intended.

I know you’ve heard countless people say that they love a certain book, right? I have. I’ve even sat in groups with others and discussed great books people have read. I’ve been fortunate to have people stop me in grocery stores to tell me that they loved my last piece, and I am humbled and grateful for every kind word they have ever said to me publicly or posted on social media. Like most writers (or I hope this is true), I have shared manuscripts with the world that I am pleased with and yet have pieces that I do not put in print at all. The pieces, the books that authors (including myself) know are going to capture an audience, they are special. It can take years of evolving as a writer to get to the point as an author that we know that we’ve written that one piece.

The words that we intentionally wrote, with purpose and placement, did their job. Reeled in our audience and captured the moment we had intended, whatever that might be. Unfortunately, if we tell people how great we think our book is, it can seem rude and obnoxious. Sometimes, regardless of the eye rolls and shaking of the heads, we have to suck it up and tell others about our book(s) and how great we think the story line is because it is the only way to get the word out about our work.

Why do people get frustrated when we do that? Because that incredible piece, the one we nailed, we wrote it. In their minds it’s inevitable that we’re going to say those words. But you’d be surprised. Sometimes we have manuscripts that we are incredibly disgusted with and wouldn’t print even if, like me, had all the opportunity in the world to do so. Not to mention, readers typically do not know that there were multiple drafts of the one that we managed to nail finally.

I do not believe that our readers don’t care about the books that they read. It is possible that they think their voice or review does not matter at all. That other people are reviewing the book, so they simply do not need to put in their two cents when Amazon or Barnes and Noble.com offer them the chance. You hope as a writer that they enjoyed the book, and they shared it with someone else at least verbally. However, I wonder if they understood, really understood, the importance of such reviews if it would make a difference.

A consumer review, much like a trade review, is valuable, especially for a new release or an author that is trying to build a platform. It not only assists with future sales by allowing other potential consumers to make a decision about the book, but it aids as a source for online outlets to assess if they should assist with promotion, as in recommending the title to their customers.

A review shows others that a real live consumer, not a friend, fellow author or colleague, enjoyed the writer’s work. It can take months if not years to write a book, but only a few minutes to write a review. Reviews are truly like an unexpected gift for your favorite or newly found author; a valuable gift, that is cherished and recognized by the author each time they receive one. Trust me; authors check their reviews and are grateful every time a reader takes the time to share a positive word about their work that they value so much.

The Greenlee Project is a captivating fictional story addressing critical real-life issues that tweens and teens face today. Bullying and cyber-bullying are part of our society that has tragic consequences for many. Amanda M. Thrasher, is a talented author, who has delivered a story that is both compelling and also thought-provoking. You can feel the emotions of each of the characters as the story unfolds along this journey. It will leave you with the desire to change the world around you and to talk to others about the increasing severity of bullying and cyber bullying. With the discussion questions included, this is an excellent choice for book clubs and middle school language arts classes. Such a critical and important story. – Lisa Keefer Robinson- National Safety Council

The Greenlee Project is a touching and chilling cautionary tale that every teen should read. Amanda M. Thrasher gives us interesting and compelling characters, a well-crafted plot, and a breathless pace. Her teens are so real that you will feel as if you know them personally. Normal adolescent insecurity and thirst for acceptance trumps friendship and consideration, leading to a nightmare. – Dr. David A. Bedford Ph.D Instructor at TCU

I understand it is possible you’ve read books that you’ve struggled to finish for one reason or another. Being both an author and publisher, my criticism of such work could be twice as harsh, but it’s not. Knowing how hard it is to write a good book, story line, plot, dialogue, I find myself trying to find something positive about the work, anything. So easy to be critical. Did I like the characters or a chapter or the initial story line? Finding something positive is encouraging. I believe writers entertain and educate the world. They write the books, screenplays, movie scripts, songs, news, magazine articles, they inform, and write the textbooks that educate our kids to list a few. If words or music are involved a writer contributed somewhere along the line and without words, look at all the entertainment, research, and education that would be lost.

Write the reviews, take the time, often only takes a few minutes. You may just find a lovely ‘thank you’ in your inbox. Receive an autographed copy of the book, or just know it was noted and appreciated by each and every author. “You write the review, and we’ll write the books. Thank you in advance!” – Copyright © 2016 Amanda M. Thrasher

Amanda M. Thrasher  

 

 

 

books, Dianna Graveman, interviews, Nonfiction, Uncategorized

Serving Up a Recipe for Freelance Writing Success: Beef Up Your Chicken Soup!

For writers who wish to learn more about penning and publishing personal essays for Chicken Soup for the Soul and other anthologies, classes are now forming at Coffee House for Writers (coffeehouseforwriters.com). Author Linda O’Connell is the instructor.

vvvvv 195Linda is a former teacher and a multi-published freelance writer who has contributed to 24 Chicken Soup for the Soul books and many other anthologies. She also created an anthology, Not Your Mother’s Book on Family (along with the editors and publishers of Publishing Syndicate). Linda’s inspirational essays and prose have been widely published in regional, national, and international markets. One of her heartfelt personal essays was published in singer Gloria Gaynor’s anthology, We Will Survive, which is based on her #1 hit song, “I Will Survive.”

Here’s what other writers have to say about Linda’s brand of writing instruction:

“Linda, aka the Queen of Chicken Soup for the Soul Books, will be teaching the fine art of essay writing and I can’t think of anyone better suited for the task. If you’ve been trying and trying and trying to get your essays published, try taking this class. I promise you’ll improve with Linda leading the way to publication.” ~ Cathy C. Hall

“I’ve seen Linda―in a matter of minutes―deftly rearrange someone’s essay, along with giving suggestions on how to rework the beginning and end. And it’s all doled out as suggestions and padded with praise.” ~ Sioux Roslawski

I caught up with Linda to ask a few questions about her upcoming course. Here’s what she had to say:

1) You’ve been a teacher for a long time. Why did you decide to also become an online writing instructor?

Jennifer Brown Banks contacted me and invited me to join her team of professionals. Years ago I read her article in a writing magazine about breaking the rules. I took her advice and became a successful freelance writer. We have followed each other’s blogs ever since. I find it rewarding and fulfilling to help others find a way to publication. This is an ideal position for me.

2) Information at Coffee House for Writers states that students will submit one piece of writing to you for feedback and guidance. Can you provide a few more details about the class?

Students will submit one personal essay which we will work on together. Enrollment began May 1st, and classes are forming now. I look forward to having a full class of 15 students. My class interaction will be on an as-needed basis, so we will work around schedules.

4) How fast can students expect to receive feedback on their rough drafts after they’ve submitted them to you?

I enjoy editing, critiquing, and revising, so the turnaround should be fairly quick. I co-created an anthology, Not Your Mother’s Book on Family, and I found working with contributors enjoyable.  

5) Will you make other suggestions not related to Chicken Soup for the Soul if an author has a different market in mind for his or her personal essay?

I intend to help students develop essays that are publishable. A Chicken Soup-type story has a certain formula and is marketable elsewhere. I do intend to suggest other personal essay markets. Everyone is always seeking more markets. 

6) Do you have a story coming up soon in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book?

My latest story is about the horrific 9/11 event, which happened when I was in school.chicken-soup-for-the-soul-the-spirit-of-america-9781611599602_lg When no one knew what to say or do, I provided a way for the students to express their emotions. My story, “The Feelings Flag,” will be released June 7th in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Spirit of America. I have stories in 24 Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I submit regularly.

 Thank you for this interview. I look forward to helping other writers develop marketable stories.

Readers: If you would like to learn more about Linda, read her blog, Write From the Heart. For more information about her class, “Beef Up Your Chicken Soup,” see the “Our Courses” tab at  Coffee House for Writers.

Dianna Graveman, History, Life, Musings, Nonfiction

The more things change . . .

Well, I was off the (Cereal Authors) grid for a while . . . about three and a half years. In that time, a lot has changed: my youngest moved to Jackson, Wyoming; my oldest moved to Tampa, Florida; two of my kids got married; and lots of other business-related and life-related stuff happened.

More changes are in the works for 2016. I don’t mean to sound like a politician here (God knows, we all get enough of that during the election season!), but change is good. It is life-affirming. It keeps me young(ish).

Recently, my coauthor/husband and I completed our fifth regional history for Arcadia Publishing: Legendary Locals of St. Charles. DurLegendary Localsing our research, we encountered the stories of many notable locals who weren’t afraid of change or of trying new things. For example, Sophie Hupe became a well-respected midwife after she was widowed at age fifty-one. Previously, she had worked as clerk, run a millinery shop, and partnered in the hotel business. Not bad for a woman born in 1848!

Kathryn Linnemann, another “mover and shaker,” started a library with donated books in her own home, later moving it to a small room at a local school as the library grew. In 1918 a fire destroyed the little library and several of its books, but Linnemann didn’t give up—she salvaged what she could and continued to operate in a small shed until a library board formed and a tax was passed to construct a new building in 1930. Talk about a woman who wasn’t afraid of change! Of course, she also embraced diligence, because she remained head librarian of that facility for forty years.

Spring is a great season for change: new wardrobe, new buds on the trees, new sprouts in the garden, new life. It’s a wonderful time to try a new hobby or pursue a long-neglected passion, like blogging! So here I am back with the wonderful group at Cereal Authors, wishing everyone a season full of jubilant changes and joyful happenstances.

To Spring!

Update: Legendary Locals of St. Charles was the #2 bestseller at area independent bookstores for the week ending March 27, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.