A Perfect Day

May you always find new roads to travel; new horizons to explore; new dreams to call your own.

     ~Unknown

Have you ever had a perfect day?  The kind of day you hate to see end? That was Sunday for me.

A friend and I started the day out at a winery.  It was a little off the beaten track, but the setting was absolutely gorgeous.  To get there we took a ferry across the river bisecting the area and then followed the road winding through the grape fields until we came to the tasting room. Now I don’t have a particularly educated palate when it comes to wine, but the tasting showed me what I did like and, of course, I had to buy a bottle 🙂

The sun was warm when I stepped out of the car.  The sky that lovely clear blue not often seen in the Pacific Northwest.  My friend knows the owner of the winery and I was soon swept up in conversation with him and learned more about wine making than I ever thought possible in a short time.  The whole time he was chatting he was pouring samples of the various wines available – starting with the whites and moving through the reds.  I learned what “legs” meant when applied to the wine, how to sip and identify the undertones and notes of the vintage and that most reds taste bitter to me.  I had a great time.

Once we made our purchases we got back in the car for the next adventure.   Our drive wound through farm country and quiet back roads.  It was a real pleasure to be a passenger and not have to concentrate on driving for once.  We were scheduled for a tour of a Frank Lloyd Wright home.  Like wine, I know little about architecture, but I have heard of Frank Lloyd Wright.  I was interested in his design philosophy and how the home fit in its surroundings, but I found it more about nature and expanding the living space to include it than a comfortable place to spend time.  Low ceilings in some areas made me claustrophobic and the hard angles in the home made me want to add soft pillows.  Obviously, his designs were not for me *shrugs*.

No trip is complete without a visit to the local chocolate shop.  Seriously, who can pass one by without finding themselves inside debating the pros and cons of each selection?   Happy with my purchase and the mouth-watering goodies in my bag we toured the hamlet we were in and looked at some fabulous old homes.

We ended the day at a small bistro for dinner.  Everything offered was fresh that day.  I swear you could taste each vegetable used in the gazpacho! I won’t tantalize you with what I had – let’s just say it was a feast for my taste buds J.

I arrived home relaxed and with a smile.  You can bet somewhere in my current manuscript I will find a way to incorporate the sights, sounds and experiences of my day.  Why not let my characters indulge in the pleasures of a lovely day?  I am sure you would do the same 🙂

Here a blog..there a blog…

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it?”

 ~Erik Qualman

I spent a little time visiting blogs and web sites today.  I don’t do it as often as I should, because keeping up with the publishing industry and writing in general can be a daunting task.

Advice flows across these sites like a wide river, enticing the reader to stop and dip a toe in or, in my case, get sucked in for long periods of time while I lose myself reading interesting tidbits.  I find out about new releases from favorite authors, worry over the affects the economy is having on the publishing industry and what will happen now that e-books have exploded.  I mentally commiserate with other writer’s who blog about their trials and tribulations, laugh over anecdotes they share and get to do it all from the comfort of my office.  Most days it is a pleasant way to spend time.

Occasionally, I will read something that makes me stop and consider a point that is being made on a deeper level.  That happened today.  There are all kinds of opinions circulating in regards to an author having to find creative ways to stay in the collective conscious.  A publicity machine backing your newest release is not often an option for those just beginning their careers. Much is being asked of the author to promote their own work.

What has been repeatedly touted is the need for an author to have a presence beyond a book on a shelf.  What does that mean?  Sometimes it is as simple as a bookmark that you can give away or as complex as hosting a blog, a web site or having a twitter account.  With all the noise in our daily lives it gets harder to be heard, harder to get shelf space for a new untried author and suddenly writing isn’t just about writing a good story anymore.  It becomes about putting ourselves out there, showing up and raising our hands to catch a potential reader’s attention so they will find our book.   We spend our own money to help launch our creation in the hopes we will recoup our investment on the back end and garner enough attention we help our sales.

I am a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to joining the cyber highway.  It wasn’t until my book was almost ready for release that I finally got this blog up and running.  I joined Twitter thinking that would be easy (Ha! 140 characters to say something is hard work!) and finally after much whining and, well, more whining, I added an author Facebook page.

Want to know what I discovered?  I actually like blogging.  Who knew?  I get a thrill every time someone visits and actually leaves a comment. When I get a notification my tweet has been re-tweeted I breathe a sigh of relief because I managed to say something worth passing along.   Better yet, it is pretty darn awesome when someone tweets something good about you.  And Facebook – I quit whining.  Okay, maybe I just slowed down a bit.

Social media is a challenge and could take over my life if I let it.  It hasn’t been easy finding the rhythm that works for me, but I think I am getting there.  I make a point of leaving a comment when I visit a blog nowadays.  I want the author to know I enjoyed what they took the time to write.  It is all about give and take and making connections and new friends.

Will my efforts help my sales in the long run?  I haven’t a clue.  It will be fun to find out though.