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A Book Fair Absolutely Makes Me Cry

20160513_083143Attending THE book fair as a child for me was a special memory. Filling out the order for my newest Judy Blume. It came back to me in full force when I attended Book Expo America as an adult and a writer trying to gain traction. It brought me to tears as I walked into the building, up the stairs and into the ginormous hall that would be home for the next four days.

Sometimes it feels like a step forward is the most important step you can make and everything, I mean EVERYTHING rides on that event. It's how I attended the Book Expo America Book Fair last week.

I had to do well and overcome my introversion, speak to everyone who passed within earshot of my booth and meet that one person. Only that would make this worthwhile, nothing short of meeting THAT person would do.

Sometimes we have predetermined expectations or hopes for an event. It doesn't always work out as we plan. Though I met several small publishers, publicists and bloggers, it wasn't what I hoped for. It was something worthwhile.

When you see inside the industry up close and personal, you can see your faults and stifle the tears, or you can see your strengths and walk with your head held high. It was an emotional whirlpool that made me want to keep pushing forward or quit all within a matter of minutes.

Booth at Book Expo America Book Fair

Booth at Book Expo America

What I did instead of let the fear and loathing bring me down, I spoke with other writers, shared information and experiences, encouraged others and took A LOT of notes.

It wasn't what I expected when I signed up, but the experience left me with a sense that the future is still within my reach, I just need to stretch a little longer.

In the Chicago area, come find me at the Printer's Row Lit Fest, June 11-12.

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Thanksgiving used to be my favorite holiday. I have memories of both sides of my family coming to our house. I always have a sense of warmth. Even as I remember fighting my dad and brother for crispy turkey skin or making stuffing in my pajamas. I have to admit, I don't enjoy the holiday as much now that I'm an adult. It's a lot of work and it's exhausting. But I do hope that when I host it at my house, my children will take away their own special memories of Thanksgiving to pass on to their own children.

I've seen people this year expressing gratitude on Facebook. I didn't participate because some of my things I'm grateful for might not seem as normal as others. But we're all different and we all have different experiences that make us happy and thankful.

I'm always grateful for my children. They are amazing kids, fairly well-behaved, good students and constant reminders that I should be present in my life, take a little time to stop and enjoy and spent some quality time with them. Sometimes it's not always easy, sometimes I just have to turn off the computer. Annie and Cham will just have to wait.

I'm thankful for the people in my life. Some you get stuck with, some you let in because you like them. It's not always easy but they and the experiences you have with them make you who you are whether you like it or not.

I'm thankful for two amazing editors, Kira and Ashley. Not because they edited my books, but because they offered me a level of support beyond what was required and it was that support which kept me writing. For whatever reason they chose to give more of themselves and for that I will always be grateful and thankful.

I may never meet the next in my list but they influenced me in ways that truly shaped me as a writer. I'm thankful all of the writers of Nancy Drew who wrote under the name Carolyn Keene. It was my first time reading mysteries. I loved them and have ever since. To Judy Blume I'm thankful for the lesson in writing about characters you care for. I might not always hit the mark, but it's always in the back of my head as I try to draw a complete picture of who they are. To Stephen King, I'm thankful for the lesson in imagination, and thinking outside the box. I'm writing fantasy, anything can go, so let it flow. And lastly I'm thankful to JK Rowling for simply writing books that made me happy, but most importantly, reminded me that I wanted to be a writer. Without that little push, I might not have written my own books.

Lastly, I'm thankful for being me. For learning something from all of my setbacks and realizing that with a little belief in myself I might be able to get somewhere good.

It's always nice around this time to remember what we're thankful for. I can add so many other things and people and expand beyond my books or career but for now I'll leave the list where it is. It's a fluid and ever-changing thing as life moves about.

So what are you thankful for? Happy Thanksgiving!



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