Promo for an Introvert

I admit I am a little…eccentric. I pay attention to the phases of the moon and Mercury Retrogrades. I buy new outfits when Venus tours my sun sign. I listen to psychics. Well, sometimes. I tend to go with my gut first. The thing about trusting your gut is, if you are an introvert like me, it can hold you back. Keep you in your comfort zone. This means, if you’re a writer, you won’t promote your novels much.

Yet I find myself in the middle of a massive (for me) promotional campaign. I’m not sure how it happened. Two psychics told me I should “take a bigger stage” that it was “my destiny.” I doubted my inner voice saying “NO! Stay home and write.” It felt a bit cowardly. After all, I had to launch three books in three months. And so I talked myself into hiring a PR person to make up a media plan. Now that I’m in it, I can’t believe I began such an intimidating enterprise. What was I thinking? It might have been the steroids I was on for a sinus infection.

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Whatever the reason, I find myself okaying a press release (my first ever), giving interviews to journalists, pulling together media kits, agreeing to book signings, reviews, workshops, conferences, social media suggestions. Just a big fat YES to everything.

Already I feel overwhelmed and I’m only one day past the first release of three books in three months. Yesterday was release day for Blue Heaven, the Encore edition. An in-dpeth profile appeared in the local papers; I participated in a Facebook Launch Party. Both things never part of my experience before. It may have worked. Blue Heaven went from being ranked in the sub-basement of five million up to two thousand. (UPDATE: In July of 2016 Amazon featured Blue Heaven in a summer read campaign. Blue Heaven hit the top 100.)

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I need a break. The keyboard calls. I must write. Immerse myself in what I do. I have an all day event, a book signing, but that’s not until next month for the second release. And I promise myself I’ll submit review copies and do other things on the list this winter and perhaps participate more in real-world events next spring. Because spring is a long way off and perhaps the stars will align again for me.

Happiness & Gratitude

If you’re looking to boost your personal happiness by 40 percent, this series of posts, taken from tips researched at UC Berkeley, just might do the trick. I’m only on #4, gratitude, but have already noticed a general uptick in my mood. Gratitude is a habit that can only help. Begin every day with a big thank you list, maybe even before you open your eyes. I’ve been taking note of gratitude for many years, and one thing I’ve figured out is that the less happy you feel on any particular day, the more you need to find something to be grateful for.

What we are grateful for is such an individual thing, so personal, But it’s universal, too. We in the USA have a couple of precious things to be grateful for this week. Our courts have saved Obamacare (again) and made marriage legal for everybody. Decent health coverage and the right to love. Most of us are grateful our corner of the world is changing in positive ways.

So thanks America, because frankly, I have not been feeling super-grateful these days. It’s been tough going with the knee and the shingles and the pain and the crutches. Yet somehow gratitude wedged in to every corner of my despair, making space for happy. Maybe because I have permission to walk in the world again (without crutches) come July 1. That’s only a couple of days from now. Then a few days after that my Seattle family is coming to visit. See heart overflow with gratitude like a geyser.

The highly individual thing I’m really grateful for this week is the current book-in-progress. I wasn’t sure until yesterday I could manage what I wanted to do. Change setting. Change genre. Change tone. Change a character who has been with me for a few books now. Huge ask but I wanted to do it, really had that on fire desire to create this new thing that has been in my head for over a year now, have been aching to start the new story but the thing was just not flowing.

The problem was Paxton, an important character who would not let me in. Not even an inch. I thought, I stewed, I brainstormed. I simmered, I researched, I assembled a collage. Finally got a big hit of that feeling I’m chasing. The collage is pretty. I can’t stop looking at it. It makes me feel so good and this is even before words:) Somehow pictures help me draw out the words. It’s a mysterious process. I look through dozens of magazines and tear out imagines that call my name. I don’t know why a watch from Shinola called my name, but it did and into the stack of images it went.

I’m so grateful to that collage because yesterday I wrote pages and pages and felt that on fire inspired feeling that is the true reason I write. For me, it’s all in the process. Cracking Paxton’s code. Now I think I can write this book. Another good feeling. Happy, part four.

The fifth happiness booster on the list is Keep Friends Close which has not been a thing I’ve been doing lately. When I’m in pain, I isolate. So…the pain is leaving (thanks and goodbye!) and the peeps are gonna be hearing from me in the next couple of weeks. A lot.