Sunday, September 30, 2007

book sale success

The Friends book sale raised over $8200 for our library! Wowsa. Ponder how many books that is when nothing is over $2.00! What we didn't sell in nonfic and our unsold, older fic was donated to Goodwill afterwards. Bookstore set up starts Monday!!

In other good news, our first soccer game yesterday was cancelled, a team withdrew at the last minute. We won our afternoon game 6-0. We play this morning at 8 and then again at 1:30. The oldest and I will miss the afternoon game....but I'm sure the middle kid will 'represent.'

Friday, September 28, 2007

friday recap

Worked the presale set up yesterday and pulled enough books to fill 6 boxes. I need to pull more today as by the time I get there Saturday, some real gems may be gone. Which isn't bad, as the money still winds up in our accounts, but I do want the bookstore to have some quality items for that first week.

Today I'm at the sale from 10-3.
We have 4 soccer games this weekend.
We have a big church activity for the oldest kid on Sunday.

So between books, soccer and church the weekend is totally full. Next week I'll be in the store stocking and organizing every day from 10-2.

I haven't written in weeks now....although I am reading about it:) I found Stephen King's writing book yesterday and snatched it up. I've wanted to read it for a while now and at $2 it was a major deal. I may just keep it in the car for those moments in between soccer games.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

banned books

Just read a list of challenged books reported by the ALA. Banned book week is coming of my favorite library holiday events. I was proud to see that several of the newer books on that list were items I ordered and added to our library's collection during my tenure. Yes, I love to stir the pot and having banned books and challenged books on the shelves is doing my part to keep the pot stirred.

Off to the book sale today. We are still setting up. I worked yesterday on getting my manuals put together for the store. Today I will be organizing and pulling books for the store. Should be a fun day.

Had a small article appear in our big regional paper. Always fun to see my byline:) Even after all these years, it still brings a smile to my face:)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

full plate

Never did get around to blogging yesterday and it wasn't because I never found time to be online. Now that we are in the final approach to the bookstore opening day, I'm scrambling to address a range of issues. Nothing major and nothing that can't be resolved, just lots of small fires.

I did manage to read Diana Gabaldon's latest Lord John Grey book. Overall impression, the book had it's moments, but I so loved her Outlander series it is hard to let that go. The high point for me in this new novel was the inclusion of Jamie Fraser in the storyline.

In addition to the bookstore stuff, the Friends are also having their fall book sale this weekend. To top that off, the kids now have a soccer tournament to play...with two 8:00 kickoffs. Nothing like being on a soccer field at 7:15 in the morning!! Thank God for good coffee.

Needless to say, I may not post for the rest of the week.....too much on my plate right now and while it is all keeping me very busy, it isn't the stuff of interesting reading.

Monday, September 24, 2007

mixed messages

We had house guests over the weekend and one of them left the latest Oprah magazine. I'm not a big magazine subscriber. In fact, the two that I receive, The New Yorker and More, are both gifts from family/friends. So, after I finished folding the tenth basket of laundry last night, I poured myself a diet coke and flipped through Oprah's latest.

Perhaps it was the frame of mind I was in, laundry can do that to me, but I really felt the entire magazine did nothing to make most women feel better about themselves. The articles are all focused on self improvement, but I'd guess the examples provided are fairly unattainable for the majority of the readers she is targeting. The icing on the cake was Oprah's essay at the end. She waxed poetic on taking the summer off and recharching her batteries while lounging in Hawaii eating fresh produce and watching 28 consecutive sunsets. Wow.

Good for you, Oprah, so glad you can step away from your media empire and recharge. Most women who read your magazine and contribute money to your brokerage accounts would settle for a day out of the house.

I tend to get a bit peeved at celebrities informing us how to be more fulfilled, how to recharge, how to look, eat and dress. They don't represent reality and the message they send isn't helpful or even healthy, although they tell us it is.

I used to watch Oprah and I've even been to her show. Heck, I sat in her chair on stage. After spending time on her magazine last night, I can't say I appreciate the message she has to offer. If I ever get to Hawaii for a month, maybe I'll change my mind.

Friday, September 21, 2007

whoa, it's friday?!

Yesterday's blog covered the whole choices conundrum I'm in right now with my writing. Oddly enough, while I was at the library yesterday to hold my last bookstore training session, I was offered a job. Yep, they want me back as the part time adult reference library associate. I toyed with the idea for a few minutes, asked if they would triple my salary, joked with the director (who's a good friend) and then declined.

I want to go back, but the time isn't right. I know that in my gut. I have to get this bookstore off the ground and functioning in some sort of routine. The hubby is traveling quite a bit. The kids are more busy than ever.

Sometimes forces outside of ourselves nudge us along. Sometimes decisions are clear cut and easy. Sometimes we flounder. This was an easy one to turn down.

My time will come again to man that ref desk and help folks find that perfect book or navigate the Dewey decimal system.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


One of the agent blogs I read just asked the simple question: what are you currently reading? The responses were as varied as the number of cereal choices at the local grocery store. I go through reading spurts. Right now I'm totally in love with the Dante Valentine series. So much so that when I finished the third book and had to fall back on the bedside table stack for something to read late last night, I was totally bummed. I want more Dante.

Which brings me to my title for today's blog. Choices. We all make them, from the minute to the huge. From what book to read, to what to wear, to what to eat for breakfast. Writers have choices to make every time they open up the current WIP. Or whether or not they open the current WIP.

I haven't opened either the Maddy file or the Lani file in a while. I've lost steam. It is extremely difficult to stay motivated when I feel like I'm leveling a mountain one teaspoonful at a time. My crit bud is in the same spot.

I have the bookstore to fill my spare time. She has a budding photography business to fill hers. Most writers have other hobbies, jobs, things to take up those hours we could spend writing. So, it comes back to choice. I'm reaching the point where I need to choose to either get serious about this writing stuff or let it go. The proverbial fork in the road.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

check out Dante Valentine

I"m always torn when I discover a new series to read. When I stumble across the first book and then have to wait a year for the next title to be published, I go through something akin to withdrawal. On the other hand, when I discover a series that has been completed, then I know the end is in sight. Does it sound like I'm bitching because my ice cream is cold?

Either way, I've been reading Lilith Saintcrow's contributions to The Midnight Hour blog for a good six months now. I enjoy her wit, insight and grit. I finally picked up the first book in the Dante Valentine series last weekend at Barnes and Noble. I zoomed back on Monday and bought books 2 and 3.

I'm in love with this character and the world she lives in. Dante is awesome, flawed and real. The world she lives in is so well developed, the word original just doesn't do Saintcrow's effort justice.

If you enjoy urban fantasy with a strong punk/goth/sci fi twist, check these books out.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know by now I'm very schedule driven. It is how I get things done and keep all the plates in my life spinning. Not that I'm opposed to spur of the moment events, but I'd like at least a few days notice!

I need to come up with a new writing schedule. The problem is I'm just not sure how much time the bookstore is going to suck out of my days. Right now, it seems like it will devour a whole heck of a lot of time. I need to wait things out and see how the store falls into place before I try and sort through all of my duties. Patience is not one of my virues.

Anyone have a chill pill....I'm in need of a reality check. I will find time to write again, right??

By the way, the girls kicked butt last night and won their game 5-0. Oldest didn't even have to play keeper...she was on the field running her little heart out and doing some amazing things footwork wise. She can juke that ball like nobodies business. >>swelling with pride<<

Monday, September 17, 2007

muddled monday

My time to post is usually way earlier than now, but my mind was so muddled this morning, I knew better than to even try. We spent the weekend out of town at a soccer tournament. Unfortunately, the team didn't fare well. The kids had solid games, but no one seemed to be able to find the goal. Except for the opposition. Oldest kid's knees look like she's been in a battle royal. In a way she was. I lost count of the number of stops she made. The few that got past her, well, they also got past 11 other girls first.

I've been reading quite a bit. Finished the first Dante Valentine book by Lilith Saintcrow. Makes me never want to attempt urban fantasy again. Boy, can she write. I ran out today and picked up books 2 and 3. She posts to a group blog and am always inspired by her posts on the craft of writing. She knows her stuff. Check it out.

I have two training sessions this week. One tomorrow and the grand finale on Thursday afternoon. I feel like breaking out in the Alleluia chorus. I'm glad to be almost done. The store's grand opening is set for October 15 at 6:00. The Chamber of Commerce will even be on hand for the ribbon cutting. Wowsa. We've hit the big time.

Hope your words are flowing and the WIPs are growing. Mine sure as hell aren't, but that is okay. For now.

Friday, September 14, 2007

out of whack friday recap

I fall into routines quicker than most. This week has been so out of whack. I'm finding it hard to come up with something to write this morning. Please forgive the rambling, nonsensical nature of what follows.

I've held two training sessions for the volunteers. Twenty brave souls now know how to 'sort of' operate the cash register for the bookstore. I have a training session today and then two next week. I'll be glad when they are over. One trainee frowned at me for the entire two hours. Talk about disconcerting. Not sure if she was suffering from indigestion or if I'm that poor of a teacher.

We are off to a soccer tournament this weekend. Not sure what to expect as all of their practices were cancelled due to rain. Oldest kid did get an hour in at a keeper clinic, so she isn't quite as out of it as her sibling is after 10 days off.

I'm starting to miss my WIPs. The self imposed exile from my writing efforts has allowed a few things to settle in my head and my thoughts to clarify.

I've been reading Nathan's first line contest entries along with 500 plus other wannabes. I can't say that I'm blown away by the finalists. Of the ten, two peaked my interest. Am I missing something here? Not sure if I'm going to vote.

That is it for me. I'm going to try and get back to posting next week. I've got a better handle on this bookstore stuff and should be able to figure out how to keep all the plates spinning.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Knights of the Black and White

I have to preface this brief review by stating I'm a big Jack Whyte fan. I loved his Camulod Chronicles and thought his take on Arthurian legend was nothing short of brilliant. When I spied his latest book, a ginormous paperback, I purchased it. Our library very seldom adds new paperbacks.
The book is inspired by the same book that gave Dan Brown so much grist for his DaVinci code book, but focuses instead on the Templars. Again, Whyte's take on the Templars and how and why they came into existence is intriguing. Several of the characters are well developed, but the action drags at times. Parts of the book are excellent, parts are mediocre. The good outweighs the bad.
I will read the rest of the series. I'm hoping that the slow parts, the info dumps, were to lay necessary groundwork for future novels. This isn't a short read, coming in at close to 900 pages, can you say epic?

Friday, September 7, 2007

friday recap

I've made my phone calls and I've filled two training sessions and the remainder all have at least 5 volunteers in each. The P&P and How To guides are done and ready to be copied. So, I'm in pretty good shape for Monday.

Laid down the law with the youngest. Work not finished on time, no APEX.

Read some sad news. Madeline L'Engle died today at age 88. I loved reading "A Wrinkle in Time" and the other books in that series.

I doubt very much I'll be posting over the next two weeks, but I will be back after the training sessions are completed. Wish me luck:)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

daydreams, hoops and kids

I wasn't a daydreamer in school. For some reason I understood early on that if I got my work done and turned it in, I'd have plenty of time to daydream after school. My youngest hasn't quite grasped that concept. The kid has an IQ off the charts, but can't finish his work while at school. Now, when he is home, I set the old kitchen timer and he plows through his homework sheets with minutes to spare.

We've tried a variety of carrots and sticks to get this child to jump through the scholastic hoops. I've come to the conclusion that until he decides to starting jumping, nothing we do will get him to sail through the hoops.

His reluctance to do the seat work hasn't resulted in poor grades. Every paper so far this year has been perfect. He is capable. He is giving me gray hair. He'll probably invent the cure for cancer or figure out how to harness some cosmic force to manipulate the space-time continuum.

I had to tell him this morning that if he didn't get his work done, no traipsing off to APEX for his weekly 'gifted' class.

I hate this.

I'm off to work on bookstore stuff. I have a dozen or so folks to call about training. My sounding board got back to me with a few revisions. God love her, she is such a doll. I may be really quiet next week while I charge into this new challenge.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

sounding boards

As I packed up my 'how to' sheets for the bookstore cash register, I realized how important it is to have a few good sounding boards. I have loads of people I chat with on a daily basis. Very few make it up to the level where I would weigh their advice or input with a discerning eye. This same phenomena happens in critique groups. No matter what the group's size, one or two folks will stand out to you as sources of quality feedback. Treasure those folks. They make the journey more tolerable.

I have a dear, dear friend from my freshman year of college. We've been through a variety of ups and downs as we've married, had babies, raised children, coped with job changes, moves etc. She is a wonderful sounding board. The only person who knows me better is my husband.

But, she isn't my writing sounding board. I guess that is the other piece in the puzzle. I have sounding boards for different facets of my life. I'd think most people do. It is pretty easy to take those people for granted. They are there for us, every day in some fashion. They can pick us up when we need it. They can pull us back to earth when required. Don't take that ability for granted.

I'm off today to meet with the gal who is going to be my bookstore sounding board. She's engaged the store, she sees long range, she can read a P&P manual and understand the importance of laying solid groundwork.

Sometimes we have to search out sounding boards. Sometimes they fall in our laps. I've had both happen, but either way, the important thing is to realize how valuable a fresh opinion and perspective can be to our journey.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

full speed ahead

I spent lots of couch time reading this weekend. I read two books and started a third. However, I wasn't totally antisocial. We did venture next door to the neighbors for our fourth annual Labor Day food fest. I don't even want to contemplate how much we ate. Lots of food and it was really good too.

Today I have to write the entire How To section of the bookstore manual. I put off doing it on Sunday and Monday, so now I'm in a bit of a pickle. Usually I don't procrastinate, but for some reason, this part of the manual has all the appeal of a dirty diaper.

I'm going to force myself to get the darn thing finished before noon. My motivation is the book I started last night. I love Jack Whyte of Camulod Chronicle fame. His latest tome, and believe me, I don't think I've seen a larger paperback, is about the Templar Knights. He does historical speculative fiction so well. If you haven't read his Camulod series and the neat take he developed on the Arthurian legends, put those books on your to read list.

Off to finish the Tuesday chores and clear the deck for the real labor. Full speed ahead.

Dissolution by CJ Sansom

One of my uncles gave me this book on his last trip through. The funny thing was I'd picked it up at Barnes and Noble several months back, but didn't buy it. "Dissolution" is set in Tudor England. Henry VIII's third wife, Jane Seymour, has just died from childbed fever. The monasteries are being dissolved and their monies taken by the crown as part of the reform movement. When one of the government's commissioners winds up headless during a visit to Scarnsea's monastery, Matthew Shardlake is dispatched to find the murderer. The trouble is, he stumbles into more than just one mystery requiring his keen intellect. Sansom packs this tale with loads of historic detail, philosophical musings and a cleverly wrought mystery designed to keep the reader guessing until the very end. This is a very well done book and I would most definitely read the next two in this series.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

"The Wizard Heir" by C. Chima

Troubled teen orphan Seph McCauley hops from boarding school to boarding school. Of course we learn the source of his problems lies in the fact he is a wizard. "The Wizard Heir" is a stand alone companion book to Chima's "The Warrior Heir." Several of the characters from the first book make appearances in Seph's story, but the story is Seph's. A pawn in a growing battle between the forces in the wizard world, Seph fights off being used for purposes he doesn't understand while trying to learn who he is and who his parents were.

Chima saves this book from being a typical 'who am I/where did I come from' story because she isn't afraid to get her hands dirty. She kills off a few symphathetic characters, Seph is put through a wizarding ringer and he doesn't get the girl in the end.

Even though this title is a stand alone, I'd read the first one before sitting down to enjoy this book. Chima has built a layered world for her YA series and some of the details and alliances are better explained in "Warrior Heir." This was an enjoyable read and I'll look forward to the next few books in this series.

Up next: Dissolution by C. Sansone...a murder mystery featuring hunchback Matthew Shardlake set in Tudor England.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

just for you, Dwight

In my often early morning blog ramblings I've apparently failed to explain exactly what my 'relationship' with the library and the bookstore means. So, Dwight, here is the Reader's Digest version of my on/off relationship with my town's public library.

On a total lark, after being employed as a full time mommy for 13 years, I applied for a job at our local library. Well known to the staff as my youngest's mommy (I don't have a name, I'm just so and so's mother) I was given an interview at 5:00 and hired the next morning at 10:00. I became the part time YA library associate. In that capacity, I did everything from collection development to YA programs. I started their Teen Advisory Board. I wrote the library newsletters, press releases and did all sorts of public relations stuff for them.

After two years, my hubby's job began to require a good bit of traveling and while we'd been able to juggle our two jobs and the kids' activities, it started to wear on us. The library was as flexible with me as they could be, but at a certain point something had to give. My job gave.

When the president of the Friends of the Library learned I was leaving my paid job, she strong armed me into becoming a "Friend." Then she body slammed me into taking on the management of their brand new used bookstore. All that from an over 60 retired school teacher. Don't ever mess with retired teachers....

The Friends raise money for the library via used book sales. All the items they sell are donated from our community. Currently, they hold two big sales and two mini sales a year. A big sale can bring in 7-9K. The funds are given back to the library to support our Summer Reading Program, pay for professional staff development and things like that.

With the bookstore opening next month , the Friends hope to provide a steady income stream for the library. I've been busy writing our policy and procedures manual, coordinating publicity and getting ready to train our volunteers.

There you have the library staff says, I still work for the library, I just don't get paid anymore.