Thursday, October 30, 2008

bookstore news

I spent yesterday organizing my bookstore stuff. I cleaned out my binder, printed off some missing reports and tallied numbers. The store is officially over a year old now. Our anniversary was the week we closed for our big fall sale, but we are having our celebration this week. Cookies for customers begins today and repeats on Saturday.

Some of the numbers I tallied were amazing, even though I knew we were darn close to hitting the mark. Yep, the store raised $35,011.25 in our first year. That is gross sales...but even adjusted for the taxes we had to pay and the few supplies we had to purchase, it is a HUGE number. Our set up costs were under $12,000. We sold a lot of used reading and listening materials.

Our profits are rolled back to the library to buy everything from books to programming for them. What an amazing first year in business.

Monday, October 27, 2008

the week ahead

I have so much stuff to do this week that I need to make a list. I'm afraid I'll forget something if I don't! Also, the hubby had a touch of some sort of tummy bug yesterday and I feel a bit off my game today. Not a good way to start a busy week.

Friday, October 24, 2008

weekend dead ahead

Took the youngest offspring to his school open house last night. We ended up having to park down the street and hike through the woods, umbrella overhead, with puddles all around. It rained all day yesterday. So, yet another Thursday's soccer game was canceled. Back to the open house....they always have a book fair at these events and I always let the kids buy books. Scholastic sells them for less than I can get them at B&N, even with my discount. The kid came home with two titles, one being the City of Ember. He wants to read the book because he said the book is always better than the movie and he liked the movie.

Another odd ball week. I didn't work on my genealogy like I needed to. Next week will be some marathon sessions with my family tree maker program. I did manage to do three 10 minute writing prompts. I had lunch with the hubby and we acquired our international driving permits for our trip to Europe this Christmas. One of the oldest kid's friends asked her if we were rich...she said no, my mom and dad have been saving a long time for this trip. Darn tootin'....I think saving up for something special has become a distant memory for too many folks.

I'm almost finished with the third Strongbow book and when I'm done look for a commentary on YA books for boys. They are a rare breed. So much YA chick-lit stuff, not so much boy driven stuff.

Speaking of books, next time you are in a bookstore look for a book from an author you've never heard of before....the midlist writer is suffering in the publishing world and readers need to spread the wealth, to borrow a popular comment, and read books from folks who may not have the big display, the huge adverts or a blurb from a famous author on their cover. Nora, John, James etc have made their millions and then some....look for some fresh talent. It is out there and I guarantee, you will fall in love with a new voice!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

up next

My three hour adventure at the polls was a lesson in personality. A string of candidates lined the side of the drive. After voters parked their cars, the only way down to the sidewalk was past this gauntlet. My candidate was with me the whole time, which made my job easier as I just had to say good morning/afternoon, ask them to support my candidate and then thank folks for voting as they left. How the voters responded which was so interesting. Some smiled and made eye contact. Others acted like you were invisible. Some even gave the whatever 'hand'! Most were gracious, took the literature and moved along. Civility reigned among the various candidates on hand.

Today is book sort day at the library. The store will also need stocking. Then I am headed east over to the hubby's office. We are going to AAA to get our internat'l driver's permits and do lunch.

Tonight, if the rain holds off, middle kid has a soccer game. Youngest kid has his school open house. I think the oldest has the night off!

I've been able to do three of the writing exercises now...pretty neat how a prompt can stick a whole scene in my wee noggin.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

new stuff

I'm in for a new experience today. The hubby and I are supporting one of the three mayoral candidates in our fair town and I've been asked to 'work' the polls for him. From 10-1 I will be stationed the legally required number of feet from the early polling place so I can offer my personal endorsement and hand out stuff all while sporting a very stylish campaign tee shirt.

My buddy Kim just rec'd some fabu news from her publisher, Red Rose Publishing. Not only did they scoop up Shannon and Dwayne's first adventure, "Avenging Angel," they are also going to include her in an anthology about love the second time around. How cool is that?? I'm so proud of you, girl!

I've taken the same lady's advice and started to use the ten minute writing prompt exercise to prime the old creative well. It is helping. I've allowed myself to get into a bad spot with my writing and I needed a way out.

Judson Robert's second Strongbow book is just as good as the first in this series. I'm also finished with it, a very quick read, and am glad I checked out the third book while I was at the library.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ancient Eygpt and Vikings

I finished Michelle Moran's "The Heretic Queen" yesterday. Good thing as it is due back to the library today! I really enjoyed Moran's first book, "Nefertiti" and her new novel was just as entertaining. Moran has a gift for taking the ancient and making it feel so contemporary. The political struggles, the relationships, the tough decisions ancient people experienced are really no different than modern society encounters. I enjoyed reading about the relationship between Ramesses and Nefertari. By all accounts, they truly were a love match. I also found it interesting how Moran wove the Moses character into the storyline and the author end notes on Moses and his story were fascinating.

My only disappointment, and this is probably just a 'Liz' issue, I didn't feel the connection with Nefertari like I did with her mother, Mutnodjmet, the heroine of the first book. I liked "N" and felt sympathy for her, but "M" just spoke to me. This isn't a criticism of the novel, again, it could just be a circumstance where certain characters really find a way into your head and others don't quite talk to you in that way.

From ancient Eygpt, I am now moving forward in time to begin reading a Viking story. Judson Roberts has put out a YA trilogy about a young Viking set in 845. I devoured the first book in the Strongbow Saga, and the second one is starting out just as good.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Had a ball visiting with Kim yesterday at B&N. She never fails to offer me some nuggets of wisdom, some encouragment and more than a few good laughs.

The oldest rocked it out on the field Saturday afternoon and stopped a PK late in the first half, which kept the other team scoreless, which then allowed us to clinch the JV cup. You go, girl.

The youngest went with his dad to hawk Tootsie Rolls for the K of C and did an awesome job.

The middle kid learned a move at skills camp yesterday allowing her to fake out defenders in a
new way.

I'm over halfway finished with The Heretic Queen. Amazing how Ms. Moran can bring ancient Egypt to life and make it seem so contemporary while keeping it so authentic.

The pantry is getting really bare, so I need to do some grocery shopping. I'm supposed to train volunteers for the bookstore today and hope no one shows up so I can get that errand done.

I'm also going to take Kim's advice and start 'priming' the creative well with ten minute writing workouts. Hope I can clear out some of the rust and get back to the clear, crisp word flow that lurks somewhere inside, I hope.

Friday, October 17, 2008


This has been a very weird and disjointed week. Lots of ups and downs, plans changed or canceled, good and bad all rolled into the past seven days.

I got this via an email and had fun playing with it.... click on various items in the photo and watch what happens. The door out of the room is my personal favorite.....

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

drawing a blank

The article about Charlaine Harris is in our local paper today and I am quoted, but the hour long interview boiled down to one small sentence. So is life......I need to email the reporter and compliment her on the article. It was well done and the cartoon of Ms. Harris was adorable.

I'm off to sort books, run errands and such today. Beyond that I really need to get back to writing. I miss it. I miss the time to create. I miss my characters, because I sort of like them. So maybe today when I get home, before the kids start rolling in and we have to get ready for two soccer games, I can open at least one of those word documents and rediscover my stories.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

tightening the belt

The bookstore was busy yesterday. I actually had a customer who thanked us for opening the store. She is a cancer patient and said that we've helped her cope. She couldn't afford a regular bookstore price for books and was reluctant to take library books to the doctor's office for fear she'd leave them. In three hours we sold $75 in used books...that is a lot of books. And the great thing is many of those books will come back to us so we can sell them again, and again.

Went to the debate last night between the aldermen candidates and the three mayoral candidates. Find it so curious that several of them mentioned going to our state capital and DC to get money for our town. Okay, these same people rail against higher taxes and the 'pork' laden bills that leave Congress. Hello? Is anyone home? Where do they think that money comes from, the national money tree?

I finished the latest Betsy Taylor, queen of the vampires, book. With so much going on in my family life right now, I read this book pretty fast and didn't take the time to savor it. It took me away from my thoughts for a bit and on that basis alone, I'd give it a thumbs up.

Up next, The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

okay, you can stop now

Whatever little black cloud has decided to settle over my family and send down you I say ' can stop now.'

My mom is back in the hospital. She is having complications from the swelling around the break site. Not good, not good at all.

My aunt, the RN, has been to see my Grandma and although the antibiotics are helping her rally, her congestive heart failure is bad and the stroke they saw on the MRI may be an older one. So, for now, she is awake and able to eat, but the CHF is a major concern.

So, yesterday was a mixed bag. Cautious news on Grandma and bad news on my mom.

On other fronts, I managed to read a bit of Mary Janice Davidson's latest. Interesting developments in that story arc. The cover of this books is substantially different than the rest of the series. This is to reflect a different direction for this new book and the next two. She is doing a trilogy within the series. Pretty nifty idea.....

After I finish this one, I'll start Michelle Moran's latest book. Then after those are returned to the library, I will need to check out a YA series that I asked to be ordered. It is a series aimed towards boys, something that is difficult to find. They are set during Viking times and are chock full of action, tension and a bit of history. More on those to come....

Monday, October 13, 2008

fall break

Fall break is underway for the offspring. We returned from the soccer tournament in decent shape. Just a mild injury, received after the darling middle daughter was given a yellow card. She got far worse than she gave.

Also, I finished the second Aurora T. book I found at the book sale. It is the third book in that series. Now I am hooked and will have to find the rest of those stories.

Bad things always come in threes and after my mom's injury two weekends ago, I learned yesterday upon arriving home that my 94 year old grandmother is in the hospital intensive care. I spoke with my aunt for a while and grandma is showing a bit of improvement today, but it could still go either way. When you are 94, you are living the last moments of life daily. I'm hoping for the best. That may mean telling her goodbye. She is a vibrant woman and often told us she didn't want to live to see 100. She may decide it is time to go.

So, I'm sad but in a weird way, happy for her. She may get to go out on her own terms. For a lady who raised six kids on a coal miner's pay in the foothills of Pennsylvania, she's done well in so many ways.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I don't have a problem throwing out or recycling old books. Some folks, however, will keep a book even if the pages are yellow with age, the spine has lost its glue and mold is growing on the cover. In our Friends group you either fall into my camp or you fall into the 'keep it all' camp. Makes for interesting days at the library when we sort donations.

I spent yesterday working on sorting guidelines after I composed a press release for the store's first anniversary.

Even though I checked out some new books, I had to finish the Aurora Teagarden book I started. I just thoroughly enjoy Charlaine Harris' writing and these cozy mysteries are such a treat.

Today I need to finish cleaning. My mother in law flies in this afternoon. I need to pack for the weekend's soccer tournament. I need to grocery shop for a few things so the hubby and the kids who are staying home can eat while I'm gone.

Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

all the news that is fit to print

First off, my mom is doing better. Yeah. Doesn't look like they need or want me to come and help. For now, the two of them are tackling this injury in good form.

My family tree maker software arrived while we were gone last weekend and I spent the last two days learning how to use it and have started to input the information I had discovered last spring. Looks like I will get the Christmas presents done after all.

Still no writing, but I was in the library yesterday to drop off kids for the teen board and discovered they'd just set out a new shipment of books. Wahoooo. I found Michelle Moran's "The Heretic Queen" and Mary J. Davidson's "Undead and Uneasy." Add those two titles to the bedside stack, but I better read fast, they are only 14 day checkouts.

No writing or editing and for now, that is just fine. I do have to knock out a press release for the Friends and the bookstore. The store is one year old this week and we are celebrating our accomplishments.

Seems the rain has moved out and sunny skies are in the forecast, in more ways than one.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

today's agenda

Mother Nature has finally provided some liquid nourishment. We needed rain and I hope it keeps coming today. Bone dry around here.

Speaking of bones, my mom is home and resting. The next 8 weeks will be hard for her and my dad. He will be the care giver and while he has many wonderful attributes, domestic talents are not included. I've offered to fly out for a bit, but she wants to see how the next several days go before we set something like that up. She knows how chaotic our family's schedule is and I think she is reluctant to take me up on the offer.

My family tree maker disk/program arrived and I really need to start inputting all the information I compiled. This is the Christmas present I'm planning to give my side of the family.

I haven't written in the wips in so long I think I've forgotten how. They are always grumbling in my head, but I don't have the creative juices at the moment or the energy to tackle either of them. This fall has been so hit or miss. Not at all what I expected, hoped, planned.

Last night I started one of Charlaine Harris' mystery books featuring Aurora Teagarden, the murder solving librarian. I found books 2 and 3 at the book sale and brought them home. I'll have to go back and read book 1 at a later date.

Monday, October 6, 2008

weekend update

The soccer team lost one and tied one.
My mom broke her leg.
Not the fun weekend any of us had planned.
The book sale brought in over $6500.00 for the Friends.

That is about it. I'm off to the library today to move our stashed inventory back into our storage closet. I'll be waiting to hear from my Dad about my Mom.

Going to be a rough week.