Sunday, March 22, 2009

Milestone Monday and More!

Photo by Kevin Baird

Dear Violets and Vinnies,

Mary and Robin are back in the building!  And, very glad to be here with our favorite "peops!" Hope you all had a marvelous week.  

I had an exceptional time frolicking in Fresno, California with some amazing School Librarians and their staff.  Which I followed with a truly Don Knotts moment when after cramming ninety junior students into a smallish cafeteria, my Power Point presentation would not come up. No way, no how-- despite praying a number of Hail Marys  directly into the USB port. I would have to face the assembled mass totally unplugged for a full hour with no fun slides, visuals, soundtrack, or Youtube-- just uh, ME... middle-aged dame and all.  

This was actually the second time I had a techno-malfunction  in the span of about six weeks. The first time was with a group of kindly adults who did not have Must Have Media written all over them.  I punted and things went fine.  I think they would have been good if I'd burst into a hour long rendition of Kumbaya-- those kind of great students.

With my hoard of 90 pre-pubescents, however, there was the chance that things could get ugly. Their School Librarian was looking as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a rocking chair factory. God love her, she kept apologizing as if it were her fault.  I briefly considered whippping off my boots, and  fashioning a couple of quick sock puppets.  Which might have worked if the students were three, and not twelve-going-on-seventeen. So I took a big bracing breath, pretended it was whiskey, unhooked the mike from the podium, and moved closer.  I took all the concepts from the non-existent slides, and instead embed them deeply in story.  Within moments I had the tribal fire crackling, and the universal power of story saved the day.  

As a P.S. to this, I also had not received my shipment of author postcards in time for my trip, so I made a quick trip to Costco and bought ninety Hershey bars, which I signed with a silver Sharpie. Which the kids loved a lot, and before long, I was signing hands, forearms, and the rubber soles of their shoes.  (Nervous School Librarian now sweating profusely). I had a few requests for other body parts, which I politely declined. :-]  All in all, a seriously great day was had at Raisin City Elementary.  Smart, funny kids.  If you ever get invited, g-o.

Here's an even quicker tool for assessing introversion and extraversion that I heard recently:
If you are interrupted while reading and you are irritated, you're an introvert.
If you are interrupted while reading and you are
grateful, you're an extravert.

I am looking for someone to read and review the book entitled The Shy Writer by C. Hope Long for our blog. Interested? I'll send you a copy of the book to keep--along with your very own autographed Hershey bar! Email me at Pick me, Mary!

We are just about five weeks away from the start of our Third Annual
National Independent Bookseller Month here at SVP, a month long festival in which we pay homage to the extraordinary work of our indie bookstores.  Each year we have selected a an indie staff member as our Bookseller of the Year, and treated them to dinner at their favorite swanky restaurant and presented them with a very also swanky certificate. These come coupled with our undying loyalty,  and servitude for the year.  (Robin, have we remembered to tell them about the servitude part?)  In 2007, we selected and celebrated Vroman's Bookstore's Kris Vreeland and in 2008, Alex Uhl of A Whale of a Tale Bookshoppe in Irvine, Calfornia took the honors.

Start thinking about 2009 nominees now!  Our last two winners have both been from California. We'd love to see some nominees from other states.  Everyone that submits a nominee will be entered in our drawing to win a
Indie Bound gift certificate.  If your nominee is selected, we're talking big loot.  

Lastly, but never leastly, time for another
Milestone Monday-- a random Monday dedicated to giving each of you an opportunity to practice a bit of self-promotion. The road to publication can be long, years long, and we want to celebrate your triumphs along the way with a cyber hoot and holler.  So, pony up to the line with your tribespeople, and let us know your good news.

Let's hear it for your path--


Yat-Yee said...

Long tailed cat in a rocking chair factory!!! How brilliant is that? So sorry to hear of the almost Don Knotts moment and a huge Kudos for braving the situation. Tweens and teens are the most difficult audience to please. They smell inauthenticity and patronizing attitude miles away and dare you to keep them engaged.

I would love to nominate my local bookstore owner.

Yat-Yee said...

And oh Milestone Monday: found out last week my short story won first place in the Pikes Peak Writers Contest. I get to attend the conference with registration paid for and to hang out with other writerly sorts.

a brilliant blog said...

Thank God for chocolate. It saved the day!

Anonymous said...

I'll tell you the truth--I am so overdosed on PowerPoint presentations that I'm relieved when a speaker doesn't use them, and instead just talks with the audience!

tanita✿davis said...

I opened this post onto my desktop, and meant to come back and say what my Monday milestone was, but in the end, between revising, reading my crit partners' work, and my own, I never got back. I feel like I'm in the middle of the road. Not sure if the milestone is ahead or behind me...

Anonymous said...

Well, I lost this somewhere--hope it doesn't show up twice!

Mary, how could they NOT love you. Your energy AND chocolate? This is why I haven't quite made the move to PowerPoint, but I do at least now have it on my laptop, so I'm getting closer!

Hey, I wanted to let you guys know I passed a blog award on to you--over at my wordpress blog:

And my Monday Milestone (on a Tuesday, because I was CELEBRATING on Monday!)--I sent my last chapters of the Critique Group book off to my editor at Writer's Digest! Yes, I know there'll be revisions, but I'm SO not going there right now!

Mary Hershey said...

Thanks for all everyone has shared!

Yat-Yee, wow! Congrats on your first place award for your short story!!! Stellar! I'm tossing e-confetti in your honor right now. `'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' :-]

And, Becky! Thrilled for you that you got those last chapters off your desk and to your editor. MOST excellent. Thanks, too, for the blog award. We are honored!

Tanita, you are a milestone unto yourself!

Lastly, I really appreciate all the volunteer offers to read and review THE SHY WRITER! I'll get back to you each shortly.