Can we take a second to appreciate a short work week? We had a great time on vacation, but I got almost no sleep because I can never sleep in strange beds, so I’m still playing catch up with my Zs. Our administrative assistant is out all week so I’m back to doing both our jobs (like I have been for the last two and a half years before she started this position in September)… but only for the next three days. Hooray!

Thanksgiving season always brings about reminders of how grateful we should be. I’ve been doing a 365-day gratitude challenge since last Thanksgiving. It started out as a photo challenge on Instagram, but quickly devolved into a running list in the notepad app on my phone. Regardless, I’ve been taking time daily to find something for which I am grateful.

This week, I am most grateful that I got to spend a lovely Sunday with some of my favorite women who I have not spent time with (except for two of them, but one is my mom) in over a year.

We had a book brunch picnic, but didn’t talk a whole lot about the book. It was just really nice to spend time together in a safe and comfortable way. We shared stories and advice, enjoyed the cool cloudy weather, and ate yummy food. I made individual brunch boxes which included egg and cheese souffles from Panera, fruit, mini chocolate and blueberry muffins, and fancy strawberries from one of my cousins who couldn’t attend. For drinks, we had sparkling cider, water, and one of the ladies brought mimosas. We had a fantastic time!

Two more days of work for me this week, then I can enjoy a long weekend and maybe finally finish catching up on a week of limited sleep and insufficient water intake (sigh).

What are you thankful for this week… month… year? Let me know.

Happy… being.

My First Bookish Event

The past couple of weeks have flown by! We had our Zoom party this past Saturday night, and it turned out well. I had little idea about how to host a fun book release zoom party, but I think I did okay. Only about half of those who registered attended, but the smaller group made it more comfortable for me talking about Discovering My Outside Voice. I started crying, of course, and I would have liked for people to ask me questions about the book as a whole or even certain parts of it, but I think we had a good time regardless.

Also, congratulations to Memi for winning our giveaway box! I did end up adding some additional items to the gift box. This is the final look:

Outside Voice Giveaway Box: 1 Copy of Discovering My Outside Voice: Essays and Short Stories, 1 Outside Voice Bookmark, 1 Spiral Notebook, 1 Pink NINE & TWO Press Engraved Ballpoint Pen, 2 Loose Leaf Tea Sample Bags from The Tea Spot–Moroccan Mint Tea and Lady Lavender, 1 Stainless Steel Tea Ball. Also, faux flowers instead of filler paper.

Creating this gift box was so much fun! I included things I personally love and hope our winner loves as well.

I will be planning a book signing (at the request of my mother’s friends, ha!) for January 2022. I had no intent to do a book signing to begin with. This is my first book, why would anyone care to have a signed copy? That was my thought, anyway. However, more than one person requested a signature, so I am obliging by scheduling a signing at a local (to my old neighborhood) bookstore. I went by there Sunday with my mom to check it out while we were running errands, and it’s super cute. I’m kind of excited now.

That’s the thing about doing a thing… it forces you to interact with more people and push yourself beyond what typically feels comfortable. Sometimes I wish I had a twin who enjoyed doing all the public-facing stuff so I could keep to the background where I feel safe. But I am expanding. Purposely and purposefully.

I’m on vacation this week, so I shouldn’t hang around here too long. We’ve got some sightseeing to do!

Until next time…

Happy Reading!

The First Week

What a week!

As someone who has never published a book before, I didn’t really know what to expect from the first week of my book being available to purchase. When I decided to write and publish this book, it was out of necessity. I had all these stories to tell, but wasn’t telling them, and it was time to change that. I honestly thought my parents and a couple other people would be the only ones other than me who were excited about the book. But I was wrong.

I have received an overwhelming amount of support from people outside of my immediate circle. Family, my mom’s coworkers, old family friends who I probably have spoken to three times in my entire life, coworkers, strangers… so many people! I didn’t expect this response. I didn’t realize my community was this big. And that’s the other thing…

I tend to isolate myself a lot, even from people I love. When you create such a small bubble for yourself, you often forget that your community is big and there are so many people who care about you and the things you do. Sometimes it feels like my circle is small because I don’t have intentional relationships with a lot of people, but the people make themselves known when it is time, and I appreciate that from the depths of my soul.

My godfather (who I haven’t spoken to in years) posted the first review of my book on my mom’s Facebook page and it brought me to tears. It’s one thing to think you’ve written a decent book; it’s another thing for someone to say your book was good. To be exact, he said (in part):

Good reading…well written, easy flowing, vulnerable, honest, sad in some ways, but very uplifting in many other ways.

He also mentioned his respect for my bravery and creativity. When I received the screenshots from my mom, I texted her back and told her I was going to cry. I didn’t think I was actually going to cry, though. But I did… for, like, three whole minutes.

I haven’t yet received any additional feedback aside from what my wonderful editors Jessica and Yasmin Sara have provided, but I’m looking forward to other people’s thoughts on the book. Because I don’t want them to just buy the book, I want them to read it. I’m a writer, and I’m sensitive about my ish. I write because it’s good for my health, but I also write to tell stories that make people feel things. And if people don’t read what I’ve written, how can they feel the things?

We’ll get back to talking about other people’s books soon enough. Maybe I’ll finally finish Long Division during my vacation next week. Until then…

Happy Reading!

P.S. Don’t forget we’re having a Zoom party Saturday at 6:30pm EST. Register here if you plan on attending.