On The Road to Libraries, Book Festivals, and Pain Flares

It has been a whirlwind of a month since THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM(TLCB) was published (I just need to pause a moment here, because every time I realize I’m actually a published author, I get giddy and giggle-okay I can continue now) :). I’ve spent a lot of time doing guest blog posts, sending emails to various schools, book festivals, and submitting conference proposals.

And two weeks ago we took TLCB on the road to attend the Mid-South Book Festival held in Memphis, Tennessee.magic school bus

On our way to the Mid-South Book Festival, we stopped in a little town named Ripley. My very dear friend Robin, (well she is more like a member of my family now), arranged for me to do a signing and presentation at the Lauderdale County Library. I hadn’t seen her since my mom passed away nearly two years ago. It was my first time visiting Robin in Ripley and it was a visit long overdue. The town may have been small but the southern hospitality was tremendous. Every single person was so welcoming and excited for me and my book. It was a wonderful, albeit, much too quick visit.

ripleylibrary-1

The next day we headed to Memphis for the Mid-South Book Festival. Now, my mom was a huge Elvis fan. In fact, when she first discussed moving to NC, she wanted to know just how many hours away we were from Graceland! She became a fan when LOVE ME TENDER first debuted in Japan. She waited in a huge line with her Elvis shoe laces on her shoes, and then stayed all day and night to watch every single showing. So watching Elvis movies and listening to his music together were some of my fondest memories with her. But because it reminded me too much of her, I hadn’t listened to his music since she passed away.

But, knowing this, how could we be in Memphis and not visit Graceland? I had been having leg pain from the drive, and was walking slowly. However, there were many benches and the tour is not that long(Graceland is surprisingly small), so I got through it okay.img_20160921_185004944

My mom would have loved it there. I got teary eyed when I first heard one of her favorite Elvis songs, but it brought me happy memories of her singing along to it.

The next day was the Mid-South Book Festival. I participated in my first author panel(Yay!) I was extremely nervous. But I brought my entourage (my husband, my friend Robin and her daughter Katelyn) with me, so I’d have at least three people in the audience that knew me. 🙂 The three middle grade authors on the panel with me were fantastic.  The moderator asked questions that I could answer easily and sound like I knew what I was talking about. 🙂 A little over an hour later, I could relax and celebrate with an ice cream sundae. The only bummer was that my book was on backorder, so it couldn’t be sold at the festival. But it was on back order because the first printing sold out, so I can’t complain about that!

img_20160921_180459

(with Barry Wolverton,Sonia Gensler, Alice Faye Duncan)

We drove back home on Sunday, and I spent the next 11 days in my room with a pain flare up. So I’m learning the valuable lesson of pacing myself. After 15 years with RSD you’d think I would have that pacing thing down pat. But, my type A personality tried to kick in again and it is a frustrating battle that I lose most of the time. This was definitely one of those times.

But while I was stuck in bed surrounded by crispy rice treat crumbs on my comforter, I spent some time researching various venues to market THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM. Right before I left for Memphis, I found out that I won the Honor Award for the Society of  Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Book Launch Grant!! I was beyond ecstatic!celebration hooray pokemon yay

My hope is to present my mother’s story to various Japanese societies, schools, and nuclear disarmament organizations. Because of this grant I will be presenting to Peace Action Staten Island, and am working on a presentation date at the Japanese Embassy in Washington DC in the Spring! Between now and then I will be practicing my pacing skills. I’ve heard that crispy rice treats & a little chocolate really helps with that….

Advertisements

1-2-3 GO!

bandaid2

Do you remember hearing this before a band-aid was pulled off when you were a child?  Well I am not so young, but I feel it applies for me today.  I have wanted to write a blog for some time.  My first excuse was that I did not know how to set one up.  My wonderful friend from Society Children Book Writers and Illustrators of the Carolinas (SCBWI Carolinas), Joan Edwards, came over one day and helped me with that roadblock.  Thank you, Joan!

However, after she left I kept staring at the blinking cursor seeing nothing but a blank page and hearing only cricket noise.  I wanted to write something meaningful, something that would make people want to come back to read week after week. I assumed that meant perfection.  So I did what I do best and began to research on how to write your first blog-I have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) tendencies when it comes to research for my writing, craft ideas, looking for ways to stop procrastinating by doing too much research, etc.  You don’t even want to know how long I searched for the band-aid image!

Finally, I decided it is best to just go and write it.   And like ripping off the band-aid, I will rip off my defenses and open myself up to the readers.

I chose Creating Through the Pain, as my blog’s name because it describes the last 13 years of my life.  I had a teeny little blood clot that morphed into Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), a chronic neurological pain disease that started in my left leg and has spread now to the right foot and both hands.  As a result, I had to switch from my corporate to my more creative side.  Eventually this led to my family making a geographical move we never thought we would.  Please understand that not every unexpected event led me happily to a change.  Actually most of them had me kicking and screaming because there was pain (physical and emotionally) and no immediate payoff was in sight for quite a while.  I had no way to prepare or research the options on which path would be better—did I mention I was OCD about research?  However, I can look back on the last 13 years and though it is not the path I ever thought I would take, I am happy where I am at this moment-that could change tomorrow or even the next hour but for now it is good.

All of our circumstances are not the same, but hopefully you and I can share how we each nurture our creative side and push through life’s unexpected twists and turns along the way. So here I go, 1-2-3 -POST!

I would love to hear from you!   Please share your unexpected event that led you down the path to creativity.