Frustrating

Marketing my book is really, really frustrating. There. I said it.

Photo by Pixabay

Now how to complain about it without being unfair to (and potentially pissing off) the powers that be? That’s tricky. Another thing to be frustrated about.

I’ll just stick with complaining about myself. It’s safer that way, and makes for a shorter blog post.

Without further ado, let’s cut straight to the whining.

I read and read and read all I can about how to create ads, when to run them, how to get reviews, how to promote myself, how to put myself forward, how to be everywhere online and in person at once without seeming self-absorbed (but yes, totally promoting myself) and I swear I only retain 5% of what I read. My mind is like a flippin’ spaghetti strainer with too-big holes. It doesn’t help that I have ADD, am trying to write a sequel and raising two young kids who LOVE to distract me. Actual things they’ve said, mostly this week:

“Mom! Mom! Mom! What’s for dinner?” Seriously? You just had lunch.

“Mom! Mom! Mom! Two years ago, when I was five, someone in kindergarten hurted my feelings. I don’t remember which kid who said the mean thing or what the mean thing was, but my feelings were so hurt! And now I can’t stop being sad! Hey, are you laughing at me? Laughing at your own daughter? Your only daughter? You don’t love me, do you? I’ve never been your favorite!” Stamp. Stamp. Loud wailing. Slamming door.

“Mom! Mom! Mom! Is Ringo hitting the high hat or a triangle on Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, and is that a good song for me to listen to?” My autistic son is obsessed with The Beatles and I can’t finish a thought without being asked about them. (Ringo was actually hitting an anvil, and whether or not my third-grader should be listening to a whimsical, catchy song about a serial killer is a different conversation entirely).

“Mom! Mom! Mom! My brother just kicked me in the stomach!” No, he didn’t. He was asleep on the couch. I saw you walk your stomach into his foot just to get him in trouble.

“Mom! Mom! Mom! Can I call you ‘Mole’? You have a lot of moles, and ‘Mole’ is easier to say than ‘Mom’.” No, for the hundredth time. My name is ‘Mom’, you little ingrate.

It’s difficult to organize my scattered thoughts and follow involved step-by-step book promo plans. So I post pictures of flowers. And Disney World. And my incredibly adorable children (while second-guessing every image of them I post, as though stalkers are lurking behind every cell phone, waiting to pounce). Everyone likes those posts. Not nearly as much attention gets paid to my book, Gingerly, even though I treat it like a newborn baby and bring it to theme parks, the beach, historic landmarks, the zoo and take a million pictures of it. Check out the bottom left picture. Even the giraffe could care less about Gingerly. “Oh, you wrote a book? I’ve taken poops bigger than that.”

I must be doing something wrong. It’s a pretty good book, if I do say so myself. Other people say so, too. One thing I’m NOT frustrated about is the very kind people who have honored me by reading the book and taking the time to leave reviews with phrases like:

“…endearing characters and memorable setting…”

“…most impressed by the book’s sharp pacing and effortless writing…”

“…full of twists and turns without losing the coherency…”

“…great characters. I couldn’t put the book down!”

“…honest, raw and real…effervescent read…”

And so on.

Am I shamelessly trying to get people to buy my book through whining about my difficulty marketing it? Yes. That’s totally happening. Consider yourself manipulated.

And please buy my book.

It’s even on sale.

Never Assume

“You are pregnant.” It wasn’t a question. All I wanted to do was walk my dog in peace.

“No. I just have a lot of bloat. From medication and mild digestive issues.”

“Oh. Do you have colitis?”

“Nope.”

The lady I was talking to wasn’t trying to be rude, but here’s a word to the wise:

Unless you have gotten a baby shower invitation or can see the baby’s head crowning, NEVER assume a woman is pregnant.

Because of the way my hips tilt, my tummy has always stuck out a bit. I’m taking corticosteroids for asthma. They’re helping me use my inhaler less, but are making my stomach, face and neck swell up like a balloon. They’re also making my skin hyper-sensitive to sunlight. I swim in the pool late in the afternoon for 15 minutes with SPF 70 on and still turn red.

So…just putting it out there: I am not pregnant or a tomato.

Magical Sewing Friendship

You know why I love to sew for my friend, Christy? Besides the fact that we’ve known each other since we were 10-year-old California girls and she’s one of the sweetest people in existence, everything I make her fits. It doesn’t matter what pattern I use or what fabric I use, it all fits her like a glove. I’ve never made her anything that hasn’t fit well, and I’ve easily made her a dozen things. This kind of sewing magic hasn’t worked for myself, any of my other friends (even those with similar measurements), or even on my own daughter (though to be fair, she grows so fast I sew for the next size up). What makes this even wilder is that Christy lives in Texas and I live in Florida, and we haven’t seen each other in about 4 years. I attribute this to our long friendship and amazing connection.

As you can see, there are two different Springtime looks here. The pattern, B6453, is by designer Gretchen Hirsch for Butterick. In choosing the size, I followed the measurements per the finished garment, not Christy, as paper patterns tend to run a bit large in my opinion. I was torn between making this a fitted dress and a full-skirted one, so I decided to do both. I was going to sew a tricot chiffon overskirt, but quickly realized it would be almost as cheap to buy one. I’m trying to write a sequel to my first novel, Gingerly (not coincidentally about a young woman with a sewing business), and don’t have as much time to sew as I’d like. (Interestingly, this is the kind of dress my heroine, Caitlyn, would LOVE to wear). I ordered this tutu from Amazon, praying the coral shade would coordinate with the lovely fabric from Sis Boom’s Sugar Beach line. I love this fabric. If I was a drug addict, I’d grind it up and snort it like cocaine.

I mailed the tutu and dress to Christy, she found the perfect accessories, as usual, and her talented daughter, Julia, snapped the photos for me. Doesn’t my friend look radiant? Which way do you prefer it: with or without the chiffon overskirt?

Gather Ye Rosebuds

One thing I love about living in Florida is that there’s such a long growing season. I don’t think things actually stop growing, to be honest. I miss growing daffodils and tulips as I did in New England, but having a front yard full of year-round roses compensates for a good deal. I can’t begin to explain how nice it is to have roses that survive my care (or lack thereof). I snip off the dead roses and branches once in a while, water them if it hasn’t rained in a couple days, and that’s it. Most of the flowers pictured are from my own yard, with a few that I see on my evening walk. The Knockout Roses are the hardiest and most prolific, though they have a disappointingly slight fragrance. The Hybrid Tea Roses are slow-blooming, but the fragrance smells wonderfully like the kind of hand cream you find in a gift shop that caters to old ladies. Old ladies know how to live, because that stuff smells delicious.

Besides six rosebushes, I’m also growing two bougainvillea vines that remind me of me and my husband’s honeymoon in Catalina Island (glorious bougainvillea vines weighing down chain link fences everywhere you look), two jasmine vines that can’t decide whether to live or die, two azalea bushes that are looking pretty melancholy because they need fertilizer and water, thriving asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed, but the butterflies are ignoring them), tall, proud hollyhocks that will be blooming in a few weeks, marigolds, and dozens of morning glories that my husband keeps mowing over. I need to put them in pots until they’re big enough to hold their own. There are also one or two three-foot-tall dandelions. There’s something bold and rakish about them that I admire. It seems a shame to pull them now that they’ve gone on for so long. So I won’t.


					

Over the Moon

My books arrived! Three heavy boxes containing fifty books from BookBaby for my book signings. I’m afraid everyone else will have to wait until March 1 to get their orders, when they arrive from Amazon.

I am over the moon! It feels so, so good to hold my book! The painting on the cover is by Wanda Cox of Villa Rica, Georgia. The cover is the handiwork of my friend, Chris Audet. The writing is all by myself. It’s done. I wrote a book.

About to be Published!

My book, Gingerly, is going live in 2-4 days! The eBook, anyway. The paperback will take a couple weeks before it’s available for preorder, shipping out March 1. I’m so excited and busy, my head is in danger of coming unscrewed after swiveling around so much.

Here is Gingerly in a nutshell:

Twenty-seven-year-old Caitlyn McIntyre is one year out of a bad marriage, two weeks late on rent for her crappy apartment, and three days from losing her job.

The redhead from Vermont thought she’d gotten past the tragedies in her life when she escaped to beautiful Saint Simons after her divorce. But Caitlyn’s curls, piled into a tangled frizz in the oppressive Georgia heat, are as unmanageable as her life as she finds herself facing not only unemployment, but also having to give up the sewing business and life she’d fought hard to establish. Her fears are allayed when Nick, a real estate developer on Saint Simons Island, is in sudden need of a nanny for his autistic son. But the chemistry between Caitlyn and Nick adds to Caitlyn’s problems, especially when the rumors of Nick being a womanizer appear to be true. Over the course of two years, Caitlyn takes on an anxious preschooler, a foreign exchange student, the entitlement of the wealthy, and her growing attraction to her boss.

GINGERLY

is an uplifting and often humorous novel about the paths women must take to find their identity and build a life they’re proud of.

It’s got an ISBN number and everything! Well, for the print book. I’m not sure what the eBook number is. Or if eBook is spelled e-book, E-book, or eBook. Whatever. You know what I’m talking about. I used all my editing energy on the book. Behold the glorious ISBN number: 978-1-54395-946-8! It’s official. I have a book, y’all. 346 pages.

I’m excited and sick with worry about promoting it properly and whether I missed any typos after looking at it a million times. I did get help (lots of it) from an editor, but I’ve added and taken away things since my collaboration with her. In other words, I’ve had plenty of time to mess it up.

I talk more about Gingerly on my author page, https://rachelbhodges.com/. Please check it out. And please buy my book and give it a kind review. The eBook should be available in 2 or 3 days to purchase on Amazon. I’ll keep you posted. Right now, my head’s in such a muddle from being overloaded.