#142–Progress on all fronts . . .

4th Annual Florence Festival of Books

Since May 19, the FFOB application has been online and they have been coming in on a regular basis. We have room for 60 tables, and we are at about half full. Our deadline is September 5 or when 60 tables are taken. I’m guessing that all 60 will be taken and a waiting list begun by mid-July. So if you plan to participate, take note. It you plan to attend, mark your calendar for September 27, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.––always last Saturday of September.

Last year at the FFOB, participant Ken Babbs, one of Ken Kesey's merry band, enjoyed the stormy weather as well as the book fair.

Last year at the FFOB, participant Ken Babbs, one of Ken Kesey’s merry band, enjoyed the stormy weather as well as the book fair.

The FFOB Planning Committee is now meeting twice a month, which means Connie Bradley and I as co-chairs have a pre-meeting where we work out the agenda and prepare any handouts the day before. Then she runs the meeting and I take notes, which I then type up and distribute via email.

Also, whenever an application comes in, I receive the original and send a follow-up letter and become the contact for questions. I also keep a tally sheet, and put stickies on each application indicating if they need electricity, if they are sharing a table and who with, who they may want their table next to, if they use a wheelchair, and if they are reading as one of our Featured Readers, and so on. This makes it easier when we assign tables.

I also send out news releases and will be ordering flyers and posters soon. This event, that Connie and I started three years ago, has turned into one of the major events in Florence. From May through September, it keeps me busy a part of nearly every day.

Around Florence

I updated the sales and marketing forms for my book on the history of Florence, which included listing the usual places to place the book for selling and special places that might want to sell because they are mentioned. Arcadia Press will contact all of these places. They will sell (or try to) and distribute Around Florence to all places listed. As part of their sales presentation, they will have a media kit. I sent info on the book and author for them to use.

Here is how the Around Florence cover will look. I couldn't resist picking one that had the bridge in it.

The publication date is July 14, 2014, and I hope to have books to sell within a few days of that date.

I was sent a copy of a two-page press release that will be in the media kit for me to edit. Good thing. It had references to local authors creating a new book. Since I was the only author, I corrected that.

I also learned what my options are in purchasing books for me to sell on my own. Since the businesses that currently carry my bridge books will probably get their books from Arcadia Press, I will plan on direct selling at events. Otherwise I will make very little on each book. I still want to be at some farmer’s markets, but I haven’t done anything about that yet. Perhaps, this next week, I’ll look into it.

The marketing and sales person from Arcadia suggested attending a couple of county fairs in the state. Good idea, because I can sell all three of my books, and it fits in with my plan to do more direct selling.

I have a PowerPoint presentation about the Florence Book scheduled in late July. So I spent part of today going through photos and jotting down which ones I want to use. Since it’s a book of photos (184 including cover), I’m going to put the focus on the photos and keep the comments brief.

At first, I chose 100 photos. Too many. So now I have it pared down to 83 and that is still too many. I will try to get it down to 75. I think with brief comments that will run about 35 to 40 minutes. I still need to put the photos into the PowerPoint format and to time the presentation and cut and hone before July 26.

Colorful Animals I Have Known

This past week I received emails from my Illustrator that she is working on the first illustration for my animal book and had a couple of questions. I got back to her, and today she called with more questions. We talked detail stuff like how much feathering on the English Setter and how tall was the Standard Poodle when standing next to me etc. This is exciting. I can hardly wait to see what she comes up with.

Asa my Standard Poodle was a big dog. He always reminded me of prancing on stilts.

Asa my Standard Poodle was a big dog. He always reminded me of prancing on stilts.

After talking to her, the animal book is back in my mind.

When I was in California, I brought along my laptop and popped up the book and read all of it to my mom. I did it over several days. I’d ask her if she wanted to hear a story about Pepper or Asa or one of the cats. Since she had known and remembered these pets, she wanted to hear my stories. I’m not planning on getting this book out until early next year. With her turning 102 next month, we don’t know if she’ll be around when it comes out. So I was really pleased to be able to share the entire book with her.

Since I haven’t looked at the manuscript since April, I’m ready to read though it again. When I was reading to Mom, I noticed a few things to change, but didn’t do anything then. Now I’m anxious to go through it again. I can be more objective. Any misplaced commas, double periods, misspelled words, awkward sentences, etc, will pop out more easily. I want to have it ready to turn over to my publisher, Bob Serra, for editing after September.

Favorite time of year

During this time of year, everything is growing like crazy. Everywhere I look, it’s positively lush. Various shades of green and blossoms everywhere. With the daily breeze, the air is crystal clear. The weather has been beautiful. Some days are too windy in town in the afternoons, but inland just a bit where I live, it has been just about perfect. So I’ve spent a few hours each day weeding and doing other chores in the yard.

New plants have been filled in, bush beans have been planted, and this is just one of several gravel areas that have been weeded.

New plants have been filled in, bush beans have been planted instead of chard, and this is just one of several gravel areas that have been weeded.

I got far behind when I spent almost every waking hour working on Around Florence last fall. Some gravel areas had not been weeded since last August. So it feels good to be catching up. One more day of weeding, and I’ll be able to cross major weeding off my list.

The only big yard project I still have left, is to deadhead, prune, and clean up around two large clumps of rhodies that have finished blooming. That will be on my “to do” list this next week, . . . and I hope the good weather holds.

Rhodies are spectacular in bloom, but require many hours of work to deadhead, prune, and cleanup around, to keep them the size you want.

Rhodies are spectacular in bloom, but require many hours of work to deadhead and prune to keep them from getting too large.

I have to mention the hummingbirds. The Anna’s are here all year—just a few of them. The Rufous are here for a few weeks in the summer and they arrive in a hoard of about 14 or so and they are AGGRESSIVE. I refer to each one as “Attila the Hum.” Someone else came up with that years ago, and it is sooo appropriate.

I have two feeders and each species sticks to its own . . . until the Rufous feeder runs out and then they start attacking the other one. I have to fill the Rufous feeder every day and sometimes twice and the Anna’s every other day. I make my own sugar water, using four parts water to one part sugar and no food coloring. I couldn’t afford to do this all year, but because it only lasts a short time, I do it and enjoy every day.

Sometimes when I refill the feeder, I hold it in my hand, and the birds come to it. I have to be prepared for lots of Rufous straffing runs around my head and upper body, but its worth it to see hummers feeding up close and personal.

So I’m making progress on all fronts: FFOB is filling up fast, Around Florence is really happening and will be out soon, and the animal book is back in my thoughts and more importantly in the thoughts of my illustrator, and the yard is looking good once again.

Enjoy the early days of summer!

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About crossingsauthor

Freelance writer/editor and author of Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges, The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans, and Around Florence. Spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.
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2 Responses to #142–Progress on all fronts . . .

  1. Theresa Hart says:

    How satisfying to read the book to your mother! Wow, it’s hard to believe she is going to be 102. Amazing.

    Thanks for the story about the Rufous and Anna hummingbird. It made me recall the time I came to your home and you showed me the feeders. The hummingbirds and others were just magical.

    My best to you during the late spring.

    Theresa

    • I was really pleased that I had pushed myself to get it done before I headed to California. So that I could read it to my mom.

      I just corrected my post, regarding the hummers. It is supposed to say that each Rufous is like “Attila the hum!” Now it’s much funnier!

      I met with Karen Nichols today who is going to be doing illustrations for my animal book. She did two test paintings. One of them I just love and the other needs some work. The one I love cinched the deal.

      Take care,

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