Greetings to my Sunday Letter friends,
I’ve had such a great week because I accomplished things. I think my productivity is 100% related to the fabulous weather we’ve been having. For me, the past week looked like this—6 hours of volunteer work toward my annual Master Gardener and Master Naturalist requirements, actually cooking a real dinner Friday night (baked ham, mashed potatoes, Brussel sprouts, and butternut squash), tweaking a few changes on my basically finished manuscript, working on a book proposal for said finished manuscript (which is like writing a freaking term paper!), and, Wait.For.It……
STARTING A NEW BOOK.
Whoa. You heard me right. I am excited enough to say it out loud, own it.
This past week, I had an idea for a new book, and I’ve been scribbling in my notebook as fast as my hand can go.
Seriously, there is nothing like being in the writing zone and seeing where the pen will lead me.
That’s all I’ll say about this.
During the spring, I predicted we would have an early fall. It was a gut feeling, really, brought on in part by such strange, wet weather. Several times at the beginning of summer, around the 4th of July, I noticed a number of bright red leaves while hiking. A fluke of the forest? Maybe. Yet these sightings strengthened my early fall prediction.
This past week the heat and humidity (temporarily) dissipated, and I’ve been celebrating the cooler temperatures. But 57 degrees in late July? I’m no weathergirl, but I’m holding tight to my theory of an early fall.
The mums in my front bed are backing me up.
So are these leaves I noticed Saturday.
Technically, though, according to the calendar, we are officially in the dog days of summer. I always thought “dog days” referred to those sultry days approaching the end of the season when dogs loll around on the porch, so hot and lethargic they can’t summon the energy to chase cars or cats.
I’ve since learned that this phrase is a reference to the night sky during summer.
You’ve heard of the star Sirius? During summer, Sirius is the brightest star visible in the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog. And because during summer this constellation occupies the same region of the sky as the sun, the twenty days before and after July 23rd (when Sirius is its brightest) are known as the dog days of summer.
I learned all this from the handy dandy Farmer’s Almanac.
Lucy and Annabelle already knew this, of course. Lucky for us, the dog days of summer on our back porch are anything but uncomfortable.
One afternoon this week while walking Lucy and Annabelle, I noticed a folded piece of paper on the street. I picked it up because, you know, trash.
It was a school worksheet, the sort used to practice cursive handwriting.
Cursive handwriting! Just when I thought it was dead.
Somewhere (close by, presumably), a school or parent is still teaching cursive handwriting. These lines of cursive, lowercase qs—trace the Rockin’ Round letters, the instructions said— gave me a little burst of hopefulness. Sounds silly, probably, that I can extrapolate the notion of one kid learning cursive into a more positive future for our society. But I can.
Then, I flipped over the paper.
Our God is an awesome God.
Those words were written on the reverse side. Actually, the words were printed, not written in cursive, but I’ll take it.
A reader (someone I don’t know personally) reached out to me a couple of weeks ago and asked for my opinion on sharing books. He said he sometimes loans out books but feels bad about it. He said—The people I loan them to can afford to buy their own copies. This lessens the sale of the book. As an author, what’s your opinion on this?
This is an easy answer for me.
It’s fantastic when someone buys a copy of my book—THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! My number one goal is to reach readers. Whether you buy my book outright, discover it in a Little Free Library, check it out at your public library, download the $1.99 Kindle version, or see it at a yard sale and fork over a quarter for it—I want to connect with readers. I want readers to devour my words and think about Gracie’s Lee’s story long after the last page is turned, reflect on a memory from their own childhoods, feel a yank on their hearts that can only be experienced at the end of a gratifying story. That’s my hope.
Without readers, it won’t happen. Readers who come upon my book however it happens.
Readers = Reviews.
Reviews = More Readers.
More Readers = Even More Reviews.
Even More Reviews = Reese Witherspoon Book Club ?
Reese Witherspoon Book Club = ? in Mississippi County!
Hey, why not?
So by all means, please share your copy of The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee. I would be thrilled to know that you enjoyed the story enough to personally recommend it. Word of mouth marketing is the most powerful form of marketing available. (FYI, I can only speak for myself. Other authors may not feel the same way.)
I like to imagine that everyone who has bought a copy of my book (5,000 copies in my estimation) tells at least one person about it, writes an Amazon / Goodreads review, and loans out their copy to someone who might do the same. This is all part of being a good literary citizen.
Things Momma Says:
I’m about corned out. Don’t make me eat it anymore.
Goodbye for now, Sunday Letter friends.
Here’s to shaking off the dog days inertia that sometimes comes with summer in favor of brilliant productivity!
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
P.S. I’ll be reading this Tuesday night at 7:00 at Nightbird Books in Fayetteville, as the featured July author for Ozark Poets and Writers Collective. Come on out!