Jan 06

2018 Year In Review / 2019 Word of the Year

Happy New Year!  As has become a tradition for me, I am closing chapter 2018 with a review of how my word of the year turned out, and choosing a word for the new year.  For those of you that don’t know, back in 2015, at the beginning of a journey that would change my life, I came across a blog post from my friend Melissa Dell that talked about the concept of choosing a word to guide you through the new year. The word is supposed to be a touchstone, or something to help focus or keep you moving towards a goal, dream, or path. My word that year was EMERGENT, and the year proved to be the beginning of  letting myself emerge; shedding layers I’d built up over the years to conform, to protect, to hide “me” and to start building the life and me that I wanted. The words that followed were RESILIENT, DEVELOPMENT and last year’s word, BALANCE. All those words served me well in their respective years and continue to teach me new lessons.  Balance has been the most challenging word for me so far.

2018 was chock full of action. It was the first full year of the New England Speculative Writers group (NESW) that I co-founded with fellow author Jeremy Flagg. Our little group grew from an idea and a Facebook page to a full-fledged organization that managed to produce its first anthology of New England spec fiction which is coming out next month, as well as planning our first conference which happens in April. I also continued marketing The Empire, my first novel, and began developing and writing the first books of a spinoff series. I checked a couple items off my bucket list too with a trip to a dude ranch in June and a trip in October with some of my family for a reunion with lifetime military friends that had the added bonus of being in Hawaii.  In between all that I managed my full time job, as well as the work I do with a realtor.

Lots of action, lots of things happening at the same time and I managed it. Somehow.  However, if I were to grade my success in balancing all things in my life last year, I would have to give myself, at best, a C minus.  I made it through to the other side, but that’s not to say it was always smooth progress.  There was a lot of stress, a lot of stops and starts and deadlines I made just under the wire.  I didn’t like the feeling of being overwhelmed and a lot of times feeling like I was always in a rush from one event, project, chore, etc to the next.  I didn’t like the feeling that I was struggling, that I wasn’t succeeding.  My old internal voice, would chalk that up to failure – that I am a failure, but I don’t use negative words like that about myself anymore. I know now that it’s self-defeating and unproductive. Instead I try to find the lesson, so that I can do better next time and move on.

Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of time spent feeling frustrated and sometimes even anger about all that had to be done, until I remembered that I had done it to myself.  These weren’t things that I had no control over, that were happening to me, these were things I chose, in one way or another, to do.  Perspective.  I had no one to blame but myself for whatever cluster I found myself in. Changing my perspective from feeling put upon, to taking responsibility  changed my attitude and in some instances reminded me to make better choices or use the word NO more readily. 

Striving towards balance, as I mentioned earlier, has been the toughest word challenge yet. I chose it because, like most people, my life has a lot of moving parts, and I have struggled to keep everything on an even keel, and moving forward. I used to operate my life on a system of priority, but as my list of priorities has grown, the ability to keep everything moving forward has become ineffective and is more like running from priority to priority putting out fires. It’s exhausting and usually ends up being counterproductive. I did not master BALANCE in 2018, but I understand it better.  It will remain an active goal in my life and hopefully this year I’ll be more successful.

Now onto 2019 and my new word. I chose this year’s word for many reasons. I love the life I have begun to build, and I have many more dreams and goals I want to reach. With all the moving parts to balance and more to come, I decided this year I needed a word that embodies strength and steadfastness to keep me focused and pushing forward towards my goals, as well as help me continue to work towards attaining balance. To me, this word represents determination and strength.

My word for 2019 is PERSISTENT. May it guide me well.

2018 WORD of the YEAR

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Happy New Year! It has become a tradition for me that, as we start another trip around the sun, I choose a word to guide me through the coming year. I started this back in 2015 with the word Emergent, and then Resilient in 2016.  Both proved to be prophetic. 2015 was the year that I really started coming into my own. I stopped trying to fit or judge myself by conventional standards and just let myself be. I kept my eyes and heart open and let the universe guide me. I was not led astray.  To continue, CLICK HERE

Recap: My First Maine Lobster Festival

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For me, the Maine Lobster Festival has always signaled the beginning of the end of summer.  Folks are wrapping up their summer vacations and getting kids ready to go back to school. This year, being a part of the 70th, was the biggest professional event so far of my new writing career and it was a fantastic experience!  I was there Saturday and Sunday from 12p.m. to 4p.m.  Thousands of people walked by my table during those hours, some stopped, some didn’t.

My table was along the center line of the tent, with walkways in front and behind me.  There were several authors and book vendors in the tent as well as a man who demonstrated modern lobster trap building, vendors who sold handmade Maine crafts, Maine themed t-shirts among others. One of the biggest draws, however, was the marine life touch tank situated at the far end of the tent on the water side. This, for many, was the main attraction of the tent.  Kids and adults alike love the touch tank where you can get an up close look at small marine life and even pick some of it up if you dare.  The challenge of being a vendor before the touch tank is getting people to stop at your table.  This takes some skill, and there was definitely a learning curve for me.  What saved me most of the time was the swag, and the candy.  With the help of  Dave Dailey, my graphic designer extraordinaire, we designed a commemorative magnet to give away , and I also had a free raffle to give away a couple limited edition The Empire / Maine Lobster Festival t-shirts. The bowl of vintage type candy – mini rolls of Necco Wafers, Tootsie Rolls, salt water taffy and lollipops also attracted people.

There was a lot of trial and error in learning to get people’s attention, but I feel like by midway I had developed a pretty good spiel. My swag consisted of a postcard that has the book cover on one side and on the back is a quick biography of me, and a condensed blurb about the book, all my social media contact info, as well as QR code and where online the book can be purchased. I would stand with a postcard and magnet in my hand and try to make eye contact, or I’d yell “free raffle!” which sometimes helped slow people down as they walked by. Once that happened I’d hand them the swag and go into a quick speech about the book.  Sometimes it ended in a sale, but either way they walked off with information about the book and where to buy it.

It was a whirlwind couple of days!  I was exhausted and exhilarated at the same time.  It was really cool to meet a few authors and some really nice people from all over the world.  The photo gallery above has some pictures I took and that were taken.  I wish I’d taken more, but the days flew by…

A month has gone by since the festival, and now summer really is coming to a close. Labor Day weekend 2017 is in the books, kids are back to school. Soon the weather will start to cool and we’ll start dreaming of next summer.  In the meantime, I have book 2 to finish writing and new swag to design for Maine Lobster Festival 2018. Hope to see you there!

Book Signing At The 70th Maine Lobster Festival

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It’s opening day of the 70th Maine Lobster Festival  in Rockland Maine. A tradition ingrained in the lives and memories of Rockland residents for generations. Every year, the festival welcomes thousands of people from around the world to the coastal town of Rockland; an industrial town turned art and culture community. The Festival offers something for everyone – carnival rides, games, live entertainment, fine art and crafts, and educational exhibits about living and working on and off  the rocky shores of the Maine coast.  One of the biggest draws, however, is the fresh lobster and seafood. Thousands of pounds of fresh Maine lobster are cooked daily in a ginormous lobster cooker and served in a traditional style with lots of melted butter, a dinner roll and corn on the cob.

This year I’m so excited that I’ve been asked to be a part of all the fun! Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 4pm, I’ll be in the Marine tent signing copies of my book, The Empire. For me, what makes this such an honor is that the book is set in a fictional town inspired by Rockland and the MidCoast area.  If you know the area and have read the book, you’ll have noticed that there are places in Shoreton that seem very similar to places in the Rockland area. The story is an homage to Rockland and also to small town America.  The book centers around the real struggles that many quaint New England towns face – how to remain relevant in an ever-changing world while still honoring the past. I love Maine and the MidCoast area and I’m delighted that I get to be a part of this annual tradition.

Stay tuned for more photos and updates about all the fun and excitement I encounter at the 70th Maine Lobster Festival!

 

Summer Is Here!

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Shelby at the Beach

It’s the first day of summer.  Time to load up the cooler, stock up on summer reading material and sunblock, and head to your favorite outdoor destination.  Whether it’s lounging at the beach, at the lake, or poolside, nothing beats a comfortable spot, a cool drink, and a good book!

LIVE! From the Historic STRAND THEATRE

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I’m EXCITED to announce the first book signing for The Empire will be in Rockland, Maine at the Strand Theatre! It seems appropriate that MY  FIRST book signing will be at a theater that is very special to me, as well as one of the main inspirations for The Empire.   Rockland and the MidCoast area also inspired the location of the story. Please join us!

BOOKS, GIVEAWAYS, and a RAFFLE!

For more details please visit the EVENT page on Facebook:  HERE

Book Launch

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I’m very excited to announce the launch of my first novel, The Empire!

The Empire is a rural New England fantasy story that takes place in a small quaint coastal Maine town that is struggling to remain relevant in today’s modern world. Darcy Adams returns home to find herself embroiled in the middle of a paranormal clash between the town and it’s past. Can Darcy find a way to satisfy the demands of history while ensuring the survival of her town?

For the latest information about The Empire, click HERE