The Adventures of Caitlin & Rio - new book covers

I am so grateful to the wonderfully talented Claudie C. Bergeron for her wonderful book cover designs. She is such an amazingly talented artist. 

So far we have completed the first 4 books of the series. To come is book 5's new cover. I am still working on book 6 - so when that is ready to be released, Claudie will be designing that cover as well. 

Drumroll please... 

Here are the covers...

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I love how rainbow bright this cover is. It's amazing to me how well Claudie brought the characters to life. 

For book 2 there are actually two images - one for the front cover and the back image. 


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I wanted to show a little bit of Caitlin's amazing attic bedroom. Claudie nailed it. 

My favorite cover so far is for Book 3, the Wild Turkeys. 

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In here is the Book 4 cover... 

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Thank you, Claudie! 


My takeaways from the 2022 Letters & Lines Conference

I am so grateful that I got a chance to attend this year's in person Rocky Mountain Chapter SCBWI's Letters & Lines Conference. 

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I felt shy and intimidated. I was surrounded by amazingly creative and talented artists and voices, award winning authors and illustrators and industry experts. I was told by one fellow attendee that I would never get my books into schools or libraries because they don't buy self- published authors. I wanted to creep away and hide. At my critique connect my pages of a new project and story idea that I am working on received the best critique - an honest one. The honest ones are hard to hear. And after creeping away and having a good cry, I realized that they were right. Of course, they were right. How could I be so blind and not see it? 

I was at a low point - emotionally and physically when I attended an amazingly uplifting session - called, "Show Up: How to put yourself in the path of luck with Megan E. Freeman, Author." 

My 2 takeaways from this session were: -

  • The Universe is in constant motion - nothing ever stays the same. Megan refers to this as "Momentum." 
  • We have agency - we can control how we react to this universe that is in constant motion. 

And then I thought about it. (It helped A LOT that Megan gave us chocolate - thanks Megan!) Isn't it wonderful that the Universe is made for momentum, for movement? And for every little thing that happens - I can choose how I am going to react. 

I believe wholeheartedly in my Caitlin and Rio Series. I know that I am the only person who could write the series in the way I wrote it. I know (and hope) that I will have readers who will love the stories and the characters as much as I do. I also know that I have lots to learn - to improve my craft so that the words I put on the page are the best words to tell my stories. I have more stories to tell... I can feel the words bubbling and jostling- they want to come out.

At the end of the weekend what I came away with is this -

  • Celebrate the small stuff. Celebrate often. 
  • Never stop wanting to be better.
  • Never stop wanting to learn. 

 

 

 


Mentors

I have been very fortunate to have great role models and great mentors in my life. 

I was very sad to hear of the passing of a mentor and former boss, Earlie Thomas. Earlie was an amazing man. I met him through a colleague when I started working for the county. This was right at the beginning of my adventure in Northern Colorado. Then one day the phone rang. It was Earlie. He had news. He had a vacancy, and he wanted to hire me. It is thanks to Earlie seeing something in me that made me leave my job at the county (I hadn't been there for very long) and make the move. Now 14 years later I am still working the job that Earlie recruited me for. I love my job. I love working at a university. Every day there is something new to learn. I love trying to figure out how to get to yes. 

Earlie had an amazing ability to see something special in people. He had a quiet dignity. I never saw him raise his voice. When he spoke, it was like the world stopped to listen. 

Here's a poem that I love. 

When Great Trees Fall - Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

 


2022 Writing Heights Conference

It has been such a long time since I have been in person at any event, let alone a conference, that I felt quite giddy at the thought of attending this in person event. 

The 2022 Writing Heights Conference was hosted and organized by Northern Colorado Writers and held in my home city - Fort Collins. It was as if the universe was telling me something - this was an event I had no excuse to miss. 

I took leave, advised my colleagues that I was following my joy and attended my very first writers conference. 

For me, the conference started with a masterclass on Thursday, April 28th, 2022, a four-hour class on what it takes to successfully self-publish conducted by Kerrie Flanagan. The conference programming started at 9am on Friday April 29th and ended the afternoon of Saturday April 30th. 

Each night I came home with my brain humming, overheating with all the new, actionable information I had learned.

I love learning new things. 

It is going to take several weeks to digest everything that I learned. But in this moment, now, as I write this here are some of my key takeaways: -

  1. Author Website. I've been blogging since 2003, and my website looked quite frankly like an ancient relic. I don't have the budget to spend on author website design, so I decided to look at what other templates were available and try them out. I think I will continue to tweak until I am happy with this. 
  2. That it is ok not to write every day. 
  3. Every author whether they are self-published or with a traditional publisher is expected to do some marketing. That was an eye opener. I always thought that if one is traditionally published that the publisher handles all the marketing. Not true. 
  4. Marketing - you can't do everything, so try out different things, and find the things that you are most comfortable doing. 
  5. The importance of a critique group. I have been feeling very anxious about this. But I attended a wonderful session given by Kendra Griffin who explained the value of critique groups, and how to give and receive good critiques. I made a connection or two. So fingers crossed I can get started in a critique group. 
  6. Know, study and read your genre.