All posts by Kathy Wilson Florence

About Kathy Wilson Florence

Author of three books: "Three of Cups" (available July 1, 2018), "Jaybird's Song," a southern novel that debuted in Feb 2017; and "You've Got a Wedgie Cha Cha Cha," a compilation of favorite columns from the Dunwoody Crier newspaper. Both are available via Amazon.com. More: Commercial Writer, Graphic Designer, Realtor, 16-year columnist in the Dunwoody Crier, candlestick maker, mother, daughter, wife, sister, friend

On writing. And public speaking.

The two aren’t mutually dependent.

One of the most common complaints of writers these days is that you have to be a great marketer as well as a great writer to get attention for your work.  And by nature, many writers are recluses who prefer holing up with their craft but never want to see the light of day when it comes to promoting it. And while many assume that’s the role of an agent or a Presentationpublisher, it doesn’t really happen that way unless you’re J.K. Rowling or John Grisham or Amy Tan.

And while I’m not a recluse, public speaking isn’t really something I can depend on. I can capture an audience of friends with a good yarn or two, but it’s hit-or-miss with the nerves when it’s something bigger.

Thankfully, last night’s audience was limited and friendly for my first-ever author event because I was nervous. And I bumbled. And I had friends there who came to support me who had to be cringing just a bit. And Tom was there. And Tom is really good in front of a crowd.

It wasn’t horrible, but compared to what I can do with a keyboard, thesaurus and the backspace, it wasn’t good either.

But now that it’s 3 am and I’m wide awake again, I have a stellar presentation, a spot-on delivery and mic drop answers to all the questions I was asked. Too bad it’s just me in our dark family room with nothing but this scenario playing out in my head and my finger tips speaking to an illuminating screen, because I’m killin’ it, folks.

But no regrets. Better luck next time. And of course, there’s always the famous words of Juan Pablo: “Eeees okay.”

Random thoughts about sheets

white ghost in front of a garage doorSo, I thought I’d figured this out, but maybe not…

Tom and I bought a king-sized bed about 3 years ago and I call it my continent. It’s lovely and spacious and cozy and often all mine since Tom sleeps only about 5 hours a night to my 8 or 9.

But it’s also almost exactly square, which becomes abundantly clear as soon as you go to change the sheets. Not quite square though, so it’s always a process determining what part of the fitted sheet is the side and which is the bottom and the top. I finally thought I’d figured out the mystery: put the tag at the bottom right when you’re facing the bed from the bottom and it will work every time.

Except it doesn’t always. I paid a small fortune (by TJ Maxx clearance aisle standards) for a new set of sheets after an unfortunate incident involving a nap and a wad of gum.

And the tag in the right bottom corner thing doesn’t work. The fitted sheet only fits if you put the tag in the bottom left corner completely blowing my hypothesis and the jubilent conclusion that was set to save me from frustration every sheet changing day from now until eternity.

So what is the secret, then? Is there a method to this madness?

And one more thing… these new sheets — more expensive than I normally buy — really need to be ironed and that’s just not going to happen in my world. Does anyone do that?

Things I’m doing when I’m not entering the HGTV Dream Home giveaway.

  • Selling Atlanta real estate.

Next, Tom and I will be listing a really adorable little condo in Roswell. We have two listings under contract, just closed on a great home for buyers Aubrey and Sharon,
and have aSONY DSC gorgeous master-on-main home with a pool in Dunwoody (see pic) we’re anxious to find a buyer for. And I’m super excited to be helping a family relocating from Colorado find a home next week. The crazy way we connected with them will make its own blog post, but I’ll save that for later.

  • Catching up on my favorite shows.

So I’m all caught up on “Nashville,” “This is Us” and “Scandal.” Jill taught me to record my favorites which has really cut down on my clicking around and frustra16388129_10209991790683709_8890768705843432686_ntion time. I feel like I can take on another short binge and new commitment. “Designated Survivor?” “The Crown?” Suggestions welcomed. BTW, did y’all realize that’s the real Toby from TIU at left? Love that show.

  • Googling around for creative ways to make my ears pop.

I’ve tried decongestants, gargling with hot salt water, gum and nose spray. Any more?

  • Blogging for biz.

I’ve taken on a small 5-6 hour a week job prepping blogs for corporate accounts via a company called BridgeCreative. It’s fun and I’m learning a lot of stuff about things I never knew about. Like meaningful use healthcare mandates and traffic light systems.

  • Staying true to my commitment to more games in ’17.

Birthday club comes over tonight and I’m thinking we’ll play Mexican Train or Left-Right-Center. Or both. Probably not ready for Code Names: I accidently bought the Adults Only version, so will probably save for weekend night or another crowd.

  • Patiently and calmly wondering who’s reading my new book and what they’re thinking.

Njaybird-frontcoverOT! So far, the only people that might be reading are those who downloaded it on Kindle. Those who ordered hard copies on the first day “Jaybird’s Song” was available this week will receive today. (Like me. I ordered two via Amazon because the bulk copies I ordered won’t come in until Feb. 21. I’m expecting to see it for the first time today myself).

But patiently and calmly: No way. I’m basically freaking out. Frankly, I’m feeling a little naked in front of the world right now. But, I am ETERNALLY grateful to those who are sharing word of my new novel. It’s the dream and only hope for us Indie authors that there will be some sort of groundswell of interest, but meanwhile my heart is beating out of my chest (could that be related to my clogged ears?) in anticipation of my first review.

See it here:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=kathy+Wilson+florence

 

 

Jaybird is in the building!

 

Young beautiful girl laying on the grass in park

She’s really here, y’all. And I’m proud, humbled and a little bit scared to death to present her story:

Affectionately called “Jaybird” by the father she adores, Josie Flint’s idyllic childhood in 1960s Atlanta is defined by her role as the oldest of the three Flint sisters and crowned with the presence of her grandmother, Annie Jo— the maypole that centers the Flint family. 

Surrounding their world, however, is the turbulent South as Jim Crow laws come to an end. As Josie’s school desegregates and the country meanders through new ideas brought about by the Civil Rights movement, a personal tragedy breaches Josie’s world and shatters that perfect childhood.

Josie’s story is told from her early teenage years and 35 years later when her beloved grandmother dies. And when a long-kept secret unfolds for the Flint family, a new kind of heartache begins.

Now available in paperback and Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Jaybird%27s+Song

Do you hear the sound of a distant drum? I think it’s my heartbeat….

 

I’ve pushed the button, y’all.

Red Button
Done. It’s happening. We have liftoff.

I’ve been talking about this so long, some of you may have lost confidence that I’ve really written a book, but the time has come and I’ve sent my novel to print. Soon, very soon, it will be available as a paperback, as a Kindle download and/or as a simple pdf download.

All via Amazon. And I’ll have copies if you’d prefer a personal delivery or mailbox drop with a copy signed by the author (or arthur, if you pronounce it like Tom.) But don’t check yet: I’ll send you the link in a day or so. Maybe my website will juice you up in the meantime.

It’s been love-hate with Jaybird.

I’ve loved writing this book (all 10 years I’ve been working on it) but the thought of actually sending it out into the universe has been scary at times. So scary, in fact, that I freaked out around Thanksgiving (my self-imposed deadline) and tabled the project. I knew I’d come back around but I needed a break (and a confidence boost gratefully supplied last week by my book club’s final review, discussion and encouragement for a little more at the ending.)

I’ve decided to self-publish and here’s why.

Self-publishing simply means I’m doing this without a traditional publisher and without a  literary agent. I attended two writers’ conferences last year to learn more about the process and I met and pitched the story to three professionals. One wanted to publish it but wanted me to pay for them to design a cover (and I already like my cover) and their loose marketing plan (and I can at least do my own loose attempt myself). One took four months to tell me, “Great potential, but I don’t think I’m the right agent for this book.” And the third has yet to respond.

I’m not bossy. My ideas are just better.

I also heard horror stories about how long the process takes and about how once I did find and agent and publisher it could be years and they would most likely want to change the name of my book, my characters’ names and maybe the whole story itself.

So I’m loojaybird-frontcoverking to make this happen the crazy-ass way.

With luck. And LOTS of help from my friends.
So, I’m respectfully requesting (Read: begging) you to buy the book, read it and review it, please!! Moving a self-published book into the stratasphere (or even in to a moderate category of sales) is rare, but it’s happened. (Think: The Martian; Fifty Shades of Grey; Still Alice.) It often begins with attention via Amazon reviews: Positive reviews leads to more attention from Amazon to promote it and more chances that a traditional publisher might take notice and want to pick it up.

If you like it, please tell your friends. And ask them to tell their friends. If you see a post you like, please share. If you read and like, please offer a review. (You’re welcome to review if you don’t like too, it’s just not a goal for my loose marketing plan.)

I’ll send you the link as soon as it’s ready.  Meanwhile, take a look at this. Please bookmark it, memorize it, share it, or just click and look around. It’s another way you’ll be able to purchase a copy of “Jaybird’s Song” when the ink is dry.

Most gratefully and sincerely, K

Testing my chops.

I’ve decided that 2017 will be my year to be a more consistent blogger and the following is a test to see how mindless downloading of thoughts might work:

2017 will be my year for radishes. And good bourbon.

Both have intrigued my tastebuds of late and I’ve decided to make them highlights of my palete for the year. 2016 worked out pretty well with fennel and Tom Yum soup, both of which are favorite go-tos, so I have high hopes for radishes. And good bourbon.

2017 will be my year for more mindful fun.

Thank God “The Bachelor” jumped the shark. I can finally delete that time-waste from my life. Instead, I’m adding in more puzzles and board games with friends. I’ve realized that jigsaw puzzles are a great use of time, especially when shared with a daughter or friend. Conversations are fun and fluid and cell phone gazing is not even a part of it. Per my suggestion, my birthday club has made a plan to sub out some of our dinners at California Pizza Kitchen to game nights with pizza delivery in 2017. I’m predicting the memories of those nights will be more vivid. I’m solidly sticking to “This is Us,” “Nashville” and probably “Scandal” though, and any signs of canceling those shows will have me marching the streets. I really miss “The Good Wife,” by the way.

I’m eliminating cable knit.

It really doesn’t look good on anyone, especially me.

I’m sticking with the positive, the energetic and the patriotic.

I’ve heard all I can stand to hear from the right, the left, the fake and the in-between. I’m interested in gleaning my energy from people with ideas instead of gripes,  sharing my time with people that emit class instead of ugliness and filthy insults and surrounding myself with those with hope and confidence instead of doom.

I used to wish I could be as poised and articulate as Ashley Judd. I think she forgot she was speaking about another human, but human rights and dignity are bedrock and everyone deserves theirs, Ashley. Your poise and articulate style are gifts, and could have been used to share your opinion in a thoughtful, classy way, but you blew it. And you brought down the bar another notch too, and Lord knows, we didn’t need that.

2017 will be my year to blog. To catch up. To publish my novel. To love and learn and play more games.

Download complete. I may think of more stuff, but that’s where consistent blogging works. Besides, it’s 5 am and I’m ready to go back to bed.

Misplaced drama.

Here’s a newsflash that’s news to no one: It’s been ugly out there for months.

I’ve watched close friends, relatives and six-degree acquaintances rant, insult, recklessly post, plea, beg, hate and prematurely spread nonsense from both sides of the aisle. And like each of you, I’ve seen friendships fizzle over our country’s presidential scurry.

Personally, I’ve opted to zip my lip, though I’m solid, content and more confident than ever with the mid-life clarity of my convictions.

Here’s what’s bugging me since Tuesday night though: The melodrama. The name calling. The tantrums… All bad. But bigger than all that: The “how can I possibly explain this to my children” nonsense.

Easy.

I applaud any parents’ prerogative to educate their children of the political process. Likewise to teach their own convictions as means to direct. But what’s to explain when the vote doesn’t go your way, other than the other team won this time?

If you’ve taught that opinions are opinions, there is nothing to fear. Because one opinion is no more right than the next and that’s an important lesson for children in all aspects of life.

If you’ve taught that America’s system for electing a leader is based on a democratic system that seeks to determine the wishes of a majority of its citizens, there should be no fear in the explanation. The electoral college system was uniquely designed to measure the voices of all citizens, so reassuring your kids of its merits and keen design can simply parlay into a great lesson in American civics.

But if you’ve taught your children that those with opinions other than yours are wrong, or evil, or something to be feared, shame on you. If you’ve fed your children with ideas that bad things will happen to them and their friends if the other candidate wins, triple shame.

If you’ve described the other team to your children by placing all in a single box and tagging it with stereotypes, your teachings are as injudicious as your understanding of platform.

Let’s move past the ill will and misguided drama and set some unity into motion. And may God bless America and our newly elected officials.

And may God bless the children.

So which one would you buy?

Much love to the loves-to-be-incognito artist Alice Moore for these designs.

jbcoversHere’s my latest update: “Jaybird’s Song” is in another round of edits — looking for those unclosed quote marks, missing words, typos and comma splices.

I attended the Broadleaf Writer’s Conference last weekend and learned quite a bit more about the publishing world, including more pros and cons between self-publishing vs. finding an agent and publisher for the book. I pitched the book to two agents at the conference and both have asked for pages, so now I guess I wait a little while to see if I get a positive response.

But the truth is, I’m really ready to let her fly, so I’m only going to give it another week or 10 days, I think. If neither responds by then, I’m going to make this happen on my own.

Here’s a little bit about the story; an early draft of what might be the back cover description:

Affectionately called “Jaybird” by the father she adores, Josie Flint’s idyllic childhood in 1960s Atlanta is defined by her role as the oldest of the three Flint sisters and crowned with the presence of her grandmother, Annie Jo— the maypole that centers the Flint family. 

Surrounding their world, however, is the turbulent South as Jim Crow laws come to an end. As Josie’s school desegregates and the country meanders through new ideas brought about by the Civil Rights movement, a personal tragedy shatters — and embarrasses — that perfect childhood.

Josie’s story is told from her early teenage years and 35 years later when her beloved grandmother dies. And when a long-kept secret unfolds for the Flint family, a new kind of heartache begins.

Would you read it based on that?

Which cover would you be most inclined to pick up?

 

Dropped.

Looking for health insurance (again.)

Seriously, Humana?

Got a notification that our uber-expensive, high-deductible insurance plan that we avoid tapping into at all costs because of that second adjective is no longer available in our area.

What? In our area? As in, our address is not 2778 Moon. Or, is the moon the only area they can now service?

We just went through this 15 months ago. The Affordable Care Act is mis-named, so we settled on this personal policy. Now we’ve been dropped. I understand Aetna customers are getting the same notification this week.

What a messed up system. #venting

 

Girl crush.

I made a new friend today.

We drove around for an afternoon in search of a new home for her and her fiance as they embark on new jobs and a cross-country move.

We didn’t find their house, but we did find about 4 million things we had in common. And just like with all my best girlfriends, we got each other whirling with excitement for both the passions we share and the new ones we introduced one another to.

It’s my favorite thing about being a woman: Fueling my soul with the energy of other smart, exuberant, savvy, impassioned, creative women.

I am uber-fortunate. I am surrounded by lots of smart, exuberant, savvy, impassioned, creative women. More, I have built-in fortune with a mother, mother-in-law, two daughters, two sisters and three sisters-in-law that also fit in that category.

It’s the best lift ever.

Thank you, my girl crushes. You know who you are.