Wow. Just wow.

I wrote a novel and people are liking it.

I’m excited. Humbled. Grateful. And a bit taken-aback. And really proud.

A second book club read “Jaybird’s Song” and invited me to come to their meeting and chat. The experience was every bit as wonderful and fun as the first one. Turns out, I LOVE hearing readers’ questions and comments about my book. Playing this role… (“Playing” is a poignant choice of words because I do feel a bit like a fake, but I’m not going to change it because I think blogging is a lot about honesty. With just one book, I’m a novelist-wannabe but read some of the reviews I’m getting and you’ll see why I’m so excited. And a bit taken-aback.) Playing this role makes me feel like a real author and that’s a hat I want to wear permanently.

BookClub2

The ladies of this Dunwoody/Sandy Springs book club were engaging, funny, a bit familiar in cases, and they liked my book. They’d read thoroughly and thoughtfully and had lots of great comments and questions. Sharing my writing process and my thoughts of Josie and the rest of the story’s characters was so exciting for me. Writing is so personal and private, but now sharing these fictional characters that lived only in my head for so long with others is crazy fun and truly exhilarating.

More, I’m getting really awesome reviews.

Take a look.

Here are some of those that came in this week:

… A page turner and I finished it in a weekend! … Kathy is good and up and coming southern writer, the likes of Kaye Gibbons and Ellen Gilchrist ! Way to go, Kathy! It’s a well written, tightly woven, page turning story that takes us home and keeps us longing for more! I hope that you will write a sequel.

…Vivid characters brought me back to some of the forgotten nooks and crannies of growing up in the sixties and seventies, as the book goes back and forth between past and present. The author really tugged on my emotions with some of the anguishing secrets kept and relationships tested throughout the book. So much more than just a delightful fiction of families and friends and their hometown over time, there’s a few mysteries and shockers thrown in. It kept me on the edge of my beach chair!…
A great summer read. Very easy and quick. I spent a weekend at the beach reading it and it was perfect. I loved the southerness to it. Highly recommend it.
Truly enjoyed reading this! Set in Atlanta where I’m from made it fun for me to read, but the story itself was intriguing and well written. Both light hearted and thought provoking, this author has knocked it out of the park on her first time at bat! Looking forward to more, more more!

Bravo!! I could not put this book down! Great story line with interwoven characters! I hope you have another novel in your future!

See why I’m so humbled?

Thank you, friends and family and readers that are discovering my novel through your shares and recommendations and wonderful photos that you’re sharing reading “Jaybird’s Song.

Please know how grateful I am for your continued support. Indie publishing depends on exactly this and you are doing an awesome job helping me to push this novel out!

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

I like this hat.

The ladies of a Brookhaven book club read “Jaybird’s Song” thoroughly and thoughtfully and invited me to join them for discussion last night. They came with fabulous thoughts and questions and a slew of details that I had forgotten myself.

They were lovely, full of special touches for the evening, they liked my book and they made me feel like a true novelist. I like that hat. A lot.

Hostess Lynn Roberts, my wonderful high school friend and fellow drill teamer who I haven’t seen in much too long, suggested the book to her group a month or so ago and they bit.

We were mostly all the same age — about the same age as protaganist Josie — and so they had a lot of fun with memory jogging details about life in the ’60s from the story. Maureen even brought of list of things she’d forgotten all about (Petticoat Junction game, DippityDo, pink hair rollers…) and some show and tell items including a folded paper cootie catcher and a gum wrapper chain she’d saved since high school.

This was my first time discussing Jaybird’s Song with readers outside of my own circle and it was affirming and fun. They got my story. They liked my story. And they’ve offered to help out as beta readers for my next book and I’m going to take them up on it.

Thank you, ladies. You made my first visiting author experience perfectamoondo and I loved it.

pic2
Maureen brought a gum wrapper chain she’d had from high school — just like the one Tommy gave Josie when they broke up — and a cootie catcher just like the one Donnie brought to the dirt hill.
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Lynn made chicken noodle casserole (just like Annie Jo made for Ansley–sans the pink food coloring), a salad made from all the things Annie Jo grew in her garden, and a strawberry cake with fresh strawberries in the center and red sprinkles all around just like the one Josie and Daisy made for dessert one night. She even brought out her Desert Rose dinnerware for the retro look-back occassion.
pic1
Seven new friends and Jaybird readers: Lynn, Maureen, Cathy, Kathy, Denise, Laura and Karen (who had to leave before the pic was taken)

A new story is spilling.

I’m three chapters in to what I hope will become my second novel and the adrenaline is pumping. This one involves two women friends that share a really big secret. There’s also a semi-eccentric, perfectly lovable older woman character. Subliminally, I think I’m not ready to let go of Annie Jo, so I’m resurrecting her in a new character — but this time she’s an amateur fortune teller named Millie, and she has some hilarious quirks that will be tons of fun to write.

As a new novelist, I’ve learned a couple of things:

  • I really love making things up. Fiction is really freeing. I never knew how fun — and addictive — it could be.
  • I’m a pantser. From the writer’s blogs I’ve been reading, there are pantsers and there are plotters. I’ve got a loose web of plot lines, but I tend to get there by the seat of my pants. Just sitting down at the keyboard to see where it takes me.
  • Your encouragement is everything. I had such a hard time gauging “Jaybird’s Song” before I got reader’s feedback that help me confirm, alter and push the story out. Since then, your fabulous reviews of my story have made me really, really want to try it again.

I’m up to 26 5-STAR reviews for Jaybird’s Song! 

5StarMemeBlown away! Outrageously humbled and so grateful. Thank you!

My first benchmark was to hit 25 reviews, as word in the blogs is that Amazon will take note and hopefully make some marketing effort toward suggesting the book to readers who buy books in the same genre. I’m there, PLUS!

Benchmark II is 50 reviews as then Amazon or another publisher could take interest in re-releasing it with a bigger push. If you’ve read “Jaybird’s Song,” I’d appreciate a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Be sure to log in to your Amazon account if you purchased online so it will show as a verified purchase.

And (TOP SECRET ADMISSION COMING:) I’ve mailed a copy to Reese Witherspoon. It was my friend Pattie Baker’s idea. Movie producer Reese loves stories with strong, colorful female characters and those of you who’v read it will agree that there lots of coolness, depth and fun between Josie, Beverly, Annie Jo, Ansley, Laura Liz, more.

Meanwhile, I’m thrilled to know that so many of you like my story. I love hearing from people with questions and comments. I would LOVE to talk about the book under any number of scenarios:

  • A Dunwoody book club is reading “Jaybird’s Song.” I’ll join them for a book discussion near the end of May and I’m SO excited. Would love to do more! Will travel!
  • Lets meet for coffee or lunch. Don’t have a book club? I’d still love to meet to talk about your questions.
  • Email or call— 404-680-9604. Feedback is so helpful, even if it isn’t 5-STAR feedback, I’d love to hear your thoughts. For example… I’m putting together a reader’s guide. What suggestions do you have for discussion?

I’m groovin’ on this novelist plan. Thanks for your jazz, too. Meanwhile, Millie’s calling…

Got my first book club gig.

A Dunwoody group is reading “Jaybird’s Song” as its May selection and I’ll be joining their discussion just before Memorial Day.

I have to say, I’m feeling pretty groovy with all this.

In fact —thoIMG_0517ugh unrelated to the release of my first novel and all the internal hoopla I’ve got over that — I’m feeling a renewed surge in my personal pledge to reintroduce the word ‘groovy’ back to the day-to-day vernacular. It’s a personal thing, but it is my contention that that there is often no other word that will do…

So, anyway, here are my April plans for promoting my story:

I’ll be back at Lemonade Days as part of the Dunwoody Authors’ Book Sale — a tent that will be located near the entrance to the Lemonade Days festival on April 22 and 23. There are about 17 Dunwoody area authors that will be a part of the event designed to bring attention to the many great books coming out from Dunwoody — and hopefully selling a few!

The following Sunday, April 30, the Dunwoody Preseration Trust will host these same authors at a book signing event from 2-4 pm on the grounds of the historic Donaldson Bannister home. We’ll be set up inside and outside the property’s recently restored barn. The event will also serve as an opportunity for citizens to see the property as it opens as a public Dunwoody park.

I also have an idea for some low-level distribution of the book via a social experiment I’m calling READ SNAP SHARE and I’ll get more specific about how that will work in a week or so.

I’ve always wanted to be an author and I’m feeling like one today! Can’t wait to join the ladies for their May discussion of “Jaybird’s Song!”

 

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.