Granny from Fuchsia Speaks

Granny Snows A Sneak#3

Granny Snows A Sneak#3

All of my books in the Fuchsia Minnesota Series are not out in Audio Book form. I though I would give you a little glimpse into Granny Snows A Sneak. I think my narrator, Priscilla Finch does and excellent job portraying my Fuchsia characters. If you are interested they are available on Audible.com, Itunes and Amazon. Leave a comment and you might be the lucky winner of an audiobook from a random drawing from this post.

Here’s my Julie’s YouTube Channel link to listen to Granny in Granny Snows A Sneak. Subscribe to my channel as I am creating some new Coffee with Julie’s and other things.

 

Organized Chaos with Lori Caswell, Host of Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours

I would like to welcome Lori Caswell, Host of Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours to my blog. I met Lori when she hosted Granny on her tour of the Blog World. I remember the first time I heard of guesting on a blog. I was amazed that someone actually arranged a tour for me. And Lori couldn’t have been a better tour guide. I thought my readers might like to know all that happens in putting together a book tour. Thank you Lori for being here.

Dollycas 2I am so honored Julie asked me to guest post on her blog.

She asked me to tell you about the organized chaos that has become my life since I started Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.

I thought I would start with a little background for those of you that may not already know me. I have done a lot of jobs over my lifetime, accounts payable clerk, office manager, and home builder, just to name a few. In 2001, I was in a motor vehicle accident where my spinal cord was pinched leaving my right side 98% paralyzed. Unable to drive and unable to work a typical job for 8 straight hours I was stuck at home, usually by myself. I did help at my church with the bookkeeping but my job was eliminated in 2009. Upset and depressed an online friend talked me into starting a blog and as they say “the rest was history”.

In the summer of 2013 another blogger contacted me and told me she had to quit blogging for medical reasons. She wanted to know if I would want to take over her Virtual Book Tour business. I quickly agreed. Since then my life has changed in so many ways.

There are two things I have found to be essential for me to stay organized not only for the book tours but my blog too.

  1. A Calendar
  • I use Google’s Calendar but I also export the data into my Microsoft Outlook Calendar each week so if I lose access to one I have a backup. It’s happened so better safe than sorry. My calendar shows my reading/blog schedule and all the tours.
  1. Microsoft Spreadsheets
  • I have a Master Spreadsheet that lists all the tours and has columns laid out to track my progress.
  • Each Tour also has its own spreadsheet with a list of bloggers participating, date they will post, what they are posting. I also use this to track guest posts, interviews and giveaways.
  • For my blog I have a Spreadsheet with my Book List. It tells me the title, author, when I received it, where I received it from, date the book will be released and where it fits in the series if applicable. It also has a column for the date I post my review.
  • I have a Reading Diary on a spreadsheet. This is broken down by months and lists title, author, my rating, where the book is set and any challenges it qualifies for.
  • The last spreadsheet keeps track of my giveaways and winners.

great escape button160Great Escapes hosts 15 – 20 or more tours a month with anywhere from 7 – 30 stops.

Every morning I start out by promoting all the stops for the current tours on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and tsu. When I do this I update the tour pages with direct links to the posts.

Then I tackle my email. This is the biggest task of the day. I try to scroll through and take care of the most urgent matters first and then handle the rest. This leads right into emailing any tour guests posts and interviews to the bloggers or sending interviews to the authors. Some days there are so many I really need to prioritize.

Next I handle other tasks including creating emails to announce new tours and booking blogs for new tours. Checking on my Challenge groups on Facebook. Add any new books that have arrived to my Book List and be sure they are on my calendar.

Then after all the above is completed I start to work on posts for my Escape With new escape button160Dollycas Into A Good Book blog. I try to work 2 – 4 days ahead to give myself a little breathing room. The posts can be memes, guest posts, reviews, spotlights, giveaways or a combination. Posts including a review take the longest because I try to get them just right and include all the facts I can without any spoilers.

When that is complete, I send out final tweets of the day for all the tours that are running or starting soon. I do a final check of my emails and check on personal and family things on Facebook.

That usually brings me to supper time at our house. Time to push away from the computer for some family time. This usually includes a bit of mother/daughter television watching. Of course we both find ourselves reading during the commercials. This usually ends about 10 p.m. Then it is time to get serious about reading. I try to read 3 – 4 books a week and my reading speed has slowed a bit this past year. Most nights the lights go off between 2 and 3 in the morning or when I finish the current book or find a good stopping place.

Weekends are just a little different. Fewer emails and no tours are announced. This leaves me time to make tour pages and set up Rafflecopter giveaways. I also update my reading challenges and my Reading Diary and do any needed blog maintenance and review cross posting. It also allows me to spend time with my family, especially my three grandchildren.

My days are very full and I like it that way.  The side effects of my injuries help to remind me to take breaks during the day. My paralysis causes my bad leg and foot to swell if I sit here at the desk too long so I do have to take time to elevate it when I can or get creative in ways to elevate while sitting at my desk. Typing with just one hand also takes its toll, when typos start to crop up like weeds, I know it is time to get away from the desk even just for a few minutes.

I love what I do, reading, blogging, sharing my thoughts and promoting books. I have always been a bookworm, but I never imagined what a huge impact it would have on my life.

Short Bio

Lori Caswell is married to Jeff.  Mom to Kristopher, Katherine, Elizabeth and Jaymeson. Nana to Kaden, Natalie and Remington. They have two Border Collie/Blue Heeler mixes who are sisters, Oreo and Nera Belle. Lori has been blogging since 2009 and her reviews can be found on Amazon, GoodReads, Barnes and Noble, Midwest Book Review and Powell’s Books.

Links-

Blog – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book and Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/escapewithdollycas/ and https://www.facebook.com/GreatEscapesVirtualBookTours/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/dollycas

Google +  – https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/117330676990722681198/+Escapewithdollycasintoagoodbook/posts

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/dollycas/

Linked In – https://www.linkedin.com/in/lori-caswell-8b204541

Tsu – http://www.tsu.co/Dollycas

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4770012-lori-dollycas-caswell

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/A1FJFLAAQD5WH2

Take time to visit Lori’s site and learn about all the wonderful authors she hosts. Reading her posts makes me tired but she has the skill, expertise and heart for her blog. As an author I know I can represent those she has helped when I say, Lori, we couldn’t do it without you. Thank you.

Does Your Community Have A Gratitude Attitude?

My column from the week of February 22 in the Albert Lea Tribune and the Courier Sentinel.

Boris the shysterCan a negative attitude make or break a community? It is always interesting talking to people when they move to a new community. Does negativity itch, get scratched, become infected, and break open and spread to an entire community?

I was feeling the negativity recently in conversations with different groups of people. Some outsiders, you know, those who move into a small community but never fit in because — gasp — they aren’t from here, remarked that it was hard living in a community always being reminded they couldn’t do something a new way because it has always been done a certain way and they wouldn’t understand because they aren’t from here.

Another group was complaining about businesses and business owners and things not being the way they thought they should be, so they would never support the business again and they would tell everyone about it.

Another conversation was with business owners. They told the opposite tale of nothing ever being right no matter how hard they tried. And admitting they weren’t always cordial to their customers because it was hard keeping the smile on their face day in and day out in the face of such negativity.

As a former business owner, as a customer and as a person who moved to a smaller and new community for a short time, I could identify with the feelings of all of these groups. I have been the crabby customer, I have been the crabby business owner and I have felt like the outsider. I must say all of these situations fed the negativity in me, the negativity that resides in all of us, and festers if it is fed by our contact with each other.

Here’s a little tip, not everything that is said is entirely accurate all the time so as Mr. Negativity is fed, it grows sometimes with untruths and explodes. Pretty soon we all jump on the bandwagon and join in because we want to fit in to the conversation.

There is a saying in business that the customer is always right, but I don’t know if I agree with that premise in the world we live in today. My reasoning comes from a phone call I received when I was in business. The phone call actually wasn’t for my business, it was a wrong number but when I picked up the phone the language and screaming coming out of the other end was not for the faint of heart. I asked who they were calling and they named the business. I told them who they had reached, and they profusely apologized and hung up. The phone rang again, it was the same caller, and they apologized again for their language and their rudeness as it was to be directed at another business. My thoughts were why apologize if they were going to call the other business and repeat the mistake message I had heard. No business owner deserves to be treated to verbal abuse.

They say it takes 10 compliments to cancel out an insult. As an author, I get reviews on my books and most of my reviews are positive but it is the one negative that I always remember and the same can be said for things said in our communities.

Bullying wasn’t a big factor for me when I was growing up. I can only remember two instances in my middle school and teen years when it happened to me. The key is I remember those instances, the negativity directed towards me, more than I remember some of the positive complements or experiences during those years. And I remember who directed those attacks. The memories of those people’s actions have lived on for more than 45 years.

The best way to keep our communities from growing — the best way to close our businesses — is to not support them by our words, what we say and by how we treat those who are new, those who choose to run their businesses and those who chose to shop and visit our businesses in our communities.

Choose to help our communities and our businesses grow by planting seeds of encouragement and positivity instead of feeding the weeds of negativity shutting down anything positive that is trying to peek up between those weeds. The choice is ours. Our communities health may depend on it