Extra Trash or a Stash?

First published in the Albert Lea Tribune the week of January 31, 2016

Something About Nothing

Do you have a stack of magazines you haven’t read from years back? I do. It wasn’t an intentional stash. I would receive my AARP magazine or my Good Housekeeping and intend to read it the day it was delivered. Of course, something else would come up, and I would put it on the stack. Today I am sorting through the stack.

Let me clarify that I love magazines. They are part of my reading world. The first magazine I picked up was an AARP magazine from 2015. I glanced through it and put it in recycling. I felt what was relevant in 2015 won’t fly in 2017.

The next magazine was a writer’s magazine. I put that in the to-read pile. I plan on reading it today. I decided to go through my stack and designate today as a reading day.

I have a little eccentricity problem. I also keep magazine pages. I will read a magazine and find an article I think I might want to reference in the future, so I tear it out and put it in a folder in my file cabinet. I do the same thing with recipes I want to try. With the recipes, you might remember I don’t really like to cook, but I love to save recipes for the day when I am going to become a master chef. And then — wait for it — I never look at that folder in the file cabinet again until I am cleaning it out.

Once a year I clean out my file cabinet. I pull the folder out and decide I probably don’t need anything in that folder and decide to toss it — but then I stop and think that I might have stashed something else in the folder in a moment of hurry, I check the items in the folder. You guessed it ­— when going through it, I look at the articles or recipe, and it is almost like the first time I saw it, and I decide to put it back in the folder. The same goes for product or appliance manuals. Does anyone ever go back and read appliance manuals? I have appliance manuals from appliances I don’t remember ever having.

This year has been a better year. My house is getting emptier. It hasn’t been hard to let go of some things, but anything to do with reading makes me feel as if I am giving or throwing a part of me away. That includes books. I love books.

E-books have simplified my life. When I take a weekend or longer trip I don’t carry around the suitcases or bags full of books that I usually do. I put the Kindle in my purse, and I have plenty to read for as long as I am gone. Getting rid of books and magazines I can touch and feel and smell seems sacrilegious — there is something about the smell of books that make me feel as if I am eating and smelling a gourmet meal. It is the book lover inside of me that has an insatiable appetite.

My magazine stack isn’t just one type of magazine. I have Good Housekeeping, AARP, Do It Yourself, Guideposts, Prevention and Writer’s Digest. I have varied tastes. If I am in Barnes and Noble or a bookstore, the magazine section is a magnet for me. It happens in the grocery store, too, and in the grocery store those magazines are there tempting me to buy as I check out. What’s another little item purchase on my grocery bill?

You would think, considering all the magazines in my stack, they would make me smarter. You would think I could ace those trivia questions on trivia night because of my magazine stash. The problem with that scenario is I first have to read the magazines, and then I have to remember what I read.

My stash is going today. Some will go to the library. Some will go to recycling. It is going to be a marathon reading day. If you catch me tonight I might actually remember something I read, but if I don’t, it actually doesn’t matter to me unless it comes up in a trivia question next week. I am reading for the pure joy of reading. I will immerse myself in fluff, facts, home improvement, decorating, inspiration, meditation, and stories that will give me a brief respite from what is happening today in our world. And if I don’t remember it and I keep the books and magazines, when I go through them again to toss, it will seem like the first time I have read them. Sometimes having a short memory is a plus. Look at all the new reading material I have.

Add on note: My paper stash of magazines is almost gone. Yikes, now my Kindle is full, and it is telling me I have to delete some books and magazines. Does that mean I can’t keep the last year of DIY on my Kindle? How can I ever let it go to the cloud? What if the cloud fails and it rains out to cyberspace all my reading material? My vision is cloudy. Will that vision become reality? Will my cloud get full, too, and they will tell me to get off of my cloud? I guess The Rolling Stones were visionaries when they told us to get off of their cloud. Who knew?

The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors and Julie Seedorf on Tour

Blog Tour 2016Starting Monday May 23 I am going on a Blog Tour with the Great Escapes Tour Company and Escape With Dollycas. Thank you Lori Caswell for arranging it for me. If you are an author and are looking for someone to arrange a blog tour than I highly recommend Great Escapes. If you are a reader and you want to find new books by wonderful authors follow the Dollycas site and see who she is promoting and who is visiting. Meanwhile join me each day on my blog tour. I have some guest posts and some interviews and reviews of my new book The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors. There are even a few giveaways. Here is the list and keep stopping in to find out where I am. Thank you ahead of time to all those that took the time to host me. I appreciate you.

May 23 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

May 23 – T’s StuffSPOTLIGHT

May 24 – The Girl with Book Lungs – SPOTLIGHT

May 25 – Lori’s Reading Corner – GUEST POST

May 26 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

May 27 – Omnimystery News – INTERVIEW – 

May 28 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

May 29 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW, GUEST POST

May 30 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & , Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

May 31 – LibriAmoriMieiREVIEW

June 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – COZY WEDNESDAY – GUEST POST

June 2 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, GUEST POST

June 3 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – INTERVIEW

June 4 – Book Babble – REVIEW

 

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.