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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.
APR
17

Did I write THAT?

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It's an interesting process, editing. And one I enjoy immensely. When first out of college I had it in my head that I might want to actually be an editor. And not just because Betsy Lerner's book had changed my life. But then business happened. And now the only editing I do, prior to handing them over to a real editor of course, is that of my own manuscripts. I'm in the middle of my first post-writing read through, and can I just tell you what a strange thing it is, especially since much of the book was written quite a while ago. Some of the pages I can't even remember writing. Some of them are much more delightful than I originally thought, some are much less so. Lots of work to do, and while I am loving this first full read-through, I know from Schooled that by the time a manuscript is ready, you have read it so many times that you become a bit sick of it. But one step at a time. For now it's back to my red pen.

APR
05

One Year Later

A friend sent me this link, and it got me thinking about what my advice would be. Of course, I'm a baby writer, but this weekend will mark 1 year since my book came out, and in that time I've learned quite a bit. In many ways I've been disenchanted by how hard it is to get people to buy books, how hard it is to market yourself and your book when you already have a full-time job, how hard it is to maintain a blog that almost no one reads (and how sheepish you sometimes feel for doing it).

But I don't regret any of it, and despite this past year turning out very differently than I ever would have guessed, it's also been surprisingly rewarding. The fans I do have are more doting and loyal than I deserve. They warm my heart and make everything worth it. The events and signings I've participated in have helped sink in the fact that I wrote a book. That people can buy. No matter how much of a nobody I am, I've accomplished something significant, and one year later, I'm still reveling in satisfaction and gratitude. And I still love writing. All set to finish up the writing of my next book on this anniversary weekend, I can't wait to do it all over again

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MAR
20

To Sell is Human

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I'm long since past the days of reading textbooks, so I confess that the thought of reading for anything other than pleasure causes panic and painful flashbacks. I kid, I kid. Anyone who's read Schooled knows I loved being a student and dreaded the beginning of real life, but now that I'm in it, I do groan when I see informative books on the shelves. Who reads these? I once saw a stat of how many books you could read in your life if you were an average reader (and most of us read far less frequently than the average reader), and the number was disturbingly low. And if I can only read a very select number of books in my life, I certainly don't want to read any that are not for fun, don't make me laugh, and do nothing to help me escape.

So whenever I find myself reading a business-themed book, it surprises me. Even more so when I really enjoy it. Which is exactly what I can say about this book. True that I work in sales already, so it's not like I really needed a lot of convincing about selling in today's world being very different than in eras past. Or the presence of sales-related activities even in non-sales jobs. Or the amount of time we spend trying to move others; to convince people to part with something they have in exchange for something we can give. I already see this and fully believe it. I am the proverbial choir.

Nothing earth-shattering then, but what I loved about this book were the practical examples shared to illustrate each principle, the clear explanation of the ways we can become better and more effective movers in this information age, and the recommended exercises (sometimes very simple) to help us become better attuned, buoyant, and clear. Very readable and incredibly relatable (much like Quiet), it's always satisfying to read a book that gets it right. If you work in sales, manage a team of salespeople, or just want to read a fascinating account of the shift away from the Fuller Brush Man style of selling that was once so prevalent, you should read this book.

MAR
10

Headshots

Do people out there really have headshots? That's a silly question, I know they do. I see them on websites and blogs and twitter. It seems most people in the book world have---whether professionally done or not---some sort of picture that's pretty much just their head. I haven't had a lot of times yet where I've needed one, but the times I've been asked for one (book signings, guest posts, etc), I have nothing to give.

So I had some done this weekend. I won't say that I at times during the shoot didn't feel silly for doing it. I won't say that I know I'll even use these much. I won't say I'm convinced I really needed them, but I figure they'll come in handy at some point. And if nothing else, they will give me something to put in the About the Author section of my next book. The picture I used in Schooled was not exactly current....although, to be fair, I was trying to be clever.

If they turn out halfway decent, maybe I'll share some here when I get them back. Or maybe you'll just have to buy my next book. Once it's done. Or check out my website. Once I actually have one. Or read future guest posts. Once I find time to write any. I'm sensing a pattern here.

MAR
07

The Upside of Sick

I've never been a very athletic person (my only attempt to be a member of an official team is chronicled in Schooled), but I'm a big proponent of exercise. On my own. Stuff that doesn't require skills of any kind. Being as sick as I've been lately, I took a bit of a hiatus from working out most of last month and have only this week begun to reincorporate it into my life, but not without a sigh of annoyance and a sense of dread. Working out is such a time sucker. Which you really don't think about (or maybe you do) until you stop doing it long enough to have filled that time with something else.

In my case, I've been filling my workout time with writing, and it's been so nice to be able to write on a daily basis. I'm down to my last 10K words for the manuscript I've been working on, but now that I'm healthy enough to exercise, who knows when those 10K words will actually get written. I could always join the throngs of people who simply don't exercise period, and I always seem to get confused comments from people when I work out anyway...comments like, "Why do YOU need to work out?," as if skinny people have nothing to gain from a gym. Not sure why it doesn't occur to these people that working out might by why I'm skinny in the first place, or that there are other motives for staying healthy besides weight (in my case, a family history of heart disease), but the point here is that getting back in the workout saddle is perhaps harder this time than it's ever been before. Because I got awfully attached to my writing time. I'm determined to bring it back. There's got to be something else I can cut out of my life. Cleaning, maybe. Or doing chores. I think I'm onto something.

MAR
05

Disasters at the Pump

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I was twenty the first time I pumped a tank of gas. This is not unusual for a kid who grew up in Oregon, because in that blessed state you don't pump your own gas. Pretty sure you aren't allowed to. You simply stay in your car and say "Fill it with regular" out the window to the attendant and that's all there is to it. I've met a lot of haters in my life that go on and on about how horrible and lame it would be to stay in your car on a cold day and let someone else deal with the pumping, and I never understand what's not to love about the Oregon way.

The only disadvantage, I suppose, was the day my 20-year-old self ended up alone and on the other side of the Oregon/Idaho border. Not that it's hard to pump gas. But just because you know what to do or even how to do it, that doesn't mean you'll do it well. Or even correctly. (I related this to my first kiss in Schooled.) That day at the pump I managed to do everything correctly, or so I thought, but still no gas came out. Surely after watching me try over and over for quite some time, a voice came over the intercom for all to hear. "YOU HAVE TO PUSH THE START BUTTON!" Which they could have, I don't know, mentioned somewhere.

Last night I had to fill up my tank after leaving the office, and I know I shouldn't sit in the car while I'm waiting for the tank to fill, but it's winter. And I live in Cleveland. About the time I realized it was taking longer than normal to fill was the time I made the connection that the gushing sound I heard was my tank overflowing. How does this even happen? The clicky thing is supposed to click off when the tank is full. I jumped out of the car, rushed over, and figured removing the nozzle would force it to unclick. Au contraire. It was like a fire hose, gas shooting everywhere (over my car, over me), and the only thing I could think to do was scream. Surely something somewhere in the vicinity would spark and my car and person would blow up immediately. "SOMEONE, HELP!!" I shouted, and even though the man who rushed over to help thought I didn't know that the clicky thing stays clicked until released (and consequently thought it was my own cluelessness that had caused the problem), at least he rushed over to help. The clicky thing did eventually unclick, but not before I'd paid a small fortune for the gas now flowing toward the gutter.

And this, ladies and gentleman, is why I write books. Because these things happen to me. It's also why I miss Oregon. One of the many, many reasons. Stay tuned next time for rants on sales tax and snow.

MAR
01

This is just to say...

I talk to my parents regularly, but rarely do I get a call and see that it's coming from my Dad's cell phone. There's usually a slight sense of panic, like something might be wrong, especially because he's not the most chatty guy. So when I saw "Dad" as the incoming call the other day, I confess I was a bit alarmed. "Do you have a minute?" he asked when I answered. This sounded serious. But it turns out he had only wanted to let me know that a couple of my biggest fans had just been at his clinic. I don't know these people, but they went on and on telling him how much they love my book, how many copies they've bought, how many people in the community are reading the book and loving it. And my dad just thought I might want to know that I have quite the growing fan base back home. And even though home is small and said fan base is even smaller, it warmed my heart. So thanks, Dad. For making my day.

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JAN
16

Busted

Yesterday I received an anonymous note in my mailbox at work. The intrigue! It came in an interoffice envelope and was simply a print-out of this blog post from late December. If you go back and read it, it's true that I may or may not have slightly bashed corporate America and expressed frustration over the worship of all things extrovertish, but I never guessed that anyone from my office was actually paying attention. On the printed-out blog post in my mailbox was the following handwritten note: "Poor Tali. And we thought you actually liked working with us." And to the sender of this note, whoever you are, you must know that this struck me as so funny and clever that I had to chuckle to myself in sheer delight. So, thank you. Unless you are from HR and are trying to get me canned. In which case, is it too late to apologize for sounding like I hate working here? And while I'm at it, don't take it personally that I vehemently shamed our decision to send e-cards to customers last month in this post or read too much into my admission in this gem of a post that I wrote it while sitting at my desk. None of that is important. What's important is this: We are now pen pals.

JAN
03

On Thank-you Notes

I suppose this is in some way related to my Christmas card post from last month, but once Christmas is over, you're usually left with a decent amount of people who need thanking. In our house growing up, my mom catalogued everyone's gifts as they opened them, such that by the end of the morning, she had constructed a matrix-style chart we could reference that showed a summary of everything we received along with who gave it to us. She'd then task us with writing thank you notes, and I'd be lying if I said my teenage self actually enjoyed doing this. To be fair, I sort of hated it. But it was what we did, and I have to say all these years later that I'm very grateful to have had a mother who raised us on thank you notes. I remember sitting through a business school lecture on this very topic (the professor and her remarkable class about the little things that can set you apart in the professional world are mentioned in Schooled) and thinking fondly of my mother. So ahead of her time.

So as I'm preparing to mail out a bunch of thank you notes this week, I guess it's reminding me just how strongly I now feel about them, and how surprised I often am that more people don't send them. It's not that a giver regrets giving if he is not thanked, but it's a gesture that shows not only that the receiver cared enough about the gift to send a note, but also that she's the sort of person who takes the time to do such things; the sort of person who makes that effort. It's a gesture of caring and gratitude, and I see the value both personally and professionally. Or maybe I'm just old school. It's entirely possible. Regardless, if you haven't yet (or haven't ever) mailed thank you notes, I'd encourage you to add it to your repertoire. It will make someone's day. Probably yours.

DEC
12

This Is Not My Book

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I knew before I went into this whole thing that my choice of title was not exactly original. Ooodles of Schooled books exist, but it never really deterred me, as I knew from the get go that as a title, it perfectly encapsulated what I wanted to say. So honestly, title duplicity has never given me the slightest amount of heartburn. Until a Cleveland-area teacher decided to publish a scandalously raunchy book by the same title, that is. It's been the talk of Cleveland for the past couple of days, and I can't count the number of people who have come up to me (partly horrified, partly sympathetic, and always in soft, whispered, what-if-she-doesn't-know-yet tones) to ask whether I've heard, how I'm doing, and if I wouldn't rather "not be associated with that title anymore." As if I should what? Re-publish under a new title?

In truth, I suppose I'm sort of annoyed. What business does anyone have writing this crap, especially a teacher? (The book is supposedly about a teacher having sex with her students. It is also supposedly fiction.) I could further ask what business does anyone have reading this crap, but that's another story, and besides, I've already made the decision that while sex-filled books sell like hotcakes, I'd like to think I have more integrity than that. Both as a writer and as a reader. So back to me being annoyed, because now there's scandal associated with a Cleveland-area writer whose book is called Schooled. Oh well. Look on the bright side, Tali. Maybe I'll see a spike in sales from people thinking mine is the trashy one.

DEC
04

Forgetting Katniss

I'm in the process of studying for a final. (No, there isn't an education-related addendum being written to Schooled. Although I can confirm that these hobby-esque classes will be tied into the subject of currently half-done book two.) And particularly when studying for a class that requires the memorization of a gazillion facts and figures, I am reminded often of both how much the human brain can retain, as well as how much it does not. As I've gone back over all the quizzes I've taken for this course over the past six months, it's embarrassing how much I've managed to forget. But as I dedicated myself to preparing for this final, it's amazing how much I've been able to re-learn, and in not very much time. The brain is just so...spongey.

I suppose it's one thing to forget facts and figures, but what about other things? What about things we learn for fun? What about reading books? Having studied English in college, sometimes I feel like all I can remember is a single story that manages to blend together everything I've ever read; that every literary character becomes a composite of every other character. For example, Silas Marner came up in conversation recently. While some strands of familiarity surfaced, I was stumped. My mind took inventory of male literary characters and produced some combination of Bartleby the Scrivener and J. Alfred Prufrock, and I realized I had no idea if I'd ever read Silas Marner. If so, I could not in that instant pluck out a plot line. Still can't. Or for a more contemporary example, I was discussing The Hunger Games trilogy with family members over Thanksgiving, and my sister-in-law brought up the "vote" at the end of book three. Um, vote? What on earth? How is this possible? I mean, I positively inhaled those books, yet here's how the Thanksgiving discussion went down:

Me: "Uh, vote?"
SIL: "Yeah, when they're all sitting around the table. And she's the deciding vote."

I do not remember this.

Me: "Who is?"
SIL: "Katniss."

I do not remember this at all.

Me: "What are they voting on?"
SIL: "On whether or not to make The Capitol's children do a hunger games."

Oh. My. Gosh. How intense! Go for it Katniss! Make them pay! But wait, shouldn't you of all people want to end the games once and for all?

Me: "Does she vote for it?"
SIL: "Yeah."

Who knew? Except me. Two years ago.

Of course, it's impossible to retain everything we put into our brains, and that's OK. I'm not beating myself up over my lack of ability to recall every detail about the world of Panem. Or scrivenry. The good news is we have the ability to learn period. And the ability to re-learn even when we forget. So if Silas Marner is worth re-reading, someone please tell me.

NOV
27

Download 'Schooled' for free!

Well, it's that time of year again: The time of year when Starbucks brings out their festive red cups. I'm not a coffee drinker myself, but I love those red cups (I suggest a Hazelnut Steamer if you don't care for coffee). I love everything about Starbucks, from its Pacific Northwest origins to the way they have the whole world happily overpaying for warm bevs. I mentioned this to someone recently, my respect for the stronghold that Starbucks' marketing has on our wallets, and they had a hard time understanding where I was coming from. "Wait, you LIKE the fact that they make us all overpay for coffee?" The answer is yes. Yes I do.

It's not that I like overpaying, but the genius of Starbucks is they have created an experience that we all want. That we all need. Because of this, it's not like we stand there in line stewing over how much we hate being ripped off. We WANT to pay it. We CAN'T WAIT to pay it. We consider our lives better and ourselves more trendy for overpaying being Starbucks customers. That's why we keep coming back. And the ability to create that kind of devotion (at a premium, no less) is impressive. More than that, it's the ultimate success when you've got something to sell.

Marketing and selling books is a completely different matter. (Hello, Captain Obvious. Welcome.) There's nothing luxurious per se about a book, and unlike a drink you can sip and instantly confirm that you like (or a piece of art or jewelry that you can form an opinion on immediately), books require reading before the buyer really knows whether they are worth his investment. So more often than not, he doesn't invest. It's even more difficult when the author is a nobody. Like me. All you can hope for is word of mouth. Which is a problem when no one knows about you. So on Wednesday and Thursday of this week (Nov. 28 and 29), Schooled will be available as a free Kindle download. Download it, tell your friends, tell them to tell their friends, and remember that my holiday promotion still applies for those who like it enough to post a review. It's the perfect thing to read while sipping something hot from a festive red cup.

OCT
03

Popularity Rehash

I had a dream about high school last night, that I was back in it. The reason, no doubt, is a review of Schooled that popped up this week, one that was quite critical of my story. I'm a big girl and can handle it just fine, and really the part of her review that I should focus on is the part that said she thoroughly enjoyed my writing and would buy any book I wrote (hard to imagine asking more from a reader), and I must further state here that I am so grateful for book reviewers in general; that they are willing to read the copies I send out and post their thoughtful and honest reactions. As an author, I truly appreciate the feedback.

The writer of this review said it was hard to hear me complain about being unpopular when it seemed like I had it all. And I've been thinking about this, because she isn't the first person to throw me a "You weren't popular? It sounds like you were" kind of comment. While I might argue that valedictorian and leads in the school musicals do nothing whatsoever to make a person popular, I do see her point. I had so many advantages and opportunities in those years that I suppose I shouldn't have complained about anything, ever. But as I tried to point out in the "On Popularity" section of the book, there is a difference between being successful and being popular. Advantages and opportunities aside, I was lonely. I remember begging the front office staff to let me have my own locker in high school because I had no one to share with. So the point of the book is not to pass myself off as a tragic figure (because I never was one), but rather to examine how even in the midst of academic success, all the average girl really cares about while in school is fitting in, having friends, and being perceived as worthy of the hallways' elite.

Bottom line: I get this reviewer's beef, I do. It could be easy to read my book and end up feeling frustrated that I still had the nerve to complain about anything, given my academic success and the admittedly charmed life I led. And had I not been inflicted with a warped adolescent brain back then, I might have been able to see that at the time and just appreciated this success instead of wish for the one thing I didn't have, which was acceptance by the popular kids. Because in the end popularity makes no difference. Although if that's the case, I wonder why I had my own locker even in my dream last night. Maybe it's a sign. Maybe I haven't come very far after all. Maybe I still crave that acceptance. Maybe I always will.

AUG
18

Competition

I was pleased to learn this week that my wonderful book designer (of VMC Art and Design) is entering Schooled into a design competition. It'll be in the book cover category, and given how much I (and everyone else) love the cover, I'm hoping she does well.

An interesting side effect of this news has been that it's whet my appetite when it comes to the idea of book competitions. Am I just competitive? (A co-worker who is currently reading my book came up to me the other day and said, "I had no idea you were so competitive!" to which I can only say, never underestimate what a kid will do for a stick of gum.) Whatever the reason, I may have to find some competitions to enter in myself. Although Victoria will have a much better shot at winning for the cover than I will at winning for the writing, but as with so many things in this world, sometimes simply putting your hat in the ring is excitement enough.

AUG
13

Cedar Fairmount Festival

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Wanted to say a few words about the Cedar Fairmount Festival, which I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in thanks to Appletree Books. Jane (owner) invited a few authors to be in the store during the festival selling and signing their books, and the timing worked out for me to be one of them. A much more pleasant experience than the Author Alley at Loganberry Books last month, and not just because the weather was so much better. It was also nice to have the number of authors be so much smaller. We really got a chance to talk to each other and get to know each other, and being inside the store was probably a big part of this. Not to mention it made it much more difficult for people to walk off with our books. **Loganberry says only one person actually came into the store to pay for my book at Author Alley, and while I still think they owe me for the books people walked away with, they haven't paid me a dime and have been quite rude when I've called to follow-up with them.

Being so frustrated with how Loganberry is handling things, it was refreshing to work with Jane and have such a pleasant experience yesterday at Appletree. And it made me more excited for the other events I have in the works. It really is so fun to be in that environment; to be talking with customers about my book and seeing their smiles and laughs when they hear what it's about. I like that my book is so relatable, and I love that it has such a stellar cover; that people want to pick it up and ask about it. All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon, and I'd encourage anyone with access to the Cedar Fairmount area to go see Jane at Appletree Books. Thanks to everyone who came out to see me!

AUG
04

Divvying the Writing Time

It's a question of time. Because I don't have any. I suppose this is the plight of any writer who doesn't write full-time; who can, in fact, only fit in writing when she has the time. I'm lucky if I get a couple of hours a week. So the question then becomes, how do I spend the time I actually get to devote to writing? Um, you should write, stupid. Except it's not that simple. Because in addition to working on book two (I'm about 1/3 of the way done with it), I also have to use my "writing" time to market book one. Marketing a book is a full time job in itself, so I'm really falling short in that area. But I can only do what I can do.

Because Schooled is still in its first few months and there's a lot I'd still like to do to get the word out, I spend the bulk of my "writing" time on marketing. What this means though is that I hardly ever get to actually write anymore. This is sad for me, because it's my favorite part about this whole book business...the writing. And I miss it. My options as I see them are to 1) forget about marketing and just write, 2) un-busy my life so that I have more time, or 3) marry an independently wealthy man so I can quit my job and do nothing but write. Here's hoping for option 3.

JUL
25

The Paradox of the Book Review

I learned recently (when they sent me the advanced review) that the San Francisco Review has given Schooled a 4 out of 5 stars. Which I'm very pleased with. Delighted even. I love that a real review company loved my book. But the sole benefit/goal of a positive review is to sell more books, and the question I'm suddenly having a hard time answering is who even reads The San Francisco Review? I, in fact, have no idea who reads publications consisting entirely of book reviews. I myself have never read one, nor am I entirely sure how to even obtain one. And it's funny, because even though there may then be no point at all to me and my 4 stars (ie. no one who is brought to my book because of it), the review still delights me.

JUL
08

Home Fires

I've just returned from a trip home to Oregon. It's the first time I've been back since Schooled came out, and it was a bit of a hero's welcome. Although keep in mind I'm from one of the smallest towns on earth, and most people there don't even read, let alone know that I published a book. So when I say hero's welcome, make of it what you will.

I do have to admit that being home was a little more satisfying now that the book is out. Not that I don't love home every time I go, but writing the book gave me so much time to reflect on all my experiences there, so I've in a sense become more reflective than usual. So when I passed The Ditch last week, I smiled. Ok, well, first I shuddered. Then I smiled. I drove past the Dairy Queen, noticed that there's a new freeway exit being constructed, and even got together with one of my high school friends. (Sabrina if you've read the book.) I guess my point is that the book keeps all my memories about my hometown a lot closer to the surface. And as I sat at my parents' kitchen table eating whole wheat bread, I thought about how fortunate I was (and am) to have the life I do.

I got back to Cleveland just in time for the Larchmere Festival, which includes an "Author's Alley" which was exactly that: an alley lined with local authors who are selling their books. And it's an interesting thing trying to sell a book in this type of setting. Because when you buy jewelry or art from a festival, you know exactly what you're getting. If you like it and and it's what you want, then you buy it. But when perusing tables of books (all being sold at full price), you want to be more careful. Because even if you like a book's description, it's sort of a gamble. We are, after all, virtual unknowns. And most people don't want to deal with that kind of which-of-these-books-should-I-buy pressure on the spot like that. Or maybe it was the 100 degree heat. Either way, most people went around taking the advertising materials from each author and then headed home to, I assume, more carefully analyze the selection and then order the one they want online while sitting in an air-conditioned house. And I can't blame them one bit.

Being in the company of so many local authors was encouraging. Not because I've been reminded that we will eventually recoup our investments and become profitable writers. Quite the contrary. Because if there's anything that no-name writers agree on, it's that you don't write for money. Because you don't make any. So I guess the encouraging part was meeting other people who are as crazy as I am when it comes to writing. I mean, only an idiot would actually go through the trouble of publishing a book when the odds of making money at it are slim to none. (Read: None.) But there's something endearing about people who press on anyway; about people who write because they can't not write. So the next time you come across a summer festival featuring books by local authors, buy one. Hell, go crazy and buy two. Even if it's 100 degrees outside. I promise it will make the author's day.

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JUN
22

Selling Books: Indie Stores vs. Online Distributors

It's an interesting thing, selling a book. Especially when you 1) have never sold one before and 2) are a relative nobody. Actually, there's nothing relative about it. To anyone but my friends and family (who have for the most part already bought copies), I am a nobody. And when was the last time you bought a book just because someone told you their friend/sister/cousin/former roommate wrote it? For that matter, when was the last time you went into a bookstore and bought a book by an author you've never heard of just because the book looked interesting? I pretty much never do this. Case in point: This past weekend I was at a darling indie store and went to my favorite section, the biographies. I honed in on a very buzzed-about memoir that I've been meaning to buy and went ahead and bought it. And seeing my little book sitting next to all the buzz books made me both delighted and depressed. I mean, it's amazing to see your own book on the shelves. But next to all those buzzed-about books, who would ever buy mine?

When it comes to getting my book into stores, I've definitely made a few blunders. Part of this is my own newness to the world of publishing, and part of it is the divide that has been created because of mammoths like Amazon. It has been off-putting to some independent bookstores that so much (read: all) of my book marketing directs people to Amazon and B&N. I got an email from a bookstore just this week asking why I was directing independent stores to a website (mine) with links to Amazon and B&N on it. I will tell you that the email brought me to tears just because I felt so foolish. But I will also tell you that there is not a book in her store that isn't also available on Amazon and B&N. This is just the world we live in. And especially as a nobody whose book is not available in many stores yet, I simply have to have a presence among online distributors. That said, I never want it to appear like I'm insensitive to the negative impact that Amazon has had on the world of independent bookstores. Because I am a hard-core independent bookstore fan. I always prefer purchasing from a brick and mortar store, supporting local business, and holding a physical book in my hands. Always. So in recognition of indies everywhere, I'd like to give a shout out to a few of the stores who added my book to their shelves this week: Fireside Books in Chagrin Falls, Ohio; Sunflower Books in La Grande, Oregon; and St. Johns Booksellers in Portland, Oregon. Many thanks for all you do.

MAY
26

The Annual Blubbering

This happens to me every year. I become exponentially more sentimental than I already am. I cry at such things as the Glee season finale. I frantically call to mind any memory of times when it was me making life-changing decisions while balancing the excitement and fear that in my case was pretty much just fear. I'm talking about graduation.

While writing Schooled I worried that it might be a downer. Specifically because my graduations were never things I was particularly excited about. The accomplishment, certainly. The cash from relatives, absolutely. But I'm the type of person who becomes comfortable in my environment, particularly when I've really enjoyed the environment and/or thrived there. The thought of post-graduation life always worried me, and graduations were consequently just about the most bittersweet events of my life.

Now that I'm through with my own graduations and have joined the ranks of Real People, I can appreciate them in a way I never did before, and perhaps to make up for that, they tend to make me weep. Which is why I've been in a bit of a tender mood over the past week or two as the universities here in town have held their graduation ceremonies. I love seeing students proud of themselves, I love seeing parents proud of their students, and I love seeing an auditorium full of people who are all momentarily united by this same source of pride. See what I mean? I can't believe I'm even saying this kind of crap, but this is what happens to me. It's kids moving over their tassels. It's teachers wishing their pupils well. It's Rachel Berry on her own in New York City. It's life, and it's changing. Whether you want it to or not. So pardon me if I cry a little. 'Tis the season.