LIVING THE DREAM, Part 12: Danger: ‘Haters’ and ‘Trolls’ Ahead!

2-20-18

Comfort, Texas

In “Eyes Wide Open”, I related my experiences as a new author encouraged to ‘friend’ and ‘follow’ people on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Although my target readers are women, I was hoping to reach possible male readers, as well. As a result, I received tweets and texts from ‘lonely’ men wanting to become my ‘very best friends’. Well, guess what: they are still out there, awake and wanting companionship during the wee hours. In fact, one even dared to call me at one o’clock in the morning!  Instead, he got to talk to my husband who  told him, “Buy her book and get a life. Stop calling my wife!”

Man, what I would  have  given to see the shock on that dude’s face!

Needless to say, the next morning, I removed my phone number and typed in my husband’s, instead.

But  predators and the “pathologically curious” are not the only ones who lurk. There are also trolls and haters. Usually, they are strangers but, sometimes, I actually know them from Facebook. These emotionally-fragile and easily-shocked people seem to look for reasons to be offended.

A few nights ago, I was the lucky winner of  such a person who called me out on ‘trashy’ language she said she had found in my novel. Instead of addressing me about it on Messenger, she shamed me  publicly on my Facebook wall. When I cooled down, I asked her, privately, which  words she was talking about and what pages she found them on. As I expected, she never answered my question.

So I blocked her.

Out of curiosity, I went back through my book to check the language of one of my ‘saltier’ characters but I still found nothing objectionable. No f-bombs nor n-words. Not one.

Suddenly, I realized that she might have been talking about the hell my main character – a little girl — was suffering at the hands of bad people. “Bad” characters are simply that — bad. They do “bad” things and use “bad” language. And “bad” stuff happens to her before it gets  better.  And it definitely gets better.

Besides for being an author and editor, I am a wife, mother, and grandmother. I’m also a Christian, but I  did not intend for my suspense novel to be classified as Christian fiction, as defined by Christian writer, Linda Yezak  in her blog, “Turning Coffee Into Books”.

When my first shipment of books arrived, I immediately packaged up the first ones for my sons who would then pass them on to my grandchildren when they were mature enough to read them. Because I did plan for them to eventually read my books, I did not use language that would turn each page into a mine field.

So, fellow “tribe: members, now it’s your turn. Have you ever been criticized by readers for your characters’ language or events  taking place in your books? If so, please share.  Let’s swap ‘war stories’.

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LIVING THE DREAM, Part 11: “You’re On the Air!”

2-12-18

Comfort, Texas

Back in August 2017, I was at Hill Country Distillers  on my first-ever book-signing gig when I met Steve Owen and his wife, Shawn, in the bar area. Before the night was over, he walked away with six of my personally-signed copies of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS.

Now, February 12, upon the airing of his interview with me, he is, indeed, giving away the six, personally-signed copies of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS are being offered as prizes. During the podcast, he explains how to snag a copy of my book.

Steve Owen is the creator and moderator of the Fascination Street podcast, found on Twitter. A few days after my first signing, he met with me at our RV park clubhouse and interviewed me for the podcast to be aired later. True to his word, on the night we met, he is giving away six signed copies of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS

Well, today is “later”! And my interview airs today! Enjoy and listen closely because Steve Owen will tell you how to win a copy of my book. I’ll give you a hint: @fascinationstpod.com and #kimterry.

Soon I hope your name is among the six winners. If it is, I will give you a shout-out on Facebook and other social media sites. Until then, stay tuned. If you have not already listened to the podcast, it will be available on my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google + and even my authorkimterry.wordpress.com blog post.

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LIVING THE DREAM, Part 5: The “Star” Treatment

September 1, 2017

Comfort, Texas

Since my debut novel, FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS has been out on Amazon, My life has been a whirlwind! In fact, I’m still pinching myself, expecting to find out it has all been just a sweet  dream. Besides for some ordering the book from Amazon, many others  have ordered signed copies directly from my husband and me. There have also been book-signing gigs at various spots in our area with even more to come. Within a month, I have put up “Author  Kim Terry” pages on Amazon,Goodreads,Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, and even WordPress.And that’s only the beginning! The Official Launch of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMStakes place on Facebook on November 14. On that date, the e-book version that people have pre-ordered will show up on their Kindles and hard copies of the book will also be available. I’m thankful for my sweet, long-suffering husband, Jeff Schwarz, for scheduling my appearances and handling the business end that I’m sure I would  mess up. And I owe another shout-out to my publisher, Michael D. Butler of Beyond Publishing, for helping me make my lifelong dream come true and blasting out publicity nationwide over social media.

With all of this newfound “celebrity” treatment, I feel as though I should be donning dark glasses and dodging the paparazzi. In fact, every time I’m standing in the impulse aisle as I wait for the cashier to ring our groceries, I pay extra attention to National Enquirer, looking for sensational smut that even I didn’t know about myself. I have to admit, being a published author has changed the way I present myself. I even put on a bra and my flip-flops before gracing Wal-Mart.

It’s funny how experiencing “fame” draws attention from people I was sure didn’t know I existed. Let’s face it — people are fascinated with those who have done something to draw attention to themselves. Think of it — why else is People magazine so popular?

Along with my tippy-taste of “star” treatment, I’ve also received  questions that most folks  don’t ask of people they don’t know. The two questions that require me to exercise the most tact are bulleted below:

  • Are you married? 
  • How old are you?

While some of these people turn out to be spammers, others are honestly curious.

Whoa, but I’ve saved the best for last: the “love letters” I have received on Messenger.  One thought he was on an online dating site. Another wrote three separate, lengthy proclamations of passionate love but never called me by my name.

“At least he’s persistent,” said Jeff, who chuckled about it, after I blocked all three of them.

For you who are seasoned authors, what is the most curious, funny, or embarrassing question you have ever received from  readers”? Do tell!

Comments and reviews are the life source for authors. Did you enjoy this post? Please, let me know!

Stay tuned to authorkimterry.wordpress.com for more adventures.

LIVING THE DREAM, Part 4: Is This Really Me?

Tuesday, August 15

Comfort, Texas

The magic day — the day my first shipment of books to arrive — dawned at last! I woke up early, flipped on the coffeemaker, and began listening for the UPS truck.  Around noon, I heard a rumble of a truck and the crunch of its tires on our rocky road.  I looked through an opening in our living room blinds and glimpsed something brown. Seconds later, I heard a rap on our door. It was the driver carrying the last of three boxes that he had stacked beside the door.

My heart beat like a drummer in a 1960’s rock band — snares and all — as I picked up the top box and tried scooting it inside the door.

“Hey, babe, come on in. Let me do that,” Jeff said, as I went inside and flopped into my recliner.

After Jeff toted the heavy boxes up the steps of our fifth-wheeler,  my breath caught as he picked up the first box and sliced it open with his pocket knife. Inside the box, beneath a layer of bubble wrap, lay copies of my debut novel, FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS. I picked up the book on top and feasted my eyes on its cover: black silhouettes of two women and a baby centered on a glossy, green cover. I fanned its 232 pages.

My book. The “baby” I delivered at the end of an eight-year pregnancy. As any other new mother would do, I wept out of joy, relief, and  disbelief. It has seemed like a wonderful dream.

Since January 2009, when I flew out to Port Aransas, Texas, to reunite with Cousin BeeGee and attend the Laughing Gull Writing Workshop in Port Aransas, I have been working on one draft after another of BY HER DAUGHTER’S HANDS, the book from which FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS originated.

Now, these beautiful green books  bearing my name — Kim Terry — were here at last. As an adoring ‘first-book mommy’, I could hold them in my hands. Feel their pages between my fingers. Smell the ink. Kiss them, even. Okay, that last visual is weird, but you get the point.

Right away, I remembered the books I promised to my sons, so I autographed them on the Dedication page, and Jeff packaged each book in a padded envelope  for Tam, Terry and Colin (Terry’s best friend since college who has been like a third son to me) and a fourth copy for a high-school friend.  Having already booked four signing gigs, we were glad to receive them in time. The first two signings on August 18 and 20 at Hill Country Distillers, in Comfort; Saturday, August 19 event at Hill Country Cellars Winery in Bandera, and Wednesday, August 23 event at the RV Park USA clubhouse, immediately after our bingo game.

In preparation for the launch, my publisher and his team have broadcast information about me, my book, and my events on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram nationwide.

And, speaking of Amazon, I have set up my page on Author Central. You can access it by clicking on the ‘page’ link, above. It contains links to my book, blogs, events, photos, and videos.

Now, since my book is on Amazon in two formats: the large-print soft-cover (available now through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other booksellers) and the e-book (available on the official launch day of November 7) At this time, the e-book is available for pre-order.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the book-signing events at the Distillery, once I learned to mingle with the crowd instead of stationing myself behind the signing table the whole time. On that first night, we sold thirteen books. When we returned, we sold one more, as I received a check from a friend of mine for the book she requested.

Over the weekend, as I was mixing with the people at the Distillery when I met Steve and Shawn Owen. As I shared author anecdotes with them, Steve requested an interview with me at a quiet place in the next few days,  so we reserved the clubhouse here at our RV park. The interview, to be available on iTunes, will be aired in January 2018. The first five listeners to respond will win autographed copies of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS.

This “star” treatment has been both thrilling and humbling. It took only one phone call to one person to start the ball rolling. In June 2017, I took the first step in my journey to becoming an author.

Loyal readers, I look forward to your comments. Did you enjoy this post? Let me know by leaving your comments at the end of this post.

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LIVING THE DREAM, Part 3: Realer and Realer

Friday, 8-4-17

Comfort, Texas

Jeff and I are on the patio and lingering over our first cup of coffee when we hear a rumble followed by a hiss of brakes. I look up to find a UPS truck parked at the edge of our site. Minutes later, a brown-clad UPS man brings us two packages. One is long and rectangular; the other, square.

We already know what they are but, still, I can hardly wait to open them. Toting them inside, we unwrap the long box and pull out three posters, 500 business cards, two spiral notebooks and 100 flyers, all bearing my photo with three, long-awaited words: Author Kim Terry.

Author. Kim. Terry.

My breath catches. The only way I could possibly be more excited is to hold my book in my own hands. The Vistaprint materials that Jeff expertly designed, with my approval,  have arrived just in time for my book-signing gigs. Now, all we need are the eighty hardback copies of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS, due to arrive on or around August 15.

Book-signing gigs. To seasoned authors, they may be no big deal, but to a debut author like me, the very thought of them makes my pulse race.

Later, that day, Jeff and I gather up the new supplies and drive into historic Comfort to Hill Country Texas Distillers where Head Distiller, James Stout, doles out medicine-cup-sized samples of ‘specialty distilled spirits’ in tantalizing flavors including jalapeno, lemon, grapefruit, orange, and coffee made from Texas cactus. After we flash my business card and a flyer, we explain that we want to book a signing at Hill Country Texas Distillers.  He calls the bartender, Esmeralda, into the room to ask her to tell us what the best days and times would be for our event. While we discuss them, she bangs out a soul-searching Bloody Maria and presents it with a garnish of Spanish olives. With the first sip, my eyes water and my nose runs. In other words, it’s perfect. As I savor the spicy drink, she and I decide on two days and time slots: Friday, August 18 from 4-8 p.m. and Sunday, August 20, from 3-7 p.m. On our way out, we bag a 375 ml. bottle of coffee-flavored “Dulce” sure to boost our morning java.

Whoa, but these two gigs are just the beginning! A few days later, Jeff and I set out to book as many gigs as we can, including our clubhouse at RV Park USA and, maybe, even the Black Pig, a rustic but charming cafe nestled in the rolling hills outside the town of Fredericksburg.

With the help of my publisher, the next step will be publicizing the events on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, WordPress.

As we count the days until the first event, I remember times when I would be coming to a “rolling boil” on a work-in-progress, only to be forced to put my project on the back-burner long enough to go teach my English classes. Days when I churned out lesson plans when I would rather be churning out my novel. Days when I wondered whether that blessed day would truly come when I could settle into my recliner and write to my heart’s content. On December 31, 2016 — the day my retirement from teaching began — that day dawned at last.

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