Friday, May 23, 2014

No Street Clothes

I have a treadmill in my home that I use every day. Whenever I have a few extra minutes between writing assignments, I hop on and take a walk.

I never stop to think if what I'm wearing is treadmill appropriate. I've worn PJs, yoga pants, capris, jeans... It's all good.

So last year while staying at a hotel, my stepdaughter had to remind me to change clothes before we headed to the gym to walk on the treadmill. You see, in gyms, there are rules about the clothes you can wear. 

What, I always wonder, are street clothes? Do they think people are going to show up looking like this?

How do my jeans and tennis shoes hurt the treadmill more than yoga pants and tennis shoes, I wonder?

Mostly, when walking on public treadmills, you just have to look the part. Otherwise, people will think you're weird. Unlike the many, many times people wear workout clothes to do just about everything else in life.

Do you have a special wardrobe for the gym?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ignorance is Bliss (Or How I Found the Write Path)

Today I'm excited to be helping out with an exciting project. Carrie Butler, a great writer I only met through this challenge, is looking for compilations for an e-book. The book, which will be free, is set to inspire new writers on their road to publication. The assignment is to write a letter to the younger versions of ourselves when we first started trying to get published. So here's my entry!

Dear Know-It-All:

Stop. Don't send that manuscript. I know you're all proud of yourself because you wrote three books in a couple of months, but you'll soon learn about a thing called revising. You need to read over that manuscript and make sure it's perfect before you send it to an acquiring editor.

Of course, you won't listen. You're so enthusiastic and excited, you're sure an editor will take one look and sign you immediately. Never mind that you don't even know what happens when an editor signs you. You figure you'll learn those things as you go.

You have a long way to go, but perhaps it's best you don't know that. Soon you'll not only join a writer's group, you'll be instrumental in creating it--the first-ever Nashville chapter of Romance Writers of America. You'll meet some incredible people, including some famous novelists. They'll teach you how to handle booksignings and speaking engagements and survive rejection after rejection after rejection.

Interestingly, though, your career will come full-circle before you publish. It's 1995 and there's no market at all for young adult fiction. Middle grade is practically non-existent. You'll have to wait for someone named J.K. Rowling to come along and change everything. Don't bother saving those two young adult manuscripts you wrote last month, though. They're each about as good as any book would be that was created in only a couple of weeks.

The best advice you'll ever hear is that you should always have more than one iron in the fire while querying publishers and agents. That advice will help you through many rejections.

Meanwhile, enjoy the journey. You'll look back on every step of it someday with great fondness. To paraphrase a future crazy teen pop star: It doesn't matter how fast you get there--it's all about the climb.

Name: Stephanie Faris
Title: Ignorance is Bliss

I give permission to use this entry in the e-book compilation.

Monday, May 19, 2014

My Mini Book Tour

I've had a lot of exciting opportunities lately, including my first booksigning, carnival appearance, and book reading...all in a three-day period.

Writing can be stressful, but author appearances are scary. What if no one shows up? What if everyone shows up and you have to speak in front of them?

Last week was Children's Book Week, so it was a busy week in my world. First came my first ever official booksigning at this charming bookstore in Nashville on Thursday night:

I arrived to find this display out front:

During the event, I met a charming young girl named Hannah who reminded me why writing for young girls is the best job in the world. She was so excited to meet a real-life author she told her godmother later that, "you can't see it, but inside I feel like I have fireworks going on."

Saturday was a busy day. First there was a carnival at McGavock Elementary School, where kids stood in line to sign up to win a free copy of my book.

My mom stayed there with me all day, helping students fill out the entry slips and setting up my display table so it looked beautiful.

The carnival ended at 3 and I had to immediately jump in the car to rush to Parnassus Books. Parnassus is a fun Nashville bookstore that even has its own store dogs! How cool is that? 

Parnassus hosted children's authors for 15-minute readings in honor of Indies First Storytime Day. I was honored to be included in this nationwide event. Plus, look at the cool swag I got as a thank you for participating.

In all, it was the scariest, most exciting week of my life so far--and there's more to come! I have two more events later this summer. At least they won't fall on the same week, though!

Have you participated in book events? Do you find them terrifying yet exhilarating like I did?