Wednesday, April 27, 2016

If You're Going to San Francisco...

Be sure and wear some...

To heck with flowers in my hair. I'm packing layers, maybe even a parka. You never know what kind of weather is going to roll in. Having lived in San Francisco for eleven years during the 90's, I can honestly agree with Twain when he said, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." That Pacific coast fog is chilly!

While I won't be hanging out with super groovy people in the Haight, I will be seeing some old friends, some family and maybe even a few strangers. You see, I will be having a book event at Books, Inc in Opera Plaza on Friday, April 29th at 7 pm. I've had events for Death Becomes Us at a couple of libraries and the Neptune Society, but this is my first real gig at a brick and mortar bookstore. I am beyond thrilled to connect with some new readers.

Here's the flyer they made. I look at little serious in my author photo, but I promise to put a little "fun" in the funeral talk.

So come on out and watch me get nervous and sweaty. It's going to be EPIC!
I hope to see you there.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Balloon Monkey

Steve Michael Reedy, author of Monkey Mind Tales , the Death Writer and Captain Safety, aka Bob LaGree former "Strongest Human in the World."

When you are an introvert with social anxiety, spending more than an hour in a public place can suck the life out of you. Seriously. I slept for twelve hours last night and woke up with a pounding headache. On Saturday, I spent seven hours at the North Texas Book Festival attempting to convince anyone with a pulse and a pocketbook to purchase my death book, or at least listen to my spiel. Hard to do when they're doing the potty dance and I'm about to deliver some pretty heavy stuff. Maybe it was the fact that my booth was across from the balloon guy (Hey kids, how about a book on death for your mom and dad!), or the fact that my booth was next to the restroom facilities, that almost everyone winced at me as if I were trying to sell them a poop flavored Popsicle. Okay, not everyone did that, but enough so that the guy sharing the booth with me noticed. After awhile, he became my official spokesperson. I was pooped by 11 am and beginning to wonder why I don't want to write stuff that people actually want to read.

Fudgsicle anyone?

I know, you can probably hear the world's tiniest violin playing near your ear right about now. That is if you're still reading. I don't know anymore. Do people still read? Do they have the attention span capable of doing so? Or do they simply click the "like" button and move on to the next thing?

I sold four books. One to my booth mate, one to another writer at the fest, one to an actual person visiting the event and one to the balloon guy. Unlike many of the other attendees, I held out till the bitter end. As I was packing up my table, I asked the balloon guy if he'd make me something. I was having a pity party and I wanted a memento. We'd joked throughout the day, but as he built an elaborate monkey in a tree for me, he asked "So, what is your book about?" He then proceeded to tell me about the death of his wife and how that affected him. I just listened. As he handed me the monkey, I felt better. Sometimes it's not about how many books you sell, it's about the people you meet. Or maybe it's all about the power of balloon monkeys.
This picture doesn't do him justice.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Exposing Myself in Public for Fun and Profit...And you can too!

Sorry about the click-bait, but desperate times call for desperate measures! Actually, I'm not desperate, I've just experienced little bouts of it lately. If you've ever had to market yourself or something you've created, you probably hear what I'm chirping. There is so much information out there that a person has to do some crazy stuff to get noticed by twenty people. (If she's lucky.)

I wrote this book. It's called Death Becomes Us. Perhaps you've heard of it. Just kidding. But now you have! And it's about death professions and social anxiety and let me be the first to tell you that trying to sell a book about death is hard, unless you're a mortician with thousands of youtube followers or a doctor or a celebrity. I'm just a chick with a pretty darn interesting story. Don't believe me, here's a review randomly selected from the 53 reviews I have on Amazon. (The fact that I have 53 reviews is kind of a miracle.)

It is fitting that Mrs. Skjolsvik should "kick-off" her idiosyncratic memoir on death with a quote from Woody Allen - "I'm not afraid of death; I just don't want to be there when it happens." She is certainly a kindred spirit of the film auteur/comedian's combination of naked vulnerability and abject neurosis. Skjolsvik follows what is initially a seemingly random trajectory driven by the task of completing her education. She discovers along the way how various people cope with death both in their professional and personal lives. All the while she grapples with her own fears, phobias and perceived shortcomings in a style that oscillates between honest confessional and conventional reportage. The reader will find himself breezing through amusing passages detailing the absurdities of Skjolsvik's personal travails then suddenly be confronted with a gut-wrenching account of a couple losing their child or a prisoner confronting his execution date. This a very affecting book and a genuine account of the author's ultimate journey in embracing death as a life affirming experience.

I know you might look at my book and think, darn that looks like a sad book. I don't want to read that, my life is depressing enough. But wait! Did I tell you the book will make you laugh? Mostly at me and my neuroses, but it will make you laugh! And who doesn't want to laugh, especially at me?

Which brings me to the exposing myself in public part...