Connecting with readers, parents, and teachers seems to get the juices flowing again, even if I'm physically exhausted and mentally drained. I'm filled with new inspiration and fresh ideas. I'm encouraged to strike out farther into uncharted (for me) territory. I'm blessed beyond belief that my little bit of work has moved children.
Texas Word Wrangler was more than anything I could have dreamed of. Sure, I sold books. Nothing like the best seller on some New York blockbuster list. But a little closer to home - a little more personal. I got to see children's faces light up, ask questions, and take up a new love of books. You can't get that with a credit card!
Last year I hosted an art contest. I've only been crowing about it for weeks! For those of you who are tired of hearing about it, skip to the next paragraph :) for the rest of you - an entire class of second graders submitted sketches. To say it broke my heart is an understatement. I didn't have a way of judging those sketches, let alone even think about choosing just one. Enter new book number four, and wearing out my desk chair for six months. I think my poor husband considers me lost to the world and has resorted to the company of my photograph!
This year, I was blessed to present those nineteen children the book they helped create. Each child received a copy (paid for by the school) signed, and with all sorts of extra goodies like stickers and a little plastic horse. THEN those children were recognized by the school, the public library, and the town! Children who once were shy, now walk with their heads held high. I feel very proud, but very small in the vastness of this movement. I always say that if I can touch one child....... Yea, it's all that.
I was also invited to speak to the first, second, and third grade children, about 150 total in the three groups, along with an extra presentation for the second grade teachers. Talk about stoked. Well, I won't go into that, because it's really not all about me, it's about the kids.
If you are an author and live in Texas, check into Texas Word Wrangler. If you are not in Texas, I encourage you to visit your local library and try to do this in your area.
So, the rest of the weekend, A madhouse at a feed store! I'd like to say that crowd was there for me, but it was the John Deere Gator drawing! However, plenty of kids, and grandparents, stopped by to visit me. More than once a child or a teen would notice The Black Pony and say that they read it in school, or a friend recommended it, and they loved it. A pleasant spin-off to that was a few extra sales, but the best part was, again, the happy faces.
And to conclude the weekend, I had an energizing visit with my critique group. Yes, I'm starting a new Pony Book. Yes, I'm working on a bigger novel. Yes, I have an outline for a NaNoWriMo project. But the 'energized' part is my new goal of involving my local library, and hopefully the schools, in our own book festival.
It's all about the kids. Wish me luck.