So…That Happened

Wow.  What a week, am I right?  Like many people out there, my world was rocked by this year’s election results, and not in a good way.  To those who voted for Mr. Trump, congratulations.  To everybody protesting already, I hear your fear and your anguish (indeed I feel it acutely).  However, the man isn’t even in office yet.

You can protest the fact that Donald Trump won the election by the Electoral College and not the popular vote.  That is your right. If you favor the popular vote, then you should make your voice heard. Please try to do it in a way that does not involve hurting people, damaging property or lighting effigies on fire. It undermines the message you are selling and give people who would deride that message a reason to name them riots instead.

Not to mention, I feel like it is probably a lost cause.  When Al Gore lost similarly back in 2000, it went all the way to the Supreme Court and they ruled in George W. Bush’s favor.  Why?  Because the Electoral College is how America chooses its President.  If you are interested in learning why, you should definitely watch this video on You Tube. I think it offers a little bit of perspective.

Please understand, I know that your anger and fear are real.  Donald Trump campaigned on fear and hatred against Latinos and Muslims at the very least.  He will probably install extremely conservative Supreme Court justices who could undo decades of progress for African-Americans, women and the LGBT community.

Why Did This Happen?

I doubt that these are the reasons that people voted for him.  Perhaps these are the reasons that the KKK and other white nationalist groups supported him, but by and large Trump voters are hurting economically and scared of the rising Islamic Terrorism around the world.  Like him or not, Trump came out with a message that said I understand that you have been hurt financially over the last many decades.  That message is a good one, even if he wasn’t always politically correct in the way he said it.  On top of that, he came out forcefully against Islamic Terrorism.

Let me say this right away: people who are afraid of what Islamic Terrorism will do to America are not racist.  They are scared.  When Democrats come out and call them racist for these justified fears, it only serves to make them angry and reinforces the idea that the Democrats are privileged and do not understand anything that is important.  At least, that’s how I understand it from talking to people who supported Trump.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some real issues in our society concerning race.  The criminal justice system springs immediately to mind.  This should be addressed, as should many other issues.  Here’s the thing- the President has NEVER been the change maker in this country.  They have signed the bills, often because it was politically expedient.

Where Barack Obama Went Wrong

Perhaps Democrats and others on the Left made the assumption that because Barack Obama was a black president that he would fight more, but he is merely a politician.  He did move on LGBT marriage rights, because the people made it clear that it was what they wanted, but on other things not so much.  Nobody on the Left really pushed him for expanded background checks after so many mass shootings, so he never fought for them.  He said some poignant words and then went back to what he thought was possible and helping his political donors (sorry, all politicians do it guys, honestly, I doubt Trump will be any different).

This is not unique behavior for American presidents.  This is the rule (LBJ would have never signed the Civil Rights Act if Martin Luther King Jr. and millions of others hadn’t pushed him).  For those of you who blame Republican obstructionism for Obama’s failures, you are only partially right.  He probably wouldn’t have been able to do everything he wanted.  However, could Barack Obama have fixed the lead pipes that still taint our national infrastructure?  I think so.  People care about lead poisoning in children when they are reminded of it on a regular basis.  It seems very likely that if he had continued to visit Flint, Chicago and other communities that have been affected by this that something might have been done by now.  Thus proving, we cannot count on ANY president to advocate on our behalf.

So, Get Off Your Butt and Do Something

Come January 20, 2017 Donald Trump will be your president.  My president.  America’s president.  We must hope that he will not govern in hate as he campaigned.  In his acceptance speech early Wednesday morning, he said he wants to rebuild American infrastructure and work to help the Veterans in America.  I think those are things I can get behind.  My recommendation is to support him in the things you agree are good.

I also think it is reasonable to plan for the event that he advocates for policies that would harm.  This is where you, the American citizen come in- whichever side of the political divide you land on.  Wear a safety pin so that those who feel unsafe in an environment where hate crimes are on the rise know at a glance that you will not judge them for what they look like or believe.  Volunteer and help raise awareness for the issues that are important to you- do as much good for your community and your family as you can.  And when Donald Trump is no longer President, no matter who succeeds him, do not stop.  Every president needs to hear the voice of the people and every community can benefit from your help.

Back to Writing

So, now I will get off my soapbox.  I had to get that off my chest.

I will be doing a book signing on December 1st  from 3:30 to 6:30 pm at the Whitman County Library in Colfax, WA.  Stop by and see me.  I might even be handing out bookmarks, I just need to design and order them.

Please remember, in these times of division and chaos to hold on to the things you can.  Love fiercely.  Communicate with those who have opposite views.  Maybe if we can understand each other’s points of view we can become a stronger nation through this.

Keep reading.  Until next time, peace be with you.

 

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PSA: Get Out the Vote

No, this blog post isn’t about writing. Trust me, I am ever so slowly chugging away at that giant book I got from the library (I had to extend the due date, sigh). This post is about a right that far too many people take for granted in America- your right to vote. Sorry to any international viewers that may be out there (if you are out there- welcome, happy to have you). This post is entirely directed at the apathetic American public.

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Listen, I know how bad this election feels.  We are facing two of the most unpopular candidates America has had since polling began.  Everyday, we turn on the news and are assaulted by another terrible thing this person said or that person did.  I am not going to try to talk you into one over the other.  My life isn’t your life and your priorities should be different than mine- whoever you think is the better of the choices out there, that is what you should go for.

However, as the self-proclaimed democratic role model for the rest of the world, America needs to get its act together.  We trail most of the developed countries in the world when it comes to voter turnout.  The most recent statistics are slightly different from the above cartoon, but the point is still valid.  To read more about the intricacies about what it means to vote in America versus the rest of the world you should check out this Pew Research Center article.

But I Genuinely Despise Both Candidates for the Major Parties This Year!

For those of you out there who absolutely cannot choose (who are registered to vote), you have a fairly exciting option available to you.  Is there a third party platform that appeals to you on any level?  Vote for the candidates in that party.  If a third party can get 5% of the national vote, they will be given federal funds for the next election to help grow their national voice.  The two most well-known third parties are the Libertarian Party and the Green Party, but there are plenty more to choose from.  Maybe your preferred third party won’t get 5%, but just the chance of having more viable options in the future makes it worth the effort to try, especially if you feel like there is no real choice this year.

Even if you don’t vote for the office of the president at all, your vote can have a huge influence on your state and county’s politics.  Initiatives and office holders that will have an influence on your life will be on the ballot and you deserve to have your say.

It’s the Final Countdown!

In three days, this election will be in the history books and America will move forward from it.  (The crowd goes wild.  Ahhhhhh!  Woo-hoo!)  I know that so many people in this country feel powerless, voiceless to change circumstances that they feel like are beyond their control.  However, that is the beauty of the Republic we live in.

Even after the election is over, if particular issues are important to you there are ways to help those issues receive greater visibility.  Call your Representative and Senator concerning bills that are important to you, get involved in groups that are like-minded and will fight for the things that are important to you and write letters to the editor in your community.  If you are feeling really ambitious you can get involved in your local city council or school-board.  Volunteer at your local school or for non-profit organizations that provide services that you feel are important.

No matter what the political rancor is in Washington DC, remember that as an individual, your choices can be powerful and a force for good in the world, politically or otherwise.  I will see you on the other side.  Keep calm and keep reading.

The Art of Self-Promotion?

Sleepless nights are ahead for me, guys.  I am slowly making my way through the Writer’s Market guide I picked up from the library, and if anything is panic inducing, it is this book.  I finally made it to the D’s in the agent section!  And I still have 3/4 of the book left to go, including every single publisher.  Wah, wah, wah.  The sheer number of options is both startling and overwhelming, and yet I know for a fact that this industry is incredibly difficult to break into.

It seems like the most important thing to do is to establish a base of readership.  However, if you can’t get published, that seems like a difficult thing to do.  Now, I have been published once, so I have hope that there will be more opportunities, but it seems to me that a big piece of this process is just getting your name out there.  The general suggestion seems to be anywhere from 15,000 to 25,000 regular readers.  If you want the big 6-figure book deals, you are looking at 100,000 or more.  Obviously, I have my work cut out for me.

So, what’s a girl to do?

Knowledge is power, right?  So, now that I know that this seems to be the magic formula I have been considering ways to grow my so-called “fan base” (I feel totally awkward using that phrase, but I suppose that is what it would be).  One option I have right now, since I have a short story in Threads: A NeoVerse Anthology, is that I can do a book signing.

Gasp!  What?!  This was very near my exact reaction when the good people at the Whitman County Library suggested that I do just that.  My brain still can’t wrap itself around the idea.  However, it looks like it is a thing that is going to happen.  On December 1st, I will be hanging out with Santa and signing books at the Event Center next to the library in Colfax, WA.  So, if you live in the Palouse area, or Eastern Washington in general, you should totally come and talk to me.  Heck, if you live in Idaho you might consider a jaunt over.  I would really love to see what people think of the story.

I might even be selling books.  So, if you don’t already have a physical copy, you can pick one up from me.  I cannot describe to you the level of excitement and anxiety that I am faced with at this thought.  I am even thinking about printing out bookmarks with my picture and website information on it for the occasion.

This may sound incoherent to you.  Why be anxious at all?  Why not accept the awesome and go with it?  Honestly?  I think I am incapable of not seeing this all as incredibly surreal and just a tad egotistical.  Keep in mind, I have had very minor success.  What is going to happen if I actually get the full book with Theodore Erickson published?  We will cross that bridge when/if we get there, but just this little taste has left me wanting so much more.

Onwards and Upwards

So, that’s the latest.  I am going to do a book signing.  Until then, I will continue to research where I can send the Theodore Erickson book (amongst the other books I have written), hopefully actually send it off to someone and maybe look for another contest or two to enter while I wait anxiously for a response.

As more things become solid in the book signing, I will talk more about it, but I couldn’t keep quiet until I knew all the details.  Impatience will be the end of me.

Until next time, keep reading!

 

Look What I Got in the Mail!

This has been a pretty amazing past few weeks for me.  “Threads: A Neoverse Anthology” seems to be doing pretty well, and…I got my books in the mail!  I have physically held the book that a story I wrote was published in, and I am not sure there are words to describe that feeling.

It is one thing to think, “I want to be published one day,” and quite another to hold said publication in your hands.  My stomach still fills with butterflies at the thought.  However, seeing the books wasn’t even the coolest things in the box.  Neoglyphic sent me an 8.5 x 11 inch print of my picture signed by the artist!  I am not going to lie, I got a little misty-eyed looking at Jezebel wearing Theodore Erickson’s hat.  It was such a nice gesture and something I think I will cherish for the rest of my life.

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Here she is in all her hippo glory, so fabulous that I had to go out and get her a cool, new, black frame. I really underestimated the impact of seeing a character, formerly entirely in my head, come to life on the page. The artist, Eve Skylar, did a really great job with everyone’s artwork, but I am very partial to mine.  Imagine that 🙂  I have put her in a place where I can see her when I am writing at my desk, as motivation for when the words don’t come out right.  She is something from my head made visual, proof that, in however small of a way, my dreams have been actualized and that if I work hard enough, more might be.

Things Keep Happening

In other exciting news, I was interviewed for the Bremerton Patriot (Washington State) last Tuesday. That article came out on Friday, September 30th.  My dad even texted me a picture of it from his Google newsfeed; that was pretty cool.  So, that makes for two newspaper interviews that I never expected to happen.  Funnily enough, I still haven’t decided how that makes me feel.  Mostly, it brings on extreme bouts of anxiety- “Holy smokes!  I don’t know how to answer ANY question without sounding like a moron!”  However, both the Whitman County Gazette article and the Patriot articles were lovely.  Crisis, so far, averted.  Whew!  (Trust me, if anyone knows how to put her foot in her mouth, it is me).

I am currently working on another short story for a local competition, so I will let you know how that all shakes out.  Malcolm Brooks, the author of “Painted Horses” is coming to the Palouse in November, and they are having a writing contest to celebrate (maybe, okay, probably not, but it sounded really good in my head).  However, the entries have to be 800 words or less, AND…the theme is “Sacred Places.”  There is nothing like trying to describe how a character’s soul is healed, let alone why it needed healing to begin with, in a page and a half double spaced.  However, that’s why I want to do it.  I didn’t think I could write a story in less than 5,000 words last year, so hope springs eternal.

I am still chugging away at the Writer’s Market book I checked out from the library. I am hoping that gives me a better idea of how to move forward with the larger Theodore Erickson book.  I finally reached the agent section, which made me break out in cold sweats, but I am determined to locate each one that might be an option for me in my future writing endeavors.  Then, I will attack the seemingly thousands of publishers, and so on until I conquer this behemoth book.

That’s All Folks!

Well, I think that about covers everything this week.  I hope you are all enjoying the beginning of fall.  I FINALLY got my Halloween decorations up, so my house feels less naked now.  Even better, October is the best month to read scary books.  If you have any suggestions, let me know- you can tweet me @S_A_Rohrbaugh or just message me through the website.  Happy reading!

 

Things Keep Happening

Greetings!  I know it has been another couple of weeks since my last post, but life is slightly insane right now.

News About “Threads: A NeoVerse Anthology”

The roll-out for “Threads” has been really educational for me.  I have been in regular contact with NeoVerse’s PR people.  My understanding is that the first run of the books sold out on Amazon and the second is doing really well.  They have also developed a Kindle version of the book, which I am told has the full illustration impact of the paper book and is only $3, so if you are interested in purchasing it, but don’t want to spend the full amount for the actual book, that might be an option for you.

As for my part in all of this, supposedly when I receive my own copies of the books I will get fliers to pass out in the area.  So far, I haven’t received them, so we will see what happens.  I e-mailed them the other day about it, I imagine I will get a response soon.  I was interviewed by the Whitman County Gazette for placing in the book, which was unexpected and exciting.  I didn’t get first through third, so I just assumed no one would really care except for me.  That piece ran in the September 21st paper.

Conundrums for the Future

Probably the thing that is most confusing to me about all of this is how to move forward from here.  It is awesome that the short story made it into this book, but now I am at a loss in determining what to do next.  I have written a book using my “short story” as the first chapter, but I can’t for the life of me decide if I should just try and submit it to publishers on my own or try to get an agent.  I think I am going to have to do some more research to figure it out, but the goal is to get the whole book and hopefully an entire series out there.  I have roughly mapped out a five or six book series and have high hopes for it.

Currently, at the library, there is a book with tips and tricks in it waiting for me.  I should really go and get it so I can figure it out.  In the meantime, I am on the lookout for other competitions I might be able to enter to add to my resume, so to speak.  I tend to write fantasy, sci-fi and horror so it is very difficult for me to find competitions that seem worth the time and anxiety.  I suppose the best thing I can do for now is, to steal a phrase from Dori, just keep swimming.  Things will fall into place as they are meant to.

A Word About Fall

On a personal note, I could not be more excited to be essentially bathing in all things apple and pumpkin right now.  Fall is my favorite season and already, even with the craziness in the world and in my life, I feel a little more centered because my favorite season is upon us.  Readers, I hope that you also take some time out from the madness that is literally everywhere in the news, to enjoy the changing leaves and cooler temperatures.

As always, happy reading!  Until next time!

The Anthology is Out!

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Well, the official release date is on the 15th, but I know several people who pre-ordered who have already received their copy.  I still haven’t seen a physical book, but that warm feeling in the pit of my stomach is taking over, regardless.  Something I wrote is in print somewhere!  I know it seems like a small accomplishment, but to me it is huge.

By the way, look at that cover art!  Many thanks go to NeoVerse for creating such an amazing looking book.  The picture for my story is pretty much on the center back cover (it’s the giant hippo with the fedora on its head).  If you would like to purchase this beautiful collection of stories, you can buy it at Threads: A Neoverse Anthology.

What Comes Next?

Now that it is actually released, I find myself analyzing what the next steps are.  The short story in the anthology is really just the first chapter in the first book in a five or six book series.  I have written that first book in its entirety, I just need to find a way to get that published now.  So, I will be submitting another manuscript.

You may be wondering how that works.  Honestly, I am still working it out.  There are a handful of publishing companies that accept manuscripts from unrepresented authors.  If those companies don’t work out, then I have to consider getting an agent in order to get other companies to look at anything I write.  Of course, self-publishing is always an option, but it is very expensive to do it correctly and you don’t have the advertising backing/experience that most publishing companies give you.

As I try to sell this book/series, I will keep on writing (I really can’t turn off my brain) and hope for the best.  I have always written because it is something that I just NEED to do.  It fulfills me in a way that most things don’t and because of that, any time I spend towards this is always worth it, no matter how things go in the future.

As I write, I will also continue to teach.  The school year has started at the pre-school program that I teach at again.  This year I get to teach the 2 and 3 year-olds, which is a lot of fun.  It’s hard to feel bad when you are surrounded by little ones that are so interested in everything that is going on around them.  Hopefully, class is as much fun for them as it is for me.

One thing is for sure, even as I continue to teach, being published in this anthology is not the last step for me, it is the first step of a journey- one that I hope you all can share with me.  With a lot of luck and some hard work, I think I at least have a shot of getting more published.  As always, happy reading!  I will see you all some Sunday soon!

Josh Groban, Leavenworth and the New School Year

Okay, okay.  So, I am a terrible blogger.  I got bronchitis and my good intentions fell through in maintaining this blog.  Then, I managed to get better just in time to go on my tenth anniversary trip and I ignored it once more.  The problem is, my life isn’t terribly interesting.

I have no real book news yet, although from what I have heard they are trying to coordinate some kind of release with the next writing competition, but more than that, I have no clue.  It could be released in December for all I know.

Josh Groban

So, I am left to tell you about my 10th Anniversary vacation.  We started by going to a Josh Groban concert in Woodinville, WA.  Sarah McLaughlin was supposed to open for him, but she wasn’t there.  My husband was very disappointed, as she was what he was looking forward to.  However, a guy named Foy Vance opened for Josh instead and was very good. I bought the CD- I recommend you check him out.  He has a very Celtic Rock vibe going on and his voice seems perfect for blues songs to me.  During the concert he came out and sang “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” with Josh and it was pretty freaking amazing. I hope to see a lot more from Mr. Vance.

Josh’s portion of the concert was incredibly relaxed and felt very intimate.  The last concert I saw was “In the Round” and the smaller venue definitely made a difference.  He sang a lot of songs from the Stages album and a few older songs.  Probably the most exciting part was when he sang a song from the Broadway musical he is going to be in.  If the song he performed is any indication, I might just have to find myself a way to get to New York.

The musical is called “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” and Josh will play Pierre.  The book nerd in me really loves that it is based off of a small section from Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” (even if I have yet to convince myself to read it- I guess now I have some motivation).  Really, though, the song Josh sang was great.  It looks like performances will start in October, but the opening date isn’t until November 14th.  If only I had money for that kind of birthday present. 🙂  Oh well.

Leavenworth

Have you ever been to Leavenworth?  I had, but not for many years- maybe I was in high school the last time I went.  My husband had never been, and so it seemed like an anniversary trip made in heaven, and it was a lot of fun.  I ate as much Hungarian and German food as I could stand and partook of much chocolate.

Mostly, though, it is just fun to walk around Leavenworth.  The town is adorable.  It is like walking into a Main Street in Disneyland where Gepetto and Pinocchio have taken over.  When that got boring (and it never really did), there was a park along the river where you could walk and learn about the history of the area before it was a tiny German-themed town in central Washington.  It was probably the most relaxing vacation I have ever taken.

Back to Life

However, we’re back home now.  School starts this week for my girls which I can hardly believe.  I’m still mentally in the beginning of July, but it is happening anyway.  Wish me luck.

The good news is that with school starting again I can go back to my writing schedule.  After a summer off my fingers are always itching for the keyboard.  Ideas seem to be continually bouncing around in the skull of mine and I have a manuscript to mail to a publisher now, so that will be something to do.

I am finishing a book about Joan of Arc that has me looking at the world a little differently from before.  She led a remarkable life for one so young.  I haven’t finished it yet, but it has made me think about a lot.  The book is by Kathryn Harrison.  It’s called “Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured.”  This is another one to read if you have any interest in history or women in patriarchal societies who rise to high places.  It is fascinating stuff.

That’s all for me, guys.  Happy reading.  May your life be less chaotic than the world right now.