Tag: Blue Cottage Agency

07
Aug

Friday Favorites: Bemidji Favorites

See ya later, Paul & Babe!

See ya later, Paul & Babe!

This Friday, I want to focus on all my favorite parts of our time in Bemidji. Though we were only here for ten months, it really has been a wonderful experience–mostly because of all the truly AMAZING people we’ve come to know and love. So, here is a look back at our days in the North Woods!

The Little Red Duplex

We were incredibly lucky to find such a great place to live. After living in apartments since we got out of college, Shane and I were ready for more space and a yard of our own. It is cozy, inviting, and really became our home in just a short period of time. Here’s a (terrible) video that I shot during our first weeks in Bemidji. Shane has since critiqued my camera work (which is pretty hilariously bad), but it gives you an idea of what our house looked like between all the blurred images. Hey, I never said I was a photographer. I do words, people. 🙂

Region 2 Arts Council

I couldn’t have done any of my marketing or publicity without the generous folks at the Region 2 Arts Council. They awarded me the Individual Artist Grant back in March so I could hire my wonderful publicist, Krista, to plan my book tour, and Christy of Brown Design to create the Seven Stones Book Trailer. Without the financial and professional support of the Council, I definitely wouldn’t be able to reach as many readers!

Check out the original post about the Artist Grant!

My First Book Signing

The table!

Thanks, Kat’s Book Nook!

My very first book tour stop was at Kat’s Book Nook in Bemidji. I was SO nervous and excited to actually be doing my first ever book signing! So many people showed up to support me, and I ended up having a wonderful time. I can’t thank Kat enough, or the community for their amazing support. Bemidji gave me a great start to my book tour, and helped boost my confidence as an author!

Check out the original post from May 16th!

Evening Horse Rides

We're BFFs

We’re BFFs

Imagine riding through a lush, forested state park at sunset on a gorgeous chestnut mare with a great friend by your side. Afterwards, a group of tiny, fuzzy kittens literally romp all over you in the stable. Yup, I got to live a 12 year old girl’s dream thanks to my friend and fellow Packer fan, Kori. I had SUCH great times with her, the horses (my best friend, Firefly, is pictured above), and the barn cats. It was beyond amazing to be able to hit the trails anytime we wanted.

I got to take my very last ride (*sob*) Wednesday night while the sun was setting in brilliant oranges and reds. It was cool, windless, and quiet–a perfect night for a ride, and one that I badly needed. I was super stressing about the move and packing, but once I was in the saddle, everything was okay. I’m sure going to miss our rides, but I’ve got great memories to take with me to Mankato!

Bemidji Community

Northern Lights Farm

For a little town, this place provided us with AWESOME amenities. My favorites were the beautiful Harmony Co-Op, the local board game store (Accidentally Cool Games), the Bemidji Public Library, and our fresh from the farm CSA. I hope Mankato treats us as well as Bemidji!

The PEOPLE!

We love you, Bemidji Friends!

We love you, Bemidji Friends!

Last, and most importantly, we are going to miss all of our friends! We have met amazing people during our time here, and have had some great times! Some of the highlights of our months here:

Jane Austen Tea Party

Outdoor Movie & Video Games

Thank you to everyone who made us feel loved and welcome. We will miss you from the bottom of our hearts! Friends will ALWAYS be welcome in Mankato! Stop by anytime. I’m sure I’ll have something delicious cooking, a board game to play, and a pot of tea to share.

Happy Friday!

 

03
Apr

Friday Favorites: Local Edition!

If the past few weeks have taught me anything–and boy have they taught me a lot–it is the awesome power of local. Being an independent artist (and YES, I feel pretty cool writing that. Though to be clear, my visual artistic talents are basically limited to stick figures), it is gratifying, humbling, and inspiring to realize the incredible local support that exists for aspiring writers. It was not something I expected to find when we moved to the Northwoods. So, that got me thinking: how many resources and artistic organizations exist in our communities that we don’t know about? There are probably resources at your finger tips that you aren’t aware of that could help make your passion a reality.

So, for this Friday Favorites post, I thought I’d share a little more about some of my favorite local organizations, booksellers, and people that have made my writing career (SQUEEEEE! I get to say career now 🙂 ) possible. My hope is that perhaps after seeing so many great resources available in my local area, maybe you’ll be inspired to seek out opportunities in your own town!

RiverPlace Press

RiverPlacePress_logo-e1390950182420

My publishers are definitely at the top of this list. Big shock, I know. I love the fact that RiverPlace is right in Minnesota, and is run by two of the best people in the world. Because RiverPlace is a local press, I was able to really form relationships with Chip and Jean, and had a lot of say in the design elements of the novel as well as the editing process (something that does not often happen in the publishing world). Seven Stones was truly a team effort, and the support I continue to get from RiverPlace is unheard of.

Smaller, independent publishing houses and presses produce quality books and promote local artists. If you search for publishing options in your area, you might be pleasantly surprised!

Blue Cottage Agency

Needless to say, I am a huge fan of Krista and her team! She is helping me promote myself better and reach a wider audience. Usually when you think of “agents” or “publicists” you may imagine they all work in swanky skyscrapers in New York City and are far too busy and important to see you. Krista does have a pretty swanky office, but she represents Minnesota authors right from downtown Brainerd. And she is completely 100% fabulous.

Local Booksellers

I could spend hours in a book store–just ask my husband. Local book stores have always been favorites because they each have their own feel and often carry books you can’t find anywhere else. I am proud to say that MY book is on the shelves of several local book stores in Bemidji, with more to come thanks to Krista! Since early March, I started contacting the independent booksellers in town and they have been awesome! If you want to support your local economy, independently owned businesses are the way to do it. Thanks to Big River Scoop, Kat’s Book Nook, Harmony Co-Op, Accidentally Cool Games, and Book World for supporting Seven Stones!

Region 2 Arts Council

I think I made it pretty clear with the last few posts how much I appreciate the Region 2 Arts Council. 🙂 The fact that they offer grants that open doors for local artists is huge. The crazy thing is that I never really knew about any sort of art grants before moving to the area. I was applying for school scholarships at the time and thought maybe there were similar funds for writing. I asked the reference librarian at my local library about art grants, and she directed me to the Arts Council. If you have a project that is on hold due to lack of funds, check out what grants or artistic groups are available in your area.

YOU!

YES! YOU ARE MY FAVORITE! None of this would be happening without you. By reading my blog, spending your hard earned money on my book, liking my posts on Facebook, you are supporting my dream of being an author. You seriously have no idea the power you have as a consumer, and by buying local you are using your powers for good. Thank you. I love you. 🙂

Book of the Week:

book-review-writing-tools

It has been a while since I’ve encountered a good writing guide, and I’ve heard some really great things about this one. Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer seems like it offers tips for writers of all levels. I’m personally looking for strategies on making and keeping writing schedules and always in search of inspiration. I plan on curling up on Saturday with this book, my big fluffy blanket, and a pot of Irish Breakfast tea.

Happy Friday!

 

 

01
Apr

Seven Stones: Coming to a Book Store Near You!

Phew! Yesterday was crazy but SO amazing. Because of the grant I was awarded by the Region 2 Arts Council, I was able to set up meetings with my very own publicist and book trailer designer. Real meetings, discussing real author things.

I was on the road at 8:00 a.m. to drive down for my first meeting of the day was with Krista Soukup from Blue Cottage Agency in Brainerd. Man, is she inspiring! Krista looked at every aspect of my marketing campaign and website. Her suggestions and ideas are really going to transform the number of people I can reach and how. The first signs of Krista’s marketing plan are going to be some small changes on the website that are going to make a BIG difference. Look for new and more interactive content, individual pages for author events, videos, and press information. In short, her suggestions are going to make it easier for people to find what they are looking for much faster. And, of course, Krista is going to be helping me get the book into more stores and add more locations to my book tour event. Stay tuned for exciting updates!

Immediately after my meeting with Krista was lunch at Christmas Point with Christy Tobin. Over some seriously delicious food (I’m a sucker for bread bowls), we outlined some great ideas for the book trailer she will be designing for me. I love book trailers, and can’t believe that there will be one for Seven Stones! Christy’s work is beautiful, and she is a pleasure to work with (it’s always a treat when you get to work with friends!). I can’t wait to post the finished trailer on the improved website.

After the meetings, I ran to drop off some signed books and picked up another box to bring back with me. The AWESOME news is that we are already beginning to run low! What a fantastic problem to have. I know I’ve said it before (and I’ll probably keep saying it), THANK YOU to everyone who keeps getting the word out about Seven Stones. Every person who reads my story, writes those reviews, and tells other people helps make my dream come true. 🙂

What a seriously MOMENTOUS day! I think I’ve earned a cup of tea and a night off of homework.

Happy Wednesday!

27
Mar

Friday Favorites!

Happy Dance!

Can EVERYTHING about this past week be considered my favorite things? Well, almost everything (homework is not making the list). Seriously, between the book release, online sales, and signing orders, I’ve been dancing through this week. I’d be lying though, if I said there weren’t two things that top my list this week. Two pieces of news I received this week absolutely blew my mind and are possible because of the wonderful people at the Region 2 Arts Council.

I am very excited to announce that I am the recipient of the 2015 McKnight Foundation Individual Artist Grant!

I applied for the grant back in February to help boost my publicity budget. I asked for $2,000 to hire a publicist to organize a book tour, cover gas expenses, and hire a graphic designer to make an online book trailer. On Wednesday, I got a letter from the Arts Council telling me that I was awarded the full amount!!! Thanks to the generous support of the arts in Northern Minnesota, I’m going to be able to expose my novel to a wider audience and take my writing career to the next level.

I am happy to say that I will be working with the lovely and fabulous Krista Soukup from Blue Cottage Agency and Christy Tobin from Brown Design to help bring Seven Stones to as many readers as possible. I can’t wait to begin working with these wonderful ladies!

Writing Mentor

In addition to the grant (I know, what could top that?!), I was asked by the Arts Council to be a mentor for aspiring writers in the Bemidji area. I’ve already been paired with my mentee, and will be meeting with her for the first time this weekend. I can’t wait to dust off my teaching skills and share my experiences with a fellow writer. It is such an honor to be offered this position!

As you can see, I’ve had a pretty awesome week. I cannot believe that I not only was chosen to receive the Individual Artist Grant, but was asked to be a mentor as well! The level of support for the arts that exists in such a rural area of the state is just astounding. I am incredibly grateful for both opportunities–I actually feel like a real professional. 🙂 If you are an aspiring artist, I highly recommend checking out the local art grants available in your area. You might be surprised by what you find!

That’s my week! Do you have any fabulous news to share?

Happy Friday!