Saturday, June 28, 2014

Never Say Never

Never. That one word comes back to haunt us sometimes, doesn't it?

In April of 2013, when I became an Indie Author, and published my first book I stoically, stubbornly, naively (plug in whichever word works best for you because they are all correct) stated, "I'll never sell my book at a discount."

This is where the 'Never Say Never' part comes in.

After close to a year and a half of healthy vigorous sales for The Bunco Club, the second book in the series released and the third partially in the computer, and having more darn fun than I ever could have imagined, I've learned a few things about independently publishing a book.

No, I wouldn't have done anything different.
Self publishing was 100% the right choice for me. But in order for Amazon to sit up and take notice, it has become almost essential to discount or give away my book at some point. If Amazon sees fast numbers...then they will look at the author. So in an attempt to boost my numbers in a short period of time--I've made the decision to discount the Kindle Edition of my first book.
NOTE: The discount does NOT apply to the paperback or the audio versions.

So while I'm a little apprehensive, I'm also very excited. I love the fact that at my age I've been able to achieve this wonderful dream of writing books and actively making decisions that affect their potential success.

Wish me luck and hope that Amazon doesn't bury my title behind too many others =) At this point, I've already clicked the "publish" button and there's no turning back!


Click to see The Bunco Club Discount

The Bunco Club, the first book in The Bunco Club Series (women’s fiction) will be listed in Amazon's Kindle Countdown Deals starting today, Saturday, June 28.
It will cost 99¢ on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
On Tuesday, the price will go up to $1.99.
On Wednesday, the price will be $2.99.
On Thursday, July 3, The Bunco Club will return to its normal price of $5.99.

With the 3rd book slated to be out by late fall (fingers crossed) this is a good opportunity to start reading the popular series. 

It is VERY easy to give a Kindle book as a gift:
Awwww, come on, admit it ...  wouldn't it be nice (and inexpensive) to surprise someone with the 
Kindle Edition of The Bunco Club!  
When you get to the site, on the right-hand side of the screen you'll see the little green box below.
 
You can either buy for yourself or click the "Give as a Gift" Button. (You can also do both, but I think it would take separate transactions). I believe you need to know the email address of the person you want to give the book to.

Awwww, come on, wouldn't it be nice (and inexpensive) to surprise someone with the 
Kindle Edition of The Bunco Club!  

Don't have a Kindle...no worries.  
The Kindle app is free and can quickly be downloaded to your Smart Phone, tablet, or computer.
BAM! Problem solved.

So for the next few days, please excuse my blatant and non-stop marketing attempts on the social media sites. ...I'm desperately trying to make this promotion work!



Friday, June 20, 2014

Rosemont Recap

The crowd was a little thin the first several hours of the show, but that was fine by me. As always the quilts displayed at the International Quilt Festival Chicago 2014 were exceptional and inspiring. They make me want to scurry home, start, and then actually finish projects on my personal wait list. I'll show several of my favorites from the show at the end of this blog, but first I want to give a big shout-out to a friend and quilter from my area (Chicago Southland) for having one of her quilts hanging in the show. Congratulations, Kathy Mathews--I'm so proud of you!
Kathy with her quilt, Irish in Chicago.  Kathy designed this quilt which contrasts the gray of the urban city with the green of the dyed Chicago River on St. Patrick's Day.
For More about Kathy, her fabulous quilts, and great sense of humor check out her blog: Kathy's Blog

VENDORS and MY LOOT:
Yes, I did my share of shopping and purchasing! You can't beat having hundreds of quilting and sewing related vendors under one roof.
There was a lot of wool and wool patterns being shown. In my opinion much more than in the past. While I love the wool projects, my MS has limited the use of my right hand and I can no longer do any type of hand work...so I'm sorry to say that I didn't spend much time perusing the wool booths. 
I also noticed, overwhelmingly so, that a good amount of the booths were showing what I would call darker fabrics. ...Not that there's anything wrong with that, it was just an observation. 
I bought my first 'modern pattern' and of course can't wait to work on it (along with everything else that found its way home with me).
Vendors, vendors everywhere!!

It doesn't look like much but most of this is just what I was looking for: Five 2 Yard pieces of batiks for a pattern I designed, a yummy giant cone of Aurifil, 12 pre-wound bobbins, one fat quarter, and 2 patterns.

The Modern pattern. So simple yet so perfectly intriguing.

Another pattern with teeny tiny pieces.

As much as the jewelry and other do-dads drew me to their booths, I managed to avoid any purchases along those lines. I had some time constraints, but was on a mission to find several specific items and I stuck to it!

FRIENDS:
This year the group of friends whom I usually go to the show with were unable to attend, so I went solo. I did however meet up with some of my favorite peeps from my quilt guild for lunch.

IMPROVEMENTS ON DRIVING THERE: All of you Chicagolanders and South Suburbanites will know what I'm talking about.
Warning--local drive-time talk:
The exit off of 294 North for Rosemont has always been the River Road / O'Hare Exit. This exit can be confusing at best and when under construction it can bring you to tears. 
Last year I almost (and I mean with a fraction of a second to spare) swerved back into the correct lane for the River Road Exit. Now mind you, I am not a wus about driving places and I have taken the River Road exit many many times, but heading to the 2013 Show while going at breakneck speed to keep up with the cars around me and the confusion of coned-off lanes for construction I avoided driving off to who-knows-where last year.
NEWSFLASH: Rosemont now has its own exit just before the dreaded O'Hare exit. it's Balmoral Avenue. Easy Peasy...two quick turns and I was in front of the convention center! ...All I can say is WOW! I wonder how long it will take before this friendly exit is made confusing by the people at the Tollway. Rant and whining over!

And Finally the QUILTS:
Enjoy this smattering of quilts from the exhibit.





Detail of above.

Detail of above.

Detail of above.

Sorry that this is so blurry. This was a wonder piece from a quilter in Japan. It was only about 12x16" but was so well done using hand-dyed micro-fused applique.

Close-up

Detail of above.
Warhol-esque piece using fused applique: 64 different fabrics and 64 different threads

Mona
The man himself

While basking in the quilty glow of my visit to the Rosemont Festival yesterday, I'm already very much looking forward to next year's outing.
Hope you enjoyed





Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rosemont Rocks! & Other Stuff

If you are a quilter and live in the Chicago area you only have to hear one word to get your quilty blood flowing...ROSEMONT.

Starting tomorrow, Thursday, June 19, the International Quilt Festival Chicago - 2014, begins its three day run at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. Let's be honest Midwest quilters--it just doesn't get any better. Within a mere 45 miles of my home and a reasonable admission fee of $10.00 ($8 for Seniors) you can spend the day among over 200 quilting/sewing related vendors, countless juried quilts on display, and thousand and thousands of excited happy quilters shopping, browsing, chatting, and in many cases gawking at all the cool stuff.

What quilt lover can resist?

I'm heading down tomorrow and I can't wait!
Random crowd shot from 2013 Rosemont Show.

IN OTHER 'KAREN' RELATED NEWS...

  • I've got a good start on Book 3 (Marge and Beth) and I think it is coming along nicely.
  • The Rocking Horse baby pattern and samples are DONE! I plan to debut it at the Batavia Quilt Show in July (see the events tab for dates). I might even have Quilters Spools ready by then. 
  • I received an interesting email last night from a long lost cousin of my hubby's. She read my first book (knowing that Bob was my husband) and contacted me. We have so much in common--she also has Mayflower ancestors and is a quilter! Nice to meet you Beth =)
  • I've debated announcing this because it's in the early planning stages with nothing firmed up yet so I don't want to jinx anything. But I'm so darn excited about this I'm going to throw caution (and my superstition) to the wind and spill the beans. I've been asked to be the keynote speaker at the 2015 Galena Quilt and Fiber Arts Show next June!! So save the date...well, I actually don't know the date, but as soon as I do I'll let you know when it is. Galena, Illinois is a beautiful place for a weekend visit--throw in a quilt show and I'd say it's darn near perfect!
  • I had ever so much fun at a quilting friends birthday party this past weekend. I LOVE these peeps! They are fun and enthusiastic and genuinely kind people. Here are a few pics:
Birthday Girl and good friend, Kathy
Winnie and Moe





So it's off to Rosemont tomorrow. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Got a minute?

As the Queen of Big Ideas and someone who has tackled a late-in-life-dream, these words hit home for me and I couldn't help but share.
Thought provoking powerful words of wisdom for all of us at any age, this video is only minute long and definitely worth the time to listen. Many thanks to Jim Carrey for sharing his thoughts during a commencement speech.
 "You can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance at doing what you love."

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Magic of Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago


There are magical moments throughout the year in the beautiful city of Chicago. This past weekend I was thrilled to take place in one of them with four wonderful hours of participation at Printers Row Lit Fest.

Several city blocks are closed to cars and opened to book lovers perusing tents and tables of authors and books. As a member of the Chicago Writers Association, I had secured my four hour time-slot the nanosecond the email went out. For a very reasonable $45.00, I could share a table with another author in the heart of the Lit Fest.

Here I am, all set up at 2:00 sharp. Don't my quilts look colorful compared to the black table toppers that everyone else had? It sure drew attention to my little three foot area which was just what I wanted to happen!

 Sales were brisk ... Yippee!
Chatting it up with readers
With Tori Collins, President of CWA and a fantastic woman!
Overview of a very small portion of the Lit Fest
If you've never been to Printers Row but love to read, make it a point to look into it in early June next year.

Two Other Fun Events:

The Park Forest Library Knit Lit Book Club read my first book The Bunco Club for their May book. We had a small but VERY lively group and discussion. Truly lovely people who inspired me to hurry up with my crochet lessons!

The Knit Lit Gals. Thanks Millie and Renee for organizing a wonderful evening
Check out these cute treats! Yum!
An impressive treat table for a fun night.

Peotone Public Library Book Club had a good size group and our time together was delightful. It's so much fun to talk to a room full of people who have read your book, and can't wait to get their hands on the next in the series! Thank you ladies (and the one man in the group!) for your thoughts and insights.



TREATS!

As always, thanks for looking. I appreciate your continued interest in my journey.
Karen


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

This is a Genius Idea for All Who Sew!

For quilters and sewers ... How's this for a fabulous idea?
Take one of those toe separators that's used for pedi's and use it as a bobbin holder! No more bobbins rolling around where they don't belong or tangling with everything in site ... very portable for retreats etc. Simply genius!

A helpful chart for Quilters:

Talk about genius (with a touch of silly) ... who wouldn't love to have this option somewhere in their home?

I get a lot of people wanting to know more about Sunnie, a new character I introduced in Quilters of The Bunco Club: Phree & Rose, Book 2 in The Bunco Club Series. Sunnie is Phree's hippie mother and these are some of the images that inspired me while working on her character. 

If you've read Book 2, I think one of these cars just has to belong to Sunnie, don't you?

This one is actually beaded!
This must be Sunnie's sewing machine:

... And the sofa in Sunnie's home:

We'll be seeing more of Sunnie in Book 3 which is underway and moving along nicely.

Also, my patterns and samples are still in the works! Even with the expert help from Sandy-from-Cedar-Rapids-pattern-writer-extraordinaire it is a VERY time consuming project as I am torn between writing, speaking, and making samples of my patterns. But we are making progress, so stay tuned!

REMEMBER to check the tab on my blog " Quilting/Fiber Tips & Ideas" for more ideas that were hand-picked by ME for your sewing and quilting pleasure.

Enjoy the day.