The second month into our American Journey has absolutely flown by! It feels as though we just got here, but then again, when I think of all we’ve done and all the friends we’ve made, it feels as though we’ve been here forever. Friends have stopped by to drop off autumn decorations and the weather has definitely introduced us to a kind of fall we don’t know back in South Africa. I would so far as to say our winters there are a touch milder than autumn over here. I have been to Deb Obermeier’s farm, fondly known as Slipknot in her book series and we’ve taken on a Sunday evening dessert tradition. Sunday evenings are set aside to either host dessert or to go out for dessert and it is fabulous! And fattening. Again, all this food and all these treats!
But also, I’ve been spending a lot more time with Tammy Koelling, our publisher and CEO of Words Matter Publishing. What the Words Matter team accomplishes on not a daily basis, but an hourly one is absolutely astonishing. The work and the hours the publishing house puts into each author was something I never quite fully realized until now. Honestly, I just don’t know how she does it? Each author is a priority – not one, not two, but each one of us are number one on her priority list. The thing with Tammy is, she does not leave a project for a team member to deal with alone, she is on top of it at ALL times! She liaises directly with each one and believe me, we can be so demanding. I have new-found respect for her and her team. I have come to realize how extraordinary Words Matter Publishing is, and how far they’ll go for each one of us. More than anything, I will never forget how much faith she placed in bringing me over for a few months, while giving it her all to keep us happy and comfortable.
I just had no idea so much goes into publishing one single book and I don’t think I have ever realized how much time she puts into every single aspect of the publishing house and her WMP authors.
The second part of our journey began with my daughter joining us for a short while. She arrived the day after her birthday and of course, Tammy made sure that we had a belated birthday party for her. My heart missed her so!
The weekend of the 8th September sent us to the Craft and Vendor Fair in Belleville Illinois at the Belle Clair Fairgrounds and Expo Center in Belleville. Again, it was another unique experience where we got to meet so many fabulous people! And slowly, I am beginning to find my feet and am learning ffrom Tammy and the other wonderful WMP authors.
Then it was straight to an event in Okawville. Although still feeling a little strange, it was great to experience the annual street festival which included dozens of different floats, music bands, fire trucks, cheer leaders and so much more! And! I got my selfie with two police offers! Next on my list; be a passenger on a yellow school bus!
We had a beautiful booth indoors and met some amazing readers and authors while we were there. Again, Tammy Koelling bent over backwards to ensure that it all turned out smoothly and that we all had a fabulous time while getting out there with our books. Of course, seeing pumpkins and watermelons, some of which weighed over 700 pounds was an added bonus!
Tammy with the monstrous pumpkins and watermelons.
This was also where I met Spooky Old Alice, a character and a cow in Gary Guest’s Fertilizer For The Funnybone. Yep. A cow.
Then there was the Nashville Festival. I think this was the highlight of all our book events to date for me! I met a few more WMP authors and this time, I was so much more at ease around strangers even if I sound so different to them. I think I’m finally getting the ‘hang’ of this!
Yesterday, we hosted the first Author Launch Pad at Centralia Library. My nerves were shot, but as we drove to the library, I looked over at Tammy and reminded myself of all she does to promote her authors and all the events she arranges for us. I knew that I had to get my act together, forget my fear of public speaking and do the very best I can. For her. For all she has done for us, her authors. For all the work she puts into us and our work and for all the times she inspires us; the times we think we fail. For all the effort she puts in and for the faith she so naturally has for us all. It was time to bring my side. Well, let me tell you, I might have sounded different, but I got out there and did it. She on the other hand, was fabulous, of course! She always is!
What is in store for the next month? I have no idea, but what I do know is that we have the Witches Night Out at the end of October and I am looking forward to meeting fellow author, Shannon Simpson.
Words Matter Publishing is growing at a phenomenal rate with so much expansion taking place that is specifically aimed at their authors and their work! I can’t wait to see how it all turns out and I am so thankful to be here while all this is happening.
America is a beautiful country. Americans are warm-hearted and forgiving. I miss South Africa and I miss my beautiful friendships, but I know too that distance means nothing with friendships like mine. I am learning, adjusting and adapting to the ways of the Americans and am so excited to see what the next few months hold before we go home.
Driving on the wrong side of the road doesn’t seem all that strange anymore, but I still get into the wrong side of the car … sometimes!
Until next time! Keep safe!
Lots of love,