Wrapping It Up

It’s that time of year, isn’t it? Wrapping it up seems like a good headline to sum up this seasonal time of wrapping presents, wrapping up projects, wrapping up another 365 days. 

So, let me leave you with a bit of end-of-year news and wisdom.

1. Book signings are tough. Without celebrity status or an incredibly long list of devoted friends and family members, book signings can be excruciatingly lonely, boring and disappointing. So, instead, why not come up with a way your knowledge can help others? A talk, a seminar, a workshop is much more rewarding and often a better use of time. When you offer people something, you always gets more in return.

2. Keep the most important things, the most important in your life. It’s easy to lose yourself in all the flurry of activity that writing and publishing books bring with it. But every so often, life comes along and smacks us in the face with the realities of how we spend our time, and sometimes a lesson on how we should.  A child leaves for school, a husband struggles in a business, a parent passes away, a friend becomes ill, couples get divorced, families with kids at home become empty-nesters. These life passages seem to run faster all the time, leaving us square in the path of the cliche, where has all the time gone? Lesson learned: time goes by quickly—-make sure you’re making time for what is truly important in your life.

3. Trust in yourself. Know when to listen to the outer and inner critics. Some are valid; some are not. If instinct tells you to keep plugging, keep plugging. Myriads of editors, publishers, agents and others have been proven wrong over the ages. Proper persistence often pays off.

4. Enjoy the journey. You never know where writing is going to take you. It has taken me to places I’ve never been—introduced me to people I would have never met—exposed me to topics I would never have known anything about. It’s a journey, not a marathon. Plan to enjoy it. If you don’t, take some time to think about your path. Maybe it needs tweaking or a complete makeover. Either way, it’s progress toward where you should ultimately be.

Whatever your genre, whatever your denomination, whatever your status in life—-enjoy this wintery, slow-down of life—this pause to reflect on what is truly important in this life, and focus yourself once again for another 365 days of lessons to wrap, unwrap and maybe even re-gift.

Chrysa Smith


Signed Books–The Perfect Gift!

It’s hard to believe (and somewhat cringe-inducing, I know), but the holiday season is almost upon us and with that comes the dreaded buying of the gifts.

Hard as I try to maintain some Christmas spirit while searching for just the right thing to please my loved ones, the truth is that most of the time, I end up grumbling and muttering to myself while I wander aimlessly around countless department stores for hours on end, frequently coming home empty-handed.

If your search for holiday cheer leaves you feeling more like the Grinch than Clark Griswold, I may have a solution.

On November 27th, from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M., five local authors, including yours truly, Carmen Ferreiro Esteban, Chrysa Smith, Suzanne Zoglio and Sandy Cody, will bring their delightful works to the Doylestown Bookshop to ring in the holiday season in a Home for the Holidays celebration.

Signed books make thoughtful, inexpensive and personal gifts and the authors you’ll meet have scripted works for everyone on your Christmas list.

Each author targets a different audience with her work. For younger readers, The Poodle Posse series, penned by Smith, details the antics of three cuddly canines as they share their days with their loving but occasionally confused owner, Mrs. Flout. Young adults will enjoy Two Moon Princess, written by Ferreiro Esteban, which tells the fantastical story of a discontented medieval princess, eager to live life on her own terms, who lands in modern day California.

In Everyday Adventures, Or, As My Husband Says, “Lies, Lies and More Lies”, I laugh my way through the trials and tribulations of modern day womanhood, taking the reader along for the ride. Sandy Cody authors the Jennie Connors mystery series, Put Out the Light, Consider the Lilly and By Whose Hand, which explore the challenges facing a single mother as she learns to balance independence with family and career responsibilities. And Suzanne Zoglio will help both women and men Recharge in Minutes as she describes 101 ways to refuel any time/any place and how to Create A Life That Tickles Your Soul .

This year more than ever, we’re all in need of some good cheer. So get a jump on holiday shopping, find the perfect gift and do join us at the Doylestown Bookshop to say “Hello.” We’d love to meet you and start your holiday season off right. See you there!

Mary Fran Bontempo

An Unexpected Gift

See full size imageA friend once told me that he never got disappointed because he had no expectations. That’s an interesting theory and one I’ve come to adopt myself in light of certain unpredictable situations like cocktail parties and book festivals.  So, I wasn’t completely disappointed that sales were lower than low at the Collingswood event this month. And although I had gone there with some desire to sell books,  I came home with  empty pockets and a blessing—a bit of grace and wisdom which tends to show up in my life (and maybe yours) at the most unexpected of times, in the most unlikely places. This day, it showed up in the person of Thomas E. Pierce.

Pierce is the author of The Last Rose—A True Celebration of Eternal Life.  I was captured by the kindness of Thomas and his wife Lillian, as they offered to share their tent with me if the skies opened. But I was truly captivated as the author explained his book to me. Five years ago, you may remember the news story about the Baltimore Water Taxi that was struck with an unexpected gust of wind that flipped the boat over in Baltimore Harbor.  That day, Pierce lost his wife of 37 years and his 35 year old daughter.  As he so bluntly put it, “What’s an overweight, bald man in his 60’s supposed to do now?”

One of the many things he did was to write and write and write. He wrote about the events, his feelings and finally, what led to the publication of his book, his faith trail, which led him through the darkest of times, the unknown and the unexpected, as his life began to take on a whole new direction. He met with priests, old friends and with a ‘medium’ who brought Pierce visions of the past, the future and an uncanny  foreshadowing of names, numbers, coincidences and connections which seems to invisibly guide us to the place where we need to go.

So Tom, who brought his wife one yellow rose each month on the date of their anniversary, for 37 years lost her unexpectedly, in a most tragic way—and his daughter too. Yet today, he is happily remarried, to the first girl  who caught his eye as a school boy in Philadelphia—-the girl the ‘medium’ brought to his attention during their session. Lillian, who had moved west many years earlier, was newly widowed herself. She lost her husband after many years of marriage, and returned to New Jersey. The two reconnected, and Lillian actually had to leave early that day, for a school reunion with ladies she’s known for decades. Tom’s other daughter  Kathy, is married with two young girls—-seemingly, the lights of Tom’s life which keep him going and laughing.

So, Tom gave me a copy of his book and a reality check that day—something we all need when we tend to get caught up in the minutia of our lives. And I gave Emily and Kayla—his young grandaughters,  copies of my children’s books. Tom’s message is summed up in the line “All the kindness a person puts out into the world works on the hearts and thoughts of mankind.” He’s right. It worked on me that day, and reminded me to pass it on.


Chrysa Smith

Gearing Up—The Chestnut Hill Book Festival

Go to fullsize imageThere’s a new book festival in town, and next week, Carmen, MaryFran and I will be there–at the signing tent, at a gallery, and yes, even at a closed car dealership. (What can I do to put you and this book together today?)

As a juvenile fiction writer, I’ve got to get my groove back on. Once the school year ends, my work comes to an abrupt halt. If you’re a teacher, you get it—and I suspect, you’re glad. You get a well-deserved break from the routine; a chance to recharge the batteries. But as an author with a new book scheduled for release later this summer, the silence is unnerving. I can tell the press. I can tell bookstores. I can tell my email contacts. But I must wait to talk to my main audience—the teachers who are lying on the beach, in Europe, in their yards with their phones off the hook.

Waiting is not my strong point. So, I will take myself, my books (so glad I will soon have two titles)to the Chestnut Hill Book Festival and talk about the new, soon-to-be released title, as I wait to tell the world. I can hardly wait!

If you go: The Chestnut Hill Book Festival runs Friday night, July 10th through Sunday, July 12th. MaryFran, Carmen and I will be there on Sunday afternoon, July 12th, between 1 and 4pm; at the car dealership, at the gallery and at the signing tent, respectively. More info: http://chestnuthillpa.com/


Chrysa Smith