Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Power of Thanksgiving

Did you know that the first official declaration of Thanksgiving day as a national holiday was done by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War? It must have been hard for families to conceive of a day of thanks when so much tragedy was ranging around them.  Later, Franklin Roosevelt tried to move the holiday up a week--primarily to allow more time for holiday shopping. However, a number of states ignored him.  Then during WWII, only a month after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Congress finalized the date as the fourth Thursday in November.  Interesting again that a day of Thanks was finalized in the midst of war.

Thanksgiving has power.  Even during war, economic downturns, and personal tragedy people seem to always find a way to give thanks. It is easy to give thanks during times of prosperity. But I think the power of thanksgiving is to be able to give thanks in times of difficulty.  It is then that giving thanks shows hope and belief that better times will come and that we understand what is truly important in our lives.

As a child, our Thanksgiving day tradition was to converge at grandma's house. Each family brought food to share. Of course there were specialties. My Aunt Donna was the pie maker. My Aunt Vickie was the green bean casserole maker. My grandmother spent the week before baking bread. My family usually brought the turkey. Others brought sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and a variety of snacks. I come from a large family (9 children) and in addition to my 11 cousins, both my grandmother and an aunt also took in foster children. Add to that the additional friends or other stragglers kids would bring and it was quite the crowd and more food than all of us could consume in a single day.

Before the meal was served we each had to say what we were thankful for that year. Each person had a turn, including the smallest of children who could understand and speak. Sometimes there were 50+ of us present so it took awhile. Once every person had given thanks a blessing for the food was given. Blessing the food was another tradition that also passed from adults to teens.

I still think of that tradition every year as Thanksgiving approaches and I am grateful to have it as my tradition. I still use this time of year to reflect on the many blessings I've had in my life. I think about the  friends and family I've loved throughout my life and how much they have influenced who I am and what I do. I give thanks for those who have died and for those present. I give thanks for those, like my friend Michele, who have given an important part of their lives to helping others. She is in the Peace Corp in Africa. She lives in a one room hut and is never sure if the village will have water that day or not. That reminds me to give thanks for the water I take for granted.

Giving thanks at this time of year may seem a small thing to do, or to some a silly thing to do. However, I find it keeps me grounded for the rest of the year. As I enter into the world of holiday food, shopping, and events to attend, I often feel overwhelmed by the expectations for my time and attention. When that happens I return to my simple thanksgiving and it puts it all into perspective. I am truly fortunate to be surrounded by people I love, to do a job I love, and even to have the opportunity to share these words with you.

What are some of the traditions you value for Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Finally Just One Me (kind of)

About three months ago I shut down my Maggie Faire blog and asked people to follow me here.  That was the beginning of a journey to combine all of my writer personas into one place.  I'm now doing that with my social media as well: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, and with a new Website.  It is surprisingly not easy to do this when people know you as one particular author name. And I've only been publishing novels since 2011. I can't imagine how hard it must be for people who've been doing it for a decade or more.

Websites are the easiest. You create a new one and then point the other ones to the new one. It doesn't matter if someone goes to or or They now all end up at my combined site.  Of course websites are completely under your own control. Other than dealing with your Internet service provider, or the needs of the software you use to build the website, you don't have to ask anyone's permission to change everything.

Social media? Not so easy!

For those who may considering undertaking this let me share what I've learned so far.

Facebook - The good news is that FB allows you to have ONE page name change and an associated username to go with that.  Of course it comes with a couple of caveats: it has to still match "essentially" what you were doing before, and you have to request it through your SETTINGS on the page. It worked for me because my page was about my writing before and it is still about my writing. Before I made my request, I changed my profile to show all three names I write under, and asked for my FB username to be maggiewrites (fortunately it wasn't taken yet). FB support approved my request and made the change within 3 hours! I was suitably amazed.

FB also allows you to make a ONE time request to combine pages into one. Same caveats as the name change apply PLUS you must have less than 200 likes. If they approve it, they will automatically move your LIKES to the new page and inform all the people they move.  My request is still in for that (that can take up to 14 days).  I already put  post on my Maggie Faire site letting them know what I was doing and requesting people to move themselves.  But I know only a very few will do that.

The advice FB gives is to move from the page with the least likes to the one with the most. The downside is, once they do the merge, the page with the least is deleted along with photos, posts, and other things like that.  Again for me, not a big deal. Maggie Faire was still building and not yet at 100 so it is the obvious choice to delete. Maggie Jaimeson is well over 400 so that is the one I kept and changed to represent all three personas.

Twitter - Twitter does allow you to make a change to your account name. Again you can do it through settings. So, I went from Maggie Jaimeson to Maggie Author and changed my background picture and profile to talk about all my writing under different names.  Twitter DOES NOT have a way to combine accounts. Again, I'm not too worried. Maggie Faire was still building, so I've tweeted and posted and asked people to come over to the combined twitter account. I'll just close it down at the end of the month.

Goodreads - I really didn't think I could combine names at Goodreads because you claim your books by them being associated with the author name on the book, hence I had three accounts there too.  However, I contacted them and they did combine it for me.  I'm going to quote the exact wording so I don't get it wrong. "Since you write under three different pen names, it might help to note that when adding information for a book written by an author with multiple names, we'll have to enter the name as on the front cover as the primary author. This has caused your books to display two pen names."

I can live with that, as long as I remember. It also sets me up for when/if I decide to simply write everything under Maggie Lynch. That is when I have the status of Nora Roberts or J.K. Rowling and people will follow me no matter what I write (smile). Of course when I achieve that status I can pay someone else to do all this technical stuff.

I'm already feeling lighter now that there is technologically only one me to worry about.The only social media outstanding for me is Pinterest. Pinterest does not have any functionality to merge accounts; but you can point to the pics in another account and take them into yours. That may be the best I can do for that one. It's lowest on my to-do list.

It's great to be represented as one me, instead of three different people. I can still write in different genres. I hope I haven't confused my readers. It will be wonderful not to have to worry about updating in nine different places. Whew!

Let me know what you think about all my new digs. I'm still futzing with the gallery on the website. It's not acting in quite the way I expect.  But I'll get there.  Feedback is always appreciated!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Let the Party Continue

I had an awesome time at the Jan's Paperbacks Kobo Reader party. Special thanks goes out to Jan's Paperbacks and Kobo Writing Life for hosting us and being such a blast to hang with.  With eighteen authors, 25 free book downloads, food and wine galore, extra giveaways, and readers by the hundreds how could I not have a good time?

I've already received a couple of "whines" from fans who don't live in the Portland area, or even in Oregon or the United States. Of course I care about you too!!! So, let's continue the party virtually and everyone can get in on meeting new authors and getting good books.

Here's the deal. The author's below have agreed to continue the party. That means the books listed are FREE when you download at Kobo Books. Don't have a Kobo e-reader? No problem. You can download the free Kobo app to your desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone and read the books that way.  At the Kobo page scroll to the bottom and select which app you want for the device. Have a Kindle as your primary reader and you still want these books? No problem, download the Kindlegen app to do the conversion for you.

Here are the amazing books offered for free if you put in the PROMO CODE when you check out.

Jessa Slade
Erin Kellison, KC Klein
& Jessa Slade
Jamie Brazil
Meljean Brook
Darcy Burke

Darcy Burke

Maggie Faire
Caroline Fyffe

Bryan Gregory

Bryan Gregory
William Hertling
Paty Jager
Paty Jager
Maggie Jaimeson
C. Morgan Kennedy and Therese Patrick
Delilah Marvelle
Delilah Marvelle
Lucy Monroe
Elisabeth Naughton
Elisabeth Naughton
Jean Sheldon
Jean Sheldon

Jack Whitsel

Christina F. York
J. Steven York
J. Steven York

The download codes for these free Kobo books are good only until November 30th.  After then they will disappear, so get your books downloaded before then. Click on the linked title above and it will take you to the book's page. Then follow these instructions.

1.  Click the Buy Now button. (Don't worry you won't pay anything because you have the download code.)

2.  Sign in with your Kobo UserID and Password. If you don't have one, you will need to set up one.

3.  Once you are signed in and selected the book with the BUY NOW button, it will take you to the "Confirm  Your Purchase" page.

4.  Click on pinkish link for "Have a gift card or promo code?"  It is just below your address on the purchase screen.

5.  A field will pop up for you to enter the PROMO code: jansbooks

6.  Click the APPLY link.

7.  A box will pop up saying that you've covered your cost so they won't have to bill your credit card.

8.  Now you will see at the BUY NOW button that $0.00 will be charged. Click the BUY NOW button.

9.  Then you get the DOWNLOAD EPUB button.  Click it to download to your computer.


Download as many as you want. It's a party. Celebrate with reading!

Please feel free to share these links with your reader friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, heck -- everywhere! The more downloads, the merrier :) Thank you for reading!