Tag Archives: readers

Vacation Lessons of the Big Parks

Moonday Mania

Fun in the hot sun, or is it?

If you missed the big announcement on Friday, then check out my blog post listing all of the fabulous prizes available on the Bewitching Tours Sizzling Summer Giveaway, HERE and enter to win some fabulous prize packs. Or hop on over to the Bewitching Tours site HERE, and enter all four Rafflecopter contests at once directly on their site. Includes fabulous prizes, like my book (no being humble here) and a Kindle Fire. Best of luck, everyone!

At the end of May this romance writer set off on vacation with my intrepid spouse, MIL, two teen-age daughters, and one teen-age niece. I learned a lot.

jessica aspen at disney

After a hot day in line, even the most intrepid Colorado wildflower wilts.

I learned not to go to Florida at the end of May unless you stayed at the beach. We’re from Colorado. Denver has an average humidity of somewhere around 54%. Orlando’s average humidity? Somewhere around 74%. (Disclaimer: I looked at several different sources and they actually had different numbers, so that’s why the inexact science. Fiction writer, not scientist. These are my best estimates of the internet sources.) 

If you are used to humidity, then you don’t really notice it. Unless you come out West where you complain about parched skin. But if you live out West and you go on vacation to a hot, humid place, then you wilt. Tough, able to go without water in the hot sun, you add that humidity and we become whiny, exhausted, and difficult. Very difficult.We wilted like the Colorado wildflowers we are. Add in that no one wants to eat the same thing or ride on the same rides and I’d rather take three-year-olds to Disney. At least they fall asleep and you can stuff them into the stroller. Maybe abandon them at the stroller parking. Teens follow you around  and you can’t lose them.

We still had a great time and I’d go again, just not in the hot months. And I learned something else. I learned that the parks all did some things well. Disney had the food lines and quality of food down much better than Universal. The food service at Universal sucked. However, Universal had better lines for the rides. They had more shade and they had more entertaining things to look at as you went through the lines. They work their express lines differently. Universal’s overall ticket price is much cheaper than Disney’s, but you purchase an Express Ticket that moves you to the front of the hour long lines. Well worth it on a hot day, but it adds up when you buy it for every member of your party.

hulk roller coaster at universal studios floridaDisney let’s everyone use the Fast Pass, but you have to go to the ride ahead of time and get a ticket to come back at a certain time when you will get to skip the longer line. Only one Fast Pass at a time, so you spend much of your time figuring out how and when to get your Fast Passes.

So what did I learn overall? And how does that apply to writing and books? I learned that you need to check your customer service with real customers. And even if you have a guaranteed riderreadership, you need to still make them happy. These parks are crowded, but if the rumor gets started that you might as well go to a local park as go to a bigger park, then attendance will drop. It doesn’t matter how big you are, all customers are important.

Of course, I’m just a little fish in the big pond of publishing. But they are still good lessons to remember. Sometimes I hear bigger authors say they can’t change anything or learn new craft because this is the way they write and too bad! Well, I hope that’s never me. I hope I always want to learn new things and tweak my writing. I hope I’m always ready to change, despite the crowds who might someday flock to my books. Some writers are afraid to try new genres and in the process get left behind. Once again, I hope that’s never me. I hope I’m always ready to try new things, ride new rides, and change my ways. Change is not easy, but it is the essence of life.

And in the spirit of keeping my customer base happy I’m trying something new with The Dark Huntsman. I have a few hand picked beta readers who have said they would read it and answer a few questions. This way I’m hoping to get a non-writers viewpoint before publication. Does reading The Dark Huntsman feel like standing around in a hot line, or do you feel like you are zipping around the park on an Express Ticket? Would you read it a second time? Would you recommend it to friends?

toes underwater at the beach

Lazy toes under the water.

I don’t think I’ll be heading back to the big parks of Florida anytime soon. Not because they weren’t fun, they were, but simply because this was our last park vacation for a while. Next one is going to be just my hubby and myself and we’re going to the beach. No kids, no long lines, just sand, sun, and romance!

How do you please your customers? Are they readers too? What about in other businesses or things you do in life? Do you ask questions, take surveys, or do you simply hand them their plates and call “Next!”?


Filed under About the Author, channeling success, Moonday mania, writing craft

#RomCon 2012, The Aftermath

Moonday Mania

 A blog for the Craft of writing, or maybe the craziness of the writing Biz

I survived Rom Con 2012. I need the t-shirt.

Totally unprepared for what I was about to go through, I left my job 45 minutes early, thinking that would help me get organized. Because I truly wasn’t organized.

Melissa Mayhue, ML Guida, Jessica Aspen, Hillary Seidl

Melissa Mayhue, ML Guida, Jessica Aspen, Hillary Seidl

Even though I had signed up for Rom Con 2012 in August of last year, I had never attended a promotional event like this as an author. I’d attended as a reader. And they are different. Readers are there to be entertained. To have fun. To get to know their favorite authors, meet some new ones, and maybe get a little loose.

Jessica Aspen mints

Jessica Aspen Mints and stickies

Authors are there to meet readers and have fun, but really we’re there to spread the word about ourselves and our books. As fun as that is (and it really was fun) it’s still a lot of work. I should have started about three months ahead of time, strategically planning my swag orders and my appearances. What I would wear, and what my image should be. I didn’t do any of that. I winged it. And I had a blast!

But it was draining, and I want to thank everyone who supplied me with the asprin, Tylonal and Advil to get through my migraine. My buddies came through for me, even though we never quite managed the buddy meet, they were fantastic! Thanks ladies!

Do’s and Don’ts for the next author promo event.

Little Red Riding Wolf chocolate postcard

Little Red Riding Wolf postcard with kisses

Do buy swag. I have a terrible time deciding what to buy and how much to spend. As a working author every dollar counts, so where is the best place to put your money? If I had to do it again I would buy something small, like pens, to shower the event with. I had the mints, and they were great. Everyone liked them, and I would definitely do them again. And the chocolates stapled to the postcards were also a hit. Everyone loves chocolate, although maybe not the night of the Chocolate Mangasm event!

Do fork out the money and bring print books.

Rom Con is full of dedicated readers, and they all have e-devices, so I thought my books on a disk would be attractive. But they all went for the print books with their shiny covers first. It took me talking and handing them out to readers to get them into their hands, but that’s the better way anyhow. Readers are there to get to know you and they want a personal connection. They were all so nice and friendly. Great people to go have fun with. We rocked the casino event and I’m keeping secrets about the chocolate mangasm event, shh!

Jessica Aspen and Hillary Seidl at Chocolate Mangasm, Rom Con 2012

Jessica Aspen and Hillary Seidl at Chocolate Mangasm, Rom Con 2012

Do have fun!

No matter what you are there to have fun with a fun group of readers. And authors are readers too, so enjoy the event, make new friends and have a blast! I hope to see all my new friends next year! WOOT!

Have you ever gone to a reader event? What swag do you like to take home? Candy, bookmarks? Books?


Filed under About the Author, Events, Moonday mania

Rom Con 2012

Sensational Saturday

a blog for whatever

Before I get to my topic, I want to remind you about the CRW blog hop. Check out the list HERE and don’t forget there are prizes. Most stops have a free book and at the end we’ll have a gift card drawing, so check out your favorite CRW authors today!

Rom Con 2012 is fast approaching and I’m excited to say that they sent an offer to all their attending authors stating that if we posted two blogs about Rom Con, they would give us some tickets to give away to our readers! So here goes!

I attended RomCon 2011 as a reader, and vowed that I’d be back as an author. Little did I know that my contract for Little Red Riding Wolf would be accepted by Passion in Print Press about a month later. So this year I am attending as an author!

A a reader I found something I didn’t even know existed, a reader centered conference all about romance. We played silly games with our favorite authors and got to know them in a way I never thought I could. I met people like Jessa Slade,  Kimberly Frost and Darynda Jones. And brought home more free books than I could carry.

It was a blast, and this year should be just as fun. I’m very excited about attending the paranormal dinner. This year it’s all about science fiction and representing your species. I’ll have to find a suitable werewolf or fairy costume. Fairy sounds more comfortable, and I think we have wings somewhere!

And I’m going to be a dealer at Monte Carlo night too! I have special gifties for the first fifty people to come to my table. And ML Guida will be a character in the mystery at Monte Carlo that will be going on while everyone is playing cards and having fun. Can’t wait to see who did it.

Tune in next blog to hear about Chocolate Mangasm, Build a Hero, and speed dating authors. Or check out the Rom Con 2012 website and explore. They have book giveaways and a newsletter sign up too. And leave a comment today and on the next Rom Con blog and I’ll have a drawing for those promised free tickets. Comment to enter and win!

Have you ever been  to a conference? Was it centered on writing, business or fun? Have you ever attended a star-con, comic-con or manga-con? What was your favorite part? Shopping? Activities? Being star struck?


Filed under Events