?

Log in

A weird night and an unsettled morning

Generally, my sleep pattern is delightfully boring: I get tired around 10 PM, will sometimes read or cruise the 'net until no later than 11, and fall asleep only moments after crawling into bed. It's normal for me to wake up briefly every few hours, glance at the clock, reassure myself that morning (and the alarm) is yet hours away, and plunge immediately back into deep sleep. While I do have many vivid dreams, if I don't work to retain them they are all gone within minutes of waking up.

So last night was weird: dreams full of anxiety (usually it's adventure) and some difficulty working out what was real upon waking. Troubles getting back to sleep, and waking frequently instead of hardly at all.

Today I feel OK, not super tired as I might have expected, but my usual bubbling optimism is squelched by serious concerns that I'm headed in a foolish direction, and dragging everyone else along with me.

Just a test

Because I want to see if things work like I think they do when I post a link here.

Shelf Life, edited by Greg Ketter

Last Day at The Country Store

Like almost all transitions, today will have a little sad mixed in with the busy, but I'm already so focused on the short term fun of Emerald City Comic Con this weekend and the Moving to Minneapolis to launch a career with DreamHaven that will be my Wednesday next week, that the real challenge will be to give the Country Store the attention they deserve.

I've already completed sufficient information transfer to be confident that the current staff can pick up where I left off on any of my many projects and tasks, so it will just be a matter of getting today's activities wrapped up.

Tomorrow I'll be off plenty early to get to the convention, bringing with me six boxes of SofaWolf books to deliver to their booth. Then it's off to meet up with the crew that Helen Montgomery has put together to help with the Science Fiction Outreach Project, a marvelous scheme where six to ten thousand science fiction books are given away (free!) to the attendees of the show, along with information about upcoming SF related events, like Worldcon. It's going to be a blast!

I'm also bringing with a small stack of graphic novels to get signed - as much as an excuse to have a conversation with the creators as anything, but they are all books I've really enjoyed.

My only other planned activity for Emerald City is going to be getting another sketchbook filled. I already have a completed one with creator's self portrait sketches, one that's barely started with airships, and one with only four pages left with interpretations of Agatha Heterodyne. The airship one has not been as fun as the other two, and I'm thinking I might just start a new self portrait collection, as that one's been fascinating to assemble.

Now to get my head back into retail for good old-timey work clothes, PNW specialty foods, no-battery toys, plants, seeds and animal feed - just for one more day.

In just two weeks

Two weeks from now I will be flying off to Minneapolis, leaving my home of 11 years here on the dim green quiet island and returning to my favorite occupation: bookselling. I can't wait (and yet I must wait). My head is filled with all the questions I can only answer there, and the plans that Greg and I may or may not choose to implement. We're not even talking about it much now - we know that we will be able to have much more productive and interactive discussions about everything once we are face to face again. Skype really doesn't fill that need, and there's no deadline to meet or crashing need for action.

But two weeks is also long enough that I'm not being very productive getting ready for everything. I really ought to be far along on the whole "what to bring, what to sell, what to trash" process, but each pile I ramble through brings another handful of marvelous distractions.

Like, I used to do a vast amount of yarnwork (both knitting and crochet) and I can see a strong potential for letting that back into my life. But I'm unlikely to choose to use my stash of acrylic yarn when I've a stash of non-itchy wool also waiting. (I've already regifted the itchy wool.) I'm not going to just throw it all away, but it feels strange to give it away when it's not all in perfect wound balls. And I'm not wiling to spend half an afternoon carefully winding yarn I'm not planning to use.

That's just one example, I have a dozen more. Clothes that are perfectly fine but I never wear them (so why keep them). Books and papers that I enjoyed at the time, but don't need to have for all eternity, and certainly don't want to see added to the recycling pile. At least if they are things related to science fiction, and have some sort of value, I could ship them to the store and put them up for sale. But what about the vast collection of convention program books? The 1981 Encyclopaedia Brittanica? The amazing collection of gardening books - all for growing in the Pacific NorthWest?

Then there are the projects I've left hanging.
I have the outline and much of the text of a short writeup on the economics of being a convention bookseller. It's a topic that I can be quite animated about in person. But wedging it into words has sucked all the life out of it. There's probably only a couple of hours needed to finish it up and post it. And I mention it here because today is a very likely time to complete this, especially after I post this note and publicly commit myself to doing so.

I have the making for a costume. I haven't done costume construction since Marty got old enough to no longer be interested (somewhere around 10). But I love the idea of this one, and Emerald City would be the perfect place. My head knows that I have only today and next Tuesday off from work, and that there's little energy left after working to do stuff in the evening. And yet my gut thinks there's still plenty of time. You are wrong, gut!

The thing to do right now is to stop ramblingwriting, take a shower, get dressed, make breakfast and then see if I can avoid cruising the net (my most common timesink).

Oh, and post this missive.

Foolscap

Useful notes as I prep for bookselling in a bit over a week.

http://haikujaguar.livejournal.com/
M.C.A. Hogarth
Author of The Godson's Triumph ($17.95) and Flight of the Godkin Griffin ($17.95)
and probably more lovely things in these boxes.

It's 5 pm and dark

I know the days are getting longer, because while it is now 5:00 pm in the evening and dark enough that lights must go on inside, it is still light enough to see outdoors. So that's a big change from the last month. But I will be even happier when the sun stays up longer.

Bookseller Soft Launch

An announcement, and a question

I'm going to be a book dealer at the (very soon upcoming) Foolscap! Ursula Vernon, author and artist of the amazing Digger as well as many other fine works, will be the Guest of Honor and I wanted to make sure that her small press books from SofaWolf would be available. So I got a couple tables, and arranged for copies of her books to be shipped over.

As part of setting up for this I want to sign up with one of the payment services so that I can take credit cards. There are three options I'm considering:
Swipe is an iPhone/iPad app by AppNinja that was one of the first portals for letting folks like us do this sort of thing. They have solid software and servers that never seem to get overwhelmed, even during the chaos that is San Diego Comic Con.
Square is the better-known service, and probably has the fastest, least bothersome account setup procedures.
Shopify is an ecommerce site that lets you easily set up an online store, and handles the payment processing. There's a monthly charge, ut it would let me list the books that I have available on a longer term arrangement than a one-shot convention dealer table. It's an option I've been pondering for some time, and perhaps this is the motivating factor that gets me to make the jump.

Any comments or feedback? Any experiences with these providers? anyone else coming to Foolscap?

Dipping toes back into the bubbling warmth

That is, I'm going to be selling books at an upcoming convention again!

Ursula Vernon is the Guest of Honor at Foolscap, which will be held at the Redmond Merriott Town Center in (you guessed it!) Redmond WA on Jan 30th - Feb 1st, 2015.

SofaWolf, the publisher of her amazing graphic novel Digger, has other commitments and can't make the long journey from Minnesota. So I'm stepping up to make sure the folks at Foolscap get a chance to see this wonderful work, even if they aren't willing to sit in front of a screen and hit "Next".

SofaWolf is providing the books, I'm providing the enthusiasm, and Foolscap is providing the venue for us all to enjoy. If you're planning to come, please stop by and keep me company. And if you weren't planning to come, perhaps plans will change!?!

Little celebrations

These last two days have been (mostly) a delight - two days in a row when I'm home the same day Mike is. First time that's happened since I started the Country Store job in February. It isn't really a big deal, and not something I'm asking for. We do see each other a heck of a lot normally. But this was nice.

It was "(mostly)" because on Friday night I somehow slept at an odd angle, and woke up with a really stiff neck. By Saturday noon it was a *REALLY* stiff neck, and out came the ice pack, ibuprofen and gentle trigger point massage. As of this morning it's still a pain but nothing that makes me want to miss work.

Which leads to mention of little celebration number two - despite the ice and aging battery, I did indeed manage to start the car, and so have the choice of driving to work instead of walking. Yeay me! (And yeay Mike who jumped it yesterday and let it run for a while.)

Now, off to that work thing!

One AM. I should be sleeping. But I'm not.

And just lying in the bed staring at the ceiling isn't very helpful.

So I tiptoed out to scrawl down some of the many things going through my brian, in hopes that they will all settle down.

Working at the Country Store has really underscored for me how much I love working retail. (I really enjoy it.) It also makes me itch to do more bookkeeping-type stuff, and wonder whether I should look into taking some classes to get a better grounding at that. The shop is not interested in having me do any of that sort of work, but watching what they're doing, and the choices they're making (some of which I disagree with) leads to thinking about the options I had at the bookstore, and what choices I might make if I was to try something like that again.

Then there's the whole "where do you see yourself in 10 years" thing. Maybe it really IS time to think about a move - either back to the midwest where all our family and most of our friends are, or down toward California where at least Mike might find some exciting work. I do like this house, but there are very many nice houses on this planet, and even with having been here for over ten years we haven't truly put down roots. We've made some new friends since coming out, but we see them even less often than the family back East.

In the short term I want to push myself into writing up more about the topics that interest me: costs in publishing, methods of artistic distribution, old snippets of encounters from the bookstore. I haven't managed to actually write any of those yet, but perhaps a tangible reminder like this will help.

Time to try sleeping again.