Settling into my car and buckling my belt for a long afternoon of Holiday errands, I took a minute or two to make sure I had everything I needed:
Water bottle - check (Oops- Back in to visit the ladies room )
Ritz peanut butter crackers- check. (Hunger is a given)
To-do list- check (I am embarrassed to say with my ADD, there are many of these lost around the house)
List of stops to make- check. ( I try to list them in the most efficient order)
Cell phone- check. (Tuned to my favorite podcast- Picture Book Look)
Wallet- check (I have forgotten this one too many times!)
Shopping bags- check ( I hate having to pay 10 cents a bag at some stores!)
Shhhhhh... I'll tell you a secret.
During Advent, I add one last, very special thing to my check list.
A few copies of Forever Home.
For more years than I can count, I looked forward to being a published author. In the trenches writing and revising, I imagined the day when I could see one of my stories put a sparkle in a child's eyes. Self-publishing Forever Home along with my daughter (@ericaleighart) last year, was one of the highlights of my life, and made those moments I dreamed of possible.
Yesterday, at Terraza' in Franklin (an awesome place to shop for gifts, I might add!), I struck up a conversation with a lovely lady named Amy, to see if they might like to carry Forever Home in their store. One thing lead to another and soon Amy was telling me about Kiera, who loves rescue animals. As she continued with her story, the wheels started turning. I thanked her, wished her a Merry Christmas and headed out to my car.
Terrazza- A great place to shop!
Grabbing a copy of Forever Home from the box, I giggled as I headed back to the store and caught the staff by surprise.
"I think your Kiera and I are kindred spirits," I said to Amy,"I'd like to sign a copy of my book for her. Is that ok?"
A few minutes later I waved goodbye to four happy smiles behind the counter and beamed thinking of a little girl who would be curled up with Amy tonight listening to my kitty's story.
Next stop, the grocery store. Wheeling my cart inside, my cheshire cat smile probably gave me away as I anticipated my next encounter. I kept my eyes open for a tired mom or dad whose child was tagging along and melting a bit.
Veggies, bread, now where can I find the yeast? I had to remind myself that I was in the store to actually get some things. The excitement I felt was incredibly distracting!
Turning the corner, I spotted a young mom in the baking aisle, shopping with her 2 year old seated in the cart and a young son walking alongside. I was impressed with her calm and kind demeanor; so patient answering her child's many questions , even if it took her a bit longer .
"Hi there," I said, "My name's Cathy. I am a local author giving away copies of my book for Christmas. It's a story about my two kitties. Would your son like one?"
In seconds, the shelves of food, all the hustle and bustle melted away while the young mom introduced me to her son Paul, giddy with excitement about getting a present in a grocery store. I signed the book for him and wished them a Merry Christmas. The rest of the shopping trip was a blur, playing our meeting over and over in my head.
The Christmas spirit had landed on my shoulders with a few simple moments...
...and it felt good.
Gosh, I love being a writer. I can't wait to get my next story published. Fingers crossed one of my end-of-year submissions will lead to "the call" from an agent. I have about 25 or so stories just waiting for the magical touch of an illustrator to bring them to life. In the mean time, I write, revise, polish and dream, knowing there are more hearts to touch with my words one day soon.
L-R: Angel and Camille