One Chapter Ends While One Begins

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in BeckyLand.

On August 16, my seven siblings and I gathered for a reunion with our spouses in Manitou Springs, Colorado. We took over the entire Avenue Hotel Bed & Breakfast, a fantastic place to stay.

We’d planned the reunion long before my dad died, so used the opportunity of having us all together to conduct his inurnment ceremony down in Colorado Springs, then sending him off with a right jolly Irish-ish wake.

The next morning, we swooped down upon his house and cleared it the rest of the way with much laughter, and many, many trips to Goodwill. Afterward, we caravanned through all our old haunts and houses where we grew up.

The weekend was jammed with fun memories, lots of silliness, and the draining of a multitude of airplane bottles of booze Dad had squirreled away. I’m sure he would have approved.

When it was over though, I made the final push to finish the first draft of PUZZLING INK, the first of my Crossword Puzzle Mysteries. I got it done last Friday and sent it out to my exceptional beta readers, a delightful mix of personalities and talents, plus this time, a bonus category of people who deal with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, something with which my main character struggles.

I can’t wait to get comments back from everyone. I’m letting it rest for a few more days when I’ll pick it up and read it straight through as fast as I can. I find when I read it fast, I can catch continuity problems so much better. Plus, it’s always fun to remember what I wrote!

Right after sending the manuscript off for comments, I dove back into changing the hosting company for my mailing list. I moved everything to MailerLite, which took SO MUCH LONGER than I expected! My newsletter readers won’t notice any difference, other than a different design, but backstage, it’s very different.

Subscribers to …

So Seldom It's Shameful

… have always received a short one email welcome from me as soon as they click their confirmation email, but MailerLite does this cool thing with their automation called “workflows.” It’s basically a flowchart where I can schedule my emails to people, and put conditions and actions on them. So, when people subscribe to my mailing list, they automatically receive a series of five “Welcome” emails from me that come every two days. In them, I give away some short stories, give them more info about me and such. If they don’t open the first one, they’ll get a little nudge from me which sends them down a different branch of the flowchart. If I wanted to subcategorize them or if I wrote in different genres, I could send them down a “cozy mystery path,” or “thriller path,” or “self-indulgent memoirs about dogs path” or whatever. That way, if a reader only wanted weepy stories about dogs, they’d never hear about my thrillers. And there’s a ton more stuff on there for me to explore, yanno, in my spare time.

As cool as it is, though, it didn’t come easy to me. There was a steep learning curve, a couple of frantic tech support chats (big thumbs up to these kind and marvelous creatures, btw), and more than a couple of times where I had to walk away and talk to some chocolate about it all.

But it got done, and I’ve been assured it got done correctly, so YAY! As much as I complain about learning curves, it does give me a bright, fizzy feeling to know I did something new (and complicated) that actually needed to be done.

Next on my to-do list is to redesign my newsletter template, and with the first one I send, I’ll be able to offer a link to all my subscribers to follow that queue of freebies. By the time everyone works their way through, all my subscribers will have all the same freebies and info. Like I said, very slick. It allows me to welcome my new friends, make sure my old friends have everything I’ve promised them, all while saving me time so I can continue to write … which is where we all want me to be able to focus my time. Win-win!

If you’re not already a subscriber and want to check it out, feel free to join my mailing list and then unsubscribe down the road. When you do, I will try to refrain from becoming a pathetic Becky-shaped puddle over in the corner, missing you desperately and wondering where we went wrong.

Just kidding. I’m a good Midwesterner … I don’t want to bother anyone who doesn’t want to hear news about my books or those of my author pals.

The revamp also gave me the opportunity to make a new subscribe button … whaddaya think?

Have any of you summited to the peak of any learning curves you’re particularly proud of?

28 thoughts on “One Chapter Ends While One Begins

  1. The ceremony for your dad sounds lovely, and how nice that you and all of your siblings managed to get together. And congrats on getting your newsletter moved over. I recently made some small website changes, or what I thought would be small changes. It never fails that what I think will be a five-minute task ends up taking all day.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thanks, Marla! It had been about 5 years since we were all together, so that was fun. And I’m the same about those “5-minute tasks.” When will we learn?? I just realized the theme I use on my website has a sidebar (which is where my newsletter signup button is) and isn’t very mobile phone friendly. So on my to-do list for Sunday I wrote, “change website theme.” Mind you, a barely do anything on Sundays so the odds that this will get done? Slim. And none.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Really enjoyed this fun peek into Beckyland–and I am going to steal the “talking to chocolate” phrase. So accurate. What a wonderful send-off you and your siblings gave your dad–it definitely sounds as if he would have appreciated it. (In fact, I’m sure he did.) And congrats on finishing your book AND taming the super-scary newsletter beast. I’ll think about that tomorrow, fiddle-dee-dee.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I stole “talking to chocolate” from Liz Lemon. Sometimes I talk to pudding, sometimes cheese, sometimes wine … I like to spread my angst around.

      Thanks for your kind comments. Dad would have appreciated everything about the weekend except all the stairs wherever we went. He would have groused about that.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I just reread this and that second sentence could have used an editor! My siblings and I didn’t have a reunion with our spouses … we had a reunion with each other to which our spouses tagged along. Sheesh. Specificity, Becky.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sounds like the perfect send-off for your dad, Becky, and I love that you were all able to gather and share memories. (And airplane bottles of booze!)

    Huge congrats on finishing the manuscript AND transitioning to MailerLite. I’ve been thinking of doing the latter myself (well, and the former if I can get myself together) but am super intimidated. Maybe this weekend I’ll make the leap!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The transition itself isn’t hard, but those workflows took some time! And now I need to make a newsletter template ….

      SO MANY airplane bottles of booze! I’m not quite sure how he pulled that off. I don’t drink a lot of cocktails on planes, but I’m pretty sure they pour them for you. Clearly, he had the gift of the blarney and could sweet-talk flight attendants out of their booze protocol!

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Having also lost my dad this year, I agree that getting together with all your siblings and drinking airplane liquor in his honor (okay, so maybe we drank from big bottles) is the perfect way to say goodbye.

    As for finishing the m.s., I am one of those lucky beta readers and I can tell you all that you’re in for a treat when it finally gets published! Yay Becky!

    Liked by 5 people

  6. I’ve been at my new job for a year now, and I’m finally feeling like I am understanding how things fit together instead of just doing stuff by rote.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Much to love here, Becky! Congrats on finishing your first Crossword Puzzle Mystery — yay! The reunion with your siblings sounds so special. I love that y’all drove past the houses where you grew up! And LOVE the glamour shot of Nala, lol!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Weeeellllll … I didn’t want to go into it, but since the tour was planned by the older siblings, we younger kids got squat. We went by houses they all remembered, but most of us barely lived in, if at all. Like once they moved away, we ceased to exist. My brother and sister and I threatened to have our own tour, but we’re still scared of them. Not that I’m bitter or anything …. [insert frowny face here]

      Sometimes I caption that photo of Nala with, “Hey, how YOU doin’?”

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Hahaha! A sibling get-together just wouldn’t be complete without a squabble or two, would it?! Maybe I should ask your older siblings for some tips. I’m the oldest, but nobody’s scared of me, lol!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. LOVE the pictures and descriptions of your sibling reunion. And we are all super excited about your new series–woohoo! And on top of those things, you also migrated your newsletter and mastered the fine art of workflowing? You’re amazing. A. Ma. Zing.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I think your dad would have been so proud of the way your family came together for his send off. I hope you toasted with a glass of the good stuff for him. If you used the cheap stuff he will know. I thought for all of two seconds about doing a newsletter and I was like – yeah… not gonna happen. All my writing time is stuffed into books. So any newslettery web pagey stuff you do impresses me. I’m looking forward to reading the new book – how exciting!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aw, thanks. We toasted with good stuff, some truly bad stuff, and everything in between.

      I’m impressed with how much marketing/promotion you get done, Libby! You’re everywhere (in a good way) and bring fun to all of it. You’re an inspiration to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Becky, what a fine send-off for your dad! And thanks for insight on MailerLite. I plan to move over there but since my newsletter is due out now, maybe I’ll dink with it later this month. As for learning curves, the entire first three years of my law career, every time someone asked me a question, I had to look up the answer. I was thrilled the day I knew the answer off the top of my head, and it was the right answer! Now when someone asks me a question, I prattle on until their eyes glaze over.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL, Keenan! I’m sure by “prattle” you mean “answer with diligence and insight, making the mundane fascinating and the difficult much more accessible.” (And speaking of which, I may be hitting you up for some lawyerly help in my ms.)

      Liked by 2 people

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