ConvertKit Craft + Commerce Conference 2017 #craftcommerce #Bloggers

Usually I attend Science Fiction conferences. I love traveling and attending them all over the country. But when a big entrepreneur conference like ConvertKit’s Craft + Commerce comes to my town, well I couldn’t pass that up. ConvertKit was started right here in Boise, Idaho by our own Nathan Barry. Go BOY-see!

This conference was a couple of weeks ago – over the weekend of June 24th. Why has it taken me so long to write about it? I’ve been asking myself that question every day since. The answer I finally came up with is that MY BRAIN WAS OVERLOADED. Yes, it was such an amazing, diverse, energetic, entertaining, inspiring, and intellectually stimulating weekend that it has truly taken me this long to wrap my poor brain around everything. And I’m still not sure I’ve really processed it all.

I’m sure that everyone of the 250 attendees gleaned something different out of every speaker, workshop, or social gathering. So, let me share some of my personal highlights of the weekend here in this blog.

I’ll start with Chase Reeves from fizzle.co. I learned three main things from his talk. The first is that we need to define our own success. Don’t compare other’s successes to what you should strive for. Figure out how YOUR success should feel to you. This is especially important when we tend to compare ourselves to others. Don’t do it. “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Secondly, always practice gratitude. Feel good about where you are right now and journal the gratitude daily. Lastly, Chase talked about courage and how scary it can be to follow your heart, and how you should work toward that passionate goal a little at a time. Since the room was full of crazy excited entrepreneurs, this one hit all of us hard. Some of us are just starting out, some have had several businesses going, but each and every one of us has had those moments of fear, of doubting ourselves.

James Clear spoke on habits: “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.”  With habit formation, James told us that even if we strive for as little as 1% improvement everyday, it can add up to a lot of success in the future. I especially loved when he reminded us that we can be the architects of our own environment. This is a powerfully empowering statement, especially to someone like me who feels trapped and blocked from attaining dreams and goals. I don’t need to stand by and wait for something good to happen to me or for me, I can set about creating habits to change my environment in ways that will help me succeed.

Two speakers impressed upon us the idea of niching down, narrowing our business or blog focus. Mariah Coz started out doing something she was passionate about, but wasn’t sure if anyone else was. She restored vintage campers. Her blog became wildly successful, and now she enjoys, with the help of several blogs, to help others succeed in their businesses. She stressed the three perks of getting into obsessive niches (like vintage campers) and becoming a pioneer in it: 1) You’re a big fish in a small pond 2) You are accessing an untapped market and 3) Everything is exciting!

Cassidy Tuttle is another amazing woman who used a small, obsessive niche to grow her business. Her niche is focused on succulents – you know – those water conserving plants that are to some of us, the only plants we don’t kill off on a regular basis. Even after growing her business with something as niche as succulents, she showed us how focusing it down even further helped increase her business.

See what I mean? I’ve only covered a fraction of the amazingness that I experienced at this conference. Stop by next week for another blog post of wise and inspiring speakers and some fan-girling on my part!

-Heather

 

 

 

V.E. Schwab and Madeleine Roux – YA Authors come to Boise, Idaho!

As a young adult author and voracious reader, I try to make it to as many YA book signings, readings, and discussions  as I can.  Next week, here in downtown Boise, Idaho I will get to attend an event for two amazing YA authors – Victoria Schwab and Madeleine Roux.

Our local bookstore, Rediscovered Books has brought both authors in for one night of discussion of both their books and their creative processes. I find listening to how other authors navigate this world of creativity and business fascinating and enlightening. I am excited to hear about their journeys from aspiring writers to popular YA authors.

Even though they write in YA genres a bit darker than mine, I still think there is a lot for me to learn. I am in awe of the worlds they have created in their books, and am looking forward to hearing how they came about.

The event will be much larger than can be handled in the bookstore, so it will be held at the downtown Boise Public Library! Tuesday, June 13, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. MST.

Victoria Schwab

Madeleine Roux

Rediscovered Books

http://www.rdbooks.org/event/ve-schwab-madeleine-roux

Happy Friday!

-Heather

 

Become a Tourist in Your Hometown!

I’ve been lucky enough to have lived in some beautiful places: the rugged high desert of Colorado, the majestic mountains of Montana, the lush Washington coast, and the amazing Treasure Valley of Idaho.

The past few years I’ve realized that although I’ve lived happily among the best nature has to offer in my Northwest corner of the United States, I’ve never really explored all these wonderful places I’ve called home.

So I took a vacation. A real vacation – no funerals or weddings or emergencies to respond to. I became a *gasp* tourist! I wanted to experience all the things I had taken for granted. Sometimes we get so caught up in just surviving in this life, that we forget that we deserve to enjoy our time here on Earth.

I was reminded of this as I got out of my comfort zone the last few years, traveled to SF Conventions, opened myself up to new experiences and met some truly amazing people! I got to know writers and creatives from all around the world, and they taught me to see everything around me with new eyes. Just imagine as you go to work, hike a mountain peak, attend an art class, take a vacation, cheer at a football game, visit a national monument – how those seemingly ‘normal’ activities would look through the eyes of someone who has never had the chance to do them?

My parents used to own an art gallery in Anacortes, Washington, and I worked at the local Safeway. I hated the ferry traffic (Anacortes is the Gateway to the San Juan Islands) and I hated the nearby Tulip Festival traffic, and of course I hated the Seattle traffic. I stayed in my own little life, never venturing very far.

I missed out on so much. So, for my vacation I drove back to the Washington coast.

I drove around the Olympic peninsula and enjoyed the amazing forests, although I didn’t go as far as Forks. For those of you who don’t know – it’s the town in the Twilight series. Seriously.

The ferries are an integral part of the Seattle area, and are always a fun experience. I chose the Port Townsend to Coupeville ferry this time, one I had never taken before. I then drove across Whidbey Island, and then across the expansive Deception Pass bridge to Fidalgo Island where Anacortes is located. It was a beautiful, yet chilly day. I enjoyed it immensely and stopped to take pictures frequently.

Of course I visited all the places in Anacortes that I had lived, worked, and hiked before. More picture taking!

I got up early the next day and drove to Mt. Vernon where both my boys were born. It’s also where the Tulip Festival is located. I drove past acres and acres of blooming tulips in every color. I even stopped at one of the farms and visited the gift shops. It was refreshing walking among the cultivated gardens overflowing with tulips.

I received a much-needed break from my 9-5 life, but most importantly I filled my creative tank. I’m joyful and hopeful and ready to take on my next creative endeavor.

I highly recommend becoming a tourist in your own town. No matter where you are there are natural wonders, amazing architecture, fascinating histories to learn, and new experiences to create.

In my next blog I’ll detail my trip to the Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing plant tour!

-Heather

 

 

 

#nanowrimo Day 3

fullsizerender

Today was an awesome day! I didn’t write too many words on my novel though, but I did conduct research for it. Unusual research by most people’s standards I imagine. I took a tour of our county coroner’s office.

No, I don’t write horror novels. But I do enjoy writing about diverse careers. And I found that this group of people that work at our county coroner’s office are the most respectful, close knit, organized, caring, awesome people I’ve ever had the pleasure to talk with.

I was taken on a tour of the facility with an in-depth explanation of all the processes and procedures that take place there. I was amazed at just how many different job specialties it takes to run a coroner’s office. Along with the coroner, who is an elected official, there is a chief deputy coroner, many office staff, Forensic Pathologists, Forensic Technicians, a Forensic Psychologist, a Forensic Odontologist, many Medicolegal Death Investigators, Anthropologists, and several medical doctors.

It was an enlightening look into careers that most of us would never want to think about. I’m amazed not only how well this team works together at a job that is at times stressful, gruesome and sad, but also how much they enjoy their jobs. They have learned to balance their not-so-glamorous work with healthy personal lives. (And you can tell they have a great sense of humor by reading the challenge coin pictured here!)

In order for us to maintain our way of life in our society, there are jobs like these at the coroner’s office that have to be done by someone. They aren’t jobs that appeal to everyone, but those that do step up to respectfully gather and unravel the mysteries around the deceased, are an asset to our communities.

-Heather

#amwriting #nanowrimo

Court of Fives by Kate Elliot

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Kate Elliot’s first young adult novel, Court of Fives. Everything from the world building to the amazing array of characters made this an enchanting read.

The intricate Fives trainings and competitions made the book fast-paced and riveting. I loved how Ms. Elliot wove the theme of Fives throughout the book, giving hints to deeper meanings for the levels and symbols of the games.

The interactions between Jess and Kal on and off the Fives court gave the novel heart and took us inside the lives of two very different classes of people in this world. Jess is tough, strong, and loyal to her family, even when it is not deserved. Kal works hard to avoid living a life his family wants for him.

I look forward to the next book in this series, Poisoned Blade, which comes out on August 16, 2016. Hopefully I’ll be able to pick this one up at WorldCon that week and have Kate Elliot sign it! #MidAmeriCon2

 

Time Salvager by Wesley Chu

To be honest I don’t usually like time travel stories. They are just not the kind of science fiction novels that usually excite me. I do enjoy anything with space ships, kickass not-so-perfect heroes or heroines, a bit of romance, and even aliens. My favorite type of stories by far are dystopian. There is nothing better to make your daily struggles seem insignificant than reading about Earth and civilization being destroyed. Seriously, your boss refusing your vacation time at work doesn’t even compare to a natural disaster that decimates three quarters of humanity, or alien ships hovering over Earth’s major cities. I love science fiction!

Time Salvager does have several of these aspects of SF that interest me, and Mr. Chu did win the John W. Campbell award, so I thought maybe I would read it. What really encouraged me to pick up Time Salvager, even though I already had a TBR pile that was overflowing, was that I got to meet Mr. Chu at WorldCon 2015. Actually, I ran into Mr. Chu many times during that week. We joked about who was stalking who at the convention. He is an amazingly nice guy who even indulged this fan girl with a picture with him and Mur Lafferty.

So I did read Time Salvager, and I love it. Even though time travel is entwined in the very fabric of this story, it isn’t dry and boring. There is an everyday aspect to time travel in Time Salvager that makes it appealing and does not overshadow the story unfolding between the characters. James and Elise are kick-ass, believable, and interesting. The adventures they are put through are fast paced and true to who they are as characters.

I would highly recommend Time Salvager to any SF fan (even those who aren’t usually crazy about time travel), and I also look forward to reading Time Siege, coming out July 12, 2016. Hopefully I can get this one signed as well by Mr. Chu at the next WorldCon. Perfect timing for this book release!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

WorldCon 2015 #sasquan – how it changed my life

If you haven’t ever gone to a WorldCon before, you need to find a way to attend next year in Kansas City. Ignore any politics or negativity. Go as a lover of science fiction and fantasy, enjoy it as a fan, experience it as a lifetime learner and a catalyst for future world change. Science fiction is future, and has always influenced society to move forward.

As an avid reader and a newly published author, I had an absolute blast. It was so much fun meeting all the authors that I’ve read and looked up to over the years. There is nothing more stimulating than hearing the stories of how those authors were once inspiring writers hoping to someday be like the authors they too looked up to.

The authors at #sasquan were very approachable and willing to answer questions and indulge my fangirl excitement. I spent more than what I budgeted on books, but it was worth it to meet so many wonderful people. Besides, books are always welcome in my house!

The panel discussions were fascinating and yet another way to get to know the authors. There were so many choices, often at the same times, it was hard to choose what to do each day. I literally had something scheduled every hour from nine to five every single day.

Lunch was snacks on the run, or nachos from the concession stand. We did have a sit down dinner once when we went with a friend to the Steam Plant, which has fabulous food and excellent service. The building itself inside was a gorgeous structure of wood and glass and multiple levels. I would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Spokane.

As an introvert I was quite nervous to attend a convention with so many strangers. Going with my friend and fellow writer Cathy helped ease my anxieties and to just enjoy every moment. I tried to not worry or stress and take each moment as it came. This allowed me to meet so many wonderful people that touched my life in ways that will stay with me forever. I tend to stay in my safety zone in my home community. I go to the same places, talk to the same people. Its my comfort zone to ease my anxieties. But at WorldCon I was surrounded by so many different people, and it was fun! My anxieties melted away as I enjoyed learning about other cultures and societies.

L.E. Modesitt was one of those people that touched my heart. I first met Mr. Modesitt at the shuttle stop at the Davenport hotel. We ended up meeting there almost every morning to catch the shuttle to the convention center. We talked all the way through the long registration line, and ran into each other often during the conference. His smiling face and quiet and caring nature spoke happiness into each of my days. I love it when talented authors like Mr. Modesitt are genuinely wonderful people as well.

Zaza Koshkadze was another author that captured my heart. Traveling to the United States for the first time from the country of Georgia, Zaza came not only as a poet and author, but as a shining example to his country of what kind of change and success one person can accomplish. He was inspiring and enjoyable as a panel speaker, which having English as is his second language made it even more incredible! In between panels and parties I got to learn a little bit more about his country and his writing. I look forward to remaining lifelong friends and writing peers with Zaza, as he is a very talented writer and genuine person. I hope the WorldCon committee will decide to bring him back to the states in 2016 for the Kansas City WorldCon.

The Hugos were also an incredible experience for me. I sat right behind Larry Niven, whose Ringworld novels have been my favorite series since childhood. I was excited, but not surprised when Wesley Chu won the John W. Campbell award for Best New Writer, and Cixin Liu with translator Ken Liu won the Hugo for Best Novel for The Three Body Problem. It was amazing talking to both Wesley Chu and Ken Liu during the conference, and then watch them win these prestigious awards.

I was very blessed to be a part of this amazing conference, and I hope to one day attend as an author Participant. Thank you to everyone who worked behind the scenes to make this huge opportunity available. I will cherish all the memories that were made and look forward to making many more.

IMG_1201 IMG_1407

Ally Condie, author of the Matched series

8/15/13

Meeting Ally Condie at a the Boise Library today was a great experience. I love meeting published authors in person and hearing them describe their writing processes and inspirations. Ally has many of the same habits as a writer that I do, which is very reassuring to me! Ally creates music playlists for each book, and a folder of inspirations for each book. I too, have different playlists for the different novels I am working on. I collect inspirational quotes and pictures that I post in my office. Her idea of a folder for these important images is a great idea. I might have to get a bit more organized. 🙂

 

I also enjoyed hearing about the ideas that created her Matched series. Everyday experiences, family relationships, and picturesque locations all played a part in creating the Matched characters and world. 

Thank you Ally Condie for taking time to coming to Boise!Imageallycondie.com