Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Book Launch Review and Surprise Gift

Tuesday December 10, 2019


I am excited!  I have a special gift for you, readers of this blog.

But before I tell you about that, let me tell you about the book launch celebrations.

The last I wrote I said that I hoped to update you on Saturday about the book launch and how it went.  That didn't happen on Saturday.  I am feeling a mixture of accomplishment and freedom from deadlines.   It feels pretty good!

So excuse me if I took a break from writing for a few days.

Book Launch Review

The launch on Saturday at the Cattle Dog started out strange.  Last time (for the launch of the first book in the Trippin' Series) when I arrived they had a table set up for me facing the big, main room serving area.

This time they didn't have it set up for me.  Instead they had a back room area reserved for me with one huge conference table.  It felt weird.  This was a celebration with friends, not a formal business meeting.

As I began to haul in my stuff I realized the big table was made up of smaller tables.  So I had the staff help me spread the tables out  at random angles so there could be different conversation nooks of people.  That was better.  Then I put my big "Meet the Author" sign on a table outside the door to the back room.

It worked, people found me and sat around chatting the whole time.

I had asked a neighbor to come and take pictures and he not only took them, but edited them and posted them on Facebook.  Thank you Dean Christianson!  What a gift to have the lovely pictures of the people that attended.  I am so grateful for his help and for the great pictures.

I made a slide show with them.

Debbie Selsavage and Ed Young of Coping with Dementia and Dementia Education, Inc. showed up too, which was great.  I had a jar out for donations to Dementia Education and I handed the fist-full of cash over to Ed at the end of the event.  Plus I will be sending them a check for a portion of the proceeds from the book sales at the event.

Debbie and Ed just attended a National event put on by Positive Approach to Care (PAC), Teepa Snow's organization.  It was leaders and advocates from all over the country gathering to share information, research, and ideas for better care of those with dementia.

If you weren't able to attend the launch and want to support the cause.  I have two organizations that are small and local and therefore I feel the money goes to help caregivers and not to million dollar salaries.

Dementia Education, Inc.
6356 E. Wingate Street, Inverness, FL 34452

Alzheimer's Family Organization
461 Mariner Boulevard, Spring Hill, FL 34609


Thank you to the wonderful people that showed up and supported the cause and me on that lovely sunny day.

You are probably curious about the number of pre-orders I ended up with on Amazon when the ebook launched onto people's devices... Ready for it?

10, yep 10 Ten 10.

A long way from the 100 I had aimed for.  I got so emotionally caught up in that goal that I spent money on advertising.  So book 2 hasn't made money yet.  YET, the sales of the first book went up with the launch of the second book and hit #1 in its category on Amazon!  I was thrilled to see that.

2nd Celebration

I am not very organized.  I am so much better than I used to be when I was in my 20s and 30s.  But still, I am not organized enough.  For example:

Thursday, December 5th, was supposed to be my second book launch celebration.  I was to go to my old neighborhood and celebrate.  But I was feeling too busy in the weeks leading up to the launch to double check and connect with folks there about the event.  So I didn't pick up the phone or send an email or go to deliver a flyer or anything.

Months ago I had sent an email to one woman and spoke with another.  They had both encouraged me to have the second book launch there.  They are now both care-givers themselves.  I don't even know if I had sent a flier to the newsletter or to one of the women who helped organize the launch celebration last time. I thought I did but I didn't and I have no record of such a flier.

So I arrive for the women's coffee which was going to be followed by my supposed book launch celebration.  Only not one person there knew about it.

That is ok, I think.  It will be good to socialize anyway with my former neighbor ladies, and that is what I did.  The books never came up in conversation.  BUT two of the women had questions about a loved one or neighbor with dementia and I was able to provide some suggestions or a hug and emotional support.  Good.

3rd Celebration

I did not have any expections for the THIRD celebration. I must have had an bit of hope anyway.  This event was in Tampa at a combination bike shop and coffee shop.  The location is right on the Upper Tampa Bay Trail.

The one friend I have in the Tampa area was off on a cruise.  Chances were good that I might just get a little walk-in traffic from the trail.  Well, the day was dead at the bike shop/coffee shop.  A friend of the owner stopped in and she chatted with me a long time.  Which was wonderful.  She had cared for her husband for many years with a rare brain disease.  He passed away two years ago.  So we shared stories of caregiving and stories of adjusting to not being a part of a couple anymore.

Just as I was packing up a man and his grandson came in to get some bike stuff.  The man was a tri-athelete and had done some major challenging rides.  He bought THE JOURNEY CONTINUES.  My one sale for the day.  He told his grandson that he was going to read the book and then give it to the grandson to read.  I said, "There is a lot of poop stories in there, just so you know."  The man said, that was ok, the grandson needed to learn about the energy and endurance.

I was glad to pack up and I was also glad that I thought to pack my trike and bring it along.  After sitting for two hours it was good to ride the trail.  I didn't go far, I maybe biked an hour.


Then I set my sights on a Dairy Queen.  My own mini celebration.

I arrived home and hauled the boxes of books into the den where I store them.

In the morning I awoke feeling a wave of anxiety and on the verge of tears.

What?  I guess that even though I knew the event in Tampa wasn't going to be well attended, I had hope.  I had publicized, reached out to Alz organizations.  I had hope.  I kept telling myself the celebration in Tampa is more for publicity.  But still I must have had some hope.

It could have been that or the sugar.  The DQ blizzard.  I have noticed that when I have a lot of simple carbs I feel waves of anxiety and tears the next day.  The sugar is screaming for more sugar.

But I was down for only part of a day.  I forced myself to go to exercise and do yoga and reach out to a friend I hadn't seen in a while just to chat.

And then I saw the sales for the first book go up and I was happy again.

We did it!  We launched the second kindle book, the audio book is now in review at ACX and should be out by the end of December.  So much work leading up to this moment!  I feel free.  Free to ride my bike, go for a walk, think about my next steps.

Other than paid ads and an occasional event, I am going to play it cool on the work now.  I want to reconnect with friends that I haven't seen much of while working so much.  I want to enjoy the Snowbird Season here.

Ms. Organization... NOT

Yesterday, I went over the charge card and entered the data into my accounting software.  I have spent a lot on Amazon Advertising (a lot in comparison to the sales).  So today I was going to go back into the ads at Amazon.co.uk. (The UK version of Amazon... yes, I have to run separate ads and have separate pages of each geographic area of the globe.)   Well, I discovered I can't figure out how to get back to that page where I can manage my ads.  I didn't keep good notes, I didn't bookmark that page.  So unorganized.

And I don't know quite how to track which search terms are profitable and which are not.  I have not figured out how to best track and analyze successes.

More work to be done, learning to do, it is all still a trip.

This week I went to a nice potluck dinner and rode down to feed the goats.  On Sunday I decided to drop the "to do" list and meet Debra and Glen and Richard and Louise for a ride on the West Orange Trail (near Winter Garden, FL).  I have been so busy with work I have not seen any of them much.

Coming Up

I am a resource partner at the 6th Annual Coping with Dementia  Conference.  Please share the information with those in the area who are care-giving or worrying about someone they love.  The education is well worth the time, and it is FREE!

Launch of the Audio version of The Journey Continues is around December 27th.

Click here for a sample of the audio narrated by Voice Actress Candice Tuttle.

Surprise Gift

And NOW for my surprise gift.  Just for YOU.

I have a bit of Chapter 19 I made just for YOU that read my blog.  THANK YOU for Trippin' with me.

Share the fun, invite your friends to join us here.

After I take a breath I suppose I will write another book.

I have heard suggestions to write about my life after George.  The journey through grief and onto a new life.   Only where is the middle and end?  Aren't I in the thick of that story right now?

I have heard suggestions that I write about our tricycle trip from Northern Illinois to Florida. 

What do YOU think?  Comments and suggestions are welcome!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Count Down to Book Launch - 1 more day! Giving Tuesday

December 3, 2019

Good Morning!

Brrrr, it is a cold one here in central Florida!  Freezing in parts of Citrus County.

Only ONE MORE DAY to the launch of the second book, THE JOURNEY CONTINUES!

The 6th Annual Coping with Dementia Conference is January 22nd.  If you are a caregiver or know someone with dementia, this is a great resource to learn more about the illness and the resources available in Citrus County and beyond.

Launch Celebrations 


Monday, December 2, 2019

2-Days to Book Launch - The Journey Continues - Alzheimers

December 2, 2019


Wow, can you believe it! Only two days to launch!

So the call... an older man called me last night to wish me Happy Thanksgiving. It was obvious he was nervous and ... interested in not being alone... shall I say. He has never called me before and I have noticed him looking at me with interest.

Gosh, here is the dilemma. I am documenting my on-going journey and now, as a widow my life continues. It feels really uncomfortable to talk about being single and the possibility of future relationships with men in this space. Certainly, I don't want to embarrass anyone or hurt anyone.  So putting up my thoughts and interactions here just seems not right. 

No, I am not interested in sex or even romance. But friendship, companionship, that would be something of interest to me.

But you know what I found going through my head as I talked?

OH! I don't want to admit this because it so fits into the reputation of widows and older single women... or even women in general. I think it is an evolutionary thing... I mean why else would I, a nice woman (really I am) think such a thing. It must be something programmed in my brain.

So here it is: I started wondering how well-off he is. YES! I did! I wanted to know financially if it was a relationship worth pursuing.

Sigh. My bad.


I have been invited to have a table as a resource partner at:

6th Annual Coping with Dementia 
Conference for Caregivers and Families 

January 22, 2020, 9:30-3:30 pm
Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church
6 Roosevelt Blvd, Beverly Hills.

If you or someone you know is giving care, be sure to let them know about this event.  I went to these while caring for George and learned so much as well as connected with other caregivers.

Here are some pictures I took yesterday on our ride on the Van Fleet Trail.  This trail goes through the Green Swamp and is very rural.  I love it!

Several times we encountered snakes like the one below.  I saw that it had a diamond shaped head so I kept a distance.  I learned later, when posting the picture on Facebook that is a pygmy rattle snake.  Very poisonous.

The audio version of the first book in the Trippin' Series is doing very well.  I was hoping it would, Robin Siegerman did a wonderful job narrating it.  I don't want the sales to disappoint her.


Sunday, December 1, 2019

Count Down to Book Launch - Day 3 - Ups and Downs

December 1, 2019

Today I get to go ride the Van Fleet Trail!  I don't know if anyone is going to be riding the trail with me.  It is one of the rides that the Withlacoochee Riders schedule during the winter season.

I DO know that Will Byers and maybe Marie Adams will be riding toward me from Polk City.  (Remember I met up with Will and his group in the Everglades for a moonlight ride on the Shark Valley Trail?)

I probably won't ride all the way to Polk City.  That is 60 miles and my hip doesn't like my trike seat much these days.

I was thinking the other day that my hip started hurting after I changed the webbing on my seat.  The new webbing that Catrike has for the seats has more pockets in back of the seat, BUT it doesn't tighten as much.  The straps are pulled all the way and the webbing still sags.  I want to go back to the old seat!!!  I guess I will contact them and see if they still make them.

Wouldn't it be great if all I have to do is change webbing on my trike seat and my hip/lower back problems will go away???  YES!

This time of year we won't see many gator on the Van Fleet Trail, but there may be snakes and hawks and such.

It is only 3 Days to the launch of The Journey Continues!

I ordered 40 books for the book launches.  I have 20 Large Print and 20 regular print.  I sure hope that is enough.  Last time I ran out, bought more, and now I still have boxes of books of Alzheimer's Trippin' with George in my den.  I don't want to over-buy again.

Both books will be available at the book launch celebrations.

Yesterday I got notice from Candace Tuttle, the narrator for the audio book of THE JOURNEY CONTINUES.  She said she has the changes made that I had asked for.  So I will listen to those and then if it is good, I will send it off to ACX to review.  It takes them 14 business days to review it.  So it may launch the week before Christmas... it could... maybe.  Here is the sample, in case you missed it:

Yesterday I also put out a newsletter for the Withlacoochee Bicycle Riders.  Dick Marr that started the group along with a few others wrote about the history of the group and I thought, since he was resigning from organizing the Christmas ride, now would be a good time to share the history of the group.

Also, yesterday as I was launching the blog post I checked Amazon for the ranking of my books.  There are millions and millions of books available on Amazon, but there are many categories.

And even though I was down about the fact that I am no-where near the goal of 100 pre-orders for The Journey Continues, (only 8 last I checked) I was thrilled when I learned that the first book, Alzheimer's Trippin' with George is #37 in the UK for the category Senior Travel!  Whoo hoo!

In the USA I am #2 in a category.  That's how Amazon drives me forward.  They probably have it figured out, like Facebook.  Give me enough reward that I keep trying, keep pushing.

“Just finished reading a second time. It still...... review gif

I just found another review on The Journey Continues.  Thank you Connie!

"This book is written for anyone who finds themselves in the role of primary caregiver. Susan Straley writes with such honesty and compassion in regards to the joys and hardships caring for a loved one. Susan’s honesty in regard to anger and frustration with the role, while still loving the person, left this reader with a feeling of being understood. The book also demonstrates the ability to find joy, laughter, and love in simple things everyday. I laughed and sometimes cried as I followed George and Susan’s journey and I found strength in regard to my role of primary caregiver; thank you Susan for sharing your strength."  Connie Tice

Reviews on Amazon, Audible, Bookbub and Goodreads are so helpful to authors.  I never knew or I would have been leaving reviews all along.  It seems silly, but each site requires its own review!  I don't have any reviews yet on Bookbub.  Yet a lot of book lovers find their next read through emails sent to them by Bookbub.  Each site I have to set up and attend to.  I was going to advertise the new book on Bookbub and it said it would "blast it out to my followers".  I think I have one follower on Bookbub.  Ha ha.  I decided to go a different route.

Well, I have to pack up and get over to the Van Fleet Trail.  Off to new adventures!  

See you tomorrow... just a few more days to launch!

A Miracle and a Good Laugh

 Greetings from Inverness, Florida. I have sooo many stories to tell.  So much fun to share.  But I will save you from yawns by telling you ...