By Liz, wondering if it’s winter, fall or summer! Isn’t this weather nuts?
Earlier this year, I was invited to participate in the Pet Rock Festival in the Worcester, Mass. area. The invite came from Annie’s Book Stop in Worcester, where I’d done a talk last year. They wanted to feature an author at their booth, and invited me because of the animal component in my books. Of course, I was thrilled to participate – and so were Shaggy and Finny. We had a great time seeing old animal pals and meeting new ones. The booth happened to be next to the lovely folks from The Paw Spa in Shrewsbury, who happened to be selling organic dog cakes. Over the course of the day (after the dogs got sample treats), we got to discussing cakes, books and social media. From that conversation, we’ve developed a partnership of sorts–they’re looking into stocking my books, they’ve employed the services of Brand Fearless, who does fabulous photography and social media strategy for me, and now we’re talking about teaming up to benefit some local animal rescues.
I’ve been thinking a lot about connections lately. I’m blessed to get to spend time in communities in both Massachusetts and Connecticut. I have friends in animal circles, in wellness circles, in book circles. And even better, these connections are promoting good.
Like the friendship I’ve established with the folks at my local library. After doing a couple of author events there, they now call me for all kinds of fun things – like when Shaggy was asked to be the reading dog over the summer. At my last event, one of the library staff asked me to look at a grant application she was working on. I helped her with some of the content and she wrote to me a couple of weeks later to tell me she got the grant, which is great news for the community.
When my short story about my Maine coon cat Tuffy came out in Rescued, I chose a local rescue group to benefit from the book proceeds. The ladies of the Friends of Feral Cheshire Cats organized an event where we not only promoted the book, but engaged the community in the plight of feral cats and how they can help.
Some of you may remember me mentioning Dr. Ming Wu, an amazing traditional Chinese doctor I am blessed to know. Seeing him and becoming part of his community allowed me to participate in an event at his practice, Wu Healing, about manifesting your dreams. Connecting with like-minded people and offering them an opportunity to get to know my work felt good. People thanking me for inspiring them to try something new felt even better.
I’ve often said one of the best parts about being a fiction writer is meeting people. I believe that even more strongly now. Because it’s not just about meeting fabulous people and talking books (which are two of my favorite things to do, admittedly!). It’s about giving back, helping others, making a difference.
My other cause is domestic violence. I’m on the board for a group here in Connecticut, Safe Futures, and we’re currently raising funds to pilot a new program, #ProtectOurPets, that will provide temporary placement for animals belonging to people who need to leave a dangerous situation. I’m hoping my books will provide another avenue to help get the word out. There’s something so humbling about being able to do what you love but also see how much it can benefit others.
Because that’s what it’s all about, right?
Readers, tell us about the connections in your life that have made a difference!