Tuesday round up!


9 Posted in (in)courage

Gather round, cowgirls [and you cowguys out there]. Let’s round up some Tuesday things.

Today at (in)courage, I’ve posted an EXCLUSIVE excerpt from my book. So ride on over there and check out Lead With Laced Up Tennies.

When I read books, if I like the book, I try to email the author and say so. For the same reasons, if I have great service at a restaurant, I tell the manager or if I love a concert, I email the band. It’s just how I roll. So last week I emailed Erin McKean who wrote The Secret Lives of Dresses and sent her a link to my blogpost about the book. She wrote me back. So we’re pretty much besties now.

[People complain to authors and waitresses and managers and teachers and parents all the time. I like to be on the team that tells then when something goes RIGHT.]

If you like country music [you are a cowgirl after all], then let me HIGHLY recommend Cheryl LuQuire’s new EP. Five songs for $4.95? That’s a deal, y’all. I’ve had this EP on repeat for a few days and I am loving it when the sun-roof is open and the windows are down. She’s good. Real good.

The US Men’s soccer team plays tonight in Nashville and I am GIDDY about it. As you recall, I heart soccer mucho. I’ve never seen Landon Donovan play in real life. And I’m going to wear my Glasgow Rangers scarf. There are six of us going and I’m probably going to make 5.5 of them crazy. [I make myself crazy half the time.] But I can not wait.

Matt Wertz is so cool. I want to think up awesome stuff like he does. People in this town are doing rad stuff and I hope some of that rubs off on me.

I mean, how cool are these shirts?!?

I want an orange one. Real bad. And if you think I’m ashamed to have my friend’s name plastered across my torso, you are Wrongy McWrongerson.

If you want one, Matt’s store has all the options and I’ll be darned if you won’t have to narrow down your choices because you’ll want more than one.

That’s all for today. Circle up your ponies. Sing a campfire song. And I’ll see y’all tomorrow.

[I literally have no clue where the cowgirl theme came from today, but gosh I like it.]

Yee-haw!

From Head to Foot :: Update


It’s been a few weeks [maybe even months?] since we talked about the fact that I wrote a book and you can read that book.

This blog is not about my book. But the blog and that book have the same author and there could be a chance that you are new here and don’t know that I wrote a book.

Hi. I’m Annie. I wrote From Head To Foot.

How are things going? Well, as you know, I self-published with Westbow Press. And it was a super good decision. I have really enjoyed working with them from the beginning. The only problem has been getting statistics and sales numbers now that the book is out.

And if I had a dollar for every time someone asked, “How many books have you sold?” I would be able to wallpaper my house with miniature portraits of George Washington.

Meaning, I still don’t know an EXACT number, but I know that there are some traditional publishers who have shown some interest in possibly picking up the book. [tiny squeal]

That is only a tiny squeal because the truth of the matter is

  1. no one is offering me a book contract right now
  2. I’m not even sure I’d want one if they did [more emphasis on dinner... thanks Seth Godin]

It’s more of a tiny squeal knowing that people have connected with the book enough that it has garnered some attention from companies who pay writers to connect with people. That’s more of the reason for the squeal. So tiny squeal all you want because it is exciting that God is using this book in some small ways. It’s fun.

Anyways, here are few things you may want to know about the book:

–> You can buy From Head to Foot here on Amazon.

–> If you have bought it and read it, would you mind writing a short and sweet [or not sweet, your prerogativereview on Amazon? It makes a HUGE difference.

–> If you are leading a small group of girls this semester, over the summer, or in the fall, there is a Leader’s Guide available for free. [Scroll down and you'll see where to put in your email address so we can email it to you.]

–> You might not know this, but I’ve been making a video for each chapter of the book for small groups. So you can see those on the FHTF YouTube page.

–> I have a AnnieBlogs facebook page. Will you like me?

Here’s another great question people keep asking me- “What is your next book?” And when people ask me that I kinda giggle and then I cry and then I start to sweat and then I pass out on the floor.

Meaning, I have some ideas but haven’t really started writing anything significant. So if you have any ideas of a book you’d like me to write, throw your idea in the hat.

And by “hat” I mean “comment box” because I actually don’t wear a lot of hats.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a very exciting week here on the blog, including some awesome news from Mocha Club and my dear pal Matt Wertz and some Scotland talk and some pictures and some chats about ice cream because I love it.

Phew. That is more than enough for your Monday. See you tomorrow.

Leader’s Guide!


Happy weekend, friends!

While I’m not typically a weekend blogger, it is snowing here in Nashville and the idea of exiting my fleece pajamas for any other less snuggly type of clothing seems nightmare-ish. So I shall blog.

Which is good.

Because I totes forgot to tell you yesterday afternoon when the Leader’s Guide for From Head To Foot got uploaded to my blog, therefore possible for you to download.

HERE IS THE LINK TO DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY. Just slide your email address into that box and my blog will know you want a leader’s guide and email it to you.

[We did it that way mainly because we only want legitimate folks getting it, not just randars who happen upon our corner of the internet. So this way, you have to actually have an email address to get the free book.]

Isn’t the cover the cutest? I’m telling ya- Emily Keafer has got some mad design skillz, that is for certain. In this case, I would be honored if you would judge the book by it’s cover.

So go ahead- grab you a copy. Seriously. ESPECIALLY if you are leading a small group or if you want to pass the leader’s guide on to your church’s youth director or whatevs. There are additional discussion questions, some awesome graphics, ice-breakers, and some secret stuff that is made of awesome.

ALSO. And this is a big also.

If you are trying to order more than 3 copies of From Head To Foot, Amazon is being stinky about it. So, email me [annieblogs (at) gmail (dot) com] if you are trying to get a bulk amount.

And apparently Amazon labels “bulk” as “four”. Lame. I don’t want small group leaders spending a fortune to get these books. So please. Just email a sista.

Hope you have a super great weekend.

[I mean that. Not just saying it. I don't throw around hopes like that. I'm not haphazard in my hoping. I genuinely have massive hope for your weekend.]

Yes, I love technology.


8 Posted in I heart books.

…but not as much as you, you see.

But I still love technology.

Always and forever.

[Name that movie, people.]

Here are three reasons why I love technology:

#1. My book is available on your Kindle!

Here is the link :: http://tinyurl.com/anniesebook

[yes, it looks very similar to the tiny url to the regular book- but that one is "anniesbook". This one is "anniesEbook". It's the small nuances that really make life worth living, isn't it?]

[A "small nuance" is a bit redundant. Like an "added bonus" or a "free gift" or an "ATM machine" or writing "dollars" on your checks when the check clearly has the word "dollars" printed at the end of that second line.]

[I learned that in 7th grade business class.]

[Weird rabbit trail ends here. I promise.]

Anyways. If you, like me, have a deep love for your Kindle (mine is actually named Kindlella), then this might be a good option for you.

. . . . .

#2. Ann’s book is available on your Kindle!

If you don’t know my friend Ann Voskamp, well, you should. Her blog, A Holy Experience, is absolutely that every.single.day. And it is the only blog that has music that doesn’t make me insanely crazy. Instead, I can’t imagine reading Ann’s poetic prose without piano in the background.

She’s written a book. And it’s gorgie-poo.

And it is available in e-reader format here: One Thousand Gifts

I’ve already started it and it makes me want to cry tears of pure enjoyment. It’s like Jane Austen meets Amy Carmichael.

Yeah. You need her book.

. . . . .

3. When kids make videos.

Here is Rock. He’s awesome. And he says my name in a melt-my-heart kind of way. For sure.

Rock’s mom Sonnie is one of my BFFs and she’s become quite the beautiful blogger as of late. So hop/skip/jump/click if you wanna.

. . . . .

So, there is three-fold proof that I love technology.

I feel like I am awkwardly ending this post, like I’m walking backwards out of a party because I peed my pants and don’t want anyone to know.

I have not literally peed my pants.

Now I have made things terribly awkward.

[Also. I can't believe I talked about peeing my pants in the same post I talked about Ann Voskamp. Somewhere, a tiny bird just fell out of its nest in disgust.]

I’m just gonna leave now.

See y’all tomorrow.

Just say it.


Well, these last two days have certainly been a whirlwind. Not the scary tornado type, but the awesome warm windy Oz kind.

We have no clue how many copies of From Head to Foot have been sold in the first 48 hours, and that doesn’t totally matter. What was awesome was that social media was all.a.buzz.

It was really fun.

So thank ya kindly for your time and tweets. It really means more than you could ever know.

. . . . . . . . . .

And here’s how it started.

In my heart, I dreamed of someday writing a book.

In 2003, I went over to Drew & Natalie’s house. I took my laptop. I sat down beside Drew and said, “I think I want to write a book.” I then had him read a few practice chapters that were literally horrible.

But that was the first time I said it.

That was the start. I had a huge chunky laptop and I wondered if two page chapters would be acceptable. I wrote stupid things that really no one should ever have to read. I wrote a chapter titled “Valentine’s Day” and all it said was “I hate it.” IN THE WHOLE CHAPTER.

Yeah, good stuff.

I kept it 100% to myself until the day I told Drew and Natalie.

It’s been a seven year journey. There were multiple times that I wanted to quit. Heck. There were multiple times [including, but not limited to, April 2010] when I actually did quit and say, “nope, I’ll never get to be an author.”

[God made the whole thing happen and that's a much longer story than we have space for.]

But it would have never started if I didn’t say it outloud that day in Athens, Georgia sitting on the couch with Drew and Natalie.

And because you and I have been friends for a while, you’ve seen this whole thing unfold. [If you haven't, here is the Westbow Self Pub story.] So you know the end of the story.

But for things to even start, I had to say it.

It was a scary moment, to tell them. But I don’t regret it at all. Because, y’all, I have a copy of my own book on my bedside table. How could I regret that first moment when the end of the story is so stinkin’ cool?

I don’t even care if anyone else buys it. I have a copy of my own. That’s the real win. Right?

So I’m going to push you a little today. I’m not a major feather ruffler [huh?], but I’m going to make you molt today. You’ve got this whole comment section and nothing to be afraid of. Saying your dream doesn’t force you to act on it [I'm not the boss of you], it is just the first step.

And I have to wonder if you are here because you are dying for someone to give you permission to be brave.

And I have to wonder if we have the hugest collection of awesome dreams and I wonder if more people will dream if we say our dreams first.

You have permission to tell us.

Be brave.

Just say it.

My dream is __________________.

I’ll go first. A girl’s gotta dream….

Seattle.


First of all, the book comes out today. Yay yay yay!

Here is the link :: http://tinyurl.com/anniesbook

[By the way, that's the link that I implore you to share with your social media world. Thanks.]

Thanks again to Westbow Press. I could not have done this without them. Literally.

Now.

Let’s talk about Seattle.

It was marvelous. It started out Wednesday night with my emotional gas tank on totes empty- which is quite inconvenient when you are meeting tons of new people early Thursday and are supposed to be super helpful to your boss, Jeremy Cowart.

Which. By the way. Jeremy taught photography classes for 2 full days at creativeLIVE and he. nailed. it. I mean, I’m telling y’all, I’ve never been more proud to be his friend / employee / adopted family member / nanny / catch-all.

But I was exhausted- more than I have ever been. I prayed to God, saying “please help me. Really. I think I’m in big trouble here.”

Then I slept for 12 hours. So that was nice. A true answer to prayer. And it made Friday and Saturday way more awesome.

Help Portrait was also a super super great time. The only embarrassing moment, I now present to you. Let’s call it “When Annie Didn’t Know She Was Talking To A Famous Girl”.

Sheesh. Right? Sheesh.

And you won’t be surprised to know these things:

1. I cried. Twice. First when I was talking with our coordinator from Florida and the second time at the very end of the day, when I had just a minute to look in the camera and tell the crew in the booth, the producer, and the cameraman that I think they are some of the most wonderful humans I know. [More on that in a minute.] I mean, I had an in-ear monitor where they talked to me all day- talk in my ear for nine hours and I’m gonna be loyal to you for the rest of my days.

2. I loved every.minute.of.it. The skyping with Help Portrait peeps that I already knew via email, working with the creativeLIVE team, talking into a camera all the livelong day. I had the best seat in the Help Portrait house for sure. Anybody wanna give me a TV hosting job? Cause I might love it.

It was a great time.

The weather in Seattle was perfect- actually warmer there than in Nashville!

But the real win, the over-the-moon part, was for sure the people. Chase Jarvis, the photographer who runs this creativeLIVE thang, is a great guy and I loved spending time with him, his wife, and his team. I can’t start naming them, I would leave someone out and feel just awful. But from the top guys, to the crew, to the producer, to the chat hosts, I was blown away by the kindness and friendship that bloomed in such a short amount of time.

Seriously. Here’s what. Seattle was a total last minute thing [as in, decided Monday night, ticket purchased Tuesday morning, flight Wednesday afternoon]. I went because Jeremy needed help. I didn’t go to make new friends. I didn’t go expecting to enjoy the company or feel inspired as an artist. I just went.

And it ended up being beautiful.

I can’t adequately express what Seattle meant. For some reason, it hit every key on my emotional keyboard. And maybe I still don’t get it.

But I know that I was lucky to be there.

Bloggites, you win. You always do.


32 Posted in Westbow Press

So because you always win, you get first dibs on buying my book.

I wanted to do something special for my blog friends to celebrate the release of the book, so I made some calls and this is what me and my buddies pulled together.

Here are the details:

- Autographed [by me!!!] copy of FROM HEAD TO FOOT (uh, that’s my book).

*if you do not live in Nashville or Atlanta, this is the only way I can get you a signed copy for now. I’m trying to come up with a way, but for now, this is it.*

- A copy of the Dave Barnes Christmas CD [He wrote the forward to the book, except he called it the "Disclaimer". Rude.]

- A unique ring handmade by my friend Jamie at Owl Really Etsy Store. [they are each different and SUPER cute]

- Some other surprises that I’m gonna throw in there… mainly stuff I find around my house. [Kidding. Sorta. I mean, there are surprises. Just not junk from my house.]

The package is $25- and that includes shipping.

Cause y’all are worth it.

GO HERE TO BUY IT.

I have 200 christmas packages ready. That’s it.

200.

And you only have until 9pm CST.

So we either close it at 9pm or sell out before that.

If you don’t want the package, I’ll give you the link, etc. to buy just the book tomorrow. [Also, I'm gonna beg you to tweet, blog, facebook, and pimp it all over the place tomorrow. Forgive me in advance, but I need your help.]

Proof that my elves and I have the 200 packages ready to go. Bless their hearts.

My welcome home.


Five hour flight from Honolulu to San Francisco.

Two hour layover in San Fran. Minus the Tanner family. [Full House joke!]

Five hour flight from San Francisco to Atlanta.

One hour drive to Marietta.

One hour with the family at home.

Three and a half hour drive to Nashville.

That’s a serious amount of travel. When I got home to Nash, I looked like I got hit by the ugly stick, straight across the face. I think I scared my roommate. She looked panicked. Because of my face.

My face.

Bless her heart.

I unpacked immediately [very un-Annie; totally channeling my inner-Marisa] and then sat down to see this.

A real copy of my book. My first real in-my-hands copy!

Weird. Weird. Weird.

And you can have one on Tuesday, DECEMBER 7, 2010! Woot woot!

And listen. I’ve under-discussed the Georgia Bulldogs this year. I just can’t. It’s hard for my soul. But this book sits on our table because in good years or in bad years or in completely average years, it’s still great to be a Georgia Bulldog. [Especially after a 1 point win over Georgia Tech-- it feels so good.]

And don’t even get me started on the chances that the Dawgs might play a bowl game here in Nashville. It makes me happy.

Also. It’s an exciting day at Mocha Club- our fashionABLE scarves are 25% off. You should get one. Really.

Also. I’m love that I’m getting to write over at (in)courage today. About leftovers. Because I didn’t get any. Boo. I have almost zero complaints about Hawaii, but I am sad that I had not-a-one turkey sandwich.

Sue me.

So tell me about your Thanksgiving! How was it?

Your book questions. My book answers.


11 Posted in Westbow Press

Two weeks.

Two weeks from today.

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010.

That is the day. THE DAY. The day that we will all scurry to Amazon and type in “Annie Downs” and then purchase From Head to Foot.

So mark it down, yo.

[It may be available on Amazon before the 7th, but if we all buy on the 7th, it will make a bigger splash. Tis the goal. Tis the season.]

[Also. There will be a special limited edition AnnieBlogs readers' package for only 200 people that will be available the day before- Monday, December 6th. So. Mark it down as well. If you wanna. I mean, I'm not the boss of you.]

Here are a few questions that y’all had last week:

The e-book will be released on the same day- Tuesday, December 7th. As far as an audio book, that hasn’t even crossed my mind. Mainly because I think my voice is weird. I mean, it is not feminine but not masculine and I think I say the letters “s” and “sc” kind of weird. So. I’m probably just going to ask Morgan Freeman to do the audio book.

Because nothing is more normal than hearing an older man reading a teen girl book.

Dani, 25,000 is nothing to sneeze at. Well done.

This is a great question that I definitely want to answer.

There are stories in this book that are painful. For sure. And they involve other humans. Here’s how I chose to handle it: I changed some names. I didn’t change anything in the stories that determine whether a story is true or false. Every story in the book is 100% true.

There are many ways to handle real stories and real people and sharing that with the world. I chose to change names because I wanted my friends to feel like I was only sharing MY life, not theirs.

The only friends whose real names I used consistently are my two best friends, Haley and Molly. Mainly because every story involving them makes them look totally awesome. Because they are. Why wouldn’t you want the world to know that?

But asking permission is never a bad idea. Pray about it and do what is right for your people.

Also.

If you are in the Atlanta area, we are having a book release party on Wednesday, December 22. Hang out around my FACEBOOK PAGE for more details. Or, just go check out the Book Release Party invite.

Also.

My book is in a Christmas Guide + Giveaway over at Dawn’s place. It is super sweet of her to include me along with the other prizes- and there are some AWESOME prizes. So go check it out!

One more quick reminder:

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010.

Booyah.

Well. Hope there weren’t any typos.


34 Posted in Westbow Press

Because I signed off on the cover and the galley.

So pretty much I put my pen to paper and signed my name, saying, “so… if there are any issues on the inside of this little puppy, it’s totally my fault.”

Which. Truly. Some of the jokes are so dumb in this book that you could label those as “issues” but let’s not talk about that right now.

We have a release date. I just need to confirm a few things [including a pre-release JUST for my blog readers, fingers crossed!] before I can tell you the date.

But it is in 2010.

BEFORE CHRISTMAS!

So save $13.95 of your Christmas gifting money so you can grab a copy for that sweet teen/college girl in your life. [Or for yourself. Whatevs. I'm not the boss of you.]

We didn’t have a real release date until Friday when Westbow called and left me a message saying, “Got the sign-offs. Headed to the printer. Here’s the release date.”

I walked into Emily‘s living room and said, “Um. The book is coming out. Soon. I’m scared.”

Because I am.

Because up to now the book has only been read by people who love me and know the sound of my voice. Because up to now the stories of hurt and hatred and fear have been stories I selectively share. Up to now, I haven’t had anyone dislike my book.

But it will happen. No book is for everyone.

Some people will read the book who [gasp] do not know me. And suddenly, the real stories that I have rarely [or never] told, of crying myself to sleep after being crowned homecoming queen, will be public.

The people who were in the gym when I was crowned homecoming queen will be able to read the stories as well. As if I want my high school friends to know what happened after we all drove home.

So I’m scared of strangers reading my book. And I’m scared of my people reading my book.

This is not a post asking you to make me feel better. I promise. I guess I’m laying out how I feel here to simply say that while this process with Westbow has seemed quick and easy [and boy! it has been!] and while y’all often comment about the excitement of all of this [and boy! it is!], I’m still just a normal human girl.

Who makes a heaping portion of mistakes.

Who struggles with her faith.

And has real fears.

And lays in bed at night worrying that no one will read the book.

Or worse yet, that EVERYONE will read the book.

BUT.

This book is for the girl that I used to be. The goal of this book is not to make me look awesome. The book is, God willing, going to make HIM look awesome and bring some degree of healing to the Christian girls who read it.

So the fears lose. The girls win. God will still love me no matter what.

And the book is coming out, tearful homecomings and all.

December 2010.

Booyah.

* * * * *

Next week: I’ll answer your questions! About the book, self-publishing, Westbow, all of it. So leave your questions in the comments or email me.

I’d also love to hear updates- anyone working with Westbow? Thinking about it? Starting to write a book of their own? Considering writing? Starting a blog? Have an idea for a book? Secretly aching to write? (It won’t be a secret anymore.) :)