A Change in Direction
The Travel Life Calls...
There's something about having to face your humanness that is very defeating. Not that I thought I was superhuman, by any means, but... stronger perhaps than others my age? Or so I liked to tell myself. Turns out I am just as human as the other fifty somethings and now a bit more fragile.
Because of the broken ribs, I've had to get my fair share of xrays over the last couple months. They have revealed more than two broken ribs. I am not one that seeks out the medical professionals at all if I can help it, so I honestly had no idea what was happening underneath my skin and I liked it that way.
Now don't be upset with me if I don't lay out all the dirty secrets here at your feet, but it should be enough to say that the doctors told me things were going to have to change. My body was breaking down faster than it should. They said they doubt I can go on doing the things I've been doing any more and I would have to start treating my body a bit more tenderly.
I took this information and internalized it. I cried for a bit. I followed the doctor's orders and was a good, well-behaved patient.
I tried to envision the kind of life that he said was in front of me.
And then I thought... if this is really it... if these are the parameters of my future, I'd rather be happy than waiting for something to happen. What would make me happy? Being with my children, was my first thought. Since it's not fair for my children to have their adult mother sit on their doorsteps and interfere with their lives and be under their feet all the time... I had to think what ELSE would make me happy? That's easy...
Traveling. Camping. Revisiting History.
With my children's blessing- because they don't want me under their feet either, I decided to make that option happen... not sure how, but I'm going after it.
Right at this juncture, without all the sappy backstory, I literally have nothing. No home, no camper, no job, what few items I do have are sitting in a storage shed in southern Missouri. I have a truck. An ornery black cat and my lap top.
I must shift my thinking. I must find a way to get back out on the road again.
This is the longest way around to have to tell you that A Touch of Spice will not be coming out December 2. Even if I finished the last word today, it couldn't get published in time. It's a Christmas story... and I want to keep it a Christmas story, which means it won't be able to be released until NEXT December. (It really is going to be a cute story and worth the wait, I promise.)
I opened up the History Revisited Group on Facebook again which I re-named Ginger Life Travel and was honestly a bit overwhelmed with the graciousness and amount of support that was extended to me. I felt so loved.
I really have no plan, but the group gives me hope. And... permission. Permission to be happy so long as I agree that they can accompany me on the journey via FB. And, I really am sorry the book isn't coming out this year. (It's been a really hard year, okay?) But I believe in order to be able to hear God's whisper,
He had to take away all the distractions and people that were in the way of me hearing my instructions.
He may tell me that I can't travel for long, and I need to be okay with that.
Also... and I guess this would be the "good news" there's nothing like getting a diagnosis that says you may not live as long as you thought to get your fired up about what legacy you are leaving behind. I have a LOT of stories I want ... NEED to tell. I guess I'd better get on it.
It's true, we don't know how long we have, but when someone comes along and so rudely tells you that you're not going to live forever... it changes the way you think about things.
Suddenly you don't want to waste time on people who don't deserve you. You don't want to waste time doing things you don't love. You don't want to waste a single moment not making sure those you love, never doubt it for a second. And... you think about the mark you will leave on the world. What will people say about me after I'm gone? I'd better make sure I have a good turnout while I still have some time.
My change in direction is... I am NOT going to "take it easy" and wait for my body to disintegrate. I'm going to go out and chase life. Meet new people. Tell others what I see in my travels and what I learn along the way. And I'm going to write. Write. and Write and Write!
So I am sorry you may have to wait just a bit longer for the next book... but not THAT much longer, I promise.
Broken Ribs and a Cup of Coffee
Here I am... just sitting... the temperatures are dropping outside and if you know absolutely anything about me, that is a sign of fear and dread in my world.
I have been a snowbird for the last seven years and was pretty happy with that way of life.
I'd winter where it was warm, 97% of the time. I was usually near water. I was able to get out and about to explore most days. (Hurricane season was sometimes tricky, but it's not like they sneak up on you. You have a pretty good idea of when they're coming and if you need to pack up or not!)
When the danger of cold weather was past, I could make my way up north to visit family and see what else I could find; dragging my camper along behind ready for new adventures.
I haven't owned a winter coat in seven years. I barely wear shoes, for that matter. I am SUCH a beach baby at heart.
Well... this year is going to be a bit different. I am officially trapped in colder weather.
The first weekend in October, I busted my ribs. I didn't think much of it at the time, but five days later, when I was still having trouble breathing, I went in and had it x-rayed. One rib broken, one fractured. Not a thing they can do for it except to tell me to be still for the next 6-8 weeks and don't lift anything over 5-8 pounds.
Trapped. Trapped in cold weather until at least the end of the year.
Trying the see the best in a freezing situation, I find myself inside a new experiment. How to make this the best winter ever? It's a big ask. The cold weather is not just something I complain about for fun (we all have to have our "thing"). The cold, damp weather is actually pretty painful for me since I have arthritis in a good number of my joints. But, it could be worse. I could certainly be worse.
I choose to fill my brain with happy thoughts. I flood my heart with gratitude. I reflect on all the ways that I am blessed.
I am near my family. A rarity since I have found wings... I haven't spent Christmas with my grandchildren in all those years of snow-birding, because... well... cold. (I transferred my Christmas spirit to Easter. Easter is my favorite holiday and I pull out all the stops for this holiday!). But this year, I get to spoil them EXTRA, actually ON Christmas! (Their parents may even INSIST I head back to the south by the time I get done! Lol!)
With out being allowed to do much other than sit around and forcefully WILL my bones to grow back together, it allows me to brainstorm and putter around with other ideas I've been wanting to do, but just couldn't find the time ... Boy, have I got time now! This is the best injury when you have a laptop close by! (Hint- I ALWAYS have a laptop close by.)
I'm ahead in my Bag of Bones Podcast episodes for the first time in... forever. That feels pretty good. I'm working on the new book that now I have NO excuse for it not being released on time at the beginning of December. Plus plans for a years-worth of new books to come out in 2023. (The way my luck runs is that I'll get all these things started then get released from couch therapy and be right back in the rat race!)
The damage was enough that I was informed that I probably won't be able to travel the way I was used to and that I will need to make some pretty severe changes in my future activities. If that ends up being the case, I am so grateful for my adventures over the years and wouldn't trade them for anything. I'll have to be more careful where I end of an invalid next time though, THAT'S for sure!
Okay fine... I know you're asking but how... how did you break your ribs? I was broken in the most loving way possible. With a hug. A hug from a 21 year old football player that was just trying to pop my back. And he did... just went a little beyond that. I heard a crunch, but neither of us believed that I was actually broken...
The evening wore on and I was hugged again and again and the more you love someone, you just want to squeeze them so tight so they know right? Can I just say, I am SO LOVED. Each squeeze probably added to the fracture.
Adding to that... I am pretty active and chest pain or no chest pain, work had to be done, so I pushed through it lifting and carrying... just doin' what I do... until I couldn't anymore.
My jaw dropped when I saw the x-ray.
So now I sit. Trying to figure out how I'm going to be able to NOT step one foot out the door until the crocus comes up. Not gonna happen, so I sip my coffee and snuggle under the piles of blankets begrudging letting others take care of me. I am so loved. I must keep my whining to a minimum.
Month 2 Check In
It's hard to believe that I have only been on this adventure for two months! It feels like I've been out here for at least four. I've been spending like it's been four! (#funnynotfunny)
I was supposed to check in around the 11th, so I'm a few days late.
I was whining about gas prices being a whopping $2.54 per gallon and and I was struggling with that. I just had to fill my gas tank at $3.79 per gallon. Having $70 and $80 gas trips are the norm. (and that's probably about half a tank!!). So, that's the biggest change from last month to this.
The second, is the campgrounds. It's getting more difficult to find spaces available. I realize how great camping is and I'm excited that everyone else is finally figuring that out, however... it is leaving very little space for me! Campgrounds in the midwest average in the $20- $30 range... the further west you go, you start at the $33 range and it can go up from there... WAY up. The highest I've seen was $112. PER NIGHT! And that did not come with any thing special. It's crazy. I mean, really crazy. And I didn't budget for that... so I am SO over budget.
I am down to one pair of jeans that don't have rips or tears in them. To be fair, they were old to begin with. Pretty sure I haven't bought a pair of jeans in at least ten years. But I sure have been rough on them! I love my jeans. They are my favorite thing to wear, year round. And out of all the clothes, I packed, I pretty much only wear the same 6 or 7 outfits. So, if you'd like to rub it in that I didn't need all the things I thought I would need, this would be a good place for that... because coming right behind it is the kitchen items.
Turns out, I didn't really need all of those, either. In all fairness, I was supposed to be doing a heck of a lot more cooking! I still have yet to use either of my dutch ovens. The propane stopped working in the camper (yes, there's propane in the tanks), so I have no stove (or hot water for that matter). If I can't heat it up in the microwave, it has to be eaten cold. Or I have a crock pot, so I've been making chili a lot.
So, yeah... all of my mixing bowls and baking tools, pots, pans... just being carried from one place to the next.
Which means my food supply is still in pretty good shape. Since I was ready for the thought of not having much fresh food, I haven't had to go to the store for much. Since I am the worst pioneer ever, I gave up on trying to ONLY do and eat what they did, because I can't cook outside. (Turns out wildfires are a HUGE thing this way and it's no joke. They don't allow any type of out door flames during the summer.)
So, I will probably go home with 90% of my flour and 80% of my beans that were purchased for the trip.
I've eaten out twice this month... if you want to count gas station food. And I have cheated with bottles of Pepsi about 8 times. (In my defense, they sell vanilla Pepsi here, which I can't get in the midwest, so I splurge... plus it helps ease the pain of the gas price I just paid!) Other than that, I just buy my half n half for my coffee. I need to get some veggies here soon. All the produce markets are open and I love me some fresh produce! (And still don't want scurvy.)
The Wildwood Conestoga has really taken a beating for some reason. Do the manufacturers not know that the camper is going to be set up and taken down over and over again? Don't other campers do this? It shouldn't be so fragile! It shouldn't be having so much trouble. It's only a 2017!
So, I've already mentioned my propane tanks. (No hot water, and no cooking flame), now my rear legs won't extend, so I have to figure out how to deal with that. My ball hitch either won't lock onto the ball, or won't let go! So we have this dance every single time in hooking up and unhooking to make the ball hitch fits just right. It's so aggravating!
I rarely use the air conditioning, (that could be the problem) but I had it on yesterday because it was 106 degrees and it whined the whole time... and when I turned it off for the evening, some exhaust fan (somewhere) was blowing and whining... I don't even know.
I've had three flat tires. Two on the trailer and one on Xander. (I had to get four new tires for Xander, because they were all close to going out, so I bit the bullet and did that. Ouch, but I feel safer. I do still have to buy a new spare tire for the camper just in case it happens again.)
The temperatures here are SO hot and dry, and even though I don't speed on the highway, I'm afraid of the tires over-heating or something happening. I've had to call my insurance roadside three times so far on this trip, so I can't imagine what my premium is going to look like next month. Ugh... the price of chasing your dreams.
Let's see, what else... nope, still. no videos. Not gonna happen.
I haven't written the new book either. I'm just so busy taking everything in! Every morning though, just as I am coming into conscience my brain is writing. Not that I can remember by the time I get back to my computer... but it IS up there... so there's hope. I'm thinking that once I am finished with this trip, all the ideas and senses and feelings and characters will come bubbling up.
I've also been thinking about creating a book about the actual trip- talking about what I've learned and sharing some photos... like a more complete and orderly History Revisited on paper... and also a journal/planner for other people who are getting into the camping thing. I really do love this life. (And I will be so sad when I reach the end of this trip. It's all coming too fast. ). But for others just getting started or want to document their trip but don't know how or what to say.. this journal thing might help... that's just an idea though...
So, if you're reading this and are not yet familiar with my writing style, please don't see complaining. (Okay, fine, there might be some, because this life is sometimes hard!). This is mainly documenting. I just like to keep track of stuff and I thought you might want to see the other side of things as well. I'm sorry it's not more scientific... probably why it comes across as complaining, but it's really not.
I am so happy to be doing this. It is such an adventure and I am learning so much. And not just historically speaking! I am learning more about me every day. I've discovered that I'm a lot more afraid than I thought. It's one thing to talk a big game, it's another thing to be out here facing those fears (or side skirting them) on a daily basis.
This is something that will keep me company for years to come. I have SO many pictures to go through and I can't wait to cover my walls with them!
This history and this country is absolutely amazing. I am seeing things I've never seen before and actually seeing and feeling and using all my senses, gives me such a deeper understanding to those pioneers who have traveled this road over a hundred years ago. I am so honored to be. able to do this and be able to write about if for years to come.
Writers on Writing-
Why Aren't You Rich?
I am so very proud to say that my sixth book is on the verge of hitting the bookstore shelves and perhaps, more importantly the Amazon virtual shelves. That being said, people are curious why I am not swimming in pools of money.
Well… it doesn’t actually work that way. We see the J.K. Rawlings and the Stephanie Meyers and the Steven Kings of the world and expect it to be a celebrity experience for all authors. Wow, I would love it, if it was so, but it is not.
There are a lot of really great writers out there that are not getting the recognition they deserve. They are not getting movie deals and they are not getting the media attention that will get their work into the public eye. It's just a fact. There are thousands upon thousands of authors out there and you only hear about a fraction of us.
A lot of it has to do with “It takes money to make money”. Sure, there are some who sneak through the crack and whose manuscripts land on the right desk at the right time, but that is rare.
I write because I can’t not write. There is something inside me that inspires me to put pen to paper and release the stories, the thoughts, the revelations that I have learned and pour them out in a new way. It is only recently (about six years) that I have shared my work with others. But I have been writing and creating for as long as I could hold a utensil. It is my passion.
I don’t write, or rather share my work to become rich. If I could reach the point that it would comfortably pay all of my expenses without fear, I would be ecstatic!! But that has not happened as yet.
There are a few ways that I get paid for the books that I have published.
To give you an idea of how much money I make- when I sell a book overseas… While it is a huge feather in my cap to be known as an International Author, I only make twenty cents per book…. before taxes. Twenty cents....
It’s going to take a lot of books to make my first million. Lol.
The more money I can spend on marketing, the more my brand gets out to the people all over the world. The more money I can invest in hiring a publicist and an agent, the higher my chances are of getting my name to become more familiar with more groups of people. The more I can get out to the people, the more people can put a face to the name and in turn, they become the most loyal of followers because I am not just a name, but a real person.
I do not have a lot of money. I market as much as my budget allows and then, not even that often at times because I get distracted with… more writing.
For me it will take being in the right place at the right time or having the “right” person read my book for me to get the recognition and the income that would make my living arrangements more… comfortable!
So for now, I am not rich. I do make an income, but won’t be sipping champagne out of a shoe any time soon.
That is why I rely on your support as a reader and one who believes in my writing to always help to spread the word. Share my posts, buy my books, leave reviews. (This applies to all authors! If you love what they have written, share the love! Let everyone know! Reviews on places like Amazon, Goodreads, Barns and Noble make a huge difference to our exposure to new readers, which is what it’s all about!)
I write because it makes me happy and I am constantly in a creative process. I publish because enough of you have told me that you enjoy what I create and have requested more.
For more ways you can help your favorite author, click here!
Do you have a question you'd like this author to answer? Leave it in the comments below and I'll do my best to get to it!
How Can You Help?
With the overwhelming series of unfortunate events surrounding my Leading With Love tour, I must say that your outpouring of love and concern have been so heart-warming.
So often when authors undertake something of this magnitude, we feel like we are "in it" alone. It makes sense; we do spend a lot of time alone. I write best when I'm alone... I research alone... I daydream alone... I create alone... And while all of my creations are meant to enrich the lives of others, they must have time to steep in quite and solitude.
My book signings and workshops are my main opportunities to really get to be with people and interact with them.
All that to say, I always just assume that I have to find solutions to my problems... alone.
So for the first few dozen folks or so, when they ask me "What can I do to help?" I've said, "Nothing, I just have to figure things out."
For person number thirteen, that was an unacceptable answer. I got the "No man is an island" speech.
So... (short of sending me food and gas money) I have come up with a list of ways you could help me keep my head above water with little to no cost to you.
This list will actually help any author on your love list but allow me to thank you in advance by participating in any, or all of the following suggestions!
1. Have You Bought A Book? (or several?)
Contrary to popular belief, I do not make much money from the sale of my books. However, every time a book is purchased through Amazon, it raises my status and ranking. I make more of an income when I sell my books at fairs, books signings or out of my trunk (lol). But the actual "public" sale of my books help me more in the long run. So if you haven't done so, go to amazon.com and search my name and purchase a book!
2. Leave a Review (5 stars?)
Once you read the book and realize how wonderful it was, while the moment is still warming your heart, head back to Amazon and leave a really great review. This too, raises my ranking (even more than the purchase. So if you have already purchased one of my books elsewhere, PLEASE, please, please go leave a review!) The higher ranking, the more Amazon will promote my books and get them in front of new readers. (A lot of new authors are purchased thanks to the "if you liked this book, you might like this.... method!)
Goodreads.com is also a really great place to leave a review!
Also- if you loan your book out to anyone else to read, please encourage them to leave a review as well!!
3. Amazon Searches
Every time you go on Amazon for anything, search my name. Type Elizabeth Bourgeret into the search bar, whether you need a new book or not. (Even if you are shopping for vitamins, fishing lures or cookware or... whatever) Again, it helps to trigger Amazon that maybe they might need to make my work a bit more accessible. If you are like me, I shop for everything on amazon! I also let Amazon know who I am similar to. For example, I'll do a search for Joel Osteen, Karen Kingsbury, Tony Robbins or Francine Rivers and THEN I'll do a search for my name. It starts to link the names together.
4. Social Media
Love it or hate it, I have to be a part of it. I do love it for the great way it allows me to connect with readers and give those who are interested quick updates of the highs and lows into the life of Elizabeth Bourgeret and her Great Dane, Meera.
You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+.
Whether you are on there sixty times a day or once a month, please like and follow my page.
I try very hard not to post too often and I am always considerate of inflammatory content. But my pages are a great way, like I said, to get quick updates, share stories and thoughts and be privy to new blog posts or books.
5. Share Posts
Yes, not only do I ask that you like my Author page, I do ask that you share posts or comment on them. (The demands are getting greater!! Sorry you asked yet? Lol) If you have found a reason to like me, there's a chance that someone connected with you just might like me too. Please encourage others to like my posts and hopefully, my page.
There are a lot of Elizabeth Bourgeret memes floating around with my quotes either made from my camp or elsewhere, but if you see one, PLEASE like it and share it!! It helps to build name recognition!
6. Local Bookstores
While you are out and about, stop in at your local bookstore (big or small) and request that they carry my books. (This can also link back to #1. If you want to help support your local bookstore AND me, this is a great way to do it! I love to promote and support the smaller bookstores! Just request that they order my book for you to purchase and maybe they'll get an extra to carry in their store. OR when I get around that city they may be more likely to allow me to come in for a book signing!!)
7. Invite me to your Book Club!
Book Clubs are SO fun! I'd love to support your book club! I am happy to help with book discounts for bulk purchases, I'm happy to Skype with your group and answer questions or if you are within a 60 mile radius of where I am located, I'd be most honored to make a live appearance, sign books and chat about whichever book you guys are reading!!
So, there you go. There are seven suggestions that you can help me get past this dreadful "hump" that I'm having trouble getting past. These are little to no cost, but just take up a bit of time. (Add a post-it note close to your computer to help remind you of your favorites so they can be done multiple times...!)
I can't say enough how much I appreciate your thoughts, prayers, words of encouragement and now actions. I am thrilled that you have chosen me to invest a piece of your heart in. It reminds me that I am doing good things and am where I am supposed to be.
Thank you, and thank you again.